Settings, probelms, recording, effects,
I think I bought n-track about a year and a half ago and I was clueless - no idea how to do anything, all sorts of errors popping up, clicks and pops on my tracks, etc.
So I searched for past posts that would help me. I ended up creating 5 different word.doc files with various tips, info, etc.
Here is a repost/copy-paste of one of the posts that I downloaded, read, and thought was EXTREMELY insightful! My apologies to the OP, but I think the OP mentioned that he was resposting someone’s else’s post.
It ‘s very, VERY lengthy. I am going to upload the word.docs into my yahoo group - join the group if you want to check them out
or ask me and I will email them to you.
Here you go:
"OK, I’ll record a scratch rhythm track. Then further down the timeline (say 2’nd verse) start recording another instrument.(not using punch-in), just recording another track. I can’t get the metronome to work unless I start the recording at the beginning.(grid on - grid off) doesn’t matter.
The workaround is just record 5 min of drum machine or metronome, but maybe I’m missing something silly.
I noticed that bug where the metronome no longer works unless you start at the beginning. Don’t know when that creeped in, but wasn’t always that way. We should file a bug report with Flavio on that. (You should and so should I.)
I usually create a click track by recording the click as a wave file. On some systems, there are sync problems between wave and midi, and this can be minimized by simply recording 16 or 32 bars worth of click, and pasting that same file in repeatedly on the same track to create the full length click track. Also, I often put the divisions at verse boundaries, to make it easier to see where I am in a song. (I find the markers to be very annoying due to the dang popup that always gets in the way of what I want to see.)
I use an external synth to generate the sound (via MIDI) and record it through my soundcard. But you can also use an internal synth, if you have one. If all you have is the MS Wavetable software synth, you can use that, but be sure to zoom in and adjust the beginning to line up with the grid.
Finally, I always discard the first measure of click, because the first beat is always a bit late. I just delete that part of the wave file and use the rest. (So, I really record 17 measures to get 16 measures of click.)
8th note, there’s a disadvantage to your technique, but only if you want to use the grid, or collaborate with other musicians by sending wave files (or compressed wave files) around. Your MIDI clock won’t be synchronized with the clock on your soundcard, and as a result, your tempo will end up not being an even tempo. For example, if you record a click at 120 BPM, the recording will end up being more like 120.07 or 119.2 BPM, which is a bit of a pain to adjust to (though it’s doable).
You can avoid this problem using the metronome and MIDI out to a MIDI synth, if you have one. If you don’t, you can still use the MS wavetable synth as mentioned above. But if you don’t collaborate or use the grid, then your method is fine. (However the grid is extremely useful, especially when properly aligned.)
When I’m going to collaborate with someone, I’m always happy when I see that they’ve used their soundcard as the timing source for the click, rather than an unsynchronized clock source. This makes it a lot easier for me to set up a grid for MIDI editing, or to rearrange the parts if needed for arrangement changes like adding a verse or bridge.
It’s an additional step to record a click, but in the long run, it’s much handier…having that click as a visible WAV that you can zoom into really comes in handy.
You might consider making your click eighth or even sixteenth notes. This is especially helpful on slower songs.
192khz is a very high sample rate. This sample rate also eats up a TON of harddrive space. I see your harddrive is 200 GB. That is good, but does this harddrive have that much room? s this computer used for only recording or is it a computer used for everything you do? Depending on the harddrive’s statistics (rpm, seek time, ata rating, etc…) you may or may not want to invest in a large, fast harddrive specifically for the audio you will be working with.
Soundcards will have typically have the smallest latency (time between input, processing, and output) with ASIO drivers but I’m not sure if yours has those or not. you may need to just use it’s E-WDM drivers or whatever those are.
Your computer processor is very fast, it should be able to handle many effects plugins and midi sounds at one time without too much strain. You mention switching to v4? while normally that’s a good idea, v4 is still suffering from a few glitches, one in particular is trouble with P4 processor Hyperthreading. You’re better off with v3 for now.
Your gig or Ram should definitely help any load you get from effects and midi as well.
