Jump to content
chuckebaby

Cakewalk's Plug in Signal flow

Recommended Posts

This is an interesting topic that I do not see discussed much and that's Cakewalk's signal flow through the plug ins. I have seen signal flow diagrams but not plug in signal flow. The documentation is not very clear. However I have run tests and it seems most DAW's perform basically the same way.

- FX Bin: Each plug in within Cakewalk's FX bin seems to cascade from one plug in to the other. Which means if I have inserted a compressor, then an EQ  The output of the compressor will send that processed (compressed) signal into the EQ. This is apparent by raising the output of the compressor and seeing the changes to the EQ's input. This is a realistic approach as it is similar to running a patch bay. Sending one FX into the next.

- Track FX: This is actually closer to an "Insert". A singular plug in will tap the unprocessed signal (clip) granted it is pre FX. 

- Send FX to Bus: If the send is PRE FX it acts similar to a track FX.

 

Does this sound about right ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All FX racks and ProChannels signals flow top to bottom.

All clips have an FX rack.

All tracks and buses have an FX rack.

All audio and instrument tracks have a ProChannel.

The ProChannel may be before or after the track FX rack.

 

Sends are all post FX.

The Send PRE/POST switch refers to the position of the send relative to the volume fader.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's actually very simple. Top to bottom unless you change a Pre / Post setting. 

So the output of a track goes to the Gain control first. This is why it's important to have this adjusted so the rest of the pathway will receive a proper level. A lot of people ignor the gain control but it is one of the most important parts of adjusting levels and 

The Pro Channel is next and within the Pro Channel once again, top to bottom. What's cool about this is you could insert the Effects chain module and put it at the top. That give you an important option for none Pro Channel processing. 

Then the Effects Bin is next and once again top to bottom. 

Then the sends and Auxiliaries can be added to send to buses or Aux tracks. Then the Pan and last is the track fader. 

From there it goes to the top of the Bus it is assigned to and starts all over again top to bottom. That bus goes to the Master and starts all over top to bottom. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This signal flow diagram from the Cakewalk documentation may help you visualize the signal routing:

https://www.cakewalk.com/Documentation?product=Cakewalk&language=3&help=Mixing.07.html

image.thumb.png.77b009f4e401760b4f7d78853ea56a06.png

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, scook said:

All FX racks and ProChannels signals flow top to bottom.

 

This is exactly what I wanted to confirm as it's exactly what I have found  through my own tests, Thank you.

My next question is,

What if I want to insert an FX but do not want it to be pre processed with the other FX ?
I just want that one FX to come directly from the clip (unprocessed). Very similar to the way an "Insert" works.

The only real solution I can think of is using an Aux track.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you John and Tim. I totally understand the signal flow, it's more the processing flow I am inquiring about.

See every plug in that is in the FX bin cascades into one another. Meaning that processed signal runs into the next (in line) plug in. So that next plug in is not processing a clean unprocessed signal, it is accepting an already processed signal.

I want to be able to use an Insert and not have to have an already processed signal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is just a very hypothetical example: (not real)

I want to have in my FX bin- EQ, Compression, Saturation.

But now I want to use a de-esser but I don't want to put this de-esser with 3 other plug ins running into it (that have already processed the signal). I want to apply the de-esser to the unprocessed clip.

But if I put that plug in inside of the FX bin, it wont be unprocessed. Unless of course I have the plug in first in cue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every clip has an FX rack.

It works just like the track FX rack except it happens in the clip before the data is sent to the track.

 Using clip FX racks may require multiple instances of the same plug-in; one for each clip needing the effect.

 

Or add the de-esser in the ProChannel and put the ProChannel before the FX rack.

Or move the contents of the track FX rack to an aux track or bus and put the de-esser in the track FX rack.

 

Except for the location of the track gain, pan and interleave, all three methods are all functionally the same as adding the de-esser to the top of the track FX rack. Of course, gain and pan may be augmented with additional plug-ins in the FX racks and ProChannels.

  • Great Idea 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks @Tim Elmore  for posting that signal flow chart. I've never seen that one before and it's defiantly the best and easiest to understand. 

@chuckebaby    Here's some screenshots of the clip effects set up that  scook mentioned. I've never used it myself as I use one of the many other options that will work the same. Like putting a Effects chain at the top of the pro channel strip.

Just right click a clip or audio track.  What I don't like abut this method is it becomes hidden and would be easy to forget it is there. So I personally would not recommend it unless its used on one clip that is part of a whole  track where only that one clip needed processing. But I would then render in those cases using the Process Effects option. I'm not afraid of destructive editing. 

1112646899_Screenshot(439).png.57d69e39b31dd2fdfb6ae042ea56453a.png556267595_Screenshot(438).thumb.png.c0c952b3e16431b6d744453218a4b1b1.png

Edited by John Vere
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The signal flow diagram is in the documentation. Of course, the image is also in the user reference and local help. 

I have posted it in the old forum and in this forum as well but did not in this thread because the OP already mentioned it.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, scook said:

The signal flow diagram is in the documentation. Of course, the image is also in the user reference and local help. 

I have posted it in the old forum and in this forum as well but did not in this thread because the OP already mentioned it.

