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Downgrade from Orion 32 & Sigma?
Old 11th March 2016
  #1
Gear Head
 

Downgrade from Orion 32 & Sigma?

Hey all! Been a while since I have anything here but I need some advice and this is the first place to turn to no doubt!

I have been toying with the idea of re structuring my whole setup for variety of reasons. A while back I purchased a Orion 32 along with an SSL sigma with the idea that in time I was going to add more and more pieces of outboard gear along the way. Well... While I have added some outboard gear its only been just a few pieces haha. That combo made the most sense to me at the time. I know I really kinda built my gear collection backwards in terms of having no outboard gear at the time and going straight to a orion 32 and a sigma.. Again I did it with the intention that I was going add outboard gear along the way and I wouldnt have to do much restructuring to make it work. Ill be honest I also thought that the sigma would make my mixes sound better just running it through that. All the pro-summing articles sucked me in and I fell for it. I finally realized that my bad mixes sounded bad because I suck at mixing.. I still do but im getting better.. The pieces of outboard I do have are: (2) Portico II Channel Strip, Portico MBP, (2) Warm Audio WA76. At the same time I was aquiring outboard, I was also aquring many many plugins.. I also have quite a few of the UAD plugs (30 +/-) and a few others but enough to really cover everything I think ill need/want to do.

Lately I have been thinking that if that is all the outboard I am going to need and just continue to use plugins for additonal compressing and any other EQing then do I really need this sigma and Orion 32? I could sell those two and buy something that fits my operation a little more appropriately.

Another option I thought of is just using hardware inserts with Logic/Orion and doing away with the sigma? Orion certainly has enough ins/outs to do that but then i am stumped on how I mixdown everything to stereo? I guess I can print all the hardware tracks but I dont necessarily want to do that. Is that even possible? What would be my options to get down to a stereo mix going that way? Do any of you recommend just using hardware inserts rather than analog summing? Without the sigma I would also need to purchase a monitor controller since the orion has no features for that.

I am intriqued by the by the new symphony IO mk2.. I was thinking maybe going to a symphony 8x8? I dont need any more pre's because I have the 2 portico channel strips and a chandler tg-2. I only need about 6 channels of inputs right now and based on my outboard usage about 5 or 6 channels. However I would still need a summing mixer to get down to a stereo channel to feed back into Logic. Maybe something a little smaller than the sigma? I could also look at the 16x16. I could run hardware inserts with enough ins/outs but then I would need first figure out how I am going to bounce a project then I would need to add a monitor controller too.

I do like the Sigma and it would be bittersweet to get rid of it. I guess one thing I need some help with is actually how to mix with it. I dont understand how I should setup all faders/gain staging. For example: I have two guitar tracks with some plugins bussed to 3-4 output with some plugins for the buss then I have the sigma 3-4 channel. Do I just set the guitar and buss channels to 0 db or some default level and control all track levels solely with the sigma then? Am I even close on this thought process? I want to try and streamline my mixing process. I am just wondering if I am trying to do too much for my current skill level. Thats why I was thinking maybe a different summing mixer that doesnt reqiure me to mess with another set of faders and just sums it, sends it back in and I am done with it. I would love to get a to point to where I feel completely comfortable with the sigma and I am gaining but maybe this is just too much for me right now? I am open to all and any suggestions. I do prefer to invest in higher end gear (if I can) because of quality over quantity.. A long time ago I use to buy a bunch of ART, Beheringer, $100 condensers, etc. at those weekly guitar center super sales and realized you get what you pay for. I completely liquidated all that stuff on Smilies
eBay and have been in a rebuilding mode ever since.

My current setup looks something like this when mixing:

logic - orion 32 - patchbay (outboard gear) - sigma - orion 32 - Logic - Bounce project.

Really appreciate anyone who takes the time to comment and offer any advice!
Old 11th March 2016
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Squawk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Studio 8o5 View Post
Hey all! Been a while since I have anything here but I need some advice and this is the first place to turn to no doubt!

I have been toying with the idea of re structuring my whole setup for variety of reasons. A while back I purchased a Orion 32 along with an SSL sigma with the idea that in time I was going to add more and more pieces of outboard gear along the way. Well... While I have added some outboard gear its only been just a few pieces haha. That combo made the most sense to me at the time. I know I really kinda built my gear collection backwards in terms of having no outboard gear at the time and going straight to a orion 32 and a sigma.. Again I did it with the intention that I was going add outboard gear along the way and I wouldnt have to do much restructuring to make it work. Ill be honest I also thought that the sigma would make my mixes sound better just running it through that. All the pro-summing articles sucked me in and I fell for it. I finally realized that my bad mixes sounded bad because I suck at mixing.. I still do but im getting better.. The pieces of outboard I do have are: (2) Portico II Channel Strip, Portico MBP, (2) Warm Audio WA76. At the same time I was aquiring outboard, I was also aquring many many plugins.. I also have quite a few of the UAD plugs (30 +/-) and a few others but enough to really cover everything I think ill need/want to do.

Lately I have been thinking that if that is all the outboard I am going to need and just continue to use plugins for additonal compressing and any other EQing then do I really need this sigma and Orion 32? I could sell those two and buy something that fits my operation a little more appropriately.

Another option I thought of is just using hardware inserts with Logic/Orion and doing away with the sigma? Orion certainly has enough ins/outs to do that but then i am stumped on how I mixdown everything to stereo? I guess I can print all the hardware tracks but I dont necessarily want to do that. Is that even possible? What would be my options to get down to a stereo mix going that way? Do any of you recommend just using hardware inserts rather than analog summing? Without the sigma I would also need to purchase a monitor controller since the orion has no features for that.

