Trim plugin

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BillW
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Trim plugin

Post by BillW » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:08 pm

Trying to get more organized in recording and mixing. Graham's Recording Revolution seems a good practical set of resources. Good practical advise, like not prioritizing choice of gear or plug ins over just getting down to recording and mixing. Stock plug ins are fine in thus way, especially since I've now upgraded to the pro studio version.

Anyway, in his 3 part Smart Start series he talks of putting a trim plug in on every recorded track that may have come in hot. Apparently ProTools has one as part of the software. I don't see one in Mixcraft, unless it's called something very different.

I saw a thread here from sometime in 2015 discussing this. One suggestion was using the standard eq simply to reduce the gain. Another was a freebie from Blue Cat.

So 2 questions: am I right that even the ProStudio Mixcraft doesn't have a simple trim plug in? .Or is there something there I'm overlooking because of its name? Second, is the Blue Cat one still the best free solution (assuming MC doesn't have one)?

Thanks all!

Bill
Mixcraft 8 Pro (32bit) runs fine on a Toshiba Satellite C55-B laptop with a wimpy Celeron N2830 (dual core). Now using 64bit on a "less wimpy" Dell 660S/Dual Core Pentium/8GB RAM.

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Rolling Estonian
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Re: Trim plugin

Post by Rolling Estonian » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:30 pm

Hey Bill,

It's all about gain staging, I found this article to be helpful.

M

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BillW
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Re: Trim plugin

Post by BillW » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:26 am

Hey RollingE -
link?

I get the concept of gain staging. I found Graham's suggestion of a trim plugin before any others very logical. But where is the trim plugin in Mixcraft?

I realize comparing Protools (at $600!) vs Mixcraft (at $165 for the ProStudio version) is not relevant. But I have to believe there is a trim plugin (at least in the ProStudio version) given this is such a simple and valuable thing to do.

I'm sure I'm just missing it.

(EDIT - or is it my not understanding what terms are used as synonyms? Maybe what Graham is calling "trim" is known as a different term and in my never ending mixing ignorance (in the literal sense) I'm overlooking it?)
Mixcraft 8 Pro (32bit) runs fine on a Toshiba Satellite C55-B laptop with a wimpy Celeron N2830 (dual core). Now using 64bit on a "less wimpy" Dell 660S/Dual Core Pentium/8GB RAM.

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Trim plugin

Post by Mark Bliss » Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:17 am

Hi Bill,

I reckon I was probably part of that old thread you read, and I don't recall what I said then.... So I may either repeat or disagree with myself now. Oh darn. :wink:

No, there isn't any trim plug in included in Mixcraft. Yes, to some degree you can use certain specific plug ins with gain controls to do some similar or even identical tasks, though some may subtly color the result at the same time.

Yes some other DAW's have some very nice related features, such as those that not only offer convenient gain trim at the input, but having it vary the wave form accordingly, one even has a "normalizer" function button right there..... if that's your thing and you need it, how nice! But not in Mixcraft (yet?)

Yes, I have the Blue Cat gain suite and occasional use some components in various insert points for various functions. Though I would add that one of my most frequent uses for it, (unrelated to what you describe, or what Graham advocated in that video tutorial) that I think will be largely eliminated by some new features in MX8. I recommend it, (Blue Cat Gain Suite) but not universally without adding "if you need it."

OK, All that said, lets back up and punt. First off, I have to offer a rare disagreement with Graham, however minor.
I don't agree first off with any suggested concept of "always" doing anything. I think the key is to know when and why it might be necessary.

Next, catching the part of your post where you said you wished to turn down hot signals. My first consideration would be why am I regularly needing to turn down hot signals? And I would address that first I think. But then of course the "never say always" part comes back in to play. Sometimes you WANT a hot signal. An example would be to insure your signal is at an appropriate level going into a plug in that is dependent on a strong signal, (Guitar amp emulations come to mind for one example) But in that case, there is no need to have a gain trim to attenuate signal at the input......