 

That explains why I didn't see it. For a long time I couldn't open the images in the documentation. That seems to have been resolved and now I see the images on all devices. This is a huge step forward for me as I often open the documentation. I do have the PDF version on hand but prefer the on line as I can use Google to find things a bit quicker. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The flow chart shows clip FX will also pass through the track's FX bin, so all clips will flow thru the FX bin.

There doesn't look like a way to isolate one clip from another within the same track.

A hardware mixer's track's insert affects the whole track. Only in the virtual world can sections within a track be processed differently. In both cases, tho, the whole track's signal comes out of one port.

If I understand correctly what you want to do, you'd need 2 separate outputs for the one track.

Maybe move the clip to it's own track?!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, sjoens said:

The flow chart shows clip FX will also pass through the track's FX bin, so all clips will flow thru the FX bin.

This is also what I thought.
 

I think an AUX track or even as you mentioned, a duplicate track (almost like parallel) but only send the FX signal to the routed destination. 

 

Thank you all so much. I really appreciate the feedback. These little obscurity's are the coolest things to discuss because they are hardly ever analyzed in detail.

Again thank you all

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/25/2022 at 7:49 AM, chuckebaby said:

if I put that plug in inside of the FX bin, it wont be unprocessed. Unless of course I have the plug in first in cue.

Good to see you, ChuckE. Through this discussion I have been wondering why you don't want to just put whatever plug-in you want to use first in the FX rack.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

Good to see you, ChuckE. Through this discussion I have been wondering why you don't want to just put whatever plug-in you want to use first in the FX rack.

Sometimes you want an EQ first, sometimes you want a compressor first. Sometimes you want to insert a plug in without having to make that plug in the front end of 5 other plug ins.
I hope that makes sense. The same reason I have inserts on my analog gear that allows me to tap the audio signal without additional processing going on.

What does a channel insert do?

It is a point in the signal path at which the signal can be sent out of the channel or mix and then returned to its signal path at the same point it left, creating a signal loop. In other words, it allows you to “insert” an outboard (external) or virtual (internal or digital) device into the signal path

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, Chuck, I'm not understanding the distinction you're making between the way CbB handles Insert FX and the way a hardware mixer handles them. Plugins in FX bins are acting as a series of Insert effects (i.e. the entire signal goes through each FX in turn before being returned to continue on it's way to the track's output) as opposed to a Send FX (i.e. a copy of the signal is sent on a parallel path to a bus with the FX on it before re-joining the track's output on the Master bus).  If a hardware mixer has multiple insert jacks per channel, those inserts operate in series just like CbB's FX bin. If the mixer has only one insert per channel, you have to connect multiple FX in series externally (or use a multi-FX processor).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The difference is, DAWs can have individual clips within a track FXed separately from the other clips. But like hardware, THIS clip cannot escape the affects of the FX Bin/Rack on output. Clip FX discriminate. FX Bin/Rack FX don't discriminate. 

You could use Automation to temporarily disable the FX Bin/Rack during playback of that clip, 🤔, but putting the clip on it's own track would probably be faster. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, David Baay said:

Hey, Chuck, I'm not understanding the distinction you're making between the way CbB handles Insert FX and the way a hardware mixer handles them. Plugins in FX bins are acting as a series of Insert effects (i.e. the entire signal goes through each FX in turn before being returned to continue on it's way to the track's output) as opposed to a Send FX (i.e. a copy of the signal is sent on a parallel path to a bus with the FX on it before re-joining the track's output on the Master bus).  If a hardware mixer has multiple insert jacks per channel, those inserts operate in series just like CbB's FX bin. If the mixer has only one insert per channel, you have to connect multiple FX in series externally (or use a multi-FX processor).

You are correct and thank you for your reply, There are several different type of inserts that different boards have. I probably should have cleared that up in my initial comments.

Some inserts bypass the pre amp. Some inserts also bypass onboard EQ. Some inserts (I believe) can also act as side chain for ducking purposes.
Lets say for or example, if I were using a gate , I probably wouldn't want to gate every FX in the signal path. Instead, I would only want to gate the dry signal from the clip itself.

Now theoretically I could make that gate the very first plug in but surely there has to be a way to add that gate to the dry signal without having to add it to the FX bin ?

This is really for education purposes and not really any particular problem I'm having so I'm just doing this based on test purposes only, trying to find different methods.

I Thank you and others for all info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, sjoens said:

The difference is, DAWs can have individual clips within a track FXed separately from the other clips.

I meant only to compare FX Bin signal flow to hardware inserts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, chuckebaby said:

Some inserts bypass the pre amp. Some inserts also bypass onboard EQ. Some inserts (I believe) can also act as side chain for ducking purposes.

Interesting, My experience with hardware mixers is pretty limited and I hadn't ever encountered that.

7 minutes ago, chuckebaby said:

Lets say for or example, if I were using a gate , I probably wouldn't want to gate every FX in the signal path. Instead, I would only want to gate the dry signal from the clip itself.

'gate every FX in the signal path' is kind of an odd way of describing what's happening. You're gating the signal (from a clip in CbB or from a tape in the analog world), and that gated signal is passed on to the next effect if there is one. So all the FX see an altered signal, but their behavior isn't directly affected by the gate except to the extent that they might respond differently to the altered attacks and decays in the signal.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...