T-RackS: What would you like to see?

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T-RackS: What would you like to see?

Postby Surf Whammy » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:18 am

There is a topic like this for SampleTank 3 in the SampleTank section, so I think it makes sense to have a T-RackS 4 topic here . . .

SUGGESTION: Super Advanced Custom Echo Processor VST Plug-in

Being a huge fan of echo units, I would like to see a superbly designed, super advanced custom echo processor VST plug-in, and I think that T-RackS 4 is a logical product category for it, since I use a lot of echo stuff when producing and mixing . . .

I know that AmpliTube 3 has some very nice echo units, but they are presented using electric guitar effects pedal metaphors, which is not so stellar for the ways I use echo for other instruments and voices, and it also tends to have have a singular focus rather than a more advanced, highly customized, multiple echo focus . . .

I like the EchoPlex concept, which more recently is available in the Fulltone Tube Tape Echo, and I like the Roland Space Echo concept, which is available as a BOSS effects pedal, but there are other advanced echo units, and I think that there should be a way to use the best concepts and ideas from a lot of different echo units to create a new super advanced custom echo unit designed specifically for a range of instruments and voices in a mixing setting where the focus is on adding special effects to already recorded material . . .

At present, I use a lot of individual and for the most part very simple echo units like the standard MOTU echo unit that comes with Digital Performer (MOTU), but instead of having everything in one central location, I have as many as five different instances of the same echo unit VST plug-in, which fills the screen and is a bit confusing with respect to getting everything adjusted to create whatever custom echo I need . . .

As an example of the types of highly advanced, custom echo effects I need, the European Single for "Who Owns My Heart" (Miley Cyrus) has a virtual festival of superb custom echoes, and I think that some of them were done in the Melodyne Editor (Celemony) but just as easily could have been done with tape units or other types of digital editing processes, since none of them are simple echoes that result from playing a sound through an echo unit . . .

"Who Owns My Heart" (Miley Cyrus) -- Official YouTube music video

Currently, if I want to do these types of custom echoes, I have to create additional tracks in Digital Performer 7.23 and then do each individual custom echo separately, which is not so practical to do when there might be as many as 50 to 100 custom echoes for a three to six minute song, which certainly is the case with "Who Owns My Heart", which has a virtual festival of exquisitely crafted custom echoes . . .

Intuitively, I like the idea of having a pasteboard that is done in measures based on the beats per minute (BPM) tempo of the song, which is a reasonably standard graphic design metaphor, especially here in the sound isolation studio where the foundation for songs is what I call a "basic rhythm section" done with iK Multimedia virtual instruments and music notation in Notion 3 (Notion Music) . . .

I can do everything in Digital Performer by copying, pasting, and editing portions of soundbites, but I think there is merit to being able to do it in an easier and more intuitive way . . .

On the other hand, simply having a nicely designed set of controls (knobs, switches, sliders, and whatever) will be a big help, and I think there is a way to design the user interface for super advanced, custom echo VST plug-in so that it makes sense from the perspective of doing custom echo production, where the focus is on being able to control and to sequence minutiae, which is one way to explain it . . .

"Sparkles" are another example of what I consider to be something that a super advanced, custom echo processor VST plug-in can do, where "sparkles" is the name I use for notes that move around within the Spherical Sonic Landscape™, and "sparkling" is the name I use for the process of putting notes into motion, which at present I do with music notation and IK Multimedia virtual instruments in Notion 3, since by spreading the notes of a single IK Multimedia virtual instrument over as many as 8 staves, each of which has a specific panning location, I can cause individual notes to be played anywhere on the rainbow panning arc that runs from far-left to top-center to far-right, as is easy to hear in this "basic rhythm section" for a new Surf Whammys song I am developing, all of which is done with music notation and IK Multimedia virtual instruments, really . . .

[NOTE: This is mixed with headphones, and it is easier to hear the "sparkles" when you listen with studio quality headphones like the SONY MDR-7506 (a personal favorite) . . . ]

"(Baby You Were) Only Dreaming" (The Surf Whammys) -- Basic Rhythm Section -- MP3 (9.4MB, 281-kbps [VBR], approximately 4 minutes and 28 seconds)

Really!

In some respects for a custom echo unit, "sparkling" is very similar to "slicing", where a sound is "sliced" into parts and then played in different locations on the rainbow panning arc, and AmpliTube 3 has a very nice slicer and several echo units, so overall I think that IK Multimedia has all or most of the required individual components and algorithms, so it mostly is a matter of doing a bit of graphic designing, algorithm adjusting, and so forth, although I think that enhancing everything with a higher level of smarts that make working with minutiae easier certainly is important . . .

These are the echo units that I have in AmpliTube 3, and they are very nice, but they are focused primarily on a "set it and forget it" scenario for lead guitar, which is very different from doing custom echos where there typically is a specific custom echo for each word or in some instances for individual syllables, consonants, and so forth, where instead of one global setting for all the echo units, each custom echo has its own specific setting, which makes it like an "echo cafeteria" where each word is like a separate customer who selects a specific set of entrees, side dishes, drink, and desert . . .

