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Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby Dave B » Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:34 am

This is all fascinating. I'm not sure that you want quad at all - surely you want to provide the Rode plugin with Ambisonic A or B format files? These would effectively be a combined stream of 4 mono files - so the trick here is to find a way of turning your 4 mono files into ambisonic format files. Then, you can send that through to the Rode plugin to process it into a stereo file.

So you are looking at quad as it is a 4 channel file format? Is that valid to feed into the Rode plugin? It says it requires A or B format input.. can your 'quad' format feed that?

Confused.

I'd also vote for "email Rode and ask how to turn mono files into A or B format files for processing in Logic". They must know of a process and, as they are supplying a plugin, must have a workflow to follow...
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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby Sam Inglis » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:07 am

I don't think there is a specific Ambisonic file format, is there? Certainly to use these plug-ins in Pro Tools you need to have your audio on a standard Quad track.
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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:25 am

And the same in Logic. What the plugin is expecting to see is 4 streams of audio data within the one channel, i.e. a quadrophonic channel. It will treat that as ambisonic data (A or B format as you tell it).

When you record from an ambisonic mic in Logic you need to enable surround in preferences, then create a quad track (which Logic helpfully assigns to the first 4 inputs on your interface), plug in the mic and record. This creates a polywav file. I've tried this out in principle with 4 unrelated mics and the plugin works with those. The NT-SF1 arrives sometime today and I'll try it out for real then.

My concern is that when you import a polywav file instead of creating a fresh one by recording it all seems to go belly up. I've done a lot of googling on this and drawn a blank; I guess I'll try Rode support when I've had a play with the mic. At least I've managed to get Wave Agent installed so that gives me another line of attack on the problem.

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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:38 pm

Well, the mic's arrived and ... it works fine with Logic. I rotated the mic slowly in my hands while talking rubbish into it and then played back through the Soundfield by Rode plugin specifying a stereo output. I was quite shocked how effectively I could change the polar pattern of the virtual mic and focus in on different points in the ring of space around the physical mic. The spectral effect that shows the current directions sound is being received from is also effective as well as pretty, you miss it with the Surroundzone 2 plugin which doesn't have an equivalent. I'm pretty chuffed as it means I can use this mic exactly as I'd hoped.

Next stop, then, why can't I import ambisonic files into Logic?

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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:38 pm

It gets stranger. I treated the audio data file created during my test above as a physical data file and imported it into a new Logic project. It worked fine. I thought this might be because the Logic file was aiff whereas the sample files were all wavs so I tried converting one of the wavs to aiff using Audacity. Still the same problem on import. It seems that Logic is happy with poly files it makes itself and positively unhappy about anybody else's. Sigh.

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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby Matt Houghton » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:55 pm

ConcertinaChap wrote:Next stop, then, why can't I import ambisonic files into Logic?

I've not tried importing polywavs into Logic, but I do remember Logic behaving differently with 'in-house' recorded audio files and those created in other DAWs, when I wanted it to treat separate L and R files as stereo (ie automatically put them on a stereo track in the project, panned appropriately). It could do it automatically if Logic had created them, but not if another DAW had, however I named them. That does suggest that there's some 'mystic Appleness' going on in the way Logic creates/imports audio files... But I never did get to the bottom of it (because I just used a more logical DAW to solve the issue, obviously :beamup: )

Do let us know if you figure it out!
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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:09 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:That does suggest that there's some 'mystic Appleness' going on in the way Logic creates/imports audio files...
...
Do let us know if you figure it out!

I will (and I think Rode support is my next stop now I think I've proved it's not a Logic configuration issue) but what you describe is so much like my experience here I think you've got Apple bang to rights.

:(

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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby ManFromGlass » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:32 pm

I’m jealous about the mic! Keep us up to date with your adventures. Last year I was experimenting with Ambisonics Toolkit (free) to make the audio pan with the visuals. I didn’t get as far as importing the files into Logic.

re: Apple. As I lhave just learned with another piece of software that is supposed to work with Logic, sometimes Apple doesn’t conform to it’s own spec.
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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby ConcertinaChap » Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:37 pm

Well, to round this off I've found a workaround for myself. It's a bit clunky but it works and it's basically getting Logic to create the polywav file before importing it. (Just to reiterate, this is a problem that affects the importing of polywav files created on platforms other than Logic). So for anyone else who hits this problem here we go:

1) Drag the polywav file onto the arrange area. You will be asked what to do with it. Select "Create new tracks". This will create 4 mono tracks with the input set to mono / surround (i.e. a simple circle symbol next to the word srnd) and the output to surround.

