Share DP-24/32(SD) Production Tips

Discussion in '2488 and DP-24/32 Digital Portastudios' started by David Porter, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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    Get The Most Out Of Your DP Machine: Custom Songs

    Think of Songs as "projects" that allow you to record specific things on your DP machine for whatever purpose you need. Many think that you make a Song, and record all your tracks, then Mix, Master and that's all you can get. But a Song is just a collection of tracks and you can use as many of those projects you need to get your final results.

    As a solo artist, I live in a world of overdubs and submixes. Typically, I have very high track counts, and storage tracks can be an issue (see my previous post about Virtual Tracks). I typically record at least 4 rhythm guitar tracks (2 left/2 right) and 4 to 8 tracks of other guitar parts. Using virtual tracks helps a lot. But, on the DP machines there is a limited number of mono tracks available for storage tracks (This production tip was written with a view toward recording mono sources such as guitars, bass and vocals. It also applies to stereo tracks).

    Definition: Storage Track: A track used to record a performance that will become part of a submix (stem) and typically not used as a standalone track. The storage track may, or may not be erased once the submix is finished.

    I recorded all my drum tracks (I'll outline how I did this in a follow-up post later), keyboards, and all guitars on the main Song project. Using the first 8 mono tracks on the DP-32, I have many virtual tracks used and documented on my Track Sheet. The next and final phase of recording is the vocal tracks. In addition to the Lead Vocal, I need about 12 storage tracks for background vocals and perhaps a few more to add separate lines to embellish certain harmony spellings. There aren't enough storage tracks available on the main Song project for such a large session.

    The Solution:

    I made a Mix of the song just how I would like to hear it in my headphones. After creating a new Song [Edit: I loaded my Default Template first!] (named [Song OVERDUB]), I imported it to Track 31/32 using Audio Depot. Then, I changed all other tracks to Mono. Now, I have 19 Mono storage tracks to use for the vocals! And, I have a full Mix to monitor while I sing. The great part of this setup is that I can control the backing track volume with a single fader. This makes life so easy, especially since with every track you record, you add another fader to manage for the headphone mix.

    Utilizing The OVERDUB Project Tracks

    At this point, you do whatever overdubs you like (remembering that you also have 8 Virtual Tracks per track). You may then do a Mixdown or Bounce of those tracks in the DP machine to create your submix. In my case, I exported them individually and imported them to Reaper and mixed them with a console - but you get the idea. You can Mix/Master in the DP machine, or export and process externally. However you accomplish the submixing, simply import those tracks back into the DP machine on the original Song project.

    There is virtually no limit to how many tracks you can add to your Song! So, you need 16 tracks of guitars? Do it! You need 24 tracks of background vocals? No problem!

    I'm available to assist you if you need help sub/mixing your tracks. Feel free to DM me.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
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  2. David Porter

    David Porter Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic, MJK! Thank you.
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  3. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you @David Porter. I meant what I said, which is, I'm available to help if anyone needs it.
  4. Mark Richards

    Mark Richards Well-Known Member

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    DP-24, vintage 40-4
    USING THE DYNAMIC EXCITER TO PROCESS YOUR MASTER
    The protocol most often used in the DP-24/32/SD process is Track, Mix, Master, Done. But there are many creative ways to use the tools available in the DP-24/32/SD beyond that basic process.

    Here’s one scenario you might want to consider:
    You’ve created your master stereo recording (either directly after mixdown, or after applying the basic mastering tools - Compression, EQ - in the Master module). But it’s still missing that almost intangible “something” wow-factor that will make it stand out.

    Perhaps if the entire stereo master could be run through an Exciter tool, the Exciter could enhance the overall stereo image/sound stage; or maybe bring out a bit more clarity to the vocals. With the DP-24/32/SD, finding out is easy, because Inputs A ~ H have Dynamic Effects available, and one of those is an Exciter.

    Preliminary Steps
    1. Copy your stereo master songname.wav file from the Song folder to the Audio Depot folder.

    2. Load your reset template (you've watched Phil Tipping's videos, right?) then create a new song called “Exciter_Master” and Load it.

