Chapter 11: The Mixer and Master
- 1 11 The Mixer and Master
- 1.1 11.1 Introduction
- 1.2 11.2 Mixer Commands
- 1.3 11.3 Mixer Layouts and Screensets
- 1.4 11.4 Mixer Menu Commands and Options
- 1.5 11.5 Showing and Hiding Types of Mixer Tracks
- 1.6 11.6 Working with FX in the Mixer
- 1.7 11.7 Working with Sends in the Mixer
- 1.8 11.8 Showing Track Icons in the Mixer
- 1.9 11.9 Managing the Mixer
- 1.10 11.10 Track Control Menus
- 1.11 11.11 Introducing Windows Screen Sets
- 1.12 11.12 Mixer Appearance Preferences
- 1.13 11.13 Stereo and Dual Panning
- 1.14 11.14 Master Track Options and Settings
- 1.15 11.15 Master Hardware Outputs
- 1.16 11.16 Master Track Channels
- 1.17 11.17 Avoiding Channel Leakage
- 1.18 11.18 Reset VU Meter Peaks
11 The Mixer and Master
Until now, most of the emphasis has been on working in Arrange View. This is hardly surprising, as that is the area where you will find yourself spending most of your time (at least with audio) and doing most of your work. As your mix progresses, however, you may find that the REAPER Mixer becomes more important. The contents of this section should help to familiarise you thoroughly with the REAPER Mixer and its various features and capabilities. You will also learn more about how to get the best out of the REAPER Master.
Mixer display is toggled on and off using the View, Mixer command (Ctrl M).
Note: Some of the screen shots shown in this chapter use themes other than REAPER 5 default. The commands and actions, however are the same regardless of which theme you are using.
11.2 Mixer Commands
The Mixer menu (above right) is opened by right-clicking over the title bar or any any vacant area of the mixer window, or by clicking over the word ï¿½Masterï¿½ on the Master track, or (when docked) right-clicking on the Mixer tab in the docker.
This menu offers you much flexibility as to how the mixer is displayed. For example, you can choose whether or not you wish to display (and be able to manage) your FX and sends in the mixer. The main mixer menu options are summarized overleaf.
You can also access the TCP context menu in Mixer view by right-clicking over any track name or number.
11.3 Mixer Layouts and Screensets
Commands on the Mixer menu let you select what is displayed in the mixer: mixer layouts let you decide how it is displayed. Chapter 12 - Project Management Features, covers the topic of layouts (TCP and MCP) in more detail, but for now note the following:
Layouts are created and saved with, and attached to, individual color themes, not within REAPER itself. An example of an alternative mixer layout (Session mixer) is shown here (left). The theme that you are using might not include this exact same layout. Themes can be downloaded from stash.reaper.fm. To select an installed theme, use the Options, Themes command.
Layouts can be accessed by choosing Track Layout then Mixer Panel from the TCP context menu, or Options, Layouts from the main menu, or by the View, Screensets/ Layouts command, then selecting the Layouts tab.
Mixer layouts are assigned on a per track basis. If using the context menu, you should first select the tracks for which you want the layout assigned. If using the Screensets/Layouts window you can choose to apply the layouts globally or to selected tracks only.
Before getting too involved with layouts, however, it will pay you to familiarise yourself with the Mixer menu commands and what they do.
