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Analog mixer to mix tracks from Logic
Old 28th June 2009
  #1
Gear Addict
Analog mixer to mix tracks from Logic

Hi,

I produce in Minimal Techno and often, i hear that's better to mix out of the box. Usually, i've between 24 and 40 tracks for a song.

The goal would be to route each track out of the box to each channel of an analog mixer. Mix each channel out of the box and than go back in to Logic. I think it's like that we must make.

But, 2 questions :

- Is it correct and can you explain to me the best way to have the best result ?
- Which is the best analog mixer to do that ? (home studio, price : 2000$ maximum)

Best,
Vincent
Old 28th June 2009
  #2
you call 24 to 40 tracks minimal?

LOL LOL LOL..

AHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHA

for 2000, no go. Sorry, but cheap mixers like mackies, and allen and heaths, you will get better results with logic summing, or reaper, or saw studio.

I'm not kidding. I've tested this myself.

I have rme converters too.

My advice is use logic.

Learn how to get more out out of less when it comes to your track count. Less is more in the digital domain!

Learn how to mix.

Its important to record most things at -6db. never slam your converters.

In really dense track mixes, -12 to -16 db when recording. you have to plan ahead.

But for a 16 track mix, recording at -6 db works great.

invest in great converters like lavry or something in that range, get a stereo channel strip, like a neve clone or a ssl, or a api. Get a fatso or a distressor and use the even harmonic distortion on everything, that will get your in the box mixes to sound much better.

use good reverbs, and pan things to make space. Software, yuck, use hardware fx mostly, but ohmboys delay, and sonalksis eq and uad is good, so is duende. I recommend the lexicon pcm 96 or kurzweil ksp8, or a pcm 80 or 81 for verbs.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when making music in the box is clipping and using the l2 on everything. Buy a monitoring system that can get loud with out you compressing and limiting your mixes and over driving your channels.

Good digital sound means no clipping, yeah its quiet, but you let the mastering guys make it loud, you just record and compress moderately and get things to sound good that way.

Seriously, I am not even convinced that the speck summing stuff out there is going to make things sound better unless you have really good DACs.

Now if you have apogee da16s, and a good console, like a api or ssl or neve, hells yes, it sounds miles better. But in the home studio mixer range, NO WAY.

Good fat sounds and warmth comes from analog saturation, and noise, and even harmonic distortion, you must use gear that adds this to your sound before it gets into the box. If you don't, it's "Welcome to cold thin and sterile flat bland lifeless sound land" when it comes to digital mixing.
Old 28th June 2009
  #3
on $2000, no chance.

you'll need to re-think and make some compromises.

to go out and back in the box with, say 24 tracks, the first thing you'll need is 24 quality DA/AD converters. you can't do this with cheap converters, there's simply no point.

i myself am in a similar situation, though with a bigger budget.
i'm summing half ITB and half OTB i have analogue signal generators and processors.

in my case i went for a soundcraft 200 delta (24 channel deluxe/DLX version) this is a very good budget analogue mixer($1000), i'm also modifying it to improve some of its circuit deficiencies ($200-ish).
i also went for 2X LynxTWO AD/DA cards giving me 8 quality ins and outs ($1000 second hand for the both)

so i'll be recording some synths 'live' and pushing some channels in and out the box. the rest: ITB

in your case, if you're already purely in the digital realm it's gonna take some serious investment to get OTB. because you'll need some half decent outboard processing ontop of a mixer and converters.

a line mixer and some quality converters would be the option if you just wanted to sum OTB and didn't want to apply any hardware processing. but as i said you don't have the budget for the converters.

i would say forget about analogue summing:
best use of $2000 would be get a nice stereo AD/DA and a good hardware channel strip -eg a second hand SPL strip. and track using that set up. if you already have a good AD, perhaps you could squeeze another hardware processor out of that $2000.

you'll get so much more bang for your buck than getting crappy converters and a ****ty mackie.
Old 28th June 2009
  #4
Here for the gear
 

This topic has been discussed several times recently:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elect...-samplers.html

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elect...iguration.html

this thread has samples of tracks through Mackie and A&H boards:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elect...-mixers-2.html

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elect...arm-sound.html

Several mixers suggested are Speck, Soundcraft Delta, Soundtracs Topaz and A&H for more color, there's even a new SSL line mixer for $2800.

