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Logic X (and 9) automation completely broken
Old 22nd July 2013
  #1
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Logic X (and 9) automation completely broken

Well I'm sad to say that this is enough that it's just about killing the entire mixing experience for me.

It depends on a few factors and even the plugin used. This topic is to collect information in once place, provide work arounds and examples from all affected.

We should collect all the info and then send it to apple. Basically, without proper automation timing, it ruins the entire process of mixing. How apple can not see this I do not understand. We have to band together and push them to fix this.

Now before we go further, of course sample accurate automation for all scenarios is selected in the options. I am also a logic veteran since 1996, 17 years, and know it pretty much back to front.

I always had some audible issues but i just never even expected it to be automation related, i just wrongly presumed all these years that automation was spot on. I can't believe i never thought to do these tests before.

1 ) First point. Volume automation. This is pretty responsive. The correct setting after experimenting for hours yesterday is -9 ticks. This is for your snap offset. For example, if you have something starting at bar 3 precisely, the point of automation should be at 2-4-4-232
I have tested this for plugins as well as the basic in built track automation

In my easy test, what i did was want to put a vertical volume silence for the audio that comes in at bar 3. If i set the automation to the default offset of -6 ticks, you will hear a slight pop as the playhead passes over the audio part at bar 3 even though the silencing automation is draw well ahead of the audio striking. Even at 2-4-4-233 in this case you will see a registration on the vu meter even though you can't really hear it at that level. The correct snap point for complete and utter silence (and therefore any automation task ) is 2-4-4-232

2) The gain plugin. There is something wrong with this in that the standard settings don't work. I need to go backwards almost 100 extra ticks to get it to automate the volume ride in time! I am not kidding. I also need to test the rest of logic's "legacy blue interface" plugins to see how they behave. I have tested the volume output on the channel EQ and that's not affected by this bug, but i still have tons of tests to do.

So one would think at this stage. big deal.. i set it once to -9 ticks, be extra careful when i use the gain plugin, and all my automation is in time. Not so.

3) Throw a plugin with latency into the mix.. any latency. Everything on that track goes out of time. Well, correction. Everything on that track that has been automated that has been placed BEFORE the new plugin with latency in the mixer chain, is out of time. If it's a plugin with large latency, it puts everything out drastically. Your entire automation for that track is out of whack.

Workaround - put any plugins with latency before other ones you need to automate in the mixer chain. This is much easier said than done of course, as that might make the whole mixer chain for your specific needs out of order.

4) Automating a plugin with latency. Automation for *that* plugin is out of time by the plugin's latency. So forget the -9 tick rule here. If you want to automated a filter on say a linear phase EQ or a volume change (using fabfilter pro Q in this case on high latency setting) you need to experiment and do it all by ear. Of course, once you insert that plugin into the chain, any plugins before it that use automation are now completely out of time :(

5) Putting plugins with latency on busses or the master buss. Unlike audio tracks and instruments tracks (output 1 and 2 of multi timbral instruments, further outputs behave like busses in terms of this issue), doing this throws the playhead out of time with your music by the combined plugin latency amount.

This is the reason. if you put a latency plugin on a track, logic starts playback earlier - ie it moves its playhead backwards (to the left) when you hit play, by the amount combined latency of all plugins inserted on tracks. When you put them on busses, logic does not do this, it just leaves the playhead in it's normal position, but delays the actual AUDIO by that amount. So if i put this fab filter EQ on the master bus with 500ms latency, logic's playhead will seemingly be moving over audio but there will be nothing heard until 500ms has passed. It pushes the audio forward invisibly so to speak. This affect the audio editor also and ALL tracks. The entire project is now visually out of time.
HOWEVER, for some reason, automation does not go out of time in this situation. IT's all still triggered at the correct moments.. so draw it where you WANT it to happen (keep the -9 ticks setting of course) and it will.

Now let's start mixing tracks with uad plugins and busses with other latent plugins.. then we have just entered nightmare territory. Everything will be all over the place.