As far as your music goes-what style is it? is it guitar driven? I assume not since you don’t seem to have any guitar equipment listed. If it IS guitar driven, you may want to invest in a modeling device, either plugin or like Line6. The PodXT series is quite good, and inexpensive these days.
On to N-track.
To do basic recording, you need to configure N-track with your computer.
Go to File-Settings-Preferences-
Under sampling, choose the sampling rate you wish to use. while your card allows 192 khz, most people don’t use that high of a rate yet, but have at it.
click on Audio devices-
down at the bottom click advanced
show whatever drivers you wish to show. I usually just show my asio drivers, doesn’t hurt anything to list them all though.
just leave compensation at 0 for now. you probably won’t need it-it’s for cards that can’t hold a steady clock between recording/playback
select how many channels you wish to display. your options will be either 4 or 6 inputs(since your digital inputs steal your analog) and 8 outpus I believe.
keep audio device open should be UNCHECKED if you wish to use other audio programs with N-track (though your drivers seem to be able to work around this problem anyway)
now select all the inputs and all the outputs for one driver type. Use Ctrl right click to select multiple listings.
Now under buffering-you’ll find many settings. choose a low buffering-you’re computer should be able to handle pretty low buffering unless the high sample rate counteracts your speed. With ASIO your buffering setting here do NOTHING. with your E-WDM drivers, I would imagine this will work.
click high priority
leave dsp priority at 3
you may want to generate peak files-it’ll allow the playback to use a temp wav file that’s faster than standard waves.
you’ll want to allow automated pans…
in the mixing stage, you’ll want to read the muted tracks. for recording you don’t really want to.
restart a last position is up to you-if unchecked, each time you hit play it will jump to the beginning.
ask for names-personal preference
ask for ready-I like this-allows you to hit enter and record-gives you time to get ready.
check ask to delete wav files-if you don’t, and accidentally hit delete, you may lose a file permanently.
playback anticipates output-not that useful-maybe for mixing with material with heavy transients
stop playback at end of song-if you’re using midi, I don’t suggest this-is will stop it immediately at the end of your last note or wav-and cut off any reverb or effects that trail beyond the end-you can check it but turn it back off on when you mixdown.
I’d suggest you use your soundcard for playback/recording timer-not your computer.
aux busses-choose a couple-you can always add more if you need them.
I don’t multithread directx plugins-I’ve never noticed a difference- except in v4 directx plugins crash n with it on.
Yes to compensate plugin latency(if during playback a plugin takes a long time to process, n will delay all the other tracks until they are all in sync)
I don’t reload last song
snap to zero settings (this is for editing wavs-if you turn on snap to zero- each time you select a wav-it’ll snap to a zero crossing-so if you cut it and paste it next to another wav, you WON’T get a pop or snap from the two different wav forms) I’d recommend a negative or positive slope for now but not “any”. if you are cutting and pasting a lot- you can set it for only positive or negative slope-so if you cut the end of one wav on a negative slope you’d want the wav after it to be a negative slope too so the wav form is a smooth downward slope, not a “v” shape (negative then positive)
in the mixing section-you can check the automatically decrease volume or not- if it’s on, each new track will cause all the tracks to lower in volume a little bit-otherwise the track volume builds up into clipping.(two clips with identical volume played together will have around 3 db MORE volume than each individual clip) you can compensate for the decreased volume prior to mixdown by raising the master volume knob in the mixer panel. or you can leave it uncheck and any time you start to clip-either lower each track, or the master volume.
Use Dither-If you’re using 24 bit playback, you probably don’t need to check this- if you wanted to listen to it at 16 bits, or output it at 16 bits to something, you might want to use it.
