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So, I need a summing box and tape why exactly?
Old 9th May 2017
  #391
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jjblair's Avatar
You see, I want to hear the song and the performances. I don't want to hear the medium. I only get distracted by a sound that I don't like or that is unpleasant. If I hear analog, then it's because I hear something that's not right. I don't want to notice that. I want to notice the music. There's nothing unpleasant or 'not right' about this to me.

People used to have this argument about whether or not SSLs were any good, because they were IC based. "You can only make great sounding records on discrete consoles." Heard that I don't know how many times. I also think you'd be surprised how many amazing sounding records were recorded onto the X-850 or the 3348. In fact, some amazing records were dumped to the 3348 before a certain famous mixer would even mix them.

My question is can I record into PT and mix ITB and do something that I enjoy, and conveys the song and the performance. I don't care if it sounds just like analog. Analog is not a sound. It's a process.

"The Burl sounds more analog." No. The Burl sounds less like the sound that I am putting into it, to me. Is that what analog is supposed to sound like? Something less like what the source sounded like? We spent years trying to get around that "feature" of analog. And the QC problems of new tape pretty much ensures that you're going to get that feature.
Old 9th May 2017
  #392
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
You see, I want to hear the song and the performances. I don't want to hear the medium. I only get distracted by a sound that I don't like or that is unpleasant. If I hear analog, then it's because I hear something that's not right. I don't want to notice that. I want to notice the music. There's nothing unpleasant or 'not right' about this to me.
Converters have a sound to them, DSP has a sound, etc. Tape doesn't sound like a direct monitor mix from the preamp outputs, but neither does Pro Tools, even with the finest of converters. Some people tend to prefer the artifacts of one to the other. For myself, I notice that something significant has changed more with an AD/DA conversion than with a clean level at 30ips, even if objectively the tape has more obvious imperfection.

Clearly, not everyone has this experience, and I think different people just value different elements of sound, and don't really notice different kinds of artifacts. I've encountered engineers who don't notice how crap their old converters are, how much jitter is in their clocks, etc. how ugly their plugins sound, but they are very attuned to tape hiss and head bumps. And likewise engineers who take issue with the fanciest converters, but don't notice all the wow and flutter and noise in their tape machines.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
"The Burl sounds more analog." No. The Burl sounds less like the sound that I am putting into it, to me. Is that what analog is supposed to sound like? Something less like what the source sounded like? We spent years trying to get around that "feature" of analog. And the QC problems of new tape pretty much ensures that you're going to get that feature.
There should be a distinction between saying "Burl sounds reminiscent of analog hardware and tape machines" and saying "Burl sounds more analog". "Sounds like analog" could mean that it sounds like straight wire, which isn't the case. To me Burl sounds digital+pleasant analog hardware coloration. The only thing that sounds reasonably close to straight wire analog to my ears is high quality DSD (thus far).
Old 9th May 2017
  #393
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
You see, I want to hear the song and the performances. I don't want to hear the medium. I only get distracted by a sound that I don't like or that is unpleasant. If I hear analog, then it's because I hear something that's not right. I don't want to notice that. I want to notice the music. There's nothing unpleasant or 'not right' about this to me.
We all want to 'hear the music'. But in the end, hearing the music is a transfer of emotion thing. No more, no less. The noises are just the conductor material. The transferred emotion is the music 'being heard'. Like when you goose up. That's the conductor material sending you a full jolt of it.