Summary

1) Before taking latent plugins into account set your logicX automation snap offset at -9 ticks for everything but the gain plugin which simply doesn't response anywhere near in time for some reason

2) If automating the gain plugin do it by ear

3) If adding effects with latency to your track and first output of instrument inserts, try to place them first in the chain. Automation nevertheless for THOSE effects will be out of time by their latency. Zero latency effects placed after them in the mixer will not be affected. Zero latency plugins or any plugins placed before them in the mixer will be affected by the latency of the latent plugins after them. So if you work out and do your automation, and then remove say a plugin from a chain, your automation for that entire track will need to be redone (or all moved at once basically)

4) Even though latent effects cause visual issues when placed on the master buss or mix busses, automation stays correct no matter what you put on them. For example i have automation on an audio track and i have 4 ad limiters and 5 linear phase eq's on the master for testing purposes. Automation on the track is still in time AUDIBLY, even though the playhead is out visually. This relies on the -9 setting above.

5) You can also automate plugins with latency on busses and they automate in time. i don't get it myself but it must have something to do with logic not visually compensating and moving the audio forward behind the scenes.
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Old 22nd July 2013
  #2
Deleted 0ec6b8e
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This is a problem I can't say I've noticed and I use automation on everything, although my automation is not really time critical (certainly not down to a 'tick' level), my automation curves usually fade in and out over fairly arbitrary lengths (to do stuff like roll off high frequencies or bring reverb in).

I'm sure if the automation was sample accurate someone would release a plug-in to add a little 'analogue' warmth/noise to the automation timing, you know to give it a more human feel . . . . which brings up a more serious point, what are you doing that requires tick accurate automation, in the days of mix engineers and producers riding faders manually (often drunk, sometimes asleep) they still managed to produce perfectly serviceable music ?
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Old 22nd July 2013
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Thank you for your detailed posting of this long standing problem. You're right - it really must be fixed. It makes detailed mixing a nightmare.
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Old 22nd July 2013
  #4
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Automation for creative effect often needs to be spot-on to sound right - filters etc. and the time lag can be quite dramatic depending on your plug chain.
Moreover, the GUI tracking out of time, again by a substantial amount if you're bussing with high latency plugs at the end of a mix really does my head in... I'm used to seeing what I'm hearing from an editing perspective - audio / MIDI / automation
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Old 22nd July 2013 | Show parent
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Wilson ➑️
This is a problem I can't say I've noticed and I use automation on everything, although my automation is not really time critical (certainly not down to a 'tick' level), my automation curves usually fade in and out over fairly arbitrary lengths (to do stuff like roll off high frequencies or bring reverb in).

I'm sure if the automation was sample accurate someone would release a plug-in to add a little 'analogue' warmth/noise to the automation timing, you know to give it a more human feel . . . . which brings up a more serious point, what are you doing that requires tick accurate automation, in the days of mix engineers and producers riding faders manually (often drunk, sometimes asleep) they still managed to produce perfectly serviceable music ?
The point was more to show that logic doesn't have sample accurate automation. Is it so wrong to desire that in 2013? Every other DAW besides Ableton does it or at the very least has tighter automation.

The problem is not going to be huge when i do my ambient stuff, but when i am doing my rhythmic based EDM.. do i really need to explain what sort of issues? what if i am doing a rhythmic volume pattern? Or using an effect that has time critical transport sync info and i want to sync some automation. Or what if i have an effect that DOESN'T sync to the transport, but i want to create rhythmic auto wah or filter sweeps?

Not to mention volume being incorrect for all tracks!

even look at my very first example.. if i hadn't worked out the 9 tick thing i'd have noise bursts of tracks not muting in time popping here and there. in fact i very well have in the past! now i know what the problem is!

And no offence to anyone, well i don't know how this could be offensive anyway as it's about me lol, but not everyone is gifted in riding faders. I'm bed bound most days due to health issues AND i only have one ear.. i rely ALOT on trusting the DAW.. but also have lots of time on my hands to do these tests to benefit us ALL..

You can not actually say there is a NEGATIVE to having sample accurate automation can you?
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Old 22nd July 2013
  #6
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Anyway the point is i have finally detailed the complete problem from a-z. All scenarios affected are covered in that post and all my known current work arounds. I would love to hear others experiences and work arounds.

