Stock Vegas plugin Mixing!

PipelineAudio wrote on 11/28/2005, 2:44 PM
We've left our old studio and have now set up everything into 4 mobile 16 space racks. We record bands at shows, at their rehearsal area, or wherever they want. Pretty fun! However after putting a new PC together the night before a recording, I didnt have time to load my normal plugins in, and I thought, hey, its just tracking right?


Putting my foot in my mouth is nothing new to longtime members of this forum, but for those who don't know, Murphy had me in mind as he wrote his laws.

Though my partner and I had explained on several different occasions that this was a TRACKING session, on the second day of tracking, they were itching for a mix, figuring it was an all in deal. Well, I never met a train so scary I could'nt walk in front of it, nor a ramp so shoddily constructed that I wouldnt ride it so I was game!

But wait, no plugins (oh my), no internet (OH MY!). What follows is the brute force use of the plugins you get when install Sony's apps.

OK I lied, I did have two more things installed, luckily they're free.

First of all, Gsonic Gpan. If you don't have it, grab it now

there are two plugins in that download, gpan being free and stereo enhancer being shareware. After seeing the utility of Gpan, you may want to thank the guy later buy paying the whole 39 buks to register it and get the Stereo Enhancer.

Do a search in the Vegas forum for "gpan" and youll see some nifty tricks you can pull with it.

The second thing I had installed was S-Cal V4 from (click software tech links, then scal) another glorious piece of freeware. I dont know about you, but I hate trying to figure out flanger speeds and delay times by hand, this thing does most of the work for you.

Third thing, that I have saved as a offline file is one of those note to frequency tables. Here is a handy one

OK enough rambling. This band has one singer, one guitar player, a bass player, and a drummer with a single kick, five toms (EEEK!), not too many cymbals (whew), and the cymbals and hat are far away from the drums (YES!!!).

So heres the setup and layout:

ADC/DAC: RME ADI DS X 3 for 24 channels to RME HDSP 9652 into the PC

2 track/monitoring DAC Benchmark DAC-1.

Presonuc Centralstation handles the speaker switiching and input source control duties, ONLY in the monitoring chain.

Throw in a Mackie Control MCU and go!

Overheads, Blumlein Configuration (nice big room!) ---> 2 X AKG 414's in figure 8 ---> Manley Dual Mono tube mic pre ---> ADC

Kick drum ---> Audio technica ATM25 ---> Calrec 1063 ---> ADC

Snare drum ---> Sennheiser 441 ---> Manley VoxBox ---> ADC

3 highest toms ---> 3 X AKG D-112 ---> 3 X Neve 1272 ---> ADC

2 Floor toms ---> 2 X Shure Beta 52 ---> 2 X SSL Logic FX G383 mp/eq ---> ADC

Hat and ride ---> 2 X Oktava MC012 with the 10dB pad in cardioid ---> Focusrite Red 8 ---> ADC

Bass Guitar ---> DI input (yeah, sue me) of Langevin Dual Vocal Combo ---> ADC

Guitar ---> Mesa Boogie Recto Recording pre ---> ADC (no kidding!)
Guitar also has a DI with a split, the 1/4" out goes to the boogie, while the xlr out goes clean into a True Systems precision 8 mic pre to the ADC

Vocals ---> Cad VX2 bass rolloff on, cardioid, .125 capsule ---> Lengevin Dual Vocal Combo ---ADC

So this gives you an idea of the type of sounds we can expect to be dealing with, here comes the mix!


PipelineAudio wrote on 11/28/2005, 2:46 PM
This is METAL in case I didnt mention it. Right off the bat I see Im going to need to gate the kick, snare and toms.

Lets look at what we got to work with here. Stock Vegas noisegate. Uh oh. We have some enemies here:

No meters

No Hold control

No Look ahead

No Frequency keying

No Sidechain


Don't worry we got a tool for that :)

I'll start with the kick, but you can work out the rest from there no problem.

