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Utilizing ADC while mixing

From: Pro Tools 9 Essential Training

Video: Utilizing ADC while mixing

In this video I want to talk about using Automatic Delay Compensation, a feature now standard in all versions of Pro Tools. Host-based RTAS plug-ins and HD only TDM plug-ins are both real-time effects; it takes a little time for your computer to process the audio signals that pass through them. This processing delay can be measured in number of samples or milliseconds, and it can be significant. Some plug-ins, like the stock EQ plug- ins in Pro Tools, require very little processing power and have zero delay.

Utilizing ADC while mixing

In this video I want to talk about using Automatic Delay Compensation, a feature now standard in all versions of Pro Tools. Host-based RTAS plug-ins and HD only TDM plug-ins are both real-time effects; it takes a little time for your computer to process the audio signals that pass through them. This processing delay can be measured in number of samples or milliseconds, and it can be significant. Some plug-ins, like the stock EQ plug- ins in Pro Tools, require very little processing power and have zero delay.

However, processor-intensive plug-ins, like pitch correction plug-ins, long delay effects, look ahead mastering limiters like the maxim plug-in, and noise reduction plug-ins can have much larger delay times. For example, one instance of the maxim plug-in has 1,024 samples of delay, and the delay literally adds up. The total delay of a track is equal to the sum of all the delays from all of the plug-ins on that track. So you have three maxim plug-ins on one track that will cause over 3,000 samples of delay.

Let's listen to an example here. I have got two guitar tracks that are in sync with each other, and I'll play him in your hear how they sound. (Music playing.) Now if I go up here and I activate three maxim plug-ins, now I have got over 3,000 samples of delay time, and let's hear how that affects the sound.

(Music playing.) And you can hear that it obviously affects the timing. The second guitar track is far behind the first guitar track. To combat this delay, Pro Tools can add the same amount of delay to each track, and this is called Automatic Delay Compensation. Let's go up to the Options menu and choose Delay Compensation.

Pro Tools will ask you if you want to open the playback engine in order to enable it. We'll say okay. And right here in the middle of the window, you can choose between None, Short, and Long. None, allocates any resources for Automatic Delay Compensation. Short allocates a small amount of resources for ADC, and it's more efficient than the Long setting. So you should use Short when you have a smaller session with not very many plug-ins. The Long setting allocates the maximum amount of resources for ADC; use this with larger sessions with a lot of plug-ins.

Now we can see that 4,095 samples per channel is the long value, and this value will differ depending on the sample rate of the session. But for this session, we have 44.1 kHz as the sampling rate, and that's the number of samples that we have here, 4,095, for that particular sampling rate in this session. So I am going ahead and choose Long, and Pro Tools will ask if I want to save the session and then reopen it with that Automatic Delay Compensation setting, and I'll say yes, and I need to click the OK button here, and Pro Tools will reopen the session with the Automatic Delay Compensation on.

And you'll notice one thing down here: the delay compensation is shown at the bottom of these tracks. If you don't see this, you can go to View > Mix Window Views, and choose Delay Compensation. Now let's talk about what's showing down here. dly stands for delay, and that shows the total plug-in and hardware insert delay per track. Green values mean that the delay is enabled, but the track does not exceed the Automatic Delay Compensation limit. Orange, as we see on this acoustic guitar track number two, means that the delay is enabled and that particular track has the longest delay of all the tracks, but it still does not exceed the maximum ADC limit.

If this were red, then it would show that it's exceeding the ADC limit, and we can do that by activating this other maxim plug-in. Now it's red, and you'll remember that the maximum delay for this session was 4,095 for the Long setting. We have 4,096 here, so it exceeds it by one sample. If these values were gray, then that means that the track delay is bypassed. Down below we have the plus and minus, and this field enables you to manually adjust the ADC by adding a user offset.

Now why would you do this? If you had a plug-in that is incorrectly recording its delay amount, you can add or subtract values in here. Or if you want to manually adjust the timing or the feel of the track, you can click in here. So I am going to click in there once, and I can type in a number, or I can click and move the mouse, or I can use the up and down arrows to type in a value. Hit Enter or Return to enter that value. Below that we have the Track Compensation Indicator, and this shows how much ADC is applied to each track.