    3. Open the Mixer Screen and verify that for all Inputs and Tracks the settings are neutral/off.

    4. Open the Effects Screen and verify all Guitar and Send Effects are off and that no tracks are assigned to the Guitar Effects.

    5. Open the Dynamics Screen and verify all Input Dynamic Effects are off.

    6. Open the Assign Screen and verify all Input/Track Assigns are off; and for DP-32, that all Stereo Track Pairs are set to Stereo.

    7. Set all Faders except the Master Stereo Fader off (i.e. lowered to infinity).

    8. Open Audio Depot and Import your stereo .wav file to Tracks 1 & 2.

    9. Set the In/Out points for the song imported to Tracks 1 & 2.

    Setting Up the Board
    1. Open the Assign Screen and assign Input A to Track 13 and Input B to Track 14.

    2. Open the Mixer Screen.

    • Set Track 1 Send 1 to “Pre” and Level to 127; set Send 1 Master Send Level to 127.
    • Set Track 2 Send 2 to “Pre” and Level to 127; set Send 2 Master Send Level to 127.
    • Set Track 1 Pan to full left and Track 2 Pan to full right (this permits the strongest output signal for each track going to the respective Send bus).
    3. Set the Trim Knobs for Inputs A & B full left (“Line”)

    4. Open the Dynamics Screen and turn on the Exciter for Input A and Input B. As a starting point set the “Frequency” to 1.07 kHz, and the “Depth” to 50 for both Inputs (you will adjust these later in tandem or individually as needed to achieve the sound you want).

    Patch the Send Out Bus to Inputs A & B
    Turn off the DP-24/32/SD. Use patch cables (Mono Phone plug to Mono Phone plug) to connect the Send 1 and Send 2 Bus jacks on the back of the DP-24/32/SD to Inputs A and B respectively. Turn the DP-24/32/SD back on.

    In Multitrack Mode, Test and Evaluate Your Setup
    1. Raise the Track 13/14 Fader to Unity Gain (i.e. “0”)

    2. Be sure the Stereo Master Fader is at Unity Gain (i.e. “0”/full up)

    3. Press the Track 13/14 “REC” Button to enable monitoring of Tracks 13/14.

    4. Assure the Track 1 & 2 Faders remain full off. The signal to be recorded on Track 13/14 will be controlled primarily by the Track 1 Send 1 Level Knob and Track 2 Send 2 Level Knob. The Input A and Input B Trim Knobs can also be used (judiciously) to raise a weak signal coming into Inputs A & B from the Send 1 & 2 jacks.

    5. Press the PLAY button to start playback of the stereo master you imported to Tracks 1 & 2.

    6. The processed audio signal level will be heard, metered, and monitored on Tracks 13/14; and on the Stereo Master Bus and meter.

    7. Open the Dynamics Screen to make adjustments to the Exciter settings.

    8. Once you have satisfactory audio levels and Exciter settings, press the AUTOPUNCH button, set pre-roll and post-roll to 1.0 sec, and then press the RECORD button to record the processed signal to Tracks 13/14. Autopunch will automatically start and stop the recording using the In/Out points set previously.

    Create Your Stereo Master Processed with the Exciter
    Enter Mixdown/Mastering mode; press the RECORD button; and the DP-24/32/SD will use the signal on Tracks 13/14 to create a new, processed stereo master .wav file in the “Exciter_Master” song folder. The name of the file will be “Exciter_Master.wav”. You can use the DP-24/32/SD’s USB function to copy this file to another location, or just leave it where it is.

    If you decide to rename and copy the processed stereo master to another location, place an “E-” at the front of the processed filename to distinguish it from your original (e.g. “E-songname.wav”).

    Listen to a Comparative Audio Clip (about 1 minute long)
    I’ve created a comparative audio clip of one of my own recordings made entirely on my DP-24. This clip starts with the unprocessed example, followed by the processed example. I’ve exaggerated the Exciter effect somewhat to identify it clearly. Most often you would likely want a more subdued/subtle effect. How much of the Exciter effect to apply is a matter of creative/artistic judgment.

