New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

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Brewsir
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Brewsir » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:09 am

Was wondering if someone could explain this to me. According to Span, I'm in good shape, according to MixCraft's meter, I'm hot?
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Mark Bliss
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Mark Bliss » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:32 am

It does appear odd, but I am not sure exactly what you have going on there. Instead of a bunch of questions, lets see if this helps.

First, lets compare meters:
METERS.png
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Number 1 is the track view meter, and I have marked 0 dBfs in red. It doesn't really give much defined info IMO and I don't rely on it for much. Though if I see red clipping indicators unexpectedly, I would look into it further.

Number 2 is the main track meter in the mixer view, again I have marked 0 dBfs in red.
It gives us a little more detailed info, and some short term average peak indicators as well as peak/over warning indicators.
There's still a lot of info to be had, but its better.

Number 3 is the meter in SPAN, which also has 0 dBfs marked in red for reference.

Note the difference in color schemes, as the Mixcraft meters turn yellow and red, the SPAN meter reacts a little different. It changes colors, but not the same and not at the same levels, so don't go by that......

But for our purposes at the moment, I think the problem with all three meters is that they are mostly showing live short term info, and even if you stare at them constantly, you might miss what we are really looking for at this time.

Set your main fader at 0 (unity). Leave it there for now.
Make sure SPAN is on your main bus, (last item if there are any others).
Rewind your track to the beginning and hit the reset button on SPAN (Optional, it likely resets when you hit play.)
Now let your track play all the way through.

Afterward, look at the peak analysis indicators in SPAN.
(Lower circle)
Meter 1.png
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What I have proposed so far, is that to leave room while creating your project, you may want to allow room for adding sounds, adjusting levels etc, by keeping the levels down a bit. I have found -10 to -6 (also roughly shown in the upper right box) to USUALLY be a good working range for this. (Depends on project specifics, but its a good starting point for the editing/ arranging and rough mix stage.)

Mix down is another thing. And we are jumping ahead. And theres many ways to go about setting levels for that. One variable is "mastering".

But briefly-
In the next image, I have a project that just clips slightly. I captured the red clip indicators in the meters, but I assure you it was one very brief over.
METER 2.png
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This may not ALWAYS be unacceptable. Many engineers would agree, that while a little hot for mix down, you will likely never hear any negative result of that little brief peak, and its probably OK. I tend to avoid it for several reasons, and always keep peaks at slightly under 0.
We will come back to this at some point.

Continued.
Last edited by Mark Bliss on Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Mark Bliss
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Mark Bliss » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:11 pm

Next we have an image of a severely hot project. frequent overs and a level that is most definitely not going to mix down to a good result.
METER 3.png
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You don't want to leave it like that!
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Mark Bliss
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Mark Bliss » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:24 pm

Maybe I didn't explain another meter concept well enough there.

The dancing green bars are attempting to show "live" or instant data. But ballistics vary between meters so don't expect a perfect match.
If so equipped, the little dancing white peak bars are attempting to show a short term average to help with the fact that those green bars just jump around too fast sometimes to gather much useful info.

The absolute peak that comes as a result of analyzing the entire track is what I am proposing you focus on right now.

Does that clear anything up?
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Brewsir
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Brewsir » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:00 am

Mark Bliss wrote:Maybe I didn't explain another meter concept well enough there.

The dancing green bars are attempting to show "live" or instant data. But ballistics vary between meters so don't expect a perfect match.
If so equipped, the little dancing white peak bars are attempting to show a short term average to help with the fact that those green bars just jump around too fast sometimes to gather much useful info.

The absolute peak that comes as a result of analyzing the entire track is what I am proposing you focus on right now.

Does that clear anything up?
I always use span on the Master track. Just seemed I was getting conflicting info from the different master peak meters.

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Mark Bliss
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Mark Bliss » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:15 am

I don't see a big difference, other than that the Mixcraft meters appear to have been captured with the peak warnings lit, while the SPAN meter doesn't show that.