ALso just to be clear, i need to refresh the page when i posted as it had timed out (it took ages to post) and lucky i had copied my post onto a text file or the mac would have been in a window LOL!!

But i mucked up the heading.. i did not mean it that alarmist.. i meant to have "automation TIMING is broken" and forgot to add that and now i can't edit it. Sorry about that everyone
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Old 22nd July 2013
  #7
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Nu-tra's Avatar
Thanks for your hard work. That is one of the reasons why I'm learning studio one. Not as efficient but I can manage.
Old 22nd July 2013
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Thank you for this thread; Logic automation has been maddening for me for so long I can't remember, and I had high hopes about this development cycle being the end of it.

If you don't mind, since it's related, I'll take the opportunity to reiterate a prior question that got lost in the frenzy:

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNM
Oh, and even though the mixer faders still have no way to drag them fine, the resolution has been improved to match other DAW's, for example if you type in -32.3, it would work, where as before it would truncate/snap.
AH! Thank you Theo, that was the info I was looking for.
Big, big improvement for me, even if apparently half-assed (why not ctrl-click for fine tuning? Hello? 2013?! )

If you have the time, I would be interested to know how that relates to the (hopefully prior) dreadful automation? Is it reliable at last? Is it reliably and easily fine tunable? How does fader volume and automation values translate into numerical figures while editing within the proper dedicated window which name I can't seem to remember right now because wine? (previously = 0 to 127)

I know and appreciate how detail oriented you are, so I'm really glad that you're the one I get to ask this.
Thanks for your time
Old 22nd July 2013
  #9
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I did answer that for you before Alexis.. control click make automation vertically much finer, well beyond the 127 steps. Unless i am misunderstanding you about the truncation?

Now if you open the automation event list you are limited to 127 but with logic's automation being so temperamental especially when trying to do vertical lines the editor (command, control, e) sometimes is handy rather than dragging the points by hand. Also two points can be put at equal value here if your zoom value has changed and you need to match them. Yes they will truncate to one of 127 steps BUT.. when you then go and edit them by hand and hold control to fine tune, you can vertically match them at the same value, which wouldn't have been possible without this workaround. Cubase and S1 allow you to click a point and type the value.. very cool.
Old 22nd July 2013
  #10
MJB
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Ugh... I've been wondering about these things for a long time, but didn't have the techical expertise and vocabulary to express myself clearly.

YNM, thanks for taking the time to post such a thorough analysis of these issues. I'm still on Logic 9, because a couple of plugs I use are still 32 bit and won't work in 64 I've often heard things and not understood why. Pops clicks, even when my buffer size is high for mixing, and there's no edit in the audio track, just automation. Vocals, bass and guitars are almost always out of time, I've gotten so used to adjusting them myself. I look for strong downbeats and line them up, listen closely, and make minuscule adjustments by ear until the track sits right.

I plan to go to L10 soon anyway, but don't need it immediately.

Would you please explain the -9 clicks for me again, in terms of what I should do when automating. I'm an experienced musicians, but playing catch up when it comes to DAWs.

I have UAD/s Apollo Duo. I typically lower volume and use the curve tool to smooth things out. I do use plugs on my 2 bus, UAD's Ampex ATR-102, Slates FG-X and I'm now demoing Slates VCB. reverbs are UAD EMT140 and Relab's 480XL
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Old 22nd July 2013
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNM
I did answer that for you before Alexis.. control click make automation vertically much finer, well beyond the 127 steps. Unless i am misunderstanding you about the truncation?
So sorry! I must have read past your previous response that night

In Logic 9, I did in fact (heavily) use the 127-stepped-editor, since trying to match two or more automation points by mouse would epically fail most of the time.
But I wasn't then able to fine tune further, due, I believe, to fader resolution.

So am I understanding you correctly in that even though we're still bound to 127 steps in the editor - with the inevitable approximation in volume value-, when further fine tuning by mouse, we can now access the same definition as the "new" faders?

