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Understanding the Audio Mixer

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ludu

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Understanding the Audio Mixer

PostWed Nov 10, 2021 6:17 am

Hello everyone,

The HW5/6 mixer is very powerful but also very complex. The user manual offers a whole series of the most frequent cases and a way to put them into practice if one follows the instructions step by step. This is obviously very useful, but it does not allow you to understand the tool enough to be able to create your own solution and, in my opinion, it lacks a synthesis. This opinion is apparently shared by other people. Sonus Paradisi publishes a page on his blog linking all the components of this tool and other posts on the forum also attempt to find a comprehensive explanation rather than a one-off solution to a particular case.

From my side, I also tried to understand this audio mixer and created a flowchart for this purpose, but I’m sure there are some imperfections in it because I haven’t figured it out yet. For example, I do not yet perceive the usefulness of intermediate buses. Anyway, I give you the current result of my research, hoping to receive your criticisms to correct this organisation chart.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tyT58MDbVkezx0LIytUAxKJYqT8t1QAt/view?usp=sharing
Luc
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mdyde

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Re: Understanding the Audio Mixer

PostWed Nov 10, 2021 6:30 am

[Topic moved here.]

Thanks for the attempted visualisation.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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vpo-organist

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Re: Understanding the Audio Mixer

PostWed Nov 10, 2021 5:22 pm

This is already far too complex. It would help me if someone could explain to me step for step how to assign a separate IR file for a stereo setup for different divisions. At the moment I use only one IR for the whole organ, because everything else is too complicated for me.

For example, Sonus Paradisi has separate IR's for each division for the Caen-Dry.

The next step would be to experimentally process one IR a second time with another IR to test this effect.
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mnailor

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Re: Understanding the Audio Mixer

PostWed Nov 10, 2021 5:42 pm

vpo-organist wrote:This is already far too complex. It would help me if someone could explain to me step for step how to assign a separate IR file for a stereo setup for different divisions. At the moment I use only one IR for the whole organ, because everything else is too complicated for me.

For example, Sonus Paradisi has separate IR's for each division for the Caen-Dry.

The next step would be to experimentally process one IR a second time with another IR to test this effect.


You have to route the ranks of each division to a dedicated bus group for that division to make this work. Each bus group should contain only the primary buses to stereo speaker pairs that you want to play that group's division. Add the desired IR to each primary bus, or alternatively send all the primary bus outputs for one division/group to an intermediate or master bus and add the IR there (applied to the division's combined signal). Do one or the other for each division/group, with its own IR choices.

Each step requires learning something in the user guide. No, I can't type step-by-step instructions. Sorry.
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Re: Understanding the Audio Mixer

PostWed Nov 10, 2021 11:39 pm

Drew A. Worthen
Master of Music in Composition - Butler University
http://www.drewworthen.com
Director of Music & Website Admin - Greenwood UMC
http://www.greenwoodumc.org
Design Engineer - American Sound and Electronics - Indy
https://americansound.cc/
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mdyde

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Re: Understanding the Audio Mixer

PostThu Nov 11, 2021 5:37 am

Hello vpo-organist,

vpo-organist wrote:It would help me if someone could explain to me step for step how to assign a separate IR file for a stereo setup for different divisions.


To expand on Mark's reply, here are some step-by-step instructions for you for mixing ranks together by divisions, assigning separate reverbs to those mixed divisions, then further mixing the divisions (with their reverbs applied) down to a single stereo output: (These instructions assume that your other audio routing settings are at their defaults.)

- Load the relevant organ.

- Decide which of the available 8 mixer presets (which are global) you want to dedicate for the purpose. (We do plan to increase the number in the future, so that you could potentially dedicate a distinct mixer preset to each organ if you wished.) Let's say you choose to use mixer preset 2.

- Go to 'Organ settings | Organ preferences | Audio mixer preset' and select mixer preset 2, thus configuring the organ to use that preset. OK the screen.

- Now open the 'General settings | Audio mixer' screen.

- Find 'Mxr prst 2: Mstr mix bus 1 stereo mix 1 (main/recording)' in the left-hand bus list. In the right-hand pane, make sure that your desired audio device stereo channel pair is selected, so that you will be able to hear the mixed output that will be fed to the bus. (Don't assign an impulse directly to this bus, since we will instead be assigning the reverbs to per-division buses below.)