11.4 Mixer Menu Commands and Options
Leads to a sub-menu of toggle options for Master Track:
|Show folders||Determines whether track folders are shown.|
|Show normal top level tracks||Determines whether tracks not in folders are shown.|
|Show tracks that are in folders||Determines whether tracks in folders are shown.|
|Show tracks that have receives||Determines whether tracks with receives are shown.|
|Scroll view when track activated||If there is not sufficient room in Mixer view to display all tracks, the mixer will scroll to follow the TCP track selection.|
|Auto-arrange tracks in Mixer||Mixer track order will follow any changes to track order made in the TCP. Disable this if you want to arrange tracks in a different order in the MCP and TCP.|
|Group folders to left||Places track folders to the left. This can be useful at times in bringing all your submix folders, but confusing at other times for separating folders from their child tracks.|
|Group tracks that have receives to left||Places all tracks with receives to the left. Especially useful if the only tracks with receives are all buses.|
|Clickable icon for folder tracks to show/hide children||Enables folders to be opened/closed to show/hide child tracks.|
|Show multiple rows of tracks where size permits||Shows tracks displayed in up to three rows when tracks will not fit in one row and the mixer window has sufficient height.|
|Show maximum rows even where tracks would fit in less rows||Causes tracks to be displayed in as many rows as will fit in the track height, regardless of how few tracks there are.|
|Show sends when size permits||Displays a Sends bin above the track controls.|
|Show FX inserts when size permits||Displays an FX chain area above the track controls.|
|Show FX parameters when size permits||Shows FX parameter controls: right-click on any of these to assign control to an FX parameter.|
|Show track icons in Mixer||Track icons (if used) will be shown in tracks in the mixer.|
|Show icon for last track in folder||Displays the last track in folder icon for last track in folder.|
|Dock Mixer in Docker||Docks the mixer in the REAPER docker.|
|Close||Closes the Mixer view.|
Tip: Double-click on any track panel in the Mixer to toggle on and off zoom to track in the TCP. This behavior can be changed on the Mouse Modifiers page of your preferences (see Chapter 15). You can also use the Mouse Modifiers page to add further actions of your own. For example, you could assign Ctrl Double-click to the action Track: Set to custom color ï¿½ How to assign your own actions is also explained in Chapter 15.
11.5 Showing and Hiding Types of Mixer Tracks
Take as an example the above project. It has two folders (or parents) - Vocals and Instruments, containing two and three child tracks respectively - and one top level track, called Reverb. There are sends from the two folders to the Reverb track (which acts as a bus), and the tracks have some FX in them.
The four ï¿½Showï¿½ commands on the Mixer menu are used to determine which types of track are displayed.
In the example shown here we might have reached a stage in our mixing where we are happy with the balance within our submix folders and want to focus on getting the balance between the submixes and the level of our vocal and instrument folders and our reverb bus just right.
In this case, we could elect to show not the tracks that are in the folders, but only the folders, tracks that have receives and our master track (on the right). This example also uses a sidebar mixer layout.
The example shown here is a simple one: imagine how useful this feature might be if your project contained perhaps 90 individual tracks inside perhaps a dozen submix folders and with maybe another half dozen buses! In that case, you might also find one or more of the Show and Group commands to be very handy.
The Mixer menu does not have the facility to specifically hide or unhide named individual tracks. However, this can be done using the Track Manager. The Track Manager will be explored in Chapter 12.
11.6 Working with FX in the Mixer
If you wish, you can do just about all of your FX management working in Mixer view. You can add FX to tracks, move or copy them from one track to another, open the FX window for any plug-in, or open the track's FX chain for more complete FX control. For this to be possible, though, you need to enable on the Mixer menu the option Show FX inserts when size permits. The table below summarizes these and other activities.
|In order to do this ...||ï¿½ you do this||Change the order of plug-ins in the FX Chain.||Drag and drop up or down the order.|
|Copy FX from one track to another (similar to Track View).||Drag and drop FX to FX area on another track.|
|Display FX context menu||Right click on any displayed plug-in name.|
|Display the Add FX window.||Click in any vacant area of the FX area.|
|Display the FX chain and the control window for that plug-in.||Ctrl click on any displayed plug-in name.|
|Move FX from one track to another.||Alt drag and drop to another track.|
|Open and float a plug-inï¿½s control window.||Click on the plug-in name.|
|Remove a plug-in from FX Chain.||Alt click on plug-in name.|
|Remove all plug-ins from a trackï¿½s FX Chain.||Alt click on trackï¿½s FX button.|
|Toggle offline status of a plug-in.||Ctrl shift click on plug-in name.|
|Toggle bypass state for a plug-in.||Shift click on plug-in name.|
In addition, right clicking over the FX area of any track in the Mixer produces a context menu as shown on the right. If you click over an empty part of the FX area then some commands (such as Copy FX and Float FX configuration) will not be available. If you right click over an actual plug-in name then you will be presented with the full menu. You can use this for any of the following:
Add FX... Opens FX browser for you to add any installed FX plug-in(s),
Quick Add FX Displays a sub-menu of recently used FX: you can select any item from this menu to add to the track's FX chain.
Add FX Chain Displays a menu of FX chains, any of which you can select and insert in this track.
