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Revolver – Optimizing Performance

The Revolver plug-in’s convolution engine is very efficient. This means many Revolver plug-ins can be used in a single session with the minimum amount of CPU power. The control updates are also immediate – no muted outputs or rendering delays are experienced. The user not only has a great sounding reverb, but a responsive one too.

Even so, there are ways to further improve the performance of the Revolver plug-in. Using the Display Mode control along the top of the graphs in the middle to upper right corner of the Revolver user interface, select the System page. On this page there are three controls – Tail Cut, Latency Mode and Stereo Mode.

Tail Cut

Tail Cut allows the user to select the level (in dB) at which the remainder of the reverb is truncated. This is useful in reducing the amount of CPU power used to calculate the entire reverb output. Most conditions call for a tail cut somewhere between –100 and –120 dB. At these levels the remaining reverb tail is most often inaudible when combined with other elements of a mix. The control can go as high as –100 dB. Tail Cut also becomes indispensable when the sampled acoustic space or equipment has a noise floor that is higher than the audio path resolution available in Revolver. By choosing a Tail Cut that is higher than this noise level, CPU power is not wasted on calculating, well, noise!

Using the Display Mode control, select the Impulse page, and zoom out to the maximum range (10
seconds). With this scale you will note when the natural decay of the impulse response levels off and appears to be relatively level. The level at which this signal occurs is the approximate value that should be used for the Tail Cut control value.

Latency Mode

The Revolver plug-in also has two latency modes – Low Latency and Medium latency. Both are extremely optimized for native processing. Low Latency mode incurs more CPU use, with an output delay of approximately 900 samples. Medium Latency mode incurs less CPU use, with an output delay of roughly 2000 samples. Note when the user adjusts the playback buffer size of their DAW, Revolver will also check which latency mode has been selected and automatically chose the lowest possible sample delay. When a Pro Tools playback buffer size of 1024 or higher is selected and Revolver is in Low Latency mode, the effective latency of Revolver is zero samples, as the playback buffer size is equivalent to the buffering inside of Revolver. Conversely, if the Pro Tools playback buffer size is less than 512 and Revolver is in Medium Latency mode, there is actually not enough buffered samples available so Revolver will always run in Low Latency Mode. It is good to remember that the best performance is obtained with Pro Tools playback buffer size as large as allowable.

Stereo Mode

Revolver can operate as a true stereo processor, or as a summed stereo processor. Selecting the Stereo Mode of ‘Stereo’ sets up Revolver to process each channel independently. Selecting the Stereo Mode of ‘Summed’ sets up Revolver to process a combined stereo signal. The later ‘Summed’ option, because it is processing less independent channel data (even in ‘Summed’ Stereo Mode Revolver is still operating as a stereo effect), Revolver uses less CPU power. While some may prefer the purist approach of running a reverb as a true stereo effect, in real acoustic environments the left and right channels interact significantly, so using the Summed Stereo Mode can sound more natural.

Hardware

The best performance is also obtained by using a supported processor; on Mac McDSP recommends a G5 or newer Intel processor and on Windows McDSP recommends a Pentium 4 or greater Intel processor. Results will vary on G4s and AMD processors. Also, be sure to have plenty of RAM available!

So to sum up, the best possible Revolver performance is obtained by using Medium Latency, having the Tail Cut set all the way up to -100dB, and using summed stereo mode. Also, don’t forget that Revolver contains an Audio Suite version so to the user can “print” that reverb aux track once it is dialed in just right.

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