PreSonus Blog

Filling the Pipeline

Plug-ins have changed my life, and probably yours. Yet some hardware effects have no software equivalent—like boutique guitar effects, or tube-based equalizers. And there are even unique digital effects, too, like Roger Linn’s AdrenaLinn.

I wanted to use these with Studio One’s Pipeline XT plug-in and the Studio 192 interface, but never got the combo working properly. There were feedback problems, leakage into other channels, and various issues. After hours of trying different mixer settings, and searching the net, I couldn’t find an answer.

Then it dawned on me: PreSonus support! They had the answer, so hopefully this tip will not only inspire people to take a look at Pipeline XT, but help those who haven’t quite figured out how to use it in the PreSonus mixer ecosystem.

PREPPING THE STUDIO 192

Universal Control allows using Studio 192 (with a computer and enough I/O) as a digital mixer, but that’s not necessarily what we want with Studio One. To optimize the Studio 192 for Pipeline XT:

  1. Open Universal Control, and choose the Scenes screen (Fig. 1)

    Figure 1: How to reset Studio 192 to its default settings.

 

  1. Click on Studio 192 Default.
  2. Click on Recall. Now the Studio 192 has its default settings.
  3. Go to Universal Control’s System window, and choose Mixer Bypass (Fig. 2). Now, all the I/O is under Studio One’s control.

Figure 2: Universal Control’s mixer is now bypassed, so all the I/O is controlled from within Studio One instead of the mixer.

  1. When you open a project, remember to go into Song Setup and restore anything that’s not the default. For example, if the output usually goes to Headphones 1 for tracking instead of the Main out, make that assignment. Also consider saving this setup as the default.

PREPPING SONG SETUP FOR EXTERNAL HARDWARE

We’ll use the AdrenaLinn as the example. It’s a mono in/stereo out device, but you can choose a mono or stereo output to feed it (I chose stereo because AdrenaLinn isn’t the only hardware device I use with Pipeline XT).

  1. Assign outputs for the hardware. Go to Song Setup, Audio I/O Setup tab, choose Add Stereo, and then click on the desired outputs in the matrix (Fig. 3). I have patch cords connected semi-permanently to these output jacks so they’re available for any hardware I want to use.

 

Figure 3: Interface outputs Line Out 5 and Line Out 6 are dedicated to external hardware devices.

 

  1. Now assign the inputs that will receive the outputs from the hardware (Fig. 4). I use inputs 1 and 2 because they’re on the front panel, so they’re easy to access—I don’t have to reach behind the rack.

 

Figure 4: Studio 192 inputs for Mic/Inst 1 and 2 accept the outputs from the external hardware.

Note that you can name these inputs and outputs you just added. Save this Song Setup by clicking on Make Default if you plan to interface Studio One with this same setup hardware in the future. Otherwise, you’ll need to go through the assignment process again. If the setup is saved as a default, when you want to use a hardware effect, Studio One will know where to find it.

TIME FOR PIPELINE XT

This part’s pretty easy. Insert Pipeline Stereo as if it was a regular plug-in. Pipeline XT compensates automatically for the latency that accumulates from sending audio through the outputs, through an effect, then back into Studio One’s interface inputs. What’s more, it’s easy to assign the inputs and outputs in Pipeline XT, because you named them in Song Setup (Fig. 5). Pipeline XT will now divert the channel output to your hardware, and bring the hardware output back again into your channel.

 

 

Figure 5: Pipeline XT is ready to go—its in and out have been assigned to the AdrenaLinn I/O, and the signal path has been compensated for latency.

 

In my experience, Pipeline XT compensates for latency without having to anything further. However, you can click on the wrench and have Pipeline XT compensate automatically, or do so manually. You can also tune out delays by ear. For example, load a drum loop, and copy it to the track with Pipeline XT. Listen to both tracks together, and adjust the Pipeline Offset parameter until the two tracks sound synched. (Note that if you try automatic compensation, it’s best to bypass the effect. With time-based effects, Pipeline XT won’t know which is the “real” signal for which it should compensate.)

 

Once Pipeline XT has been configured for a particular piece of hardware, you can store the setting as a preset for later recall—just like any effects preset. For me, 90% of the time I’m using external hardware for guitar effects. They operate similarly to AdrenaLinn, so I can just recall that preset.

 

There are a few other considerations unique to using external hardware.

 

  • Most guitar effects are designed for low input levels. You’ll need to bring Pipeline’s Send control way down to avoid overloading the effect.
  • Similarly, you may need to raise the Pipeline’s Return control to bring up the effect’s low-level output.
  • You have to use real-time bounces when using external effects, because the audio is being processed in real time through the hardware.
  • We’re spoiled by being able to use multiple instances of a single plug-in, but hardware doesn’t work that way—one piece of hardware works with one track. That said, you can insert multiple instances of the same effect in different channels using Pipeline XT, but I don’t recommend it because the channels sum together.
  • You can take a picture of the external hardware’s front panel control settings, and include that image in a Pipeline plug-in preset. With AdrenaLinn that feature isn’t really relevant. But for boutique effects with knobs, this is a very useful feature.
  • Sadly, I haven’t figured out a way to do that. The output can feed the main output, or the headphones (as determined in the Song Setup window). My solution is simple: I saved a mixer preset that feeds main outs and speakers, and use that most of the time. But if I want to use Pipeline, I bypass the mixer, and make sure the output feeds the headphones in Song Setup. As to that beer…let me know if you’re ever in Tennessee, and we’ll pipeline some beers 🙂

  • smpiggy

    I knew Pipeline XT is a hardware circle plugin, but not really used it in real life, for I don’t use hardware effects. But I need to watch this article very carefully just in case.

  • Carlos Rodrigues

    Well well well!!!!
    I owe you more than a bottle of fresh beer !
    Everything went fine now !!! I love how I can hear everything smoothly with any strange hiss anymore.

    Now that everything is fine I still have the issue to use my headphones. The only way I got them working is by… disabling again the Bypass mixer.
    Strange behavior right ?
    Is there any way to get my main mixes from my speakers AND my headphones together ?

  • It sounds like you were having all the same problems I was having. It was recalling the default and bypassing the mixer, so that the control of all I/O was under Studio One, that made everything work.

  • Carlos Rodrigues

    Already requested help from Presonus and never had any answer.
    I got a few hardware devices (clones of 1073, 1176, LA-2A, Pultecs etc…) and never could use it be cause I had the following issues:
    – A lot of feedback
    – No signal with the devices as if nothing was connected
    – Could not use my SSL Buss Comp. The buss compressor is working and the needle is alright with the signal path but …. no sound.

    All devices were used as Inserts, I cannot understand why we have Pipeline Mon AND stereo, does it makes really sense ??

    How to use the Line signal without using internal preamps ??

    Well, thank you very very very much for your Post, I will check it out tonight and give you my personal feedback about this.

    PS: Strange that we have to use the Scenes mode, I could not find any inforéation about this with hardware in the Manual.
    PS2: Channel 1 and 2 in the front plate: I use them exclusively for microphone and guitar
    All the channels in the rear panel are solely used with external hardware.

  • Aha! So I wasn’t the only one!! I wondered if I was posting a tip everyone knew except me 🙂

  • Robert Nicholas III

    Finally i got this Pipeline thing to work man!! Thanks Craig Anderton. Your a good dude.