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  • Tips on automating VEP audio input tracks in Logic

    The good news is, the addition of Audio plugins in VEP 5 is excellent, and allows me to hand over substantial effects processing to a slave machine running VEP.

    But the setup is not easy, and not well explained in the VEP manual. Especially when it comes to automation and mixdowns. So I thought I would share how I did it. Included are some questions for the Vienna support team!

    WARNING - LONG POST (but hopefully helpful to someone)

    What I set out to do was:

    1. Send 5 recorded vocals to a single instance of VEP on a slave machine, each voice on a separate VEP mixer track and able to have plugin effects applied.

    2. Route the audio back to Logic via 5 individual AUX channels, one for each vocal.

    3. Apply automation to each of those AUX tracks.

    4. Bounce down to a final mix.

    Here are some notes on each step.

    Step 1.

    The easy part, and well covered in the VEP 5 manual.

    Create a new Software Instrument track (let's call it 'VSL VOX') which has VEP selected as the Instrument (under the VSL submenu). Establish the connection to the correct VEP server (32-bit or 64-bit) on the slave machine.

    In Logic's Mixer window, create 5 Aux channels from the 'VSL VOX' track. As per the manual, click the little '+' sign to create them.

    In VEP, create 5 new audio input tracks, one for each vocal track in Logic.

    Back in Logic, add a VEP Audio Input plugin as an Insert in each of the original vocal tracks. Assign each one to one of the five new mixer tracks you created in VEP, matching up IN 1/IN 2, IN 3/IN 4, etc.

    No effects were applied on these original audio tracks. No need to give them an normal output, either. No sound from these goes to the Logic Mixer output, the signal is all sent across to VEP on the slave machine. No automation was applied, this all gets done on the AUX track (see Step 3).

    As I said, we're just sending the raw signal to VEP on the slave machine.

    Step 2.

    In VEP, route the outputs of the audio tracks you created to the 5 different AUX channel strips (covered in the manual). Add some effects.

    Your audio, with FX applied in VEP, should now be coming through in the AUX channel strips in Logic. Make sure the I/O settings in each AUX Channel Strip match the output routing you have selected for each track in VEP on the slave. They should do this automatically...I think? They seemed to on mine. I don't recall setting them manually.

    Anyway, so far so good!

    Step 3.

    In Logic, go ahead and apply automation to the AUX tracks for each different vocal track.

    To be able to do this, you have to move those AUX Channel Strips into the Arrange window. Select each AUX track (or all of them together) in the Mixer window, go to the local Options menu and choose 'Create Arrange Tracks for Selected Channel Strips'. This puts the AUX channel strips into the Arrange window as 'empty' tracks (i.e. no waveform or MIDI roll), so normal automation can now be applied.

    It takes a bit of getting used to, writing automation to an 'empty' track. At first, out of habit, I kept wanting to write automation on the original audio tracks. Which is a waste of time. You have to write the automation on the AUX tracks. So I got myself into the new habit of dragging these AUX tracks next to the original audio tracks to make a visual connection with the originally recorded waveforms. I also give the AUX tracks a clearly defined 'automation' icon, to remind me this is the track to write the automation to, not the original. (It's a way of working that makes sense to me, highly subjective, you may have a better way of doing it.)

    Anyway, the automation was now working.

    You can also apply more effects as Inserts on these AUX tracks if you want.

    Step 4.

    Bouncing down into a final mix is all about avoiding 'artefacts'. I.e. the audio occasionally breaking up with static.

    This really bugged me when I tried to do a mixdown. There is a one-line note in the VEP manual about making sure you add an Event plugin to avoid this, but no other instructions! It's not clear where you add the Event plugin. It was only through reading some of the posts on this forum that I felt I had enough info to try a few things.

    [ VEP support folk: you need to give your Logic users much more info on this! ]

    Eventually I came to the conclusion that there needed to be one Event plugin per VEP instance (not server, but instance) on the slave.

    I wasn't 100% sure of what I was doing, but this seemed to work:

    - I created another Software Instrument track in Logic to add the Event plugin as a software instrument (the only way you can do it).

    - I selected the VEP instance and assigned MIDI Channel 1. I had to choose between 1-8, but had no idea why I should choose one MIDI channel over another, so I chose 1. (Info on this would also be very helpful, VEP folks!) I clicked the button that said 'USE FOR AUTOMATION'.

    - I added an I/O insert (Stereo 1-2, bypassed) to this new Software Instrument track.

    - Just to be sure, after reading what Karel said in a post on this forum, I also added the I/O insert to the 'VSL VOX' track (see Step 1, above). This seemed to work, and I was able to automate my vocal tracks.

    The mixdown produced no artefacts.

    So, in total, the number of tracks required in Logic to run 5 vocal tracks through VEP on a slave machine and automate those tracks in Logic was 12.

    - 5 original audio tracks 

    - 1 Software Instrument track ('VSL VOX') required to run VEP between the host (Logic) and the VEP server.

    - 5 Aux tracks (spawned from the VSL VOX track in the mixer) to write automation. Those tracks were later added to the Arrange window for automation.

    - 1 Software Instrument track to run the Event plugin so that the bouncing of the tracks down to the final mix didn't produce 'artefacts'.

    Phew!

    [ VEP Support: IF THERE IS A SIMPLER WAY, PLEASE LET EVERYONE KNOW! And please provide more help material on setting this up. ]

    Summary: I still reckon it's worth it, all that processing being done by the slave, the liberation from CPU overload. And it gets easier once you've done it a few times.

    But be prepared for a bit of fiddling around to make it work!

    Happy VEP-ing.


  • Please go to Profile/Community/Content Editor and set it to Enhanced. Then edit your post, because nobody is going to wade through a post like that. [;)]

    DG


  • Thanks for the tip, sorted. Frightening, seeing it as one big block of text.

    cheers


  •  Seems overly complicated to me, but then again that's part of the charm of using Logic, I guess. [;)]

     However, is there a way to put the audio input plug post fader, rather than pre fader? I do this so that I don't have to automate the returns; I can just automate the original audio track.

    DG


  • DG,

    I love Logic, but not always the way it interacts with other technology....that AU protocol!

    Yes, the whole thing does sound convoluted...I'm hoping that someone from VSL will say 'Hey, there is a much simpler way to do this.'  But once you understand the signal flow it's not so bad. I found it really hard to set everything up, including an 'artefact-free' bounce, first time round, so thought I'd save someone else the struggle if possible.  I've googled things written by others plenty of times, time to put something back in.  

    In answer to your other question, there doesn't seem to be any ability to send the signal post-fader.

    Can someone from VSL respond to this? Am I missing something?

    AW


  • last edited
    last edited

    @ajw31 said:

    DG,

    In answer to your other question, there doesn't seem to be any ability to send the signal post-fader.

    Can someone from VSL respond to this? Am I missing something?

    AW

     

    Surely that can't be correct? There must be the ability to put an insert post fader, rather than pre fader. This is one of the basic requirements in a DAW, IMO. Maybe check the Logic manual  under inserts?

    DG


  • Apologies, what I meant was that the manual tells you to instantiate 'VSL>Audio Input' as an Insert, and assign it (via the VEP interface) to an input on the slave.

    There is nothing in it about using a Send (which could be prefader) to direct the signal to a Bus, then sending THAT to VEP.

    I might try that, see what happens.