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kc23

Fix/Update-External Insert true mono send and return

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Hello

I think the External Insert plugin is due for a much needed update to fix its behavior. As of now, and since it was released, it is forcing stereo outputs, and if you choose a mono output, it hijacks the second mono output of whatever pair you selected first. Even if you set interleave to mono, External Insert will remain in stereo.

To test it, do the following:

-Create an audio track, instantiate an External Insert plugin.
-Set SEND of External Plugin to a mono output, lets say "Left USB Audio Analogue 3".
-Set RETURN to a mono input, lets say "Left USB Audio Analogue 3". (pic 1)
-Create a second audio track, instantiate a second External Insert Plugin.
-Now, if you try to set the SEND to the second mono output "Right USB Audio Analogue 3", it just doesn´t show up, it just doesn´t exist. (pic 2)
-Even more: now create a third track, and try to set it´s output to "Right USB Audio Analogue 3". Again, it doesn´t show up, as the External Insert just "ate up" the whole stereo pair.


This is in fact reducing the interface I/O capabilities to half!

And the sad thing, it has been like these for ever, it has never been updated since the feature was introduced at least since Sonar 7 (before the Sonar X days).


It is sad too because Cakewalk was (as with so many things) one of the first daws to develop this feature, but it has been left behind. I have seen posts in the old forum about this that were never taken into account, never addressed by the developers with even a mild response. Not to mention the matter of not being able to solo buses with external insert, that also keeps getting mentioned now and again without response.


Contemporary developers should take a look at how Reaper or StudioOne have implemented this. StudioOne´s implementation is closer to what CBB´s should be, in my opinion, and for shure it can be done better. Check these videos, one of them from 5 years ago!:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_gweD57AQk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4dZwNSeZM4


Love Cakewalk, have been using it for more than twenty years, but this feature alone has had me thinking about moving to Reaper. It just can´t be taken seriously for hybrid mixing if my ten I/O interface is rendered half useless and can´t use all my hardware only because the daw´s archaic implementation of this feature.

Please Bandlab folks, keep up the great work you have been doing, and take action to fix this long forgotten feature. I know I´m not the only one asking, as there are other posts about the subject.

Thanks!

External insert 1.png

External insert 2.png

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Hi

 

Is really no one from the development team going to even make a slight comment about this? Is it really going to keep being ignored?

Even just making another identical but only mono plugin would be an acceptable solution.

All other daws have implemented this in their workflow, so there is still a need for this kind of tool.

Haven´t anyone thought that maybe the lack of this implementation is one of the reasons mixers aren´t using CbB for hybrid mixing, therefore having to use the more developed features of those other daws?

 

Is there another way of requesting this other than this forum? Maybe a support email where to write directly to the developers with this request for fix? I have looked but couldn´t find it.

 

Thanks.

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Let me see if I understand it correctly, because I haven't tried patching in any external processors.

Let's assume I want to use it with my @Craig Anderton PAiA Hot Springs Reverb, which would actually be my most likely scenario, as the Hot Springs is a favorite external processor.

The Hot Springs is mono in, mono out, so I only need one output and one return from my 8-channel Firepod. The Firepod only actually has two channels that may be used in this way, if I recall, so they are "expensive."

You're saying that if I assign the first output to the plug-in, I can't do anything else with the other one? That it's grabbed by the plug-in and may only be used on that channel.

That does seem like a big waste of I/O, especially in situations like mine, where I only have two in the first place.

Now before I say this, I will mention that I dislike it when people offer clumsy workarounds when a feature request is in order (with the implication that your feature request is unnecessary), and I fully agree with your feature request. Assuming that all external processors are stereo in/stereo out is incorrect and should be remedied, especially now, when so many people are using interfaces that only have 2 channels to play with in the first place.

So. If the devs don't think this is worthy of their attention, or even if they do, it will take them time to implement it, I think I may have a workaround for people like us who don't like it: use Aux tracks.

You can make multiple Aux tracks with the inputs set to mono left and right.

