Two ways to sum in Pro Tools Bounce vs. Record- Which is better?
Old 19th April 2008
  #1
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Talking Two ways to sum in Pro Tools Bounce vs. Record- Which is better?

Years ago an engineer showed me how to "trick" Pro Tools in to doing something more akin to an analog sum. I know several engineers who use and swear by this method.

This is how you do it:

1. Route all channel outputs through a bus
2. Create a new stereo audio track (this is where master will sum to) with the same bus as the input, and main (A1&2) outs as the output.
3. Set the master fader output to the same bus
4. Once you have the stereo audio file with the master audio, highlight it and hit shift +apple+k (don't know what is for PC sorry) this will open up a window that allows you to export the audio file direct to desktop without bouncing.

The master fader will behave as the gain level that is being pushed into the master audio file (summed tracks).

The logic here is that you are using the recording engine in Pro Tools software rather than the bounce function which is in some way a different algorithm.

The result is a more dynamic master, which can then be sent to final brick wall limiting or whatever you're final mastering spices, comp, eq, etc.. Or you can still master on the master fader that sums to your final track.

So for those of you that can't afford an OTB summing box or care to put the $$ elsewhere, this is an alternative that may not be better, but will certainly give you a different sound that may suit your vibe better.

Has any on this forum been using this? Comments? Ideas?

I will soon post a audio file shootout of the two summing styles.
Quote
1
Old 19th April 2008
  #2
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
 

People have been doing this for years. I use a similar, yet different method. All audio tracks get sent to busses - in logical groups. ie: Guitars to buss 1/2, Drums to buss 3/4, Bass to buss 5/6, BGV's to buss 7/8, lead vox 9/10, keys to 11/12.

Then I open up 12 aux tracks. 6 pairs. I pair for the subgroup master, 1 pair for the Aux (verb) return. This way, if I want to print stems, I can easily do it. The verb sends for drums go to the drum verb which gets bussed to 3/4, etc., etc.

Then I add analog tracks. (1 stereo track if I'm printing stereo, 6 stereo audio tracks if I'm printing stems) I put them on input and monitor thru them for the whole mix.

BTW, I've done extensive testing. I can not accurately tell any difference between BTD and doing it this (your) way. Maybe back in the old days on a Mix sytem, but on HD I can't tell the difference. It is a lot more convenient for me though - especially when doing stems.

Every instrument group on it's own tracks with it's own verb that doesn't co-mingle. Makes music editors and film dubbers jobs a lot easier.

bp
Old 20th April 2008
  #3
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Bill,

So you keep your stems unaltered by effects, all your effects are chillin on auxes, very cool tip.

That's a great tip, makes mixdown easier too. Speaking of bussing, I just picked up an API 2500 for my drum buss, its in the mail, i feel slutty.

Sub grouping is great for organization, i need to do that on my bigger orchestral scores with 100+ tracks.

How would you subgroup when delivering orchestral stems for production? would it just be strings, percussion woodwinds, brass? or would you seperate low from hi too like cello, bass in one subgroup and violacello and violins in another? do you commonly pull lead violin for example, on its own stem, while grouped violins are on their own. Is there a standard protocol or does it just depend on the needs of the music editor.

I see you do a lot of scoring work, I've been composing scores now for a little while, got a library of them here:

::::..:: EARTH 1 STUDIOS ::..::::

One day I will head out west with a hard drive and my knee and work on meeting some producers to work with. All we have here in ATL is TBS and Tyler Perry.