2) for each track in turn open the surround panner and set the pan for the track as follows:

Track 1 to top left
Track 2 to top right
Track 3 to bottom left
Track 4 to bottom right

Intermezzo) If you put the Soundfield by Rode plugin on the Master channel you’ll find it works and all is well. However you are still stuck with 4 mono tracks filling up your space and much mucking about if you want to have more than 1 instance of the recording, e.g. so you can use more than 1 instance of the plugin. The next step will use Logic to generate a new polywav file that it will be happy with.

3) Click Bounce on the Master channel and make sure that Surround Bounce and Add To Project are both set. Set file format, resolution and bit rate appropriately for your project.

4) Click OK. When the File Save screen comes up choose an appropriate filename but don't save in Bounces. Save in Audio Files for the project instead (that's for neatness, mostly but also to avoid deleting the file accidentally later) .

5) The bounced file will now appear in the Project Browser and you can drag it into the arrange area for its own track and use it however you wish. You can also delete the four mono tracks.

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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby MOF » Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:21 pm

Are you able to export binaural versions of your ambisonic recordings? I’d like to hear a short sample, if that’s possible?
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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby ConcertinaChap » Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:43 pm

The recordings I've mad so far have been purely for testing purposes, it'll be a month or so before I have anything I'd be willing to show. I'll put something up then.

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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby Matt Houghton » Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:19 pm

Glad to hear you figured out a way to do this :clap:

Logic by name, logic puzzles by nature! :beamup:
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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby ConcertinaChap » Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:54 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:Logic by name, logic puzzles by nature! :beamup:

Actually I think this is a lovely example of the conundrum that is Apple. Every step I describe is logical in the way it follows on from the previous one, it all works and is straightforward to perform. It's having to do it at all that grates, and that's because Apple obviously have their own ideas about what constitutes a polywav file.

MOF wrote:Are you able to export binaural versions of your ambisonic recordings? I’d like to hear a short sample, if that’s possible?

I've just realised I may not be able to help you. My intention with the recordings I'll be making is for live use and then, during mixdown, to apply an appropriate set of virtual mics (mostly mono cardioid) to the recordings to generate a final stereo mix. I'm not really heading towards capturing a 3D virtual reality sort of thing. You'd probably do better with Rode's example files here.

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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby ConcertinaChap » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:13 am

Update. I did contact Rode support. I told them my problems with Logic and third party polywavs and I also told them about my workaround in case it was useful. Here's my response:

Thanks for contacting us.

Extremely interesting, thanks for sending this walkthrough. We are currently working with Reaper to do all of our ambisonic recordings and we are looking to release a video series outlining this process in depth. Should be coming out in the next few weeks. Until then, we will definitely look into developing some content for Logic Pro.

So it looks like they haven't tried importing their files into Logic yet - they may have tried recording with Logic, which works fine of course. They now have my heads-up on the problem and I've asked them to contact me again if they come up with anything.

This also backs up other things I've read that rather suggests Reaper is becoming a bit of a standard for ambisonic and surround work. Interesting.

For the record, I'm still a very happy bunny when it comes to this microphone.

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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby zenguitar » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:19 pm

Reassuring to see such a positive response from Röde. Well done you CC :)

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby ManFromGlass » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:41 pm

Yes, good on Röde. It will be interesting to see their videos. There are already a bunch of YouTube walk throughs on how to end up with a 360 mix. And a number of free software tools that get the job done. Reaper was the only software last year when I was experimenting that technically could output the proper 360 files that you then merge into a video that would then pan in 360 on YouTube.
I have heard that the latest version of Final Cut Pro now deals with editing 360 audio easily (easier?)

I know CC is not looking to do 360 panning. I’m just mentioning this in case another reader is.

The big head messing concept with 360 mixes for me is - you spend hours working on a mix and then somebody looks at your video and as they scroll around your mix it becomes unbalanced depending where it is scrolled to.
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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby MOF » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:31 pm

I've just realised I may not be able to help you. My intention with the recordings I'll be making is for live use and then, during mixdown, to apply an appropriate set of virtual mics (mostly mono cardioid) to the recordings to generate a final stereo mix. I'm not really heading towards capturing a 3D virtual reality sort of thing. You'd probably do better with Rode's example files here.
I just wondered if your recordings worked realistically converted to 'binaural', I think that given lots of people listen to music on earbuds it would be worth your while to convert your recordings to that format to give people the 'being there' experience.
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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:12 pm

Fair comment and when I do start making serious recordings later this month I will try and mix some binaural tracks. Should be an interesting learning experience if nothing else :)

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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby Matt Houghton » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:52 am

zenguitar wrote:Röde.

Is that, perchance, the heavy-metal division of Røde Microphones? :ugeek:
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Re: Can't get ambisonic to work with Logic

Postby Wonks » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:18 pm

:D :thumbup:

It's their möre cöwbell offshoot.
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