Try creating 2 Aux tracks, putting the plug-in on Aux 1 and setting the inputs of the Aux tracks to Aux 1 left and Aux 1 right. Then use hard panned Sends from your tracks to Aux 1, depending on which processor you want to use. They should be returned to Aux 1 Left and Aux 1 Right, which can be routed anywhere you want.

I haven't tried it in practice, but it might help, or something similar might work using a Bus.

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38 minutes ago, Starship Krupa said:

You're saying that if I assign the first output to the plug-in, I can't do anything else with the other one

That is what he is saying and he is correct.

 

39 minutes ago, Starship Krupa said:

Try creating 2 Aux tracks, putting the plug-in on Aux 1 and setting the inputs of the Aux tracks to Aux 1 left and Aux 1 right. Then use hard panned Sends from your tracks to Aux 1, depending on which processor you want to use

Maybe would work but is a very inelegant workaround. Sort of defeats the purpose of having External inserts in the FX bin. Having external mono processing in front of the sends is what is desired.

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1 hour ago, Base 57 said:

Maybe would work but is a very inelegant workaround. Sort of defeats the purpose of having External inserts in the FX bin. Having external mono processing in front of the sends is what is desired.

I myself dislike when people offer clumsy workarounds when a feature request is in order, and I fully agree with the feature request. Apologies if I didn't make that clear in my reply.

My purpose with the workaround suggestion is to help anyone temporarily while the problem is addressed where we think it should be addressed, which is in Cakewalk.

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21 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

You're saying that if I assign the first output to the plug-in, I can't do anything else with the other one? That it's grabbed by the plug-in and may only be used on that channel.

That does seem like a big waste of I/O, especially in situations like mine, where I only have two in the first place.

 

 

20 hours ago, Base 57 said:

That is what he is saying and he is correct.

Exactly! The external plugin won´t let you use the second output. Indeed, a BIG waste of I/O.

 

 

21 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

You can make multiple Aux tracks with the inputs set to mono left and right.

Try creating 2 Aux tracks, putting the plug-in on Aux 1 and setting the inputs of the Aux tracks to Aux 1 left and Aux 1 right. Then use hard panned Sends from your tracks to Aux 1, depending on which processor you want to use. They should be returned to Aux 1 Left and Aux 1 Right, which can be routed anywhere you want.

 

 

20 hours ago, Base 57 said:

Maybe would work but is a very inelegant workaround. Sort of defeats the purpose of having External inserts in the FX bin. Having external mono processing in front of the sends is what is desired.

I have tried this and it "works", but it´s not only "inelegant" but really clumsy... It requires way too many steps more: sending to Aux a track, panning, patching, sending another track to same Aux, panning, patching, making sure gain staging works for both tracks on the same plugin, finally sending each return to their track, and now you´re using five tracks for every two hardware outputs, when it could be just the two. It gets messy quickly and it´s a workflow killer.

With a mono able plugin, it would be just instantiating the plugin, patching, gain staging, done! No extra tracks and routing.

It has been forever like this, so sadly it doesn´t work as a temporary workaround if it becomes a permanent workaround (with all the good intentions your suggestion comes). If you look around the web, you´ll find this plugin has not changed at all since it was released in 2007 (thirteen years ago!) with Sonar 7.

I would think a proper temporary workaround would be to release a mono only version of the same exact plugin, while they work on the development of a proper implementation of this feature. I think it should be worthy of the developers attention.

Really hope they´ll do something about it, as it is one of the things (have a couple more listed, but first things first!) that still makes CbB feel kind of stuck in it´s old ways.

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, kc23 said:

If you look around the web, you´ll find this plugin has not changed at all since it was released in 2007 (thirteen years ago!) with Sonar 7.

You are indeed correct. But i believe its mostly because a lot of users have moved away from using the External FX plug in. 

As a mastering engineer i use external FX but i don't use the External FX plug ins. I route almost all my hardware through my interfaces input/outputs. I know this is tough for some because you need the interface with multiple I/O's. If i need to tap an insert, i do it right from the source of my Interface.

