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Bars & Pipes Professional: Mix Maestro

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In traditional recording, mixing a Song means combining the recorded Tracks down to a final form. Mixing includes, among other things, setting relative volume levels of each Track and setting stereo positioning of each Track.

Mix Maestro brings mixing capabilities to your Bars&Pipes Professional compositions, giving you real-time control over the mixing process.

Use Mix Maestro to control volume and panning of individual Tracks in your Songs. Mix Maestro does this by entering Control Changes into each Track. Most MIDI instruments respond to Control Change #10 as panning and Control Change #7 as volume. However, Mix Maestro can send out any Control Change that you specify.

Mix Maestro actually records these Control Changes directly into each Track. Once you've created a mix with Mix Maestro, you can view and edit the mix by looking at the Control Changes in each Track with the Sequence or List Editor.

During playback, Mix Maestro's volume sliders and panning knobs follow along with the Control Change information in each Track. They also follow along with real-time Control Change information if you are using a real-time controller during recording.

The Mix Maestro Window

To start Mix Maestro, select the Mix Maestro command from the Windows menu or double-click on the Mix Maestro icon along the right side of Bars&Pipes Professional's screen.

The Mix Maestro window displays three sets of controls for each Track in your composition. Note that the Track names displayed at the top of the window match the Track names in the Tracks window.

The Mix Maestro Controls

Mix Maestro has three sets of controls for each Track: the Lock/Mute buttons, the Panning knob, and the Volume slider.

When you run your Song with Mix Maestro open, the Panning knobs and Volume sliders move with whatever panning and volume information (actually the values of Control Change parameters #10 and #7) you've already recorded in your Song.

The Panning Knob
The Panning knob usually alters the Control Change #10 parameter. This controls the balance, or "pan" of the instrument between the left and right speakers.
To use the Panning knob, press and hold the left mouse button over the knob and drag the mouse left and right. Notice the thin pointer move, and the numeric counter above the knob change, as you drag the mouse.
With the knob in the 9 o'clock position (counter showing -64), the Track position is full left (no power at the right channel for this Track). With the knob at the 3 o'clock position (counter showing 63), the Track position is full right. Intermediate settings yield intermediate positions; when the counter shows 0, you have a perfect balance between the left and right channels.
While dragging the knob, you can move the mouse outside the knob itself; as long as you hold down the mouse button, the pointer follows your moves.
You can move the mouse out toward the edges of the screen to get finer control over the knob position.
The Volume Slider
The Volume slider usually alters the Control Change #7 parameter. On most synthesizers, this parameter controls Volume.
To use the Volume slider, drag the small square up and down in its Track. Watch the numeric counter at the bottom of the Mix Maestro window; as you move the Volume slider, this number changes to show you the exact volume level.
The numbers range from 0 (silence) to 127 (full volume).
The Mute Button
There are four buttons below each Track name. The button in the upper left corner is the Mute Button. This button corresponds with the Thru/Play/Mute selector in the Tracks window.
To mute a Track, activate the Mute Button. To unmute a Track, deactivate the Mute Button. Notice that the Thru/Play/Mute faucet in the Tracks window and Media Madness window follows along with this button, and vice versa.
The Lock Buttons
The remaining three buttons are the Lock buttons. In Lock mode, the Volume sliders of several Tracks can be tied together. When moving the slider in a Track that is Locked, the other Locked Tracks follow along, keeping their positions relative to each other.
There are three lock buttons, each with a different color. Tracks that have the same color activated are locked together.
For instance, let's say that Track 1 and Track 2 are locked together. Track 1 is at a volume of 127, and Track 2 is at a volume of 64. If we move Track l's volume slider halfway down to 64, Track 2's volume slider moves halfway down to 32.
To save CPU processing time, the other Tracks' sliders don't actually move, but the numbers underneath the sliders are continuously updated. When you let go of the slider, the other sliders move to their new positions.
Locking is very useful when dealing with groups of related instruments, such as drum effects or a horn section, which tend to be grouped in a live performance.
Without locking Tracks, it would be impossible to change more than one Track at a time, or to fade all Tracks at once at the end of the Song.
If you want to lock all the Tracks in your Song together, select Lock All from the Mix Maestro menu. This sets the Lock button on all Tracks that are not already locked. Conversely, you can select Unlock All from the Mix Maestro menu to unlock all Tracks.

