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Mike333
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30th December 2012
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SSL AWS 948 question for users

I'm wondering what all you users of the AWS 948 are recording your mixes to. I'm recording my mixes back in to ProTools and I'm always let down with the results. Never can maintain the same width or depth or just overall great sound that comes out of the console when I'm done with a mix. Don't know exactly what is to blame.

I'm using a Burl B2 ADC to capture back.

Looking for other ideas.
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We use a Studer A80 half inch at 15 ips. It will make you happy.
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Hi,
How do you send 2mix out what route? If not already, you could try going out from master buss insert sends (if unused) or mix/rec out directly and see if it sounds any better.
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Naturally your A/D converter and clocking would be my first suspects. For me, the difference was more noticeable at lower sampling rates. Going to 96K immediately made a difference.

Also if you are recording the Mix Bus outputs make sure your Master Fader is up (turn down your monitoring level first !)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekhan View Post
Hi,
How do you send 2mix out what route? If not already, you could try going out from master buss insert sends (if unused) or mix/rec out directly and see if it sounds any better.
I'm sending out mix buss into my Burl 2 channel converter. I have it normaled that way on my patchbay. I typically use the inserts on both the mix and rec buss for gear. Should there be a difference in which buss I use? I wouldn't think so. How are you sending your 2 mix out exactly?

I know recording to a tape machine would change thinks for the better, but right now, and in the interest of working speed, I'd like to keep recording back into PT. There's got to be a way to capture exactly what I'm hearing off the console, but for some reason things are changing for the worse. The recorded mix sounds significantly worse. Not in the "something is broken" way, but in the "this is not the mix coming off the console" kind of way. I started to wonder about monitoring the recorded mix using one of the stereo channels on the 948, and if the pan pot/widening phase thing was playing with my sound? It shouldn't.

Any other techniques to get exactly what is coming out of the console, back into the DAW?
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If its "this is not the mix coming off the console" kind of way then perhaps your ears are monitoring something other than what is being recorded. Are there FX sends in the mix cue that the Mix button is not pressed in? Also the CHOP are mono summed if you are recording stereo channels you need to send them to aux busses.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H89 View Post
If its "this is not the mix coming off the console" kind of way then perhaps your ears are monitoring something other than what is being recorded. Are there FX sends in the mix cue that the Mix button is not pressed in? Also the CHOP are mono summed if you are recording stereo channels you need to send them to aux busses.
H89-

Thanks for your input. It's not an FX sends being absent problem - I didn't use any on this last mix and I'm experiencing the same issues. But you may be right- I'm monitoring something different from what is being recorded. Your second idea "if you are recording stereo channels you need to send them to aux busses" has me thinking. I'm digging into the the manual to reread that note. I remember reading something along those lines that gave me pause for a sec, but I moved on for some reason. If you have a minute, would you mind elaborating a little bit?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike333 View Post
I'm sending out mix buss into my Burl 2 channel converter. I have it normaled that way on my patchbay. I typically use the inserts on both the mix and rec buss for gear. Should there be a difference in which buss I use? I wouldn't think so. How are you sending your 2 mix out exactly?

I know recording to a tape machine would change thinks for the better, but right now, and in the interest of working speed, I'd like to keep recording back into PT. There's got to be a way to capture exactly what I'm hearing off the console, but for some reason things are changing for the worse. The recorded mix sounds significantly worse. Not in the "something is broken" way, but in the "this is not the mix coming off the console" kind of way. I started to wonder about monitoring the recorded mix using one of the stereo channels on the 948, and if the pan pot/widening phase thing was playing with my sound? It shouldn't.

Any other techniques to get exactly what is coming out of the console, back into the DAW?
-----------------
There is no reason you should be hearing anything different. The monitor buss is built of the same quality components as both the stereo busses.

Are you sure you're sending everything to your final mix buss? There are so many options on an AWS. For instance you can monitor both your record & mix buss by summing them but they will not automatically sum to your burl. You will need to take the record out and bring it back into the mix insert returns- and then hit both the insert and sigma buttons on the mix buss.

The AWS is pretty complicated in some ways so spending time with the manual is a good idea.
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30th December 2012
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The post above suggest what I have suspected as well. If you use both master busses (rec and mix) as part of your mix, and your ADC is fed from mix bus only, then you are capturing only mix bus part of the mix. Suggested solution above is great way to go. In case the return on mix bus insert is already used, you could bring your rec master bus signal to an unused stereo channel (using patchbay ) and blend in with rest of the mix.