[NOTE: I have all the AmpliTube add-on modules and so forth, with the exception of a few of the new custom units, so some of these echo units come from the add-on modules, but so what . . . ]

Image
AmpliTube System Echo Units

The electric guitar effect pedal metaphor is great for electric guitar, but it is a bit too primitive and bulky for use in a vocal producing and mixing scenario, and it takes too much screen space to represent the effects pedals visually, so I certainly think there are graphic designs that will work better for doing vocal producing and mixing, where the typical user is more advanced and is accustomed to working with parameters and lots of more technically oriented stuff, which makes it more of a rack-mount graphic design than an electric guitar effects pedal graphic design . . .

Conceptually, it is an interesting thing to ponder, and I think that there is a way to do it that is more intuitive with respect to the way custom vocal echoes actually are designed, created, and applied, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :)
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Re: T-RackS 4: What would you like to see?

Postby brianbane » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:30 am

It might be a bit early for talk of T-RackS 4, don't you think? :lol:

We've still got some pretty big plans for T-RackS 3!
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Re: T-RackS 4: What would you like to see?

Postby lukebredin » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:26 am

Looking forward to it!!

Nice integration with the new Lion OS when it comes out later this month, with full screen mode would be cool for the stand alone software!! :D
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Re: T-RackS 4: What would you like to see?

Postby Surf Whammy » Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:57 pm

brianbane wrote:It might be a bit early for talk of T-RackS 4, don't you think? :lol:


I was following the pattern used in the SampleTank discussion, but I agree that just releasing v3.5 might make it a bit early, but on the other hand I think that it can take a while to do a super advanced custom echo processor VST plug-in, so it is better to start early, really . . .

Really! :D

brianbane wrote:We've still got some pretty big plans for T-RackS 3!
The Black 76 and White 2A models were not that last of it...


Great!

I was pondering all this last night, and it occurred to me that IK Multimedia has the opportunity to do something like Sam Phillips did at Sun Records in the mid-1950s, where he created "the sound" that defined the 1950s and several decades later, at least with respect to vocals and echo, for sure . . .

Image

"Great Balls Of Fire" (Jerry Lee Lewis) -- Sun Record Company (1957) -- YouTube 78 RPM record

For sure!

It might be difficult to do a deal with BOSS and Roland on the Space Echo and Slicer, as probably is the case with DigiTech on the Whammy and TimeBender, but so what . . .

So what!

On the other hand, I think that doing a deal with Fulltone is possible for the Fulltone Tube Tape Echo, which basically is an improved and enhanced version of the classic EchoPlex unit . . .

Wave Arts has an interesting VST Plug-in (Panorama 5) that I like, but it is a bit too complex, and it requires entirely too much headroom and sonic space in a mix to be very practical, since it does 3D sound placement via elaborate algorithms that mostly focus on reverberation, diffusion, reflections, and so forth and so on, so (a) it consumes vast amounts of computer processing and (b) it only works when all the other instruments and vocals are at very low levels, which basically makes it great for making flying helicopter sounds but not much else, although I use it occasionally on a single vocal track . . .

For example, in the first 12 seconds of the European Single of "Who Owns My Heart" (Miley Cyrus) there are 5 custom echoes, and using what one might call "traditional" techniques, this requires cloning the vocal track 5 times and doing a separate custom echo on each word, syllable, consonant, sibilant, breath, or whatever, which effectively requires 5 instances of at least one echo VST plug-in . . .

"Who Owns My Heart" (Miley Cyrus) -- European Single -- Official YouTube music video

And while this is not particularly difficult to do, it takes a while and it requires 5 stereo tracks that mostly are used for perhaps one or two seconds . . .

You can engage automation and do a bit more with the 5 stereo tracks, but then you have the problem of making tiny adjustments and fine-tuning later, which is a lot of work when a track has extensive automation, because you have to record new automation procedures or edit existing automation . . .

However, if a super advanced custom echo processor was tied to measures and beats and had the ability to be programmed to do various things at specific points in time by specifying measure and beat within the measure, then a lot of custom echo work can be done with a single stereo vocal track and an intelligent super advanced custom echo processor, which certainly will make it easier to do custom echoes during the producing and mixing phase when one is working with already recorded tracks . . .

In other words, instead of doing the elaborate automation in the digital audio workstation (DAW) application, you do it in the VST plug-in, where for example you can tell the VST plug-in to reset at the fourth beat of the third measure and then to configure itself to a specified set of parameters to be applied at the first beat of the fourth measure or whatever makes sense, and you should be able to do this over and over at various points along the timeline, with at least the ability to have perhaps as many as 5 simultaneous and ongoing custom echoes, similar in concept to having multiple "voices" on a treble clef, because conceptually this is what the vocal producer and audio engineers actually are doing in one way or another . . .

As best as I can determine, IK Multimedia already has most of the individual components and algorithms for the various types of echoes, delays, reverberations, and so forth and so on, so other than doing the measure and beat synchronization and custom echo "timestamping" (reset, configure, and play) database stuff, it mostly is a matter of graphic design and code packaging, so it should benefit from algorithm reusability and so forth . . .