And yes, hearing the medium can be distracting in that context. But the medium also contributes to how the emotion transfers. A clean, digital recording feels different to a relatively soft focus and a little dirty tape one. (And please don't start the 'good tape ain't dirty' bit, you know what I mean) And so, the medium can't but become part of the 'hearing the music' and alter how that transfer of emotion lands at the listener's door. It's part of the conductor material. And it alters it differently for different people. But it is part of it, one way or another. Whether digital or analog.
Old 9th May 2017
  #394
Analog summing adds a certain sound to a mix. It subtle with most but it's a sound. You don't need them to make great recordings but for me 90 percent of the time I prefer summing through my Dangerous D Box. As I sum with a template in Cubase from the start, I have good headroom at the beginning. The only time I have to do patching is when I run my Portico compressor through the 2 bus. The UAD Studer does help remove clinical clean away and I also like all the options we have with it. Manley Vari Mu does help at the end as well.
However I would love to try summing through the API The Box or SSL XL mixer and see if I like the mixes better. Not only for the sound but the experience of using hardware gear like this
Old 9th May 2017
  #395
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Moss View Post
If anyone knows Joel Hamilton or has info on that band please let me know if that record was recorded digitally, or to tape.
-MM
From Joel:

"That highly suspect record record was completely tracked to tape in bogota, Colombia. Neve 8068 console. Brought into protools, then mixed completely with analog gear on my SSL 8048 G+ at studio G Brooklyn.
The first highly suspect record was done completely at studio G brooklyn but the same way. Tracked to tape then loaded into protools without any change in workflow - just continuing on past track 23 after the transfer. Mixed on a console like we were still on tape, printed back into my capture rig with a Burl B2 ADC catching what was coming out multitrack from the Burl mothership.
I always work hybrid. Analog and digital. Tape machine stays locked to protools to print some overdub on tape again when needed and right back into protools. We used a cool weird SONY 2" tape machine in Colombia for the latest record and my Studer 827 for the first one."
Old 9th May 2017
  #396
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBSC View Post
Converters have a sound to them, DSP has a sound, etc. Tape doesn't sound like a direct monitor mix from the preamp outputs, but neither does Pro Tools, even with the finest of converters. Some people tend to prefer the artifacts of one to the other. For myself, I notice that something significant has changed more with an AD/DA conversion than with a clean level at 30ips, even if objectively the tape has more obvious imperfection.

Clearly, not everyone has this experience, and I think different people just value different elements of sound, and don't really notice different kinds of artifacts. I've encountered engineers who don't notice how crap their old converters are, how much jitter is in their clocks, etc. how ugly their plugins sound, but they are very attuned to tape hiss and head bumps. And likewise engineers who take issue with the fanciest converters, but don't notice all the wow and flutter and noise in their tape machines.





There should be a distinction between saying "Burl sounds reminiscent of analog hardware and tape machines" and saying "Burl sounds more analog". "Sounds like analog" could mean that it sounds like straight wire, which isn't the case. To me Burl sounds digital+pleasant analog hardware coloration. The only thing that sounds reasonably close to straight wire analog to my ears is high quality DSD (thus far).
I agree with you about DSD, which is why it's my chosen print format now.

And of course everything has a sound. There is no free lunch. What I feel about the Burl is that it has an intentional sound which is a little thicker and darker than my preference. And of course my Symphony converters don't sound like a wire. However, and the point of this thread initially, is that I believe that digital has overcome the shortcomings that it suffered for so many years. The first of which was depth and dynamics.

GS is a weird place. I play that track, or another one from that project, for some extremely heavy duty musicians who have made hundreds of records, and they love it, and get excited about working with me. As this thread demonstrates, the reaction is quite different here.
Old 9th May 2017
  #397
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I have no trouble mixing ITB myself... as long as the sounds have been captured correctly it shouldn't make much of a difference.

That said I'm putting this crap together to stem mixes through at the end... and to capture acts live off the floor with.

Here is my new summing mixer and capture medium. It's a big waste of money, I know... Ha ha...
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So, I need a summing box and tape why exactly?-img_1666.jpg  
Old 9th May 2017
  #398
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
I have no trouble mixing ITB myself... as long as the sounds have been captured correctly it shouldn't make much of a difference.

That said I'm putting this crap together to stem mixes through at the end... and to capture acts live off the floor with.