When it's green, that means that the track does not exceed the ADC value. It will turn blue if the ADC is force- enabled, like if the track is record enabled and ADC is not suspended. And it will be red, as we can see here, when the delay exceeds the ADC limit. Again, it will turn gray if the track delay is bypassed, and I will show you how we can bypass the track delay in just a few minutes. So we are looking at these delay compensation values in terms of samples.

Now if we wanted to look at it in terms of milliseconds, we can do that. If we go up to Set Up > Preferences, and in the Operation page, you can go down to this area, Delay Compensation Time mode, and switch it to milliseconds. Hit OK, and you'll see the delay shown in milliseconds instead of samples. And I am going to go up here and take this last maxim, so that we actually have delay compensation that is working and is not exceeding the value. And let me play this back for you with the compensation in there, and you'll hear that these two tracks are totally in time.

(Music playing.) We can make the delay compensation inactive for the moment, by just choosing option Delay Compensation and unchecking this, and you'll see these be grayed out, and let's listen. (Music playing.) So obviously, we can hear the benefit of activating the delay compensation.

In addition to accounting for delays caused by plug-ins, Automatic Delay Compensation also accounts for delays in internal mixer routings due to bussing and sends, as well as from hardware inserts, and this is called the system delay. We can view that by going to Setup > Session, and we will see the system delay is shown here. Now you'll notice that it's slightly larger than the delay that's on these tracks. These delay indicators on the tracks don't show the entire system delay. So if you really want to see the whole delay, you've got to go to the Session Setup window.

So what happens if the total delay on a track exceeds the ADC limit? Now let's make that happen. Go over here and activate this maxim plug-ins, so now we have more delay than can be accounted for by the ADC. Well, if had out ADC setting at Short, we could make it Long, and that would fix it. Or now because we have it set at Long, there is a different technique that we have to use. So basically what we need to do is go and bypass this delay, and I'll use Ctrl+ Command on my Mac and click that, and it will gray it out.

On a PC, you would press Start+Ctrl, and click that value. And then I am going over to the Edit window, and I am going to look at the beginning of this track. I am actually going to have nudge this audio data earlier in time, by the amount of delay reported in the Track Delays Indicator; that was 92 milliseconds. So on a separate playlist, I made this happen. I nudged the track ahead in time, and now we can listen to these two tracks playing in time, even though this has been nudged, and it has all this delay on it, because of all these maxims, but they'll play in time together.

So I am going to press Play. (Music playing.) And it works. So Automatic Delay Compensation is a great feature, and it can really help you make your mix sound more accurate and time-aligned. I recommend activating ADC every time you play back a session in Pro Tools, and most importantly, when you're working on mix.

