In this first look at Apple’s HomePod, I walk through the set up with VoiceOver and give my initial impressions and experiences with the Speaker.
We take a look back at our predictions from 2017, and find out that we really had no idea what we were talking about. Given such an amazing record, we try again for 2018.
This tutorial goes through the Render, and the Consolidate/Export tracks dialogs. You can bring up the Render dialog through the File menu or by pressing Control+Alt+R (Win), Command+Option+R (Mac), and access the consolidate dialog through the File menu. I also introduce the shortcuts to fade in or out an item.
Rendering Projects and Tracks
There are a number of parameters that can be set within the Render dialog which include:
- File Name
- Sample rate
- Location for the file
- File Type to be Rendered
- Parameters that pertain to the selected file type
- Resample mode. If you have components of your project at various different sample rates, when they are rendered to the new file, this option lets you set the quality of this resampling.
- The boundaries of what is to be rendered. In the Bounce option, you can choose from the entire Project, which is the default. A time selection, so make a time selection in the project and than choose this option to have only that portion rendered out. There are also options for Project regions and the ability to define a custom time range from within the render dialog.
- Master, or selected tracks. . The Source pop up lets you set what is rendered. You can choose from a number of options. By default the master track is rendered, so the mix down of all your tracks that are sent through the master, what you actually hear by default when you play your project. It also gives you the option to choose only specific tracks and render them out as separate files, known as stems. To do this, select the tracks within your project you want to have as stems. Then open the render dialog and under Source, pick, Stems -selected tracks. This will create separate files for each track you selected. Note these are stems and as such will include the result of any track effects that have been applied.
Once you’ve set the render options to your liking, you can render out the project, or add the render to a queue for later rendering.
The Consolidate/Export tracks dialog, Within the File menu is another option that gives much of the same functionality however it is designed to consolidate or export out the individual tracks rather than the master mix. As noted above in the render section, you can render stems through the render dialog with track effects included. Many of the options for picking what is to be exported are the same in the Consolidate/Export Tracks dialog. You can pick the whole project, or a part/time selection as well as which tracks to consolidate. However the track effects, and track Volumes, etc, are not included. It will create single files for each track that are copies of the source media for the track, or the active take.
There is also an option to have silent sections on tracks ignored. So if you have a track that has two sections with audio, and a period of silence in between, a separate file will be created for each part of the track with audio, rather than one single file that includes the silence. This is suitable if your using the files within the existing project, however may not be the best solution if you’re sharing the files.
The dialog is very useful for cleaning up a project. It allows you to update the files referenced by your project with the newly created files. If you have a track with various file types and names, you can consolidate this to a single file for each track. This is however a destructive process.
Relevant Keyboard Shortcuts
- Cmd+Opt+R File: Render project to disk…
- Opt+R File: Render project, using the most recent render settings, with a new target file name…
- Cmd+Opt+Shift+A File: Add project to render queue, using the most recent render settings
- Cmd+Opt+Q File: Open render queue
- Cmd+Opt+I Item: Fade items in to cursor
- Cmd+Opt+O Item: Fade items out from cursor
Setting up a side chain in reaper is relatively straight forward. First what is a side chain? There’s many situations in which a side chain could be useful, and I will show one example today. In essence, a side chain is where you use the output of one track to control the effects on another track.
The example I’ll go through is where you want to have your background music on one track automatically lowered in volume, or ducked, when there is speech on another track. So for example your podcast intro music is ducked when you start speaking.
As usual I’ll demo this on the Mac, however you can follow the same process on windows.
Before we start there’s a couple of other concepts to cover, and the first part of the tutorial is some revision of concepts already covered in this series. This includes a little on recording, editing with items, and the impact of your ripple setting.
The tutorial also briefly introduces a couple of the available ways to normalise audio within reaper.
