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ITB vs. console summing test Consoles
Old 17th April 2018
  #1
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jjblair's Avatar
ITB vs. console summing test

The same two bars repeated. Panning and levels of some stuff is slightly varied, so it's not an exact duplicate, but I tried to match gain. It's not always repeated ABABAB. There's a head fake in there. It should be obvious, unless your listening environment sucks.

Mix was broken out of the Apogee Symphony onto 29 channels of the MTA 980 with Inward Connections discrete class A stereo bus, run through some Western Electric 111C transformers -> NTI EQ3 -> Dramastic Obsidian -> Apogee Symphony.

ITB has ATR 102 on the master bus -> Apogee Symphony -> 111C transformers -> NTI EQ3 -> Obsidian -> Manley Vari-Mu -> Apogee Symphony

Now, I can definitely hear a difference in tonality. In some ways I prefer one, in some ways I prefer another. Is the difference the Vari-MU and the ATR plus, or is it the TL072s and circuitry of the console? Whatever the difference is, I could certainly do a little tweaking and get them sounding closer, if that were my goal. I just happened to have both prints handy, and thought I'd share the results, so you guys could argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. But once again, I don't find that one is superior to the other sonically in such a way that I need to do one in order to get that special sound. I'll save my opinion for later, so as not to influence anybody.

But I can tell you this: With the amount of recalls I am having to do for this client, I certainly prefer one methodology over the other, and one of those gives me much better recalls, and takes less time to recall. Running tones through the console, and setting everything to unity gain is a pain in the ass, and these pots are not the friendliest. I don't see enough of a benefit in the console version to continue with that method.

File is 24/96. Enjoy.

Summing Test by J.J. Blair | Free Listening on SoundCloud

Last edited by jjblair; 17th April 2018 at 11:51 PM..
Old 17th April 2018
  #2
Sounds great. Great job. I don't hear a "compromise" in fidelity, and I probably without some great speakers couldn't tell you which is which.

Anyways, snare is hitting right, punchy on both, nice mix. If it makes / saves you money on recalls, I'd say you are in the clear. Gotta love 2018.

What is the Hammond? Real? Sample?
Nice work JJ
Old 18th April 2018
  #3
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Thanks. Everything is real. No samples or virtual stuff on this one.

Still on PT 12!
Old 18th April 2018
  #4
I like the top rotor on that track...why I was asking.
Nice.
Old 18th April 2018
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

If the point is to see the difference in the summing then the analog chain after should be the same.

Adding the Vari Mu makes it apples and oranges.
Old 18th April 2018
  #6
I think the point is to see if it's possible to work it and still get a hi-fi mix sans console?
Whether or not losing the console is going to hurt the sonics?
Doesn't really matter how you get there, as long as it sounds good.

Doesn't really matter if you have to insert a toaster in the signal path to get work done and make money does it?

Getting it that close takes skill, so props to JJ.

If you don't mind me asking, which mics on leslie top? Please don't say two C12's...cuz I ain't got none...
Old 18th April 2018
  #7
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Funny Cat's Avatar
Lol. I can't really tell where one ends and the other begins. I think I hear subtle diffs but I'm really just guessing here.

I "think" the biggest difference I hear is one of them is making the snare really bright and s***** and the other tucks the snare into the track a bit better?

I suppose you're one of those guys who can make it work either way. Nice groove! The Hammond stabs do sound mighty cool!
Old 18th April 2018
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post

If you don't mind me asking, which mics on leslie top? Please don't say two C12's...cuz I ain't got none...

I second this query. ^^^
Old 18th April 2018
  #9
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Drumsound's Avatar
I'm not surprised that this sounds great. I only listened on earbuds on my laptop at home. What I think I'm hearing is a more focused center in the bass and BD on one of the versions. I won't hazard a guess on which is which. I think JJ again proves its the ears and technique that matter most.
Old 18th April 2018
  #10
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxtone View Post
If the point is to see the difference in the summing then the analog chain after should be the same.

Adding the Vari Mu makes it apples and oranges.
Like I said, i wasn’t trying to do a scientific test. I just happened to have both prints sitting there, and thought I’d share.
Old 18th April 2018
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
I second this query. ^^^
87s on top and bottom and an SM69 in the room. I’m grinding the UAD studer 800 a little bit.
Old 18th April 2018
  #12
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Nice test, sounds great!

Not a huge difference. I like the loop where the tambourine is centered better ( loops 2 4,5 and the last one).
Even though I feel like the other loop has a little more front to back depth, I like the more in your face sound of that loop.
Old 18th April 2018
  #13
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myles's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxtone View Post
If the point is to see the difference in the summing then the analog chain after should be the same.

