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Weird Waves mono, mono/stereo and stereo component behavior

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This weirdness is only coming from a Cakewalk perspective, not sure how this works in other DAWs.

I have a mono track, acoustic guitar.  I send it out to an aux track.  The aux track is stereo.  To no surprise, if I place the mono version of a Waves plugin (H-Delay) on the aux track, the result is mono, yay.  If I instead place the stereo version of the same plugin, in this case H-Delay and set it to "ping-pong", I get the nice left and right back and forth action in stereo, once again yay. 

Here's where things get weird.  If I place the mono/stereo version of the same plugin on the track, H-Delay, and set it to ping-pong, the result is not stereo, it's mono.  If that's not weird enough, as an experiment I first added the stereo version of H-Delay to the aux track, set it to ping-pong, it worked great.  I then also inserted the mono version of H-Delay to the aux track, but I disabled it.  So now I have both the mono and stereo versions of H-Delay on my aux track, but the mono version is disabled.  I was expecting to get a stereo ping-pong delay effect, NOPE.  It resulted in a mono signal, even though the mono version was disabled. 

So simply having a "Mono" plugin on the track, disabled or not, forces the track to be mono.  Yes, the track interleave is set to stereo in all cases on the aux track.

To simplify:

  • mono track -> stereo aux track + stereo Waves plugin = stereo signal
  • mono track -> stereo aux track + mono Waves plugin = mono signal or dual mono
  • mono track -> stereo aux track + mono/stereo Waves plugin = mono signal or dual mono
  • mono track -> stereo aux track + stereo Waves plugin + mono Waves plugin (disabled) = mono signal or dual mono
  • mono track -> stereo aux track + stereo Waves plugin + mono/stereo Waves plugin (disabled) = mono signal or dual mono
  • mono track -> stereo aux track + stereo Waves plugin (dry signal only or at least no ping-pong) = mono signal or dual mono

I'm left to the conclusion that it's probably best to use Waves stereo version of their plugins, this way if the effect is a stereo effect, then the result will be stereo and likewise if the effect is mono the result will be mono or dual mono and closer to the user's expectations.

My next question is, if this behavior is true for Waves plugins, is this true for other developers?  This could be very annoying.  Imagine you have a series of plugins that you want to use.  If any of those plugins forces a mono result regardless of the plugins on the track being stereo or not, you would have to create a series of effects tracks (aux tracks) for each plugin as a work around to create a chain of plugins in sequence to get a result that is stereo.

In my opinion, Cakewalk should use the interleave (mono or stereo) setting of the track to determine if the resulting output is mono or stereo, not let the plugins determine that outcome.  This way if a plugin on a track happens to be coded as a mono plugin, the way Waves mono plugins seem to be, it won't override a following plugin that may be stereo.

Noel or someone from Cakewalk, can you provide some clarification to this behavior?

Edited by LittleStudios
Did more testing

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I'd have to test this to be sure, but my guess would be that the mono plugin is still forcing mono even though it's disabled.

And no, not all plugins work the same way when mixing mono and stereo. Some are smarter than others. Some get downright flaky when you send the "wrong" interleave to them. When in doubt, if the vendor offers both mono and stereo versions, use whichever is appropriate for the track.

In the case of a stereo effect such as ping-pong delay, it's best to set the track interleave to stereo, even though the audio itself is mono.

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Check this thread.  Waves Mono work in Mono, Stereo versions work in Stereo, and currently Mono/Stereo versions ONLY work in Mono.   When trying Mono/Stereo versions on a track, those can get stuck in Mono.  Normally when changing from mono interleave to Stereo interleave uou may have to Press E twice (or bypass plugin or bin then re-enable) to force Stereo interleave.

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16 hours ago, LittleStudios said:

This weirdness is only coming from a Cakewalk perspective, not sure how this works in other DAWs.

I have a mono track, acoustic guitar.  I send it out to an aux track.  The aux track is stereo.  To no surprise, if I place the mono version of a Waves plugin (H-Delay) on the aux track, the result is mono, yay.  If I instead place the stereo version of the same plugin, in this case H-Delay and set it to "ping-pong", I get the nice left and right back and forth action in stereo, once again yay. 