Under appearance-the first 3 options are just personal preference-I’ve yet to notice what flat scroll bars or 3d time axis actually do though-shaded vu meters are just pretty. if you find your system starting to bog down, you can turn off some of the “pretty” stuff to save processing.
keep the vu meter passive-it’ll save processing
fast time window refresh-not sure what it does
check the save backup feature- for when you’re in the throws of passion and forget to do it yourself(it’s a good habit to hit save very frequently though- just keep your fingers on ctrl+s and push them every couple of things you do._
I like to use different colors for each track-it helps me identify which tracks are what visually.
choose your date/time format-this will effect how your time box and timeline is displayed-for example-under fps-it’s frames per second-so 1 minute 20 seconds and 17 frames could be a time.
split the mixer- if you have a wide monitor, you may not have to-but otherwise I’d split it-you may want to invest in a dual monitor setup-you can then see the timeline in one monitor, and the mixer in the other
keep the undo setting reasonably high-too high will take up memory.
volume ranges are referencing the wave form drawing on the screen-the highest point would be (on mine) +10 db, the middle is +/- 0 db, and the bottom is -30 db of the ORIGINAL recorded volume. so the middle is how loud it actually is-this is used for volume envelope drawing-you can use envelopes to raise or lower the volume of parts of a track-it’s like recording the mixer fader movements.
next to midi
I’m not too useful in midi so maybe someone else can chime in on proper midi settings.
these are self explanatory really-locate your programs/effects folder/temp folder and click ok
ok. now that that monster is done…
now you should see a recording vu meter, and a playback vu meter on your screen. if you do not-click on the icons above the BPM /meter inputs-they’ll look like vu meters placed horizontally with a triangle and a red circle on them
if you cannot see the whole recording or playback meters, move your mouse to the edge between the timeline and the meter-it should change to a double bar with arrows. click and drag.
you’ll now see three icons on the end of the recording meters and two on the playback. click the hammer on the playback. here you can choose which bit depth to use, which inputs/outputs to show, and if you’re using ASIO, this is also where you’ll set your buffering. In select input output channels-check each stereo pair you with to use for now. if you’re only recording one thing at time, you can just select one, and I usually only select on output pair (unless you wish to make a monitor mix for a band or something) From what I read, your soundcard supports you being able to for example-send midi to a sequencing program-and send that programs output to one of your soundcards inputs-here would be an example of when you may wish to record multiple inputs- like singing and recording the sequenced sound all at once.
on the recording vu meters, you should now see 2 meters for each stereo pair you enabled. at the end of the meter is three icons. the first arms the meter for monitoring (you can see the meters move when a signal is present)-this is the same as the first icon on the playback meters as well. The second icon is for turning on the individual input of the stereo pair. click on the red button-you’ll see right/left/disable/enable. here you can send the input on the right/left channel to any track listed on it-if there are tracks already present in your timeline, they’ll appear here too, if there are no tracks, you’ll see record to a new track or don’t record. the disable/enable turns on/off the stereo pair.
the hammer button-here you can make the to be recorded track a stereo wav, or two mono wavs, you can force 16 bit recording (the waveforms will look clipped but they’ll sound fine unless you use live input processing) you can access your soundcard settings in asio, you can enable live input processing(for hearing effects on your signal (your voice for example) in real time-like an effecs processor), you can select your input/output channel again, and with ASIO drivers, you’ll see two fader’s. these can be used to listen to the input of your soundcard like you usually can with the soundcard’s mixer. they’re not used very often since most cards can already do this. click ok
on the vu meters themselves you should see numbers-if you have them wide enough-right click and you’ll have some options-you can reset the meters (if they clip a red square will appear at the top and stay there) you can adjust the range of signal shown on the meter. from -15 db to -90 db. You can have N-track hold the meter a bit on the peaks or the valleys or both. you can also turn on smooth decay (it slows the peaks decay so it’s not jumpy) this is usefull for being able to see transients a little easier. you can turn the number display on/off. you can change the orientation (upright/sideways). you can turn on show description-shows which input pair is connected to the vu meter. title bar displays the “recording vu meter.” the dynamics adjusts the vu meters speed at reacting to the signal. the last option-turn on/off is connected to the first little circle at the end-off is gray-on is green.
so now you’ve got most everything setup. let’s close the program and reopen it-the reason being if for some reason you crash n-track after adjusting your settings, you’ll have to reopen it and do it again. closing the program and reopening it save the configuration so it’ll stay that way until you change something again.
click on the recording vu meter’s red circle-choose the appropriate option-in this case-record to new track.