Replace FX... Opens FX browser for you to replace selected FX with any other: any existing routing configuration will be preserved.
Quick replace FX... Opens sub-menu of recently used FX, from which you can choose any item to replace the selected FX.
Copy FX Copies FX to clipboard so that it can be pasted to other tracks or items. Notice the option to include automation envelopes. You can also use Ctrl drag to copy from one track to another, or Ctrl Shift drag to copy the FX and its automation envelopes.
Paste FX/ Paste Replace FX Pastes FX in clipboard to the selected track, optionally replacing existing FX.
Float FX configuration Opens the FX window for the selected plug-in.
Show FX chain Opens FX chain for the track: same as clicking on the track's FX button.
Bypass chain Sets FX chain for this track to bypass. Same as clicking on the track's FX enable/disable button.
Bypass FX Sets the individual plug-in to bypass mode.
Offline FX Sets the individual plug-in offline.
Delete FX Removes this plug-in from this track's FX chain.
Rename FX instance Allows you to give an individual name to this particular FX instance.
Track FX Parameter Controls
You can turn your mixer into your own truly customized mixing console by adding controls directly to the mixer track panels for those FX parameters that you find you are most likely to need to tweak most often.
You'll find more useful information about this in Chapter 12, Project Management Features. Meanwhile, it's easy to get started. Let's see how you would go about creating a console like that shown below.
Notice the rotary faders for Band 2 and Band 4 EQ gain on every track.
You can use one of your existing project files for this example.
- Open one of your earlier project files, for example, All Through the Night MARKERS and save it as All Through the Night MIXER.
- Display the Mixer. Undock it, and adjust the width and height of this window as you prefer.
- From the Mixer menu enable Show FX inserts when size permits and Show FX parameters when size permits.
- Insert into the first track an instance of ReaEQ.
- Select the band 3 settings page.
- Click once on the Gain fader control for this band, then click on the Param button to display the Param menu.
- Click on Show in track controls.
- Select the band 2 settings page and click once on the gain fader for this band.
- Click on the Param button to display the Param menu. Click on Show in track controls (see above). Close the EQ window.
- In the mixer, you should now see these two controls displayed for track 1. Drag and drop the ReaEQ from track 1 in turn to each of the other tracks. Save the file.
Note 1: These controls can also be assigned within the Mixer. Right-click over the control button, then choose the FX and parameter from the context menu (see above). Choose All parameters if you wish to add a control for each of the FX parameters.
Note 2: These controls will be added to the track control panel as well as the mixer panel. You could of course have created as many controls as you like, not just these two. This exercise was just an example.
Note 3: When we revisit this topic in Chapter 12, you will see that we have a couple of options up our sleeves for making it easy to have controls like this automatically added to new tracks as they are created.
11.7 Working with Sends in the Mixer
Enabling the Show sends when size permits option from the Mixer menu will cause your existing sends to be displayed, each with a small rotary fader to enable you to adjust the send volume level directly from the mixer panel. Right clicking over an existing send causes a menu to be displayed with the options shown here. Right clicking over an empty part of a track's sends area will produce a menu with only one command ï¿½ Show track routing window. This can also be displayed by left clicking anywhere on the track's empty sends area.
Show send parameters Opens a small window with parameters (volume, pan, etc.) for that send.
Mute send Toggles the send's mute status.
Remove send Deletes the send altogether.
Show track routing window Opens the track's routing window.
Go to send destination track Selects the send's destination track.
