I posted this feedback in a thread relating to Elephant on KVR but thought I would add my suggestions here in case you don't hang out there much.
I love Elephant and use it daily in mastering and occasionally in mixing as well. I also use a few of your free plugins all the time and am contemplating picking up Varisaturator. So firstly, a massive thanks for your great work :)
Like other guys in that thread, I also think that the Elephant GUI could use some choice refinements. I agree with others about faders over knobs and for a very simple reason, they are quicker to read at a glance. A knob is a circle at a glance, a fader is a setting on a scale at a glance. As you point out, vertical drag is the usual way to manipulate GUI controls and this action matches perfectly with faders, but not so with knobs! It really is that simple.
Also, the argument that they take up too much room isn't valid here for two reasons:
a) They could be super imposed on the existing meters. You already have a threshold "bar" on the Thresh/input meter that is draggable. Why not add one on the output as well? Could you then also add a button and keyboard modifier to inverse link input and output gain together? That would be great as it is the perfect workflow for limiting in mixing. Similar in practice to the L2's lowerable ceiling I guess.
Actually, thinking about it, you could even have a draggable bar on the central GR meter as well that acts as a lowerable ceiling. That way you don't need to add a link button or add a keyboard modifier for this functionality. Dragging the GR "handle" down by -3dB would be the same as setting input gain to +3dB and Output gain to -3dB. Simple and effective!
b) You are already using an unnecessary amount of space for the left lower panel for showing stats. I think they should be moved under the respective meters. You could have the average RMS and crest factor displayed larger above the existing meters if you move the "Mode", "Edit" and "Release" buttons into the panel above (between "Routing" and "Settings").
Then you can place max peak stats under the input and output meters where they intuitively belong,
and the Max GR stat under the GR meter.
If the stats were relocated, I think I would actually prefer if if the advanced parameters and settings populated the entire left hand side of the GUI when needed and the dither settings etc in the top left of the main GUI could be in a pop up pane that is accessible from a button akin to the existing "Edit" button. I very rarely need to adjust or use the Dither / DC filter myself, but I do tweak the advanced settings a lot, particularly when mastering. I find detatched pop up panels annoying as you invariably end up moving them to the side so you can see the main GUI unhindered. When it comes to workflow these extra mouse moves and clicks get pretty annoying.
Anyway, these layout changes would make a lot more sense for new and existing users, free up space on the GUI and without changing the existing layout of the existing main knobs and meters.
Lastly, I think having different ranges for the in gain knob and out gain knob is very restrictive and unhelpful. This is particularly evident in a mixing context as it means that when you want to shave off peaks but keep the same apparent level on a given sound you often can't achieve it.
For example, many signals when mixing require a threshold deeper than -15 dB, yet you can't compensate the output of the plug by more than this! If the Input Gain maxxes out at 24 dB, then the Output trim should allow you to attenuate by 24dB as well! Why is it restricted to a max of 15dB? Seems very arbitrary to have a 9dB difference between ranges!
The input gain's minimum value is -3dB and the output gain's max is +3dB, so it seems like you agree with this logic for one end of the scale but not the other end, (and it is the other end which is arguably the more useful because one usually reaches for a limiter to reduce something!)
I also think a 3dB maximum output gain is too small and can't understand how you arrived at that figure logically, because again, it seems like you are imposing an unhelpful restriction that doesn't necessarily cater for all scenarios.
I shouldn't have to instantiate two utility/gain plugins either side of Elephant for such basic gain staging and I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking this!
Once again, thanks for your wonderful tools. I hope you take my feedback in the constructive way it is intended :)
Ady Connor (Scorb / Trick music / TRK Mastering)
Thank you for your opinions. Unfortunately, it's impossible to please everyone. Please treat the current Elephant visual look as a reasonbale compromise.
Elephant is mainly a mastering limiter, that's why it has these specific InGain and OutGain ranges. By the way, the OutGain control is special, because it offers a higher adjustment resolution near 0 dB.
EBusLim features slider controls, but I do not think this adds any additional value to the plugin. It's a matter of subjective choice, because looking at readout value is infinitely more easy than looking at control's specific position.
The Mode Editor was offered with the idea you can create modes and load them afterwards. I do not really think it is useful to tweak limiter modes for each track individually. You create mode for each specific "sound" you like. Limiter is not a compressor and many of its parameters just do not deliver as much difference as in compressors.
Ok , fair enough.
The -3 / +3 thing is really no big deal compared to the other issues. Having said that, if the convention in most faders is to allow -6 to +6 then that might be a better choice in Elephant than -3 to + 3 I would think. It at least adds a bit more felxibility.
