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How big of a difference does delay compensation make?
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2A Batterie
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4th August 2010
Old 4th August 2010
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Question How big of a difference does delay compensation make?

I'm working in PTLE8 and have just stated researching the whole plugin delay thing. My question is, how much of a difference is this going to make in my world? I'm working on mixing a demo that my band will be giving away free download cards for. I want it to sound good as it can be, but I'm not so delusional to think that it's going to be immaculate. I checked the sample delay on my tracks and the snare and kick (which are bussed to multiple aux's) have a delay of 88 samples. Vox has a delay of a little bit more. I downloaded a demo of Mellowmuse's ATA and killed a whole night trying to figure out how to use it to no avail. That brought me to my dilemma: Is it really worth the $49 and more importantly, the time and effort to learn how to get it running right? Will it make that big of a difference in a lower-end mix?
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4th August 2010
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mellowmuse ata isn't that hard to use, just watch the tutorial video....

@ your question: it really depends on the plugins (type and amount) and routing you're using. today there are many zero-latency plugins, so there wouldn't be a difference with delay compensation... BUT if you use a lot of different plugins with latency than the difference is between having a really "tight" drumer and a rather "sloppy" one. especially on drums it is more important than e.g. vocals most of the time.
if the music depends on timing (metal-style...) than delay compensation is absolutely crucial IMHO.

thats why I don't like le for mixing.... :(
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4th August 2010
Old 4th August 2010
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Not caring about delay compensation, even if we're dealing about a few samples, can totally destroy your mix in one spot and can be ignored, sometimes up to a few hundred samples in another.
It's not just about timing issues that would only occur when you use plugins that induce a shitload of delay, but it's more about weird phasing that occurs due to delayed signal paths. Especially drums are prone to this, because you have a little of everything on every track. So make sure that those are sample-accurate aligned. To test the effect, simply duplicate a track and use the Time Adjuster plugin (or the Digirack Gate) to delay one of them by few samples. Activate/deactivate the delaying plugin to listen to the effect.

Without wanting to go into epic details about this complex issue, you can go the safe route and just follow some rules:
  • Use the same amount of delay on every track (or at least on every group of tracks, like all drums, all guitars, etc.). The most simple way to do this is to put the same plugins on every track (or group of tracks), even if it is bypassed.
  • In PTLE, deactivating kills the plugin delay, bypassing does not. This can be handy for manual delay compensation.
  • Stay away from delay-inducing plugins on aux-tracks, especially those used for parallel processing (NY-style drum compression for example).
  • Stay away from cascaded aux routing, like track-1 sends to aux-1, aux-1 sends to aux-2 etc. if you have delaying plugins on the aux-tracks.
  • Using delaying reverbs can be OK on sends, if the wet signal is really 100%. Then a plugin-delay sounds like a reverb predelay.
  • Delaying plugins on the master bus are always safe to use, because everything runs through them.
  • If you're using a lot of delaying plugins (like UAD and other DSP-based fx) ATA will be your friend, but you still have to follow some rules, because ATA cannot heal what Digidesign omitted.
I hope that helps.
2A Batterie
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4th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiF View Post
[*]Stay away from delay-inducing plugins on aux-tracks, especially those used for parallel processing (NY-style drum compression for example).
.
Great. I have to stay away from NY-style compression just because of PTLE? Now I understand why everyone bitches and moans about ADC now.