So let’s look at the basic way audio flows through reaper in a simple default setup. Whether the source is your Microphone or a file you’ve inserted on a track, the source will have an inherent volume as it comes in and goes on to the track. You can adjust the volume of the file or add input effects as it comes in and goes on the track. Once it hits the track you can also add effects and adjust the volume/pan of the track. The audio is then routed on to the Master track along with other tracks in the project. Once again you can adjust volume/pan, and add effects at this stage. It is the output of the master track that you then hear through your hardware outputs and what is printed to any file that your render.
You can set up sends or receives which are basically just sending the audio from one track to another track before it reaches the master track. So for example, audio from a number of vocal tracks could be sent to a track that has a reverb instantiated on it. In this way, rather than setting up multiple copies of a reverb on multiple tracks, one copy of the reverb can be set up and the audio of a number of tracks can be affected by it. The audio that is on the original track can be optionally sent to the master track or not, depending on the specific requirements.
In the side chain we will be setting up in this tutorial, we will be sending the audio from our vocal track to the music track. We will still want the vocal track to go straight to the master track so we can hear it. The copy that is sent to the music track will not be heard in the master however it will be used to compress the volume of the music, or in other words, to duck the music.
We have a track with music, and a track with a voice over. To set up the side chain, go to the music track and press “I”. This will bring up the routing for the track. First step is to change the music track from a standard 2 channel stereo track to a 4 channel track. Next setup a receive from the vocal track to the music track. Next, set the destination of the send from the vocal track to the third and fourth tracks of the music tracks. You will then have a copy of the audio from the vocal track being sent to the music track, however instead of being mixed with the first and second channels, it will be received on the third and fourth channels, and won’t be actually heard in the output of the track. In this way it can influence effects that are applied to the music track even though it won’t be heard there.
Now, we can add a compressor to our music track. In this tutorial, we are using the included compressor, Reacomp. Set the detector input of Reacomp to aux 3/4. This means that it will compress the audio on the music track, but instead of being triggered by the music, it will be triggered by the audio on the aux channels, that is the vocal we sent to channels three and four.
Finally, we need to set up the compressor suitably to compress the music enough to hear the voice over. Set the ratio to a suitable value, at least 4/1 or higher, in the demo I set it to 6/1. You can use the precomp and attack parameters to affect how quickly the audio is ducked and the release parameter to affect how quickly the audio returns to it’s original volume once the voice over stops. The lower you set the threshold, the quieter the music will be while it is being compressed.
We have now set up a side chain to duck our music while speaking. This may seem fairly complex at first, however understanding the concepts covered will help with lots of task you might want to undertake in Reaper, or any professional DAW
- Shift+PageUp/PageDown SWS: Nudge active take volume up/Down
- Shift+N Item properties: Normalize multiple items to common gain
- Command+Shift+N Item properties: Normalize items
- I Track: View I/O for current track
Join Shaun, Garth and Kayaker in this latest Audio Pizza roundtable discussion as concern grows over Garths out of control domain name habit. Is an intervention the answer?
Shaun then goes on to discuss the recent iPhone 8 leaks concerning the fate of the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Can Apple really be ready to retire your finger in favour of your face?
Kayaker then tells us of his recent trips to New York and Las Vegas, and just how well his Aira glasses performed. Sir Patrick Stewart and Levar Burton seemed to be impressed anyway.
Finally, Garth tells us why he’s so excited by the Tesla Model 3. With his deposit down he predicts that Model 3 will be the tipping point, the start of the smart electric car as a serious option for the masses.
This tutorial looks at adding effects to tracks or items. It briefly covers the very capable EQ and Compressor included with Reaper.
- F Track: View FX chain for current track
- Shift+F Track: View FX chain for master track
- Shift+E Item: Show FX chain for item take
- B Track: Toggle FX bypass for current track
- Command+Option+M View: Toggle master track visible
This post first appeared on Audio Pizza. Please subscribe in iTunes
In this episode I take a look into some of the project settings and the save dialog. I show how to set a project such that when you move by bar, or measure, you will move by a minute, and when you move by beat, you’ll move by a given number of seconds. This is a useful way of navigating projects which are not musical in nature, since there is no native keystrokes for this.