Here is my new summing mixer and capture medium. It's a big waste of money, I know... Ha ha...
Ha! But you enjoy it! It's gorgeous.
Old 9th May 2017
  #399
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Yoski's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
Thank you, and I agree with this statement 100%. I've always said, there's no right way to record something, but there's definitely a wrong way, and you'll know it hen you hear it.

I am all for people whatever weird **** they do, as long as the results are listenable.

And now I'll reveal the impetus behind this OP: I've been reading so much superstitious horse**** on here for so long, some of it propagated by salesmen, trying too make a buck off people who have more money than sense, and some of it by "recording enthusiasts" who simply don't have a clue what they are talking about, and are perpetuating useless mythology. Some of the stuff I read in here that goes unchallenged is mind boggling. I'm tempted to name names of some of the repeat offenders, but I'll pass today.

If your recordings and mixes suck, it's probably because your skillset sucks. Improve your ear, not your gear. Putting stuff on tape, or some fancy box is not what's going to suddenly make your stuff sound better. In most cases, when I get something to mix that people have put stuff on tape, they've only succeeded in making it sound worse, because they don't have a clue how to align their machine. Learn how to record a drum kit without reflexion artifacts. Christ, learn how to tune the drums properly! Know how to pick instrument sounds and arrange them so that they fit around each other and compliment each other, not all fight for the same space, and step on the vocal. Learn proper gain structure!

99% of the stuff I hear that sounds like crap to me is the fault of the engineer, not the gear they are using. And when it is the gear's fault, it's because they used the wrong tool for the job. It's your job as an engineer to realize when something isn;t working. But people around here want to believe that there's some magic bullet to making things sound good, and there's a bunch of snake-oil salesmen looking to make a buck off you in the meantime.
BRAVO!!! I couldn't agree more!!!

I just came across this thread and have to thank you for it. Your mix sounds fantastic! I couldn't believe how 'anolog' it sounds! No wonder that fans of analog recording and mixing found something fault with it. It just pulverises their entire believe system, which - in turn - is not easy to 'digest', that's for sure.

And I love it when in lack of sound argumentation someone comes around with 'feelings'. It's the last resort he can take, because nobody can argue with somebody's feelings. It 'feels' better or 'it moves me more'. Even if it is true, the question is, do I really want to spend ten thousands of dollar (or more) on high-end outboard just because of 'it moves me more'? The answer is easy. Just listen to your track

I myself own a beautiful muti-track tape machine and an analog desk and decent outboard. But it is time to recognize, that these things are more or less obsolete. Digital became too darn good. There are many good reasons to stick with analog gear. But certainly not because it is 'so much better' than digital processing (sound-wise). These times are over. It's time to admit it!

I personally will keep my tape machine and my desk for pure sentimental reason. Or like this guy who recently bought a mixing console from me (I had two of them) but not with the intention to use it. He wants to put it in his studio only to show off in front of his customers. Because as he said, people still think, that when there is no real desk in the studio, then it's not a real studio. So guys, think twice before you ditch your old desk. It might cost you a few jobs.

Regards!
Old 9th May 2017
  #400
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jjblair's Avatar
Oddly enough, at this moment, I am working on a deal to get a Trident A Range in the new room I'm building. I still absolutely believe that there's no substitute for great gear on the front end, and am very far from sold on the "mic modeling" concept, having beta tested one of the better products.

I'm going to namedrop three friends that I know don't miss using tape: Ed Cherney, Niko Bolas and Ross Hogarth. I'm pretty sure Al Schmidt feels the same way, based on a recent conversation. I'll bet $100 Massenberg feels that way. Clearmountain told me he never turns his machine on. And I asked Mick Guzauski if using tape for Daft Punk was his idea or the band's and he states it was their idea, and indicated that he would have gladly done the whole thing digital.