Thanks for posting!
-Alex
Old 20th April 2008
  #4
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
so does anybody else out there think bounce to disk in PT HD is the same as summing and recording through buses to print a master audio file?
Old 21st April 2008
  #5
Lives for gear
 
espasonico's Avatar
 

There are even also those who prefer to record via AES/EBU into another track instead of using buses
Old 21st April 2008
  #6
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthone View Post
Bill,

So you keep your stems unaltered by effects, all your effects are chillin on auxes, very cool tip.
Alex, no, the effects get printed with their associated instrumentation. Even if all the instruments are using the same verb, I'll make 8 (or however many needed) instantiations of that same verb so that each instrument group can be printed individually with it's own verb and there no "cross-pollinization" of verb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthone View Post
That's a great tip, makes mixdown easier too. Speaking of bussing, I just picked up an API 2500 for my drum buss, its in the mail, i feel slutty.
I don't know if it makes it easier,but definately more organized, and if mixing analog for some reason, recalling mixes and making changes is definately easier than trying to recall the board, repatch the bay and reset all the outboard. That's why I got in the habit of doing it that way.



Quote:
Originally Posted by earthone View Post
How would you subgroup when delivering orchestral stems for production? would it just be strings, percussion woodwinds, brass? or would you seperate low from hi too like cello, bass in one subgroup and violacello and violins in another? do you commonly pull lead violin for example, on its own stem, while grouped violins are on their own. Is there a standard protocol or does it just depend on the needs of the music editor.
It's really score driven. I have mixed emotions about letting the re-mix engineers re-engineer my mixes, but ultimately, that's what needs to happen a lot due to last minute changes, moving dialog,etc.

I let the score decide as to how to split stuff out. It depends a lot on the orchestration. And if it's a real orch, most times there is not much seperation anyway. Giving the remix engineer the strings vs the WW isn't really going to help him much because of the mass amount of bleed. Also, I generally derive my "mix" from 80% room mics anyway, so there's no real chance of splitting much out there.

If there are solos and using a real orch, I'd try to get them into an iso booth. Mostly scores are hybrids these days, so there's plenty to split out - band, orch, soloists, vocals, percussion, sequencery synths, synth pads, low drones, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthone View Post
I see you do a lot of scoring work, I've been composing scores now for a little while, got a library of them here:

::::..:: EARTH 1 STUDIOS ::..::::
nice! Sounds good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthone View Post
One day I will head out west with a hard drive and my knee and work on meeting some producers to work with. All we have here in ATL is TBS and Tyler Perry.
Yeah, sounds a bit limiting. Good luck with that!

bp
Old 21st April 2008
  #7
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by espasonico View Post
There are even also those who prefer to record via AES/EBU into another track instead of using buses
Yeah, I've tried that. I see no advantage to doing that unless you're PT system is maxed out and you need a lot of stems and you employ a second PT system and buss via AES to it. But with HD and the kajillion internal busses it has, I rarely need to do that anymore unless the Music Editor is running the "record" PT system and wants it seperate so that we can work simultaneously.

When working by myself, I'll keep it all in one system and use the internal bussing.
Old 22nd April 2008
  #8
Lives for gear
 
espasonico's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Yeah, I've tried that. I see no advantage to doing that unless you're PT system is maxed out and you need a lot of stems and you employ a second PT system and buss via AES to it. But with HD and the kajillion internal busses it has, I rarely need to do that anymore unless the Music Editor is running the "record" PT system and wants it seperate so that we can work simultaneously.

When working by myself, I'll keep it all in one system and use the internal bussing.
What I meant is that some people goes out via AES/EBU but recording on the same rig and PT session onto a new track by just connecting the AES output to the AES input. Some of this guys say that it sounds better than busing internally. I have seen quite a few guys doing this. I think is crazy all this stuff but the people I have seen doing it make great sounding records so...