I've tried to reproduce that, running a project right to the edge of lighting them with all three meters in view, and cant reproduce that.

But the meters in Mixraft are a bit "course" and the reason we are inserting SPAN is to gather a little more detailed and accurate basic info.....
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Brewsir
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Brewsir » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:30 am

Ok, now I'm frustrated. I purchased a couple of loop packs, and, what an unwieldy bitch they are. I've GOT to be able to organize this mess, I hope I did something wrong, and it's easily corrected. So, I download the packs, go into MC and import the new loops. 1 pack in particular gave me 3 folders under "imported" loops, averaging a little over 300 files each! WTF? I can't effectively and efficiently work with that many files at once. I decided to spend some time subdividing those files into more manageable chunks.

What I got was 3 folders, 120, 150, and 180. In folder 120 for example, I initially thought it had 1 song, in 4 different keys,A C D and E, as I dug in a bit more, there are at least some differences, and some are completely different songs. They may all be different songs, but, I've been busy trying to organize it, and haven't had much chance to listen. What I did then was to create folders 120A, 120C, etc. etc., resulting in 12 folders, placing the corresponding files in each folder, then I placed each folder in the MC loops directory of my PC. Fired up MC, and, the folders were not recognized. I figured there must be something proprietary, in the inner workings of MC that determines whether a folder is recognized that way. No, big deal, right? I figured, I can just go into the library and import these folders individually, and I'll have the same result, only they'll be under "imported", instead of "song kits". No I can't, since the loops have already been imported into other folders, I can't import these. From inside the library, there doesn't seem to be any "explorer" functionality, i.e., creating/deleting folders, and moving files. I'm not crazy about deleting content, but, is the only solution, to go into windows explorer and empty my Library's imported folder, and then re-import? Seems a bit draconian if that's the case. There is a better way to approach importing loops, that I'm not aware of maybe?

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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Brewsir » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:29 am

Ok, well, at least I can filter things using the search bar. So, I can filter where I just have 120C, or 150E etc., or whatever subset I want. I guess that might be a suggestion from someone, however, drums are filtered out, because they're not tagged the same way. :x

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Mark Bliss
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Mark Bliss » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:18 pm

OK, now we are really off on a new tangent!
(And let the record show I suggested starting off by getting your feet wet a little at a time and you dove in the deep end here!) :lol:

My own experience leads me to suggest, for now- abandoning using the Mixcraft library for third party content. What you have discovered is probably a large part of the reason that one of the top feature requests continues to be a change to a browser format for third party loop and sample content.
Honestly, after attempting to import and organize 1300 files I literally feel your pain. (I don't use loops that much, but a better way to organize and utilize samples would be a welcome improvement for me.) After much effort I came to the conclusion the result wasn't worth the effort.

Anyway, for now I would suggest in your case, using the Windows filing system by creating a folder for loop content, and subfolders for the individual packages you have added to your collection, etc.

The remaining problem is that its a hassle to "audition" and sort through what you want to use. Though it becomes somewhat easier as you become familiar with file naming conventions and how the producer organized the files. (or not. :roll: )

It can take a while, but in my own experience, I would have to estimate that trying to import content and utilize the current Mixcraft library arrangement regrettably just makes things harder by about ten fold.

I can only guess, but I have a feeling this will be addressed in future versions. :idea:
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Brewsir
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Brewsir » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:24 am

Mark Bliss wrote:OK, now we are really off on a new tangent!
(And let the record show I suggested starting off by getting your feet wet a little at a time and you dove in the deep end here!) :lol:
Oh sure, claim innocence after sending me links to song packs that, "I might like". :P
Mark Bliss wrote:My own experience leads me to suggest, for now- abandoning using the Mixcraft library for third party content. What you have discovered is probably a large part of the reason that one of the top feature requests continues to be a change to a browser format for third party loop and sample content.
Honestly, after attempting to import and organize 1300 files I literally feel your pain. (I don't use loops that much, but a better way to organize and utilize samples would be a welcome improvement for me.) After much effort I came to the conclusion the result wasn't worth the effort.
So, you have an explorer window up the whole time, and drag and drop into MC. "Honey, I need a 3rd monitor!" What a load of shiz, I've had crap software that had explorer functionality. Honestly, it's really disappointing. Not saying I wouldn't have bought MC had I known, but, it probably would've made me ponder, a bit longer.