Last edited by ekhan; 30th December 2012 at 05:59 PM.. Reason: empty post
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I just had another quick review of the manual. Could it be that I just neglected to hit that "Sigma" button on the summing matrix? That seems to allow both REC and MIX buss to sum together, thus allowing me to still use the separate buss inserts as I have been. I would love for that to be the case. But honestly, in this current mix I'm struggling with, I only had parallel buss compression on the REC buss and everything else on the MIX buss, and it doesn't really sound like it's only the REC signal that is lacking in my printed mix.

I'm very appreciative of all your responses! I'm off to experiment a little bit...will report back.
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If you are summing the REC & MIX busses in your monitor section, then you must return the REC OUT stereo buss to the INSERT RETURN of the MIX BUSS. Then hit INSERT on the MIX BUSS and hit SIGMA.

The only other thing I can think of that may be seriously affecting your sound is that you MUST assign your effects, Cues, etc to the MIX buss. I can't remember off the top of my head & I'm not in front of the AWS right now, but make sure you have them assigned properly and that they are making it to your final buss.

If you had them assigned to the REC buss for instance and you didn't have the REC buss folded into the MIX buss using the SIGMA switch, then you're missing quite a bit from your final mix buss.

I would highly recommend you download the manual from the SSL site and spend a lot of time reading & rereading it. That's the only way to learn this console as it is pretty deep- especially when you get into the DAW side.

Hope that helps- good luck!
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30th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortstory View Post
If you are summing the REC & MIX busses in your monitor section, then you must return the REC OUT stereo buss to the INSERT RETURN of the MIX BUSS. Then hit INSERT on the MIX BUSS and hit SIGMA.

The only other thing I can think of that may be seriously affecting your sound is that you MUST assign your effects, Cues, etc to the MIX buss. I can't remember off the top of my head & I'm not in front of the AWS right now, but make sure you have them assigned properly and that they are making it to your final buss.

If you had them assigned to the REC buss for instance and you didn't have the REC buss folded into the MIX buss using the SIGMA switch, then you're missing quite a bit from your final mix buss.

I would highly recommend you download the manual from the SSL site and spend a lot of time reading & rereading it. That's the only way to learn this console as it is pretty deep- especially when you get into the DAW side.

Hope that helps- good luck!
Thanks shortstory!

Yeah - I feel like I have my head around the buss routing to include both in my final output. It all makes sense. I'm currently not using any fx or cue sends. Only thing that was not on the main MIX buss was parallel drums. I missed them, but not as much as I missed the overall solid sound from the console. I'm playing around now, and your routing makes sense. Although, returning the REC buss into the MIX buss insert takes away the EQ I had inserted on the MIX buss insert. How would you go about keeping something strapped across the entire MIX (in my case now all routed thru the MIX buss)? Still remains to be seen what the recorded 2 track sounds like back into PT. We'll see shortly...

I've read the manual many times now. Both before and after getting this desk. I have it book marked on my computer and used to tote the hardcopy with me to my day job (nothing to do with an AWS) all the time. It leaves a little to be desired here and there. Some bits never made sense til I could sit in front of the desk and push the buttons. I feel like the summing part of these busses is one of those parts that could use a little fleshing out. I'm so close with this mix I've been working on, but I've really hit a stumbling block.
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Then just take the MIX buss out into your EQ THEN into your Burl ADC THEN back into Pro Tools instead of using the inserts for the EQ.

Then just monitor your Pro Tools return channels.

Might want to throw a nice 2-buss compressor in there too
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And by the way-

READ THE MANUAL!!!

read read read it. cause once you really get the hang of everything this desk can do it will be amazing. It's an extremely well thought out console.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortstory View Post
Then just take the MIX buss out into your EQ THEN into your Burl ADC THEN back into Pro Tools instead of using the inserts for the EQ.

Then just monitor your Pro Tools return channels.
Yep- that's what I figured. Messes up the way I liked to work before though!

It is a deep console, and the manual has been a constant and familiar friend.

Thanks again for your responses.
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We added a Dangerous liaison for that reason!
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I would take the time and get the mix right in the monitors up to the point of summing the Mix. Then use the Mix Bus Insertion points for any 2-Channel gear (EQ, compression, etc).

Daisy chain these devices and return the last in the chain back to the mix bus insert return. At this point you can use AWS Master Bus compressor by pressing the IN button and then assigning it to the mix bus using the Comp selection.

