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Utilizing ADC while mixing

From: Pro Tools 10 Essential Training

Video: Utilizing ADC while mixing

In this video I want to talk about using Automatic Delay Compensation. Host-Based RTAS and AAX plug-ins, as well as HD-only TDM plug-ins, are all 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 add up to a significant amount of time. Now 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. Host-Based RTAS and AAX plug-ins, as well as HD-only TDM plug-ins, are all 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 add up to a significant amount of time. Now 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 1024 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 the plug-ins on that track. So if you have three maxim plug-ins on one track, that's going to cause over 3000 samples of delay.

Now let's listen to this example. First I'm going to play back the track with no delay, and we'll hear what it sounds like. And you'll see that I actually have two acoustic guitar tracks here. These are double-tracked, two different guitar performances but played in time with each other. (Music Playing) Now you notice that they both have EQ plug-ins on them, and I'm going to bypass this one, and I'm going to play it back, and we'll see if you can hear any delay.

(Music Playing) The two tracks are very tight still, because the EQ plug-ins don't cause any delay. However, I want to make these maxim plug-ins active now, so I have three maxim plug-ins, and now let's hear the difference between the left and the right side of this guitar track. (Music Playing) Now we can obviously hear the difference in timing, because this track is playing back over 3000 samples later than this top track.

To combat delay, Pro Tools can add the same amount of delay to each track, and this is called automatic delay compensation. So if I go up to the Options menu here and come down to Delay Compensation, I'll choose that, and Pro Tools wants this to open up the Playback Engine dialog in order to enable this, so I'll click OK. In the middle of this dialog box you'll see the Delay Compensation Engine, and it's set to None right now. If I click this, we have three other options: Short, Long and Maximum.

The Short setting allocates the smallest amount of resources for ADC, or automatic delay compensation, and this is more efficient than the long and maximum settings for our computer. And we can use this smaller value when we don't have very many plug-ins or if we know that the delay is less than this number. I can choose Long to allocate more resources to ADC, and we should use this when the session requires more than the short amount, but not the maximum. And then the maximum, which is quite a large number, we can choose this and we'll get over 16,000 samples per channel.

Now you should note that these ADC values differ depending on the sampling rate. If you double the sampling rate, say from 48 kilohertz to 96 kilohertz, the number of samples for ADC will also double, but both settings are equal to the same amount of delay compensation. So this session right here is actually a 44.1 kilohertz session. If we were to double this to 88.2, we would see twice as many samples here, but it would actually equal the same amount of time.

So I'm going to choose the Long setting. And Pro Tools is asking us whether we want to proceed here, which means that we need to close the session. And it'll save automatically--go ahead and do that. So it closes the session, and then it needs to reopen with the delay compensation on, so I click OK and here we have it reopened with the automatic delay compensation on. Now there is a way to check how much delay compensation is needed, and that is here in the Mix window down at the bottom. And to show that if you don't see it, we go to View > Mix Window Views > Delay Compensation.

So you can see on this track with the EQ, we have 0 delay. However with the maxims, we have three maxim plug-ins here, and that's causing over 3000 samples of delay. You'll notice that the color down here on this track is orange, and that means that delay is enabled, and this track has the longest delay of all the tracks in the session. The green tracks mean also that delay is enabled, but we're not exceeding the ADC level on these tracks and they're not the maximum track like this one is.

When the amount of delay exceeds the ADC limit then this is going to turn red. So what happens if we add this last maxim in here? And you'll see that this exceeds our maximum amount, and that number is actually 4095, so we're over by one sample here. Down here on each of the tracks, you can see that these are actually being compensated by 4095 samples. So that's to push them back so that they line up with this track.

Now below the Delay indicator here we have a user offset, and that enables us to manually adjust the ADC if we want to add in a user offset, and the only reason we do this is if it's not sounding quite right because maybe the plug-in is incorrectly reporting the delay amount or if you just want to manually adjust the timing or the feel of the track. And here you'd enter a positive number for more delay compensation or a negative number for less.