As well as this menu, a number of other techniques are available for creating, editing and managing your sends. You can drag and drop from the ROUTING button of one track to another (as in the TCP) to create sends, but using the sends area of a track's channel strip for this purpose offers you more options. This can be seen in the following table:
|In order to do this ...||! … you do this|
|Add a send from one track to another.||Drag and drop from one track's send area or ROUTING button to the other. In the latter case, a send control window will be opened.|
|Add a send from one track to another and open control window for that send.||Ctrl drag and drop from one track's send area or ROUTING button to the other.|
|Add a send from one track to another and disable send from first track to the master.||Alt drag and drop from one track's send area or ROUTING button to the other. Use this method to create sends from several source tracks to the same destination track to create a traditional submix.|
|Add several sends to one track in one action||Select all sending tracks. Hold Shift while dragging and dropping from send area or ROUTING button of any selected track to receiving track.|
|Add several receives to a track in one action||Select all tracks from which you want the sends to come. Hold Shift while dragging and dropping from the ROUTING button of the receiving track (unselected) to any of the selected tracks.|
|Copy a send from one track to another||Drag and drop the send to another track.|
|Delete a send.||Alt click on the send.|
|Display a context menu.||Right click on any send|
|Open entire routing window for a track.||Ctrl click on a send or Click in empty part of sends area or Click on the ROUTING button.|
|Open the control window for a send.||Click on the send – allows you to change volume and/or pan, specify send/receive channels, mute etc.|
|Raise or lower the send volume level.||Click and drag on a send’s control knob.|
|Toggle a send’s mute status on or off.||Shift click on the send.|
|Add a send from a track directly to an FX (e.g. for sidechaining).||Drag and drop directly from the track's ROUTING button to the FX.|
Note that in the above table, those actions which use the routing button can be carried out in both the Track Panel and the Mixer Panel.
11.8 Showing Track Icons in the Mixer
The option to Show track icons in Mixer (from the Mixer menu) can be enabled to ensure that any track icons that you have allocated will be displayed at the head of the track's mixer panel.
Track icons are inserted using the Custom track icons, then Set track icon... commands from the TCP menu. This menu can also be accessed from within the Mixer by right-clicking over a track's name.
11.9 Managing the Mixer
Note: The sample layouts used in the illustrations in this section are illustrative only and have been selected for learning purposes. They will not necessarily look exactly the same as the layouts that you are using.
You might find yourself faced with conflicting objectives when you want to display track FX inserts, sends and so on all at once and for all tracks, especially if you have a large number of tracks.
One option for displaying more tracks is to enable Show multiple rows of tracks where space exists. Shown here is an example of what might happen when you enable this option.
The problem has arisen that all the tracks have been squeezed into the window ï¿½ but now there doesn't seem to be enough room to show all the features that we need to see.
In this example, there appears to be not enough room to display all of the track FX and the sends. When this happens you have two main options. These are either to make manual on-screen adjustments to the relative size of the different parts of the track panels, or to use a thinner mixer layout.
Making manual on-screen adjustments.
If, in the example here, you hover your mouse on the boundary between the FX area and the hidden sends area for any track, the mouse cursor will change to a double-headed arrow, as shown on the right. Finding the right spot can be a little tricky at first, so be patient.
You can then either click and drag up or down to drag the boundary up or down for that one track or hold Ctrl while you drag up or down to move the boundary for all tracks.
By holding Ctrl and dragging (in this case) up, we are able to make more room to display the sends as well as the FX inserts if we wish to, as shown in the second of these illustrations.
|In order to do this ï¿½.||ï¿½ you do this||Adjust relative height of elements for the current track only.||Click/Drag up or down|
|Adjust relative height of elements for all selected tracks.||Alt Click/Drag up or down|
|Adjust relative height of elements for all tracks.||Ctrl Click/Drag up or down|
Here we have adjusted the boundaries between the different elements (track controls and FX inserts) so as to make all of the FX visible. For example, Track 5 has no sends, but more space has been allocated to displaying the full list of track FX
We have then made some further manual adjustments - for example, the VU meter on the master has been made taller again by dragging up its top boundary.
Themes and mixer layouts.
REAPER's default theme includes many layouts, a sample of which are shown in this chapter. Listed below right are some of the layouts included with the REAPER 5 default theme. In addition, other themes are available, which have their own layouts. Themes can be downloaded from stash.reaper.fm and installed by dragging the .ReaperThemeZip file into REAPER's arrange view. Installed themes can be selected from the main menu, using the Options, Themes command.
Then, to choose a mixer layout for your tracks you can just do this:
- Select the tracks whose layout you wish to change. For all tracks, just select one then press Ctrl A.
- Right click over any selected track name then choose Track layout then Mixer Panel then select from the menu. The layouts that you will see listed are attached to whichever theme you are using and may not be the same as those listed here.
This is an example of another of the mixer layouts (Strip Full Controls) included with the REAPER 5 default theme. To browse thru, and download, the available REAPER themes go to http://stash.reaper.fm/. Sample screen shots of some of the other track and mixer layouts supplied with the REAPER 5 default theme are shown in Chapter 12.