1. Duplicate the kick track

2. Eq the duplicate track so that the resonant peaks of JUST the kick drum are louder than anything else. Really narrow down this EQ, we aren't trying to make a good sounding kick out of this, just a short BONK that tells you WHEN the kick is kicked. Use the low and high shelf controls on either end of the eq to completely ditch anything that isnt kick drum

3. Now move the duplicate track ahead in time so it starts about 5 mSec earlier than the original kick track

4. Pan the copy hard right and pan the original hard left assign both of their outputs to a buss, name this buss "kick"

5. watch the stereo meters. Adjust the channel volumes so that the copy track is playing about 12 dB louder than the original track

6. Now add two plugins to the kick buss, first Sony Track Noisegate, second Gpan.

7. Measure the length of a good clean kick drum by dragging the timeline on vegas, it will likely end up around 180mSec

8. Set the noisegate threshold to -inf, Attack to 2mSec, release to whatever you measured for the kick length

9. Set gpan Left input channel Gain 0.0, Pan 0.0% C, right input channel gain -inf, Pan wherever

10. Now play your song and slowly raise the kick buss's "Sony track Noisegate" threshold until all you hear is kick. Itll take some fine tuning but youll get it there.

11. Adjust attack and release to taste

Now what you have just done is created a lookahead for the noisegate by having it trigger on the copy which you have moved ahead in time. You have also created a frequency key, even better than the good old Drawmer, by EQ'ing the trigger track. The original kick track gets unmolested until its trip through the gate!

From here you can add whatever fx after gpan to set the kick to your liking

If you like you could add a "drums" buss and assign each drum buss to it. A mixer withing a mixer, but if you enable View-->Show Audio Buss tracks from the main vegas menu, its not so confusing!

For an advanced trick, you may want to compress the copy track if you are having a particularly goofy section of mis triggering, but a better bet is to use the volume automation on the copy track as sort of a variable threshold control for the noise gate.
ibliss wrote on 11/28/2005, 3:38 PM
Interesting stuff!

I had a little search around the 'net to look for a plugin that didn't install a demo with it, and found this for free:

As an alternative to Gpan. They also have a half decent gate there (free) which includes attack, hold, release, look-ahead, gain-reduction
PipelineAudio wrote on 11/28/2005, 4:54 PM
cool, and it sorta meters too
farss wrote on 11/28/2005, 10:57 PM
Thanks Pipe,
some good stuff there that I think is going to save my bacon on a recent shoot. I got a feed from the desk of the tap mics but as the stage wasn't wooden there wasn't to much 'tap' if you know what I mean and the mics were picking up a lot of the music, hopefully the same technique will let me get some good sounding taps out of the mush.
drbam wrote on 11/29/2005, 5:19 AM
"We've left our old studio and have now set up everything into 4 mobile 16 space racks. We record bands at shows, at their rehearsal area, or wherever they want. Pretty fun!"

So Pipeline, are you no longer with that Protools studio in Phoenix? Sorry to go off topic but I was curious.

PipelineAudio wrote on 11/29/2005, 11:00 AM
The crazy owner went all Branch Davidian on us because we wouldnt drink his philosophical kool-aid

We rented a Uhaul and got our stuff out in about three hours

After that I was just like, lets get some racks, mobilize this stuff and then not worry about having to find a spot for a while. Its been going pretty good! Im borrowing a splitter on friday and going to try recording a show
PipelineAudio wrote on 11/29/2005, 3:46 PM
Alright we got our drums gated, but man that bass guitar is interfering with the groove of the

kick. Worse, the timing is so far off that it can actually sound like the kick is flamming! Big

soggy, undefined, messy bottom, YUK

Were going to use a traditional trick, with some newfangled tools to clean this up.

1. Create a buss called "bass guitar". In its fx chain place first Wave Hammer, then Gpan

2. Set gpan left gain to 0.0 pan to center, right gain -inf pan to wherever

3. Zero out wavehammer completely and bypass the volume maximizer

4. Render a copy of the gated kick buss from part 1 call it "kick trigger" (some extra buss

routing options in vegas would really be helpful here, to avoid this step)

5. Move the kick trigger track ahead 5 mSec, pan it hard right and assign its output to bass

guitar buss

6. Pan the bass guitar track hard left and assign its ouput to bass guitar buss

7. Set wavehammer: threshold 0, ratio 12:1, gain zero, scan mode Peak, uncheck auto gain

compensation, and check use longer look ahead, attack zero, release 80mSec, Smart release 0

8. Play the song. Start lowering the threshold so that the bass guitar disappears whenever the

kick is hit.

