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  #1  
Old 06-07-2008, 10:58 PM
Monty_python Monty_python is offline
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Default New to Forums... Can I use a Plug In while recording?

Hello, I'm Monty. I plan on hanging here for a while since this seems to be the biggest PT Forum I've ever seen. Thanks to DUC for hosting this forum!

I'm in PT 6.9 and I have no Outboard Compressor or Limiter. I would like to use a PT Limiter Plug-In to work while I record to prevent clipping. Is this possible? So far, to my surprise, I my set up is a mic>Pre Amp>Mbox into a Record Enables Track in PT. Then before recording, I set up a reverb Plug In (something obvious for my untrained ears) on the enabled track. I figured I would hear that reverb right off the bat and that it would also 'record to tape', but there is no reverb. Please forgive my simple problem that must be obvious, I've only used Plug Ins while mixing.

Question:
Is there a way to use a plug-in realtime on the same track that is recording and have that processed signal go to tape?

Thank you for your time.

-Monty
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  #2  
Old 06-07-2008, 11:32 PM
John Jeffers John Jeffers is offline
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Default Re: New to Forums... Can I use a Plug In while recording?

Plugins alter the audio *after* it has gotten into Pro Tools. You have to make sure your levels are low enough on your preamp/DI/etc. that it's not going to clip. If your signal is too hot going into your interface it's going to clip, and no plugin can fix that.

As far as why you're not hearing the reverb plugin, it may be because you have Low Latency Monitoring (or Zero Latency Monitoring, depending on your interface) turned on. When that's enabled you can't hear plugins when monitoring your input. If you turn that off you should hear the reverb, but it may also introduce an unacceptable amount of latency. That's the tradeoff with Pro Tools LE systems. You can either live with latency, or not hear your plugins during monitoring.
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  #3  
Old 06-08-2008, 12:57 AM
Monty_python Monty_python is offline
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Default Re: New to Forums... Can I use a Plug In while recording?

Thanks for your time John! I'll take that as a definite 'no'.

A last question for you and any other onlookers. If you feared clipping, say due to 'no sound check' or something, would you record at a low/safe volume, or would you use one those $100 Behringer Composers as a Compressor/Limiter to get a louder signal? Is gear that cheap introducing more noise or quality loss? I'm trying to spend more time recording more carefully than working in post, but at the moment I only have consumer outboard gear.

Again thanks for your time and if anyone feels like throwing an opinion in on my newbish tracking situation, please I'm all ears.

-Monty
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Old 06-08-2008, 01:27 AM
John Jeffers John Jeffers is offline
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Default Re: New to Forums... Can I use a Plug In while recording?

If the Composer is all you have and you're worried about clipping the input, then use it. Even if it's not the greatest limiter in the world, it's still going to sound better than clipping. It would be better if you could just trim the input on your preamp so you didn't need the Composer, but if that's not an option for some reason, then use what you have.

One quick thought--don't worry about maxing out the meters in Pro Tools, especially if you're recording at 24-bit. You have a lot of resolution there, so use it. Get a good medium-level signal going in, and then your transients might spike a little but hopefully won't clip.
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Old 06-08-2008, 03:17 AM
nunuk nunuk is offline
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Default Re: New to Forums... Can I use a Plug In while recording?

You can set an aux and set the input, let's say, mic/line1. Than on that aux you set a limiter or whatever plug-in you want to use and set the output to bus1. Than make an audio track, input as bus1 and record arm it. You'r set to go =)
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Old 06-08-2008, 04:19 AM
Phil Ogden Phil Ogden is offline
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Default Re: New to Forums... Can I use a Plug In while recording?

Quote:
You can set an aux and set the input, let's say, mic/line1. Than on that aux you set a limiter or whatever plug-in you want to use and set the output to bus1. Than make an audio track, input as bus1 and record arm it. You'r set to go =)
As John points out (above), this processing would be post analogue to digital conversion. Software dynamics plug-ins won't help control the input signal. This would have to be done in the analogue domain pre the Mbox input.

Regarding the Reverb, whilst some singers/musicians like to hear monitoring with reverb, I'm not sure it's wise to record this on top of your input. That would make subsequent processing difficult and severely limit your options at mixdown. By all means use it for monitoring (as a send FX). If you must record the reverb, I strongly recommend you do so on a separate audio track.

http://www.myspace.com/philogg
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Old 06-08-2008, 05:15 PM
Monty_python Monty_python is offline
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Default Re: New to Forums... Can I use a Plug In while recording?