If you set the tempo to 60, and the time signature to 60/4, each measure will be a minute long, and each beat will be a second. If you keep the tempo at the same value as the first number in the time signature, you will move by a minute each measure. Reducing these two numbers will increase the length of a beat. So 30, 30/4 will give 1 min per measure and 2 seconds per beat, and 15, 15/4 will give 4 seconds per beat and keep the bar at a minute. Changing the ratio of the tempo to the first number of the time signature will adjust the length of a measure. 60, 30/4 will give 30 second measures and 1 second beats. Once you understand the maths, you will be able to set this up however you like, or just have a play and find something that works for you.
I also show how to set up your project so that any files recorded into the project are conveniently placed into a sub folder in the project folder. This is done by accessing the media tab and providing a folder name in the path to save media files.
Within the project settings, you can also set the default recording format for files recorded into that project.
Prior to looking at the save dialog, I show how to optionally import a collection of files either consecutively on one track or such that the files all start at the same time on individual tracks.
Also covered briefly is the process of rearranging the order of your tracks within a project.
Looking at the save dialog, along with the standard settings of location and name, I cover the options that specify the creation of a sub folder, and the options available for moving the actual files associated with a project into that folder. On Windows, you will need to use your screen reader’s, screen review mode to make these selections. On the Mac, the check boxes are presented to VoiceOver.
- Option+Enter File: Project settings…
- Command+S File: Save project
- Command+Option+S File: Save project as…
This is Audio Pizza’s open letter to Tim Cook podcast where we discuss the accessibility issues of MacOS, iOS, and the Apple Watch, and ask Tim to listen and react to the unique problems faced by the VoiceOver community.
Thank you, as a company, for realy being a pioneer in accessibility, but we would like you to bump it up a notch and make quality a high priority for the accessibility team.
So we had four issues we wanted you to take a look at under the mac. First, there’s the HTML5 rendering engine that we demonstrated in the MacOS app store where the navigation flow is completely broken, which is as if your mouse just jumped randomly all over the screen instead of where you moved it. Second, there is the responsiveness of the action item with the VO-spacebar to trigger buttons, which is as if your mouse button only worked some of the time.. Third, there’s the audio ducking where we loose the VO text to speech volume , which is as if your screen brightness just randomly went dim all day long. And fourth there is the drag and drop / finder issue
where VO is reporting the wrong item under the VO cursor, which is as if your selection in the finder was the item next to the one you wanted.
Taken individually these bugs are serious. Taken together as a whole, they are critical. They have a direct impact on our productivity. We need these fixed. Please, Tim, make it so.
Under iOS we think you are doing a great job with accessibility. But some of the hardware choices you are making affect us more than you may think. There are bluetooth issues where we cannot control VoiceOver reliably with our keyboards. The lack of a headphone jack and the lag we see with your wireless solution fails us.. It’s as if every key you type takes seconds to appear on the screen.
It affects our productivity to the point of making the device unusable. Please try this yourself, it’s easy to understand once you experience it. And finally under iOS consider taking the next step to being an advocate for accessibility. Require your developers to do the bare minimum to their apps if they want to be in the app store by requiring them to use Xcode’s accessibility tools to remove all warnings and properly label standard UI controls. It’s a small price to pay and it makes Apple look really really good as a leader of universal access. Not to mention, quality of the apps in the app store will improve as you educate developers. Since you will happily kill 32- bit apps, how about killing the poorly coded non-accessible apps as well.
And with WatchOS, we are just looking for improvements over time. We thank you for making nit accessible out of the box. We look forward to its future as improvements with both tactical feedback and text to speech evolve. We are very excited about the direction you are taking the Apple Watch.
We respect Apple as a company; we respect you as a person. You are both leaders in universal access and accessibility. We hope you listen to this podcast and reflect upon the management and design decisions you make and how they impact all your users.
Thank you Tim, and I’ll be happy to demonstrate that walking chocolate tour using voiceover for you anytime.
Scott, Shaun and Garth