It is my understanding on the AWS that the REC/MIX bus inserts occur in the order listed on the board (SIG/INS/DYN/COMP/10 DB) -

This is what I use on every mix, making the Master Bus compressor the last thing in the chain before it gets to PT. In PT just record the Mix Bus Out from the AWS. As I said earlier make sure the Master Fader is up (and the Monitor Volume down using the Dial Pot)

Maybe you are not recording the Master Bus Compressor as it is heard when you listen to the REC bus but not assigned or tracked into the Mix bus?
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31st December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H89 View Post
I would take the time and get the mix right in the monitors up to the point of summing the Mix. Then use the Mix Bus Insertion points for any 2-Channel gear (EQ, compression, etc).

Daisy chain these devices and return the last in the chain back to the mix bus insert return. At this point you can use AWS Master Bus compressor by pressing the IN button and then assigning it to the mix bus using the Comp selection.

It is my understanding on the AWS that the REC/MIX bus inserts occur in the order listed on the board (SIG/INS/DYN/COMP/10 DB) -

This is what I use on every mix, making the Master Bus compressor the last thing in the chain before it gets to PT. In PT just record the Mix Bus Out from the AWS. As I said earlier make sure the Master Fader is up (and the Monitor Volume down using the Dial Pot)

Maybe you are not recording the Master Bus Compressor as it is hearbd when you listen to the REC bus but not assigned or tracked into the Mix bus?
Possibly. But in your workflow, do you not use the REC buss at all?
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I sometimes use the REC bus to assign Stereo (usually FX returns) to a stem on the REC bus for recording. I usually rec the CHOPs and use aux busses 1/2 3/4 5/6 7/8 for recording stereo sources.

The AWS is as flexible as it gets, and having read several posts here before buying which explained how the AWS can compete with all but the largest consoles it stands to reason that no two users will operate identically.

For me the REC bus is used more frequently during tracking and dubbing.

Did you find the source of your audio difference?
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In my experience with the AWS 900+(Iv'e never used the 948),The REC AND MIX BUSS DO NOT SUM AT THE MASTER MIX OUT.ARRGHH.You can press the SUM button and monitor the combination of the REC and MIX but if you want what you are hearing to actually print you must use CUE 1 as your main mix output back into protools or whatever format you choose....or patch REC OUT to a ST FX RETURN or a pair of open faders on the console.
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The 948 clearly sums the REC/MIX busses to the rec/mix outs.

Also, this from the manual:
"Activating bus inserts
The Record and Mix busses have balanced pre fade insert points. To switch the inserts into circuit,
hold the appropriate bus button and press the button in the row labelled INS.

The summing (?) matrix buttons allow the insert return to be summed with the bus signal. This
opens up a number of creative options - for example you can sum the output of another submixer
or of your DAW with the console mix busses without using channels or you can process some
signals via the Record bus, then sum the Record bus outputs with the Mix bus for further
processing."
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlheinz View Post
In my experience with the AWS 900+(Iv'e never used the 948),The REC AND MIX BUSS DO NOT SUM AT THE MASTER MIX OUT.ARRGHH.You can press the SUM button and monitor the combination of the REC and MIX but if you want what you are hearing to actually print you must use CUE 1 as your main mix output back into protools or whatever format you choose....or patch REC OUT to a ST FX RETURN or a pair of open faders on the console.
Yep- I had to amend my workflow due to this fact. I was patching the REC buss back into the MIX insert return, but that forces me to repatch my "over entire mix" EQ and compressor another way. I may start trying to patch the REC buss to an unused fader set to stereo mode (provided the mix allows for open faders). I'm not settled on how I'll work around this. Maybe even fx returns?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H89 View Post
The summing (?) matrix buttons allow the insert return to be summed with the bus signal.[/B] This
opens up a number of creative options - for example you can sum the output of another submixer
or of your DAW with the console mix busses without using channels or you can process some
signals via the Record bus, then sum the Record bus outputs with the Mix bus for further
processing."
It's that last bit that changes my normal patch routine- "sum the Record bus outputs with the Mix bus for further processing." The further processing won't happen with the flip of a switch now (the INSERT switch) because that insert is being taken up for the REC return. Comparing the "further processing" in and out of the signal path now requires bypassing the gear itself, provided it has bypass capabilities. This is why I think I'll try to bring the REC buss back to the MIX buss via fx or open stereo fader.

I didn't get to the bottom of my original issue yesterday. Although the definite inclusion of the REC buss in the final print was a piece of the puzzle, I still heard a little less magic in the printed track. Stereo spread and depth are the best way I can describe it. I need to keep working on it, but life (family obligations) got in the way.

