[Solved] Mix down?

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TAERSH
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[Solved] Mix down?

Post by TAERSH »

Hi.

I'm curious. Lets say you have worked out a song and it's now ready to make a mix-down. Let's say also you have used MIDI as well as Audio within that song. So, it couldn't be exported like Audio only recordings in a quick way. I'm curious about:

- the OS used
- the Sequencer used (in Germany we say 'Sequencer' to all DAW with MIDI ability)
- the programs used to get the stereo mix-down in the end

Thanks in advance...
Last edited by TAERSH on Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mix down?

Post by tavasti »

TAERSH wrote: - the OS used
- the Sequencer used (in Germany we say 'Sequencer' to all DAW with MIDI ability)
- the programs used to get the stereo mix-down in the end
I run Ubuntu 18.04, and whole process is done in Mixbus. (You can user Ardour, Mixbus is based on it)
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sysrqer
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Re: Mix down?

Post by sysrqer »

I tend to use whatever I made the song in, whether it be Renoise or Reaper. If I work in VCV Rack then I might export it all into Reaper.

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Re: Mix down?

Post by jonetsu »

For me it's very simple. When a song is ready for mixing it means that all tracks are ready to be exported as audio. Gott hat a long time ago from mixing engineer and author Mike Senior and his incredible array of multitrack examples ready for mixing at Cambridge-MT. All examples are in the universal format of 1 wav file per track. You have 60 tracks in your song ? Then there are 60 wav files, ready to be loaded in every DAW in the world.

Same with anything I make. When a piece is ready to be mixed it means that all tracks are ready to be exported from Bitwig (creative stage) into Mixbus32C (mixing/mastering stages) as audio files. I don't think it can be simpler. Unless of course the mixing is done in the same DAW as creation, but that's another matter.

As far as quickness is concerned, exporting tracks takes the time it'll take, maybe at most 5 minutes if there are many tracks ... which makes me think of something else, mentioned by mixing engineer Michael White: he said, back in 'the times', when real tape was used in studios, there were many pauses made while the tape was rewinding, and he found those pauses to be very good in the mixing process. Today people are 'glued' to their DAWs, no pauses.

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TAERSH
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Re: Mix down?

Post by TAERSH »

Sorry, but probably I wasn't clear enough.
I'm asking of a mix-down from MIDI and Audio used within a song

As far as I know, to make Audio from MIDI tracks does take as long as the the duration of the song/tracks.
Never heard of a possibility to export MIDI tracks into Audio in a quick way like it can be done on Audio only recordings.
Ardour does this very quick e.g.

Also I don't get it: why in the hell should I export any of the recordings into another DAW to make a mix-down?

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Re: Mix down?

Post by lilith »

Renoise or Reaper renders Midi very fast to Audio. Sure the while track takes 2 minutes or so. Anyway, I also prefer to mix directly in Renoise.

Reaper or Ardour offers better and more versatile meters, folders, better routing, etc.So it's a better environment to mix compared to e.g Renoise which is great for sequencing. It can also all be done in Renoise but some things need some work arounds.

The main reason I don't export is to save disk space.

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Re: Mix down?

Post by sysrqer »

TAERSH wrote:Sorry, but probably I wasn't clear enough.
I'm asking of a mix-down from MIDI and Audio used within a song

As far as I know, to make Audio from MIDI tracks does take as long as the the duration of the song/tracks.
Never heard of a possibility to export MIDI tracks into Audio in a quick way like it can be done on Audio only recordings.
Ardour does this very quick e.g.

Also I don't get it: why in the hell should I export any of the recordings into another DAW to make a mix-down?
You don't have to, some people like to just start from scratch without instrument plugins etc in the project. If you made your track in Ardour then there is no real reason you should export it and mix elsewhere unless you want to.

Most Daws don't export in realtime so if your midi track is playing an instrument plugin then ardour will export it in a fraction of the time it would normally play for. But you can certainly export midi to audio, midi is silent by itself, it sends messages to some kind of sound generator and you can export the resulting audio from this as an audio file. Having midi in your song doesn't really much any difference to any of this process.

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TAERSH
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Re: Mix down?

Post by TAERSH »

Ok, here's a description of how I need to do it.

When composing/recording mainly I'm using Qtractor, Yoshimi and ZynAddSubFx (plus some plugin synthesizers like U-HE synths).
Yoshimi and ZynAddSubFx are not used as plugin. I'm using them as standalone. When the song is ready to be mixed down I'm starting JACK Mixer. All audio connections are disconnect the from playback and connect to its related inputs in JACK Mixer. The main out of JACK Mixer then connects to system playback. I'm starting Audacity (usually) or Traverso (most only for some testings done) and choose JACK Mixer as the recording source in Audacity. Then hit recording in Audacity and after that hit play in Qtractor.

