“Real-time preview” (“RTP”) is new, and more effects in 2.1.3 will have RTP than in previous versions.
The effects that are not grayed out are the RTP effects.
Eventually, most effects will have RTP, but some effects never will. “Normalize” is an example of an effect that can’t have RTP because it requires two passes over the audio and the first pass (find the max peak) must be complete before the second pass (adjust the level) can begin.
With RTP effects, you can change the selection after the effect has been opened.
With non-RTP effects, you can’t change the selection once the effect has been opened, thus it makes no sense to open an effect if the project is empty because it would be impossible to apply the effect to anything.
Clearly you think the current behavior is “not OK”, so what would you suggest?
I suppose Koz is saying it looks odd, like most of the built-in effects are broken. But I don’t recall anyone else complaining. Perhaps there is some educational benefit in it, because if you open an RTP effect you can see that it’s modeless.
There is the reverse case. With audio present, open an RTP effect then look at the Effect Menu. All the effects except RTP are available.
Leland was hoping to eventually “fix” that by allowing multiple RTP effects to be used at the same time. That’s what his experimental “Effects Panel” was about, but it wasn’t ready for prime time as there were unresolved issues.