The Mix Maestro Menu

The MixMaestro window has its own menu, the Mix Maestro menu. These commands can be accessed only from the MixMaestro window. The following lists each option contained in the Mix Maestro menu:

ByPass Mix
The ByPass Mix option disables Mix Maestro. This option filters out the Control Changes selected with the Set Controllers menu option during playback.
These Control Change values are normally 10 for panning and 7 for volume. Use the Set Controllers menu option to change them.
Copy Mix to ClipBoard
The Copy Mix to ClipBoard option copies the Control Changes selected in Set Controllers into a Clip in the ClipBoard. This operation works even if the ClipBoard is not open.
This command, in conjunction with the Paste Mix and Clear Mix commands, provides a method for saving and auditioning different mixes.
Paste Mix From ClipBoard
The Paste Mix From ClipBoard option replaces the current Mix with the one highlighted in the ClipBoard.
Use the Copy Mix to ClipBoard command to create the Clip.
Clear Mix
The Clear Mix command erases from all Tracks the Control Changes selected in Set Controllers.
Clear Locked Pans
The Clear Locked Pans command erases the Control Change selected as panning in Set Controllers from each locked Track. This command operates independently on Tracks locked with either the yellow, blue, or purple locks. Select the appropriate color from the Clear Locked Pans submenu.
Clear Locked Volumes
The Clear Locked Volumes command erases the Control Change selected as volume in Set Controllers from each locked Track. This command operates independently on Tracks locked with either the yellow, blue, or purple locks. Select the appropriate color from the Clear Locked Volumes submenu.
Lock All
The Lock All command sets one of the three colored locks on all Tracks. Choose the color from the Lock All submenu.
UnLock All
The UnLock All command deselects one of the colored locks on all Tracks. Choose which color of lock to deselect from the UnLock All submenu.
Mute All
The Mute All command mutes all Tracks.
UnMute All
The UnMute All command unmutes all Tracks.
Set Controllers
The Set Controllers command opens the Mix Maestro requester, allowing you to set which Control Change corresponds to panning or volume Slide the appropriate slider to the value you would like to use for each effect.
The SnapShot command enters the current volume and panning information into each Track at the current Song Position. Use the SnapShot command to set initial values, and to create jumps from one value to another.
Select Yellow, Blue, Purple, or All from the SnapShot submenu to enter the Control Changes into locked Tracks or all Tracks respectively.

Recording with Mix Maestro

To use Mix Maestro, open the Mix Maestro window and click the Start or Play buttons in the Transport Controls window. If you already have Control Change #10 or #7 events in your Song, the knobs and sliders for each Track move with the set values as the Song plays. Dragging the Volume slider or Panning knob for any Track overrides the Control Change information in your Song, and replaces it with the values you set. If you have several Tracks locked together, all the locked Tracks immediately reflect the changes you make to any of them.

Setting The Initial Mix

Before you begin your mix, set each Track's pan and volume positions so that your Song begins with these values. To do so, first set all your panning knobs and volume sliders to the desired positions for each Track and your Song Position marker to the first measure of your Song.

Next, select the Snapshot command from the Mix Maestro menu. This command grabs the position of your knobs and sliders and places their respective Control Change values at the current Song Position in each Track.

Recording The Mix

To record the mix, click on the Start button in the Transport Controls. As the music plays, click on a volume or pan pot and drag it as appropriate. When you've recorded one Track's mix, click on Stop in the Transport Controls, then click on Start to mix another Track. Continue in this manner until you've mixed all Tracks.

You don't have to place your Track in record mode to record a mix in the Mix Maestro window.

As you mix your music, Mix Maestro's knobs and sliders move in real-time, automating your mix.

Undoing Or Bypassing Your Mix

If you are unsatisfied with your mix, you can undo your efforts. To clear the volume or pan information from one or more Tracks, select Clear Locked Volumes and Clear Locked Pans respectively from the Mix Maestro menu. Doing so affects all Tracks locked with a Lock button. If you are unhappy with your mix as a whole, use the Clear Mix command from the Mix Maestro menu to clear all pan and volume information. If you pleased with your mix, but want to disregard it temporarily, use the Bypass Mix command.

Saving And Restoring Your Mix

Once you're satisfied with your mix, you can save it in the ClipBoard and retrieve it at a later time. From the Mix Maestro menu, use the Copy Mix to ClipBoard command to save your mix as a Clip. Once you've copied a mix into the ClipBoard, use the ClipBoard's File menu to Load and Save your mix to disk. When you want to retrieve a mix from the ClipBoard, use the Paste Mix from ClipBoard command.