Here's where things get weird.  If I place the mono/stereo version of the same plugin on the track, H-Delay, and set it to ping-pong, the result is not stereo, it's mono.  If that's not weird enough, as an experiment I first added the stereo version of H-Delay to the aux track, set it to ping-pong, it worked great.  I then also inserted the mono version of H-Delay to the aux track, but I disabled it.  So now I have both the mono and stereo versions of H-Delay on my aux track, but the mono version is disabled.  I was expecting to get a stereo ping-pong delay effect, NOPE.  It resulted in a mono signal, even though the mono version was disabled. 

So simply having a "Mono" plugin on the track, disabled or not, forces the track to be mono.  Yes, the track interleave is set to stereo in all cases on the aux track.

To simplify:

  • mono track -> stereo aux track + stereo Waves plugin = stereo signal
  • mono track -> stereo aux track + mono Waves plugin = mono signal or dual mono
  • mono track -> stereo aux track + mono/stereo Waves plugin = mono signal or dual mono
  • mono track -> stereo aux track + stereo Waves plugin + mono Waves plugin (disabled) = mono signal or dual mono
  • mono track -> stereo aux track + stereo Waves plugin + mono/stereo Waves plugin (disabled) = mono signal or dual mono
  • mono track -> stereo aux track + stereo Waves plugin (dry signal only or at least no ping-pong) = mono signal or dual mono

I'm left to the conclusion that it's probably best to use Waves stereo version of their plugins, this way if the effect is a stereo effect, then the result will be stereo and likewise if the effect is mono the result will be mono or dual mono and closer to the user's expectations.

My next question is, if this behavior is true for Waves plugins, is this true for other developers?  This could be very annoying.  Imagine you have a series of plugins that you want to use.  If any of those plugins forces a mono result regardless of the plugins on the track being stereo or not, you would have to create a series of effects tracks (aux tracks) for each plugin as a work around to create a chain of plugins in sequence to get a result that is stereo.

In my opinion, Cakewalk should use the interleave (mono or stereo) setting of the track to determine if the resulting output is mono or stereo, not let the plugins determine that outcome.  This way if a plugin on a track happens to be coded as a mono plugin, the way Waves mono plugins seem to be, it won't override a following plugin that may be stereo.

Noel or someone from Cakewalk, can you provide some clarification to this behavior?

I'm not sure if this is related or not?   But, if I place a mono plugin on a stereo track, then remove the plugin and replace it with the stereo version, the sound is still mono (or not quite right). I have found by clicking the track Interleave Button, from stereo to mono, and back to stereo again, this corrects the audio sound.

As I said, might not be related, but sounds the same.

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I just did some messing around in Reaper and the plugin behavior is as expected.  I first inserted the Waves H-Delay (stereo) on the track and set it to a ping-pong delay and it ping-ponged as expected.  The next test was inserting just the Waves H-Delay (mono/stereo) on the track and set it to ping-pong and got a ping-pong delay, too as expected, back and forth in stereo.  I did another test with first inserting the Waves H-Delay (mono) followed by Waves H-Delay (stereo) set to a ping-pong delay.  In Cakewalk this would produce a mono signal without the left to right ping-pong effect.  I was expecting the same result in Reaper, but this was not the case.  Instead I got the result that you would want, the mono version sent its result to the stereo ping-pong and output the ping-pong effect.  The order in which the plugins are placed in the insert list is important and intuitive.  If the stereo effect comes after the mono effect, the result is stereo.  If the mono effect comes after the stereo effect, the result is mono.  This makes complete sense.

Cakewalks approach is not intuitive at all.  If my track is a stereo track and the last effect on the track is a stereo effect, the result should be stereo, regardless if there is a mono effect prior to the stereo track.

For example, a guitar track with a distortion effect (mono) followed up by a ping-pong delay plugin (stereo) would result in a mono, non-ping-pong delay.

What is Reaper doing differently than Cakewalk under the hood to produce the intuitive behavior?  Is Cakewalk's handling of mono/stereo plugins by design or is it legacy code that hasn't been updated? 

I'm not planning on switching to Reaper, no way.  I just happen to prefer the way it handles mono/stereo plugins.  Would be nice if Cakewalk could change its ways.  What is the benefit of Cakewalk's approach to mono/stereo plugins, because I can't think of one?

Edited by LittleStudios
punctuation

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I think it may depend on the plug-ins...

I inserted an audio track and then a mono audio clip into the track.  I added two plug-ins to the FX bin: first, the old Cakewalk Mono Delay, followed by the Sonitus Delay.  I made the Mono Delay 100% dry (so uneffected in practice) and select the "Going going gone" preset in the Sonitus.

