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Is it possible to add reverb to vocal mic, without affecting my keyboard sound?

Jan 31, 2010 9:56 PM

Hello,

 

I am trying to record my vocals and piano simultaneously. I'm using the MBox 2, with Adobe Audition 3.0. Whenever I add reverb to my vocal track (via the fx tab under my vocal track in multi track view), it affects the way my piano sounds while I am recording (it creates a delay on the sound of the keyboard while I am playing...almost like a 'bouncing note' delay). I really want to be able to hear some reverb on my voice while recording, but I cannot seem to figure out how to do it. This is how I have everything set up:

 

  • Piano is plugged in via DI on input 2 on the back of the mbox
  • vocal mic is plugged in via cannon on input 1 on back of mbox

 

If anybody could help, that would be wonderful. I've spent hours trying to figure this out with no luck. It is a lot more fun to record your singing with a bit of the pretty reverb....but my piano doesn't agree.

 

Thank you
Best,

Jenny Jo

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 1, 2010 1:39 AM   in reply to bilbyjj

    Try to set the track input to MONO. The default may be stereo. Route each two inputs to different tracks. Your fx setup appears correct to me. Ensure you have Audition Mix selected for Monitoring (lower right region of the window). This could solve the 'echo' issue too, if you don't have too high latency: generally is thould be below 10 ms. This is a soundcard setting, and varies from type to type, but you can often approach it from Audiotion's Audio Hardware Setup.

     
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  • SteveG(AudioMasters)
    5,602 posts
    Oct 26, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 1, 2010 2:17 AM   in reply to Brian Stew

    I'm afraid that none of the above is the answer at all - it doesn't take account of most of the things you said. In fact for what you are trying to do, there may not be an easy answer, and I'll explain why:

     

    There are basically two ways of monitoring what's going on when you record. The first one is that you do it directly via your sound device, and that works pretty well, simply because there are no inherent processing delays involved. The second method is the 'Audition Mix' one, and that passes everything through the processor, into Audition, has effects added, and thence back to the sound device. And this, unfortunately, is the method that causes delays - as you have discovered. And the aforementioned 10ms is nowhere in it - if you use this route, because of all the pr ocessing involved we are generally talking hundreds of milliseconds - in no small part caused by the processing time involved with the reverb.

     

    There's only one way generally to put reverb into the headphones via Audition - and that only works when playing a track back to sing to, and not trying to record another instrumental one at the same time. What you have to do, in the signal sent back from Audition with the reverb on, is to make sure that there is no dry signal in it at all. It's the dry (direct) signal that causes all the confusion. So if you send back the wet (reverb only) signal with no direct in it, the confusion is effectively eliminated.

     

    So in an ideal world, you'd have the piano monitored directly and the vocal going via Audition's processing, and having reverb added to the monitoring signal (the reverb wouldn't be recorded - Audition only ever records dry signals). But you can't mix the monitoring modes, unfortunately, so you are a bit stuffed - unless you can take steps to monitor the keyboard differently, and in this way, I think your only answer lies. If you use 'Audition Mix' and set the vocal up with the wet-only reverb added, you'll hear it - but also what you have to do is to turn off all monitoring for your keyboard, and use something like a small amp, or whatever, to monitor this separately without the delay. Really what you need is a small external mixer, which would let you mix what's coming back from Audition with both direct sounds and feed them to a pair of headphones. This way, you'd hear everything but you wouldn't need to listen to the Audition keyboard track being out of time at all - you'd just record it, and when everything was played back, it would all be in time anyway, because it was only the monitoring that was delayed.

     

    I hope this is clear - if it isn't, ask more questions.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 1, 2010 11:44 PM   in reply to SteveG(AudioMasters)

    Out of some disbelief I had to try my own setup suggestion from above, since it's not a thing I do daily anymore. Without wanting to go into any dispute with the above poster, I can only say:

     

    It works well here.

     

    Your mileage may vary.

    Setting up two mono tracks with a separate input to each, I was able to record vocals with reverb from Audition in my monitoring headphones, along with recording an electro-acoustic instrument (guitar in my case) on the adjacent track with no reverb at all. I sang/tested with lots of consonants and different monitor levels and reverbs; I used the Studio Reverb, which is the least CPU intensive and recommended in the manual. There was no noticable delay, echo, what have you, which I felt disturbed my precision at all. The reverb added from Audition is immediate and totally glued to the original signal in both very dry and very wet mixes. Now I KNOW technically there is a delay/latency, but for practical purposes it isn't noticable. I've also heard some singers are extremely pecky on this, and for them there is the solution of direct monitoring and an outboard reverb added to their headphone signal (it could even be solved with a cable split). For everyone else however it works well and the latency just a theory - certainly not an audible 'echo' of any kind.  I use an M-Audio device like the OP, and my computer is medium powered to say the best, so nothing 'super'. With a poor soundcard and a computer low on resources latency will become evident. Also if you don't use ASIO. This type of application is where ASIO shines.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 2, 2010 12:36 AM   in reply to bilbyjj

    Getting the drivers straight is extremely important. Without the basic I/O working, any setup in Audition may behave erratic.

     

    Doing a search in this forum I found this thread:

    http://forums.adobe.com/message/1196649#1196649

    It appears quite technical I'm afraid, and I'm not sure it applies to Vista even.

