Recording - June 2016 - 12

Signal Flow in a DAW
channel usually pops up a graphic that
looks like the hardware device it's emulating
and provides the knobs and switches you'd
find on the hardware device. See Figure 6.
A plug-in can be placed in the signal
path ahead of the recorder, or in the playback/monitor path. When you have several
processors on a single path, you can juggle
their order so you can compress before or
after the EQ (it makes a difference).
Vocabulary lesson: You "patch in" a hardware processor, and "instantiate" a plug-in.
An analog signal processor, except for
time domain processors like delays or
reverbs, has essentially no signal delay

5

between input and output, but all software
plug-ins have some processing latency. This
can extend to hundreds of milliseconds for a
complex filter or goofy sound-if you record
a guitar track directly from the pickup, and
then add an amplifier simulator plug-in, your
guitar track would be delayed. DAW software fixes this by asking the plug-in by how
many samples the output's delayed, and
then automatically repositioning the track
along the timeline to compensate for the
delay-plug-in delay compensation (PDC).
One plug-in that has no direct equivalent
in the analog world is the virtual instrument.
With a virtual instrument, you send MIDI
data to the DAW and this "plays" a plug-in
that produces the audio. When playing a
virtual instrument live, often the delay
between pressing a key and hearing its
sound is great enough to throw off your
playing. One workaround is to choose a
simpler/ faster plug-in to listen to while
recording, and then replace it with the
sound you really want. Another is to use an
analog synth as your MIDI data source and
listen to the sound of the synth rather than
the plug-in. Whatever works.
Economics lesson: You can use only as
many hardware processors at a time as you

have. You can instantiate as many instances
of a plug-in as your CPU power allows.
Taking the bus
A bus takes its input from one or more
sources and distributes their sum to multiple
destinations. Analog consoles are full of
them. There's the Main Mix bus, sometimes
called the "2-Bus" because it's stereo.
Auxiliary or "Aux" buses are typically used
to create custom headphone mixes, send
signals to effect processors, or make an
independent broadcast mix. Aux buses are
designated as "Pre" or "Post," meaning that
the signal going to the bus is taken either
before or after the main channel fader.
Older consoles sometimes have a dedicated
"Echo" bus to feed an outboard reverb unit
6



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - June 2016

Contents
Recording - June 2016 - Cover1
Recording - June 2016 - Cover2
Recording - June 2016 - 1
Recording - June 2016 - 2
Recording - June 2016 - 3
Recording - June 2016 - 4
Recording - June 2016 - 5
Recording - June 2016 - Contents
Recording - June 2016 - 7
Recording - June 2016 - 8
Recording - June 2016 - 9
Recording - June 2016 - 10
Recording - June 2016 - 11
Recording - June 2016 - 12
Recording - June 2016 - 13
Recording - June 2016 - 14
Recording - June 2016 - 15
Recording - June 2016 - 16
Recording - June 2016 - 17
Recording - June 2016 - 18
Recording - June 2016 - 19
Recording - June 2016 - 20
Recording - June 2016 - 21
Recording - June 2016 - 22
Recording - June 2016 - 23
Recording - June 2016 - 24
Recording - June 2016 - 25
Recording - June 2016 - 26
Recording - June 2016 - 27
Recording - June 2016 - 28
Recording - June 2016 - 29
Recording - June 2016 - 30
Recording - June 2016 - 31
Recording - June 2016 - 32
Recording - June 2016 - 33
Recording - June 2016 - 34
Recording - June 2016 - 35
Recording - June 2016 - 36
Recording - June 2016 - 37
Recording - June 2016 - 38
Recording - June 2016 - 39
Recording - June 2016 - 40
Recording - June 2016 - 41
Recording - June 2016 - 42
Recording - June 2016 - 43
Recording - June 2016 - 44
Recording - June 2016 - 45
Recording - June 2016 - 46
Recording - June 2016 - 47
Recording - June 2016 - 48
Recording - June 2016 - 49
Recording - June 2016 - 50
Recording - June 2016 - 51
Recording - June 2016 - 52
Recording - June 2016 - 53
Recording - June 2016 - 54
Recording - June 2016 - 55
Recording - June 2016 - 56
Recording - June 2016 - 57
Recording - June 2016 - 58
Recording - June 2016 - 59
Recording - June 2016 - 60
Recording - June 2016 - 61
Recording - June 2016 - 62
Recording - June 2016 - 63
Recording - June 2016 - 64
Recording - June 2016 - 65
Recording - June 2016 - 66
Recording - June 2016 - 67
Recording - June 2016 - 68
Recording - June 2016 - 69
Recording - June 2016 - 70
Recording - June 2016 - 71
Recording - June 2016 - 72
Recording - June 2016 - Cover3
Recording - June 2016 - Cover4
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