If for some reason we want to hear with this track sounds like without the delay compensation, you can press Start+Ctrl+Click in Windows or Command+Ctrl+ Click on Mac on the user offset, and that will turn off the user offset. And if you click on the delay then that will turn of the delay. There is another way to deactivate the delay compensation. If we go up to Options and uncheck Delay Compensation, that turns it off, as you can see down here. We'll turn it back on.

Now in addition to accounting for delays caused by plug-ins, automatic delay compensation also accounts for delays in internal mixer routings, due to using buses and sends, as well as from hardware inserts, and this is called the System Delay. If we go up to Setup > Session, we can see here that the total system delay is actually 4146 samples, and that's a little bit more than what we have down here. In fact, it's 50 samples more than what the plug-ins cause.

So what do you do if your total delay on a track exceeds your ADC limit? Well, it's pretty simple here. If it's set to Short then you should choose Long, and if it's set to Long then we can choose Maximum. So in this case we would actually go to the Playback Engine and choose Maximum and click OK twice. We'll open this up, and you'll see now that this is set to orange, so we're not exceeding our maximum level anymore.

If somehow you end up exceeding the maximum, you should just bypass this and actually physically move the track. So if we go back to the Edit window-- so we can literally click and drag this track and manually nudge the audio data on the track earlier in the session by the amount of delay time reported in the track's Delay Indicator, and we can get specific about that by zooming in and taking a look at that, but we're not going to cover that here.

So Automatic Delay Compensation is a great feature and can really help to make your mixes sound more accurate and time aligned. I recommend activating ADC every time that you play back a session in Pro Tools, and most importantly, when you're working on a mix.

