Login / Register
 
Tags: , , , ,

Mixing orchestral music ITB or OTB
New Reply
Subscribe
jamwerks
Thread Starter
#1
14th February 2008
Old 14th February 2008
  #1
Lives for gear
 
jamwerks's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 2,143

Thread Starter
jamwerks is offline
Talking Mixing orchestral music ITB or OTB

Hi,

I've followed lots of threads here about the pro's and con's of mixing ITB versus OTB in general. People are usually refering to pop stuff I gather in these threads.

From my experience in recording sessions of orchestral music for T.V. and Film (I'm present only as an orchestrator, not engineer of any kind) the stuff is always tracked and mixed on SSL or sometimes Neve desks. I've never seen anybody track and/or mix in digital.

I'm wondering in the case of orchestral music, if the sonic benifits of a desk are that important? And what might they be (phase, etc.)?

Also, what about the difference of using all on board mic pre's (SSL 4000 for example) versus select outboard (Millennia, GML, etc.) pre's?

Any thoughts from folks in this sector?
#2
14th February 2008
Old 14th February 2008
  #2
Lives for gear
 
pkautzsch's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Munich, Germany
Posts: 1,738

pkautzsch is offline
Lots of orchestral music are being mixed on digital Neve, SSL, Studer, StageTec, or Lawo (the last 3 probably mostly in continental Europe...) desks.
That's the same as ITB, just with real fader feeling. Thing is, when going directly to 2-track you need faders, not a mouse.
__________________
Microphones always make me sound louder and better! -- Guitar Girl
#3
15th February 2008
Old 15th February 2008
  #3
Lives for gear
 
mixerguy's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 4,477

mixerguy is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkautzsch View Post
Lots of orchestral music are being mixed on digital Neve, SSL, Studer, StageTec, or Lawo (the last 3 probably mostly in continental Europe...) desks.
That's the same as ITB, just with real fader feeling. Thing is, when going directly to 2-track you need faders, not a mouse.
ahhhhh ... in my opinion - a digital console is NOT the same as mixing ITB
#4
15th February 2008
Old 15th February 2008
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Roland's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2002
Location: St Leonards on Sea, England
Posts: 2,597

Roland is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamwerks View Post
Hi,

I've followed lots of threads here about the pro's and con's of mixing ITB versus OTB in general. People are usually refering to pop stuff I gather in these threads.

From my experience in recording sessions of orchestral music for T.V. and Film (I'm present only as an orchestrator, not engineer of any kind) the stuff is always tracked and mixed on SSL or sometimes Neve desks. I've never seen anybody track and/or mix in digital.

Much is mixed digitally these days, regardless of what it is tracked on. Particularly for film, more and more things like PT Icons being used, Euphonix system 5, Mergings Pyramix is also used, the BBC are using Studer Vista's etc. Obviously I'm talking in regards to the UK market, however, many, (most?) Hollywood films have their scores recorded here and a lot of the posting is done in and around London. I can't think of a major mix facility (of classical music) that is working analogue.


Quote:
I'm wondering in the case of orchestral music, if the sonic benifits of a desk are that important? And what might they be (phase, etc.)?
There is no sonic benefit, contrary to "urban myth" analogue consoles add noise and distortion, where some argue this is desirable for rock records it is almost universally accepted that for classical music, this is bad.


Quote:
Also, what about the difference of using all on board mic pre's (SSL 4000 for example) versus select outboard (Millennia, GML, etc.) pre's?

Any thoughts from folks in this sector?

Most people would expect to get some sonic benefit from using external mic amps of the quality that you are mentioning above, obviously it is cheaper for a studio not to invest in them and just use what is in the console. I would expect there to be a slight noticeable difference in sound quality, however as you mentioned this is a TV/film sound session it is probably multi-miked to the hilt and that will likely reduce the benefits, say in comparison with a slightly more purist approach.

Regards


Roland
#5
15th February 2008
Old 15th February 2008
  #5
Lives for gear
 
pkautzsch's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Munich, Germany
Posts: 1,738

pkautzsch is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
ahhhhh ... in my opinion - a digital console is NOT the same as mixing ITB
A digital console is just a computer doing the same operations as a DAW. Just the keyboard and mouse don't look and feel like a keyboard and mouse, but like a mixing desk. That might cause people to work differently than they would on a computer - ie. to listen more instead of drawing automation.
#6
15th February 2008
Old 15th February 2008
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Apr 2003
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 3,612

fifthcircle is offline
I do the majority of my mixing ITB (using Sequoia). I prefer the big open sound I get there. Just did some sessions on an older Neve console that I've cut some great sounding jazz on. For the classical stuff, I preferred what I did in the DAW as the console was too noisy and added a somewhat blurred sound to everything.