Now, this does not mean that there's anything wrong with analog. Hey ... if you love it, use it. But the idea that you need it in order to make a great recording, or that you need a summing box, is an outdated concept. At least it is to this guy working in the trenches.
Old 9th May 2017
  #401
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OK, for all you guys who can hear a mouse fart at 50 yards: Which one of these did I do analog and which was ITB? (Extra credit for which one did I mix in less than 3 hours?)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DL7Yl_On_lo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfrpWJFqr8g
Old 9th May 2017
  #402
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Yoski's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post

Now, this does not mean that there's anything wrong with analog.

Of course. There is no need to stress it. As you said, you still need a nice front-end and some toys for the master bus, like you used for your mastering. But you don't need walls of gear any more to do recordings which sound as kick-ass as yours. That's the whole point.

Andrew Scheps went ITB too (but he is not a close friend of mine of course, hahaha). These guys wouldn't do it if it was compromising their sound.
Old 9th May 2017
  #403
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As for the mixing part of the equation, I think analog vs. digital comparisons are usually pretty apples to oranges. If you're stuck using console processing, like an SSL, vs. a full selection of UAD plugins, I think some people for some jobs can definitely do a better job with software. But if you have racks of 1176s and Tridents and APIs, then of course the Slate and Waves versions are not going to come even close.
Old 9th May 2017
  #404
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
OK, for all you guys who can hear a mouse fart at 50 yards: Which one of these did I do analog and which was ITB? (Extra credit for which one did I mix in less than 3 hours?)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DL7Yl_On_lo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfrpWJFqr8g
Dunno, but Roadcase Royale was 3 hours and the Yori Swart sounds lovely.
Old 9th May 2017
  #405
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Dunno, but Roadcase Royale was 3 hours and the Yori Swart sounds lovely.
I was going to say the same.
Old 9th May 2017
  #406
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Dunno, but Roadcase Royale was 3 hours and the Yori Swart sounds lovely.
Yeah. It's the demo that they then inform me that they are mastering to release. Ugh.

I mixed six songs in 14 hours that day.
Old 9th May 2017
  #407
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
Yeah. It's the demo that they then inform me that they are mastering to release. Ugh.

I mixed six songs in 14 hours that day.
Yup, done the odd day like that. Not for a looong time though and not looking to go back. lol
Old 9th May 2017
  #408
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
OK, for all you guys who can hear a mouse fart at 50 yards: Which one of these did I do analog and which was ITB? (Extra credit for which one did I mix in less than 3 hours?)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DL7Yl_On_lo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfrpWJFqr8g
First off, they both sound great!! I'm going with Yori Swart ITB, Roadcase Royal analog.
Old 10th May 2017
  #409
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OK. I'm an asshole. Trick question. Neither were analog. Since somebody said that knowing it was ITB poisoned their judgment, so I thought I'd see what happens if you think one of them is analog.

I know. I'm a dick.
Old 10th May 2017
  #410
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
OK. I'm an asshole. Trick question. Neither were analog. Since somebody said that knowing it was ITB poisoned their judgment, so I thought I'd see what happens if you think one of them is analog.

I know. I'm a dick.
2 questions if you would kindly answer...

When you say neither mixes were analog, do you mean there were both bounced ITB to a stereo mix without use of any hardware on the mix buss or anywhere else?

Also, what plugins did you perhaps use, if any, such a tape saturation etc. to perhaps try to make the mixes sound less digital or mixed ITB?
Old 10th May 2017
  #411
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
OK. I'm an asshole. Trick question. Neither were analog. Since somebody said that knowing it was ITB poisoned their judgment, so I thought I'd see what happens if you think one of them is analog.

I know. I'm a dick.
Old 10th May 2017
  #412
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The Yori Swart song sounds absolutely wonderfull. No hardware inserts at all?
Old 10th May 2017
  #413
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Yoski's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
OK. ... Neither were analog. Since somebody said that knowing it was ITB poisoned their judgment, so I thought I'd see what happens if you think one of them is analog.
Bingo! Right in the forehead!

I must admit, I didn't even listen to these files. I stopped to pay attention to contests like this. Almost always both files sound fantastic and the differences are insignificant.

