I just wanted to say that I've been using AudioMulch for mastering, for the last ten years or so, and daily in a professional context for the last three years. I think it might be an intersting discussion about this slightly unusual use of AudioMulch. AFAIK, there aren't any other mastering engineers using AudioMulch, although I have heard that some have used the DDMF metaplugin for chaining VSTs. I obviously feel that Mulch does it so much better! Coming from an analgoue past, with extensive experience with outboard gear and hardware modular synthesisers, Mulch is ideal for me to use in mastering. The clear layout of signal flow, reliable audio engine, and ease of adding/removing/switching/moving plugins and contraptions in any part of the chain, being able to "tap off" the signal for montioring or recording at any stage etc., all makes for a very quick workflow.
A brief description of the whole chain:
The "hub" is a Crookwood mastering console/monitor controller/headphone amp/2 x DAC/1 x ADC/analogue VU meter, connected to a pair of ATC SCM20 ASL Pro monitors, and Sennheiser HD600 headphones, for monitoring.
The converters are hooked up to an RME HDSPe AES interface via XLR/AES cables, to get in and out of the PC.
In Mulch, it's simple to assign Inputs and Outputs to the different converters, and create the "analogue loop" for the outboard processing. The analogue chain consists of the Crookwood DAC, a pair of Chandler Germanium Compressors, a Thermionic Culture Pullet EQ, a Chandler TG2 pre amp (make up gain for the passive EQ), a Dangerous music Bax EQ, and the Crookwood ADC. (The other Crookwood DAC is the monitor DAC, so I can monitor from any source, anywhere, analogue or digital).
How it works in Mulch:
I start with the digital source file from the client, and have a "mastering preset" Mulch document which automatically loads at startup. The file is played by a FilePlayer contraption, which then goes out the "transfer" DAC into the analogue chain. After that, the signal comes back into Mulch via the "capture" ADC, for recording. That's the main analogue loop, and it's easy to monitor either before, or after, the processing.
At any stage along the way I may add none/some/all of the following digital processors: various meters (peak/RMS/Leq/LUFs/correlation meter/bit scope/spectrum analyser etc.), EQ, gain/attenuation stage (I use the Mulch SGain contraption, usually in multiples of 6.02.... dB for bit transparency - Mulch usually "snaps" to some of these values, which is great), tape emulator, de-esser, stereo width enhancement via Mid/Side processing, etc. This is all done in real time in AudioMulch.
With the Crookwood console, I can monitor anywhere in the chain, analogue or digital, and volume match any of those sources to within a quarter of a dB, for a fair appraisal of A vs. B, before vs. after comparisons etc.
Sometimes, I'll add the final digital limiting (usually Elephant) and dithering (Sonoris Dither) stage in the same document, so I can hear the final result, but I usually leave that as a separate process, so I can do it quickly via "rendering" it using the "Export to sound file" comand, at a later time. I often like to leave the final limiting/dithering stage for another day.
I'd be happy to upload document screenshots, if people were interested?
So, I'm basically doing ALL playback, recording, and processing via Mulch. The only other audio software I use is a regular DAW (Sampltide Pro X), for the fade ins/fade outs/crossfades (if seamless gaps are needed between tracks etc.), Voxengo R8Brain Pro Full (for any sample rate conversion needed), Sonoris DDP Creator Pro, (for burning and checking the master CD, and authoring DDP images for the pressing plants), and Opti Drive Control, (for checking error rates on CDs - I use Taiyo Yuden media, so they are usually OK).
Anyway, it was long winded I know, but I thought some of you might be interested. I'd be happy to answer any questions, and would love to hear if anyone else is using Mulch in a similar way.
PS - Quick question for Ross:
I always leave "Dither" unchecked in the Settings/Audio General tab, as I like to work in 32bit float until the final dither down to 16 bit, where I apply my own Dither at the end. Would you say this was a good way of working, for my particular application, or woiuld you recommend I switch the internal Dither on?