I know more than enough about Computer Science, GUI application programming, and music to do it myself, but it would take me entirely too long, and I have no interest in doing VST plug-ins, since I am much more focused on composing and recording silly DISCO and Pop songs about ladies underpants, so I prefer to explain everything from a high-level perspective and to drill into enough detail for programmers to understand the concepts, which is what I am doing in this post and my previous post, really . . .

Image

[NOTE: This is done entirely with IK Multimedia virtual instruments and music notation in Notion 3 (Notion Music), except for the singing which is enhanced with various T-RackS 3 Deluxe VST plug-ins, Panorama 5 (Wave Arts), and the Melodyne Editor (Celemony). At present it is a headphone mix, since I need to add real lead guitar and a few more sparkles, at which point I will do a loudspeaker mix . . . ]

"I'm Going Goo-Goo Over Ga-Ga" (The Surf Whammys) -- MP3 (9.6MB, 290-kbps [VBR], approximately 4 minutes and 30 seconds)

Really! :D

Whether this is something that makes sense for T-RackS is another matter, since it is more in line with CSR Classik Studio Reverb, but I group it with "Mixing and Mastering" in the same way as I group the ARC System, and I generally consider T-RackS to be the high-level product in the sense of AmpliTube being the high-level product for guitar and bass stuff . . .

And while I like the idea of having a CSE Classik Studio Echo product, I think that the super advanced programmable custom echo processor VST plug-in is more in line with Nouveau Programmable Custom Studio Echo, Surreal Programmable Echo, or something similar, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :ugeek:

P. S. I ordered the ARC System Crossgrade last week, and it should arrive in a few hours, so I expect the quality of my loudspeaker mixes to increase dramatically very soon!
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Re: T-RackS 4: What would you like to see?

Postby Surf Whammy » Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:58 am

brianbane wrote:We've still got some pretty big plans for T-RackS 3!
The Black 76 and White 2A models were not that last of it...


As a bit of follow-up, the ARC System Crossgrade arrived, and I got it installed but have not done the loudspeaker calibration, yet . . .

I selected CSR Classik Studio Reverb for the 15th Year Anniversary Group Buy 2X1 "free" product and noticed that there actually is a separate section for "Other Mix and Master Effects" in this FORUM, which if nothing else provides a clue to what I do when speed-reading and engaging productively in high-level mentation, where one cannot help but observe that there are only two products in "Other Mix and Master Effects", specifically CSR Classik Studio Reverb and the ARC System, although there are various flavors of these two products, hence my logic for grouping all of it under the T-RackS umbrella, especially since the T-RackS user manual specifically mentions the ARC System as a natural companion to T-RackS, which then leaves CSR Classik Studio Reverb as a tiny island existing by itself, which is a bit too lonely, really . . .

Really!

SUGGESTION: Observing that AmpliTube has a bunch of rack-mount stuff and knowing that recording studios have a bunch of rack-mount stuff, I think it makes a bit of sense to add more rack-mount stuff for producing and mixing, since (a) CSR Classik Studio Reverb needs some friends and neighbors and (b) producers and mixing engineers tend to be more comfortable and familiar with rack-mount stuff than electric guitar effects pedals . . .

I suppose that I should read the AmpliTube 3 user manual, and I know that I can use AmpliTube 3 as a VST plug-in, but conceptually I view it as an electric guitar thing rather than a studio production thing, although I decided several months ago that I can use it as a studio production thing . . .

[NOTE: I use "studio production thing" to refer to stuff that producers and audio engineers use, as contrasted to an "electric guitar thing", which is what lead guitar players use. There are similarities, but the focus is different, as is the depth and so forth, since for the most part lead guitar players are musicians, which is a very different perspective from folks who focus on producing, audio engineering, mixing, and mastering . . . ]

One way to understand the "studio production thing" focus is to consider CSR Classik Studio Reverb and the various reverb effects pedals in AmpliTube, which you also can do by considering the various compressors and limiters in T-RackS and the compressors and limiter effects pedals in AmpliTube, where specifically I am referring to these T-RackS VST plug-ins, although the EQP-1A is more focused on equalizing than on being a compressor or limiter:

Vintage Tube Compressor/Limiter model 670
Vintage Tube Program Equalizer EQP-1A
Opto Compressor
Intelligent, Multi-Algorithm Brickwall Limiter
Black 76 Limiting Amplifier
White 2A Leveling Amplifier

So, perhaps what I am describing is something like S-RackS (Studio Racks), where the focus is on the types of things one does when wearing the "Producer" and "Audio Engineer" hats rather than the "Musician" and "Singer" hats . . .

And this is where the programmable aspect becomes important, since producers and audio engineers tend to avoid using foot pedals . . .

Instead, the focus is on measures, beats, and ticks, where the general strategy is to cause very specific things to occur at various points along the timeline of a song but from both an individual track perspective and a Gestalt perspective, since you do things to individual tracks, but it all needs to work cooperatively, which is the Gestalt perspective . . .

Basically, I went lead effects pedal bonkers several years ago, and I can go to town with effects pedals, which is great when I am playing lead guitar solos but is of nearly no value when I switch to producing, mixing, and mastering . . .