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This video is part of

Image for Pro Tools 10 Essential Training
Pro Tools 10 Essential Training

108 video lessons · 15446 viewers

David Franz
Author

 
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  1. 13m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 20s
    2. Exploring the different versions of Pro Tools
      3m 22s
    3. Optimizing your computer before installing Pro Tools
      4m 18s
    4. Troubleshooting
      2m 19s
    5. Using the exercise files
      2m 25s
  2. 36m 55s
    1. Installing and authorizing Pro Tools
      1m 49s
    2. Connecting your Pro Tools system
      4m 31s
    3. Powering up and powering down
      58s
    4. Choosing the Playback Engine and Hardware settings
      5m 55s
    5. Optimizing Pro Tools' performance
      6m 26s
    6. Utilizing Automatic Delay Compensation (ADC)
      3m 36s
    7. Setting essential preferences
      2m 35s
    8. Creating a Pro Tools session
      4m 31s
    9. Identifying elements in a session folder
      2m 36s
    10. Creating new tracks
      3m 58s
  3. 42m 5s
    1. Exploring the Edit window
      6m 44s
    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 35s
    5. Investigating the menus
      3m 22s
    6. Understanding samples and ticks
      3m 34s
    7. Viewing and manipulating tracks
      4m 31s
    8. Selecting inputs, outputs, and busses
      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 15s
  4. 21m 11s
    1. Using DigiBase and the Workspace browser
      4m 14s
    2. Importing audio
      3m 0s
    3. Importing MIDI
      2m 48s
    4. Importing session data
      5m 34s
    5. Importing tracks from a CD
      2m 51s
    6. Importing video
      2m 44s
  5. 56m 46s
    1. Recording audio
      6m 13s
    2. Playing back audio and Edit window scrolling
      4m 52s
    3. Creating a click track
      5m 24s
    4. Overdubbing and using the record modes
      8m 52s
    5. Recording with playlists and Loop Record
      4m 6s
    6. Punch recording and using the monitoring modes
      4m 14s
    7. Dealing with latency and ADC
      4m 58s
    8. Creating a group
      6m 5s
    9. Adding effects while recording
      5m 16s
    10. Creating a headphone (cue) mix
      4m 29s
    11. Assigning disk allocation
      2m 17s
  6. 1h 28m
    1. Understanding nondestructive editing and region types
      3m 19s
    2. Using the Selector and Grabber tools
      3m 37s
    3. Using the Trim and Scrubber tools
      7m 5s
    4. Using the Zoomer tool and zoom presets
      5m 51s
    5. Using the Pencil tool
      3m 10s
    6. Using the Smart tool
      1m 27s
    7. Understanding the Edit modes
      5m 51s
    8. Arranging clips
      6m 40s
    9. Undoing an edit
      2m 44s
    10. Utilizing fades and crossfades
      9m 41s
    11. Building a comp track using playlists
      5m 17s
    12. Locking and muting clips
      2m 48s
    13. Special Edit window buttons
      7m 15s
    14. Creating an audio loop
      5m 19s
    15. Editing a voiceover
      9m 41s
    16. Using Elastic Time and Elastic Pitch
      9m 12s
  7. 17m 21s
    1. Working with clip groups
      4m 33s
    2. Using time, tempo, meter, key, and chord
      5m 37s
    3. Creating memory locations
      7m 11s
  8. 33m 10s
    1. Setting up MIDI on a Mac
      4m 17s
    2. Setting up MIDI on a PC
      2m 14s
    3. Setting up MIDI in Pro Tools
      2m 44s
    4. Recording MIDI data
      3m 14s
    5. Recording multiple MIDI tracks with one virtual instrument
      2m 17s
    6. Recording options for MIDI
      6m 21s
    7. Using Step Input
      4m 35s
    8. Making a drum loop with MIDI Merge
      3m 36s
    9. Composing with virtual instruments
      3m 52s
  9. 57m 1s
    1. Using the edit tools for editing MIDI data
      10m 0s
    2. Editing MIDI data in the MIDI Editor
      7m 31s
    3. Working with the MIDI Event List
      2m 12s
    4. Editing MIDI data with Event Operations
      8m 33s
    5. Quantizing MIDI tracks
      12m 16s
    6. Creating and using Groove Templates
      5m 35s
    7. Utilizing real-time properties
      5m 50s
    8. Using MIDI Learn
      5m 4s
  10. 17m 30s
    1. Exploring the Score Editor
      5m 49s
    2. Using the Score Editor
      5m 5s
    3. Setting up a score
      4m 48s
    4. Printing and exporting a score
      1m 48s
  11. 25m 39s
    1. Writing and editing automation
      6m 40s
    2. Drawing automation with the Pencil tool
      4m 2s
    3. Editing automation with the Trim and Grabber tools
      2m 58s
    4. Cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing automation
      4m 12s
    5. Turning automation on and off
      3m 52s
    6. Automating plug-ins and virtual instruments
      3m 55s
  12. 1h 49m
    1. Setting up a session for mixing
      8m 50s
    2. Setting up an effects loop
      9m 30s
    3. Working with plug-ins
      4m 33s
    4. Utilizing ADC while mixing
      9m 8s
    5. Applying EQ
      12m 43s
    6. Adding compression and limiting
      14m 25s
    7. Using delay effects
      6m 52s
    8. Applying AudioSuite plug-ins
      6m 24s
    9. Adding reverb to your mix
      6m 50s
    10. Bouncing down a mix
      4m 15s
    11. Making an MP3 for iTunes and SoundCloud
      2m 53s
    12. Setting up a session for mastering
      4m 58s
    13. Mastering a session
      10m 37s
    14. Bouncing down master recordings with Dither and Noise Shaping
      7m 24s
  13. 9m 59s
    1. Importing and displaying video files
      2m 38s
    2. Adding music, foley, ADR, and FX
      4m 29s
    3. Bouncing down video and audio together
      2m 52s
  14. 4m 0s
    1. Archiving an entire session
      4m 0s
  15. 58s
    1. Further recommendations
      58s

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