So, when doing a mix-down of my 39 minutes Prog-Epos, Space Traveller, it takes 39 minutes until I can listen to that recorded stereo mix-down.

Still have an old Windows XP computer running extended Cubase LE4. Exactly the same issues/behaviour as in my Qtractor setup.

I would like to find a much faster way without the need to change my current used setup. E.g. don't want to switch to another DAW.
Ardour e.g. is very complicated when it comes to cut the parts within tracks so, I really don't like Ardour to be used.

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lilith
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Re: Mix down?

Post by lilith »

I'm not sure if Qtractor can write the song faster then 1x.

E.g. Reaper has a lot of options for the rendering speed:

Image

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Re: Mix down?

Post by jonetsu »

TAERSH wrote: As far as I know, to make Audio from MIDI tracks does take as long as the the duration of the song/tracks.
That's not the case. All rendering, audio, MIDI, is done at a higher speed. It does not matter at which speed it is rendered into a wav file as long as the wav file result is at the same original BPM. At least that's how Bitwig works.
TAERSH wrote: Also I don't get it: why in the hell should I export any of the recordings into another DAW to make a mix-down?
In the use case I mentioned:

1) Because Bitwig is not very good at mixing. No readily available dedicated monitor bus and I do not have a 'modern' audio interface that sits on the desk with a big volume button on top of it. Also, the faders are not very well made and they do not work with a Faderport last time I tried. Hence I use Bitwig for creating because it's excellent at that.

2) Because Mixbus32C has a superb sound right after importing the tracks. It makes mixing/mastering way better. OTOH, Mixbus32C is not so good for creation IMHO since it does not have a concept of Clips and Scenes that can be arranged in any which way while being recorded in an Arranger. Not to mention that working with MIDI in Mixbus is no fun.

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Re: Mix down?

Post by jonetsu »

Rendering speed: also adjustable in Mixbus/Ardour. If you are using for instance a real tube compressor such as the VLA2 on the master bus, then the rendering has to be 1x. Otherwise, it can be done faster.

Mixbus/Ardour editing: for creating, I agree it's not very user-friendly. But at mixing is great. Switching DAW also allows me to switch hats so to speak and put on a mixer hat and asking myself the question: what can be done with those tracks ?

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TAERSH
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Re: Mix down?

Post by TAERSH »

REAPER

Ok, I downloaded Reaper for GNU/Linux 64bit to have a look at.

Started from its extraction directory via the terminal. It complains a lot - hundreds of lines
Assertion failure in juce_XmlElement.cpp:72

// Global MidiCC Map
numFounds = 3
Error: was not able to parse line: Global MidiCC Map


AM_DelayNetWorks::setParameterComplex
Structure 0 - 0
HHD
Wide
Seed 0
OMG... need to reseed


Lots of
awaiting 64 bytes to be freed 253F570 AM_AlignedBy.h-1
and similar.

Plus some more. Even though, its up and running. Reaper seems to be all in one, but very limited. No options to connect MIDI to a standalone synthesizer like Yoshimi or to physical synthesizers like my SY22 - neither ALSA MIDI nor JACK MIDI shows a Reaper MIDI client. Also it's very limited on its use of plugins. As far as I noticed VST only. No DSSI, no LV2, no LADSPA.

After adding a virtual instrument to a new track I couldn't even find any option to connect my KeyControl 49+ MIDI Keyboard to Reaper in general or to this new added track in specific.

So, for those whom familiar with it and can live with its limitation to VST plugins only Reaper maybe a good choice.
Though, it doesn't offer anything that could make me stepping away from Qtractor.

BITWIG

I tried BitWig earlier. Found something on the Web to download. One was a demo version the other was a crack.
Both were crashing immediately on my system. So, no chance.

Ardour/Mixbus

Since MixBus is based on Ardour (as far as I know) how could it bee software to pay for?

As I mentioned: Ardour is way too much too complicated when it comes to cut parts within tracks. I used Ardour to make the mix-down of the 24-track-recording of the Helix Research Kitchen Live Video on my YouTube channel. Instead of cutting at a desired position it splits up the part in 20, 30, 40 or even more parts. Developer must getting drunk when applying such function to a very good program on the other hand. So, no chance to make me stepping away from Qtractor.