- Now, in the left-hand list of mixer buses, expand the 'Advanced items' node.

- Let's say we'll use primary bus 0031 for division 1, 0032 for division 2, etc., so scroll down the bus list to find 'Mxr prst 2: prmry bus 0031'. In the right-hand pane, name the bus something like 'Division 1' (or 'Great', or whatever you like, for representing that division, although it might be useful to keep the names generic in case you want to use the same set-up for several different organs which might have different division names). Make sure that no device channels are selected for the bus (since you'll be mixing it down to your main stereo output, instead of sending it to speakers directly). Also make sure that 'Sends: to master mix buses: 1 stereo mix 1 (main/recording)' is still ticked (as it is by default). For 'Impulse response reverb' select the reverb that you want to apply to this division.

- Repeat the last step for each of the other divisions that you plan to use (using buses 0032, 0033, and onwards), naming them 'Division 2', 'Division 3', etc., and assigning the desired reverbs to each.

- Now open the 'General settings | Audio mixer bus groups screen. To keep things tidy, let's say we'll use group 0031 for division 1, group 0032 for division 2, and so on. Hence scroll down the left-hand group list to find 'Mxr prst 2: bus grp 0031'. In the right-hand pane, name it 'Division 1' (for example). In the lower part of the right-hand pane, make sure that mixer bus 0031 is ticked for it, and no others. You should see that mixer bus 0031 is named 'Division 1', since you named it that a few steps ago. Hence you will now have configured group 0031 to contain just bus 0031, so that all pipes for any ranks that you route to this group will play through just that one mixer bus (bus 0031, to which you have assigned your desired reverb for this division).

- Repeat the last step for each of the other divisions that you plan to use (using groups 0032, 0033, and onwards), naming them 'Division 2', 'Division 3', etc., putting bus 0032 in group 0032, bus 0033 in group 0033, and so on.

- Now open the 'Organ settings | Rank routing ...' screen. In the left-hand rank list, highlight all ranks for the first division. In the right-hand pane, for 'Rank output perspective 1 (front 1/main): Destination mixer bus group' select group 0031. You should see that group 0031 is named 'Division 1', since you named it that a few steps ago.

- Repeat the last step for the organ's other ranks, assigning them to the appropriate groups according to their divisions.

You will then have a unique group set up for each division, with that group containing a unique mixer bus for the division, with the desired reverb assigned, and the whole lot will be mixing down to the main stereo output (master mix bus 1), and with the each division's ranks routed to its group (and thus to its mixer bus, which has its reverb assigned.)

Edit: P.S. For other people who like to assign different divisions to different pairs of speakers, the above instructions apply equally, except that you would select the desired device channels for the divisions' primary buses (for bus 0031 select your device channels for division 1, for bus 0032 select the device channels for division 2, etc.), instead of for the main stereo mix, and you wouldn't necessarily assign any reverbs (unless you wanted to).
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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ludu

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Re: Understanding the Audio Mixer

PostFri Nov 12, 2021 5:03 am

François Raté (http://www.hauptwerkconsultant.com/) pointed out to me that the 8 presets were missing at the output. So I corrected my flowchart (see the link in the first post).

I come back to the question I asked: what can intermed buses be used for? I still have not understood the use that can be made of it. Thanks in advance.
Luc
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mdyde

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Re: Understanding the Audio Mixer

PostFri Nov 12, 2021 8:18 am

Hello Luc,

ludu wrote:I come back to the question I asked: what can intermed buses be used for? I still have not understood the use that can be made of it. Thanks in advance.


Most people wouldn't need to use the intermediate mix buses. However, they exist so that you can mix primary buses down to them, then apply reverb to them or send their output to speakers, and then also mix the results down further to the master mix buses.