I once made the comparision by myself on a PT LE rig and the digital recording nulled with the bounce so I didn´t care to much afterwards. Maybe on HD it makes a difference or in very-crowded-multi-automated-tracks wich I don´t do.
Old 22nd April 2008
  #9
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by espasonico View Post
What I meant is that some people goes out via AES/EBU but recording on the same rig and PT session onto a new track by just connecting the AES output to the AES input. Some of this guys say that it sounds better than busing internally. I have seen quite a few guys doing this. I think is crazy all this stuff but the people I have seen doing it make great sounding records so...
I knew what you meant. I guess what I was trying to say was that the only time I think that's necessary is when the playback rig is just too bogged down to record more tracks back onto it - especially if you're doing stems. If the internal busses you're going out of are at "0dB" what's the difference between that and going out and coming back in AES?!?!? None is the answer. The reason though???? Engineers always need something tweaky to do to prove that they know more than the other people in the room.

bp
Old 22nd April 2008
  #10
Lives for gear
 
dannygold's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by espasonico View Post
some people goes out via AES/EBU but recording on the same rig and PT session onto a new track by just connecting the AES output to the AES input. Some of this guys say that it sounds better than busing internally.

Some guys should try to apply a little science to their theories and do a phase inversion test comparing internally digitally bussed mixes vs. externally digitally bused mixes. They'll see they're doing a whole lot of nothing, more than likely.
Old 22nd April 2008
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Cosmonauta's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthone View Post
Years ago an engineer showed me how to "trick" Pro Tools in to doing something more akin to an analog sum. I know several engineers who use and swear by this method.

This is how you do it:

1. Route all channel outputs through a bus
2. Create a new stereo audio track (this is where master will sum to) with the same bus as the input, and main (A1&2) outs as the output.
3. Set the master fader output to the same bus
4. Once you have the stereo audio file with the master audio, highlight it and hit shift +apple+k (don't know what is for PC sorry) this will open up a window that allows you to export the audio file direct to desktop without bouncing.

The master fader will behave as the gain level that is being pushed into the master audio file (summed tracks).

The logic here is that you are using the recording engine in Pro Tools software rather than the bounce function which is in some way a different algorithm.

The result is a more dynamic master, which can then be sent to final brick wall limiting or whatever you're final mastering spices, comp, eq, etc.. Or you can still master on the master fader that sums to your final track.

So for those of you that can't afford an OTB summing box or care to put the $$ elsewhere, this is an alternative that may not be better, but will certainly give you a different sound that may suit your vibe better.

Has any on this forum been using this? Comments? Ideas?

I will soon post a audio file shootout of the two summing styles.
Well, I already did this test. Why don´t you try a NULL test, and maybe if you believe in science, like me, you will listen yourself that this suggested "anti-bounce" method is purely crap. dfegad
Old 22nd April 2008
  #12
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
 

I've found with heavy, heavy automation and FX, there may be a very minimal difference, due to automation lag but that's not why I record via internal busses. I do it for convenience and because I don't have to bounce multiple stems - I'm done in one pass and have the peace of mind of hearing it as it will ultimiately sound as it goes down.
Old 23rd April 2008
  #13
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
I'd like to thank everyone here and thank Dr. Bill for his detailed responses to my questions regarding orchestral summing/effects and even little peeing monkey man always great to find chances to pull that guy out.

I have to admit up till now i used the "anti-bounce method" almost out of superstition cause so many engineers i've met swore by it, and in my tests i could not tell much difference other than some placebo effect telling me to keep doing it. So maybe its a time to pull out my monkey and squirt on this superstitious summing method as well.

The one difference I clearly noticed was that if you try to use a limiter on the master fader its harder to push the volume without clipping with the anti-bounce summing bus method, try it for yourself and you will see. You simply can not run the limiter at the same settings you would on a Bounce to Disk without clips, and this is why I felt the bus method summing may be more dynamic, as it was harder to tame the audio. So I find myself pulling all the summed stems in to a mastering session, reamping through final compression, eq, and then Bouncing to Disk through L2.

The AES cable bounce is a new one, interesting, but I suppose the only way to truly increase or color our summing experience is with a line mixer of sorts, otherwise its all just digital transfer one way or the other.

Thank you all for your posts, some very experienced and talented engineers/composers have spoken, and so it is written in the good book of Slutz.