The Mono Delay has a single pin coming from it, the Sonitus Delay has two - as expected.

Whether the track interleave is mono or stereo, I get the delay bouncing between the 2 speakers.  It doesn't matter if I set the track interleave to mono or stereo - the result is the same.

That's not to say there isn't an issue in CbB's handling of mono (I think there is - some mono plugins (eg. UAD?) perform better on mono tracks in other DAWs, but all CbB's tracks are, as far as I understand, stereo behind the scenes so this advantage is never gained - but it's not totally broken in this instance).

Update: Cakewalk Mono Delay followed by Nomad Factory Tempo Delay and the result is mono; followed by the old Project 5 (rebadged in a latter SONAR) Tempo Delay, stereo; 32 bit bridged Kjaerhus Delay, mono; Melda flanger (64 bit VST3), mono.  I'm seeing a pattern here.

My deduction is that it works as per Reaper (logically?) with DirectX effects, but not with VST ones.

Edited by Kevin Perry
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3 hours ago, LittleStudios said:

I just did some messing around in Reaper and the plugin behavior is as expected.  I first inserted the Waves H-Delay (stereo) on the track and set it to a ping-pong delay and it ping-ponged as expected.  The next test was inserting just the Waves H-Delay (mono/stereo) on the track and set it to ping-pong and got a ping-pong delay, too as expected, back and forth in stereo.  I did another test with first inserting the Waves H-Delay (mono) followed by Waves H-Delay (stereo) set to a ping-pong delay.  In Cakewalk this would produce a mono signal without the left to right ping-pong effect.  I was expecting the same result in Reaper, but this was not the case.  Instead I got the result that you would want, the mono version sent its result to the stereo ping-pong and output the ping-pong effect.  The order in which the plugins are placed in the insert list is important and intuitive.  If the stereo effect comes after the mono effect, the result is stereo.  If the mono effect comes after the stereo effect, the result is mono.  This makes complete sense.

Cakewalks approach is not intuitive at all.  If my track is a stereo track and the last effect on the track is a stereo effect, the result should be stereo, regardless if there is a mono effect prior to the stereo track.

For example, a guitar track with a distortion effect (mono) followed up by a ping-pong delay plugin (stereo) would result in a mono, non-ping-pong delay.

What is Reaper doing differently than Cakewalk under the hood to produce the intuitive behavior?  Is Cakewalk's handling of mono/stereo plugins by design or is it legacy code that hasn't been updated? 

I'm not planning on switching to Reaper, no way.  I just happen to prefer the way it handles mono/stereo plugins.  Would be nice if Cakewalk could change its ways.  What is the benefit of Cakewalk's approach to mono/stereo plugins, because I can't think of one?

Mono plugins from Waves are fine and the Stereo ones work fine as well.  The issue is specific to the Mono/Stereo ones. They currently only work in mono.


Straight from Waves website:

“Mono to Stereo components are not supported in Cakewalk by BandLab and Wavelab.”
 

https://www.waves.com/support/tech-specs/supported-hosts#version-11

This is about Version 11, but it has always been this way.

Noel has acknowledged this is a Cakewalk issue and they are looking into it.

 

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What I was pointing out is that if you have a stereo track and insert a Waves mono plugin and a Waves stereo plugin, for example, the resulting signal will be mono regardless of the order of the plugins in the FX bin or whether the mono plugin is enabled or not, even with the track interleave set to stereo.  The result is the same with a Waves mono/stereo plugin and a Waves stereo plugin.

This behavior is not intuitive.  I ran tests in Reaper, and the way it handles mono and stereo plugins is far more intuitive.  A mono plugin will output mono and a stereo will output stereo.  So if you go from a mono plugin into a stereo plugin, the resulting output will be stereo.  If you go from a stereo plugin into a mono plugin, the result will be mono, as expected.  Now granted, under the hood it's really stereo (two buffers, left and right) and if the signal is mono it just populates both channels of the buffer with the same information.  Conversely if the signal is stereo it populates the corresponding buffer with the left and right channel information.

I just found it interesting and was hoping to get one of the developers to chime in, not really a big deal at the end of the day.  I just use the stereo versions of the Waves plugins and ignore the other versions.