Brewsir
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Brewsir » Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:09 am

Back, with more questions. The loops I'm using have several "Dry" guitar parts. I assumed it means, "no effects, feel free to add your own". 2 things, 1.Even though it's the same clean guitar, with the same sound, loop 15, sounds very different, than loop 14, on the same track, with the same effects. I assume this is one of those, "ya pays yer money, and ya takes yer chances", kind of things, but maybe not, what gives? 2. And more annoyingly, when laying loops down the track, all of a sudden MC just kind of says, after this loop, no more effects down this track. One other thing I suppose I should get out of the way, and yeah, can't believe I missed this, does MC officially support Win10? I got so excited when I stumbled on a DAW that was user friendly, the hand reaching for my wallet, got ahead of my brain. Not that I've had a lot of issues, but, there has been the occasional crash and some minor oddities.

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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Rolling Estonian » Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:55 am

I've had W10 since day one, aside from a couple of minor hiccups early it's been worry free. Like Mark, I'm not a big loop/sample guy so I can't speak to differences between loops but I don't understand 'no more effects down this track'? Does that mean you can only add a certain number of vst?

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Mark Bliss
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Mark Bliss » Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:07 am

Brewsir wrote: So, you have an explorer window up the whole time, and drag and drop into MC. "Honey, I need a 3rd monitor!" What a load of shiz, I've had crap software that had explorer functionality. Honestly, it's really disappointing. Not saying I wouldn't have bought MC had I known, but, it probably would've made me ponder, a bit longer.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking Mixcraft. But I wont be dishonest either. I agree with others that suggest the library arrangement needs some improvement. And having used (or tried to use) several other DAW's, there's no contest as to overall usability. But then, full disclosure, I am not a user who relies heavily on the loop library.

Suggestion: Being a renaissance man who employs two monitors, and being as a mixer window isn't of much use while arranging and editing loops...... Maybe you could partially alleviate the problem by using that second monitor. Still not a perfect solution, but it might help.

And again, I suggest the likelihood it may be addressed in future versions. But don't quote me on it. :)
Brewsir wrote: The loops I'm using have several "Dry" guitar parts. I assumed it means, "no effects, feel free to add your own". 2 things, 1.Even though it's the same clean guitar, with the same sound, loop 15, sounds very different, than loop 14, on the same track, with the same effects. And more annoyingly, when laying loops down the track, all of a sudden MC just kind of says, after this loop, no more effects down this track.
Really hard to evaluate without seeing both the content and the project. I would guess the inclusion of "dry" loops would usually be intended as you describe. Another approach might be to blend them together in a mix for a different sound, or someone might just prefer a dryer sound or something.
As to the comment about loops or clips sounding "different" or effects "cutting out" it is especially hard to say. And like R.E. points out, I am not sure I understand what you mean.

But yeah, I have seen some third party content with a few dud bits. And just a tip, just because you have all those parts doesn't mean its best to use all those parts, if you know what I mean.
Brewsir wrote: does MC officially support Win10? I got so excited when I stumbled on a DAW that was user friendly, the hand reaching for my wallet, got ahead of my brain. Not that I've had a lot of issues, but, there has been the occasional crash and some minor oddities.
I've been running Mixcraft on Win10 for a couple of months. Cant say I've experienced any problems I would say was due to that combo. Some things look and work very slightly differently, but nothing I would describe as a problem.

Frustration with an odd new soundcard driver, yes, but that's not Mixcrafts fault.
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Brewsir
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Brewsir » Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:26 pm

Mark Bliss wrote:Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking Mixcraft. But I wont be dishonest either. I agree with others that suggest the library arrangement needs some improvement. And having used (or tried to use) several other DAW's, there's no contest as to overall usability. But then, full disclosure, I am not a user who relies heavily on the loop library.