I am intriqued by the by the new symphony IO mk2.. I was thinking maybe going to a symphony 8x8? I dont need any more pre's because I have the 2 portico channel strips and a chandler tg-2. I only need about 6 channels of inputs right now and based on my outboard usage about 5 or 6 channels. However I would still need a summing mixer to get down to a stereo channel to feed back into Logic. Maybe something a little smaller than the sigma? I could also look at the 16x16. I could run hardware inserts with enough ins/outs but then I would need first figure out how I am going to bounce a project then I would need to add a monitor controller too.

I do like the Sigma and it would be bittersweet to get rid of it. I guess one thing I need some help with is actually how to mix with it. I dont understand how I should setup all faders/gain staging. For example: I have two guitar tracks with some plugins bussed to 3-4 output with some plugins for the buss then I have the sigma 3-4 channel. Do I just set the guitar and buss channels to 0 db or some default level and control all track levels solely with the sigma then? Am I even close on this thought process? I want to try and streamline my mixing process. I am just wondering if I am trying to do too much for my current skill level. Thats why I was thinking maybe a different summing mixer that doesnt reqiure me to mess with another set of faders and just sums it, sends it back in and I am done with it. I would love to get a to point to where I feel completely comfortable with the sigma and I am gaining but maybe this is just too much for me right now? I am open to all and any suggestions. I do prefer to invest in higher end gear (if I can) because of quality over quantity.. A long time ago I use to buy a bunch of ART, Beheringer, $100 condensers, etc. at those weekly guitar center super sales and realized you get what you pay for. I completely liquidated all that stuff on Smilies
eBay and have been in a rebuilding mode ever since.

My current setup looks something like this when mixing:

logic - orion 32 - patchbay (outboard gear) - sigma - orion 32 - Logic - Bounce project.

Really appreciate anyone who takes the time to comment and offer any advice!
You'll want to try doing all of your level automation in the daw, but controlling the Sigma channel levels, so that all of your level rides and summing are in the analogue domain. That's when you'll know if it's making any difference for you. Also, use all 16 channels of the Sigma, and experiment with it, pushing it, and see if you like what it's doing. If you aren't using it in that way, then it's probably not worth keeping it.

A control surface can also really help, as it gives you hands on control of your Sigma channels.
Old 11th March 2016
  #3
Gear Head
 

Do you recommend then switching meters to pre fader and just set everything to an appropriate level to where I have enough headroom to make it out of converters without clipping then use sigma faders for level adjustments?
Old 11th March 2016
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Slug1's Avatar
You need to recalibrate your converters up so that you can drive the SSL without clipping the digital signal. It's not about the meters per se. It's about gaining staging. You'll want to recalibrate the Orion DA up from its -18 default setting. Go to the manual and it will show you how.
Old 11th March 2016
  #5
Gear Head
 

Thanks for the suggestions. So any thoughts on what a nice "downgraded" setup would look like? I say downgraded but it might cost more haha... Symphony with a dangerous or similar summing mixer?

What are you thoughts on hardware inserts in logic? Should I just run out of the logic into outboard gear then into a summer or buy another interface to have enough outs to run hardware inserts then run everything out of an orion through all 32 channels of the sigma?
Old 13th March 2016
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Squawk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Studio 8o5 View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. So any thoughts on what a nice "downgraded" setup would look like? I say downgraded but it might cost more haha... Symphony with a dangerous or similar summing mixer?

What are you thoughts on hardware inserts in logic? Should I just run out of the logic into outboard gear then into a summer or buy another interface to have enough outs to run hardware inserts then run everything out of an orion through all 32 channels of the sigma?
If you are going to use hardware post D/A and before a summing mixer, the Sigma is your best option for summing, as all of your levels are analogue, and hardware is then always pre-fader. Otherwise, doing that with volume automation in the daw will be pointless, as all your fader rides will affect your post D/A outboard levels (unless you specifically want that).

The Sigma and Summation are the only 2 summing devices that I'm aware of that will allow you to work this way. That's a part of their appeal.

If you are using hardware on inserts in Logic, it doesn't matter, as daw inserts are normally pre-fader.
Old 25th September 2016
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
SonicAxiom's Avatar
Studio 8o5, have you changed your studio setup in the meantime? Or have you gotten more familiar with how to get good mixes out of the Orion32/Sigma combo?

I have virtually the exact same environment (Orion32, Patchbays, Sigma, some outboard gear) and I have achieved my best mixes with it. I think there are not a lot of alternatives to this setup with regard to workflow and quality. The more outboard you have connected to it, the better.

In the meantime, I've sold the Orion32 but certainly not for quality reasons! I have changed my whole studio cabling to a Dante audio IP network. Keeping the Orion (offering "only" ADAT and MADI) would have forced me to invest in a MADI-Dante bridge which costs serious money. So I replaced the Orion32 by a Yamaha Nuage 16-channel A/Dante-Dante/A converter, cutting my channel count in half for the moment. I have the impression that mixes done with the Orion32 sound somewhat better than with the Nuage but that has nothing to do with the advantages of the workflow in general.

The combination of the Sigma, a decent multi-channel converter, patchbays and so variety of outboard grear is perfect in my opinion. Often, I'm inserting outboard and print the processed versions before mixdown.

Generally, I'm not automating Sigma's analog "faders". I'm mostly feeding stereo stems into it. Still I have the impression that it's a lot easier to get wide, transparent and punchy sounding mixes this way than if I'm mixing ITB. I'm also chaining up 4 or 5 high-end outboard processors behind Sigma's mix A output to "master" the mix at the same time (still in the analog domain) before feeding it back into the DAW where it get's the final touch through a peak limiter plugin while being printed.
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