The mixer's main purpose is to deal with visualizing, processing and mixing the audio produced by the tracks in the song. Its final output is typically a single stereo master track which is sent to your audio output (eg. headphone jack or speakers) and is used for the final Mixdown.
Whenever you add a track to your song, the mixer adds a corresponding Track Strip which allows you to view, adjust and configure that track according to your needs.
Audio and MIDI Effects
The mixer page provides the following features:
You have a lot of flexibility with how you choose to organize your tracks. You will encounter some terminology which helps to describe the relationship between them:
Parent track. A track which groups together (or owns) one or more child tracks.
Child track. A track which is contained within (or owned by) its parent track.
Sibling track. A track which shares the same parent track with other tracks. You can think of a sibling track as 'being in the same group' as its other siblings.
Traditional hardware and software mixers typically have a type of track dedicated to each purpose, such as input tracks, output tracks, auxiliary busses, send/return busses and track groups.
In NanoStudio, there is only one type of track. You can configure, rearrange and group any track or collection of tracks in order to perform any of the traditional mixer track functions.
The simplest possible track layout you can have is just a flat list of tracks. A slightly more complex alternative is to create a single master track and then group all other tracks within it so they are children of the master track. This allows you to add effects to the master track (eg. a final limiter or mastering EQ) which are applied to the mix of all the other tracks in the song. NanoStudio's default project templates use a layout such as this.
If you wish, you may have as many track groups as you need and you can also place groups inside other groups. This is useful when you want to keep all your percussion or bass tracks grouped together so that you can easily control their overall volume level or apply insert effects to the group as a whole. You have complete freedom to create track setups which are as simple or as complex as you like, according to your requirements.
You may also add audio or MIDI send/returns between tracks (and in some cases the effects they use, such as a compressor's sidechain input). A send/return can be thought of as a wire from one track to another. The send is the end of the wire which sends the signal, and the return is the other end of the wire which receives the signal.
NanoStudio's mixer automatically performs latency compensation. This means that if you add an effect to a track which has non-zero latency (such as a lookahead limiter) then all other affected tracks will be similarly delayed so that the overall audio remains perfectly in phase. Latency compensation is performed for send/returns as well as tracks and track groups.
A track doesn't care about how it's arranged in the grand scheme of things as it simply follows a set of default rules:
If it has child tracks, it takes their outputs and mixes them together.
If it has returns coming in from another track, it takes their outputs and mixes them together.
If it has an instrument, it plays that instrument via any MIDI effects on the track and then adds the instrument's audio output to its mix.
If it has audio effects, it applies them to the combined audio mix of its child tracks, returns and instrument to create its final output.
If it has sends going out to another track, it then sends its final output to them. This may be pre- or post-fader.
If it has a parent track, it then sends its final post-fader output to that parent. If it has no parent, it sends to the first L/R channel pair of MASTER OUT.
As mentioned, these are the default rules. In some cases you may want to change this behaviour using the Track IO page.
The master strip is always visible on the right side of the mixer's view.
|The master strip's FADER controls the overall mixer output level, including the level used for final Mixdown.
NanoStudio uses floating point sample data throughout its signal chain (including instruments, effects and the mixer) so you typically don't have to worry about signal headroom or noise floors like the good old days of analogue or low bit-depth hardware. You can drive any mixer strip well above 0dB without any problems, although extreme levels aren't recommended as this often puts non-linear effects such as compressors, limiters and waveshapers outside their ideal working range.
When the mixer's output signal reaches the master OUT strip it is converted to 16 bits for the audio hardware, which is why only the master strip has a meter with a red section above 0dB. This means that the signal level at the master strip WILL CLIP IF IT GOES INTO THE RED.
Ideally, you shouldn't go into the red. However, in practice it's usually possible (and sometimes preferred) to clip the odd transient, provided that it is not too large and very brief. This can depend upon your source material - if it contains lots of high frequencies then the aliasing introduced by a short clipped transient is normally hidden in the rest of the mix.
The peak meter's highest bar will turn red if it detects any clipped samples, but if it hasn't risen above 0dB then this indicates you can probably get away with it.
If an external MULTICHANNEL AUDIO DEVICE with more than one stereo output pair is connected, you will see more than one L/R meter pair. The master strip's fader will affect the level of these outputs too.
Quickly navigate to the track's row in the Song Editor or the track's instrument.
|MUTE / SOLO
DRAG HORIZONTALLY to mute/solo multiple tracks. TAP AND HOLD for extra options.
|AUTOMATION READ / WRITE
To write automation data, the sequencer must also be in RECORD mode. You can only enable read if the track has automation. TAP AND HOLD for extra options.
|TRACK PAN KNOB
Adjusts the track's stereo position. DOUBLE TAP to set to the centre default.