I did want to pose another quick question to you guys that I couldn't answer with the manual. Re: automation - it's only engaged and playing previously recorded moves when you're "in" a selected mix? Seems like I can't just have a song play the automation without having a mix selected and subsequently updating it too. Is there a mode that will play the automation without going thru the EXECUTE routine? Just a way to play a song with automation purely for listening?

Thanks for the continued support and suggestions. Really helps!
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I use a very different console, but assuming you've got the monitoring of the 2-mix figured out - monitoring your stereo mix with one of the ' external ' 2-track inputs (just patch the 2 DA channels from the stereo track into the 'external ' inputs) - then its very easy to AB the mix as it's playing with what's being recorded. I'm sure the ssl has this capability - it's what you'd use if you were mixing to tape, no?

Btw - on my board we mix to a korg DSD, and come back in via one the external 2-track IP's as described above. If you want a perfect reproduction of what's coming off the board, this is it! Amazing.
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Quote:
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I use a very different console, but assuming you've got the monitoring of the 2-mix figured out - monitoring your stereo mix with one of the ' external ' 2-track inputs (just patch the 2 DA channels from the stereo track into the 'external ' inputs) - then its very easy to AB the mix as it's playing with what's being recorded. I'm sure the ssl has this capability - it's what you'd use if you were mixing to tape, no?

Btw - on my board we mix to a korg DSD, and come back in via one the external 2-track IP's as described above. If you want a perfect reproduction of what's coming off the board, this is it! Amazing.
Thanks Jono - yeah the AWS has a ton of external inputs you can monitor. 2 banks worth actually, both stereo and 5.1 sets. And that's exactly what I did, just patched my DAC to one of the external stereo inputs for monitoring the full mix that would be captured back into PT. At this point it's a matter of which method I like the best, or really, can let me work the fastest. Sonically they should all work out.
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Regarding your statement "(the INSERT switch) because that insert is being taken up for the REC return".

On the 948 there are separate inserts for the REC buss and the MIX buss you engage either/or in the master section by holding in the bottom column (either REC or MIX) and then while holding press the INS button until it lights up.

As far as automation goes, I use the A-FADA controls to capture automation into PT. I will FLIP in and out of DAW controller mode back to analogue when listening. It is definitely a double edged sword when having the dual mode console because many features overlap each other and can conflict. There is no right or wrong answer to this but in the beginning it surely can slow down the workflow process.

Its the journey not the destination, whatever works today is the best solution.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H89 View Post
Regarding your statement "(the INSERT switch) because that insert is being taken up for the REC return".

On the 948 there are separate inserts for the REC buss and the MIX buss you engage either/or in the master section by holding in the bottom column (either REC or MIX) and then while holding press the INS button until it lights up.

As far as automation goes, I use the A-FADA controls to capture automation into PT. I will FLIP in and out of DAW controller mode back to analogue when listening. It is definitely a double edged sword when having the dual mode console because many features overlap each other and can conflict. There is no right or wrong answer to this but in the beginning it surely can slow down the workflow process.

Its the journey not the destination, whatever works today is the best solution.
Good point H89. Seems like there is a constant evolution.

Just to clarify, I understand the INSERT being present on both busses, but when the REC buss needs to fold back into the MIX buss and you use the MIX buss INSERT point to do so, that insert in now being taken for that and thus no longer can be used to insert gear into that buss. That's all I meant there.

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31st December 2012
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Ok now I understand you are folding the REC buss into the Mix inserttion point.

Then as I understand it the way you have it now, the board sums the REC buss to 2 channels then sums the Mix to a seperate 2 channels then appends the REC stem to the mix stem at the insertion point.

If you have an open strip I would think it better to patch the REC buss here to give equal bias to the Mix bus when they are summed together with the rest of the material. Patch the REC out channels after insertion on the REC bus into a channel strip. Then you can apply 2 chan gear to the mix buss insert which is freed up.

I am not qualified to say if this makes a sonic difference but my instincts tell me it would. With a patch bay you could try it in a manner of a few minutes. Now you have peaked my curiosity...
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Aaah, and perhaps you have some channels going to both the Mix and Rec busses as it now stands and you can only monitor one or the other. This could explain why your print does not sound the same as your monitor mix. Any of this material would essentially be double tracked once at the REC bus insertion into the Mix buss and a second time in the mix buss sum along with other material.
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