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Revisiting the ITB workflow many years later. Audio Interfaces
Old 2 days ago
  #1
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Revisiting the ITB workflow many years later.

It had been over 3 years since my studio was fully assembled. I just recently got some equipment back up and running. Having decided to start off ITB to get ideas flowing using Live 8 and Komplete 11, I have found myself wondering why I ever left the box to begin with? (Monark sounds like my Model D, Its great).

ITB production back 10-16 years ago was nowhere near as developed as it is today (Imagine a Pentium 3 933mhz processor was a major upgrade from your Pentium II 300mhz). CPU power alone has made major strides in making this workflow easier to do rather affordably. I went OTB because at the time it was "cheaper" than buying a dedicated PC for the job (which frankly would be in the process of E-Cycling at this point).

Simple things such as recalling previous sessions is something you take for granted when ITB. Working OTB I had to take so many snapshots of equipment settings, and hope even after that I could recall a part so I could either replay the part or add another section to the track.

The fact is, ITB production is on a whole different level than what it used to be. As much as I love analog workflow, it can at times just seem impractical.

I just wanted to mention how awesome ITB production has become and see what everyone else's thoughts were?
Old 2 days ago
  #2
Yul
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Love OTB but then I realize the liabilities, the cables and the added complexity so I am 95% ITB.Yet my geekiness and inspirational streaks needs me to be detached from a computer. All things considered it might just be that I need a cheap piano or organ next to my PC which can do so much already.
Old 2 days ago
  #3
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I love the OTB workflow, it just isn't suited to every single workflow and genre. Some of my best works were nothing more than me and a MPC60 or 2000. The realization I made better music using less was where it started for me.

I mean I got 60k views for demoing just an MPC60, not even turning on any other equipment! Second most views was just an MPC 2000 directly connected to my camera!
Old 2 days ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Architecture View Post
I love the OTB workflow, it just isn't suited to every single workflow and genre. Some of my best works were nothing more than me and a MPC60 or 2000. The realization I made better music using less was where it started for me.

I mean I got 60k views for demoing just an MPC60, not even turning on any other equipment! Second most views was just an MPC 2000 directly connected to my camera!
Seems to me that a lot of the workflow problem with ITB boils down to too many options; whether that's from overly complex software, or too many patches, plugins, samples etc. It takes a certain amount of discipline to tame the unwieldy beast of OTB into something streamlined.

On the plus side, interface & controllers have come a long, long way in terms of making ITB musical and much more immediately gratifying. I LOVE my Maschine setup.

Software sounds really good these days too. I'm very happy with my U-he & Roland plugs, for example.

But I feel ya. Different genres / workflows really do thrive with different gear. Its the same with any other instrument. You *can* theoretically play any genre on one instrument, but in practice there are better tools for each genre, and the nature of the tool influences what you make with it.

But yeah, ITB is great! I'm very happy with my more-and-more-streamlined setup.
Old 2 days ago
  #5
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This is a polarising issue, here on Gearslutz and elsewhere. But it doesn't need to be. So before we go down that road in this very thread, I will point out that the majority of us use a hybrid setup to some extent.

This means different things for different people, but it's not unusual for a so-called "OTB setup," which may indeed be entirely OTB in every other respect, to use a DAW in place of a multitrack "tape recorder." Many others mostly work ITB, but enjoy one or two hardware synths which offer them some hands-on, tactile response and may be played like an instrument, independently of their studio.

And products are beginning to get more hybrid in themselves. More gear has software that goes with it. The MPC Live, for example, has its own DAW, but can be pulled off the computer and used stand-alone.

You're saying you've rediscovered ITB. I'd go a step further and say it's worth discovering how much power and streamlining a hybrid setup offers these days.
Old 2 days ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by :Metaphor: View Post
Seems to me that a lot of the workflow problem with ITB boils down to too many options; whether that's from overly complex software, or too many patches, plugins, samples etc. It takes a certain amount of discipline to tame the unwieldy beast of OTB into something streamlined.

