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Digital Audio Principles

Using plug-ins


From:

Digital Audio Principles

with Dave Schroeder

Video: Using plug-ins

Okay, so here we are in our plug-ins session, and we're going to talk about the two different ways you can apply plug-ins, or the places that they exist in the DAW. First, we'll look at how you insert one into a track in the mixer, and then we'll look at using them at the file level as a rendered effect. So, it's pretty simple! You go into your mixer, in the Insert section, and insert a plug-in. We'll go ahead and insert some reverb here on this channel. That will bring up an interface for setting the parameters and settings of the effect.
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  1. 50s
    1. Welcome
      50s
  2. 39m 10s
    1. What is sound?
      4m 15s
    2. Hertz and frequency response
      5m 34s
    3. Phase
      2m 39s
    4. Capturing audio
      3m 39s
    5. Sample rate
      6m 16s
    6. Bit depth
      9m 47s
    7. The waveform
      5m 3s
    8. Audio file formats
      1m 57s
  3. 7m 25s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      2m 59s
    2. Typical DAW signal flow
      4m 26s
  4. 50m 33s
    1. What microphones do
      1m 57s
    2. Element types
      5m 0s
    3. Pickup patterns
      6m 51s
    4. Axis
      2m 52s
    5. Frequency response and the proximity effect
      5m 10s
    6. Phase issues
      1m 41s
    7. Microphone types
      8m 44s
    8. Miking vocals
      5m 39s
    9. Miking amplifiers
      2m 17s
    10. Miking drums
      10m 22s
  5. 16m 39s
    1. Cables and connectors overview
      2m 42s
    2. Balanced and unbalanced cables
      3m 19s
    3. Common cable types
      7m 13s
    4. Cable tips
      3m 25s
  6. 12m 16s
    1. What is an I/O device?
      1m 41s
    2. Analog to digital conversion
      3m 10s
    3. Tour of an audio interface
      4m 49s
    4. Interface considerations
      2m 36s
  7. 21m 5s
    1. What is a preamp?
      3m 21s
    2. Input levels
      5m 29s
    3. Padding
      2m 18s
    4. Phantom power
      2m 37s
    5. Phase reverse
      3m 4s
    6. Preamp demo
      4m 16s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. What is a mixer?
      5m 55s
    2. Input section
      1m 17s
    3. Channel strips
      3m 16s
    4. Master section
      2m 28s
  9. 18m 21s
    1. What is monitoring?
      2m 11s
    2. Speakers
      4m 47s
    3. Room considerations
      5m 43s
    4. Headphone types
      3m 50s
    5. Monitoring levels
      1m 50s
  10. 15m 23s
    1. What role do computers play?
      1m 36s
    2. Performance issues
      4m 11s
    3. Hard drives
      4m 38s
    4. Mechanical noise
      2m 10s
    5. Authorization
      2m 48s
  11. 6m 54s
    1. Planning for recording
      54s
    2. Doing a system check
      1m 26s
    3. Planning your inputs
      1m 42s
    4. The recording environment
      2m 52s
  12. 25m 52s
    1. Types of digital audio software
      38s
    2. Multi-track recorders/sequencers
      4m 56s
    3. Two-track recorders/waveform editors
      4m 55s
    4. Loop-based music production software
      5m 44s
    5. Plug-ins
      6m 56s
    6. Other varieties
      2m 43s
  13. 18m 59s
    1. Common components
      46s
    2. The transport
      2m 4s
    3. The toolbar
      3m 19s
    4. The Edit/Arrange window
      4m 42s
    5. The mixer
      5m 8s
    6. The file list
      3m 0s
  14. 19m 17s
    1. Setting up a session
      3m 30s
    2. Assigning inputs and getting signals
      3m 19s
    3. Input modes
      3m 28s
    4. Overdubbing and punching
      5m 14s
    5. Bouncing down
      3m 46s
  15. 19m 42s
    1. What is editing?
      1m 21s
    2. Waveforms
      2m 53s
    3. Making silent cuts and trims
      7m 1s
    4. Fades and automation
      8m 27s
  16. 1h 23m
    1. What are plug-ins?
      3m 0s
    2. Using plug-ins
      6m 11s
    3. EQs
      7m 4s
    4. Dynamics pt. 1: Compressors, limiters, expanders, and gates
      5m 40s
    5. Dynamics pt 2: Applying dynamic effects
      7m 2s
    6. Pitch shifting
      6m 14s
    7. Reverb
      9m 28s
    8. Echo and delay
      6m 23s
    9. Modulation effects: Phaser, flanger, and chorus
      9m 39s
    10. Sound tools pt. 1: About, gain, normalize
      7m 39s
    11. Sound tools pt. 2: Reverse and time compression/expansion
      6m 29s
    12. Sound tools pt. 3: Noise reducers, dither
      8m 11s
  17. 23m 43s
    1. What is MIDI?
      3m 6s
    2. Keyboard controllers
      1m 23s
    3. Computer-based virtual instruments
      1m 6s
    4. Control surfaces
      1m 6s
    5. Recording and editing MIDI
      12m 4s
    6. Virtual instruments
      4m 58s
  18. 27m 29s
    1. What is mixing?
      1m 54s
    2. Some common objectives
      3m 4s
    3. Some useful techniques
      5m 59s
    4. A quick mixing demo
      16m 32s
  19. 18m 48s
    1. What is mastering?
      2m 24s
    2. Sonic maximization
      9m 43s
    3. Final preparations and exporting
      6m 41s
  20. 13m 34s
    1. What is audio compression?
      2m 16s
    2. Popular formats
      2m 9s
    3. Bit rate, sample rate, and channels
      5m 42s
    4. Other adjustments and considerations
      3m 27s
  21. 15m 6s
    1. Essential gear
      7m 36s
    2. Voice recording setups
      1m 43s
    3. The voice production process
      5m 47s
  22. 10m 4s
    1. Analog vs. digital
      2m 48s
    2. Tube vs. solid state
      5m 6s
    3. The continual upgrade
      2m 10s
  23. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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Digital Audio Principles
7h 57m Appropriate for all Mar 02, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Whether one is producing music, podcasts, game sounds, or film sound effects, Digital Audio Principles provides the tips and techniques that will make the project a success. Author Dave Schroeder explains the basics of digital audio production techniques and covers the essential hardware and software. He also discusses sound theory, frequency response, the range of human hearing, and dynamic range.

