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  1. #1

    Default Levelizer & Virtual Buffer Plumbing

    The other day I wanted to key a return channels gate from another return channel only to find there was no gate - which is no problem as you can patch in the levelizer. However I found that the Levelizer (when used on a return) has 3 key sources available: self and virtual buffers A & B.


    Obviously I am asking an obscure question, but can I route one of the return tracks into one of the virtual buffers? Or can anyone think of another way to achieve the original goal (keying dynamics of a submix from another submix)?
    Last edited by jmh; 03-21-2019 at 03:06 PM. Reason: clarity

  2. #2

    Default Re: Levelizer & Virtual Buffer Plumbing

    OK

    I don't have a fire in the 'studio' so I spent a bit of extra time perusing the help. So it looks that I can do exactly what I am asking (I probably used this 10 years ago - and forgot how). I am not sure what the distinction between A & B is but when I next play around I'll figure it out.


    In SSHelp 16.1.2:
    Return/Aux Master Modules
    There are six Return Modules each also linked directly to a MultiTrack track. The following information will help in understanding the signal flow through a Return Module.
    Aux Master Out Assign
    The mix of data sent from the Aux Sends arrives at the top of the Aux Master section. The mix for each of the Aux Sends can be routed to either the internal Virtual Buffers or any of the audio device outputs.
    When set to the Virtual Buffers, the data is passed straight down to the corresponding Return Section below it.
    When set to an audio device output, the data is fed to the final output stage which feeds directly to the assigned audio device. This allows the data to be used externally for headphone monitor feeds or as a feed to an external processing unit.


    In Levelizer help:
    There are three choices for the Key:

    Self - This setting causes the Key information to be taken from the same audio data that is being processed. A copy of the current audio buffer is passed through the EQ filters and then used as a trigger source for the processing.
    A and B - This setting causes the Key information to be taken from one of the two internal virtual buffers that can contain audio data sent and mixed from other channels or tracks in the MultiTrack. The virtual buffer is passed through the EQ filters and then used as a trigger source for the processing.
    Channels or tracks sending data to the A and B buffers must be on earlier channel or track numbers than the Levelizer using the A/B key information.
    Channels 1-72 - These settings allow you to key directly from any channel or track on the SAWStudio MultiTrack with no concern about track order.
    Last edited by jmh; 03-21-2019 at 07:39 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Levelizer & Virtual Buffer Plumbing

    Two different "key channels" available, I think, isn't it? A or B. Pick one. And be sure both Levelizers are assigned to the same one. Remember...

    "Channels or tracks sending data to the A and B buffers must be on earlier channel or track numbers than the Levelizer using the A/B key information."

    So, there's an inherent limitation, there; but if you think ahead, you can probably work with that.

    FWIW, IIRC the data sent to the buffer from the first Levelizer is a clone of its input data, so it's unaffected by any settings on that instantiation.

    I just tried it: a Levelizer patched pre-fader on Return 1 sending to buffer A and a Levelizer patched pre-fader on Return 2 with the key set to buffer A. At first I got nuthin', then I remembered (I always forget this; that tells you how often I use the returns these days) that you have to assign each return to an output channel or they see no audio action. I got both the gate and the compressor on the keyed Levelizer (on Return 2) to show gain reduction from audio feeding Aux 1 only.

    Extra credit: BTW, if you run out of Levelizer key buffers and/or need up to eight more secret routing buses, check out the venerable "Buss Extension and Send/Receive Module" FREE native plugin from JMS Audioware: click me. Good ol' Jon Marshall Smith keeps all his stuff available for us and our grandkids.
    Last edited by Dave Labrecque; 03-21-2019 at 09:13 PM.
    Dave "it aint the heat, it's the humidity" Labrecque
    Becket, Massachusetts

  4. #4

    Default Re: Levelizer & Virtual Buffer Plumbing

    I have yet to try it since I found those help sections.

    From what you're saying, I get the sense that each help refers to its own virtual buffers - and if I am understanding the helps,

    Levelizer can send a copy of it's input to A or B that may be used to key subsequent Leveliers

    &

    Multitrack has it's own virtual buffer which can pass a return's mix to the following return channel (instead of an output bus).

    The next puzzle to figure out:

    If 2 is receiving VBs from 1, is it also mixed with audio sent from input channel Aux2?

    ...or is 1's input (or output) replicated on 2's input?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Levelizer & Virtual Buffer Plumbing

    You might be making it more complicated than it is. In this test, I patched effects pre-fader on the returns and the Levelizers post-fader on the returns.

    Your KEY Return track must be a lower number than the Affected Return track.

    On the KEY Return track, patch the Levelizer and in its SEND box, choose A. Leave everything else on this Levelizer unchanged.

    On the Affected Return track, patch the Levelizer and in its KEY box, choose A.

    Set up the Gate on the Levelizer patched on the Affected Return track.

    It definitely sounds different when I switch the KEY on the Affected Return track from Self to A.
    Ian Alexander
    VO Talent/Audio Producer
    www.IanAlexander.com

  6. #6

    Default Re: Levelizer & Virtual Buffer Plumbing

    Quote Originally Posted by jmh View Post
    I have yet to try it since I found those help sections.

    From what you're saying, I get the sense that each help refers to its own virtual buffers - and if I am understanding the helps,

    Levelizer can send a copy of it's input to A or B that may be used to key subsequent Leveliers

    &

    Multitrack has it's own virtual buffer which can pass a return's mix to the following return channel (instead of an output bus).