I hope its an easy fix for them, that way you can be happy. This doesn't come up much because i dont think many users use the External FX as much anymore but i'd like to see it updated so i can play around with it, maybe i can find some uses for it.

Edited by chuckebaby
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1 hour ago, chuckebaby said:

As a mastering engineer i use external FX but i don't use the External FX plug ins. I route almost all my hardware through my interfaces input/outputs. I know this is tough for some because you need the interface with multiple I/O's. If i need to tap an insert, i do it right from the source of my Interface.

I think doing it this way is even more troublesome, as you don´t have latency compensation. I see how in mastering it would work, as you just have to go out on a stereo pair to your chain and then return for printing. But in mixing, there would be no way of correctly auditioning your hardware adjustments in real time with all the other itb tracks, or do parallel processing, and will end up having to print and nudge the printed track every time an adjustment is made.

 

1 hour ago, chuckebaby said:

You are indeed correct. But i believe its mostly because a lot of users have moved away from using the External FX plug in. 

[...]

This doesn't come up much because i dont think many users use the External FX as much anymore but i'd like to see it updated so i can play around with it, maybe i can find some uses for it.

In mastering I would think it being useful, maybe for some custom M-S patching of plugins in between hardware, as an example.

Also, I think many users with hardware don´t use the external plugin anymore because of this problem, and most likely are using another daw with a better implementation. I know people who have just passed up on Sonar because of this, however liking it in many other regards. So, it´s not that it´s not used because it isn´t needed, I think it´s not used because it´s implementation is archaic and not up to par, therefore making CbB obsolete in this regard.

Which, again, is a shame, as Cakewalk has always been ahead of so many "industry standards" regarding implementation of new tech.

So please BandLab, hope you guys update and fix this feature.

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3 hours ago, kc23 said:

(with all the good intentions your suggestion comes)

I appreciate that. I really do dislike it when people do that with the unspoken idea that I should suck it up because their pet DAW can "already do that."

Yeah, if I stand on my head and tap dance with my elbows, sure. 😀

People make feature requests because they like the program and they want it to be better, they go to the trouble of writing it out. If they're polite, I try to be polite as well. Sometimes the program does actually have the feature already.

BTW, my semi-hidden agenda here is to keep the dialog going so as to keep your topic up at the top. That's part of how feature requests get attention, is if they hang around for a while. The devs are busy devving, or if you please, the bakers are busy baking, so checking the forum is a secondary task.

As chuckebaby says, your best hope is that altering the existing plug-in is a simple task.

You mention "proper implementation." I'm not familiar with how it's done in other programs, I think I tried it out in Mixcraft and it wasn't done with a plug-in, it was similar to a hardware mixer insert. Is this what you mean?

With all the high-powered routing that I can otherwise do in Cakewalk, it does seem kinda weird that the only way to get a signal out and back to an external processor while mixing is via a plug-in that assumes I want to eat up a stereo pair.

It sounds like what chuckebaby says is true for pros who have interfaces with lots of I/O flexibility, but even my 8 input/8 output Firepods only have one pair that can be used for this purpose (I think). I know that there are plenty of home studio/bedroom producer people who are way into patching in funky old processors, even stompboxes for reamping and they may be using a 2 channel or 4 channel interface. Is this the issue with the people you know?

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1 hour ago, kc23 said:

But in mixing, there would be no way of correctly auditioning your hardware adjustments in real time with all the other itb tracks, or do parallel processing, and will end up having to print and nudge the printed track every time an adjustment is made.

Yea, that's the thing..i never print any FX..Ever.  not even when working in the box.

All FX are done in the mix using my Focusrite 1820 which has 8 dedicated ins/8 dedicated outs. The FX are feed through scarlett mix control and never any latency. Matter of fact, it hardly taxes the audio at all because all the FX loops are external and not internal. In other words, Cakewalk is hardly doing anything, its all within my Interface.

 

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2 minutes ago, chuckebaby said:

Cakewalk is hardly doing anything, its all within my Interface.

