Oh Plug In, Where Art Thou?
One common question we get is from customers who are in the middle of a mix and seem to have more plug-ins running in the project/session than they can see. Many host applications have the ability to hide tracks or adjust the view of the project/session so that not all elements of the mix are readily shown. Although a handy and convenient tool, sometimes a user will open an old project/session and forget that they have some tracks hidden away. Work continues and they add a new plug-in and then WOOOF (that’s a technical term …) the ol' UAD Error pops up: "One or more plug-ins has been disabled …" And then the inevitable reaction, "WHY WHY WHY??? I ONLY HAVE SIX PLUG-INS SHOWING IN MY SESSION AND THE UAD METER SAYS I HAVE TWENTY RUNNING!!"
Let’s take a look at the most common host applications and see where hidden tracks can "hide." …
Many host applications have the ability to hide tracks or adjust the view of the project/session so that not all elements of the mix are readily shown.
Apple Logic Pro 7/8
For all the examples with Apple Logic Pro, I’ve created a test session with three Audio tracks and one Aux bus. I’ve inserted a plug-in on one of the Audio tracks and the Aux track as well as the Click track (sneaky) for a total of three plug-ins used. You will notice that the UAD Meter & Control panel is reporting three plug-ins used in the open System Information window.
We will first look at the different views of your tracks in the mixer. In the upper right of the mixer window you can choose to view Single tracks (current selected track), Arrange tracks (based on selections in the view screen), or All tracks (everything). In the picture below I’ve chosen the All view, so you will see all three Audio tracks, the Aux track, the Click track, the Prelisten track, and the Output and Master tracks. You will note that I’ve inserted UAD plug-ins on Audio track 2, the Click track, and the Aux track.
Now when I click the Arrange button, I can remove select elements of my mixer window. The basic Arrange view will not show the Click track or Prelisten track, but will show all other tracks. In this example, I’ve clicked on the Aux button so the Aux track is not seen. (Let’s say I only wanted to look at the Audio tracks.) In the picture below, you note that the Aux track (and the UAD plug-in inserted) are not seen anymore. All we can see are the Audio tracks with one UAD plug-in inserted, YET the UAD Meter & Control panel shows three plug-ins used!
In the next picture, I’ve opened the Environment window so we can see everything that is in the session. You will note that now we can see all the tracks, including the Audio tracks, the Aux tracks, and the Click track with all their inserted UAD plug-ins (three) and the UAD Meter & Control panel confirming that three plug-ins are being used.
Next let’s take a look at the Hidden Tracks feature in Logic Pro. On the upper left of the Arrange screen you will see a button marked "H." This is the Hide function. … When you click this button it will turn green, and then all your tracks will then have an H checkbox added. In the picture below, I’ve chosen the Arrange view with all tracks shown except the Click track and Prelisten track.
I have next checked the Hide selector checkbox for two of the Audio tracks. You will notice that now these two Audio tracks are removed from the mixer window and all we can see is the Aux track with one UAD plug-in inserted. However we can still see all the Audio tracks in the upper Arrange window.
To further confound and confuse, if I click the H button again at the top right of the Arrange window the two Audio tracks previously shown in the Arrange window are removed also!
In this case, on first glance we would note that there is only one track (Aux track) with a UAD plug-in inserted, yet the UAD Meter & Control panel is showing three plug-ins being used!!
Not a bad trick eh? So if you use Logic Pro and you think your UAD Meter is reporting too many plug-ins being used, make sure you don’t have hidden tracks or views that do not include all tracks in the session.
Digidesign Pro Tools HD and LE
Digidesign Pro Tools users can also run into the problem of hidden-missing-disappearing plug-ins. For this example, I created a test session with three Audio tracks and a Master track. I’ve inserted UAD plug-ins on each of all these tracks. You will notice that the Track View pane in the left side of the Mix and Edit windows shows all the tracks in the session selected and displayed (tracks highlighted in light blue). You will also notice that the UAD Meter & Control panel shows four plug-ins being used.
If I de-select two of the Audio tracks in the Track View window, these are removed from the Mix and Edit windows.
At first glance, we would think that only two UAD plug-ins are running (seen on one Audio track and the Master track). Yet the UAD Meter & Control panel is reporting four plug-ins being used!! So again, check your Track View status to see if you have any tracks hidden if you think the UAD Meter is reporting too many plug-ins being used.
MOTU Digital Performer (DP)
MOTU Digital Performer (DP) also has a Track View status, similar to Pro Tools. For this example, I’ve created a session with three Audio tracks. In the bottom left corner of the Mixing Board screen you will see a small "File" menu symbol. If you click this, the Track Selector pane opens in the right side of the window. You will note the Track Selector view pane has all three Audio tracks selected (highlighted in light blue) and all three Audio tracks show in the Mixing Board window. I’ve inserted a UAD plug-in on each of the three Audio tracks and the UAD Meter & Control panel shows three plug-ins being used.
Now, if I de-select two of the three Audio tracks in the Track Selector pane, the associated Audio tracks are removed from the Mixing Board window.