Thanks for all the hints! :)

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Re: Mix down?

Post by jonetsu »

TAERSH wrote: I tried BitWig earlier. Found something on the Web to download. One was a demo version the other was a crack.
Both were crashing immediately on my system. So, no chance.
Bitwig works just about everywhere. It certainly works in Linux Mint and (X)Ubuntu. There is/was a 16-track version for some $79 recently.

Sorry if you already mentioned it, but what distro are you using ?
TAERSH wrote:Since MixBus is based on Ardour (as far as I know) how could it bee software to pay for?
Harrison are the makers of real world consoles, such as the ones used for Zappa, Supertramp, M. Jackson, ABBA, and "many more". They also build consoles for cinematic productions. Mixbus32C has the Harrison hardware 32C EQ emulation built-in on every track.

As for Mixbus itself (not the 32C version) Harrison also added some of their own in there, if only for the tape saturation. It's a long time I haven't used Ardour nor Mixbus, so I do not know precisely.
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Re: Mix down?

Post by milo »

TAERSH wrote:Ok, here's a description of how I need to do it.

When composing/recording mainly I'm using Qtractor, Yoshimi and ZynAddSubFx (plus some plugin synthesizers like U-HE synths).
Yoshimi and ZynAddSubFx are not used as plugin. I'm using them as standalone. When the song is ready to be mixed down I'm starting JACK Mixer. All audio connections are disconnect the from playback and connect to its related inputs in JACK Mixer. The main out of JACK Mixer then connects to system playback. I'm starting Audacity (usually) or Traverso (most only for some testings done) and choose JACK Mixer as the recording source in Audacity. Then hit recording in Audacity and after that hit play in Qtractor.

So, when doing a mix-down of my 39 minutes Prog-Epos, Space Traveller, it takes 39 minutes until I can listen to that recorded stereo mix-down.

Still have an old Windows XP computer running extended Cubase LE4. Exactly the same issues/behaviour as in my Qtractor setup.

I would like to find a much faster way without the need to change my current used setup. E.g. don't want to switch to another DAW.
Ardour e.g. is very complicated when it comes to cut the parts within tracks so, I really don't like Ardour to be used.
Ok, now I get what you're asking. I think if you change your signal flow you will get a much faster rendering time when you are doing a mixdown. With your current setup you have to render in realtime, as your song is playing in all of the connected apps (DAW + external synths), routed through JACK.

If you moved your synths to plugins inside of your Qtractor instead of standalone apps then it would render much faster, and you wouldn't have to do so much duct-tape-and-chewing-gum work with JACK. Zyn and Yoshimi work really well as lv2 plugins on a midi track, and it would make your workflow much more efficient.

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TAERSH
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Re: Mix down?

Post by TAERSH »

Sorry if you already mentioned it, but what distro are you using ?
I'm using my own GNU/Linux build based on Ubuntu Bionic Beaver 64bit.
I made this using hacked makepup script and hacked WoofCE which is less known as the Puppy Linux builder.
So basically it's a Puppy GNU/Linux but it's not a Puppy. It's something in between and it s very special.

E.g.: let's assume any intruder would be able to remove all the .so files from /usr/lib. For you, this would mean the end of anything plus re-installing of everything. I just press reset on the computers case and my system starts up like fresh installed. It runs totally in RAM. One can only destroy it when formatting the hd drive.

But: it's very well configurable already at boot via text based config files. So, using 10 different boot menu entries (grub, grub4dos etc.) I can run 10 different configured operating systems by only one being installed.
If you moved your synths to plugins inside of your Qtractor instead of standalone apps then it would render much faster, and you wouldn't have to do so much duct-tape-and-chewing-gum work with JACK. Zyn and Yoshimi work really well as lv2 plugins on a midi track, and it would make your workflow much more efficient.
I have two different types of templates to be used when starting a new project.
The 2nd one already uses Yoshimi and ZynAddSubFx as plugins from within Qtractor.
The template has 16 tracks for Yoshimi plus 16 tracks for ZynAddSubFx. Plus some LV2 and VST plugins it takes way too long until the song is completely loaded. This increases a lot when audio is used in addition to all those plugins.

That's why I prefer mostly to use them as standalone.

But I see the point and am going to try to find out, if Qtractor is able to mix-down/export faster that way.

Reaper again

After playing a little with Reaper (since it's there after download) I found options related to connections. So, I was able to connect my MIDI keyboard and also ZynAddSubFx. This means: it moved some points up in the ranking list and forces me to play a little more with it.

Thanks.

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