Different strokes, I suppose. I've also done some great orchestral work on the little broadcast Neve we had at my college in the studio. It really depends on what kind of a sound you're looking for.

What has been said earlier in the thread is absolutely true... Nothing else to add here.

--Ben
__________________
Benjamin Maas
Fifth Circle Audio
Long Beach, CA
http://www.fifthcircle.com
#7
15th February 2008
Old 15th February 2008
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2003
Location: EARS/Chicago
Posts: 5,458

Plush is offline
I think that there is great benefit to using an analog console for classical music. The ones we use have no distortion. I also swear by using an analog console to mix multi-track analog or digital in the classical realm. I suppose I'm a dinosaur and to be scoffed at.

However, the result is a major sound hailed by all. Massed string sound on a digital console is not nearly as good as that same sound captured on an analog console.

I luv it when people laugh at my technique. I could not care less about how the sound is gotten. The only measure is, at the end, does the sound have a high "pleasant-ness" quotient.
__________________
Atelier HudSonic, Chicago

EARS-Chicago, Engineering And Recording Society

http://www.ears-chicago.org/
Deaf before Dishonor

http://soundcloud.com/hudson-fair
#8
16th February 2008
Old 16th February 2008
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Poland
Posts: 550

andy_simpson is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I think that there is great benefit to using an analog console for classical music. The ones we use have no distortion. I also swear by using an analog console to mix multi-track analog or digital in the classical realm. I suppose I'm a dinosaur and to be scoffed at.

However, the result is a major sound hailed by all. Massed string sound on a digital console is not nearly as good as that same sound captured on an analog console.

I luv it when people laugh at my technique. I could not care less about how the sound is gotten. The only measure is, at the end, does the sound have a high "pleasant-ness" quotient.
There is something to be said for the kind of headroom that a physical mixing console gives. Where digital stops absolutely at 0dB with a horrible crunch, the analogue equivalent often is more forgiving.

Are you making the 'analogue summing' argument here?

Andy
__________________
--------

www.SimpsonMicrophones.com - Next Generation Microphones

Hi-res WAV files: http://www.simpsonmicrophonesarchives.com/WAV/
#9
16th February 2008
Old 16th February 2008
  #9
Lives for gear
 
klaukholm's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2005
Location: EU
Posts: 2,838

klaukholm is offline
Andy, why would you record an orchestra with levels anywhere near 0db?
I can see that happening only during initial soundchecks or in live broadcast situations. In these situations I would use the Prism Overkillers and the Lavry analogue saturation.

A hard chrunch at 0db is also not true with our AD's.
I had an Oboe!! stick his bell in the mic and overloaded his spot channel the other day and there is no trace of harshness on the Prism even without the overkiller engaged.
#10
17th February 2008
Old 17th February 2008
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Poland
Posts: 550

andy_simpson is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by klaukholm View Post
Andy, why would you record an orchestra with levels anywhere near 0db?
I can see that happening only during initial soundchecks or in live broadcast situations. In these situations I would use the Prism Overkillers and the Lavry analogue saturation.

A hard chrunch at 0db is also not true with our AD's.
I had an Oboe!! stick his bell in the mic and overloaded his spot channel the other day and there is no trace of harshness on the Prism even without the overkiller engaged.
I didn't say recording, I said mixing - hence the 'summing argument' question.

I was talking about what happens when a number of tracks which were recorded with peaks at say -6dB are summed together in mixing.

When mixing digitally, if the total exceeds 0dB there can be more audible problems than the same situation on an analogue mixing desk.

64 tracks with respective peaks at a very conservative -10dB requires some low fader values in the mix to maintain proper headroom.

I wouldn't record anything anywhere near 0dB digital!

Andy
#11
17th February 2008
Old 17th February 2008
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Roland's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2002
Location: St Leonards on Sea, England
Posts: 2,597

Roland is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by andy_simpson View Post
I didn't say recording, I said mixing - hence the 'summing argument' question.

