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mikerivers

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Mar 21 17 7:53 AM

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What I want to do is certainly pretty common -  I have a MIDI track with a virtual instrument plugged into it and I want to make a new track with the audio on it. Can someone please translate this into Reaperese for me (what does Reaper call this?) and tell me on which menu to look for it? I'm not sure I've found the right command. Under the File menu, there's a Render, which lets me render the selected track, so this seems to be on the right track, but as far as I can tell, this just creates a WAV file and puts it somewhere, and then I have to import that into a new track to get the audio up into the project.

I once stumbled across another similar command (but I haven't found it since) that listed several options for rendering with or without latency compensation, to a mono or a stereo file, and most of them seemed to also remove the original MIDI track. Does that sound familiar? Will that get me what I'm looking for?

I did something that I can't reconstruct any more which sort of gave me what I was looking for. I believe it involved setting up a send from the MIDI track, setting up a new audio track with its input set to record input, and telling it to get its input from the send on the MIDI track. But all of that seems more complicated than it needs to be. Is this really rocket science?  I'm really confused here.

 



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d gauss

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Mar 21 17 11:13 AM

easy peasy. not in front of it right now so may not be exact but....right click on item/items that are selected. choose "apply fx as new take" from menu that appears. (note you have mono or stereo options). done.
note that the original midi will now be obscured by the "new" audio take.    hit "T" on a selected item to scroll through takes 

Last Edited By: d gauss Mar 21 17 11:17 AM. Edited 1 time.

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mikerivers

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Mar 21 17 8:15 PM

Thanks for that tip. I never would have thought that "apply fx as new take" would get me where I wanted to go. I copied the track to another track, then used the "crop to active take" or something like that to get rid of the audio take on the origianal MIDI track and the MIDI on the new track. I guess I didn't really have to do that except that I was afriad that if I came back to it next day or next week I'd forget that there were two takes on those tracks if I somehow managed to click in the wrong place and expose the wrong one.

Still, though, while I ended up withe what I wanted, it seems lilke a work-around for which there should be a more direct route. Or maybe people are just comfortable enough to work with a pile of takes that it doesn't matter to anyone but me.

I should sit down in front of Reaper for a month and learn what all the terminology means. Or just continue to use my console and Mackie hard disk recorder.



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d gauss

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Mar 21 17 10:09 PM

glad it worked out for you. look at it this way... when you "render fx as new take," you effectively freeze the track. but... the original unaffected take is still just a click away. how is this useful in my world and perhaps yours? i do a bunch of mixing/overdubbing for other people. we send reaper projects back and forth. one of us may not have a specific plug in/vsti that the other person does. "apply fx as new take" and there's no worries. i can hear the client's rhodes vsti that i don't own, and after i send the project back to them, they can revert it to midi take if they want to alter it.

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stevefolta

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Mar 22 17 3:40 AM

I use the things you can find under "Track" / "Render/freeze tracks".  (Actually, I bring up the "Action" dialog and search for "render track", I can see the whole name of each option there.)  The various "render to stem tracks" actions create a new track and mute the original track.  So the original is still only two clicks away, and you don't have to deal with the "take" system.

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mikerivers

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Mar 22 17 6:42 AM

d gauss wrote:
... when you "render fx as new take," you effectively freeze the track. but... the original unaffected take is still just a click away. how is this useful in my world and perhaps yours? i do a bunch of mixing/overdubbing for other people. we send reaper projects back and forth. one of us may not have a specific plug in/vsti that the other person does. "apply fx as new take" and there's no worries.
 


I understand that, it's just that in my world, I don't use virtual instruments at all. So while I knew the concept, I didn't know how it worked in practice. This wasn't for a recording session, it was for a science project. I wanted to see how closely the MIDI and rendered audio lined up in time so I wanted to end up with the audio and MIDI tracks side by side rather than superimposed so I could line the cursor up with the start of the MIDI note and see how much later than that the audio began. Turned out to be about 1.5 ms which is close enough for science and rock'n'roll.

What I did discover was that when I made the "frozen" track wide enough, I saw the MIDI and audio takes stacked, so I could have just measured off that track.

Steve, I was looking at that Render/freeze screen under the Track menu, and that's where I was finding too many things that I didn't know or understand, and, initially, missed the pull-down menu at the top where you can tell it to render just the selected item (or track) and I worked long enough so that I think it rendered all the tracks in the open project. And I also missed where it put them, and I'm still looking so I can delete them. Since I didn't designate a place, it's probably in the Reaper Media folder.

Maybe I was seeing things, but I'm sure that somewhere in my hunting around, I saw something that specifically stated that the rendered file would go to a new track, and that's what I was trying to find again.

And now that you have my interest in alternate takes, is there a way, from the track GUI, to separate the takes and treat them as individual files or objects? When I saw the three takes (I did the "render fx" thing twice because I didn't understand what I was seeing on the track afterward unti I took it apart), stacked up, I tried to drag the audio take to another track and that didn't work. If I knew where Reaper put the rendered file and knew what it the file name was, I could have imported that to a new track, but that's still a couple more steps than I was dreaming of.