11.10 Track Control Menus
The same functions that are available in the track control panels of your track view are generally also available in the mixer control panels. These functions are covered in detail in Section 2 of this User Guide. For example:
Right clicking over the background area or Track Name for any track panel in the mixer displays the track context menu.
Tracks can be armed in the Mixer for recording.
Clicking on a trackï¿½s ROUTING button displays the trackï¿½s Routing Window. Right clicking on this button displays its routing menu.
Clicking on a trackï¿½s FX button displays the FX chain for that track. Right clicking on this button displays a context menu.
Right clicking over a trackï¿½s volume or pan fader causes the Volume Control or Pan Law window to be displayed.
Similarly, the Record Arm, Record Monitoring and Select Record Mode buttons serve the same purposes as they do in Track View.
Tracks can also be muted or soloed in the Mixer view. Both buttons use the same mouse modifiers and have the same context menus as they do in the TCP.
11.11 Introducing Windows Screen Sets
Windows screen sets can be used to save and recall complete on-screen layouts of your REAPER windows, including Arrange view, Mixer view, the Navigator, the Routing/Grouping matrix, and more. We'll examine their capabilities in more detail in Chapter 12, along with some examples in action.
Using Windows screen sets to save different combinations of Mixer settings can be a useful step towards fully understanding what screen sets are and how they work. They can be a great time saver, because the more you use REAPER, the more you will find yourself settling on perhaps three or four different layouts that you prefer for use in different circumstances. This will depend mainly on factors such as:
Number of Tracks: your preferred mixer layout is likely to be different for a project with only three or four tracks from what it would be for a project with perhaps 20 or 30 tracks. For larger projects you are more likely to show multiple rows.
Project Stage: the information that you would like to see in your Mixer may vary according, for example, to whether you are at the recording, early mixing or final tweaking stage of your project.
Windows screen sets are globally available in all projects. They are stored in a screensets.ini file in your \Application Data\REAPER folder. This means that you can use any project to create a screen set, and then use that same screen set with any other project. You should find the following summary information useful.
|In order to do this ï¿½.||ï¿½ you do this||Create a Windows Screen Set||Arrange your Windows, including the Mixer and its various options and settings, on screen, exactly as you want it. Choose the View Screensets/Layouts command (Ctrl E).Select the Windows tab. Click on any item number to select it, then on Save to open the Save Windows Screeenset window (see above). Select as many options as you require, e.g. Main window position, Tool window positions (ie. all other windows), Docker selected tab, Mixer flags (i.e. whether inserts, sends, FX, etc are visible), Layouts, Last focus (currently focussed window). Click on Save. You can accept any default shortcut Load key that is shown (e.g. F7 for windows screen set #1) or click on Edit shortcuts to open the Actions List Editor and assign your own. The Actions List is explained in Chapter 15.|
|Load/Recall a Windows Screen Set||Either use the keyboard shortcut (where one exists), or Choose the View Screensets/Layouts command (Ctrl E).Select the Windows tab and double-click on the required screen set name.|
11.12 Mixer Appearance Preferences
REAPER's Preferences window does not have a section specifically labelled Mixer, but there are several places where your choices will affect the Mixer and its appearance.
One of these is the Theme development/tweaker window, accessible from the action list editor. Choose the Actions, Show action list command, enter theme in the filter window then select and Run the action Theme development: Show theme tweak/configuration window. The action list editor is explained in depth in Chapter 15.
Click on any element name in the displayed list, choose a new color from the color picker window and click on OK. Use the Save Theme... button if you want to save your changes.
Mixer FX text normal color
Mixer FX text bypassed color
Mixer FX text offline color
Mixer sends text normal color
Mixer sends text muted color
Mixer sends text MIDI hardware color
Mixer sends level color
Mixer FX knob text normal color
Mixer FX knob text bypassed color
Mixer FX knob text offline color
Whether you want the VU meters to be interlaced.
VU meter clip indicator color
VU meter top color
VU meter middle color
VU meter bottom color
VU meter interlace/edge color
VU meter show MIDI activity
Under Options, Preferences, Appearance, Track Control Panels you will find a couple of options that you might be able to use to customize your mixer appearance by the use of color coding. Control of these options is disabled by the some color themes (including the default, which locks these options on). These are to Set track label background to custom track colors and to Tint track panel backgrounds.
