I’m relatively new to recording and am trying to learn more about this program. I do search before asking, but…
With “live input” checked, are the effects recorded, saving me resources later, or just used in monitoring?
If have the box checked, but no effect running, is this the same as the “live input” unchecked?
Thanks in advance
They’re just used in monitoring, which is what you want. In general, the “lazy rule” applies – don’t do today what you could do tomorrow. Or, a better version is the “guy” rule: don’t commit yourself because you might change your mind.
My suggestion is that if you’re new to recording, postpone LIVE mode for later. To use it properly, you have to set up your system for low latency. (For many folks, just picking the ASIO driver is good enough, and that’s worth a try.) Furthermore, unless you’re doing something like playing a guitar direct and using guitar amp/cabinet modeling software, it shouldn’t be necessary to hear effects while recording.
The reason you don’t want to commit effects early is that effects should be adjusted while listening to the whole mix, not to just the one track. It’s the sound in the mix that matters.
The reason you don’t NEED to commit effects early is that first, even with a relatively slow computer you should be able to use a fair amount of effects without pushing your CPU. I mixed songs with 8 or 10 tracks and effects like OB-Tune, compression, and reverb (OB-Tune being a fair CPU hog) on a 700 MHz P3 system. I had FX on most tracks.
The other reason is that you can always “freeze” a track, which gives you the best of both worlds. This causes n-Track to create a temp file with the effects mixed in, and you use that rather than the original, saving CPU time. But the original is still there so you can change your mind and re-adjust the FX. (Freeze is a Version 4 feature, but you can do the same thing manually if you’re using V3. I do that frequently for MIDI VSTi tracks.)
If you use LIVE mode without any effects, the only difference is that the signal is going through the computer & software, and this causes a delay called “latency”. As long as this delay is very small, it’s no issue, but it’s not that way by default. And there’s no benefit to doing this (using LIVE without any effects).
It’s better to set up your soundcard to monitor the signal direct. If you’re using a built-in soundcard, you can control that from n-Track’s menu: “View -> Soundcard’s mixer -> Playback Controls” and adjust “Line Input”. (To adjust the record level, go to “View -> Soundcard’s mixer -> Recording controls”.)
I assume you’re not using the mike input on your computer. It’s usually not good enough for the job. I’m no purist, I’ve recorded lots of tracks using a laptop’s built-in soundcard’s line inputs. But the mike inputs really aren’t up to the job. If it’s all you have, go ahead and use it while investigating a better option.
Thank you so much for such a complete response!
On my desktop I’ve been using a mixer->line in.
I just purchased and installed an Echo Indigo IO for my laptop and will probably have questions about it, also (optimal configuration).
I will uncheck the Live Input choice
Maybe, one day, I’ll be answering questions as well as asking them.