Long way to get around to "depends" isn't it. 8)
Stay in tune, Mark

My SOUNDCLOUD Page

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BillW
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Re: Trim plugin

Post by BillW » Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:19 pm

Thanks a lot Mark. Curious what MX8 will have that replaces part of the Blue Cat Suite (which is still free and I will soon add to my plugin library).

Anyway - you are correct in that the main issue is "why are my tracks hot". I need to address that part. Here's my (rather lame) reason.

I rarely find time to record. Non-midi that is. By "rare" I mean maybe one or two concentrated periods of times during the year (beginning of summer and over December.) Because I teach at night besides my day job. So I don't get time to learn songs, then set up the gear, tune my guitars / bass (maybe after taking the time to restring them). Then remember how all this stuff works in Mixcraft.

(And I mean really simple stuff - like why am I getting latency? Oh yeah- I should monitor through the headphone jack on the interface, not the computer.)

I wish I didn't go months and months between using Mixcraft, but I do. I'm working on reorganizing my learning resources and writing up notes etc. But time I spend doing that takes away my already limited playing/recording/mixing time.

So for example, for the song I recorded over December, I simply forgot to set up my interface so the parts aren't hot.

So I now I have tracks to mix and I don't feel like taking the time to re-record them properly.

So - no excuse other than forgetting to set the level properly in the first place until I'm mixing. Yes - I need to stop that, and I intend to make that a priority. But for now, a trim plugin will help.

BTW - I recall recording my guitar at a lower gain last year but it made those tracks too soft compared to the midi tracks I usually make first. So I increased the input on my interface. But maybe instead I should have turned the fader down on the midi, then the master fader up? That's purely a rhetorical question - I intend to spend time learning about all this (gain staging) as was suggested.
Mixcraft 8 Pro (32bit) runs fine on a Toshiba Satellite C55-B laptop with a wimpy Celeron N2830 (dual core). Now using 64bit on a "less wimpy" Dell 660S/Dual Core Pentium/8GB RAM.

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Rolling Estonian
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Re: Trim plugin

Post by Rolling Estonian » Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:34 pm

Link, sorry.

http://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/ ... w-software

M

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BillW
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Re: Trim plugin

Post by BillW » Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:09 pm

Thanks for the link. And it reminds me to re-bookmark certain sites like that one and the Bedroom Producers Blog.

So many resources - so much to learn - so much to try to remember.
Mixcraft 8 Pro (32bit) runs fine on a Toshiba Satellite C55-B laptop with a wimpy Celeron N2830 (dual core). Now using 64bit on a "less wimpy" Dell 660S/Dual Core Pentium/8GB RAM.

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Trim plugin

Post by Mark Bliss » Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:16 am

BillW wrote:So I now I have tracks to mix and I don't feel like taking the time to re-record them properly........
.......But for now, a trim plugin will help.
Yeah, as long as the recordings aren't so hot as to be clipping or sound bad, you'll be fine as planned. And in the future, with more experience you will find a "sweet spot" that works out better for you I am sure. And there's other ways besides a gain plug in that might work at present, depending again on exactly what you are doing.
BillW wrote:I recall recording my guitar at a lower gain last year but it made those tracks too soft compared to the midi tracks I usually make first. So I increased the input on my interface. But maybe instead I should have turned the fader down

Probably yes.
BillW wrote:then the master fader up?
Probably not.

The way I work, I seldom touch the master fader. Relative levels, mixing, EQ, processing, all come together to form my mix. (And if I did move it, it probably wouldn't be moved up. :wink: )
With one very minor unrelated exception specific to my setup and sound card driver quirks, (monitoring in certain modes.) the master fader could be removed and I wouldn't miss it.

Mix down level is a whole bit of an other subject, and users methods may vary wildly. And I am probably getting ahead of the conversation but-

Grossly simplified: I like to measure. At this time, an appropriate meter plug in has to be inserted before the master fader, so.... I set the mix down levels and loudness before that.

Now if Mixcraft had the ability to insert a meter post fader, OR included a main meter with the appropriate features.....