9. Mess with the attack and release controls until it you really cant hear the process working.

Once you get this going right, it will sound like the kick drum is "playing the bass guitar". The

kick and bass will no longer be doubling up and you will be amazed just how much low end you can

leave in the kick and bass guitar tracks without muddying up. Also the song will sound MUCH MUCH

tighter and the bass guitar and kick drums will sound much more in sync.

The key here is to keep messing with the kick trigger track's position on the timeline, the

threshold control of wavehammer and the release time in wavehammer.

BE SURE to do any tonal and especially compression FX to the bass on the bass track itself.

Putting a dynamic range device AFTER the ducker will render the effect useless.
PipelineAudio wrote on 12/11/2005, 11:05 AM
Heres the situation: No matter how much beating and threatening you do, you can only coax one sort of kind of acceptable take out of the singer, and then only by using every stretch, crossfade and slicing trick you know in Vegas. Forget double or triple tracking ANYTHING!

Yet he wants to sound doubled or Ozzied or something. Here we go.

1. Bust out your calculators again and look for some short delay times at least 15 msec apart but related to the song. For a 120 bpm song, 32 and 62 msec looks about right

2. Render out the vocal track so the slices, crossfades and stretches dont mess your vegas mix up, save as a new *.veg and delete the old track

3. Right click the fresh new vocal track and choose "duplicate track" twice so you have the original plus two copies

4. slide one copy 32 msec late and the other 62 ms late, pan one right somewhere and one left somewhere

5. Right click the copy tracks and pitch shift one up +10 to +20 cents and shift the other down -10to -20 cents. Be sure to preserve length!

6. For the shifted up track, place wavehammer in the insert fx, and set attack 0, release around a quarter note, 250msec in this case, but a little less, you can time this one with your snare drum to dial it in. Set ratio to 2:1 and look for a swing down to 10 dB of reduction

7. For the shifted down track, you can use the stock sony track compressor as the attack time will be longer, about the same distance as the tracks are apart, so start with an attack setting of 29 msec or so. Release as FAST as you can get without distorting the waveform, in fact you may want to filter out the lows to keep the compressor from triggering on them. Set ratio again to 2:1 and look for a 10dB swing. You will find a MUCH different behaviour from this setup than the other track

8. Even out the volumes from the copy track

9. Assign all three vocal tracks to a buss and set the relative levels between them starting with the copies pretty low.

10. Play the whole song, get the original vocal at a comfortable level, just a little under the level where you would say " ahh this is about right just need a little compression to bring it up". But dont put a compressor on it, yet, and maybe you wont need one at all

11. Push up the copy tracks, until you hear the vocal sitting easier and always hearable. Push it up further for more effect till it sounds like Bark at the Moon

12. Try some giant eq, like +9 at 12-15khz on the copy tracks for more of a Rush/Boston vocal sound
jaydeeee wrote on 12/13/2005, 5:10 PM
Some good tips with that kick, but then some not so ideal.

Get yourself some nice preamps (key element to prof recordings), some decent mics (you don't need U87's across the board)... and then get yourself some better plugins. very musical plugs once you've worked with them for a while. I also agree with constraint factor - just because you have plugs doesn't mean you should use em all.
PipelineAudio wrote on 12/13/2005, 9:31 PM
thats cheating
jaydeeee wrote on 12/14/2005, 4:11 PM
PipelineAudio wrote on 12/17/2005, 12:50 AM
If anyones interested, Im putting this up with pictures at
drbam wrote on 12/17/2005, 6:20 AM
"If anyones interested, Im putting this up with pictures at"

That's excellent pipe!! Have you thought about creating a full Vegas mixing tutorial (book/DVD)? Your manner of demonstrating and describing the process is far better than any 3rd party tutorials related to Sony apps I've seen so far! Thanks for taking the time to put this up.

ziggly wrote on 12/19/2005, 6:26 PM
pipelineaudio: mixing/mastering demystified.
definitely sounds like a book title to me.

i have found that some of the other books on Vegas try to explain everything. such as the basic features and every new feature of a particular version of vegas as a result they have so much ground to cover that they dont devote as much time to JUST audio or to mixing and mastering.

i think you should give it a go. printed materials are the easiest for me to study. i think the wire-o bound books, and step by step instructions are winning combination.

even if you have to collaborate with those Vasst folks, i think it would work. your certianly have the credibility from the perspective of the audio users on the Vegas forum.

