automation

how does it really work??

hi,
im currently trying to automate pan and volume on aux and audio tracks. but i dont understand how the automation in ntrack really works.
no matter how the fader oder pan-fader is set, the automation curve is always “in the middle” why? in protools the automation curve “stears” the faders. not in ntrack. thats not so usefull. any suggestions??

I’m not totally sure I understand your dilema, but I can assure you that it does work. Your confusion may come from the fact that you can operate the automation in two ways…

1. Program the fader movements in real time as the song plays. n-Track remembers the fader movements and plays them back with the song

2. Draw the required volume/pan/etc evolutions using the function provided.

In fact, method #1 is really just a way of getting #2. It amounts to the same evolution curve being drawn.

To get the faders to move or record you need to enable that facility. There are two small icons on the toolbar (on mine they are to the right of the “meter” time signature box). One is a triangle and one is a circle. If you play with these you can use technique #1.

HOWEVER, many of us find that drawing the volume evolutions is quicker and much more accurate so I suggest you start with that method first. Another good thing about this method is that the faders don’t move to confuse matters, and a simple raising or lowering the tracks general level still works in conjunction with the evolution.

Well… I think that is what you were asking about. If not, please ask again, and if you need more detail on any of this, again just ask and we’ll fill in the gaps.

HTH


Mark

Forgot… the manual has quite a good section on this. It may be a little out of date but the principles are the same.

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Another good thing about this method is that the faders don’t move to confuse matters, and a simple raising or lowering the tracks general level still works in conjunction with the evolution.

i think thas my problem! for volume, thats quite nice, but for pan i really hate it. if i have a track in the mixer panned full right and want it to the middle the automationcurve is already there! so where is the middle???? thats not logical. an option to control the faders with the automation curves woud be perfect…

That’s something I’ve been disliking for quite some time. If you have a track panned left, when you bring up the curves it should already show this (ie, the envelope is higher or lower already).

I think the volume should do the same thing too, If I have a +5 on a fader, the envelope should be higher anyway, not in the middle. As it currently stands, you have to work relative to your fader settings.

Initially I though the pan envelope behaviour stupid too.

However, nowadays if I’m planning to make tracks wander around the speakers, I keep the pan pot in the middle and draw the envelopes as I please.

i still would like to automate the faders with curves. i want to make a setup for most parts of the song with the mixer and just for FX or SOLOS i want to change something with automation. not the ohter way round…

The visible faders/panners in the mixer are additions to what the curves do, not a representation of the underlying curves. Think of them as two separate things. That’s actually more powerful and a nice feature. Having the slider monitor the underlying curves would make things more difficult.

Look at it this way – what if you have your volumes all drawn out for a track, up and down a few db throughout the length of the track. But you decide the whole track needs to be a little louder because some EQ change made it not cut quite as well? It’s a whole lot easier to move the slider up a little in the mixer than to go back and reedit the points on the volume curve.

…or am I missing understanding the complaints about the way the curves and sliders work? :)

I agree with phoo for volume envelopes, treat the track fader as a master volume for the curve.
When it comes to pan envelopes, though, like Willy said, if the track is not panned center, the initial curve you see should reflect the panned position. Then you could make your adjustments relative to that line.
Am I talking out my ar$e here? I haven’t exactly spent night after sleepless night really thinking this through…

No, not ar$e talking there. The volume evolution make sense to me - I see it as an additional volume “control” to the mixer slider that works in series after the main volume.

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Look at it this way – what if you have your volumes all drawn out for a track, up and down a few db throughout the length of the track. But you decide the whole track needs to be a little louder because some EQ change made it not cut quite as well? It’s a whole lot easier to move the slider up a little in the mixer than to go back and reedit the points on the volume curve.


Yeah, that’s fine - but why shouldn’t the envelope reflect your increase in overall db?

maybe an option to switch between “master fader autotmation” and “automation for faders” volume or pan would be great! flavio?

I do like the idea of the volume fader as a Master for the individual track. This way you’re not fighting yourself when you raise or lower the fader, as the envelope is trying to do it’s job: The fader won’t snap back to whatever the envelope ‘says’ after you let it go!

Far as Pans, well, it’s the same as the Volumes: Curves are relative to zero. Sensible enough, a Master Pan.

A simple way to address all this might be to offer a button for incorporating the Pan and Vol. faders into the automation process, like jotb mentions. This would be handy if you use a control surface, and wish to record your fader moves to the software UI.