Oh, well, when I'm king, I'll design a DAW that works the way I think I want it to work, and people will ask me "Why did you do it that way?"

Anyway, mission was accomplished, and hopefully I'll remember enough of what I learned this time around so that I'll know what to do if I need to do it again. Thanks.
 



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d gauss

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Mar 22 17 7:36 AM

right click is your friend. select item. right click. use "explode takes to separate tracks." it will create a new track for each take as well as preserve the original track with multiple takes. btw, 1.5ms doesn't sound right for midi vs render. should be spot on. your PDC settings may be off?

btw there is an option box to tick when rendering a track/project. "add newly created file to project?" then you''ll see it as the last track in the project.

also, by default, reaper stores all files created in the project directory. if you haven't defined/created one for that project (you did didn't you? wink wink), files should be wherever the reaper .rpp file is.

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mikerivers

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Mar 23 17 7:28 AM

d gauss wrote:
right click is your friend. select item. right click. use "explode takes to separate tracks." it will create a new track for each take as well as preserve the original track with multiple takes. btw, 1.5ms doesn't sound right for midi vs render. should be spot on. your PDC settings may be off?

btw there is an option box to tick when rendering a track/project. "add newly created file to project?" then you''ll see it as the last track in the project.

also, by default, reaper stores all files created in the project directory. if you haven't defined/created one for that project (you did didn't you? wink wink), files should be wherever the reaper .rpp file is.


My PDC settings could indeed be off. I assume that's "plug-in delay compensation" and I've never set it, nor could I figure out how from the documentation. However, I've done the rendering several times now, using different menu selections - to a new track, to the MIDI track as another take (a couple of times) and "exploding" the MIDI and audio takes to new tracks, and I've measured different latency times. It's a little difficult to tell which is the first non-zero sample since this is a bass, not a nicely defined transient like a snare drum, but it seems that the best is 14 samples. Is that close enough, or should it always be zero? 

It's my understanding (and this might be based on old technology) that the plug-in knows how many samples it needs to do its thing, that this is a fixed number, and that the DAW reads that number and uses it to figure out how much to delay everything else. Is that how it works?

I'm using a two-cylinder low horsepower computer running 64-bit Windows 7 with 256 sample ASIO buffer. That's about the only thing relating to time that I can find. So it might be doing the best it can. Or maybe there's a place where, knowing what the actual latency is, I can plug in a number of samples to compensate?

This is much more than I ever wanted to learn about Reaper, but it's interesting.



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d gauss

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Mar 23 17 11:54 AM

mike, if your reaper project is less than 2GB total in size and isn't top secret NSA stuff, feel free to send it to me via wetransfer and i'll take a look see. PM me for email

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mikerivers

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Mar 23 17 9:21 PM

This is getting to be much more complicated than I ever intended. What I'm reall after here is determining the playing latency - how soon after you press a key on the keyboard do you hear the sound come out. I was trying to do this as analog as I could and had cobbled up a microswitch with a battery and resistor to make a pulse generator, and used it to whack a key on the MIDI keyboard that triggered the plug-in. My plan was to record the pulse from the microswitch on one track of a stereo file and the audio out of the plugged-in MIDI track on the other, and the time difference between the start of the pulse (when the switch actuator hit the key) and the audio output would be the latency. The results weren't as consistent as I'd like them to be, probably due to the switch.

So my next trick was to feed the audio out of the plugged-in MIDI track back through though the interface and record it on another track, then look at the time difference between the start of the line on the MIDI track that I assume is the start of the MIDI note and the time when the audio on the adjacent track starts.

I'm using an Alva Nanoface USB interface here which doesn't just give you a number for ASIO buffer size, it offers a choice of five buffer sizes by name ranging from Very Relaxed through Normal, to high speed, and shows both input and output latency as number of samples. I measured the analog input-output latency with my usual method of recording a click track from a pulse generator feeding an analog input on the interface, the playing that track back and looping the analog playback output back into the interface and recording it on another track. The latency is the time difference between the tracks - the amout of time it takes the recorded click to play, and be recorded again to the new track. The delay between the source and destination tracks corresponds exactly to the sum of the input and output latency shown for the interface, when converted from samples to milliseconds.

Now, the darndest thing is that when I record the audio output from the MIDI track, the time, in the Reaper track display, between the start of the line indicating the note in the MIDI track and the start of the audio on the track recorded from the MIDI+plug-in output is within less than a millisecond of the audio delay that I measured with the analog click. Unless I'm missing a step in the logic here, this suggests that the plug-in has practically no latency. There's nothing wrong with that except that it's hard to believe.

I'm not enough of keyboard or bass player (it's the MODO Bass plug-in) to be able to say that it does or doesn't "feel" right. So I'm trying to make a quantitative measurement.