    The next puzzle to figure out:

    If 2 is receiving VBs from 1, is it also mixed with audio sent from input channel Aux2?

    ...or is 1's input (or output) replicated on 2's input?
    Not sure what you mean by "each help."

    Buffers are there if you need them, otherwise, they don't do anything.

    There are two available between Levelizer instances: A and B. You determine which to use by the Key and Send selections you make in a Levelizer instance. Yeah, you sound like you get that.

    As for the multitrack buffers...

    >>Multitrack has it's own virtual buffer which can pass a return's mix to the following return channel (instead of an output bus). <<

    Not sure I follow you, here. As I understand it, the multitrack buffers are just clones of each channel's input signal (not sure from where it's tapped, though) available to other channels' compressor module key inputs as well as plugins coded to receive them as key inputs ( la the Levelizer). The returns only come into play, here, if you've patched a Levelizer into one of them. And the multitrack buffers don't operate between returns, they operate between an input channel and wherever you patch a Levelizer, which, of course, can be a return.

    >>If 2 is receiving VBs from 1, is it also mixed with audio sent from input channel Aux2?<<

    Not sure what you're asking, here.

    Realize that these buffer "signals" are completely separate from any audio you will ever hear. These "signals" are hidden in the background, only acting on Levelizer key inputs, which impact the way the module operates on the audio that passes through it, but which don't mix with the audio you're processing.

    So, in your case, the buffer signal is sent from Levelizer 1 on Return 1 via buffer A. It's received by Levelizer 2 on Return 2 via buffer A. It's EQ'd according to the high- and low-pass setting you may have made, and thusly the gate and/or compressor sections of that Levelizer react to it, impacting the audio that came from Aux 2, which is then sent on to an output bus.

    So, the only time the audio you hear and the key signal you desire ever "touch" is when the latter is split/cloned from the former at the input to the Levelizer (for buffer A and B) or at the tap point for a channel strip (for the channel buffers).

    FWIW, regarding the channel compressors, SAWStudio's help says "The Key Buffer contains the source data used to trigger the Gate and Compressor into action. This data is available from the channel source data itself (Self), or from any other channel source data (1 - 72). " That sounds to me like the tap is of the virgin signal entering the channel strip, before any processing at all.

    Does any of this make any sense?
    Dave "it aint the heat, it's the humidity" Labrecque
    Becket, Massachusetts

  7. #7

    Default Re: Levelizer & Virtual Buffer Plumbing

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Labrecque View Post
    Not sure what you mean by "each help."
    sStudio & Levelizer -- and by now I realize the virtual buffers referred to in each are different things.

    I had gotten some very cool effects with these side-chain techniques when I last played with them (years ago) but did not recall how. This discussion is bringing it back.

    As for the multitrack buffers...

    >>Multitrack has it's own virtual buffer which can pass a return's mix to the following return channel (instead of an output bus). <<

    Not sure I follow you, here. As I understand it, the multitrack buffers are just clones of each channel's input signal (not sure from where it's tapped, though) available to other channels' compressor module key inputs as well as plugins coded to receive them as key inputs ( la the Levelizer). The returns only come into play, here, if you've patched a Levelizer into one of them. And the multitrack buffers don't operate between returns, they operate between an input channel and wherever you patch a Levelizer, which, of course, can be a return.

    >>If 2 is receiving VBs from 1, is it also mixed with audio sent from input channel Aux2?<<

    Not sure what you're asking, here.
    I was confusing some of levelizer's VB (in that audio with multiple levelizers sent to a VB mix) behavior with ss's.

    But it gave me a realization.
    Consider a mix with audio mixes sent to each of 6 aux sends.
    All of the returns have a levelizer patched in.
    RL (return levelizer) 1, 3, & 5 have send = A.
    RL 2, 4 , & 6 have key=A

    The gate or compressors on
    RL2 are controlled by R1 audio
    RL4 should be controlled by a mix of R1 & R3
    RL6, a mix of R1,3,5

    ...or at least that is what I think will happen. I think I'll try this on the next song we record and report back...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Levelizer & Virtual Buffer Plumbing

    Quote Originally Posted by jmh View Post
    But it gave me a realization.
    Consider a mix with audio mixes sent to each of 6 aux sends.
    All of the returns have a levelizer patched in.
    RL (return levelizer) 1, 3, & 5 have send = A.
    RL 2, 4 , & 6 have key=A

    The gate or compressors on
    RL2 are controlled by R1 audio
    RL4 should be controlled by a mix of R1 & R3
    RL6, a mix of R1,3,5

    ...or at least that is what I think will happen. I think I'll try this on the next song we record and report back...
    Hmmm... I hadn't considered sharing a buffer between several returns or key inputs like that. I'd be interested to hear what you learn.

    Interestingly, JMS' aux/return bus extender thingy simply says that if you don't keep the ascending-sequence approach in your send/return configuration, then receiving instances that are on a lower-numbered channel than the sender will simply get extra buffer latency. I have to wonder if the same thing applies to Bob's Levelizer virtual buffer coding, or if he trapped for that scenario, as his instructions would lead us to believe.
    Dave "it aint the heat, it's the humidity" Labrecque
    Becket, Massachusetts

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