If so, in your experience did you find the whole new volume resolution to be trustworthy ("stand alone" and in relation to automation) or do you suspect foul play (as in: eye candy)?

Thanks again for you time and help! It is very, very much appreciated.
Old 22nd July 2013
  #12
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🎧 10 years
nice one
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Old 22nd July 2013 | Show parent
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB ➑️
Would you please explain the -9 clicks for me again, in terms of what I should do when automating. I'm an experienced musicians, but playing catch up when it comes to DAWs.

I have UAD/s Apollo Duo. I typically lower volume and use the curve tool to smooth things out. I do use plugs on my 2 bus, UAD's Ampex ATR-102, Slates FG-X and I'm now demoing Slates VCB. reverbs are UAD EMT140 and Relab's 480XL
when you need to use automation snap, set the offset (under the snap dropdown menu you will see automation snap offset) to -9 ticks. The default is 5 which is not quite enough. Note i have now managed to confirm this on logic 9 with my imac which is a very fast machine and is running snow leopard (3.4 i7, 16gb ram, all ssd throughout bar one storage drive)..

so at first i thought things might have changed with mountain lion and X but it's definitely a logic 9 issue as far back as snow leopard. Getting a friend of mine for curiosities sake to see if L8 is also affected.

if they fix this, previous projects will play whacked.. note.. this IS fixable without needing to do the entire engine rewrite but with apple who knows if they will.

The more people pressure them the more there is a chance, trust me on that. I will never forget when they removed hyperthread support intentionally and there was that huge public outcry and they fixed it.. i remind myself of this to know they ARE able to listen with enough pressure.

Anyway since it will freak out previous projects all they need to do is add a checkbox that you click for old songs entitled "legacy automation behaviour". This would be the workaround not to screw up our current and older works.
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Old 22nd July 2013 | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by @l3x!5 ➑️
So sorry! I must have read past your previous response that night

In Logic 9, I did in fact (heavily) use the 127-stepped-editor, since trying to match two or more automation points by mouse would epically fail most of the time.
But I wasn't then able to fine tune further, due, I believe, to fader resolution.

So am I understanding you correctly in that even though we're still bound to 127 steps in the editor - with the inevitable approximation in volume value-, when further fine tuning by mouse, we can now access the same definition as the "new" faders?

If so, in your experience did you find the whole new volume resolution to be trustworthy ("stand alone" and in relation to automation) or do you suspect foul play (as in: eye candy)?

Thanks again for you time and help! It is very, very much appreciated.
you could do it in logic 9, the ctrl click fine tune and automation could already go well beyond the fader resolution.. what this has done is match them in X to be equal. I don't know how many bits it is now but it's better than it was, thankfully.

The volume resolution is trustworthy.. that's not been a problem... oh but one thing i noticed is that the little volume box in the track info when automation is enabled (the yellow number in logic 9 on all tracks) was fine draggable. In x it seems to really jump and not fine tuneable. This is an absolute bummer but i need to do more tests in case i am missing something.

Also as i wrote somewhere else snap is broken now, it will only snap to a bar regardless of resolution. Automation snap used to follow snap settings in 9. this HAS to be a bug.