How much tracks do you want to get out of the mixer and back to Logic? Some mixers have direct outputs (like Soundracft Pac Rac) so you can get same amount of channels back, but it would make more sense to sum in the mixer too and feed Logic master output.
Old 28th June 2009
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disease Factory View Post
you call 24 to 40 tracks minimal?

LOL LOL LOL..

AHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHA
calm down... no wonder you get into pissy arguments all the time!
Old 28th June 2009
  #6
Hey, Its joking around.

not being pissy.
Old 28th June 2009
  #7
Gear Addict
Thanks mate ;-)

I've no problem with mixing but i often heard it was better to mix out the box. I acheive very good results with Logic and I always record to -6 or -10db.

As monitors, I use Adam A7 and I use Lexicon MX 400 as reverb.

Have you some advices for good Fatso or Distressor (plugin if it's possible) ?

I agree with you for the mastering engineer but I have not the money for that. For me, if we only release in digital domain, the mastering engineer is less important than for the vinyl domain or the CD domain.

The only problem I have during my mastering session is that I've a problem with the high frequency (Snare & Hi-Hat). All is OK but when I listen to them trought Beatport player or Myspace player, the result is bad (i know that these players have a low quality).

Best,
Vincent
Old 28th June 2009
  #8
not saying you were being pissy.
but to start your post with an attack on the OP's definition of what minimal is can only lead to the darkside
Old 28th June 2009
  #9
up your budget (double) -- find out what good mixers are (you're doing it now) and adjust your demands for the amount of tracks (24)
sub groups are importtant too

there's bargains to be had in medium size low cost mixers, regular studios are scaling up or disappearing, and the industry that is doing live registration (FOH) have en masse switched to digital mixers (for convenience, not because they sound better)
What you DON'T want is a desk that needs lots of repairs all the time, and you can only use half the channels.

look into:

Soundcraft (Jim Williams mod)
Crest
Sony
D&R (dutch brand - very good quality - huge desks)
DDA (some ppl. say it's ****, some ppl. say it's the poor man's SSL)
Midas (avoid lower range)
Calrec (amazing quality with matching prices)
Speck (have an Xtramix myself - works great in a hybrid studio HIGH headroom)
Toft Audio (ATB)
etc.

then there's vintage broadcast desks. EMT Telefunken Tore-Seem Lawo Neumann ANT Siemens BFE etc.
these require an overhaul but are generally good value for money.
sonically comparable with the best (often transformer based) but a little cleaner than API or Neve.
but you'll need to see this as a longer term project often. (depends on the condition of the desk)
there's some bargains to be had, if you keep your ear to the ground
(older broadcast guys often have a stash of this type of gear - saving it from the trashbin a decade ago)

second option is to forget the whole idea and use analogue outboard from send/returns in Logic. It's not the same, and you'll have to figure out a workflow that works for you.

good luck - don't give up too soon
Old 28th June 2009
  #10
Minimal techno?

24 to 40 tracks.

Not laughing at him. Laughing because I am trying to imagine how a minimal techno song having 24 tracks, let alone 40 is minimal.

Plugins cannot do even harmonic distortion my friend. Only analog hardware can, and this is the big difference between the two.

I would say get a fatso if your synths are stereo, running a bunch of mono synths, get the distressor. They are analog hardware.

Your front end makes the biggest difference, if you are plugging your synths straight into your converters, you are going to have impedance issues. You need a di or a channel strip first before you hit that ADC. Great converters with a good front end like a fatso, or distressor, should warm your sound up. For hats!!!!!!! i like pcm 96 verbs, and the API 512 series eqs, or the ssl stuff, this can tame the hats just right. I hear the duende does that well too.