The anti-bounce method may not change the fidelity but it is a nice feeling to bounce your track live (there have been times i made a last second adjustments on the fly during the bounce!) and of course useful for printing stems and a final in one pass.


more music more life!!
Old 23rd April 2008
  #14
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthone View Post
I have to admit up till now i used the "anti-bounce method" almost out of superstition cause so many engineers i've met swore by it, and in my tests i could not tell much difference other than some placebo effect telling me to keep doing it. So maybe its a time to pull out my monkey and squirt on this superstitious summing method as well.
Once upon a time, the Digi mix buss was not all it was cracked up to be. I think that's when the method of recording internally started and when the superstition and distrust grew. HD is well past that and Digi took their lumps, learned, re-wrote code and have (argueably) the best DAW in the world.
Old 13th October 2008
  #15
Gear Head
 
CafeEP's Avatar
 

FYI

The Shane Wilson's Guide To Mixing DVD has a shootout of summing methods, in the box, vs various out of the box. His shootout had oversight from Mr. Lynn Fuston of 3D Audio, a man who's done a lot of shootouts.

Audio Instruction

In my opinion, the Pro Tools summing in the shootout (Shane Wilson) got schooled by the other methods. BUT, as Lynn points out, it's hard to do a comparison of these type of things, because you often MIX differently if your summing device is part of your monitoring system. So, putting the same mix through different systems tells you part of the story, but not the whole story.

I think there's a thread here in Gearslutz that does has a link to a (Free) shootout report (and files).

Pete
Old 20th October 2008
  #16
Bounce to disk and Internal Layback DEFINITELY sound different and its not just a placebo effect. Here's what happens [this knowledge is from several hands on shootouts, discussions with Digi programmers and as a Digi Certified Op in Music and Post, this was definitely pointed out].

When you select bounce to disk, PT's mix engine architecture is actually taking your mix out of the DAE and into a SEPARATE mix engine. On the way there, it first truncates your data, then begins tossing out bits of information. If you're low on voices, the process is even more detrimental as it needs more power to do the operation and throws out more. The result is something lacking in high end definition, a log jam of a mid range and a cluttered low end.

With internal layback, you're staying in the DAE and avoiding all of that. Essentially, what you mix is what you print. Thats your track. It definitely sounds A LOT better and if you can't hear it, I'm sorry. But its definitely there.

Even beyond the sonic superiority of it, its great for workflow. With QuickPunch engaged, you can easily punch in a part of the print track that all of a sudden clipped because you forgot to fade a region. You don't have to cancel your bounce at the last minute, fix the problem and then wait it out again. You also have the advantage of being able to export different sample rates [a mix for RedBook, DVD-A, etc] as well as different file formats, ALL WITHOUT HAVING TO WATCH IT BOUNCE 6 TIMES! Imagine that!

Ultimately, if you don't hear a difference, you dont hear one. If what you hear from the bounce engine sounds great to you, then thats all that matters. I'm a firm believer in what sounds good to you is best. However, these are facts and there is a sonic difference. Take a listen
Old 4th February 2009
  #17
Gear interested
 

Hi Earthone
I just attempted this and it's not working and was hoping for a little advice.
I'm running PT LE 7.4 and need to confirm the steps...
1. Buss the output of all audio tracks including the Master Fader to a stereo audio track. In this case all of my outputs are set to Bus 7/8, the stereo audio track input is also set to BUS 7/8 and its output is set to S/PDIF L&R which is what my Master Fader nomally outputs to.

so far so good???

2. Your step 4 somewhat confused me.... - 4. Once you have the stereo audio file with the master audio, highlight it and hit shift +apple+k (don't know what is for PC sorry) this will open up a window that allows you to export the audio file direct to desktop without bouncing.

When you say highlight do you mean highlight the Master Fader and new SUM track in the Mix window, or do you mean highlight all the audio in the Edit window? - My apologies in advance for what could possibly be REALLY novice/dumb questions.