This can be changed by editing the rtconfig.txt file (contained within the theme's .ReaperThemeZip file). If you wish to do this, first make a backup copy of the ReaperThemeZip file. Proceed with caution: this should only be considered by experienced users. The procedure is explained here: http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=181803 More useful tips can be found in White Tie's thread “Common tweaks to a REAPER theme” which can be found at http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=172341
Any colors selected using the context menu Custom track colors command (see Chapter 5) will be applied to the track panels in your Mixer. Shown below is an example with custom colors applied and using the settings of the default theme.
If you wish to be able to change these and various media item coloring preference options, one way is to use a theme that allows this. An example (which in most respects closely resembles the default theme) can be found at http://stash.reaper.fm/theme/1621/Default20Nitpicky%20Edition.
One final preference setting to note is the Show in mixer option under Project, Track/Send Defaults. By default, this option is enabled, which means that new tracks as they are added are automatically shown in the Mixer. You should disable this preference if you wish to change this default behavior. This setting can be over-ridden for individual tracks using the Track Manager. This is explained in Chapter 12.
11.13 Stereo and Dual Panning
The stereo panner and the dual panner are designed to give you more control over how you pan stereo tracks. The default pan mode (stereo balance/mono pan) gives you a single pan control which moves the sound between the left and right speakers.
However, a stereo track is made up of two channels ï¿½ left and right. You can see these on any stereo wave file that you record or import into any project. The output of one channel (the top waveform) is normally routed 100% left, the other (bottom waveform) 100% right. Using the dual panner or the width panner you are able to change this in one of two different ways.
The dual panner (shown below right)) is easier to understand. Each of the two pan controls contains one of the channels. Pan the first of these 100% left and the second 100% right and you will hear the first channel thru the left speaker only and the second thru the right speaker only. Reverse these and you will now hear the first channel only thru the right speaker and the second only thru the left channel. Pan both fully left and you will hear both thru the left speaker only. You can adjust both pan controls independently to place each channel exactly where you want it. For example, if you set both controls dead center you will hear exactly the same mix of the two channels thru both speakers.
The stereo panner is in some respects more subtle. You can use the width control to adjust the mix of the two individual channels of a stereo media item, folder or submix, and the balance panner to position that overall mix further to the left or the right.
To help you understand this, let's work thru a relatively simple demonstration.
Displaying the Dual Panner or Stereo Panner
Any track's dual or stereo panner can be shown by right-clicking over the pan fader and selecting the required pan mode. You are most likely to want to do this for a track which contains stereo media items, or which is a folder, or acts as a bus or submix.
In this example we will first create a stereo file in order to help us experiment with the use of the width panner. We will then get a little more ambitious and use it on a submix. This will include rendering the mono media items on two current tracks a single stereo file. The topic of rendering will be covered in detail in Chapter 21.
- Open the file All Through the Night.RPP and save it as All Through the Night WIDTH.RPP.
- Mute all tracks except the Guitar Body and the Bouzouki.
- Pan the Guitar Body 100% left and the Bouzouki 100% right.
- Choose the Render command from the File menu. Make sure that you set Channels to Stereo, and select Master mix and Entire project. Select output format MP3 and Add rendered items to new tracks in project (see next page).
- Click on Render 1 File.
- After a few seconds, the rendered file will be added as a new track. Give the track a suitable name. It should resemble that shown here.
- In this rendered track, the guitar makes up the audio on one channel, the bouzouki on the other channel.
- Solo and play this track.
- Adjust the pan control slowly, first fully left, then fully right, then back to the center. As you do so, one channel will gradually fade away. Panned full left you will hear only the guitar, full right only the bouzouki. Move the pan back to the center.
- Selected this track in the TCP, right click over the pan control and choose Dual Pan option from the pan mode drop down list (explained overleaf).
- Play the song. Slowly move the top pan control to 100% right. You will hear both instruments in the right speaker only.
- Move the lower pan control to 100%% left. Now you will hear the guitar in the right channel only, the bouzouki in the left channel only ï¿½ the opposite of what you started with.
- Experiment moving these faders. When finished, move the top pan control to 100% left and the lower pan control to 100% right. Save the file.
