Printing FX

Discussion in 'TASCAM DM-3200 & DM-4800' started by Peter Batah, Mar 18, 2021.

  1. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    I have com across some multi-tracks that appear to have all effects printed to separate channels / tracks. Of course the lead vocal is dry when all fx faders are turned down.

    How is this done? And, is there any benefit to doing so?

    My thinking is, that this is something that you would want to do in the event that the person receiving / auditioning the material would not have the plugins / hardware that were used.

    Thank you
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  2. skier

    skier Well-Known Member

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    Effects use a lot of resources, especially something like a good reverb. I especially like convolution reverbs and they really suck up CPU. Every time you play through the song, those resources are used to add those effects. However, if you instead “print” the audio of the source track and its effects to another track, and disable the source track, then the resources used for the printed track are just that to convert output digital to analog because all the effects from reverb, compression to EQ and other possible effects you’re using (distortion, delay, chorus, etc.) are part of the audio – it’s no different than any audio track with no effects – it’s just audio.

    The reason to keep the source track is in case you want to change/remove some of those effects. But that can also be a trap that continually sucks the mixer into a never ending cycle of tweaking and refining. I personally like to finally commit each track and be done with it. Otherwise, I’ll never finish the song. There’s a saying: “No song is ever truly finished, it’s just finally abandoned”. That is one problem with DAWs, they’re so powerful and anything can be undone that you’re tempted to continue tweaking and refining and never finishing it. With tape, you can only go so far before the audio quality or the tape permanently goes south, so you have to commit at some point.
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  3. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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    What Jerry said. Plus in the old days, we had a limited number of outboard hardware devices. Sometimes our outboard devices are multi FX processors that can only do one thing at a time. So we might do a set of tracks of chorus effect for the guitars, and reverb tracks for the vocals, etc.. That frees up the device for other things during the mix.
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  4. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    Thank you gentlemen. So, have either one of you done this when using the DM. Or, in your respective DAW's
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  5. Arjan P

    Arjan P Veteran

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    I've never done this. In my way of working, once a decision's been made, that's it. Also, with comping vocals, once I'm done I print the comped track to a single mono file and delete the individual takes. In mixdown, I use the effects in the DM, plus I have 3 external effects I use and then record the stereo mix in Wavelab. That process may be repeated, but once I'm satisfied with the mix I move on. And if I ever need to revisit the project, I still have all tracks, the Cubase project file plus the DM mixer scene. Should be enough to work from.
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  6. Felonious Punk

    Felonious Punk Member

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    Hi, Peter. I don't have a DM but I do it on the DP-24sd using the bounce function. Once I bounce it to a new track with the effects and If I am confident that I won't be making any additional changes to the track I move/paste it back to the original track using the "track edit" feature. If I think I might make changes later I keep both tracks.

    It is useful for space management on the PortaStudios.

    FP
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  7. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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    @Peter Batah I have quite a number of effects available on my console, so I generally do not print FX return tracks. But, in the old days I did that for the reasons stated above.

    These days, the limitations are not so much the number of hardware outboard FX one has, but rather the amount of processing power that is available for running plugins in the DAW. For that reason, one might want to add a plugin, make the necessary adjustments and then render the track, processed with the FX, or render the wet output of the FX to another track, so that instance of the plugin can be removed from the chain to reduce CPU load.

    I don't think you'll have much of a problem with your new beast computer.
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  8. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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    @Felonious Punk one technique you could benefit from is putting storage tracks on virtual tracks so they can be brought back into the project at any time, rather than erasing them.
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  9. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    Thank you @Arjan P @Felonious Punk

    Perhaps, I can see the process being useful in a collaborative setting. You send me a handful of vocal tracks for example where you have used outboard, internal, or plugin effects that I do not possess. I can choose to use the effects that you have provided or apply my own.

    It might not work for everyone but I can see where it could be advantageous!
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  10. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    Thanks MJ. Storage tracks on virtual tracks? Now you really have me scratching my head. Lots to learn I'm afraid. All I am doing at the moment is questioning the Why's and How's of certain elements of multi-track projects that I am using in my learning process. If that makes any sense!

    In one particular case I noticed that the lead vocal was dry and the way to apply effects to that dry signal was to bring up several effect tracks that were specific to that vocal (obvious from the way those fx tracks were labeled)

    But, I did not have to do any routing of that lead vocal to fx (via routing / send etc.) like we could normally do via inserts / sends etc. I suppose that what I am eluding to can be done with or without the DM.

    This is what got me thinking.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
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  11. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    When you say "with comping vocals, once I'm done I print the comped track to a single mono file and delete the individual takes. "

    I imagine that you do this mostly with a lead vocal for example. As you may want to have background vocals panned L/R for example. Then you would comp to a stereo tracks I suppose.
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  12. Felonious Punk

    Felonious Punk Member

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    Thanks for the tip, mjk! I haven't ventured into virtual tracks at all yet. I'll give it a go next time!

    FP
  13. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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    @Peter Batah that was a DP machine tip for @Felonious Punk. Sorry but he mentioned something regarding this thread but using a DP-24SD.
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  14. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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  15. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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    @Peter Batah said:

    It makes perfect sense. If you listen to the multitracks of many famous songs, you can get an idea of what producers of the past did. In most cases you can bring up the tracks and do a "yardstick mix" where all the tracks are of equal gain and it basically mixes itself because the producer pre-mixed and added the FX s/he wanted as they went along. I always used to do background vocal submixes with the FX chain that I had developed over the years specifically for BG VOX. During the mix, I just brought up the stereo pair. I often did that with guitars and other things too.
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  16. Arjan P

    Arjan P Veteran

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    No, in my projects, if the source is mono (one voice) it remains mono in Cubase, also with backing vocals. I mix on the DM, so that's where it all comes together - including send type effects - and where panning takes place. Only synths and virtual instruments in Cubase are stereo tracks.

    With real doubled vocals though (say, John Lennon style, panned the same), I might send them both within Cubase to the same input channel on the IFFW interface so they are one channel on the desk. Then in cubase I might treat them both with different EQ and compression - and set their mutual level. BTW, I generally use EQ, compression and other insert effects (mono delay for instance) within Cubase anyway..
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  17. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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    @Arjan P that is exactly what I do. I mix on the desk but take advantage of routing in the DAW so there could be multiple mono tracks assigned to a single channel in the desk, with the relative levels set in the DAW.
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  18. Felonious Punk

    Felonious Punk Member

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    Cool stuff guys! Thanks.

    FP
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  19. skier

    skier Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. I've tried mixing on the DM, and the sound is good; but I find that I prefer to mix in Pro Tools because I really like that I can save everything, fader levels, panning, every effects with their levels and settings, etc. Then it's instantaneous to call up everything right where I left off, even if it's several years later. I find the sound in my DAW to be equally as good. And with the remote layer, I stall am able to use the faders, panning knobs, Sole and Mute buttons, etc., just as if I was mixing on the DM. It's great that, these days, we can use whatever works well for us and even change back and forth if we prefer. Though, I've never had any system that allows me to route sound as flexibly as the DM allows. It even allows us to convert to other protocols. It's a hard system to beat and I will be saddened if it dies and I'm forced to go to another system.
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  20. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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    I thought the DM had it's own automation system, with recall?
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