I just wanted to make my observations known as you said in the thread on KVR that registered users hadn't made requests like these. Perhaps if others chimed in with similar feedback it might sway you so I'm putting my thoughts out there! :)
Can you please respond about the -15dB limit on the output though? It would make so much more sense if it was -24 to balance the input range and would cater for 99% of all scenarios nicely. It needn't interfere with the increased range near 0dB, as long as it was possible to match the input gain so that a signal limited with a threshold below -15 could be kept at the same apparent level.
I agree that Elephants primary purpose is as a mastering limiter and I use it 90% of the time in this scenario. When I do reach for it in a mixing context though it is usually impossible to use without adding gain utilities either side. Even if you added / re-added inverse in/out gain control it wouldn't work in this scenario.
I don't see a reason not to add sliders on the output meter of Elephant, I just downloaded the demo of your EBus Limiter and it has just this!. If there is an argument for having it on that, and the input meter of Elephant, it seems like an oversight to not have it on the output as well. You will be making a lot of people happy if you add this I am sure! :)
Also, please at least consider adding a key modifier for inverse linking input and output. I am sure it used to have this but now it doesn't and I miss it terribly :(
I think my idea of a bar on the GR meter to achieve this is rather elegant wouldn't you say? Does it break anything to add this? I can't see a reason why you would be against it as I'm sure there are other threads i've read with requests for this style of limiter workflow.
It is unfortunate that the relatively new "EVAL" parameter doesn't remain engaged upon reloading a project as that would largely negate the need for much of what I am asking for :(
Thanks for your time
I would not be so sure sliders will make a lot of people happy. As I've replied before, I have to find a compromise. Not everyone likes sliders. If I change to sliders in an existing product, some people will chime in and talk about it like you do now.
Also flexibility is an enemy of convenience. The increased ranges increase flexibility, but decrease precision.
The EVAL button is not saved with the project, because it is not designed to be used as an effect. It may produce signal level overshoots and unpredictable signal level swings.
Nothing I am suggesting compromises the existing functionality though.
The additional 9dB of range at the bottom of the output knobs scale could be represented by just a few degrees without compromising it's additional precision near zero dB.
Oh well, I guess I could petition other users for their opinions, there are a lot of us Elephant users on the Gearslutz mastering forum.
If enough users expressed enthusiasm for the idea would you reconsider?
I am not asking faders/sliders to replace anything, just as an addition, and in the exact same way you have implemented on EBus Limiter and Elephant's Input meter.
It seems you are reluctant to change anything even though it makes sense to do so :(
I am pretty sure I could dig up links to many forum posts that mirror my opinion if that helps convince you that there is an argument for it?
What about inverse control linking. Why was it removed? I am certain there used to be a key modifier for it? S you admit, the EVAL parameter, whilst useful for evaluating limiting doesn't make a useable substetute for removal of inverse input/output control linking.
Have you ever used the L2? It is so damn fast to chop stray peaks off a signal with two clicks and a drag when mixing. I was surprised you didn't implemet this in the EBus limiter actually as it would be so easy to do so.
All the best
Maybe I couldn't find the keyboard modifier.
In any case I made a mistake! in L2 you only need to click the link button and drag down. that's it! One click and drag and you're done.
in Ebus Limiter, you need to click drag the threshold and then click drag the output in an identical manner to achieve limiting whilst leaving the signal at the same loudness.
An extra Bar on the GR meter that acted as a kind of link (identically to the L2 as descriobed above) would bring down both those input and output bars simultaneously.
This would work wonderfully and wouldn't require anything other than the addition of one more bar/slider on the GR meter. It wouldn't be distracting or involveany layout changes but would double the workflow speed. it even makes sense in terms of the meter itself, as dragging the slider on the GR meter to say -6dB would be the equivalent of achieving -6dB gain reduction on a signal peaking at 0dB :)
This could be applied to Elephant as well, the only thing I am unsure of is the mismatch between the max threshold of -24, and the max output attenuation of -15.
As for the inverse control linking, this thread mentions it so I'm guessing it used to be there before v3? I have only been using it since v3 and am unsure now as to whether it was v4 and the introduciton of the EVAL button that did away with inverse control linking.
All the best
I should add, that the deal breaker with this functionality is the ability to audition the effect of limiting at equal loudness in real time.
In your limiters, the user has to pull down threshold whilst experiencing a loudness boost, then do exactly the same for the output. Only then can they bypass and re-engage the plugin to evaluate the change in processing. If, after doing so, the user decides it is too much or not enough he has to go through that entire process again.
This represents a lot of dragging, and extra mouse clicks whilst hindering the ability to A/B those different settings.
The L2 style workflow allows all of this to be achieved in real time with one click and drag with the added benefit of being able to look away from the screen or close ones eyes to truly evaluate the sound and not pay attention to the numbers.
The usefulness of this workflow can not be underestimated!
I hope this better demonstrates my reasoning behind the feature request anyway.
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