Thanks for the input. I probably am going to pony up the $49 for ATA... I just had such a hard time wrapping my head around it last night. Sigh.. I guess I'll have to kill another few hours learning how to route it properly. I even opened up one of the example sessions they had... I ended up pinging on the master and then totally f'ing everything up. Ugh. Back to the drawing board.
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5th August 2010
Old 5th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2A Batterie View Post
Great. I have to stay away from NY-style compression just because of PTLE? Now I understand why everyone bitches and moans about ADC now.
Not neccessarily. I do NY-style parallel compression all the time using plugins like Waves SSL buscomp, Waves CLA-76, BF76 (if I need to), Tapehead. All zero-delay plugins, that do the job very well. Most compressors do not have any plugin delay, so parallel compression is not really an issue unless you're using DSP-card-based plugins.
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5th August 2010
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take the time to understand signal flow in pro tools and mm ata. it will make your life easier.
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5th August 2010
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Am I to understand that you get delay just from routing a track to a bus and its coming out of that bus delayed to the source track?


Or just if you have a plugin on that subgroup aux? I am talking about PTLE world of course
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5th August 2010
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You should only have a delay when you are using plugins. Otherwise there should be no delay just from busing. If you don't have mellowmuse you can always use the Time Adjuster plugin to compensate on every track for the longest delayed track. It is a pain, but a free workaround.
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5th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daddyrockbone View Post
...if I did have to think about it I would die
I feel ya, that's why I use zero-delay plugins and/or follow very simple rules.
So, if you have to use delay-inducing plugins and you have (or want) to use PTLE, learn ATA. Complain about it, but in the end it will be the best you can get. And don't blame Mellowmuse for it, blame Digidesign (or Avid or whatever they want to be called). Or switch to any other DAW (all others have ADC).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by api2500 View Post
Mellowmuse ATA for PT sounds thin??

Which is why I will still use Logic instead of LE for mixing.
That thread just highlights the op has ATA set incorrectly and is experiencing phase or comb filtering issues.
ATA does not change the audio in anyway - it nulls completely, period.
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6th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eboy View Post
That thread just highlights the op has ATA set incorrectly and is experiencing phase or comb filtering issues.
ATA does not change the audio in anyway - it nulls completely, period.
No, it points out how awkward it can be. ADC just makes sense.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by api2500 View Post
No, it points out how awkward it can be. ADC just makes sense.
Yes a lack of ADC in LE is awkward at best.
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6th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiF View Post
  • Use the same amount of delay on every track (or at least on every group of tracks, like all drums, all guitars, etc.). The most simple way to do this is to put the same plugins on every track (or group of tracks), even if it is bypassed.
  • In PTLE, deactivating kills the plugin delay, bypassing does not. This can be handy for manual delay compensation.
  • Stay away from delay-inducing plugins on aux-tracks, especially those used for parallel processing (NY-style drum compression for example).
  • Stay away from cascaded aux routing, like track-1 sends to aux-1, aux-1 sends to aux-2 etc. if you have delaying plugins on the aux-tracks.
  • Using delaying reverbs can be OK on sends, if the wet signal is really 100%. Then a plugin-delay sounds like a reverb predelay.
  • Delaying plugins on the master bus are always safe to use, because everything runs through them.
  • If you're using a lot of delaying plugins (like UAD and other DSP-based fx) ATA will be your friend, but you still have to follow some rules, because ATA cannot heal what Digidesign omitted.
Good list.

Can't add much beyond that other than to say that you don't want to ignore the issue if you want your mixes to be tight.
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10th August 2010
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I'm planning on buying the plug and spending an afternoon learning how to use it efficiently and setting up a few templates so I don't have to tool with it too much.

In the meantime, couldn't I theoretically just print some of the effects to the tracks (I think this is in the audiosuite menu in PTLE) once I am satisfied with my mix? I need to finish a mix today and don't have the time to rearrange my session to put in the ATA plug.
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10th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2A Batterie View Post
I'm planning on buying the plug and spending an afternoon learning how to use it efficiently and setting up a few templates so I don't have to tool with it too much.

In the meantime, couldn't I theoretically just print some of the effects to the tracks (I think this is in the audiosuite menu in PTLE) once I am satisfied with my mix? I need to finish a mix today and don't have the time to rearrange my session to put in the ATA plug.
That is your own real work-around I'm afraid. :S. Avid FTW...
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