MIXING & EFFECTS

Mixer Track Properties

This section covers the Mixer Track properties panel (9). The Mixer Track properties panel integrates some common mastering filters, phase, panning, stereo width and PDC (Plugin Delay Compensation) controls.

Integrated Effects

NOTE: The integrated effects are the last processing/FX stage prior to audio leaving the Mixer Track and so follow any plugin FX loaded into slots 1 to 8.

Plugin Delay Compensation - PDC

PDC is required when plugins (instrument or effects) have processing delays that put their audio out of sync with other audio or Mixer Tracks in the project. Most commonly an effect will introduce an unwanted delay that puts the audio on its Mixer Track out of sync with other Mixer Tracks. PDC works by adding the same delay to all other tracks to bring them into sync again. When several plugins introduce unwanted delay on several Mixer Tracks then multiple compensations are required so that all the tracks end up in sync when the audio reaches the Master Mixer track.

The Delay Panel (C), available on all Mixer Tracks, allows you to configure the mixer to use plugins that can't process audio in real-time, including compressors with 'look ahead' functions and 'Convolution Reverbs'. Without PDC, affected plugins will sound out of time with the main audio. The PDC control settings allow you to compensate for the unwanted delay so that the non-affected Mixer Tracks are synchronized with the delayed track. If you need to set up PDC manually, a tutorial is provided in the next section.

NOTES:

  1. Automatic PDC does not work for Plugins using multiple outputs (use manual setup, shown below).
  2. When using PDC, FL Studio will no longer respond 'instantly' as the audio output is delayed to sync with the slow plugin.

  3. PDC is not related to the Mixer Menu > Disk recording > Latency compensation option. That strips ASIO soundcard latencies from input recordings.

Guide to Manual PDC - Effects

If a Mixer Track contains an FX plugin that introduces a unwanted delay (delay-affected) then the audio from this track will be out of sync with the other Mixer Tracks. PDC is nothing more complex than delaying all 'normal' tracks by the same amount as the delay-affected track, bringing the two audio streams back in sync. To facilitate PDC, a highly accurate compensating delay is available through the Mixer Track Delay Panel (C).

PDC Summary:

  1. Place the delay affected plugin on a Mixer Track and route any instruments to it that require the effect.
  2. Set up a NEW Mixer Track and use the Delay panel (C) to set the same delay as caused by the delay affected plugin and route all other Mixer Tracks exclusively through this track. That is, disable the individual Master sends. Right-clicking the 'track send' switches (18) will provide a 'Route to this track only' send option.

Step-by-step instructions to using Manual PDC:

  1. Load the delay-affected (slow) plugin - Insert delay-affected plugin into any FX slot of any Insert mixer track or Send track. Link the channels you would like to effect with the plugin to this Mixer Track.
  2. Determine the delay compensation - If you are not using the 'Set from' option you will need to manually record the plugin delay compensation (PDC). This is shown in the hint bar when you hover over a plugin FX slot that contains a plugin causing (and reporting) a delay, as shown below. Take note of this value and the units (usually samples).

  3. Compensating track - Use the 'Set from' PDC 'Delay entry' menu item OR enter the PDC delay value obtained above in the 'Delay entry menu' (C) on a second Mixer Track that DOES NOT contain the delay affected plugin. It makes sense to re-name this track 'PDC' and change the color to something bright so you can easily locate it later.
  4. Route all normal tracks to the compensating track, disabling their individual Master sends - All audio (other than that running through the track containing the plugin causing a delay) must be routed through the compensating track. You must DISABLE THE MASTER SEND of each Mixer Track routed to the compensating track so that the only path for audio from these tracks to the Master is through the compensating track. Use the 'track send' switches (18) and select 'Route to this track only' OR:

    TIP: Use the Mixer menu option 'Create submix to' when setting up PDC projects. In this case:

  5. Testing - The two audio streams should now be in sync. However, the PDC setting in the hint window is reported by the plugin, so if this is not available you may need to tune the delay setting by ear, if so compare the PDC and non PDC paths using a percussive sound such as a 'hat' sample. Set the step-sequencer to pattern mode and trigger the delay-affected and a normal instruments with equivalent steps. Make sure there are no FX on the compensating channel while you test.

Guide to using Manual PDC - Instruments

Some instruments give a delayed response to note input commands. It is possible to use the Pre delay setting on the Delay Panel (C) to re-sync delayed and normal instrument audio, before either enter the mixer. Pre delaying simplifies the internal routing and set-up requirements. The principle here is to add a pre-delay to each Mixer Track receiving normal instruments while the track receiving a delayed instrument is not adjusted.

Step-by-step instructions to using instruments/generator PDC -

  1. Link the delay-affected (slow) plugin to the mixer - Select a Mixer Track and route the delay-affected instrument to this track. This will be the only track that does not receive a delay compensation.
  2. Link normal instruments/generators - All normal generators/instruments may be linked to any other Mixer Track/s as usual. All tracks used by unaffected instruments/generators must receive a Pre-delay compensation set in the Delay Panel (C).
  3. Determine the delay compensation - The delay caused by the affected instrument/generator will either be noted in the documentation that comes with the plugin OR if this is not available you will need to tune the delay setting by ear. If so compare a normal and delay-affected plugin using a percussive sound with a sharp attack and quick release. Make sure there are no FX on the Mixer Tracks you are testing. Set the step-sequencer to pattern mode and trigger the delay-affected and a normal instruments with equivalent steps.
  4. Delay setting - Select Pre delay and enter the PDC delay value obtained above into the 'Delay entry menu' (C) of each track receiving a normal instrument.