John I'll try to keep the Composer out of the chain unless I'm in a bind, thank you.

Also I wouldn't record reverb while tracking, it was just something to test to get a faster result of my original question. Thanks for looking out for me though incase I was that crazy.

As for the 'Aux' workflow, may be a little over my head, only at the moment though. I've been pursuing the learning curve of this program heavily the past few weeks.

I'll be recording in my new booth tonight, very exciting! I have a quality booth, cables, computer and patchbay, now I need to focus on upgrading my outboard gear with a preamp and compressor.

Thanks again for the attention, you guys are great!

-Monty

EDIT: BTW John, a 2nd read on your first post helped out a lot about Monitoring Plugs and Latency, thanks.
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  #8  
Old 06-09-2008, 03:13 AM
nunuk nunuk is offline
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Default Re: New to Forums... Can I use a Plug In while recording?

Quote:
Software dynamics plug-ins won't help control the input signal. This would have to be done in the analogue domain pre the Mbox input.
Yes but, after the signal passes the AD, first thing it comes in contact is the software plugin, than, after it has been processed by it, it gets written to disc..
I agree that the signal should not (and that's a big no no) come in hot, but if it is just on the margin of the dreaded digital 0dB and there is a possibility of clipping, than if you send it to aux first, limit it there, it will not be written down with clicks..Or am I barking at the wrong tree here..
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  #9  
Old 06-09-2008, 04:40 AM
Phil Ogden Phil Ogden is offline
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Default Re: New to Forums... Can I use a Plug In while recording?

Quote:
Quote:
Software dynamics plug-ins won't help control the input signal. This would have to be done in the analogue domain pre the Mbox input.
Yes but, after the signal passes the AD, first thing it comes in contact is the software plugin, than, after it has been processed by it, it gets written to disc..
I agree that the signal should not (and that's a big no no) come in hot, but if it is just on the margin of the dreaded digital 0dB and there is a possibility of clipping, than if you send it to aux first, limit it there, it will not be written down with clicks..Or am I barking at the wrong tree here..
An input signal either clips or it doesn't. Unlike analogue, there's no grey area as it's a function of the math involved. If it passes the A/D stage OK, then it's not going to clip in the digital domain without applying further gain processing. It follows, therefore, that the scenario you outline above shouldn't happen.

If clipping occurs at A/D, then no amount of software limiting can reverse it's effects.


http://www.myspace.com/philogg
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  #10  
Old 06-09-2008, 05:15 AM
andrewSF andrewSF is offline
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Default Re: Can I use a Plug In while recording?

Quote:
I agree that the signal should not (and that's a big no no) come in hot, but if it is just on the margin of the dreaded digital 0dB and there is a possibility of clipping, than if you send it to aux first, limit it there, it will not be written down with clicks..Or am I barking at the wrong tree here..
Trying not to just echo Phil and others, but I wanted to make clear something that seems to confuse a lot of people. If the signal clips at input (i.e., hits digital zero), applying compression or limiting (or even simple gain reduction in audio suite) after that can stop the meter from hitting red on playback, but all you're doing is reducing the amplitude of the already-clipped waveform. It won't read as hitting zero on the meter, but the waveform will still be squared off--it's still clipped.

Sometimes (e.g., if it's just a single cycle on a sharp transient) the clipping may not be audible or may be slightly audible but acceptable. If it's a DI guitar track and you're sending it through an amp simulator with distortion, it may not matter at all. Or if it's just a quick peak in an otherwise clean track, reducing the amplitude (or redrawing the peaks of the waveform) at that one spot may be enough. If you're talking about a vocal where it needs to be clean and featured, it can be a huge problem. Even if you reduce the overall amplitude the clipped section will still be audibly distorted.

John Jeffers already pointed this out but it's always worth repeating: if you're working at 24 bits (and why wouldn't you be?), you've got a huge amount of dynamic range. There's absolutely no need to try to cram your signal into the top 6 db of the range!

If you don't have time to tweak your input settings, set your recording level lower than you think you need to. Don't freak out if your waveforms aren't huge fat caterpillars, they don't need to be. It's easier to raise the level of a quiet recorded track than to try to fix an overloaded one.
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