- Now change the pan mode for this track to Stereo Pan.
- Play the song. At first you will hear only the guitar in the left speaker, only the bouzouki in the right speaker. Slowly move the lower (width) panner from 100% right towards the centre (0W). As you do so, the two instruments will tend to blend more together.
- With width set at 0W, move the top (pan) control fully left. The mix will now be heard thru one speaker only. Move it back to the center. Save the file.
Now try this:
- Unsolo and mute the stereo track.
- Create a folder called Instruments just after the Vocal track. Select Stereo pan mode for this folder.
- Make the two guitar tracks and the bouzouki tracks child tracks of this folder. Adjust the volumes and pan settings of the individual tracks and the folder to get a nice mix. Pan the different tracks well apart.
- Use the width control on the folder. Experiment with using this to bring the instruments closer together or further apart. Use the pan control to position the overall mix further left or right. You can still adjust pan settings for individual child tracks within the folder as well if you wish.
Tip: This technique can do wonders when you are mixing vocals, including vocal duets and vocal harmonies!
By default, the stereo width is applied before the pan/balance control. To select a different pan mode, right-click over either the pan or width control fader and choose from the drop down list. The three modes are:
Stereo Balance/Mono Pan: The track is treated as mono, even if it contains stereo media. Set to center, you hear the same signal equally thru both speakers. Set hard right, you hear it in the right speaker only.
Stereo Pan Lets you control side (pan) and width separately. Side means that the stereo image is set more to the left or right, and width means how far apart the left and right channel are in the stereo image. With side set to center and width set to 100%, you hear the left channel in the left speaker and the right channel in the right speaker. With side set to center and width set to 0%, you hear both channels equally in the left and right speakers. With side set hard right, you hear both channels equally in the right speaker, regardless of the width setting.
Dual Pan: Lets you control both channels separately. The left knob sets the left channel more left or right, the right knob sets the right channel more left or right. With left set hard left and right set hard right, you hear the left channel in the left speaker and the right channel in the right speaker. With left and right both set to center, you hear both channels equally in the left and right speakers. With left and right both set hard right, you hear both channels equally in the right speaker.
It is recommended that you do not use the deprecated Reaper 3 pan mode. This has only been left as an option to ensure that older Reaper 3 projects which may have used this mode do not become broken.
11.14 Master Track Options and Settings
The mixer Master Track controls has the same functions as when the Master Track when shown in Track View. Note the Output button (above - by default labelled Mono):
Left click on the Output button to toggle between Stereo and Mono modes.
Right click on the Output button to set any one of four available Mono modes (above right).
Left click on the FX button to display the master FX Chain.
Right click on the FX button for the Add FX context menu.
If the FX chain for the Master is displayed, then you can use all and any of the FX management keyboard shortcuts that you can use on your tracks.
Right click over the VU area to display the settings that you can use to control what is displayed in the VU and how it is displayed (above right).
This includes the option to display output in multichannel mode (e.g. when working with surround sound). Disabling this option will ensure a two channel display.
11.15 Master Hardware Outputs
Output from the master can be directed to one or more of your available hardware outputs. This can be done using the routing matrix. The master routing button (in the Mixer) can also be used to set up and manage your hardware output or outputs.
Right click on the ROUTING button to display a menu of hardware output options. These can be toggled on and off in any permutation that you require.
Left Click on the ROUTING button to display the master track outputs window. This can be used to control the levels and panning of the signals to the hardware outputs.
Notice (below) that for each output you can independently control any or all of the following:
Toggle Mute on/off. Toggle phase invert.
Set Volume level. Set panning position.
11.16 Master Track Channels
The topic of routing and channel splitting is one that recurs throughout this user guide. The concept itself starts as a relatively simple one, but from those simple beginnings it can grow into something as complex and as complicated as you like. You'll find no shortage of examples in Chapter 17.
You can use channels to send two copies of the same signal to two different places. You can then do separate things to each signal before joining them up again. Below is a relatively simple example. The example itself may or may not be something that youï¿½ll ever want to do, but thatï¿½s not the point. The point is that it will help you to understand what channel splitting is about and how to do it.