On the plus side, interface & controllers have come a long, long way in terms of making ITB musical and much more immediately gratifying. I LOVE my Maschine setup.

Software sounds really good these days too. I'm very happy with my U-he & Roland plugs, for example.

But I feel ya. Different genres / workflows really do thrive with different gear. Its the same with any other instrument. You *can* theoretically play any genre on one instrument, but in practice there are better tools for each genre, and the nature of the tool influences what you make with it.

But yeah, ITB is great! I'm very happy with my more-and-more-streamlined setup.
There is almost no comparison to how clunky and awkward it was in the early days. The options available today are what we dreamed of 10 years ago.

Right now I am stuck with Windows 7 because I am still using my Emu 1820m interface. It just sounds so good I struggle to find another interface that will replace it in my setup.
Old 2 days ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis View Post
This is a polarising issue, here on Gearslutz and elsewhere. But it doesn't need to be. So before we go down that road in this very thread, I will point out that the majority of us use a hybrid setup to some extent.

This means different things for different people, but it's not unusual for a so-called "OTB setup," which may indeed be entirely OTB in every other respect, to use a DAW in place of a multitrack "tape recorder." Many others mostly work ITB, but enjoy one or two hardware synths which offer them some hands-on, tactile response and may be played like an instrument, independently of their studio.

And products are beginning to get more hybrid in themselves. More gear has software that goes with it. The MPC Live, for example, has its own DAW, but can be pulled off the computer and used stand-alone.

You're saying you've rediscovered ITB. I'd go a step further and say it's worth discovering how much power and streamlining a hybrid setup offers these days.
I have worked hybrid for 10 years as well. I am just saying how good ITB is compared to even just 10 years ago. I use an Allen and Heath ZED R16 for those kind of projects.

Believe me, I am never selling my analog collection.
Old 2 days ago
  #8
Here for the gear
 

The cost of OTB always outpaced my income. I used it in college but that's it. Now, at age 47 I might able to but.... Why? ITB sounds great and still allows me to feed my family.
Old 2 days ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzero View Post
The cost of OTB always outpaced my income. I used it in college but that's it. Now, at age 47 I might able to but.... Why? ITB sounds great and still allows me to feed my family.
Having a family and 2 girls myself, I can understand this 100%. Being able to shut it down and come back where I left off has become more important than me being able to spend all day in a OTB studio and saving all my setting at the end of the day.

Practical things begin to take priority.
Old 2 days ago
  #10
I’ve only been at this about six years, and just in that time, ITB features and sound quality have improved greatly. My DAW alone, Logic has much much better EQs and compressors. There are also many more high quakity emulations now. Diva was gery new back then, and now there are many that are close or about as good.

Also though, in this same time period, the cost of hardware synths has come down dramatically. Also, the number of great sounding HW synths has increased. There were no VCO pokys new, except for the Omega/CODE which is still $5000. My first synth was a DSI MEK I paid about $800 for. Its a crazy DCO/digital hybrid. Recently I bought an AS-1 and Behringer D for $300 a piece. They sound A LOT better. Back then a Prophet 08 was $2000, now they are $1500 and the DM12 is selling for well under $1000. Tons of great sounding VCO synths for less than $500 now.

I’ve bought and sold a couple dozen synths in that time. Some new, some vintage....but right now I’m with the AS-1, Boog, Rev2, and Blofeld. Its my favorite most satisfying setup I’ve ever had. I love guitar pedal FX as well.

I like and use both.
Old 2 days ago
  #11
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For beginners, ITB is the way to go IMO for electronic music. The resources available (computer power, DAW, instruments and effects) are staggeringly good and economical. If you say you can’t make good music ITB nowadays, you are kidding yourself. It just takes hard work and dedication.

Solely OTB is more important if A) you want to perform live with gear with no computers or B) ITB workflow simply does not work for you. I would say that B could be remedied with certain controllers to make it more inspiring for working with computers.

Hybrid setups are great for those who wish to incorporate certain gear they find inspiring or like the sound of. I would say that one should really have a solid case for wanting to go hybrid as there can be many headaches with incorporating hardware into your workflow (latency, space, cost, etc.).