As an example, here's one situation in which they would be useful:

- Suppose you were using a dry sample set with 4 divisions, and that you wanted to distribute each division's pipework 'dry' amongst 4 speaker pairs for each division (4x4x2=32 speakers in total). You would thus have 4 groups (one per division), each with 4 primary buses in it, each with a stereo speaker selected as an output device. E.g. your primary buses might be named something like:
----- Division 1 stereo pair 1 direct out
----- Division 1 stereo pair 2 direct out
----- Division 1 stereo pair 3 direct out
----- Division 1 stereo pair 4 direct out
----- Division 2 stereo pair 1 direct out
----- Division 2 stereo pair 2 direct out
----- Division 2 stereo pair 3 direct out
----- Division 2 stereo pair 4 direct out
----- Division 3 stereo pair 1 direct out
----- Division 3 stereo pair 2 direct out
----- Division 3 stereo pair 3 direct out
----- Division 3 stereo pair 4 direct out
----- Division 4 stereo pair 1 direct out
----- Division 4 stereo pair 2 direct out
----- Division 4 stereo pair 3 direct out
----- Division 4 stereo pair 4 direct out

- Suppose you also had another 4 speaker pairs, and you wanted to use one pair for each division, with a distinct reverb applied to it (i.e. a distinct reverb for each division). You could use 4 intermediate mix buses for those, with each of the 16 primary buses sending its output to the appropriate one of those intermediate mix buses according to its division. E.g. your intermediate mix buses might be named something like:
----- Division 1 mixed reverb output
----- Division 2 mixed reverb output
----- Division 3 mixed reverb output
----- Division 4 mixed reverb output

- Suppose you also wanted to use master mix bus 1 as an overall stereo mix-down for recording or listening on headphones. You would then configure each of the above 4 intermediate mix buses to send to it.

Another similar-ish example:

- Suppose you only have a single stereo speaker/headphones output (and no other speakers), but you wanted to apply distinct short 'early reflections' reverbs to each of the 16 above primary buses above, thus distributing the pipework amongst 16 distinct 'virtual positions' within 'virtual acoustic space'. Hence you would select the appropriate reverbs for each of them.

- Suppose you also wanted to mix the *pre-reverb* signal from those buses down to the 4 intermediate mix bus above, so that you could also apply long 'late reflections' reverbs to those intermediate mix buses, mixed down on a per-division basis. (It would be acoustically incorrect to apply such a reverb to the post-reverb signal, since you would then be applying a reverb on top of another reverb). To do that you would still have the 16 primary buses sending to the 4 intermediate mix buses (according to their divisions), but this time you would set their 'Sends: to intermediate mix buses: Send point' settings to 'From the *input* of this bus'.

- Since you would need the overall stereo output to have both the 4 per-division late-reflections (from the intermediate mix buses), mixed together with the early-reflections from the 16 individual primary buses, you would then also need to set those 16 primary buses to send directly to master mix bus 1 (the overall stereo output).

In that way you could model a complex acoustic space very realistically (helping to maintaining perceived separation between the pipework due to the differences in 'virtual positions' of the 16 primary buses, due to their distinct early-reflections reverbs) without the CPU overheads of applying long reverbs to every one of the 16 buses individually. Generally that would be a reasonable acoustic compromise because late-reflections don't usually vary as much with small differences in source position. That CPU-saving consideration might become more important if you wanted to position the pipework amongst, say, 1024 primary buses, i.e. to distribute the pipes amongst 1024 slightly different positions in virtual space, potentially creating a very realistic virtual acoustic indeed.

To do something like the above scheme you would need specially-prepared reverbs, which had been separated into early-reflections and late-reflections.

I do appreciate that the above might seem a bit intimidating to a lot of people (especially if not versed in acoustics theory), which is one reason why we plan to add to the ability to export/import mixer presets -- people (e.g. sample set producers) could then provide pre-configured schemes, such as pre-configured complex virtual acoustics appropriate for their sample sets, which an end user could simply import, avoiding the need to understand or configure them in detail themselves.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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ludu

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Re: Understanding the Audio Mixer

PostFri Nov 12, 2021 9:12 am

Dear Martin,

I am amazed by the power of this audio mixer and I congratulate you on having made such a powerful tool. Fortunately, you are not stingy in explanations, because without you we could never take advantage of HW5/6 in the best way.

Kind regards,
Luc
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mdyde

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Re: Understanding the Audio Mixer

PostFri Nov 12, 2021 9:16 am

Thanks very much, Luc.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.

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