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This video is part of

Image for Pro Tools 9 Essential Training
Pro Tools 9 Essential Training

106 video lessons · 11333 viewers

David Franz
Author

 
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  1. 13m 13s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Exploring the different versions of Pro Tools
      2m 30s
    3. Optimizing your computer before installing Pro Tools
      4m 6s
    4. Troubleshooting
      2m 18s
    5. Using the exercise files
      3m 3s
  2. 31m 3s
    1. Installing and authorizing Pro Tools
      1m 50s
    2. Connecting your Pro Tools system
      4m 1s
    3. Powering up and powering down
      58s
    4. Choosing the Playback Engine and Hardware settings
      4m 13s
    5. Optimizing Pro Tools performance
      5m 52s
    6. Utilizing Automatic Delay Compensation (ADC)
      1m 38s
    7. Setting essential preferences
      2m 35s
    8. Creating a Pro Tools session
      3m 43s
    9. Identifying elements in a session folder
      2m 33s
    10. Creating new tracks
      3m 40s
  3. 42m 9s
    1. Exploring the Edit window
      6m 52s
    2. Exploring the Mix window
      3m 11s
    3. Exploring the Transport and Big Counter windows
      2m 57s
    4. Using the Color palette and window arrangements
      2m 36s
    5. Investigating the menus
      3m 13s
    6. Understanding samples and ticks
      3m 34s
    7. Viewing and manipulating tracks
      4m 31s
    8. Selecting inputs, outputs, and buses
      3m 58s
    9. Selecting an I/O Settings file
      4m 12s
    10. Understanding signal paths and gain stages
      3m 46s
    11. Utilizing keyboard shortcuts and keyboard focus
      3m 19s
  4. 19m 31s
    1. Using DigiBase and the Workspace browser
      4m 22s
    2. Importing audio
      3m 1s
    3. Importing MIDI
      2m 46s
    4. Importing session data
      3m 44s
    5. Importing tracks from a CD
      2m 44s
    6. Importing video
      2m 54s
  5. 1h 0m
    1. Recording audio
      6m 14s
    2. Playing back audio
      10m 0s
    3. Creating a click track
      5m 25s
    4. Overdubbing and using the record modes
      8m 29s
    5. Recording with playlists and Loop Record
      4m 3s
    6. Punch recording and using the monitoring modes
      4m 17s
    7. Dealing with latency and ADC
      4m 58s
    8. Creating a group
      4m 52s
    9. Adding effects while recording
      5m 17s
    10. Creating a headphone (cue) mix
      4m 29s
    11. Assigning disk allocation
      2m 17s
  6. 1h 19m
    1. Understanding nondestructive editing and region types
      3m 3s
    2. Using the Selector and Grabber tools
      3m 29s
    3. Using the Trimmer and Scrubber tools
      8m 16s
    4. Using the Zoomer tool and Zoom presets
      5m 41s
    5. Using the Pencil tool
      2m 46s
    6. Using the Smart tool
      1m 28s
    7. Understanding the Edit modes
      5m 9s
    8. Arranging regions
      5m 33s
    9. Undoing an edit
      2m 8s
    10. Utilizing fades and crossfades
      7m 22s
    11. Building a comp track using playlists
      4m 50s
    12. Locking and muting regions
      2m 52s
    13. Special Edit window buttons
      6m 47s
    14. Creating an audio loop
      4m 13s
    15. Editing a voiceover
      8m 37s
    16. Using Elastic Time and Elastic Pitch
      7m 38s
  7. 19m 27s
    1. Working with region groups
      6m 39s
    2. Using time, tempo, meter, key, and chord
      5m 37s
    3. Creating memory locations
      7m 11s
  8. 30m 47s
    1. Setting up MIDI on a Mac
      4m 7s
    2. Setting up MIDI on a PC
      2m 13s
    3. Setting up MIDI in Pro Tools
      2m 37s
    4. Recording MIDI data
      3m 7s
    5. Recording multiple MIDI tracks with one virtual instrument
      2m 17s
    6. Recording options for MIDI
      5m 44s
    7. Using step input
      4m 14s
    8. Making a drum loop with MIDI Merge
      3m 36s
    9. Composing with virtual instruments
      2m 52s
  9. 54m 25s
    1. Using the edit tools for editing MIDI data
      9m 47s
    2. Editing MIDI data in the MIDI Editor
      8m 17s
    3. Working with the MIDI event list
      2m 13s
    4. Editing MIDI data with event operations
      8m 35s
    5. Quantizing MIDI tracks
      12m 16s
    6. Creating and using groove templates
      5m 35s
    7. Utilizing real-time properties
      3m 49s
    8. Using MIDI Learn
      3m 53s
  10. 17m 44s
    1. Exploring the Score Editor
      5m 56s
    2. Using the Score Editor
      5m 11s
    3. Setting up a score
      4m 48s
    4. Printing and exporting a score
      1m 49s
  11. 25m 45s
    1. Writing and editing automation
      7m 21s
    2. Drawing automation with the Pencil tool
      3m 58s
    3. Editing automation with the Trimmer and Grabber tools
      2m 26s
    4. Cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing automation
      4m 2s
    5. Turning automation on and off
      4m 0s
    6. Automating plug-ins and virtual instruments
      3m 58s
  12. 1h 33m
    1. Setting up a session for mixing
      7m 53s
    2. Setting up an effects loop
      9m 30s
    3. Working with plug-ins
      4m 33s
    4. Utilizing ADC while mixing
      9m 11s
    5. Applying EQ
      9m 25s
    6. Adding compression and limiting
      13m 27s
    7. Adding depth effects: Delay and reverb
      12m 45s
    8. Applying AudioSuite plug-ins
      4m 14s
    9. Bouncing down a mix and making an MP3
      5m 44s
    10. Setting up a session for mastering
      4m 36s
    11. Mastering a session
      7m 35s
    12. Bouncing down master recordings with Dither and Noise Shaping
      4m 52s
  13. 10m 6s
    1. Importing and displaying video files
      2m 42s
    2. Adding music, foley, ADR, and FX
      4m 32s
    3. Bouncing down video and audio together
      2m 52s
  14. 4m 22s
    1. Archiving an entire session
      4m 22s
  15. 52s
    1. Further Recommendations
      52s

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