What is your source for your hats? that is also important. I recommend the goldbaby sample libs!!!! Some hat libs blow, man i really hate the sounds that come with battery, so hard to mix.
Old 28th June 2009
  #11
Lives for gear
 
7161's Avatar
 

Quote:
Now if you have apogee da16s, and a good console, like a api or ssl or neve, hells yes, it sounds miles better. But in the home studio mixer range, NO WAY.
sorry, i dont contribute much, but that is utter and complete fantasy land nonsense.

if you are proposing that old skool budget mixers (from late 70's/80's) or modern budget mixers cant turn out superb tracks you are either totaly inexperienced or never did anything on a ground level which is where everything happens and where everything HAS happened in electronic music since early house and techno.

no-one in top end studios ever creates a genre or leads an innovative cutting edge in electronic music - it is always the poor people working from limited bedroom setups

pretty much every electronic music genre's roots is in those geurilla bedroom setups. or is there some popular electronic genre i'm not aware of that is created for audiophiles to listen to while sitting in armchairs?

come on seriously.
Old 28th June 2009
  #12
Well, yeah. You got me there. I mean if you are going for that super pro high end sound.

And while some techno was made in bedrooms like you say, and this is deadly accurate, the bigger name techno acts sent their stuff to studios for mix down.

So just because say goldfrapp uses logic and crappy motu converters like they did on black cherry, they send those tracks off to a big bad ass mixing dude, who had top the line mixing desks and analog hardware to mix with.

Black cherry is one of my favorite newer cds, and it was tracked with cruddy converters into logic. I simply think it sounds phenom, but it was the big mixing desk and high end converters there that got them to that result.

What techno sounds good as far as production?

astral projection, and i think they have a good mixing desk and converters.

Um, ananda shake is good too. not sure what they use.

The big boys in techno, like chemical brothers and crystal method, they get mixed on big consoles.

Old 28th June 2009
  #13
Gear Addict
Mate,

- 8 channels for my drums (1 channel + multi-out with MicroTonic)
- 10 channels for my glitches (1 channel + mutli-out with EXS24)
- 1 channel for Percussion
- 1 or 2 channel(s) for Voice
- 1 sub bass
- 1 bass
- Between 1 and 3 synth stabs
- 2 channels for noise hit (short & long)
- 3 or 4 channels for FX.

And the amount is : between 28 and 32 channels.

Yes, it's Minimal ;-)
Old 28th June 2009
  #14
Yeah, complex drum mix. To me, is not minimal.

a kick and snare and china-hats, 3 channels, that is minimal to me.

I get it, you mean the genre minimal techno, but your mixes are far from minimal.
Old 28th June 2009
  #15
Gear Addict
Wow, you are incredible mate ... My mix is minimal and my tracks come out in minimal charts on Beatport and others.
It's not the amount of the channels who say if it's minimal or not but the song in itself.
Old 28th June 2009
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Strobian's Avatar
I've recently acquired the SPL mixdream, it does sound better than ITB bouncing to my ears, and has a couple really cool analog features in it like limiter, stereo widner. The seperation gives a little more air in the mix. Obvioulsy you run into the issue of having enough channels for conversion etc. You may want to look at the firewire Allen and Heath mixer ZEDR 16 and see if it works for you, its all in one solution, and actually sounds pretty nice. You dont need conversion then and you get 16 channels, which would be fine if you make a drum bus in Logic. An option not mentioned here yet.
Old 28th June 2009
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Network View Post
Mate,

- 8 channels for my drums (1 channel + multi-out with MicroTonic)
- 10 channels for my glitches (1 channel + mutli-out with EXS24)
- 1 channel for Percussion
- 1 or 2 channel(s) for Voice
- 1 sub bass
- 1 bass
- Between 1 and 3 synth stabs
- 2 channels for noise hit (short & long)
- 3 or 4 channels for FX.

And the amount is : between 28 and 32 channels.

Yes, it's Minimal ;-)
you can do submixes.
Old 28th June 2009
  #18
Lives for gear
 
crufty's Avatar
I looked at this too, and got discouraged. As a 100% bedroom guy w/no prospect of release, I could get a TR909 ($1k) , TB303 ($1k), Eleketron MD ($1k) and have room left over for a TR808 ($1-2kish)--or get 16-32 i/o ($5k), before even touching the outboard aspect. That's a tough sell.

Maybe it would be worthwhile looking at remote studio mixing? From a business perspective, look sales vs number of releases vs studio time per release. You may have done this already, just throwing out ideas...

Try googling or asking around...you might be able to find a young up and coming engineer, who has access to a big SSL desk, for $50 or so an hour (incl studio time--maybe late in the evening). If you prep your songs so that all the eningeer has to do is load your wavs into protools w/gain at zero (or whatever), press play/record, maybe it only takes an hr a song to get the analog sound. If you can sell 100 copies of that track, you "made" $50, and you still have your $2k to spend on other stuff...maybe slutty two track outboard, a few nice channel strips, pcie kit, AU/VST, more synths.