N-track is now armed. if you press record, any track that is armed will record a wave file. whether or not there is signal present. For example-if “enable live input processing” is turned on for a stereo pair-and you use the LIVE button-I believe in v3-you will get two waveforms even if those tracks weren’t armed-because the live input was turned on, they were considered armed. v4 seems to have fixed this.
so to record only two tracks from your four. you’ll need to:
unselect the second stereo pair in the “select input/ouput channels” or
disarm the unwanted input with the red circle,
or if you’re using LIVE input processing
turn off Live input processing on the second pair and disarm the tracks with the red circle.
Alternatively, you can right click on the timeline and you’ll see-add blank audio/midi track.
you can add a blank track, then use either the recording vu meter to arm it, or on the left side of the track you’ll see a grey/red circle as well, click on this and choose an input-it’s now armed. (the first icon is a speaker-mute/unmute, the second is the solo button (click it and only tracks with that button pressed will be audible), and the last is the recording button. the track vu meters have the same options as the other vu meters.
so now you have some tracks armed, and you’re ready to record-just click the record button on the transport bar (stop,play,record…) and press the stop button when you’re finished. Under Action at the very top-you’ll see some shortcuts to play stop record etc without using your mouse.
so let’s say we’ve recorded a track and we want to add two effects-reverb and chorus. we can do this a couple of ways. first, you can right click on the new track and you’ll see “effects” it’ll bring up a list or window and you can add some there. OR
open your mixer- (little mixer icon next to the vu meters icons near the top of the screen)you’ll now see your mixer-master vu meters at the top left-master volume knob, two little grey circles next to it(these turn the output from stereo to mono and back) the black box is the effects list.-the view button has some options for the mixer display-and p and r are for playing and recording fader movements(for example, if I want to fade out a track, I press the r, and it records me pulling the fader down.-that track will now fade each time I play it)you can do this with volume envelopes as well-which I recommend) next to these are some sliders with knobs under them. the sliders are Auxillary returns, and the knobs are pans pots. next to those are the auxillary effects lists.
Under all this is your track/tracks. the button at the top of the track opens some option-you can name the track, you can add some comments, you can expand to stereo (for mono tracks that you wish to use a stereo plugin on) you can ouput to any stereo pair, or a group (a group is sort of like a bus on a mixer-you can send say all the drums to group1, and if you need to lower the drum volume, simply lower group1 volume instead of each drum-effects can be applied in this manner too-want the same delay applied to all the guitars-setup a group channel and put a delay in it. that way you don’t have 4 delay effects going when you only need one.) You can again select the recording input channel, you can change the track color, you can change the file name-and start point of the wav, you can open up the track effects list, you can delete the track, or you can move the track up or down in the timeline (say you want the snare to be right below the bass drum track but it’s at the bottom, move it up until it’s where you want it.)
outside of the tracks properties you’ll see a fader, and a vu meter (the meter has option like all the vu meters) below that is a pan slider, below that is a small grey triangle followed by a 3 band eq. clicking the triangle or double clicking the eq brings up the track eq properties. here you can add/save/delete presets, invert the phase, adjust eq types, add/subtract bands of eq (I think you can have up to twenty bands) and adjust each band. the graph below shows your adjustments-it has option too. you can change the scaling type and size-you can show a real time spectrum analyzer and you can adjust it’s settings. there’s also a built in tuner for your guitar.
outside of the eq properties and on the track in the mixer, next you’ll see the effects list follwed by the auxillary sends/pans.
now back to adding effects-chorus and reverb.
chorus is best used as an insert-meaning you send the full signal to the chorus-so it belongs in the effects list. double click on the black box and a list of all the effects you have will pop up-chose the chorus, and it’ll then bring up the chorus’ options-play with those to your liking. Now your track has chorus on it but no reverb.