PipelineAudio wrote on 12/19/2005, 6:47 PM
I'll think about it, in the meantime hope you have seen rednroll's microphone article

BTW I know NOTHING about mastering, it would just be mixing and tracking. That last step I can only get in trouble, and leave it to those who know much better.
PipelineAudio wrote on 12/22/2005, 8:04 AM
So these tracks recorded in the band's little space are a bit closed in at times. Kind of all sitting on top of each other.

We need some SPACE, some feeling of "there-ness" and some tricky way to put the idea in people's heads that these instruments and elements are different distances away from the hypothetical listener

Plugin reverbs .... need I say more? Didn't think so. On the plus side we DO have Accoustic Mirror, probably the one set of code that launched this convolution revolution more than any other, but its CPU use might be a little on the harsh side for any realistic track count in a mix.

Like everything else, we got a tool for that. So lite on system resources that you don't have to shut your favorite internet exploder windows off.

Picture some rooms you would LIKE for different elements of your band to be in.
Since its my imagination, I'll pick some stuff off the golden ratios. Here I'll go with a 1 X 1.14 X 1.39 ratio. 18 feet high X 20'6" wide X 25' long. I was never good at math so sue me if I got this wrong.

Now Im going to say I stuck some drums in here. The center of my snare drum is about 15 feet from the front wall, 8 feet from the right wall, and about four feet from the ground.

The peanut gallery may be writing this down and plotting my demise and all manner of flaws in my logic. Hey, you're right, I'm whacked, but this usually WORKS, which is the difference between me (eventually) getting paid and me NOT getting word of mouth customers. Then again maybe people just come by to make fun of my scalloped neck guitar, who knows.

If we really think about it here, and yet really simplify it at the same time, we have these "facts":

When I hit the snare, its noise will travel 15 feet to the front wall, come 15 feet back and smack me in the face

It will also travel 10 feet to the back wall, and back 10 feet to me

Also 12 feet to the left

And 8 feet to the right

14 feet to the ceiling

And don't forget, 4 feet to the ground

All these noises reach my ears at different times * AND DIFFERENT VOLUMES * and really let me know that Im in a "space".

How can we put that to work for us?

Start calculating these distances to become miliseconds, using the speed of sound as your guide. Easiest way here is one of the jillions of distance to time calculators around the net. Google found me this one pretty quick Or you can just multiply 0.91 msec per foot.

Lets plug some numbers in. Remember to double the results, to bring the sound BACK to your ears!

So to the front wall and back, 15 feet thats 27 mSec
Back wall 18 mSec
Left wall 22 mSec
Right wall 14 mSec
up : 25 mSec
Down: 4 mSec

So lets space out!

Set up an assignable fx with Sony Multitap Delay

Click on the word "pan" in the channel header and choose the FX Send the delay is on and send your snare to it at a decent level

Now open up Sony's Multitap delay

Set Dry Out to -inf, Number of taps to 6

Enter in your delay times from above

Pan the left and right walls pretty hard, but don't be afraid to pan the others a bit as well too.

If you REALLY want to get technical, the inverse square law states, that every time you double your distance from a source it theoretically drops 6dB, so you could factor that into your tap gain settings. Here is an easy place to do it

For most purposes its just safe to say the short ones will be louder than the long ones. You can pretend there's carpet on the floor so the reflection from the ground can be quieter.

It would be crazy tasty if we could put a separate eq on each tape and really try and spell out the material on each surface. Make life simple and just start playing around with the low pass filter in the multi-tap delay. You'll usually end up around 4khz for a "woody" room type sound, and way higher or off for some real sparkle

And/Or, insert Sony Track EQ after the delay and have some real fun dreaming up your spaces!