Letï¿½s take an example of using multiple channels (two stereo pairs in fact) for our master. We can use this to feed some effect (such as reverb) into our signal chain, then send the effect (and only the effect) out to our headphones (to enable us to assess it), while sending the overall final mix to our speakers. In order to work thru this example, you will need a sound card with at least four audio outputs.
This exercise will almost certainly be too complex for the novice user, and as such is recommended for the more experienced only. Otherwise, you might wish to return to it after you have completed Chapter 17.
This diagram shows what we are going to achieve. It assumes that our audio signal flows from left to right.
First we will create the necessary extra Channels for the Master Track.
The audio coming into our Master from the mix will be split between Channels 1/2 and Channels 3/4. The signal that is passed to Channels 3/4 will be fed thru a Reverb plug-in then directly out to our headphones. It will also be passed back into a Compressor plug-in, where it will be mixed back into the original incoming signal. The final mix will then be fed to the speakers.
- Open the file All Through The Night.rpp and save it as All Through The Night MASTER.RPP.
- Pan the two guitar tracks roughly 40% left and 40% right respectively. Pan the Bouzouki about 15% left, the Vox around 10% right. Quickly adjust the volume levels for each track to suit, especially to avoid clipping in the Master. Save the file.
- View the Mixer and enable the options to Show FX inserts when size permits and Show sends when size permits.
- Make sure your Speakers and Headphones are each connected to different paired sound card outputs.
- Right click over the ROUTING button in the Master and make sure that output is directed both to your speakers and to your headphone amp.
- To create the required channels, left click on the ROUTING button for the Master Track and set the number of channels to 4 (as shown, right).
- Assign the output of channels 1/2 to your studio speakers and 3/4 to your headphones. Your settings should appear similar, but of course not identical, to those shown here.
- Play the song. For now, it should be heard over the speakers, but your headphones should still be silent.
- In the Master FX chain, add the plug-in ReaEQ and, for the purpose of this exercise, add a 2 dB gain on Band 2, a 1 dB drop on Band 3, and a 1dB gain on Band 4.
- In the Master FX chain, click just below the ReaEQ and add ReaVerbate. Leave the parameters at their default settings, but adjust the outputs from this plug-in so that they are directed left and right respectively to channels 3 and 4 only. The settings for these outputs are shown (right).
- Now play the song. The playback thru the speakers will include the effects of your ReaEQ settings but not ReaVerbate. In contrast, if you listen thru the headphones, you will hear only the reverb.
- Now click again in the master FX chain and add ReaComp after the reverb plug-in. Adjust the Input Settings for this plug-in so that Channels 1 and 3 are the Main Input for the left, and channels 2 and 4 are the Main Input for the right, as illustrated below right.
- Play the song. You can adjust the amount of reverb in the mix by adjusting the vertical Wet and Dry faders in the ReaVerbate window. You can also adjust the Threshold (vertical fader on the left) and Ratio settings for ReaComp if you wish.
- Your speakers will now play the output signal from your Master Trackï¿½s FX chain, including the reverb mixed in. Your headphones will still play only the direct output of the ReaVerbate plug-in.
- Save this file.
11.17 Avoiding Channel Leakage
You need to be aware when you are using multiple channels for the Master Track that any signal routed along any channels between tracks will also be sent to the Master. For example, you might be using channels 3/4 in one or more of your tracks for some other purpose. In that case, if you also used channels 3/4 for the purpose outlined in the above example, then the signal on channels 3/4 of your tracks would also be leaked into the signal being fed to your reverb plug-in.
This channel leakage can be avoided simply by reserving for the Master a pair or pairs of channels not used elsewhere in the project ï¿½ in this example, you might choose to use Channels 5/6 or Channels 11/12. Since you have up to 64 channels available to you, this should not normally present you with any problem.
11.18 Reset VU Meter Peaks
Notice that during playback, your VU meters in both track view and mixer view will display the peak level recorded for each individual track (see right). To reset the peak reading for any individual track, click your mouse over the area where the peak value is displayed.
To reset the peak reading for all tracks, hold the Ctrl key while you click your mouse over the area where the peak value is displayed in any one track.
You can also if you wish disable the option under Options, Preferences, Appearance, Track Control Panels, VU Meters to Reset meter peak indicators on play/seek. If you do this, the current peak levels will be remembered even when you stop playback. When you resume playback, they will be retained as the peak levels until, of course, a louder passage is encountered.