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16 hours ago, Zaquria said:

I'm not sure if this is related or not?   But, if I place a mono plugin on a stereo track, then remove the plugin and replace it with the stereo version, the sound is still mono (or not quite right). I have found by clicking the track Interleave Button, from stereo to mono, and back to stereo again, this corrects the audio sound.

that sounds like the interleave isn't always changed correctly, only when you toggle the interleave independently, possible bug?

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6 hours ago, pwalpwal said:

that sounds like the interleave isn't always changed correctly, only when you toggle the interleave independently, possible bug?

Possibly, but I do know that this is one of the ways I can fix the mono/stereo sound issue I have especially when swapping mono/stereo vst plugins from the likes of waves.

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On 12/3/2019 at 7:48 PM, Blogospherianman said:

Mono plugins from Waves are fine and the Stereo ones work fine as well.  The issue is specific to the Mono/Stereo ones. They currently only work in mono.


Straight from Waves website:

“Mono to Stereo components are not supported in Cakewalk by BandLab and Wavelab.”
 

https://www.waves.com/support/tech-specs/supported-hosts#version-11

This is about Version 11, but it has always been this way.

Noel has acknowledged this is a Cakewalk issue and they are looking into it.

 

Wow. I spent a lot of time trying to understand what was going on until I found this thread. I love the footnotes. How absurd. It's like "it's okay for our customers not to be able to use stereo effects on mono tracks... They won't care..." Thanks for finding this release note!

At least provide a feasible workaround! But dear god... what about existing projects where there's a bunch of tracks with existing plugins.... with precisely tuned settings.. I mean, nah... nobody would ever encounter that. 🤬

Absolutely a massive production issue. I've used Cakewalk and Sonar for many many many years. For this type of regression to occur and for them to let the software ship is a huge quality issue. This can wreck havoc on existing projects and for anyone who isn't familiar with this bug.

This type of thing will completely shut down a studio if they rely on Waves plugins for their daily work. This is a very very very common use case!!

Would ProTools, Fruity Loops, Logic Pro or Ableton let this garbage ship? I've been working in Ableton more lately and only popped into Cakewalk to check out some older projects. I immediately thought I started losing my mind since I couldn't figure out what I thought I was doing wrong. This is an embarrassing disaster... definitely not good for the reputation.

BandLab (or whoever the product owner is)... FIX THIS! Totally unacceptable and unprofessional to leave a bug in like this. Just friggin' open-source Cakewalk/Sonar and let us fix the issue.  This is the type of thing I would drop what I'm doing to chase down. Sorry if I sound angry, but this truly is astonishing to still be an issue months later.

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This is revisiting an old thread (after an internet search to try and figure it out what is going on in a project), but I recently purchased the Waves PRS SuperModels guitar amp simulators.  While many Waves plugins have mono versions, stereo versions, and mono/stereo versions, the PRS SuperModels plugins only have mono and mono/stereo.  This makes sense for guitar amp simulators in that guitars are inherently mono instruments, so the input would be mono, even if the effect could turn it into stereo, for example with echo-based effects.

The problem, even with CbB 2020.05, is that CbB treats these mono/stereo plugins as mono, even if the interleave is set to stereo, which defeats the purpose of a mono/stereo plugin.  When a plugin also has a stereo version, it is possible to just use that to work around this (though some plugins have issues here if they see the mono input as only left or right rather than equal signals in both channels -- in such a case, it is possible to use a stereo aux track to route the original track to), but that isn't possible when the plugin only has a mono/stereo version, and there doesn't seem to be a workaround for this in CbB.  Is there something I'm missing?

Rick

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This again raises need for a full document with all alternatives represented.

- mono  interleave - mono clips

- mono interleave - stereo clips

- stereo interleave - mono clips

- stereo interleave - stereo clips

- then all combinations of mono, mono/stereo, stereo/stereo plugins after each other - and how these will be routed.

- like mono interleave and first mono/mono plugin and then mono/stereo plugin

- and any combination thereof after each other

Just a table showing this would be incredibly useful so you can work with that.

Manual also state something about a checkbox in plugin manager to change some behavior regarding mono.

I find manual really good and extensive, but could be improved with an article addendum stating this to leave the guesswork out.

If a dialog just showing the pins of track plugin bay and each plugins pins - that would be awesome.

Some daws allow to alter this, but as a first step just seing how things are routed would really make a difference.

I once by accident inserted a plugin from recently used, of wrong kind, and you scratch your head bald over what you hear.

Just pop up this kind of dialog showing routing and you can fix your mistakes.

