RE: Sends and weird volume / tone issues

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bstruble
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Hello, quick question here.

I have been working with Ardour 2x for the past few weeks. Learning the system, figuring out the snags. Got it mostly handled, except for one weird issue:

I have sends on my individual tracks going to a bus that I use to add compression and eq. I figured it makes more sense to do things this way, rather than adding comp and eq to each individual track.

This works well, but I ran into an issue where I had two tracks that have significantly less volume / tone than the other tracks. Selecting undo / solo would restore the tracks to their normal sound, but when exporting the file, the problem is present in the export.

I worked around this by removing the send on each track, and adding comp/eq on both tracks to get my export sounding like I wanted it to.

What's bothering me, is that I don't understand what went wrong! Removing and adding the sends again resulted in the same loss of volume, so I had to use the workaround I described above.

Does anybody know what I did wrong?

seablade
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Busses are not latency compensated, so if you have the feed going to the master and the send, you could get phasing issues.

Whether the comp on the bus is the right option depends on what you are trying to do. In general it is common to EQ and Comp on the track first, then on the bus though, because each source would be different, but there are points where compressing on the bus is the correct solution as well.

Seablade

bstruble
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Seablade,

Thanks for your reply.

I have 25 + other tracks that are connected to the bus that I am using for comp / eq with no issue.

It's these two random tracks that for some reason sound different than the others, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why! The only thing that works is to disconnect them from the comp / eq bus, and comp / eq individually. It works, but I get nervous when I can spend an hour on an issue, and not have any clue where I went wrong.....

Speaking of an instance of comp / eq on each individual track:

Wouldn't this increase system load with a large amount of tracks? DSP load is hovering at around 70% for this project as it is.

Is there a similar feature in Ardour to Cubase's "Offline Processing" feature?

So close to something good here, but not understanding where my problem lies.....

Ricardus
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Reverb is about the only thing I would use on a non-latency compensated bus.

veda_sticks
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IMO thats a really bad feature.

buses are really usfeull, for instalnce grouping a drum kit and applying compression over the whole kit, or grouping all the vocals and having compression on the main vocals,

not to mentiaon doing custom mastering with different compressors over different buses.

or even compressing and having a general eq over the entire kit after any eq and compression you have on the individual channels itsefl.

If your using reverb on a bus and theres no latency compensation, you loose all control over the pre delay. if yo are really pernickity about your reverbs, and you go to the time of ccalculating your reverb times and pre delays, it will be wrong on the bus. since the bus is now introducing an unknown delay which is effectively a predelay. You set a predelay of 32ms but it wont be becaues the bus is now introducing an extra predelay.

I hope this is fixed in ardour 3

paul
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veda_sticks: there is no latency compensation on busses in ardour 3.0.

i would remind you that the 800lb gorilla of the DAW world, ProTools, became the absolute dominant application in this sphere without ANY latency compensation for almost 10 years. ardour 3.X will see this "fixed" but lets not exaggerate the significance of the issue.

bstruble
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Thanks guys for the responses, but I'm no closer to understanding what happened to my two tracks. Was it a bug? Did I make a stupid mistake?

I'm concerned, because I see real promise in Ardour as my main recording software, and wish to be reassured that the next project I work on will not have a critical track go "bad" on me.

Anyway, here's a link to a dropbox account containing a few things I have recorded with Ardour:

http://db.tt/hjDgX1Sq

Thanks again.

Ricardus
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I've mixed a bunch of stuff in Ardour without the need for latency compensated buses. In fact, we just had a lengthy discussion on one of the Ardour lists about the over-use of buses (probably due to it being written about in a lot of high-end audio mags). At the end of the day it's not necessary. If you can mix, you can mix.

We also saw some interesting evidence that parallel compression in the digital domain is NOT a good idea, even with latency compensated buses.

Ricardus
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bstruble. When you send to a bus, there is a send fader that you use to send to that bus, and that fader determines the amount of signal going to that bus. Could it simply be a question of not enough gain being sent?

The volume issues could be because of what I said, and the tone issues could be because of what seablade said.

If you zip up the session and put it somewhere, I would be happy to look at it for you.

bstruble
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Ah. I just double clicked on one of the sends, and I can see the slider. Thank you, I did not realize that was there.

Unfortunately, I cannot re-create the issue. Is it possible that I somehow altered this slider without having delved into the above described menu? Perhaps a keyboard shortcut?

I will have to investigate further when I have some more time.

Also, I just may take you up on that offer Ricardus. Thanks!

seablade
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I've mixed a bunch of stuff in Ardour without the need for latency compensated buses. In fact, we just had a lengthy discussion on one of the Ardour lists about the over-use of buses (probably due to it being written about in a lot of high-end audio mags). At the end of the day it's not necessary. If you can mix, you can mix.

We also saw some interesting evidence that parallel compression in the digital domain is NOT a good idea, even with latency compensated buses.

Well not really. The conversation was about overuse of busses, but tended to center around specific techniques that used busses. This lead to a conversation about parallel compression, which while there were some people that insisted it wasn't useful, you also had people like myself and nettings who posted about how it was in our cases.

So the end result is, if it works for you.

In the meantime I use Mixbus and mixbusses for parallel compression, or other options(IE. A compressor with a parallel path built into the processing).

@veda_sticks

You don't lose control over the predelay, the reverb will not generally not vary in latency. You have control over it, it is a matter of you cannot go below the latency introduced by the plugin however. You would be surprised how rarely this is an issue to me in all honesty.

Seablade

bstruble
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Since we are talking about overuse of busses, again I ask:

Should I be adding an instance of comp / eq / reverb to each individual track?

It seems like this is very resource intensive vs. creating a bus with one instance of each effect.

seablade
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@bstruble

Bah sorry I read your question but by the time I got to the end of the thread I had forgotten it.

It really depends on what exactly you are trying to do. Yes it is much more resource intensive, so if you are already at 70% DSP you won't be able to do it easily. But it still can be done via using bouncing etc. I wouldn't do reverb per track in most cases, but EQ especially yes, and dynamics typically yes(Along with on busses). But it really depends on, 1.) is it needed? and 2.) what are you trying to accomplish

Compressing a group of vocals on a bus for instance, means that the loudest vocal will tend to push the others down in volume, not balance out the level of the vocals. Vs compressing each individual voice means that you are evening out the level of the voices themselves. Two very different results using similar tools.

So short version is that there is no straight answer, and it all depends.

Does that help at all?

Seablade

bstruble
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Yes, I completely understand what you mean.

For my purposes, and my system, adding an overall eq / compressor to specified tracks connected to a bus will work just fine.

Thanks Seablade.

I was able to re-create the issue I have been having Ricardus.

Checked the slider on the send dialog, and they are the same as the others.

I don't know why these two tracks are behaving this way. I have removed and re-added sends yet again, but the issue persists. Damnit.

Ricardus: If I were to give you a copy of the project to inspect, what directories would you require?

Ricardus
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The entire session.

There is a directory with some sort of project name, and inside of that are the .ARDOUR files, and a bunch of other folders (like EXPORT, and more).

Just zip up the folder that contains everything.