Starting two years ago, I decided to go producing, mixing, and mastering bonkers, and now that these roles are making a bit of sense, I think there is a definite need for more sophisticated and advanced level rack-mount stuff in the style of the aforementioned T-RackS VST plug-ins and CSR Classik Studio Reverb, where as noted there certainly needs to be a super advanced, programmable custom echo processor that does a lot of stuff without requiring cloning a bunch of tracks and applying multiple instances of essentially the same effects unit to each cloned track . . .

And this hypothetical future product (S-RackS) could be packaged in the same framework as AmpliTube and T-RackS, where there are chains of processors and so forth and so on (which in T-RackS is the "mastering suite" concept) . . .

For the most part, I think about reverberation and echo in terms of very specific songs, where these are a few examples from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s:

"Heartbreak Hotel" (Elvis Presly)
"Great Balls Of Fire" (Jerry Lee Lewis)
"Dream Lover" (Bobby Darin)
"Runaround Sue" (Dion)
"Fame And Fortune" (Elvis Presley)
"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" (Beatles)
"Good Times Bad Times" (Led Zeppelin)
"Dazed And Confused" (Led Zeppelin)
"Instant Karma" (John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band)
"Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" (Paul and Linda McCartney)

And so forth and so on, including everything from The Jimi Hendrix Experience and the Pink Floyd album "The Dark Side Of The Moon", as well as all the other songs on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (Beatles) and all the KISS albums that Eddie Kramer produced . . .

As an example, I have been researching a technique for putting the notes of an instrument into motion, which I call "sparkling", and I think this is something that a super advanced programmable custom echo processor can do for echoes, although in this song the motion is done on an individual note basis via music notation in Notion 3 (Notion Music) using the Psaltery Harp from one of the IK Multimedia virtual instrument libraries, hence is not an elaborate custom echo, although I ran it through the CSR Hall Reverb that comes with Notion 3, really . . .

[NOTE: This is mixed specifically for headphone listening, which is the best way to hear the "sparkled" Psaltery Harp notes as the move along the rainbow panning arc in different patterns . . . ]

"Sparkles" (The Surf Whammys) -- MP3 (4.2MB, 298-kbps [VBR], approximately 1 minute and 55 seconds)

Really!

Explained another way, I should be able to create an "echo map" when doing custom echoes, and based on my experiments so far with "sparkles", I think that having 8 fixed panning locations is sufficient for doing "echo maps", so long as there also is a way to do "sweeps" . . .

Lots of FUN! :)
Last edited by Surf Whammy on Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: T-RackS 4: What would you like to see?

Postby Surf Whammy » Sun Jul 10, 2011 5:12 pm

I did a bit of exploring with AmpliTube 3 with particular focus on the way the rack-mount section works, and I realized that the effect pedals apparently have rack-mount flavors, which I "kind of" knew but not exactly in any immediately conscious way, so I dd some experiments on a vocal track for "(Baby You Were) Only Dreaming" (The Surf Whammys), which is the current song I am developing, and I like the way the rack-mount effects work, although having to run a vocal track through an amplifier and loudspeaker cabinet is not so ideal, especially since the loudspeaker cabinets are done with microphones, but so what . . .

[NOTE: The ARC System Crossgrade arrived on Thursday, and I calibrated the loudspeakers here in the sound isolation studio, at which time I did a new loudspeaker mix for the instruments, followed by doing a single vocal track but with headphones, where this is the first time I actually sang the song, since I have not completely switched from (a) my previous strategy of composing melodies and singing lyrics only once on the fly in real-time, which is a bit strange but useful skill, to (b) my new strategy of composing the melody in advance and actually practicing singing the melody before recording the vocals, which I will do later, although I like the "melodic speaking" concept, which is the way most of the verses are done, since there is entirely too much instrumental counterpoint to fit much of a melody to it on the fly in real-time. For reference all the instruments are done with music notation and IK Multimedia virtual instruments in Notion 3 (Notion Music), and I used the plate reverb from CSR Classik Studio Reverb on quite a few of the instruments and single vocal track, although I cloned the vocal track so that I could add more effects . . . ]

"(Baby You Were) Only Dreaming" (The Surf Whammys) -- MP3 (9.2MB, 276-kbps [VBR], approximately 4 minutes and 26 seconds)

So what!

I have not done any experiments to determine whether with AmpliTube one must run everything through an amplifier, loudspeaker cabinet, and microphone to get it to the rack-mount effects, but intuition suggests that it probably is part of the overall package to start the chain with an amplifier, loudspeaker cabinet, and microphones . . .

There are echo units, and I used the Fender Tape Echo unit, which is nice . . .

The Harmonator is excellent, and after making sense of the way the controls work, I did an experiment where I set the key to C and the scale to Phrygian, which mostly was based on determining that Phrygian sounded best . . .

When I pitch-corrected the melody in the Melodye Editor, it determined that the melody was in the key of B and the mode was Natural Minor, so it was a bit strange to set the Harmonator to the key of C, except that the key of C is the default . . .

It works, and I think that I understand why it works, although explaining it is not so easy . . .