I was talking about what happens when a number of tracks which were recorded with peaks at say -6dB are summed together in mixing.

When mixing digitally, if the total exceeds 0dB there can be more audible problems than the same situation on an analogue mixing desk.

64 tracks with respective peaks at a very conservative -10dB requires some low fader values in the mix to maintain proper headroom.

I wouldn't record anything anywhere near 0dB digital!

Andy
Not if you know what you are doing.

IMHO miss-managing your gain structure is totally amateurish, if you were to do the same thing on an analogue board the results would be equally as disasterous.

Regards to all

Roland
#12
18th February 2008
Old 18th February 2008
  #12
Lives for gear
 
mixerguy's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 4,477

mixerguy is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkautzsch View Post
A digital console is just a computer doing the same operations as a DAW. Just the keyboard and mouse don't look and feel like a keyboard and mouse, but like a mixing desk. That might cause people to work differently than they would on a computer - ie. to listen more instead of drawing automation.
a console is a console

a DAW is a DAW

they are NOT the same thing.

even if you can mix inside a DAW, it is NOT the same as a (good) digital console!

maybe somewhat similar, but not the same.

#13
18th February 2008
Old 18th February 2008
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Roland's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2002
Location: St Leonards on Sea, England
Posts: 2,597

Roland is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
a console is a console

a DAW is a DAW

they are NOT the same thing.

even if you can mix inside a DAW, it is NOT the same as a (good) digital console!

maybe somewhat similar, but not the same.


The control surface may lead you to think that, but ultimately it's a computer system running software. The only differences possible are the software it is running, but then thats like different flavours of plugins and the fact that most consoles run only at 24 bit.

I've seen similar arguments about dedicated synths as against soft synths (and I'm comparing digital synthesis as against analogue modeled) and dedicated workstations such as Radar. Whilst the proprietry software that these products (as do digital consoles) run could potentially make them less (or more) prone to crashing they are all running a series of mathmatical processes. This can be seen in the fact there are a number of "digital consoles" such as the Digidesign Icon & Venue and Pyramix Rameses. I suspect that we will see more and more of these types of products as time goes on.

Regards


Roland
#14
18th February 2008
Old 18th February 2008
  #14
Gear addict
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Stockholm Sweden
Posts: 467

ghellquist is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by andy_simpson View Post
I was talking about what happens when a number of tracks which were recorded with peaks at say -6dB are summed together in mixing.

When mixing digitally, if the total exceeds 0dB there can be more audible problems than the same situation on an analogue mixing desk.
Eeh? Not in my software. All mixing in my software is done at 32 bit float and that can take many hundreds of dB above 0dB FS. All needed is to pull down the fader a bit.

BUT - when a signal above 0dB FS leaves the DAW, perhaps going to an external DA converter, things are not predictable any more. Anything really can happen. The worst scenario really is that things keep on sounding good.

Also some bus effects may not take too kindly to signals above 0dB FS, this inludes limiters that of course try to pull things down.

Know your equipment is the key here, this includes knowing your software.

Gunnar
#15
18th February 2008
Old 18th February 2008
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Poland
Posts: 550

andy_simpson is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghellquist View Post
Eeh? Not in my software. All mixing in my software is done at 32 bit float and that can take many hundreds of dB above 0dB FS. All needed is to pull down the fader a bit.

BUT - when a signal above 0dB FS leaves the DAW, perhaps going to an external DA converter, things are not predictable any more. Anything really can happen. The worst scenario really is that things keep on sounding good.

Also some bus effects may not take too kindly to signals above 0dB FS, this inludes limiters that of course try to pull things down.

Know your equipment is the key here, this includes knowing your software.

Gunnar
Indeed, but if we exceed 0dB in floating point software there is little chance of increasing the pleasantness quotient on massed strings.

Andy
#16
20th February 2008
Old 20th February 2008
  #16
Gear maniac
 
dbssound1's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 154

Send a message via AIM to dbssound1
dbssound1 is offline
The only thing I do on a desk is write on it!

Ok, My Turn!

I know it is an unpopular opinion with guys who have been doing analog for years (and by the way, I was cutting tape with my dad since I was 6) but the desk has got to go when recording classical. Much like a shiny sports car, it is generally making up for something lacking some where else (Just kidding guys, don't beat me up too bad).