To further confuse, if you click the little file symbol at the bottom left of the Mixing Board window, the Track Selector pane will disappear from the display and we can only see the single Audio track in the Mixing Board window.
In this view, we can only see one UAD plug-in being used, yet the UAD Meter is reporting three plug-ins being used!! Wha-wha-what?!
So again … if you think you have too many plug-ins reported as being used, make sure you are looking at all the tracks in your session.
Steinberg Cubase & Nuendo
Steinberg products (Cubase and Nuendo) have what is called the Hide Channels feature. This is handy if you want to simplify the mix environment and remove some channels out of the current view in the Mixer window. … However, it can also cause some confusion if you are examining an old mix unaware that you have hidden channels. For this example, I’ve created a session with eight Audio tracks and I’ve inserted a UAD plug-in on each track. You will note that the UAD Meter & Control panel is reporting eight plug-ins currently in use.
Now I will choose the ‘Hide Channel’ option on four of the eight Audio tracks (the selector is located at the top of each track in the Mixer window).
Now, when I click on the Hide Channels button at the far lefthand pane of the Mixer window, the four Audio tracks I’ve set to Can Hide will be removed from the Mixer window view. … Note that the UAD Meter & Control panel still reports eight plug-ins currently in use.
You will notice that the Hide Channels button turns a different color (orange in my version of Cubase). This is the reminder that you have some hidden channels in the session. Also, a quick glance at the Track List will show all the Audio tracks in the session (they all remain visible and are unaffected by the Hide Channel setting of the Mixer window).
Cakewalk Sonar also has the ol' Hidden Tracks feature. For this example, I created a session with four Audio tracks and I’ve inserted a UAD plug-in on each of these four Audio tracks. With the Console window open, you can see all four tracks and the UAD plug-ins on these tracks. You will note that the UAD Meter & Control panel is reporting four plug-ins currently in use.
Now if I right click on any of the Audio tracks, I can select the Hide Track option, which will remove the selected Audio tracks from the Console window view (the tracks still exist, you just can’t see them).
I’ve chosen to Hide two out of the four Audio tracks. Now they will no longer be seen in the Console window. You will note that the UAD Meter & Control panel still shows that four plug-ins are running, even though you can only see two plug-ins on the tracks currently visible in the Console window.
Preset, Preset … Where Is the Preset??
I thought I would mention some new additions in features for UAD v5.3. This relates to the plug-in presets available to the user. Although not exactly part of the disappearing data theme of the rest of this article, it is similar. Users who have just updated to UAD v5.3 software may notice new presets appearing in their list of factory UAD plug-in presets (VST, AU hosts). Pro Tools/RTAS users will notice that the location on the plug-in bar where they access presets has changed.
RTAS Preset Access (UAD v5.3)
The RTAS implementation has improved in UAD v5.3. In the older UAD v5.2, the plug-in presets would appear at the bottom left corner of RTAS window surrounding the UAD plug-in. In the picture below you will see the Harrison 32C EQ and it’s associated presets as it appeared in v5.2.
Now, with the new UAD v5.3 software, all the presets appear in the normal RTAS location at the top of the plug-in window. You will also notice the extra grey bar at the bottom and top of the plug-in is gone. (New cleaner look!)
New ‘Extra Presets’ for VST / AU hosts
One last bit of news regarding the new UAD v5.3 software … in the past, UA had offered a number of additional preset banks for users to download and use with their UAD plug-ins. These extra presets would then have to be loaded into the plug-in window using the preset loading tools specific to each host application (which differ from app to app). Also, it could be confusing because these preset files could be saved anywhere on the computer the user wished … and then you would simply target this location with the Load Preset function within the host application.
Sounds easy … not so in many cases.
These days people have sooooo much going on that it can be hard to remember where they downloaded and saved everything on their computer (it’s here somewhere … I know it … I can smelllllll it).
Those software wizards at UA decided to make life a little easier for all (tah dah!). We have now included all these old extra presets into the standard, factory preset data that is installed when you update your UAD software. Now, accessing these extra presets is as easy as a ride down a greased slip-n-slide into a wading pool full of Jello. (If you haven’t tried this, I highly recommend it.)
A note for Pro Tools users: If you want to use these extra presets in Pro Tools, you will have to download the VST Presets and load them individually using the Load Preset tools at the bottom of the UAD plug-in window. Click on the file symbol and the choice Load Preset will appear. You will then target the location where you’ve chosen to save the extra presets you downloaded.
We did not have a chance to port over the extra presets into the RTAS preset list for the release of UAD v5.3. We hope to do this in upcoming UAD software releases.
I see that the sun is now setting slowly behind a stand of trees, which wave in the wind like lithesome hula dancers. And so, dear reader, we close the case book on the Baffling Case of the Purloined Plug-Ins. Another mystery solved! Another day of Thrills and Adventure in Technical Support! Now it is time to reflect in the Fortress of Sounditude.
And that is what we do here at Universal Audio Customer Support … solve mysteries. For we are TEAM SUPPORT!!!
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