Bottom line is I selected ALL tracks, highlighted the entire song as I would if doing a regular Bounce then shift/apple/k and exported the audio to 24bit/48khz wav.

What I ended up with were individual wav files of only some of the instruments/tracks. I was thinking I was going to get a stereo mix.

What am I doing wrong?

Thanks so much for any assistance you may be able to provide.

Peace,
t
Old 4th February 2009
  #18
Gear interested
 

Just answered my own question. You need to Record the audio to that new SUM track then shift/apple/k.

Now what you're saying is this stereo wav file when played thru let's say a Quicktime player should/may sound better than a mix done using the PT Bounce to Disk feature - correct?

Thanks for reading
t.
Old 4th February 2009
  #19
FAT
Banned
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AntillesSound View Post
Bounce to disk and Internal Layback DEFINITELY sound different and its not just a placebo effect. Here's what happens [this knowledge is from several hands on shootouts, discussions with Digi programmers and as a Digi Certified Op in Music and Post, this was definitely pointed out].

When you select bounce to disk, PT's mix engine architecture is actually taking your mix out of the DAE and into a SEPARATE mix engine. On the way there, it first truncates your data, then begins tossing out bits of information. If you're low on voices, the process is even more detrimental as it needs more power to do the operation and throws out more. The result is something lacking in high end definition, a log jam of a mid range and a cluttered low end.

With internal layback, you're staying in the DAE and avoiding all of that. Essentially, what you mix is what you print. Thats your track. It definitely sounds A LOT better and if you can't hear it, I'm sorry. But its definitely there.

Even beyond the sonic superiority of it, its great for workflow. With QuickPunch engaged, you can easily punch in a part of the print track that all of a sudden clipped because you forgot to fade a region. You don't have to cancel your bounce at the last minute, fix the problem and then wait it out again. You also have the advantage of being able to export different sample rates [a mix for RedBook, DVD-A, etc] as well as different file formats, ALL WITHOUT HAVING TO WATCH IT BOUNCE 6 TIMES! Imagine that!


Ultimately, if you don't hear a difference, you dont hear one. If what you hear from the bounce engine sounds great to you, then thats all that matters. I'm a firm believer in what sounds good to you is best. However, these are facts and there is a sonic difference. Take a listen

All completely wrong. You are hearing things.


I just tested this and the bounced mix and printed mixed nulled in PT 8, PT 6.9 and PT 5.1.
Quote
1
Old 5th February 2009
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Robert Randolph's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FAT View Post
All completely wrong. You are hearing things.


I just tested this and the bounced mix and printed mixed nulled in PT 8, PT 6.9 and PT 5.1.
And 7.4.2 as well. I also did pt8 and it nulled completely.
Old 14th February 2009
  #21
Gear interested
 

Dr. Bill,

I just read a bunch of your posts and wanted to ask you about reverb if you dont mind.

I am curious if you know how to bus (or other methods) in ways that the reverb can be added/subtracted as you are mixing (not sure if this is the right term) ie. I am creating a track where I am using pan/vol/verb to create the illusion that the sound is getting farther away panning left and right with automation and descreasing vol in the same manner but I only know how to set the reverb to one setting (not sure if I am being clear in my explanation)

Thanks a lot,

JR
Old 15th February 2009
  #22
Gear maniac
 
MaTr1x2051's Avatar
 

AFAIK - you can't dither when exporting regions, only when bouncing to disk. If you export, the files get truncated, so you actually lose quality.
Old 16th February 2009
  #23
I prefer BTD for the simple reason that it's easier to set up and one bus less to worry about. IMO, recording inside PT has the sole advantage of assembling a master in bits and pieces. Say you only want to change the last chorus and thus you just re-record that and splice it in as opposed to bouncing the whole mix down.