Grr, I have interface envy. Much as I like my Firepods, got a heck of a deal on the pair of them, the original mixer software was written for Windows XP and is long abandoned. The next generation of the device came with the fancy software that would allow things like this to go on outside the DAW.

So I must rely entirely on what the 'pods can do with their hardware, and getting low latency in the DAW, in order to monitor or use external gear. If PreSonus had ever made a program for it, or made the program backward compatible, it would be fine, but they didn't. At least the Windows 7 driver still works with Windows 10.

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1 hour ago, Starship Krupa said:

Grr, I have interface envy.

Let me make it worse. I have an Antelope Orion 32+. It has 32 analog ins and outs. It also has 16 channels of ADAT and (this is the bit that's relevant to this thread) it has 16 channels of FX processing using very well modeled versions of a bunch of vintage EQ's and Compressors.  This totals 64 ASIO channels for the DAW with the Thunderbolt driver..

I would prefer to use the 16 Orion FX channels as External inserts.  However because of the limitation brought up by the OP I can only use 8 channels for this.   😠😣😠

 

 

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3 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

You mention "proper implementation." I'm not familiar with how it's done in other programs, I think I tried it out in Mixcraft and it wasn't done with a plug-in, it was similar to a hardware mixer insert. Is this what you mean?

With all the high-powered routing that I can otherwise do in Cakewalk, it does seem kinda weird that the only way to get a signal out and back to an external processor while mixing is via a plug-in that assumes I want to eat up a stereo pair.

Well, "proper implementation" would be the one not with, in your own words, "a plug-in that assumes I want to eat up a stereo pair."

I posted a couple of videos of the way StudioOne is doing it, one is of the first iteration, and the next one of the update done sometime later to it. I haven´t tried StudioOne, but just checking those videos out and thinking that they did well and then felt the need to update it, makes me salivate.

Reaper I have tried and still use, and is as simple as it could be. You instantiate a plugin, route it to mono or stereo, patch, ping, and go. Mono is mono and stereo is stereo. ProTools takes a bit of setup, but once it´s done, again, mono is mono and stereo is stereo.

And yes, I agree that Cakewalk´s routing is indeed powerful... so it´s even more baffling that this feature´s state is as it is. I so want to keep mixing in CW, but it takes the fun out of using my Distressors and DBXes and WA76es... and it IS fun using them!

3 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

It sounds like what chuckebaby says is true for pros who have interfaces with lots of I/O flexibility, but even my 8 input/8 output Firepods only have one pair that can be used for this purpose (I think). I know that there are plenty of home studio/bedroom producer people who are way into patching in funky old processors, even stompboxes for reamping and they may be using a 2 channel or 4 channel interface. Is this the issue with the people you know?

Just had a look at the Firepod, and it should be able to do this, even more so with two of them. You have eight line outs and line ins in each one, although six of the ins are on combo jacks on the front, but with the aid of a patchbay you should be totally able.

 A couple of friends that were fed up with Avid and Macs (actually one of them used Logic a lot too), decided it was time to look for alternatives, and I recommended CW. As i said, I´ve been using it for quite some time... done records, pot production for video, mastering, mixing, original music... never found a thing ProTools did that CW couldn´t. But... one of the first things they tried was how to incorporate their high end hardware and multi I/O with it... and once they found out they would be forced to use half the pieces they were used to use, it was a no go. They both ended up in Reaper, as it seems to be the most popular destiny for the Avid exodus. 
 

4 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

BTW, my semi-hidden agenda here is to keep the dialog going so as to keep your topic up at the top. That's part of how feature requests get attention, is if they hang around for a while. The devs are busy devving, or if you please, the bakers are busy baking, so checking the forum is a secondary task.

Hehe, I thought it was only my agenda, but thanks for chiming and collaborating in the thickening of the plot!

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9 hours ago, kc23 said:

I thought it was only my agenda, but thanks for chiming and collaborating

You make a persuasive pitch. I'll help advocate for a worthy feature or bug fix even if it isn't that big a deal for me personally. I agree that Cakewalk should have a way to route to single I/O ports.