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Yesterday I noticed an issue with a Stereo/Mono plugin (Vertigo VSC-2) in Samplitude. When I use a mono track it still inputs stereo to the plugin. But in CbB it works perfectly, there is a mono input so that one channel is grayed (as it should behave)! 👍

IMO it is very difficult to handle plugins for any DAW provider, because the developer crowd is simply said very "chaotic". I see this always when I install/uninstall plugins (every provider has its own logic, own locations, own leftovers, ...). Also if I look at the keyboard and mouse behavior of the plugins, it is very annoying! E.g. fine tuning controls is sometimes Shift+wheel, Ctrl+wheel, Alt+wheel or not existent! Thus I think that CbB does quite well in supporting plugins from different vendors, but I don't know if Reaper is even better in this area (I did only a short test years ago).

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Today I found another issue in using Waves plugins in CbB that further highlights the functional issue I mentioned yesterday with the PRS SuperModels (i.e. which have only mono and mono to stereo versions of the plugins, no stereo version).  I was using their new version of StudioRack, again on a guitar part.  (Actually, it was a virtual guitar part since I don't play guitar.  The only reason this is relevant here, though, is because softsynths tend to start as stereo in CbB, short of your explicitly configuring them otherwise.) 

StudioRack is a plugin chainer, with presets at the plugin chain level.  There are mono, mono/stereo, and stereo versions.  One of the presets I was trying out started with one of the PRS SuperModels plugins, which was then followed by a parallel process (with multiple plugins that run in parallel in that rack slot), then a delay, then a reverb.  If I used the stereo version of StudioRack, knowing that the delay and reverb would be stereo effects, then the PRS amp simulator was disabled, just as if it were a missing plugin.  Thinking about this, it became obvious that it is because there is no stereo version of that plugin, so it was, in effect missing.  If I used the mono version, then the PRS amp was there, but the reverb (RVerb) was disabled, because there is no mono version of RVerb.  If I used the mono/stereo version of StudioRack, all the plugins were available, but, of course, CbB treated it as mono, so the stereo effects of the delay and reverb would not come through.

As for the more general considerations, most of what CbB does with mono and stereo interleave and plugins seems reasonably logical to me.  There have been times where I've needed to force stereo operation on a mono track due to either an effect that was inherently stereo (e.g. chorus, Leslie, ping pong delays, etc.) or effects that simply behaved badly in mono for whatever unknown reason (e.g. an older version of PSP MixTreble used to get bad artifacts if frozen in mono -- that has long since been resolved).  I'm not sure if I've ever forced mono (other than for checking mono compatibility, for example on the master bus), but, in general things have behaved as expected.

CbB's FX bins also give helpful visuals to see if plugins are outputting mono or stereo.  In fact, this is how I first noticed the issue with PRS SuperModels' mono/stereo plugin.  I'd had a stereo version of a distortion plugin ahead of the PRS plugin, and it clearly showed stereo output with its little tics.  That was followed by the PRS plugin then Channel Tools, both of which showed mono output because CbB had forced mono from the point of the PRS mono/stereo plugin.

I just checked Waves' website, and the only DAWs Waves supports in general but indicates as not being supported for the mono/stereo plugins are CbB and WaveLab.  It's not clear to me why they don't have a stereo version of the PRS SuperModels when their other guitar-oriented plugins do have stereo versions.

Rick

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On 4/26/2020 at 9:07 PM, Sean Aitken said:

what about existing projects where there's a bunch of tracks with existing plugins

why would you rely upon (and finely tweak) plugins known not to work?

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5 hours ago, Rick Paul said:

  If I used the mono/stereo version of StudioRack, all the plugins were available, but, of course, CbB treated it as mono, so the stereo effects of the delay and reverb would not come through.

@Rick Paul I'm not sure if you have read the feature overview.
 

Quote

Mono plug-in support changes

This release greatly improves the FX Rack handling with respect to mixing and matching mono/stereo plug-ins. These improvements are across the board and work in track/bus/clip FX Racks, FX chains and the ProChannel. These changes apply primarily to compatibility with pure mono plug-ins (mono-in, mono-out). Mono in stereo out plugin compatibility will be addressed in a future update. 

 

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Hi Noel, I did read it when the release first came out, but didn't recall the specifics with regard to mono in/stereo out.  Good to hear that is coming in the future.

Thanks.

Rick

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