Pipeline XT

As mentioned in the Removing Inserts section, Pipeline XT allows hardware processors to be inserted on Audio Channels in much the same way that virtual effects are inserted. This feature is commonly called a “hardware insert.”


Configuring an Instance of Pipeline XT

Insert an instance of Pipeline on any Channel just like any other effect, either by dragging it in from the Browser, or through the Add menu in the Insert Device Rack. Note that there are Mono and Stereo versions of Pipeline XT. Use the version that is appropriate for your hardware processor. If your processor is mono-in-stereo-out (as with some delay and reverb units), use the stereo version of Pipeline XT and feel free to assign a mono send and a stereo return.

Automatic Latency Compensation

Pipeline XT automatically compensates for the latency involved in routing audio from Studio One to your audio interface and back. This is based on the reported input and output latency from your hardware interface driver. The roundtrip latency being compensated for is displayed in milliseconds at the top of the Pipeline XT interface and can be manually adjusted if necessary.

Automatic Audio Routing Latency Compensation

For practical purposes, analog hardware processors do not introduce latency (aside from the latency introduced by the interface), as their processing takes place at close to the speed of light. However, a few other sources of latency may affect the signal, including DA/AD-converter latency and digital signal processing (DSP) latency.

This latency is not compensated for automatically, which could result in the signal being delayed very slightly, altering its phase relationship to the rest of the mix. To compensate for this, tap the Auto button. This sends a "ping" signal through your external processor, then measures the time it takes for that signal to return, and automatically compensates for this latency.

Before clicking Auto, set the hardware processor to be in Bypass, if possible, so that no processing is done on the signal. You also want the send and return signal levels to match as closely as possible.

To make manual timing adjustments, manipulate the Offset control. The Offset value is added to the total roundtrip latency. Setting a positive value increases the latency-compensation time, and setting a negative value decreases the latency-compensation time.

As you move the knob or set a value, the signal path is automatically pinged again, and the scope updates to provide instant feedback on the calibration.

You can also click on the [Difference] button to see the difference between the send and return signals. The smaller the waveform becomes (less amplitude), the more aligned the signals are. This is also helpful for matching send and return levels.

Once you have the correct Offset value established, you should store a preset, as described in the next section. You can get back to the normal mode by clicking the wrench-shaped button.

Once you do this, the real-time send and return signals are displayed. Using the Sensitivity fader, it is possible to trigger the display to only update based on detected transients. For instance, you may want to see how the kick and snare drums are lining up from a drum-bus channel, and you’d want to avoid having the scope display the entire signal all of the time. To do this, move the Sensitivity fader to the right until the only the transients you want to see—in this case a kick or snare hit—are displayed.

Images and Notes

When working with external processors in the context of a DAW, one challenge you may run into is settings recall. When returning to a Song after your initial work, you may find that your external processors have been reconfigured for another use in the meantime. So, how to recall your original settings?

Pipeline XT gives you two useful ways to jog your memory: Images and Notes.

To add a photo of the current settings for your external processor, first click the Show Image button in the lower left part of the plug-in window, then drag your photo into the center of the window. Alternatively, click the “…” button in the top-rigth corner of the display area to access your file system and add an image manually. You can reference this photo anytime by clicking the Show Images button again. To see your photo full-size, just click the photo. Click the “x” button in the top-right corner of the display to remove the current photo.

To enter a text note with settings information or other important info, click the Show Notes button. This shows a text field to the right of the button. Click within this field and type in your information.

Images and Notes are stored with each instance of Pipeline XT in your song and will be saved with presets, so they're always available to help.

Pipeline XT Controls

  • Setup Mode Shows or hides the "Ping" signal overlay.
  • Auto Automatically "pings" your external processor send/return chain and compensates for any latency induced by AD/DA converters and hardware processors.
  • Offset Set an offset value in samples to account for the latency induced directly by AD/DA converters and hardware processors.
  • Label Click in the empty space to type in a label. This is used to clearly identify the inserted hardware.
  • Send Selection Select the output Channel that is used to route audio from Studio One to your hardware processor.
  • Return Selection Selects the input Channel that is used to route audio from your hardware processor into Studio One.

Send and Return Controls:

  • Send Gain Adjust the send gain to prevent clipping the hardware input.
  • Return Gain Adjusts the return gain as needed to prevent clipping after the hardware insert.
  • Phase Invert Inverts the phase of the return signal (relative to the send signal). This is useful when auditioning for calibration purposes .
  • Mix Adjusts the mix of send and return signal. This makes parallel processing possible.

Realtime Display Controls:

  • Signal Scope Displays an oscilloscope view of the send and return signals, overlaid on one another for easy comparison.
  • Sensitivity Controls the update rate of the signal scope.
  • Difference Displays an oscilloscope view of the difference between input and output signals.
  • Zoom Displays a detailed view of the current signal.

To the far left and right of the Pipeline XT interface are Send and Return meters with separate clip indicators, enabling you to accurately monitor send and return levels.

Change the Look

If you'd like to color-code your Pipeline XT instances for organizational purposes, or simply want a fresh new look, click the PreSonus logo in the plug-in window to switch background colors.

Storing Pipeline Presets

Once Pipeline has been configured for a particular piece of hardware, you should store the setting as a preset so that the configuration can be recalled at a later time, as with an effects preset. Any number of presets can be stored, which allows you to recall configurations for any number of hardware processors. These presets appear under the Pipeline effect in the Browser, just like a preset stored for a virtual effect.

If you create new I/O channels in the Audio I/O Setup while configuring a Pipeline preset, be sure to click on Make Default before exiting the dialog. This ensures that the required I/O for that Pipeline preset is available in every Song and Project.

Normally, you would use only one instance at a time of Pipeline with a particular I/O configuration. However, it is possible to insert the same Pipeline preset on multiple Channels, in which case the signal from each Channel effectively sums at the specified output, and that summed signal returns from the hardware processor to every Channel simultaneously. While this might lead to interesting possibilities, exercise caution, as levels could easily become excessive.

Mixing Down with Pipeline

When Pipeline XT is being used on an active channel in a Song, you must render a mixdown in real time, as this is required in order for your hardware insert to be incorporated in the mix.

This is handled automatically, so that when any instance of Pipeline XT is inserted on a track that contains content in a Song or Project, the mixdown is always done in real time. If Pipeline XT is only inserted on tracks that do not currently contain or produce audio, real time rendering is not required.