1) What is Nebula?
Nebula is a VST/AU plugin created and sold by Acustica Audio. The platform utilizes vectorial Volterra kernels (Volterra series mathematics) in lieu of traditional linear impulse responses, and as such offers significant improvements over convolution reverb. In addition to linear aspects like frequency response, time & phase relationship, and decay, the engine is capable of capturing and rendering non-linearities, such as but not limited to harmonic distortion and dynamic response. The engine and core fundamentals are not capable of handling or rendering clipping type distortion, therefor distortion in the context of functional use within the platform can be more thought of as saturation, and not like a distortion box or high gain preamp. There is much that goes on under the hood as well, and is highly configurable and customizable both to the creator and user of original programs. OwnHammer is proud to be an officially certified 3rd party developer of this platform and thus have access to advanced creation tools to better provide unique and powerful libraries to Nebula's user base and collective catalog.
As aforementioned, Nebula is a platform created and sold by Acustica Audio, not by OwnHammer. The Nebula libraries sold on OwnHammer.com are control and data file pairs (known as program and vector files, respectively), not the platform/plugins themselves. When libraries are purchased from OwnHammer, they consist of these files that are then placed within the Nebula application folder structure by the user so as to be used in a licensed and registered version of the COMMERCIAL Nebula platform.
2) What versions of Nebula are required to load the OwnHammer libraries?
As a precursor, it is necessary to first reiterate that the Nebula platform is NOT sold by OwnHammer nor included in any OwnHammer product libraries, but that said OwnHammer product libraries include files TO BE USED WITH the COMMERCIAL version of Acustica Audio's Nebula plugin.
With Nebula, there are three different categorical subsets - Free, LE, and Commercial:
- Nebula Free -
The commercial OwnHammer libraries DO NOT work with this version.
- Nebula LE -
There are multiple versions of Nebula LE:
- CM (Computer Magazine)
- KM (Keys Magazine)
- DR (Direct Solutions)
- HS (Hispasonic)
The commercial OwnHammer libraries DO NOT work with any LE version.
- Nebula -
This is referred to as the "commercial", "retail", or "registered" version because it is the version you must PAY for and register/authorize a personal license. This is the ONLY version that the commercial OwnHammer libraries will work with. At current, there are the following options:
For more information about the differences between the libraries, please see the Acustica Audio F.A.Q. under the section titled "What are the differences between Nebula bundles?". It is also worth mentioning that in Nebula 2 the sliders/faders/knobs will not have any textual or numeric readout above them. You can read the values in the main window area, however they may not have all information or all slider values displayed. Nebula 3 Pro Bundle is the recommended option.
3) When using Nebula in DAW sessions using sample rates other than native for the OwnHammer libraries, everything sounds strange; what is wrong and how do I fix it?
This is actually an issue with a global rate conversion setting configured for your Nebula plugin, and is directly related to internal sample rate conversion (and in the case of this phenomenon, a lack thereof). All of this is the result of the interaction between the verbosity and complexity of a given program (in general; not specific to OwnHammer) and the physical resources of your computer, and will be different from machine to machine. Identifying and fixing this problem is easy, if you know where to look. Additionally, there are multiple ways to attack this issue, the traditional way (altering the RATE CNV parameter on the MAST page then reloading the program or plugin instance) is only temporary and will cause much unwanted repetition and delay every time you fire up a DAW project. The below method is a permanent fix and is what I highly recommend:
First, make sure you are closed out of your DAW and thus no Nebula instances are running on your system. Next, browse to wherever your Nebula2, Nebula2 Reverb, Nebula3, and/or Nebula3 Reverb plugins have been installed. Along with each of the above .dll files are correspondingly named .xml files. Using an XML EDITOR ONLY (I use and recommend the Firstobject XML Editor, it is simple, familiar looking, and free), open and edit each of the .xml files. In each will be a value most of the way down the file with the following tags:
<RATECONVERSION> 25000 </RATECONVERSION>
For the OwnHammer libraries to function properly in DAW sessions where the sample rate differs from that native to the program, the number here needs to have this value increased. That number can vary depending on the program, however I've noticed this can be anywhere from a value of 500000 (five hundred thousand) to a value of 1000000 (one million). This number could fluctuate even beyond this depending on your computer hardware and subsequent processing power, so experimentation is necessary. As an example, we'll say that we are working in a 44.1 kHz DAW session using OwnHammer Nebula libraries with a native sample rate of 96 kHz. In this situation, if the internal sample rate conversion is working properly, when you load a program you will see the following on the main progam window of Nebula:
FRT: 96000 -> 44100 Hz
The value to the left is the native sample rate of the program, the value to the right is the sample rate of the DAW project. If the value of the RATECONVERSION parameter is not high enough, in addition to bad sound this will read:
FRT: 96000 -> 96000 Hz <-
In this case, the <- will be blinking, indicating that the sample rate of the DAW project does not match the resultant rate Nebula has as output. After adjusting this parameter in the XML file, you may also need to delete and re-add or reload Nebula instances in existing DAW projects, though this is rare.
4) How do I get the menu system in Nebula to display more than just the 3 character subcategory names?
These expanded names are just value definitions in the ..\% NEBULA INSTALLATION DIRECTORY %\Dictionaries\Rom.xml file. To assign the appropriate name definition, simply edit the Rom.xml file with an xml editor, I use and recommend the Firstobject XML Editor (free, very simple to use and a familiar look and feel to simple text editors). When editing, simply place the values specified in the included ..\Dictionaries\Dictionary_Tags.txt file for that library the Rom.xml, making sure you have both the open (< >) and close (</ >) tags.
5) I put the .N2P and .N2V files in the Programs and Vector folders, but nothing shows up in the Nebula program selection menu; what gives?
Make sure you are running at least version 1.3.504 of commercial Nebula 2/3. If not, download the appropriate installer/update package from your account on Acustica-Audio.com.