Mastering a project with N

best approach without powerful PC?

I have an 1.8 Athlon, 512Mb ram, Win XP, N track 3.3

I like to mix and master separately ie I do not simply add stuff to the master channel of a song, I mixdown then open a new project and import the mix to master.

I have just finished mixing ten tunes for a CD and I imported the mixdowns into a new n track project with a view to doing the mastering there. I though it would be good this way in order to flick back and for between the tunes to compare levels etc.

Anyhow, its obvious that my system cannot cope with an N track project that has ten stereo wav tracks in it, each with a few mastering plugs. I think I got about as far as three tracks with plugs before it started to stutter and fall over.

Of course I could simply master each track individually in its own N track project, but that means I would lose the ability to compare things (quickly at least…)

Any ideas?

hmmm… when i do my own home mastering I put the master effects n the master channel.

I will then import different 32bit premaster mixdowns of the song into the project and solo each one to see which I like best.

Or in other instances. do a master, listen in the car or somewhere and realise I need to remix, remix, impor the remix into the sng file of the master and compare the old and new mix.

Usually the compression and eq(if any) that I apply is the same…


But for differnt songs… maybe it needs to be different…

Rich

What plug ins are you using? They must really be hogs if your computer is not up to it. Anyway, you have done the obvious - adjusting buffers?

Yeah, my secondard DAW is an 1800+ and it can process quite a bit with no problems. Are you sure it sia CPU and not buffer thing as TomS asked?

Remember that the primary downside of long playback buffers doing mixing is lag between control changes and the effects of those changes. If you make adjustments gradually it will work fine and may solve some of your other issues.

Jim

Mutley, your setup sounds very much like my old DAW and I could go way up in the 30ies @ 16 bits without problems.
Are you doing heavy reverbs as inserts?

Quote (Bubbagump @ May 17 2006,12:28)
Yeah, my secondard DAW is an 1800+ and it can process quite a bit with no problems. Are you sure it sia CPU and not buffer thing as TomS asked?

Hmm.. I have just done a reformat/reinstall, so N track is on default buffer settings and I am using wdm drivers.

Just to clarify, my mastering project consist of 10 stereo wav files, each with about 3 plugs as inserts. They are all Waves plugs and usually this: multiband compressor>parametric EQ>Limiter.

No reverbs as inserts, nothing set up on aux channels.

I'll wack up the buffers, ceheck the CPU usage and report back, it certainly would be nice to do all the mastering this way, helps my workflow.

Thanks for your suggestions folks.

With what you described, I would be very surprised if the CPU was maxing out. My first stop would be buffers.

Quote (Mutley @ May 18 2006,09:20)
Quote (Bubbagump @ May 17 2006,12:28)
Yeah, my secondard DAW is an 1800+ and it can process quite a bit with no problems. Are you sure it sia CPU and not buffer thing as TomS asked?

Hmm.. I have just done a reformat/reinstall, so N track is on default buffer settings and I am using wdm drivers.

Just to clarify, my mastering project consist of 10 stereo wav files, each with about 3 plugs as inserts. They are all Waves plugs and usually this: multiband compressor>parametric EQ>Limiter.

No reverbs as inserts, nothing set up on aux channels.

I'll wack up the buffers, ceheck the CPU usage and report back, it certainly would be nice to do all the mastering this way, helps my workflow.

Thanks for your suggestions folks.

So you have the ten tracks from the CD loaded and you mute/unmute tracks as you are working on one at a time? If so it might help if you go to Preferences > Options and UNCHECK "Read data from tracks even if muted".

Worth a try anyhow...

D

I’ve only ever had unpredictable results with that Diogenes, but I think I messed with it back on v2.3 and never bothered again.

Sounds like your VST mastering tools are CPU hogs. But, if you are truely ‘mastering’, you should only have 1 stereo track in your project. Otherwise you are in the ‘mixing’ stage.

What VSTs are you using on each track?

Quote (Katau @ May 19 2006,10:19)
Sounds like your VST mastering tools are CPU hogs. But, if you are truely ‘mastering’, you should only have 1 stereo track in your project. Otherwise you are in the ‘mixing’ stage.

He’s using the Waves plugs.

However, I don’t agree on one track. Each tune will have a slightly different need and putting them all in one track is just forcing everything into the same mold. You need to master things inividually with an eye on the whole picture, so his method is exactly what I would use.

Mutley, here’s a dumb and obvious question… where is the CPU meter at while you are doing this? That should be the first thing to check. If the CPU meter is not in the red, then you know it is NOT a CPU issue. INstead of us all guessing, let’s use the tools available to us. :;):

I was assumming that each tune would be a single stereo track. Each then set in it’s own project. Given that, if you send you music to a mastering house, you are probably going to send a single stereo track for each tune, and not all of the tracks that make-up that tune.

So, if I’m reading this correctly, you have 10 tracks, that consist of 10 tunes in a single project. If this is true, then make sure that you set the “Read data from tracks even if muted” option off in the Preferences | Options screen.

In V3, if I unchecked ‘read data from muted tracks’, all kinds of crazy stuff started happening, just like Willy’s V2. I never used V3.3, though…

I used to use it (don’t read data from muted track), I’m using 3.3, and it hasn’t been a problem. Like bg said, what’s the CPU meter at?

ALso you can check in your plugin screen, to see how much CPU each plug is taking up. Maybe one is way huge over another, then maybe you can re-tweak them.

Quote (Bubbagump @ May 19 2006,10:48)
However, I don’t agree on one track. Each tune will have a slightly different need and putting them all in one track is just forcing everything into the same mold. You need to master things inividually with an eye on the whole picture, so his method is exactly what I would use.

Mutley, here’s a dumb and obvious question… where is the CPU meter at while you are doing this?

Yes, I am mastering using this method precisely for the reason you give Bubbagump. I could not possibly lump everything into one track, my CD consists of solo guitar tracks, tracks with full latin percussion section etc - very different.

For those that suggested the untick read data option, as others have pointed out, if you untick read data from muted tracks, you get serious stability issues unless you are lucky. This has been a known bug in N from some time and I always leave it alone due to previous problems.

To get back to your question, B, It is difficult to get a CPU reading because everything comes to a stuttering halt as soon as I press play - before the CPU reading has time to actually register whats happening. As for buffers, I did see a slight performance improvement as I increased buffers - If I turn buffering right up, I can get a track to play back in equally spaced pulses ie it sounds like one of those old tremolo effects they used to build into amps. As I lower the buffering, playback deteriorates further and if I have it on N tracks default everything is brought to a stuttering halt as already described.

Tried tweaking my soundcards buffers as well (up and down) but this had no effect.

Tried ASIO drivers, wouldn’t work at all.

Unless anyone can suggest othwerwise I guess I need to load one track in at a time with all its plugs, check the CPU on playback, add another track etc and see where it gets me.

PS this is the same PC I recorded the album on - each project/tune typically consisted of a dozen or so tracks, several Waves plugs used etc, so this is mystifying me a bit.

So Mutley, what happens if you freeze all of the muted tracks while you are mastering one? Maybe some of the plugins are consuming CPU cycles even when a signal isn’t being passed to them.

Quote (tspringer @ May 23 2006,07:00)
So Mutley, what happens if you freeze all of the muted tracks while you are mastering one? Maybe some of the plugins are consuming CPU cycles even when a signal isn't being passed to them.

Can you freeze tracks in N 3.3? If so, let me know how this is done.

Its been a while since I used 3.3, so I can’t remember whether freeze was available then…

But if you don’t know about the freeze function, then it probably isn’t there. Bummer.

T