But I like the fact that you can't change anything when the mix is bouncing to disk. It's one more chance to LISTEN without being worried about adjustements. With all the automation features available in PT, I don't see the need to 'interfere' when the mix is finally being bounced or recorded.

And yes, I've done the null-test too and it DID null. I guess that speaks (or rather mutes) for itself....
Old 14th March 2009
  #24
Lives for gear
 
aof21's Avatar
 

yep, did the null test here too. Actually took the same files into Logic and Ableton Live (which I've seen LOTS of people SWEAR has some sort of inferior audio engine) as well. All of the exported / bounced files nulled. And before I tried to Null them, I was certain I heard a difference. So much for trusting your ears.

I only did this test summing two tracks to a final stereo track. No plug-ins, automation, submixes etc. I can certainly believe there would be some minor differences between programs once you have a lot more going on. But there's really no way to test it unless someone really wanted to painstakingly re-create a huge mix in two different programs sample for sample with exactly the same plug ins on both.

I'm sure things would sound slightly different from the two programs due to differences in how they handle delay comp, automation, etc. Maybe the same with bouncing vs recording to track in PT. But at this point, I'm fairly satisfied that when it comes to recording to a track vs. BTD, I'll do whichever one is more convenient. And if there is a different algorithim or something behind them, great, but at the end of the day at least for simple summing of tracks to a stereo file, they produce exactly the same result sample for sample.

But now I gotta try the going in and out of the AES/EBU jack....
However, I have a funny feeling I might be singing the Simon and Garfunkel sounds of silence once I flip the polarity on that file and match it to the other ones.....
Old 14th February 2010
  #25
Gear Head
 
andyselby's Avatar
 

The main reason for printing mixes through a bus setup is convenience, *especially* if you are doing sound for picture. You don't have to start the entire bounce from scratch to fix one thing you heard while printing. Just make your change, back up a bit, play, punch in, and keep going.

I stopped BTD pretty early on when I discovered how easy making last minute changes was with this method.
Old 5th January 2011
  #26
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaTr1x2051 View Post
AFAIK - you can't dither when exporting regions, only when bouncing to disk. If you export, the files get truncated, so you actually lose quality.
Sorry, this isn't correct - on an audio export if the export sample rate is lower than your internal sample rate (ie. 24 bit internal exporting to 16 bit) Pro Tools WILL apply dithering. The Dither used for any conversion is the
Digidesign Dither plug-in.

(Page 288 of the Pro Tools 8 Reference Guide)

This MAY be on HD systems only, but if this is so it isn't mentioned in the manual...
Old 5th January 2011
  #27
Lives for gear
 

so are we just observing the placebo effect here?
Old 5th January 2011
  #28
Gear interested
 

Evidence would suggest...

If a successful Null Test is conducted with a file Bounced To Disk against an inverted file Bounced To Track (or visa versa) and there are no residual artifacts left over then it stands to reason that the files are sonically identical.

You can argue to the contrary and claim you are hearing a difference between the two processes but a Null Test has no opinion, no ego and will only yield a black and white result.
Old 6th January 2011
  #29
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spice house View Post
so are we just observing the placebo effect here?
actually most likely to be confirmation bias, fwiw
Old 10th January 2011
  #30
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by musprodguy View Post
If a successful Null Test is conducted with a file Bounced To Disk against an inverted file Bounced To Track (or visa versa) and there are no residual artifacts left over then it stands to reason that the files are sonically identical.
Agreed, but I have found that bounced vs. recorded back to a track inside the session via busses to have subtle differences that don't null.

I can't confirm (nor do I care) WHY that is, but it is. As I said earlier, I suspect heavy automation, plug ins, computer overworking issues, but again, it's subtle.
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+ 
 
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
JamieMB / Music Computers
78
PapillonIrl / So much gear, so little time!
11
masta1 / Rap + Hip Hop engineering & production
11
drewharris / Music Computers
6
bdane / So much gear, so little time!
9

Forum Jump
 
Register FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.