Basically, there is a way on guitar to play a Ionian mode scale (a simple diatonic major scale) in a relative position such that the notes are the same as the notes for any of the seven modern modes (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydan, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian), where the relative position is based on a somewhat convoluted formula, and this appears to be a good explanation for C Phrygian working as harmony notes for a melody in B Natural Minor . . .

[NOTE: This might map to a harmony epiphany here in the sound isolation studio, so I need to explore it more detail, since I never considered the idea of viewing harmony based on using different modes or scales for each harmony part. It makes sense, and I should be able to devise a set of algorithms in REALbasic on the Mac to determine the mapping, since I know there are algorithms for doing various types of multiple voice vocal harmonies, because I have a TC-Helicon VoiceWorks vocal processor, and it does this type of emulated and synthesized vocal harmony. The advantage of determining the algorithms is that it works the same way as doing these types of FORUM posts, which basically is a type of homework or something, where for me writing about stuff nearly always leads to discovering something new, and I like the concept of setting the Harmonator to C Phrygian and having the resulting harmony working very nicely with a melody in B Natural Minor, if only because it is so completely and totally surreal and in some respects vastly illogical, at least based on my current understanding of the music theory aspects of vocal harmony, which is all the more surreal because without looking at a reference I have no idea what a "B Natural Scale" is, and I certainly did not do the music notation for "(Baby You Were) Only Dreaming" that way, since I do everything in "no key", which actually is the key of C, and I do everything on the treble clef, since it is the only clef that I can sing in my head, which is one of the nice aspects of using Notion 3 (Notion Music), because it makes it possible to have notes on the treble clef played at various user-specified intervals, including two octaves lower, which is what I use for electric bass guitar parts, thereby avoiding the need to remember that the bass clef is weird and its notes are different from the notes on the treble clef, which from my perspective and the perspective of mathematics and geometry is a patently stupid way to do clefs, since the only difference in clefs should be the relative octave, so that the relative octave for a clef simply is the value of C in the third space between the five lines from the bottom, which makes a standard treble clef a C5 clef, because "High C" is C5 in the US ("Scientific Pitch Notation"), which avoids the following highly redundant and confusing nonsense . . . ]

Image
Image

This is the formula for determining the relative Ionian scale that I devised in a discussion on "Modes Applied to Flamenco" in the GuitarZone.com FORUM, which is another of my favorite music FORUMS, along with the Notion Music FORUM for Notion 3. The information came from a video tutorial that Professor Ruben Díaz did on piano as part of his virtual festival of video tutorials on Flamenco guitar in the style of Paco de Lucía, and I decided to put it into the form of an algorithm or formula:

[NOTE: In the grand scheme of everything, when one plays electric guitar this algorithm or formula has great value in the same way as Barre chords, which specifically makes it very useful when one cannot avoid playing with a horn section, where what typically happens is the horn section demands that song must be played in weird keys like B♭, E♭, and F, since their instruments use a different clef or whatever, but these are terrible keys for electric guitar, which is where Barre chords provide the solution you only need to know the pattern and which fret to base it. And the same thing happens with the seven modern modes and this algorithm or formula, because inevitably one will encounter a horn section that also has demanding requirements of modes, where you find yourself needing to play electric guitar for a song in E♭ Mixolydian, at which time you can do a bit of quick calculating to determine that Mixolydian is 5 and is not a minor or diminished mode, so you can play an Ionian mode simple major scale based at the fourth of E♭, which is A♭, hence a simple major scale with its tonic or root note at the 4th fret of the low-pitch "E" string, so while the horn section is going to town in their E♭Mixolydian universe, you can go to town in A♭Ionian, which is simply A Major played one fret lower . . . :D ]

Code: Select all
Tonic of Ionian Scale transformed to a Specific Mode =
   (8 - Specific Mode Degree Relative to Ionian Mode) + 1*

[*NOTE: The interval is flatted or diminished for the three minor modes
(Aeolian, Dorian, Phrygian) and the single diminished mode (Locrian) . . . ]


Modes Applied to Flamenco (GuitarZone.com FORUM)

Modes Applied to Flamenco (Professor Ruben Díaz) -- Video Tutorial with Grand Piano

Flamenco Video Lessons (Professor Ruben Díaz)

Using AmpliTube 3.6 as an effects processor for vocals works, and the Fender Tape Echo unit is nice, as is the Harmonator, but as noted I think that having a new product focused on more advanced effects for use when one is doing producing and mixing is an excellent idea, which could be S-RackS (Studio Racks), E-RackS (Effects Racks), P-RackS (Producer Racks), V-RackS (Vocal Racks), or whatever name is suitable . . .

OBSERVATION

One of the most fascinating aspects of computer programs is that once you discover how to use them you have learned a bunch of stuff, and learning a bunch of stuff tends to be very good, if not excellent . . .

I knew some stuff about producing and mixing, but it was only after getting T-RackS that it started making sense, which also is the way it worked with synthesizers and all the IK Multimedia virtual instruments, as well as with music notation and Notion 3 (Notion Music) . . .

From playing lead guitar and having a virtual festival of real effects pedals and a Fulltone Tube Tape Echo unit, I already know a lot about effects, so AmpliTube is more of an experimental laboratory for me, which is great . . .