Just a thought...I don't know if this makes any sense at all.
Old 28th June 2009
  #19
Gear Addict
Submixes = Busses ?

If yes, I use a Drums Bus, a Basses Bus, a Percussions Bus, a Glitches Bus, a Vocal Bus, a Stabs Bus, a Fx Bus and a Mix Bus.

I think it's the best way for a mixing session.
Old 28th June 2009
  #20
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disease Factory View Post
Minimal techno?

24 to 40 tracks.

Not laughing at him. Laughing because I am trying to imagine how a minimal techno song having 24 tracks, let alone 40 is minimal.
Where exactly did he say that they all play at the same time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Network View Post
I agree with you for the mastering engineer but I have not the money for that.
It can be as low as around 80 euros per track already. Send 'm a fragment; if that gives you the shine on the track you can't do yourself, ask yourself how fast you can recoup the time/money.
Old 28th June 2009
  #21
Gear Addict
They don't play all at the same time ...
Old 28th June 2009
  #22
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Exactly, that's what I meant. When you've got 4 tracks that each contain certain FX sounds that only play once or twice in the entire track, of course it's possible to condense/bounce that to a single track and automate the EQ and switch effects on/off in that single track - but it's less work to use the 4 tracks (and it's not like you're going to run out of 'm anyway) and use separate FX/EQ on each.
Old 28th June 2009
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strobian View Post
I've recently acquired the SPL mixdream, it does sound better than ITB bouncing to my ears, and has a couple really cool analog features in it like limiter, stereo widner. The seperation gives a little more air in the mix. Obvioulsy you run into the issue of having enough channels for conversion etc. You may want to look at the firewire Allen and Heath mixer ZEDR 16 and see if it works for you, its all in one solution, and actually sounds pretty nice. You dont need conversion then and you get 16 channels, which would be fine if you make a drum bus in Logic. An option not mentioned here yet.
+1 on this option
Old 28th June 2009
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Phaidon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7161 View Post
sorry, i dont contribute much, but that is utter and complete fantasy land nonsense.

if you are proposing that old skool budget mixers (from late 70's/80's) or modern budget mixers cant turn out superb tracks you are either totaly inexperienced or never did anything on a ground level which is where everything happens and where everything HAS happened in electronic music since early house and techno.

no-one in top end studios ever creates a genre or leads an innovative cutting edge in electronic music - it is always the poor people working from limited bedroom setups

pretty much every electronic music genre's roots is in those geurilla bedroom setups. or is there some popular electronic genre i'm not aware of that is created for audiophiles to listen to while sitting in armchairs?

come on seriously.
Couldn't agree more!

I believe anything from Allen & Heath will suit you fine.

Cheers
Old 28th June 2009
  #25
Gear Addict
Thank you ;-)
Old 28th June 2009
  #26
i like the A&H option. never thought of that. i actually think they sound quite sweet.

i think its a choice of nice channel strip and nice stereo DA
vs A&H ZED-R 16.

I would guess the A&H idea is the more fun option. also you get to sum (your busses) OTB which is preferable. this is also the safe option as the channel strip idea requires disciplined use and careful mixing ITB. you could get great results with the channel strip method.

question is: does high quality tracking and digital summing beat lower end tracking and analogue summing?

theoretically a difficult one to answer. in practice i bet you'll have more gear-lust for the A&H option
Old 28th June 2009
  #27
quik idea, if u manage to go on with the ITB system for few more months, and squeeze another thousand in your budget, i'd definetely get a SSL X-Desk.

its got 8 "real" channels with 2 fx sends, and 8 channels with volume/pan only. if you bus (or "stem") some of the stuff that can go together.. like stereo percx, stereo drums minus kick and snare etc.. and fit all into 16 channels youre on. difference here is that X-Desk uses high end line input sections, and master bus circuitry of the large consoles. crapload of headroom. you pay only for that. no cheap preamps or eqs. if you can live with such limitation, its a great option.

most important of all, and what got me interested is... its stackable.. so donw the road its easy to get another and have 32 channels at mixdown. its the same bus seciton from X-Rack, AWS900 etc.