You should have done this little experiment right from the start with the 'Shakedown Street' tune. I would post two otherwise identical files, but I would manipulate the second file a bit. +0.5 dB in the top-end and -1dB low-end, things like this. And then lean back and enjoy the show.
Old 10th May 2017
  #414
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSA7 View Post
2 questions if you would kindly answer...

When you say neither mixes were analog, do you mean there were both bounced ITB to a stereo mix without use of any hardware on the mix buss or anywhere else?

Also, what plugins did you perhaps use, if any, such a tape saturation etc. to perhaps try to make the mixes sound less digital or mixed ITB?
I use 99% UAD plug-ins, and I like to use the Studer 800 on a number of things, for the subtle harmonic coloration. I don't go for saturation. That was a habit I moved away from in my tape days, when I discovered that I'd rather have punchy transients than have saturation and tape compression.

I put the ATR102 plug across the master bus, because I love what it does to the frequency response, and I like the crosstalk function on it. I sum ITB and the master bus goes out to my NTI EQ3, sometimes into my Pultecs, too, and then through my Manley Vari-MU. Get Loud also went through a Dramastic Obsidian, which I like to add on stuff that needs to pump a little. It then goes directly into my Korg DSD.
Old 10th May 2017
  #415
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
I use 99% UAD plug-ins, and I like to use the Studer 800 on a number of things, for the subtle harmonic coloration. I don't go for saturation. That was a habit I moved away from in my tape days, when I discovered that I'd rather have punchy transients than have saturation and tape compression.

I put the ATR102 plug across the master bus, because I love what it does to the frequency response, and I like the crosstalk function on it. I sum ITB and the master bus goes out to my NTI EQ3, sometimes into my Pultecs, too, and then through my Manley Vari-MU. Get Loud also went through a Dramastic Obsidian, which I like to add on stuff that needs to pump a little. It then goes directly into my Korg DSD.
Have you tried UAD mix bus compressors enough to have an opinion of them vs. hardware? Especially curious about the API 2500 comparison, but Vari Mu too and others...

Btw I totally agree with you about not hitting the UAD tape plugins hard. Many people get lost looking at where they think the VU meter is supposed to be.
Old 10th May 2017
  #416
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Oh, one more thing about this 800 plug-in: If I recorded it, I don't use that to make things sound "less digital." I'm just adding a different character that seems to work for me, in the end. However, when I get something the was recorded in a way that I don't like, like on a Digi 002, it's a life saver. Cranking the bias on the 800 plug-in really mellows out a harsh top end in a way that EQ can't. I also like some of the lo-fi presents, and the way the 7.5 ips settings introduces distortion and shelves the high end. It's great for making something that sounds ****ty sound musical and interesting, much differently than something like De-Capitator, which while great, starts to make everything sound like the Back Keys if you use it everywhere before you know it.
Old 10th May 2017
  #417
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
Have you tried UAD mix bus compressors enough to have an opinion of them vs. hardware? Especially curious about the API 2500 comparison, but Vari Mu too and others...

Btw I totally agree with you about not hitting the UAD tape plugins hard. Many people get lost looking at where they think the VU meter is supposed to be.
I haven't used the 2500, but I really like the Vari-MU. There's some of my presets in the list there, and I actually use them. Try my parallel compressor setting on your drum bus.

The reason I like hardware on the output is that there's something about running through actual iron that introduces a phase shift that just sounds nicer to my ear than a plug-in. Same with the high end on EQs. How much effect the tubes actually have, I can't say. I've done a million mixes with just solid state EQ and compression, and was still happy. I tend to think that the sound I like to hear is in the iron, but I could be wrong.

Speaking of which, Get Loud also ran through a pair of Western Electric 111C transformers. Did it make things sound better? I really don't know. I've done tests with and without, and don't have a preference. But it made the client think that I was doing a really good job and giving a ****, so that's what I did.

True story.