So, there is value to T-RackS which is separate from what it actually does, and I think this is important for musicians and singers who decide to self-produce, since the FACT of the matter is that musicians and singers typically have no clue about producing and mixing and tend to rely on the vastly mistaken belief that since they can play an instrument or sing proficiently, then they just as easily can produce and mix songs based entirely on intuition without knowing anything about producing and mixing, which certainly was the case here in the sound isolation studio until approximately two years ago when I realized that the production and mixing on my songs was terrible, which then led to the ongoing effort to make sense of producing and mixing, which is coming along nicely, although I have a bit more work to do . . .

And while a few days ago I was thinking that this might be an excellent fit for T-RackS 4, my current thinking is that it fits better with a new product (for example, "S-RackS") that uses a similar framework (independent VST plug-ins, chains, and suites) but has more advanced versions of the types of rack-mount effects that producers use in the studio for doing elaborate vocal processing and other advanced special effects work, which for the Main Vocal track for the most recent version of "(Baby You Were) Only Dreaming" looks like this, where I used the Melodyne Editor (Celemony) to do pitch correction and TrackPlug 5 (Wave Arts) to do mid-scooping, brickwall frequency focusing, and noise-gating in addition to the virtual festival of IK Multimedia processors:

Image

From my perspective, these are two very important facts:

(1) The Metering section in T-RackS 3 Deluxe (v3.5) provides the clue that IK Multimedia knows how to do GUI meters and has all the required technologies and algorithms . . .

(2) Everything in AmpliTube 3.6, all the various virtual instruments, CSR Classik Studio Reverb, and T-RackS 3 Deluxe (v3.5) and the new Black 76 and White 2A VST plug-ins provide the clues that IK Multimedia has a lot of audio processing algorithms and the ability to do highly advanced stuff . . .

The metering aspect is very important, because when I am doing producing and mixing it helps to be able to see what is happening visually via meters when I am exploring various ideas for instrument and vocal effects, which obviously includes the advanced T-RackS VST plug-ins . . .

And the ability to do more detailed adjusting and fine-tuning of effects also is very important, as is for example being able to create elaborate echo effects, which as noted in my earlier posts typically requires me to use as many as five separate echo units, each having four separate echo times . . .

Using the digital audio workstation (DAW) application as the packaging framework is fine, but it makes more sense to me to have a packaging framework like AmpliTube and T-RackS for studio production effects units, since (a) it provides a logical perspective and focus on the role special effects and signal processing play in producing and mixing and (b) it makes it possible to create user-defined "suites" in a more straightforward way, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :)
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Re: T-RackS 4: What would you like to see?

Postby Surf Whammy » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:27 am

I did a few more experiments with "(Baby You Were) Only Dreaming" using the same single vocal track, which was the first time I actually sang the song, although I practiced singing it in my mind as I was doing the music notation for the instruments, and I realized that AmpliTube 3.6 simply is too noisy for use as a vocal processor, since you have to run the basically clean vocal track through an amplifier, loudspeaker cabinet, and microphone to get a signal to the rack-mount effects, so I stopped using it and switched focus to CSR Classik Studio Reverb, which I got last week, hence is a bit new in terms of knowing how to configure it . . .

I switched to the "Room" section and used the "Default" setting but adjusted it a bit with the Advanced Controls, and it is a very nice reverb unit that is a bit reminiscent of the type of reverberation used in the late-1950s and early-1960s on songs like "Dream Lover" (Bobby Darin) and "Runaround Sue" (Dion), which I really like a lot . . .

"Dream Lover" (Bobby Darin) -- YouTube music video

"Runaround Sue" (Dion) -- YouTube music video

I cloned the single vocal track and used CSR Classik Studio Reverb and MOTU Echo on the original single vocal track, but I only used CSR Classik Studio Reverb on the cloned vocal track, where it was set to spread the reverberation a bit more to the sides, really . . .

[NOTE: Enhancing everything with John Lennon style vocal processing requires using echo units with very precise settings, and it is different from reverberation . . .]

"Baby You Were Only Dreaming" (The Surf Whammys) -- July 15, 2011 -- MP3 (9.2MB, 278-kbps [VBR], approximately 4 minutes and 26 seconds)

Image

Really!

So, after doing this set of experiments, I am very adamant about the need for a set of studio quality echo units done in the same way as CSR Classik Studio Reverb, which I suppose might be called CSE Classik Studio Echo, which needs to have a lot of Advanced controls and parameters, since there are a lot of very specific rules for certain types of vocal echoes, and there are a lot of dependencies on the overall tempo and the speed at which words and phrases change, so it is very different from doing echoes for lead guitar, at least the way I do it, since I usually play lead guitar "into" the echoes, so essentially am controlling the fixed echo units by the way I play lead guitar, but with singing I usually sing dry and then do the reverberation and echoes later when I switch to producing and mixing . . .

And I continue to like the idea of having a separate set of studio effects for use in producing and mixing with a focus on advanced vocal processing, since it does not make a lot of sense to run vocal tracks through AmpliTube 3.6 unless one needs to do a specific type of vocal processing that fits nicely with running singing through a guitar amplifier, loudspeaker cabinet, and microphone, which it does nicely . . .