Subjects:
Audio + Music Audio Foundations Acoustics Microphones
Author:
Dave Schroeder

Using plug-ins

Okay, so here we are in our plug-ins session, and we're going to talk about the two different ways you can apply plug-ins, or the places that they exist in the DAW. First, we'll look at how you insert one into a track in the mixer, and then we'll look at using them at the file level as a rendered effect. So, it's pretty simple! You go into your mixer, in the Insert section, and insert a plug-in. We'll go ahead and insert some reverb here on this channel. That will bring up an interface for setting the parameters and settings of the effect.

Now, you don't hear anything when you just open it up; you have to actually play something, so we'll go ahead and listen to a drumbeat through some reverb. (drums playing) So, that's a plug-in in real time. We're playing that file through the effect. I can set up, in this situation, up to five of these plug-ins in a row. We'll use an EQ here, and then I will change the tonality of what's going on there.

(drums playing) Cut out some of that snare drum. (drums playing) So, that's using a plug-in in real time as an insert. When you're mixing, this is really nice because you can go in and you can set it up, make some adjustments, and then go back and change those adjustments as you're kind of making decisions about how different sounds sound together. Sometimes, you initially put a little bit too much or too little effect on, or it's not EQed quite right. You can load it in and then go ahead and go back and change it as you want to.

But the trick with real-time plug-ins is that they're processor-intensive. They are little applications that are actually running while everything else is running. They have to do a lot of math to figure out how to make reverb sound good. So, they can put quite a strain on your processor, and you'll find that as you start to include plug-ins, when you get to a point where you have a lot of them, you might notice some performance issues. Or at some point, you might not be able to insert or initiate any more plug- ins, because your processor can't handle it. So when this happens, it's good to look at applying effects at the file level, or to kind of render the effect to your sound file.

Now, this can be done in a destructive or non-destructive way, meaning that you can actually alter the original sound file itself on the hard drive. Or if you do it in a non-destructive way, you apply the filter or the effect, and it actually creates a new copy of that sound. I encourage you to work nondestructively as much as possible, so that way you always have your original recording still intact. So, let's go ahead and apply some effects. We'll select a file. Let's just select a drumbeat again. In Pro Tools, they have what they call the AudioSuite, which is where we have similar dropdown menu like we did in the Insert channel over here that shows you the different plug-ins by category.

Here we can grab something. We'll grab a D-Verb again. It's the same effect, but when I play back the sound -- Well, we have it here. When I play back the sound, there is no reverb. (drums playing) We're just going through. In order to apply it here, I select the sound file and then I--in Pro Tools it's called Preview, but now we are just playing that sound file on its own through this effect. We are listening back to that alone.

Notice the playhead is not moving. We're just checking out that sound file. So, we can make some settings, set up some reverb, put maybe some play down there. (drums playing) We can put a bypass here to see what the difference is. That's the original unaffected sound. Here is our affected sound. So, I think that sounds pretty good! So, I can hit Process now, and this sound file, the drumbeat, just had that Reverb added to it.

You can see, actually, it kind of throws in a little tighter there, D-Verb to let you know that we did that. So, we can listen back, and now I'm going to take these out just so it's really clear that we're not using the D-Verb as an insert, but that that reverb now is built into this file. (drums playing) So, that's applying an effect and, of course, we can undo it. Apple+Z -- (drums playing) And go back.

So, applying effects at the file level can be very useful because, one, it will free up some of your processor to do other things, and also, if you know that there is a setting that you want to have on a certain sound, you can actually really commit that setting or that effect to that sound. You'll see that actually there is quite a few things that fall in the sound tools category that really only exist as a file-level plug-in, and you can't plug them in as a real-time insert. The other thing I want to talk about quickly in this section that you'll see in a lot of plug-ins are a few words: wet, dry, and mix.

These refer to the amount of effect being applied to a signal, or to a sound. Dry implies that there is not much effect or no effect applied. Wet implies that there is a lot of effect, but it's a sliding scale. Mix generally refers to the balance between wet and dry. So here we'll preview again. (drums playing) And we'll go to zero mix, or completely dry with no effect on it. Then we can go to completely wet.

That means we're getting all affected signal. In the middle, we're hearing half of the signal or so without any effect on it, mixed with half of the signal with effect on it. So, this is good to know. You'll see the Mix option in pretty much every plug-in you work with, especially if it has an effect like a reverb or delay. So, it's good to know about wet, dry and mix.

Now, let's go take a look at some of these different categories of plug-ins individually.

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