I, myself, have a hybrid setup. I started in early 2000 when computers and plugins were no match for hardware. I bought a ton of gear over the years which cost a lot of money. While I learned a lot with my purchases and equipment, nothing would help me more than advances in technology (information available as well as cheaper and better products available).
Starting out today, I would seriously question anyone who wants to start out OTB right away (unless the bought an octatrack or other workstation as their sole piece to experiment with).
Old 2 days ago
  #12
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intuitionnyc's Avatar
double post. Sorry
Old 12 hours ago
  #13
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Anyone run into issues regarding what interface to upgrade to? I am currently using my aging Emu 1820M, but I think it will hold me back from upgrading from Windows 7 to 10. What interfaces is everyone using these days?

It would be great to upgrade my CPU/Chipset to something better than an AMD FX 970 platform.
Old 11 hours ago
  #14
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login's Avatar
I hate cables, the more hw I got the more my hate grew for them.

And saving presets and sessions is a breeze.
Old 11 hours ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Architecture View Post
Anyone run into issues regarding what interface to upgrade to? I am currently using my aging Emu 1820M, but I think it will hold me back from upgrading from Windows 7 to 10. What interfaces is everyone using these days?

It would be great to upgrade my CPU/Chipset to something better than an AMD FX 970 platform.
RME RayDat with 3 x ADI-8 DS on the desktop and Babyface Pro or Steinberg UR22 on the laptop.
Old 2 hours ago
  #16
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Architecture View Post
Anyone run into issues regarding what interface to upgrade to? I am currently using my aging Emu 1820M, but I think it will hold me back from upgrading from Windows 7 to 10. What interfaces is everyone using these days?

It would be great to upgrade my CPU/Chipset to something better than an AMD FX 970 platform.
Almost anything modern is going to be pretty good. My recommendation is more about bus technology. Don’t go USB. Thunderbolt or FireWire. Just buy a PCIe card. I run an off the shelf Dell with a FireWire card and a RME Fireface 400. I later extended my i/o with a Behringer ADA8200. Works like a charm.
Old 2 hours ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by login View Post
I hate cables, the more hw I got the more my hate grew for them.

And saving presets and sessions is a breeze.
Old 1 hour ago
  #18
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After having lots of high end outboard and vintage synths for years, I went pretty much all ITB (Apollo Twin MKII on thunderbolt) about a year ago... except for a minitaur, Neve DI and a p-bass. I built an amazing, high-end PC without compromise and it's been a lot of fun. I also have a 42"4K monitor hooked up which makes Cubase breathtaking.

I can run at least 8-10 virtual instruments playing online at 96K (like Diva and Omnisphere) tons of other sample based synths running (although i usually bounce synth tracks) and around 125+ audio tracks with tons of plugins no problem. Cubase remains tight and snappy with no clicks or pops. Latency for playing virtual instruments and drum pads is nonexistent. I can also record vocals to any track at any buffer since the Apollo has direct monitoring, so it's not an issue to have a massive project and still record vocals with no latency.

The Apollo is an absolutely amazing unit. Very high quality and very stable drivers, even with PC and TB2, which can be iffy and difficult to configure due to the TB converter needed and very specif motherboard requirements. Mine was very easy to setup though. I'm sure the Arrow with TB3 is even better and more highly compatible with a wide range of PCs on TB3. I only use the DSP for tracking. The unison mic pres and unison amp simulations are VERY good.

I run slate VCC and setup Cubase in a very traditionally analog mixing style. I try to mimic real life signal routing as much as possible and i get a great sound. I always start with the same preset mixing template as if the gear was permanent like hardware. I like to get to know it well.

It's been very pleasing. I also have Focal monitors and a treated room, so I'm still working in a pretty ideal environment. It was nice to sell gear and get all that money, although many $1000s went back into this compute, The Apollo, a mic and more Primacoustic panels.

Last edited by mike vee; 1 hour ago at 06:50 AM..
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