As mentioned, opinions and methods may vary wildly. I am pretty satisfied with the results of my mix down methods at this time. 8)
Stay in tune, Mark

My SOUNDCLOUD Page

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aquataur
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Re: Trim plugin

Post by aquataur » Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:31 pm

What you have seen is Pro Tools´ clip gain feature.
I requested this functionality a couple of times. Let´s see if they incorporated it.

While gain plugins like the one you mentioned do work, they do not show a boosted version of the track display.
With a fairly low signal you end up still seeing nothing, because the signal gets boosted by a plugin, whereas with a genuine clip gain change the waveform would change according to the clip gain change.

Seeing something is much easier to work with.

-helmut

Ianpb
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Re: Trim plugin

Post by Ianpb » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:30 pm

By a strange coincidence, helmut, I only just saw your mentioning of 'clip gain' in an older posting while looking up some info on normalisation, and came to the forum in order to re-awaken it as a suggestion.

Ianpb
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Re: Trim plugin

Post by Ianpb » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:36 pm

I normally insert the Blue Cat 'Gain' plugin as a trim control onto every track and reduce all the instances equally when my overall mix gets too loud.

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aquataur
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Re: Trim plugin

Post by aquataur » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:52 pm

This is the poor man´s equivalent to linking faders. Some DAWs allow to do that.
Mike Senior suggests a gain plugin or equivalent control on any channel´s input, so that the fader remains at about zero, where its greatest resolution resides.

Some probably never noticed that the resolution of the sliders diminishes (resp. gets coarser) towards the low end.

-helmut

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Trim plugin

Post by Mark Bliss » Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:12 pm

aquataur wrote:This is the poor man´s equivalent to linking faders.
Some DAWs allow to do that.
Mixcraft 8 adds just that lovely feature. Yes, you can link tracks and operate faders as a group just as long hoped.
aquataur wrote:Mike Senior suggests a gain plugin or equivalent control on any channel´s input, so that the fader remains at about zero, where its greatest resolution resides.

Some probably never noticed that the resolution of the sliders diminishes (resp. gets coarser) towards the low end.
See my other earlier post around here somewhere....... 8)
http://forums.acoustica.com/bbs/viewtop ... 81#p102167

Also, while the BC gain trim inserts can be inserted and instances linked, one drawback I failed to mention is that they don't allow very fine adjustment which can be troublesome. 1dB resolution isn't too bad.

And no, Helmut, unfortunately no gain trim/waveform visualization changes in MX8. Here's hoping for the future though! Little steps.
Stay in tune, Mark

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Starship Krupa
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Re: Trim plugin

Post by Starship Krupa » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:01 pm

aquataur wrote:What you have seen is Pro Tools´ clip gain feature.
I requested this functionality a couple of times. Let´s see if they incorporated it.
Helmut, can you educate me on this?

When I saw the Pro Tools marketing machine touting "Clip Gain," I thought to myself that it must be something similar to the clip automation feature in Mixcraft, except that the display of the waveform in PT changes to reflect the volume change.

How is the PT Clip Gain feature different from Mixcraft's clip automation?

Oh, and my favorite freebie trim plug is DeeGain, which has a useful sister called DeePanpot.

https://dotec-audio.com/deegain.html
-Erik
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Anorax
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Re: Trim plugin

Post by Anorax » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:07 pm

Starship Krupa wrote:
aquataur wrote:What you have seen is Pro Tools´ clip gain feature.
I requested this functionality a couple of times. Let´s see if they incorporated it.
Helmut, can you educate me on this?

When I saw the Pro Tools marketing machine touting "Clip Gain," I thought to myself that it must be something similar to the clip automation feature in Mixcraft, except that the display of the waveform in PT changes to reflect the volume change.

How is the PT Clip Gain feature different from Mixcraft's clip automation?

Oh, and my favorite freebie trim plug is DeeGain, which has a useful sister called DeePanpot.

https://dotec-audio.com/deegain.html
Clip Gain allows you to zoom in on a clip's waveform. It gives you the appearance of increasing or decreasing the amplitude (so you can more easily see transients on quiet clips) without actually changing the amplitude of the clip. Pro Tools does not adjust the visual waveform to match any volume automation.

Unless of course I'm confusing clip gain for clip zoom.
Last edited by Anorax on Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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