    The clip is here (and can be downloaded):
    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/lehc60ut43qwfe4/AACJFIViwgEUzPcXC9vBOM4ra?dl=0


    Other Applications
    The same procedures, starting with Preliminary Steps #3~7 & 9, and with a few modifications (e.g using only Send #1 or Send #2; adding a Copy/Paste step) can be used in Multitrack mode to process an entire recorded track or a segment of the track. Phil Tipping's Video Tutorial 14 demonstrates this.

    You can also further process a recorded Track by entering Bounce mode and combining this Dynamic tool procedure with the procedure for recording wet Effects (Reverb/Chorus/Delay) to a separate track (described in Production Tip #23).
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
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  5. David Porter

    David Porter Well-Known Member

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    Great job with Africa, Mark. Sounds excellent!
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  6. Mark Richards

    Mark Richards Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the kind words, David. :)
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  7. Mark Richards

    Mark Richards Well-Known Member

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    MORE ON THE TRIM KNOB
    Production Tips Post #27 describes basic information about the Trim Knob.
    ( https://www.tascamforums.com/threads/share-dp-24-32-sd-production-tips.5747/page-2#post-29541 )

    Below is a more technical description of the Trim Knob design/function.

    The XLR and TRS jacks are on different circuits.
    The impedance is hard wired into each circuit:
    XLR connector is LowZ
    TRS phone jack is HiZ.

    The Trim knob behaves differently depending on which circuit is being used.

    For the XLR LowZ circuit, the Trim Knob acts like a continuously variable attenuation pad. It attenuates an incoming hot mic signal from full strength (at full clockwise) to about -60 dB or more (at full counterclockwise) so that the incoming mic signal won't overload the DP-24/32/SD circuit and cause distortion.

    As soon as the Trim Knob is moved off full clockwise, there's an observable drop in the incoming strength of the mic signal. Significant changes in the Trim Knob position make significant changes in the sensitivity of the LowZ circuit, and thus the strength of the incoming mic signal.

    Example:
    A 500 Hz -33 dBv analog sine wave test signal fed into the XLR circuit reads -12 dBFS with the Trim Knob full clockwise.
    At the 12 o'clock position, the test signal level drops to about -40 dBFS.
    At the 11 o'clock position, the test signal level drops to about -48 dBFS.
    At the full counter clockwise position the test signal level is below -60 dBFS.

    The Trim Knob isn't a volume control. At the starting position for line level devices (the full left "Line" setting), the incoming signal is not "Off". As Phil Tipping explains in his Video Tutorial 3a, the Trim Knob both attenuates and amplifies, with the unity gain position being at the 1 o'clock position.

    The sensitivity of the HiZ circuit at the full left (“Line”) position enables a reasonably strong incoming signal without overloading the DP-24/32/SD circuitry. Turning the Trim Knob clockwise enables a line level input signal to be raised to a usable level if the source's volume output is maxed out and the incoming signal is still weak.

    With line level sources, it's often best to start with the Trim Knob full left. This provides the most headroom when bringing in a line level source, and at the same time gives you the ability to adjust the Trim Knob sensitivity to improve a weak signal or to optimize the S/N ratio if needed.

    For HiZ sources, another way to view use of the Trim Knobs is to consider the method recommended in Phil Tipping's Step-By-Step Guide for the DP-24/32/SD:

    "Start with the trim control at approximately the 1 o’clock position. This is the ‘unity gain’ setting where the machine’s pre-amp neither amplifies nor attenuates the signal. Then adjust your source output level until you get the required nominal reading on the meter bars. If the meter reading is too high even with the source output set to minimum, turn down the trim as required. If this isn’t sufficient, you need an external attenuator. If the meter reading is too low even with the source output set to maximum, turn up the trim. If this isn’t sufficient, you need an external amplifier."
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
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  8. David Porter

    David Porter Well-Known Member

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    And to be clear - if you have a particularly hot output coming into the DP input where the trim is set full CCW but it's still too hot (and you don't have an external attenuation device of some kind) - try using TRS 1/4" input as opposed to XLR. It helps.
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