Now the best way when you want to match two values.. snap them to the nearest from from the 127 in the editor.. now they are matched.. now you can match them as they are at the same level. if you edit one, then change the zoom, then go back and need to match the other, you will need to do the automation event editor 0-127 trick again. Remember in case i am being unclear, this is only to match them initially so then you can fine tune them to be identical values where needed cause they will both move in relativity to your zoom level and when holding ctrl, in the same increments.
Old 22nd July 2013
  #15
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do you know if the resolution of the actual automation has improved any in ver. X ?
not the GUI/settings stuff, but the audio track/file that had automation applied. there was some pretty course 'stepping' before, wondering if they smoothed it out any yet...
Old 22nd July 2013
  #16
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🎧 10 years
Thank you TNM for articulating this mess in detail. Another joke that has been there for too long that I wouldn't miss if I find another DAW home.
Old 22nd July 2013 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stinkyfingers ➑️
do you know if the resolution of the actual automation has improved any in ver. X ?
not the GUI/settings stuff, but the audio track/file that had automation applied. there was some pretty course 'stepping' before, wondering if they smoothed it out any yet...
Seems the same to me but I could be wrong of course. Some didn't realise the vertical fine tune holding ctrl has been there since 9. However it's not like cubase or s1 where every increment of a plugin setting is available. It's simply not possible in logic. Something with say 1,000 steps is ok but say a filter frequency, there'll always be jumps in that case even holding control.(well assuming the eq in question does not have frequency jump itself)
Old 22nd July 2013 | Show parent
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 ➑️
Thank you TNM for articulating this mess in detail. Another joke that has been there for too long that I wouldn't miss if I find another DAW home.
Well you are welcome but let's get it fixed.. That's the aim.. And what would you go to? Have a read of my osx daw performance comparison.. Even if you jump and you lose this nightmare, you will gain another one in another daw seeing the cpu meter going mental all the time. The grass is not really greener on the other side. So move to windows you say, but then, you have WINDOWS to deal with.

I tried the last few hours to get into studio one i must admit. It's so easy to use but that GUI is an absolute minefield.. It's unique in that.. My goodness with all inspector windows open, the mixer, the flex window, etc.. I was constantly squinting trying to work my way around it.. And I'm not far sighted! I'm actually near sighted. However if presonus started using some colour separation and improved performance on osx I'd look into it further.
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Old 22nd July 2013
  #19
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interesting. If they can apply PDC to the audio why not the automation as well-thatswhats needed right?
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Old 22nd July 2013 | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNM ➑️
Well you are welcome but let's get it fixed.. That's the aim.. And what would you go to? Have a read of my osx daw performance comparison.. Even if you jump and you lose this nightmare, you will gain another one in another daw seeing the cpu meter going mental all the time. The grass is not really greener on the other side. So move to windows you say, but then, you have WINDOWS to deal with.

I tried the last few hours to get into studio one i must admit. It's so easy to use but that GUI is an absolute minefield.. It's unique in that.. My goodness with all inspector windows open, the mixer, the flex window, etc.. I was constantly squinting trying to work my way around it.. And I'm not far sighted! I'm actually near sighted. However if presonus started using some colour separation and improved performance on osx I'd look into it further.
I suspect Studio One will be very good quite soon. Also feel their audio engine is vasty superior, regardless of what every quack on here says about all the same.

But I am now thinking Hackintosh is my future. Boot in Windows 7 for DAW and boot in OSX when doing anything else.

For the first time I am thinking it might be time to look around. You might be right about no better on the other end, but I want to try Samp Pro X. Looks like decent midi and some great other stuff. Sure, it will have its problems too, but you know..,..it still might be time to just swap a set of them for a new set to blow fresh wind into it for me. I don't work for/ on other peoples stuff any more other than very now and again, so it's just me and I can try things out.

Good luck with getting Apple to do anything. The best hope is they are going to do some of this by the next few updates I think, so you'll know by 10.3 or 4 whether it is going to happen I suppose.
Old 22nd July 2013 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNM ➑️
I tried the last few hours to get into studio one i must admit. It's so easy to use but that GUI is an absolute minefield.. It's unique in that.. My goodness with all inspector windows open, the mixer, the flex window, etc.. I was constantly squinting trying to work my way around it.. And I'm not far sighted! I'm actually near sighted. However if presonus started using some colour separation and improved performance on osx I'd look into it further.

you should look into the mastering window and open a song from the mastering window


afterwards you will understand why the performance is not as great as in L9
Old 22nd July 2013 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for your response.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNM ➑️
the vertical fine tune holding ctrl has been there since 9
Alas, vertical ctrl-drag was far too inconsistent and unreliable for me in 9 (it often plain didn't work and kept jumping high values, regardless of zoom settings).
Old 22nd July 2013
  #23
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🎧 15 years
@ TNM :

