Dimmer Setup Guide – Logic Pro X

by Adam

If you want to get Dimmer working in Logic, you’ve come to the right place. A setup guide for Pro Tools is here. If you would like a setup guide for a different DAW/OS, please get in touch via the contact form.

I’ll be using a stripped-down recording session containing pretty much only what we need to demo the plugin. This example will be as if you are recording someone for a VO, but Dimmer can be used for other purposes too. You can get the session here.

The session contains the following tracks:

  • Talkback: The engineer’s mic input (aux track)
  • Talent: The mic input for recording (aux track)
  • Speaker Out: The submaster, which goes out to the speakers (aux track)
  • Record: Where the talent’s voice will be recorded to audio files (audio track)
  • Take tracks, where you might drop the recordings, ready to record the next take (audio tracks)
  • Stereo Out: the main output track to the speakers

I ran 2 different tones through the Talkback and Talent tracks so I could see what was going on.

Currently, if you have the talkback mic open, the talent will hear an echo of their voice coming out of the engineer’s speakers. So, let’s add Dimmer to Speaker Out in order to reduce that problem.

Dimmer opens up, with its four options (at the time of release), and the option for a Side Chain. This will be a bus from the talkback mic.

Next, we must make the sidechain. We open I/O Labels…

…and scroll down past inputs to see the buses available to us.

We’ll use Bus 4 for our Dimmer sidechain.

So, we make a send to our sidechain on our Talkback track.

So, our track layout looks like this. Logic has created an Aux track, which we do not need.

We delete the aux track and Logic prompts us that it is in use. Click ‘Delete anyway’.

Sends default to -inf dB so option-click the rotary fader to bring the send up to 0dB.

Reopen Dimmer so we can set its Side Chain input.

Select our nicely named bus in the Side Chain drop-down.

Now Dimmer is receiving the send from our Talkback track into its Side Chain input.

Once that is done, the indicator becomes functional and shows the amount of dimming happening – since we are running tone through our Talkback track, it is currently dimming, so the indicator is on.

To set the threshold of Dimmer, we can turn the tone off, open our talkback mic (don’t say anything yet!) and set the ‘Threshold’ to a little higher than the noise floor of the talkback mic.

The indicator will light up to show the Dimmer is being triggered, and the level of our main speakers will drop by the ‘dimming’ amount – 10dB shown above.

Once you’ve set that up, it’s probably useful to save a plugin preset that matches your talkback mic.

I use Dimmer to avoid echos and feedback loops, but you can use it whenever you want to duck any sound under another without the pumping effect of a compressor. For example, if you create podcasts or something with a similar ‘voice-over-music’ style, you can use Dimmer to duck the level of the music while you’re speaking.

And that’s it!

If you have any questions or comments, or want me to make a guide for your DAW, please get in touch via the contact form. If you want my Logic Pro X project, it’s here. If you want to try Dimmer, you can find it here.

Dimmer Setup Guide – Pro Tools

by Adam

If you want to get Dimmer working in Pro Tools, you’ve come to the right place. For the Logic Pro guide, look here. If you would like a setup guide for a different DAW/OS, please get in touch via the contact form.

I’ll be showing you the setup with Pro Tools on Mac, using a stripped-down recording session (also used for the video), containing pretty much only what we need to demo the plugin. This example will be as if you are recording someone for a VO, but Dimmer can be used for other purposes too. You can get the session here.

The session contains the following tracks:

  • Talkback: The engineer’s mic input
  • Talent Mic: The mic input for recording
  • Speaker Out: The master output to the speakers
  • Record: Where the talent’s voice will be recorded to audio files.
  • Take tracks, where you might drop the recordings, ready to record the next take.

Currently, if you have the talkback mic open, the talent will hear an echo of their voice coming out of the engineer’s speakers. So, let’s add Dimmer to Speaker Out in order to reduce that problem.

Dimmer opens up, with its four options (at the time of release), and the option for a ‘key input’. This will be a sidechain from the talkback mic.

Next, we must make the sidechain. We open I/O Setup and see our tidy bus layout containing just the three buses we are using.

We make a fourth bus for our sidechain.

And it appears in our list, currently unused.

We close the I/O Setup window and send our Talkback track to our new sidechain bus.

Unless you have changed your Pro Tools preferences, new sends default to silent.

So, we alt-click to set it to 0dB.

Then, we close the floating fader and our Pro Tools session looks like this.

We click on the ‘key input’ drop-down in the plugin window, and choose our sidechain bus as the ‘key input’ for Dimmer.

Once that is done, the indicator becomes functional and shows the amount of dimming happening – currently none, since our talkback mic is closed.

So, we open our talkback mic (don’t say anything yet!) and set the ‘Threshold’ to a little higher than the noise floor of the talkback mic.