As noted, I like the idea of S-RackS (Studio Racks) as a separate product, since its focus is different, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :ugeek:
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Re: T-RackS 4: What would you like to see?

Postby lukebredin » Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:09 am

If
Surf Whammy wrote:and I realized that AmpliTube 3.6 simply is too noisy for use as a vocal processor, since you have to run the basically clean vocal track through an amplifier, loudspeaker cabinet, and microphone to get a signal to the rack-mount effects, so I stopped using it and switched focus to CSR Classik Studio Reverb,


You can bypass the individual parts of Amplitube, so you could bypass the amp, cabinet, microphone etc etc etc and just have the signal running through to the rack. I am not at my desk right now and off the top of my head I can not quite remember where the bypass button is, but if you click onto say the amp, i then think the bypass is in the top right hand corner. Do that again for the cab and microphones and pedal board and you will just have the signal running to the rack effects. :D
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Re: T-RackS 4: What would you like to see?

Postby lukebredin » Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:11 am

A little off topic but a tip anyway!!

But yes I agree a good echo/delay processor would be fantastic. :mrgreen:
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Re: T-RackS 4: What would you like to see?

Postby Surf Whammy » Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:36 pm

lukebredin wrote:If
Surf Whammy wrote:and I realized that AmpliTube 3.6 simply is too noisy for use as a vocal processor, since you have to run the basically clean vocal track through an amplifier, loudspeaker cabinet, and microphone to get a signal to the rack-mount effects, so I stopped using it and switched focus to CSR Classik Studio Reverb,


You can bypass the individual parts of AmpliTube, so you could bypass the amp, cabinet, microphone etc etc etc and just have the signal running through to the rack. I am not at my desk right now and off the top of my head I can not quite remember where the bypass button is, but if you click onto say the amp, i then think the bypass is in the top right hand corner. Do that again for the cab and microphones and pedal board and you will just have the signal running to the rack effects. :D


I turned-off the amplifiers, but it did not occur to me to bypass the loudspeaker cabinets and microphones, as well, so I will give it a try . . . :idea:

The Harmonator was doing an excellent job of creating a second vocal harmony part, but there was too much noise coming from something, which also was the case with the Fender Tape Echo, but perhaps the noise was coming from the loudspeaker cabinets and microphones . . .

Regardless, this led to doing more experiments with CSR Classik Studio Reverb (which I got last weekend), and I really like the default "Room" setting with a few tiny modifications for vocals, where the "tiny modifications" mostly are focused on making the left and right channels identical, since in the default setting they are different . . .

As noted, doing the ARC System calibration for the loudspeaker monitors made a big difference, so I am very pleased with this jump in progress . . .

The single track vocal I did was an experiment, but I like parts of it, and it opens the door to more ideas, which is part of my new "producing, mixing, and mastering" strategy, where instead of composing and singing the melody in real-time on the fly on the first and only take, I decided that it makes a bit more sense to compose the melody in advance and then to practice singing it before actually doing the recording work, although it is FUN to do everything spontaneously . . .

The first verse has a bit of a melody, although the second and third verses are more "melodic speaking", which in part is due to the lyrics, but it is easy to adjust and modify lyrics, which is one of the things I do sometimes after singing a song a few times, especially when singing a song with echo, which is a technique that John Lennon apparently used, although possibly for a different reason . . .

I did an experiment with a song a few years ago (2007) when I was doing everything with real instruments, where I sang the same melody and lyrics approximately 40 times with a lot of echo, recording it each time, and after the first 5 or so times several words and phrases not only changed but also became simpler, which was quite fascinating . . .

[NOTE: This was when I first started doing digital recording, mixing, and mastering, and at the time I was running everything through three layers of external mixers and lots of external effects processors before feeding a single stereo track to the MOTU 828mkII, and sometime later after a technical support call with the MOTU folks who had me do some tests it became apparent that there were signal strength mismatches in the external mixers and effects processors, which resulted in weak signals and a lot of room noise and hiss going to the MOTU 828mkII, at which time I switched to using only two XLR microphones and connecting them directly to the MOTU 828mkII, which works much better and gets strong signals, hence not so much room noise and hiss, which for vocals I control with noise gates during the measures when there is no singing. And with real electric guitar, it is virtually impossible not to get strong signals, so that is the only which I have not changed dramatically, although I have considered the possibility of playing through a real amplifier and loudspeaker cabinet, except that it is too loud and too much trouble, at least until I have enough time to build a separate isolation chamber for the guitar and bass amplifiers and loudspeaker cabinets, really . . . ]

"Dreams" (The Surf Whammys) -- MP3

"For enlightenment" became "or it might have been" and "upside-down in somersaults" became "upside-down in circles", so now I do this all the time and consider it to be a very useful technique for determining the correct lyrics, where the general idea is that if you can understand the lyrics if they are sung in the Taj Mahal, then the words and phrases probably are correct, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :)
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Re: T-RackS 4: What would you like to see?

Postby Surf Whammy » Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:22 pm

lukebredin wrote:. . . a good echo/delay processor would be fantastic.


At present, I use the MOTU Echo that comes with Digital Performer, but it only has four echoes, so I tend to use four or five of them at a time . . .