If you are doing classical, and especially high end classical, you are generally working with talented musicians playing very fine, very old instruments. Some people love the warmth a board gives, but I want to hear what the instrument sounds like, not a 20 year old piece of circuitry sounds like. Boards , with all of there cool bells and whistles and there own "color" to the sound as well as a lot of unneeded analog circuitry.

You gotta start with flat mics (I use Schoeps, Gefell, DPA, and sometimes my royers), to a good clean preamp (I use and love the Grace Designs 801), to a superb A/D (I use the Prism Sound Dream ADA-XR at 192kHz, or the Meitner Labs for recording DSD) going to your recorder (We are a pro tools house, and Pyramix for DSD).

Short clean cable runs with high quality cable. Then in the rack, very short cable from preamp to converter. The less degradation of the signal path for me the better.

Also the need for all of those faders is a myth to keep big studios, scoring stages, and 18 assistant engineers running around and with a paycheck. Our mobile rig and studio rack both have 16 channels. I very rarely (even with spot mics and recording for surround) use more than 10. Often we use 5 (stereo main, ambient pair, center or solo spot). For a stereo release often 2-3 channels is all I need.

Having learned on a board, I hate the sessions I have to go in and do on one now. It is my preference, but I think there is a logical case for it in the classical world.

This debate will never die... Analog vs. Digital, Vinyl vs. CD, Coke vs. Pepsi. All I know is I don't have to think about HD DVD vs. Blu-Ray. Yeah Blu-Ray!!!

Just a thought.

All The Best!!
#17
20th February 2008
Old 20th February 2008
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2003
Location: EARS/Chicago
Posts: 5,458

Plush is offline
Fantasy creation

A very interesting and valid post above from dbssound.
The esteemed poster states that he hates mixing on a console now.

But I'm am one who believes that, at least for orchestral recording, we are creating a sound which mirrors our fantasy of what the sound should be like. At the top rank, engineers and producers want to have fun with the products they offer up, and the finished playback is an enhanced fantasy which aims towards a "full impact, full pleasant-ness effect." One needs to embrace what we all know anyway. The recording is an illusion.

When I first started out, I wanted accuracy and much attention was paid to technical aspects and learning how they should be approached and how the parts of the system interacted. Now, in order to remain focused on the musical experience, and having chosen certain gear, I let it do its job and pay little or no attention to the equipment.

For us, making a mix of orchestral music from a multi-track always involves an analog console, multiple transformer boxes, tube boxes, and then piled on more transformer sound.
Different tweaked reverbs glue the whole.

The above is done to create listening interest in the final product and also to amuse and delight ourselves as the fantasy is pursued.

It is a way to stay interested in the business.
I find that one is more highly paid for creating a fantasy than for offering up an aural photograph.
#18
20th February 2008
Old 20th February 2008
  #18
Lives for gear
 
videoteque's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Rome, Italy
Posts: 829

videoteque is offline
Two very interesting and very different points of view, that I am sure when executed by proficient people lead to great recordings in both cases!!!
#19
21st February 2008
Old 21st February 2008
  #19
Gear maniac
 
dbssound1's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 154

Send a message via AIM to dbssound1
dbssound1 is offline
I can agree to disagree on this issue as I feel neither approach is wrong. I actually have come full circle on this, having both enjoyed creating audio confections and recordings that are reproductions of real life. For right now, I find both my pleasure and pain in taking the highest quality gear I can get my hands on and achieving the magical experience through placement, good rooms, and superior instruments.

All that matters is the sound. The road you go down to get there is paved by good technique and experience, and the tools we use are merely the cars we drive down those roads. Hopefully they get you to the same location

I've done this long enough to know now that it really doesn't matter how we get there as long as the end product is something that the listener enjoys and makes them want to keep listening to music in this time where music has become background noise to so many people.

Heck, If I could set up a boombox in a hall, and hit record, and it sounded amazing, I'd do it!!!


All the best!
#20
21st February 2008
Old 21st February 2008
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2003
Location: EARS/Chicago
Posts: 5,458

Plush is offline
Right on, dbsound!

Now, please bring us more Jean Guillou!!
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
The Listener / Music Computers
8
Jeff19 / So much gear, so little time!
11
The Marrvel / So much gear, so little time!
15
Greens / Rap + Hip Hop engineering & production
2
jayjay / High end
25

Forum Jump

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.