The indicator will light up to show the Dimmer is being triggered, and the level of our main speakers will drop by the ‘dimming amount’ – 20dB here.

Once you’ve set that up, it’s probably useful to save a plugin preset that matches your talkback mic.

I use Dimmer to avoid echos and feedback loops, but you can use it whenever you want to duck any sound under another without the pumping effect of a compressor. For example, if you create podcasts or something with a similar ‘voice-over-music’ style, you can use Dimmer to duck the level of the music while you’re speaking.

And that’s it!

Here’s the whole process in a GIF:

If you have any questions or comments, or want me to make a guide for your DAW, please get in touch via the contact form. If you want my Pro Tools session, it’s here. If you want to try Dimmer, you can find it here.

Viper Setup Guide

If you want to get started with Viper, you have come to the right place! The following is a step-by-step of how to get a midi trigger working for Viper.

For the demo, I will be using a Pro Tools session on Mac, with a very artistic video I made of a screen saver. I will start in timecode view, grid mode and using the multitool.

First thing to do is to make a new track for Viper:

Viper must go on an instrument track in Pro Tools:

Here is our new instrument track:

Let’s give it a name.

Then we will add Viper to it.

Viper’s two windows appear. The plugin window lets you customize the wipe and the transparent window display it.

Let’s move the transparent window over the video:

…and move the plugin window out of the way of our track:

We’ll make a marker to show where we want our wipe to hit. We have left the wipe duration at 2 seconds so we’ll need to trigger the wipe 2 seconds before this marker.

Okay, here’s where we’re aiming for our actor to start speaking.

Let’s zoom in to create our wipe midi region.

To create our midi note, we’ll use the pencil tool:

…and we’ll change the track view to ‘notes’:

Using the pencil tool, we’ll draw any midi note of any length. Viper will be triggered by the start of the note only.

Now, we can go back to ‘clips’ view to sync up our new midi clip.

Because we have been working in grid mode, our note is nicely lined up to the frame. Now, we need to make the clip 2 seconds long. (Technically, the clip can be any length, as long as the note is 2 seconds before the end.)

We’ll go back to the multitool.

And we’ll cut our clip at the start of the midi note (key command: a).

If we select the clip, we see it is 1 second and 13 frames long. We want it to be 2 seconds long.

…so, we’ll change our selection to 2 seconds.

…and press enter.

We’ll consolidate our selection into a 2 second clip.

We now have our midi trigger clip, with a midi note which starts two seconds before the end of the clip.

It’s so beautiful, we’ll have to name it.

We’ll probably save this clip into our template, so this is nicer than ‘Viper-02’.

So now, we put our cursor where we want the wipe to hit – on our marker.

Then, we cmd + ctrl + click (using the hand tool) on our clip to align the end of it with the cursor.

Now we are ready to hit play and see our wipe in action.

We hit play and watch as the playhead passes over the midi note and starts the wipe. The two lines meet neatly on our marker and our actor starts to speak.

And that’s it!

Here’s the whole process in a GIF:

And you can grab my Pro Tools session here.

As always, for any questions please get in touch here. If you want to try Viper, you can find it here.

Venn Audio featured on Integraudio!

by Adam

Integraudio is a music blog with plugin reviews, mixing and production tips, interviews and hardware reviews. Check them out to find the best free plugins and learn a new technique or two.

The guys at Integraudio featured both V-Clip and Freeclip in their article on clippers:
https://integraudio.com/7-best-clippers/

If you head over there, you can see how they stack up against the competition and see what other people think of their features.

Our new plugin – Viper!

by Adam

We have released our second paid plugin, and this one is for audio post production. To cue actors for voice recording and ADR, recordists traditionally use 3 beeps, then the actor speaks on the imaginary fourth beep. However, it is becoming more common now to use visual cues (‘wipes’ or ‘streamers’) on the screen, and the actors speaks when the two lines touch. Viper is a simple plugin that generates these wipes, triggered by a midi note.

If you are still using beeps to cue performers and you run your video on a second or third monitor (rather than a dedicated video device for your DAW), give Viper a try. Actors are getting used to having second or third cues to keep them in time during a long sentence with pauses, and it doesn’t have to be too expensive to make it easier and more comfortable for them.

If you are about to make an upgrade from an old Mavericks machine deep in the Foley cave that runs unsupported wipe software and you need something Catalina- or Big Sur-compatible, give Viper a try. Automatable choices of colors can make it easier for you to cue the Foley artist to the footstep or the cut.

If you are building a new studio and you are overwhelmed by the cost of hardware and software licenses, give Viper a try. It doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars to generate an onscreen wipe.

Viper sits in your template, ready to record when you are. Select and save your settings, automate your preferences and preview your wipe all from within your DAW.

See the demo here: https://youtu.be/ytcEt4OQLZc

Get the free trial here: https://www.vennaudio.com/product/Viper/