It's like when I do my Glynn Johns thing and bust out the tape measure. Glynn never measured. You could argue that measuring helps ensure that the coincidental time of arrival centers the snare in the image, but how many records did Glynn do that thing on that never never bugged me once that it wasn't coincidental? But I tell you what - clients get really impressed when they see the tape measure, and they think you're doing some kind of engineer voodoo. That's the main thing I learned from JJP. I didn't care for all his sounds so much or how long he took to get them, but his razzmatazz really sold bunch of people on the idea that he was doing some deep ****, so he must be really great.
Old 10th May 2017
  #418
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
I haven't used the 2500, but I really like the Vari-MU. There's some of my presets in the list there, and I actually use them. Try my parallel compressor setting on your drum bus.

The reason I like hardware on the output is that there's something about running through actual iron that introduces a phase shift that just sounds nicer to my ear than a plug-in. Same with the high end on EQs. How much effect the tubes actually have, I can't say. I've done a million mixes with just solid state EQ and compression, and was still happy. I tend to think that the sound I like to hear is in the iron, but I could be wrong.

Speaking of which, Get Loud also ran through a pair of Western Electric 111C transformers. Did it make things sound better? I really don't know. I've done tests with and without, and don't have a preference. But it made the client think that I was doing a really good job and giving a ****, so that's what I did.

True story.

It's like when I do my Glynn Johns thing and bust out the tape measure. Glynn never measured. You could argue that measuring helps ensure that the coincidental time of arrival centers the snare in the image, but how many records did Glynn do that thing on that never never bugged me once that it wasn't coincidental? But I tell you what - clients get really impressed when they see the tape measure, and they think you're doing some kind of engineer voodoo. That's the main thing I learned from JJP. I didn't care for all his sounds so much or how long he took to get them, but his razzmatazz really sold bunch of people on the idea that he was doing some deep ****, so he must be really great.
Hah, ain't that the truth about a little razzmatazz. Yeah, I like trying your presets!

Yeah I really like the sound of iron in the mix bus. I'm summing with a Folcrom into a Neve 1073. I don't like running it particularly hot, so if I was going to hit a hardware 2500 with the same level that I'm able to hit the plugin (thanks to the headroom control), I would have to try a Cloudlifter or something. I also love being able to make tiny tweaks to the plugin's threshold so I can digitally hone in on the perfect spot. However, I'm sure the improved sonics of the hardware would make it worth it.
Old 10th May 2017
  #419
Gear Guru
Those are lovely sounding mixes! Nice tunes also.....I could care less how they were recorded and mixed ITB/OTB. Lovely is lovely.
Old 10th May 2017
  #420
Gear Nut
 

There's a fairly concise detailed explanation comparing the 2500 hardware and UA plugin here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Mt2G0fV1z0

From the hardware v plugin shootouts I've heard, it often seems one will hear less difference when there are more tracks being played in the mix; but usually the hardware will sound a bit better when it can be noticed. However, sometimes it just comes down to personal preference for the subtle differences.

Don't have much hardware to compare these days, but I've been experimenting with using just a transparent converter [Lynx HiLo] and plugins [UA; Waves; Slate; T-Racks; etc.] and bussing out through either Neve 1073 or Siemens V72 preamps. The V72 seems to add more forward low mids [bumps the vocals nicely] and harmonics than the 1073 'Neve' sound; and while reminiscent of, they seem a tad less aggressive than then REDD sound.

If anything seems certain, imho, when testing these options and variables, it is that a combination of quality plugins and some hardware iron on the mix buss does a pretty good job of creating and advancing a more musically appealing sound.

LOL: The other thing I often do when choosing which variables sound best is engage is creative imaginary visualization in which I'll walk around the room and imagine I'm in some relaxed environment, such as a boutique/head-shop clothing store in the Village in the '60's with incense burning and the music being played on a decent room stereo system as I browse, listening to the music only peripherally to see how much it will grab my ear. Plus moving around also helps to account for any room EQ differences.
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