reverb is best run parallel to the wav-so instead of putting it into the effects list (which you can do-as most reverb plugins have a wet/dry ratio, but if you wish to apply the same reverb to multiple tracks, the auxillaries work best.) so we’ll put the reverb we want into auxillary one’s effects list and turn the wet dry ratio to 100% wet. next we’ll turn the auxillary one’s return slider up to 0db (next to the master volume knob). now anything we send to aux 1 will be heard. next go to the aux 1 send slider/pan on the track you wish to add reverb. push the slider up to a level where you hear the reverb to your liking. the send pan knob allows you to pan the send as well-say your guitar is panned hard left, you don’t necessarily want the reverb to sound like it’s coming from the middle when the guitar is all the way left, so you pan the send hard left and now the reverb is only coming from the left. but since you did this on the send, you’re affecting the return’s panning and you can also pan the hard right guitar to the right and it’ll come from the right in the reverb. if you pan the RETURN (next to the master slider) ALL reverb from that auxillary will come from the panned position-regardless of where you panned the sends.
you’ve setup n-track (some changes in the preferences may be required with your sound card)
you’ve armed some tracks
you’ve recording some tracks
and you’ve got a track with chorus and reverb on it.
Now, you don’t have to wait until the track is made to add effects. right click on the timeline-add a blank audio track. add some effects by right clicking on the track-effects, or using the mixer method, add your effects and it’s ready.
Now you can use that track and hear what it’ll sound like with effects on it WHILE you record.
arm your track for recording-add any effects you wish to here including auxillaries.
make sure “live input processing” is enabled in the recording vu meter properties.
Click the LIVE button above the timeline.
If your soundcard buffering is set too low, you’ll get pops, clicks and n-track will not respond.
If your soundcard buffering is set too high, you’ll hear a noticeable delay between your input and the output.
If your soundcard buffering is set just right, you’ll hear your input (voice for example) with chorus and reverb as you sing without a noticeable delay (or at least a non-distracting delay-you may have a hard time with this at 192 khz-also, some plugins may not support that sample rate at all)
you can use live input processing with midi in the same manner.
now-the effects are not APPLIED during recording-you can remove them or adjust them to your will.
now we’ve got some track and some effects and you’ve adjust your eq’s on the tracks how you like them and panned them however you want.
let’s play with some envelopes.
at the top/middle of your screen you’ll see some icons that resemble a cross and to the left you’ll see a lopsided triangle icon. clicking on the little button to the right of the triangle will bring up some options. volume, pan, and axillary send envelopes.
choose the volume envelope.
a green line will show up in the middle of your tracks. in the middle-your track is set to whatever volume you set it at with the mixer faders. if you click on the track-a “node” will appear, clicking and draggin will allow you to raise or lower the volume of the track. clicking another node allows you to make sections of the track that are louder/quieter. this is useful for fading in/out, muting parts of a track, raising the volume of a chorus, etc… (if the “allow automated volume/pan” option in the preferences is UNCHECKED, these envelopes will not do anything.)
by choosing the pan option instead of the volume envelopes, you can pan a signal independent of the panning on the mixer-so if you want the track to move from the left to the right. you’d make a node at the top of the track, and then make another node at the bottom later in the track. the sound will now move from the left to the right.
the auxillary send envelopes are handy too- you can apply chorus to one part of the track by placing nodes at the very bottom of the track for anything you do NOT want with chorus- and then raising the areas of the envelope for parts you want with chorus. this works WITH the auxillary sends you set up. so middle height is the same volume as the send you had set in the mixer, lower is less, and higher is more send volume. the auxillary pan works the same way.
something to note about the auxillary sends in the mixer-right above the pan slider is a button. clicking on that button gives you some options- pre inserts pre fader-means that the send occurs before the fader adjustment of the track AND before the effects-so the reverb we set up earlier would NOT be getting the chorused signal we set up, it would be dry. the main signal would still have chorus, but the reverb would not. post inserts pre fader means the chorus would be in the reverb, but the fader adjustments would not. (in this case, if you mute the sound of a track with envelopes, the sound going to the auxillary send is NOT muted because it’s send is PRE fader) the last is post everything, the auxillary will be sent the signal with volume changes AND effects changes.
similarly, the auxillary returns have similar options too (next to the master volume knob)
the first would add the auxillary returns before the master channels effects/volume, and the rest would be self explanatory."
Thanks for your thoughtfullness, Kernix.