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  #1  
Old 05-04-2012, 03:11 AM
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Oblivion777 Oblivion777 is offline
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Default Tracking with AAX-DSP or with Native (RTAS or AAX-Native) Plug-ins

Hello!

Yesterday I got involved in a "heavy" discussion with a friend of mine on the issue of tracking (instruments or vocals) with plug-ins enabled. Personally I always assumed that it is better to track "raw" stuff, taking care that the levels you record at are in "the goldilocks zone" (judging from this forum that the yellow is the new red, I tend to peak in the yellow). And then you add whatever plug-ins one thinks he or she needs to add in the mixing stage. Well apparently some track with plug-ins already enabled.

I was just thinking how other people do it professionally (i.e. not as a hobby)? And if you track with plug-ins, do you use DSP version of plug-ins only or can one use RTAS/AAX-Native as well (with this question I have mainly the issue of latency in mind)?

Your inputs are greatly appreciated and will help me get a more complete picture. Thanx!
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  #2  
Old 05-04-2012, 05:23 AM
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Drew Mazurek Drew Mazurek is offline
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Default Re: Tracking with AAX-DSP or with Native (RTAS or AAX-Native) Plug-ins

I very often track without any processing (yes, yellow has always been my red) and monitor through DSP plugs, DSP only. In HD and HDX land, in order to use Native plugs for this, you need to have a DSP plugin inserted first, and your buffer needs to be at its lowest. Not a good fit.
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  #3  
Old 05-04-2012, 07:29 AM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: Tracking with AAX-DSP or with Native (RTAS or AAX-Native) Plug-ins

Are they actually tracking with plugins, or are they just inserting the plugins to hear them while they're recording (such as using an amp sim, or a reverb for the vocals)?

If they are truly tracking with plugins, as in printing the effect to audio as they record, they can only do that by having their input go to an aux track (with the plugin inserted), then bussing that to an audio track.

I'm not sure how many people are doing that, vs. the more typical way, which is just inserting a plugin while recording, to hear the effect. Doing this will not print the effect to audio, just the normal dry signal. During mixing, if they want that effect, they will still have to render it to audio at some point, by bussing it to another audio track.


This is relevant to your question, because if they're just inserting a plugin for monitoring purposes, I don't think it's at all affecting the recording level of the dry signal they're actually recording. Inserting the plugin may boost the level, even distort it, but I'm pretty sure the actual recording level is just whatever it is before the plugin is inserted. This has been my experience with amp sims, especially.

In the case of a compressor plugin, even if they use it on an aux bussed to an audio track to print the effect, it's still not the same as using a hardware compressor, because it's not doing anything to tame the peaks as they come through the preamp and the A/D converter. But they may find that they like the sound of monitoring through it, such as helping the vocalist to hear a smoother compressed sound, etc.

So it may be helpful to find out exactly what some of these people are doing or not doing.
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:35 AM
bashville bashville is offline
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Default Re: Tracking with AAX-DSP or with Native (RTAS or AAX-Native) Plug-ins

I'm seconding nst7's post. There was part of the OP's post about "Personally I always assumed that it is better to track "raw" stuff, ...." that makes me wonder if he meant recording the audio already processed by a plug. Just a heads up that that's not what happens when you record with a plug-in inserted.
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:52 AM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: Tracking with AAX-DSP or with Native (RTAS or AAX-Native) Plug-ins

As for the question about latency, primarily you would be tracking with a low buffer setting (usually 64 or 32, sometimes 128). If you try to use low latency monitoring, it will bypass the plugins on the track being recorded to.

With modern computers, you can have a lot of tracks and plugins going, while still running at a low buffer. If for some reason you start to run out of steam, the easiest workaround is to bounce your mix down to two tracks (or several tracks, making "stems"), and then deactivate the rest of the tracks. This puts you back at square one, where you're only dealing with a few tracks and can run at a low buffer again. But again, with modern high powered computers, you may not even need to, depending on how complex your session is.

You can also help yourself out as you go along, by printing to audio the CPU hogging plugins like amp sims, or VI's.

Note that with certain plugins that themselves have a lot of latency, such as an L1 limiter, or Autotune, they will still have that latency and that cannot be gotten around. I don't know if TDM/HDX systems handle this differently.
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:01 AM
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Default Re: Tracking with AAX-DSP or with Native (RTAS or AAX-Native) Plug-ins

Hey!

Thank you everyone! I did indeed mean tracking with plug-ins as in printing processed audio to the audio track (using AUX's for inserting the plug-ins). At least that's what I understood from the discussion. Then again, the guy I was speaking with is German, I'm Slovenian and we spoke in English. I guess it's entirely possible that I misunderstood and that he was indeed just saying that he listens to the processed audio and not actually recording it (by adding plug-ins to the audio track).

Anyhow: I think I'm going to stick to the "conventional" way and track unprocessed material (what I referred to as "raw" in the original post). Of course I might add a plug-in or two on the audio track while doing that for orientational purposes; but the recorded/printed audio track will be unprocessed. That way I can easily change my compressor or EQ or whatever later in the mixing stage.
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Last edited by Oblivion777; 05-04-2012 at 08:01 AM. Reason: Typo
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  #7  
Old 05-04-2012, 08:29 AM
WernerF WernerF is offline
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Default Re: Tracking with AAX-DSP or with Native (RTAS or AAX-Native) Plug-ins

I agree that it's best not to print your plugins effect by going through an aux with the plugin on it. I do, however, think that it is highly beneficial to "mix as you go" in order to have a sense of what your track needs in the form of overdubs. This often require's the use of plugins which, of course, you only need to monitor through. It also serves to inspire the players that are performing the overdubs. I used to, as a session guitarist, play on tons of other peoples records and if the engineer or producer had not made the effort to make the track sound as inspiring as possible it made it quite difficult to deal with creatively. A little extra work goes a long way.
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Old 05-12-2012, 12:25 AM
Firechild Firechild is offline
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Default Re: Tracking with AAX-DSP or with Native (RTAS or AAX-Native) Plug-ins

If you want a simple answer.
Recording and printing the plugins is not very smart. There is no point doing that, on the contrary you are left with printed plugins that can´t be undone.
I guess the german guy meant he put plugins on the tracking channelstrip to have a more polished sound in headphones but the plugins will not be printed this way.
What you can do and what most people do is to track through hi-end analog hardware with a tiny bit of compression and a tiny bit of EQ like a lowcut filter and maybe a few dBs boost in the hi-end
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:12 PM
RCN RCN is offline
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Default Re: Tracking with AAX-DSP or with Native (RTAS or AAX-Native) Plug-ins

[QUOTE=Firechild;1930315]If you want a simple answer.
Recording and printing the plugins is not very smart. There is no point doing that, on the contrary you are left with printed plugins that can´t be undone.

What he said....
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  #10  
Old 05-14-2012, 07:30 PM
Craig F Craig F is offline
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Default Re: Tracking with AAX-DSP or with Native (RTAS or AAX-Native) Plug-ins

any EQ or Compression I might want to print I would probably want to do in the analog domain pre ADC
post ADC is rather pointless to me and only add delay to the whole process
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