The nice aspect of MOTU Echo is that it is easy to set each echo to a specific delay time and volume, but there are no parameters for feedback and repeats, although I tend to avoid a lot of feedback, since it reduces clarity and I prefer distinct but plentiful echoes . . .

I have several real echo units (Fulltone Tube Tape Echo, BOSS DD-20 Giga Delay, and BOSS RE-20 Roland Space Echo), which I use mostly for real lead guitar when I need to have the DigiTech Whammy pedals and Dunlop CryBaby wah-wah pedal for foot stuff (motion pedal aspects, specifically), but none of them do what I need to do with vocal echoes, either . . .

The ideal super advanced programmable custom echo unit will have a way to create a custom echo at a specific measure or timestamp and then to store the custom echo and play it at the appropriate time, where this can be done with one instance of the VST plug-in but with many different custom echoes, so that I can have one type of general but custom-designed echo but also have additional custom-designed echoes running simultaneously, where an example of a specifically focused cutsom-designed echo might be to repeat and gradually fade the tail of a word at the end of a lyrical phrase, which at present I do in a different way that is a bit of a hassle and takes a while, since it essentially requires creating a new stereo track and doing a bit of cloning, as well as some other stuff . . .

On the other hand, if it is too complex programmatically to have the VST plug-in work separately like the Melodyne Editor (Celemony), then I will be happy with a set of echo units that have at least as many advanced controlling parameters as the reverb units in CSR Classik Studio Reverb, since it is not a problem to have a set of cloned tracks in the digital audio workstation (DAW) application, and there are ways to do custom echos with automation in the DAW, which is the reason for suggesting something along the lines of CSE Custom Studio Echo . . .

From yet another perspective, I think that part of the problem is a matter of having a lead guitar mindset rather than a vocal processing perspective, where for lead guitar the general strategy is that you set the echo units primarily to fixed settings and then control everything by the way you play, which is not so difficult to do when you have multiple echo units with different sensitivities, since you can activate them based on how hard or soft you pick the strings and so forth but, in great contrast. elaborate vocal echoes are done after the fact, where you adjust the echoes specifically to whatever is already recorded, which pretty much removes the singer from the real-time control aspect . . .

A skilled singer can "work" a microphone, compressor/limiter, and reverberation unit, but other than pushing a foot pedal to activate a preset echo, it is not so easy for a singer to "work" an elaborate set of echo units in real-time . . .

So the focus is on doing elaborate custom vocal processing after the singing has been recorded, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :)
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Re: T-RackS 4: What would you like to see?

Postby Surf Whammy » Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:40 pm

As a bit of follow-up, I did some focused Google searching and found several fascinating VST plug-in echo units--some of which are available for the Mac--and I found one in particular that is mind-bogglingly superb, although it only has two channels, so there are advanced echo units available, but none of them does everything that I would like a super advanced programmable custom echo unit to do, which again confirms my strong belief that there is a market for this type of VST plug-in echo unit . . .

On the good side, now I can do what I need to do, but on the bad side it requires doing a lot of custom work in the Melodyne Editor (Celemony), CSR Classik Studio Reverb (IK Multimedia), and MOTU Echo, as well as cloning vocal tracks and doing a bit of VST plug-in automation in Digital Performer 7.23 (MOTU), really . . .

[NOTE: This is the newest version of "(Baby You Were) Only Dreaming", and it has more custom echoes, although not all the custom echoes I want it to have, but it is coming along nicely . . . ]

"(Baby You Were) Only Dreaming" (The Surf Whammys) -- July 17, 2011 -- MP3 (9.2MB, 276-kbps [VBR], approximately 4 minutes and 26 seconds)

Really! :ugeek:
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Re: T-RackS 4: What would you like to see?

Postby DarkStar » Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:25 pm

Allow us to specify the folder for the Presets (and other working files?) rather than hard-coding it as "My Documents\IK Multimedia\T-RackS\..." or similar.

Same goes for Registry keys, put them somewhere where they do not cause issues in Windows 7.
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Re: T-RackS 4: What would you like to see?

Postby krist » Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:18 am

Well, not necessarily in T-Racks 4 per se, as I prefer the modular approach/singles, and I just bought the last single I wanted this am. (Sort of - I'm still having issues forgiving myself for not grabbing the shell when it was on sale because the metering suite would have been nice.)

Anyway, admitting that what makes it's way into T-Racks 4 is also available as singles, I would really love to see and hear IK's take on Tape Saturation. That's the one thing I can think of. For the rest, I trust that they'll find plenty of new (old) pieces of equipment to model and make me want to buy.

On a side note, it'd be sweet really if IK decided to sell CSR singles.

When I finally bought the Black 76 this am, it almost felt sad as I pretty much bought all I needed now in terms of FX. Short of new singles, I guess I'm done shopping at IK for a while, besides my occasional visit to the Custom Shop.
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Re: T-RackS 4: What would you like to see?

Postby jjguitar » Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:11 am

I would like to see the T-RackS singles in the custom shop, so I can use them with the Amplitube 3 suite.
It would be great if IK could make them compatible with Amplitube 3.This would be the "all in one" solution 8-)
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