Indicates the read, write or modified status of the control's value when track automation is enabled.
|Indicates the track's current input source.
TAP to show the track's input setup page.
|Indicates the track's current output destination.
TAP to show the track's output setup page.
|Indicates the status of the track's MIDI insert FX.
TAP to show the track's MIDI FX page.
|Indicates the status of the track's audio insert FX.
TAP to show the track's audio FX setup page.
|Indicates the status of the track's sends.
TAP to show the track's send setup page.
|MINIMIZE CHILD TRACKS
If the track does not have any child tracks then this button is not available.
The track's overall number in the song, indexed from 1.
DOUBLE TAP to show the track's setup page.
HOLD AND DRAG HORIZONTALLY to move the track.
You can add or remove tracks using the buttons on the Master Strip:
||TAP to add a new Obsidian synth track.
TAP AND HOLD to add a track containing a different type of instrument or a new group track.
|REMOVE TRACK||TAP to remove the selected track.|
TAP AND HOLD on a track's title to drag the track horizontally to the desired position. You can drop it between other tracks to make it a sibling, or on top of a track to make it a child.
If you're rearranging many tracks then you may prefer to Manage Tracks using the Song Editor, since it supports multiple track selection.
From the main mixer page, DOUBLE TAP on a track's title to show the track's setup page:
|Use the setup page to set the track's custom name or colour.
You can also use it to set the track's instrument.
The list on the right allows you to set up MIDI controller mappings for the instrument, mixer strip, effects and send/returns on the track.
To view a track's input/output settings from the main mixer page, TAP on the track strip's input or output source indicators:
Alternatively, if the Track Setup is already visible then you can tap on the IN/OUT tab button on the left side.
|The track IO page is divided into two halves.
The top half shows the track's Input Settings.
The bottom half shows the track's Output Settings.
Use the top half of the Track IO Page to configure the track's input settings.
|On-screen Keys Only||The track ignores all external MIDI input and responds to the on-screen touch keyboard only.|
|All MIDI Inputs||The track responds to all MIDI inputs (also see MIDI Inputs of the Settings Page).|
|Other MIDI Input||The track only responds to the selected MIDI input.|
|MIDI CHANNEL ENABLE||Determines which MIDI channels the track will respond to.
By default, all channels are enabled.
|Allows you to set the MIDI note range the track responds to.
You may also transpose incoming MIDI notes and set a velocity response curve.
|SELECTED: The track only responds to MIDI input events when it is selected or its instrument is visible.
ALWAYS: The track always responds to MIDI input events even when not selected or its instrument is not visible.
Use the bottom half of the Track IO Page to configure the track's output settings.
|Default||The track sends its audio (and optionally MIDI) to its parent track. If it has no parent track then it sends its audio to the first master L/R output channel.|
|Hardware Audio||The track sends its audio straight to the master L/R output channel.
If a multichannel hardware audio device is connected, then you can choose which output channels of the audio device are used.
To view a track's audio or MIDI insert FX from the main mixer page, TAP on the track strip's audio or MIDI FX indicators:
Alternatively, if the Track Setup is already visible then you can tap on the MIDI FX or AUDIO FX tab buttons on the left side.
|MIDI effects are applied to MIDI messages which come from the track, before they are sent to the instrument.
Audio effects are applied to the track's audio output, before it is sent to its parent track (or the master output if the track has no parent).
See the Effects section to find out more about NanoStudio's built-in effects.
Use the FX LIST to add, remove and rearrange the track's effects.
|TAP AND HOLD on an effect in the list and DRAG VERTICALLY to change the order of the effect in the chain.
The POWER BUTTON on the list's title bar allows you to bypass the entire effect chain.
The HAMBURGER BUTTON invokes a list containing additional management options. You can copy and paste single effects or an entire effect chain setup between different tracks or other projects.
To view a track's sends or returns from the main mixer page, TAP on the track strip's send indicator:
Alternatively, if the Track Setup is already visible then you can tap on the SENDS or RETURNS tab buttons on the left side.
|The SENDS and RETURNS pages are almost identical.
The SENDS page shows the outgoing connections from the track.
The RETURNS page shows the incoming connections to the track.
|Use the ADD or REMOVE buttons on the title bars to add or remove a send or return.
The HAMBURGER BUTTON invokes a list containing additional management options. You can copy and paste sends or returns between different tracks or other projects.
|PRE: Enable to send audio before it goes through the track's volume fader and pan controls.
PHASE: Inverts the polarity of the sent signal.
POWER BUTTON: Enables or disables the send.
DEST: Navigates to the corresponding return or send.