     

    I also went to Digidesign and found this for your product:

    http://www.digidesign.com/index.cfm?navid=3&langid=100&eid=173

     

    The only general Windows ASIO driver I find there (at fist glance at least) is for XP. Now Vista isn't exactly 'new' anymore - I hardly believe my eyes.

    Surley you need to sort this out first.

    Giving http://www.asio4all.com a shot could even be worthwhile. It's a free general ASIO driver that works with an amazing number of devices; kind of universal saviour. Install this (it can co-exist with other audio drivers just fine), and then select it from Audio-hardware setup in Audition.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 2, 2010 1:15 AM   in reply to bilbyjj

    Driver issues should not affect filenames for sure.

    Going from glitchy playback to glitch free hints that there is 'issues', but it could be as simple that your latency setting is very near the limit of what your system can handle. With one process running in the background it will glitch, when that process is off audio is fine. Increase your sample settings a bit. 44.1 kHz, 16-bit, 512 samples is a kind of minimum for your application. Then try to lower to 256 and 128.

    Suggestions for a cleanup: disconnect unit. Remove all drivers related to the MBox2. Reboot. Install one driver at a time (for instance Asio4all) - without having the unit connected! Reboot. Connect the unit. Select Asio4all in Audition, with the settings suggested above.

    Then again, Vista and MBox2 as a general soundcard may just be poor friends by design (from Digidesign); poor luck for you.

     
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  • SteveG(AudioMasters)
    5,602 posts
    Oct 26, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 2, 2010 2:03 AM   in reply to Brian Stew

    Brian Stew wrote:

     

    Now I KNOW technically there is a delay/latency, but for practical purposes it isn't noticable. I've also heard some singers are extremely pecky on this, and for them there is the solution of direct monitoring and an outboard reverb added to their headphone signal (it could even be solved with a cable split). For everyone else however it works well and the latency just a theory - certainly not an audible 'echo' of any kind. 

    Well, there have been plenty of complaints about it in the past, and having tried it myself on an 'average' machine with a vocalist who complained like hell about the delay, I came up with the 'alternative' solution.It's the worst possible scenario for latency, and using anything other than a direct ASIO driver is going to make it even worse still - which is why ASIO4ALL isn't any sort of a solution, because it simply translates Audition's ASIO straight back to WDM - with a considerable latency increase.

     

    Also, I've yet to see any reason to record only in mono. Certainly that's fine for the vocal track with only one microphone, but if the keyboard has a stereo output, then it makes sense to record that - the amount of difference that would make to the latency situation really is theoretical, especially considering that no effects have been added to it.

     

    The OP didn't mention Vista previously. Having ditched Vista from a machine with poor latency (and everything else) performance from new, and installed XP on it instead, it runs pretty much everything (including Audition) about 30% faster. Vista has been almost universally slated for audio use - partly because it's really sluggish, and also for reasons to do with DRM. This can, under some circumstances, screw it up even more. Even W7 outperforms it somewhat, so that's looking like a feasible upgrade nowadays. But in the same breath I should point out that Audition 3 was designed to work with XP - so if it's available, then that's still the OS to go for if running Audition is a specific requirement.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 2, 2010 2:00 AM   in reply to bilbyjj

    In Audition:

    Edit manu, Audio Hardware Setup.

    Choose pane for Edit View or Multitrack View.

    Audio Driver dropdown menu will list all available drivers, select for instance ASIO4ALL.

    Hit Control Panel button for adusting settings. What you will see here varies greatly between devices and manufacturers! Some will let you set a Latency time directly. This figure is often fake (number too low), but nevertheless. Beside this button you will see a readout of your audio device settings; for instance the Buffer Size, which indeed shows number of samples. I suggested starting in the 512 area. Try a little session with a setting near that, then try to go lower, without any audio glitches or other problems appearing.

    Below In this dialog you can set your default in- and outputs. However on a multi input device all of them should be available for individual selection per track as well.

     

    This information IS available in the manual...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 2, 2010 4:10 AM   in reply to SteveG(AudioMasters)

    "Also, I've yet to see any reason to record only in mono. Certainly that's fine for the vocal track with only one microphone, but if the keyboard has a stereo output..."

    The OP listed two inputs; typically there are two mono inputs then, or one stereo pair. Everything is better in stereo (nooot) - but you need the inputs.

     

    Appareantly the MBox line of products from Digidesign has nothing to do with M-Audio like I thought, even if they are under the same mother company and also work with the same software. ProTools SE works with MBox, while ProTools M-powered works with a wide range of M-Audio products. PT SE and PT MP are both scaled down version of PT, but their hardware for it that starts with M is totally 'different' than the hardware that starts with M- even if they share the same features on the outside. I must admit it took me.

     

    For anyone concerned, i use the M-Audio NRV10 as my audio device. It's an 8 in / 8 out FireWire device and it works very well for me. Similar in concept to the Mackie FW series and Yamaha N-series of mixer, but I got mine much cheaper than any of those. With it I can indeed record vocals and for instance keyboards in stereo... Since it is a mixer, and has some built in effects too, I can tap the mic input and feed that directly with reverb added directly to the talent, bypassing the computer. If I want to. There are good and bad things integrating the soundcard with the mixer, but for one thing it has reduced the cable clutter dramatically! As a bonus I can also use the computer as an FX device in a live setting, which is actually very powerful.

    There has been a thread on problems with FireWire devices here recently, but I can only say I am very satisfied with my setup which is very stable, running on a modest Dell laptop with WinXP.

     
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