I think.

I am still confused about how to use faders to automate in the newer versions.

In the manual it says hit the R button on the mixing window, but see no such button.

Advice?

Quote (holdenthefuries @ April 18 2006,22:36)
I am still confused about how to use faders to automate in the newer versions.

In the manual it says hit the R button on the mixing window, but see no such button.

Advice?

The buttons have been moved up near the Time window on the Transport toolbar. Hover your rat pointer over 'em to see which is which...

D

Sorry to be a bother, but I still can’t seem to pinpoint these supposed buttons.

Here is a link to a page with a picture of my current toolbar setup. Any feedback would be much appreciated… I tried looking through customization and still couldn’t find anything going for me.



Screenshot

The only thing I see with a circle and triangle are the Output and Input VUs.

Didn’t we do this in the first few posts of this topic?

Oh wait, I see now I’ve looked at your pic. The two icons are on the Transport Toolbar to the right of the black “meter” box… except on your screenshot the Transport Toolbar is docked and it seems that your screen resolution is set too low for n-Track to have enough room to display the icons.

Try undocking the Transport Toolbar (right-click, untick “part of the main toolbar”), and then try dragging the right hand side of the toolbar out to reveal the missing two icons.

I’ve just done a quick test. You’re running in 800x600 right? If I set my screen to the same res I get the same problem. I guess this is really a bug, but for serious DAW work you need to run a higher resolution just to get some decent screen real estate. You should also seriously consider not having any Internet connectivity on your DAW (I see a Gmail icon on your toolbar).

HTH



Mark

Mmmm… yep. What Mark said. You are not giving n-Track enough screen room. I’d say a minimum of 1024x768 but higher would be even better. Assuming your monitor is of a decent size.

D

While flying-faders are cool (I love to watch my Tascam DM-24 go through its little start-up dance of calibrating the fader motion with all the LEDs turned on) I do not think they are nearly as useful for mixing recordings as drawing volume envelopes on-screen. There are several issues that are not immediately obvious about using a control surface with a DAW. Some of this is because flying-faders are both input and output devices at the same time. They are for making changes yet are supposed to reflect the current gain. At a basic level this means that the software has to decide whether to continue playing back the automation or modify it, and if modification is chosen, whether to add the changes to the existing pattern or to replace that pattern. My DM-24 can record all of its control changes (except input trims) and play them back to MIDI sync, which can work well with a dedicated hard-disk or digital-tape recorder (since there is no other option unless the files are transferred to the PC). It has two modes, an additive mode where changes are combined with existing automation and a “destructive” mode where the changes replace the existing automation. The mode has to be specified prior to making the changes. The first mode is fairly straightforward, the second is more complicated since the software has to know whether you are touching a fader and whether it should still try to track the existing automation or to stop following so as not to “fight” your fader adjustments. When you remove your finger from the fader it must make some transition from the current fader position and previous automation. It is always problematic to leave these decisions to software.

In any case, I cannot move a fader fast enough to de-emphasize the beginning of a note and increase the loudness of the tail. This is a trivial excersize with volume envelopes. I also can explicitly specify all the transitions without relying on a preset fade interval between releasing the fader for an edit and a previous automation sequence. Finding the exact location to make a change is also much easier with envelopes. If I want to simulate the “additive” mode of the mixer I simply send the channel output to a group and do my slower adjustments with the group envelope.

Flying faders are actually more useful in live sound or for using the board to monitor the recordings since they show gain at a glance and a single fader can be used to implement various functions (such as channel gain, multiple aux send levels etc.) which reduces the physical size of the mixer without reducing its functionality.

In general I prefer the “series” connection used with the envelopes. The argument that pan envelopes should reflect the virtual pan-pot position has some merit but on the whole I prefer the arrangement as it is. I like to see the predominant pan position as I look at the mixer. I am not sure what we would see displayed for position if dynamic panning were used and reflected in both directions (fader motion changes the envelope and envelope changes affect fader position). If I moved the mixer slider to shift without the song playing what portions of the envelope would be affected?

I think it is “cleaner” the way it is, envelopes for dynamic shifts, knobs for static.

By far my most common use of dynamic panning is to move a solo to the center for an instrument that is normally panned to the side. All that is necessary is to shift the envelope from zero to the pan-pot’s numeric value (but with sign reversed) and put it back to zero when the solo is done. No “real” calculation required.

If I regularly tried to create moving sources I might feel difrferently but that is a rare thing.

Jim