Can I rely on the start of that line on the MIDI track to be the start of the note that triggers the plug-in?

One of my last experiments torpedoed the whole thing. This was to compare the MIDI Track with the microswitch pulse, and that was the most inconsistent thing of all, with the switch pulse coming 3 to 5 milliseconds after the start of the MIDI note.

Nothing secret about the project, but not much there there yet.

Tomorrow I'm going to try a different keyboard. I've been using a mini M-Audio one that connects via USB. I have an older Kawai that has a real DIN MIDI interface and the Nanoface has a MIDI input. Maybe having everyting go in through the same MIDI port will release the chaos and confusion. The Kawai actually makes sounds as well as MIDI messages, so I can see how its audio output compares with the MIDI output (as graphically represented in Reaper). If I can find a consistent time between MIDI and audio, I can compare the audio out of the Kawai to the audio out of the plug-in. That might give me some results that make more sense. Or not.

Oh, and while we're here, is there some place to definitely turn off latency compensation? I've seen some options, I think among the things I was looking for when I was trying to render the MIDI track, that did whatever it was with or without latency compensation. So if I could render without latency compensation, the difference between the MIDI and audio tracks should be the latency of the plug-in? Right?



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d gauss

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Mar 23 17 11:08 PM

that was a looong, complicated read ;) especially since the wife and i just finished a large bottle of wine. will get back to you on this, hopefully more clearheaded, in the morning as, as far as i can tell, there are a whole bunch of factors at play here. however... your first sentence << "What I'm really after here is determining the playing latency - how soon after you press a key on the keyboard do you hear the sound come out".>> has everything to do with your buffer settings/interface/driver/com-pu-tor. i.e. 512 is gonna suck for that.

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mikerivers

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Mar 24 17 4:14 AM

Eureka! I think, at least sort of. I just woke up with this thought and I'll check the numbers after a couple of cups of coffee. The fact that the driver reports input and output latency separately is, I think, the key to making the numbers come out more sensibly. And what I hadn't thought about - and check me out on this - is that since MIDI doesn't go through the same path to the DAW as audio, the latency numbers that the driver reports don't count. Witht the conservative buffer setting that I've been using (and I can get away with it because I never use plug-ins when tracking and I monitor inputs through an analog console) the input latency is about 7 ms, output latency is about 23 ms, totaling 30, which is what I measured from input to ouptut. Check.

Take away the input latency because the input is MIDI and that explains two puzzling things. First, that the MIDI note starts before microswitch click because the click is delayed going in more than the MIDI is. And the time I measured between the microswitch click in and the plug-in out is pretty close to the reported output latency. If the plug-in takes some small amount of samples, like, say 64, then things fall within what might be a reasonable margin of measurement error, accounting for mechanical slop and contact bounce (of which there's plenty) in the microswitch.

I'm going back to bed now.



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d gauss

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Mar 24 17 8:52 AM

btw, in the very bottom left of the insert fx pop box for a track (where you pick you fx), reaper tells you how many samples latency are added by the plugin/plugins.

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mikerivers

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Mar 24 17 3:06 PM

d gauss wrote:
btw, in the very bottom left of the insert fx pop box for a track (where you pick you fx), reaper tells you how many samples latency are added by the plugin/plugins.


Oh, so that's what that's about. But what are the slashes referring to. Mine says
1.7%/1.7% CPU 0/0 spls   when idle, with the percentages jumping to around 4.3% (both the same, always) when noodling frantically on the keyboard. If it's really reporting 0 samples, that could explain why the rendered is slightly out of line with the MIDI note, but just a tad. In a Recording menu, I think under Preferences, there looks like there might be a place to adjust the track offset, but I didn't play with it.

I think I finally got some latency measurements that I can believe in. The microswitch trick worked in principle but when I compared it with the MIDI notes, its offset was inconsistent. If I took the time to machine up a solid fixture to hold the switch, it probably work out just fine. What I ended up doing was switching to an old fashioned MIDI synth with a DIN MIDI output rather than the USB keyboard I'd been using, then used a MIDI Thru box to split the MIDI output of the keyboard to the MIDI input of the computer interface and to an XLR connector to replace the microswitch. Now I could look at the actual MIDI output of the keyboard and see how long it took audio to get out.

Turns out that the MIDI data pulses out of the keyboard was behind the MIDI data from the MIDI interface by just a few samples shy of what the interface reports as the input latency, so that checks out. And, as expected, the ASIO buffer greatly affects the time between the MIDI note and the audio out of the plug-in. At the proverbial 256 samples, the time between key press and sound out is 30 ms. At 64 samples, it's 10 ms, and that's as low as the interface would let me go. I think that 30 ms might bother some, maybe most players, 10 ms probably wouldn't.

Anyway, it's time to put this project to bed.

Thanks for the assistance, guys.



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