however, if youre into dirtier, warmer anlog soudn id opt for some of the older desks, with modifications and re-furbishment (better opamps, new cpacaitors etc) like soundcraft ghost, 2400, 1600 etc..


somewhere btwn this, in case you do need analog eq id opt for Midas Venice, or Toft ATB.



and i agree with 7616, you indeed do not need a 100k desk to feel the benefit of OTB mixing.



after this, i'd look into some analog outboard, a stereo coloured pre and a mix bus compressor. as Disease commented, you can gain a lot of separation in tracks if you add life to each one of them in the beginning, at the source level. so if its a ITB synth, take it out to analog, run it thru some analog stuff (pre/comp/pedals/fx/tape) and bring it back to digital. repeat for as many channels you feel will prosper from this treatment. experiment at first. when u have a buncha lively organic tracks like these, the cummulative effect at mix time is, it already sounds great even bfr you start mixing, and is MUCH easier to mix than clean ITB sound.


with this approach, combined with OTB sum/mix, and possibly a nice bus compressor at the end of the chain (like drawmer 1968, GSSL clone or api2500),... you are looking at a much greater improvement in sound. i'm positive the difference will bring a smile to your face.

im using a clone of GSSL and it works great , esp for dance/electronic/strong beat stuff.



of course, u don't need to do all this at once, but its a process. im in the midst of it too.


PS i STRONGLY recommend paying for the professional mastering engineer. some of them are really cheap. and work great. if you use a compressor on the 2-bus, its interesting bcs it makes you mix differently - in that case its good practice to send the engineer a version with and without your 2-bus chain. to give him creative options. its always an extra information for him to see where you were going compression wise etc..
Old 28th June 2009
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord View Post
quik idea, if u manage to go on with the ITB system for few more months, and squeeze another thousand in your budget, i'd definetely get a SSL X-Desk.
in which case he'll still need decent AD converters?
Old 28th June 2009
  #29
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Network View Post
2 questions :

- Is it correct ?
- can you explain to me the best way to have the best result ?
- Which is the best analog mixer to do that ? (home studio, price : 2000$ maximum)
you will be usign the softsynths at 96Khz?

#1. Correct is a personal taste.
#2. buy the best wordclock you can, with silver clock cables from acousticzen silver byte.
also clean AC power like furman ar-15 series ][.
+
behringer ultramatch src2496 is a verry nice bang for the $$ AD converter.
or aurora 16VT
or lucid 88192
+ Lynx AES16 or RME AES32.

i would go the Aurora16VT but with ADAT.
+ LT-ADAT + LYNX AES16 + LS-ADAT or RME RayDAT or AIO or hdsp9632
+ verry good external clock, clean power and silver cables.

mytek 8x192 is another good one.
crane song hedd192 also sounds warmth verry nice.
manley slam! digital the most transparent and 3d AD ive heard so far.
UA2192 is the best DAC ive heard so far.
Burl B2 & JCF 8DAV are new AD converters designed with direct transformer to chip technology.
m-audio profire2626 also another nice bang for the $$ AD converter.
behringer ada8000 its too noisy and too colored for my taste, the noise can be removed with a furman ar-15 series ][.
old motu 2408mk2/mk3 sounds ok.


#3. the best analog mixer, its a personal taste.
you must do listening test,

i liked the sound of MCI jh-600
& sony mpx-3036
otari concept1
soundcraft ghost also interesting.

i dont like the neve, api sound, tlaudio tube mixers for electronic music.

the old mackie 8-bus consoles are strange,
the new consoles with british EQ would be interesting.

Found: Logic ITB Mix [ALL iZ RADAR AD] vs. InnerTUBE Sumthang/JCF 8DAV

Jitter!!! please let me listen some!!!

Found: Evidence Audio Demo http://www.evidenceaudio.com/productdemo.html

Found: Apogee Rosetta800 A/D vs. Burl Audio B2 ADC

Found: Lavry Gold AD122-96MKIII vs. Apogee AD-16x

Mytek converter v.s. Digi 002 converter:A/B Test here!
Old 28th June 2009
  #30
Gear Addict
To check if I good understood, in summary, to mix OTB, i need :

- Hardware channel strip
- Hardware compresseur
- DA / AD converter
- Analog Mixer

Correct ?
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