It may have to do with the fact that Logic's PDC doesn't compensate for the GUI

check these two thread :
Logic Pro Help • View topic - Plug-in Delay Compensation for Aux does not adjust GUI?
Logic Pro Help • View topic - Automation out of time with waveform
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Old 22nd July 2013 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 0ec6b8e ➑️
which brings up a more serious point, what are you doing that requires tick accurate automation, in the days of mix engineers and producers riding faders manually (often drunk, sometimes asleep) they still managed to produce perfectly serviceable music ?
This becomes a problem once you use time-critical plugin-automation like with tremolos for chopping or other things that cut up audio. If you got sensible material cutted on 16th or even 8th notes it's really a pain. I do this a lot and I'm always scared to introduce new plugins to these channels. Timed delays are also critical.
I'm dissappointed to hear X is still having these flaws :-(
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Old 22nd July 2013 | Show parent
  #25
Deleted 0ec6b8e
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNM ➑️
The point was more to show that logic doesn't have sample accurate automation.
You made that point very well

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNM ➑️
Is it so wrong to desire that in 2013?
Not at all, I'm sure it's important to some people, in some situations, I was making a broader point that it's unlikely to impact on the quality of your music in any significant way, certainly not enough to warrant a 'completely broken' label . . . . but that's just my take, like I say to some it might be important, to others less so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNM ➑️
. . . what if i am doing a rhythmic volume pattern?
Drag the automation around a little until it sounds good - or use some other method ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNM ➑️
Not to mention volume being incorrect for all tracks!
if a track is a little bit loud I tend to turn it down or if it's quiet I turn it up, I think at the end of the day most people mix by ear, so it shouldn't be an issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNM ➑️
You can not actually say there is a NEGATIVE to having sample accurate automation can you?
No negatives as far as I am aware.
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Old 22nd July 2013 | Show parent
  #26
Deleted 0ec6b8e
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ekkobelli ➑️
This becomes a problem once you use time-critical plugin-automation like with tremolos . . .
Good point, I was mainly thinking about simple automation (volume ramps etc).

To be honest I'm probably not the right audience for this subject, if something is loud I turn it down, if it's out of time I shift it around until I like what I hear.
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Old 22nd July 2013
  #27
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🎧 10 years
this is something i noticed w/ logic 9 when doing some automation tests a while back...
basically, i set two points as close as i could get them (at full zoom.) (.0011 > .0012) (pic 1)
testing with a DC source, there's a 220 sample ramp time to achieve 'max' level for the automation. (pic 2)
it starts exactly where i set the first point.
i don't know if this corresponds to your -9 ticks, but this is the 'offset' i was getting and it seemed pretty consistent.
(working at 44.1 kHz / 512 buffer size)
Attached Thumbnails
Logic X (and 9) automation completely broken-0011to0012.jpg   Logic X (and 9) automation completely broken-220samp.jpg  
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Old 22nd July 2013 | Show parent
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 ➑️
interesting. If they can apply PDC to the audio why not the automation as well-thatswhats needed right?
basically.
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Old 22nd July 2013 | Show parent
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spaceman ➑️
@ TNM :

It may have to do with the fact that Logic's PDC doesn't compensate for the GUI

check these two thread :
Logic Pro Help • View topic - Plug-in Delay Compensation for Aux does not adjust GUI?
Logic Pro Help • View topic - Automation out of time with waveform

Yves, i don't mean to be smart but i was the first one ever to work out all the gui and delay comp issues in logic like 10 years back and no one listened to me.

If you can read my long post from top to bottom you will see i have covered this completely. When the playhead is NOT visually compensated, ie using latent plugins on busses, automation WORKS precisely on those tracks. WHen the playhead IS in time, and using latent plugins on TRACKS (not busses) where the playhead DOES visually compensate, automation is OUT of time.
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Old 22nd July 2013
  #30
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FWIW although not as drastic it seems Studio one has an issue also in that it doesn't compensate automation with latent plugins inserted properly.

Studio One Automation - YouTube

so there you go.

Cubase is the only one that seems completely rock solid (and probably PT which i didn't test and no demo now)

yes i am user "The ArtyFarty" on you tube lol. Long story short, one of our tracks had a line in it ("The paparazzi, the arty farty, the custom limousine") - about someone living the high life

and i liked arty farty LOL so used it.
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