If I have a dog in the fight, it would be my continuing bemusement regarding Cakewalk's delusion that, for instance, Input 2 on my interface is actually "Firepod 1 ASIO Input 1L/R." A designation you may notice doesn't actually carry the actual name of the input in it. I'm going to take a guess that "Right Analogue 5" is actually Input 6 of your Audient.

This may seem like a trivial thing to some, but so far the confusing nomenclature has contributed to 3 instances of my failing to capture a track during drum tracking sessions (practice sessions all, so I wasn't being fully diligent, and it wasn't a critical performance), and then another embarrassing episode where I spent 5 very. long. minutes. tapping on a mic stand, clapping my hands, having the talent speak into a mic, cranking up the gain on the interface unable to figure out why the hell my mic sounded so thin and distant before realizing that it was the guitar amp mic on Input 2 (according to the paint on the front panel) not the vocal mic on Input 1 (according to the paint on the front panel) that I had assigned to the track's input and armed.

Except for 1-2, and 9-10, the S/PDIF, none of the inputs or outputs on my interface is labeled or treated as a pair, but Cakewalk is like The Handmaid's Tale or something where all the inputs and outputs are divided up into pairs, and the odd ones define the pair's identity, and the even ones lose their identities. "You are not Input 2, in Cakewalk, you are Input 1R."

So I'd settle for the darn things just being displayed correctly.😄

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On 7/19/2020 at 4:33 PM, chuckebaby said:

Yea, that's the thing..i never print any FX..Ever.  not even when working in the box.

All FX are done in the mix using my Focusrite 1820 which has 8 dedicated ins/8 dedicated outs. The FX are feed through scarlett mix control and never any latency. Matter of fact, it hardly taxes the audio at all because all the FX loops are external and not internal. In other words, Cakewalk is hardly doing anything, its all within my Interface.

 

A while ago I had a Scarlet and it always had latency... never tried to route hardware through the mix control though, didn´t have the highest opinion of focusrite drivers... is your computer really powerful that it "compensates" enough for roundtrip latency? at the very least the buffers should introduce some, and even 5 to 10 ms is something that would make parallel processing feel phasey...

But yeah, that´s another advantage of hybrid... no cpu consumption on external hardware...!

 

 

On 7/19/2020 at 6:14 PM, Base 57 said:

Let me make it worse. I have an Antelope Orion 32+. It has 32 analog ins and outs. It also has 16 channels of ADAT and (this is the bit that's relevant to this thread) it has 16 channels of FX processing using very well modeled versions of a bunch of vintage EQ's and Compressors.  This totals 64 ASIO channels for the DAW with the Thunderbolt driver..

I would prefer to use the 16 Orion FX channels as External inserts.  However because of the limitation brought up by the OP I can only use 8 channels for this.   😠😣😠

 

 

Man... that´s a shame, with sooo many channels...

Not only that, but since the external plugin defaults to stereo, any plugins used after it (or in your case, the Antelope ones) are using double the cpu processing... so the problem is not only the half I/O capabilities, but also the double cpu taxing...

C´mon BandLab... score us some points!

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It would seem this issue does not merit the developers engaging on the subject, even after so many years of it being mentioned and without a solution.

With the latest updates (a few of the last ones at least) being directed more towards composing and production features (as well as bug fixes) which are always welcomed, I hope the next ones tend some more to mixing and audio features and fixes, like the one being requested in this thread.

Cakewalk being such a powerful daw, it should not be left behind in this area.

If the bakers think that hybrid mixing is not as relevant in this day and age, therefore not implementing features for it but also not even fixing what is already in the software, I´ll leave a couple of resources about this topic, bearing in mind that these are from the last year. I hope this will shed light on how relevant and contemporary is the use of audio hardware not only as a front end, but during the mixing and post-production process in today´s professional environment.

Again, to the bakers, please address this issue and fix the External Plugin so it can work with true mono inputs and outputs.

Thanks.

VintageKing article:

https://vintageking.com/blog/2020/07/the-state-of-hybrid-mixing-in-2020/


MixbusTV video:

 

 

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