You can get nutz and enter the room dimensions into a room mode calculator. In this case we see we will have some bass bumps around 170hz, 220hz and 260hz set some fairly narrow Q's and take out a bit of these, if the sound muddies up too much. Leave that last band for a gentle low pass filter.

Start sending elements of your mix to your new "room" to taste.

Create other rooms for other instruments, imagine different materials, steal some RT60 curves off the web for the EQ. The possibilities are wide open!

Yes again, the above is filled with all sorts of logic errors, and fatal flaws. Thats great. But don't knock it till you try it!
ziggly wrote on 12/29/2005, 3:18 PM
i just saw your site
nice work pipeline

PipelineAudio wrote on 12/30/2005, 3:32 AM
thanks for the kind words ziggly!

Would you be so kind as to check out my site

Im trying a new format out with audio examples and would love some feedback on whether or not this type of tutorial would be helpful
jaydeeee wrote on 12/30/2005, 1:15 PM
>>>BTW I know NOTHING about mastering, it would just be mixing and tracking. That last step I can only get in trouble, and leave it to those who know much better.<<<

Just to note: the mixdown is even more important than the mastering. It dictates the final outcome of any mastering session. So since most home studios allow the user to be so close to the mixdown, I almost always suggest trying a mastering pass yourself (yes, even with modest monitor and room setups. However, if you have a completely poor monitor and room setup, then you may be the candidate to always take it elsewhere.

But then again with the above scenario and fear of mastering due to monitor and room inadequacies...I would question the actual overall quality of the mixdown. So I consider the mixdwn and master as one process really).

PipelineAudio wrote on 12/30/2005, 1:50 PM
I usually see them as two separate arts.
jaydeeee wrote on 12/31/2005, 2:22 PM
Well, I'm saying it is and it isn't. Mastering will follow the mixdown process obviously, but if you feel you're mixing enviro is set now then I'd say try a mastering pass yourself once. Don't place the mastering process on too high a pedestal (sorry - '05 real-world response). it's tough to go further as I don't don't people proficinecies.
Basically if you're not sure of your mastering cap and enviro, then I would also question the mixdown as well. Proper mixdown usually = best final mastering outcome.

I know cats who've adopted the mix and master process nearly as one now with incredible results (given their experience with today's tools and time and care taken with each project).
Just the same, I think it's foolish if one takes it elsewhere for mastering and you aren't working WITH THEM on the final output (just don't drive them nuts and be ready for the added costs when things get stretched out. A so-so mix for example can stretch out the mstr proc.

To the advanced: You're closer to the project and overall goal you want to achieve (and you're confident with addressing any monitor/room issues along with mastering experience). I'd say ya gotta have that moreso than the overspoken and perverbial "hrdwr/mastering tools". Only time and experience will dictate the level of success. Just as important, if it's REALLY helps to KNOW music (all of it, all genres).
One great rule of thumb (and duh to some here) is louder does not = better.

But, there are those that just plain shouldn't dive (overlooking the key ingredients), so...there ya go. Maybe most fall in that category, i dunno...only you can say.

In answer to the thread though and mixdowns in vegas, I would address your mon/room and invest in some better plug-ins first (if you're getting serious).
MJhig wrote on 1/16/2006, 10:03 AM

I believe you have totally missed the mark concerning pipelineaudio. He is anything but a novice. He makes his living as an audio engineer.

He simply started this thread as an endeavor to discover/exhibit what can be done using ONLY the "stock/native" Sony plugs.

Do some research on him here and on the net.

jaydeeee wrote on 1/23/2006, 2:14 PM
I know who Pipe is, we've been in many an argument and agreeance in the past (maybe you should research).
I'm in the same line of work (there's a lot of people in this scenario here, check it out).

Yes, I understand his post and replies (how was that not clear?). I'm just saying that if you are getting serious I would first address the room/monitoring and it's needs...then most would bag on the stock plugins and rarely ever look back as it's time to invest a bit more.
Then there's the little detail of experience (that depends on you and can't be discussed. Just like a musician has to practice and gain experience, so does the eng).
But for average/little use and needs the stock plugs can work well enough. I think that much is obvious.
My reply still stands.
MJhig wrote on 1/25/2006, 9:04 AM
Gotcha' Deeeejay, keep 'em spinning.