Oh yeah, like I said, I couldn't get my credit card out fast enough, after a few minutes with Mixcraft Trial. (literally, I doubt that I messed with it 30 minutes, when I decided)
Mark Bliss wrote:Suggestion: Being a renaissance man who employs two monitors, and being as a mixer window isn't of much use while arranging and editing loops...... Maybe you could partially alleviate the problem by using that second monitor. Still not a perfect solution, but it might help.

I just keep the explorer window up behind the Mixer, when I need a loop, just hit dock, get my loop(s), then hit undock.

Mark Bliss wrote:Really hard to evaluate without seeing both the content and the project. I would guess the inclusion of "dry" loops would usually be intended as you describe. Another approach might be to blend them together in a mix for a different sound, or someone might just prefer a dryer sound or something.
Your "other approach", is the one I'm using. If I had hair I'd pull it out, having a tough time getting effects that don't sound, well, for lack of a better word, ridiculous. So far at least, I rarely use a dry guitar loop without it being accompanied by the corresponding "non-dry" guitar loop. For some reason, the effect sounds much much better that way. It often sounds like it's the non-dry guitar, that has the effect.

Mark Bliss wrote:But yeah, I have seen some third party content with a few dud bits. And just a tip, just because you have all those parts doesn't mean its best to use all those parts, if you know what I mean.
Absolutely, never was a big fan of Yes' songs that meander for 30 minutes. I remember back in the day, I had borrowed one of Yes' 8-tracks :oops: , and if I'm not mistaken, 1 of the songs was so long, it started on 1 track, faded out, and then faded back in on the next track.

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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Mark Bliss » Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:05 pm

Brewsir wrote: I just keep the explorer window up behind the Mixer, when I need a loop, just hit dock, get my loop(s), then hit undock.
That'll work. Been there! :wink:
Brewsir wrote: If I had hair I'd pull it out, having a tough time getting effects that don't sound, well, for lack of a better word, ridiculous.
Well, maybe just look at it as practice, experimenting and gaining experience for now. Its still useful.
Brewsir wrote: I had borrowed one of Yes' 8-tracks :oops: , and if I'm not mistaken, 1 of the songs was so long, it started on 1 track, faded out, and then faded back in on the next track.
8 Tracks were great! These kids have no idea what they missed! :roll:

My favorite four things about them:
Channels switching while tracks played. (Ka-klunk!)
Shimming with wads of paper and matchbooks to correct head alignment. (kinda.)
The way the tape would wind up and wad up around the capstan and drive mechanism when the tape would self destruct.
The way the tape would explode and blow around in ribbons when I would finally get annoyed enough to throw one under the tire and do a "burnout."

That last one might have been just me........ 8)

OK, I went back a re-read some of the thread to see where we might pick back up, and it occurred to me I missed a cue for an important tip on "effects" that may have answered part of one of your early questions Brewsir.

Similar to the loops being loud, the vast majority of effects plug ins do a dirty trick on you by being set by default to increasing gain when inserted.
This increase in loudness tricks the brain into thinking there's an improvement, when the "improvement" is often really just a matter of mostly being louder.
That's fine if that's what you want it to do, but often..... that's NOT what you want. And as you may be learning, it often causes a problem or two.......

As I suggested above, experiment! Try some presets. Learn what twisting all the little knobs does.
But in the end, learn to use them with purpose. Knowing why you are adding it, not just exploring and guessing until you get lucky. (Maybe. Probably not.)

My tip for today, when you "test drive" a plug in, turn down its output until the level sounds the same when you toggle the plug in on and off. (level matching)
If theres no noticeable difference in sound when the level is matched (it happens more than expected.) Now try different settings and rechecking the level, matching as needed. Pause and reconsider what its doing there.
What are you trying to do with it?
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