Adding the Vari Mu makes it apples and oranges.
Yep, the whole thing is worthless. In fact, it's probably fraudulent. 1-Adam-12 will be rolling up in front of the studio any time now, JJ.
Old 18th April 2018
  #14
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must be hard for some folks to learn that their otb gear maybe doesn't do a lot that cannot be done itb although they spent so much money on summing mixers, adda converters, cables/connectors (and time to evaluate, install and process/render)...
Old 18th April 2018
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
must be hard for some folks to learn that their otb gear maybe doesn't do a lot that cannot be done itb although they spent so much money on summing mixers, adda converters, cables/connectors (and time to evaluate, install and process/render)...
i'm partly agree with you for one main reason... first JJblair knows what his doing , if the files were nicely and professionally recorded , ITB mixing is relevant and so many people have great success that way.
i don't know for you but my clients are self produce artists and the recordings are often poorly done , i need my 15 years of accumulated gears to bring life.
Old 18th April 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by themixbedroom View Post
i'm partly agree with you for one main reason... first JJblair knows what his doing , if the files were nicely and professionally recorded , ITB mixing is relevant and so many people have great success that way.
i don't know for you but my clients are self produce artists and the recordings are often poorly done , i need my 15 years of accumulated gears to bring life.
i'm lucky (or selfish) enough to get to mix things that i or someone else recorded in decent ways - i spent some 10 years trying to get my itb mixes to sound right (and think that i achieved it pretty much), but went back to mixing on a desk and outboard (all digital though!) simply due to the fact that i don't like working itb...

this narrowed down my client list a little, but got me focused on musicians that can commit to sound without going back and forth between various versions too often (and then there are stems...)

p.s. 40-bit fpga for summing isn't bad either!
Old 18th April 2018
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
must be hard for some folks to learn that their otb gear maybe doesn't do a lot that cannot be done itb although they spent so much money on summing mixers, adda converters, cables/connectors (and time to evaluate, install and process/render)...

Quote:
Originally Posted by themixbedroom View Post
i'm partly agree with you for one main reason... first JJblair knows what his doing , if the files were nicely and professionally recorded , ITB mixing is relevant and so many people have great success that way.
i don't know for you but my clients are self produce artists and the recordings are often poorly done , i need my 15 years of accumulated gears to bring life.

@deedeeyeah - I don't think summing is a true representative of the power or outboard. I can't honestly say I'm a true believer in summing boxes unless they have a specific color they impart. When you are at the summing stage, the sonic stamp is pretty much already there. At that point you've already added EQ's, compression, distortion and saturation (whether plugins or outboard). The only job the summing engine or mix bus has is to combine the signals you've processed and mixed.

@themixbedroom -I agree with your post completely. I work with a lot of self producers as well as higher end clients that track on nice consoles in nice studios. When I'm working with the higher end clients the mixes usually come together pretty fast.

When I'm working with self producers I usually get flat sounding D.I. bass recordings, boxy sounding drums, elec. GTRZ tracked through (name your flavor of the month amp sim) vocals with resonance issues in several mid freq's and just like you mixbedroom, I generally have to run a few tracks through some outboard to get some weight and pleasant character stamped onto the tracks. This is a Hybrid world we live in and I'm continually learning which tools work best in each given situation. I'm glad to have a choice tbh.
Old 18th April 2018
  #18
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jjblair's Avatar
The only time I run something through outboard besides the bus is if I have a vocal that needs fattening, then it gets the BA6A. Or sometimes I need the Eventide Instaflanger, for a specific trick. I've learned to make the worst crap that was recorded on a Digital 001 sound good ITB. I had a client give me the worst digital sounding recording, come in, hear a warm, fat mix, point to all my racks of crap and say, "Wow. Which of this stuff did you run it through to warm this up?" I told him none of it. It's a different way of approaching a mix than console mixing, and I have to do some extra steps I might not do in an analog mix, but everybody seems to be happy with the results.
Old 18th April 2018
  #19
7+1
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another great example of how far we've coming ITB.
Old 18th April 2018
  #20
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This was one that was just recorded very badly on an 001 that I rescued, and mixed all ITB. I think I managed to get something pretty musical out of it. There's another one with a different artist that was just god awful that was recorded at Rancho de Luna, that came out fantastic, but that records not out yet, so I can't post it. But yeah, here's an all ITB mop up that I needed a ton of plug-ins and triggers to hide the awfulness.

Same Old Soul by J.J. Blair | Free Listening on SoundCloud
Old 19th April 2018
  #21
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
This was one that was just recorded very badly on an 001 that I rescued, and mixed all ITB. I think I managed to get something pretty musical out of it. There's another one with a different artist that was just god awful that was recorded at Rancho de Luna, that came out fantastic, but that records not out yet, so I can't post it. But yeah, here's an all ITB mop up that I needed a ton of plug-ins and triggers to hide the awfulness.

Same Old Soul by J.J. Blair | Free Listening on SoundCloud
Cool mix JJ. DId you mult the BD on a couple (few) faders to get all the different aspects of it to make sense? Maybe I'm just hearing a drum parallel. Anywho, its sounds great and I like the feel of the band.
Old 19th April 2018
  #22
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I proved this 10 years ago with my Electrodyne console vs ITB. Sure I could match what I did OTB being in the box but it took more time and the moves were twice as great ITB. That said OTB is much more fun, musical and immediate.

I do while mastering all day long. Get my path set with all my outboard, then beat it with my digital path.

The analog path is so much easier to hear and immediate, the digital path takes a bit longer to achieve.

There is no right or wrong. Either method is valid. Both will give different results. Some things will be better in the OTB mix while other elements will be better ITB.

Why the need for all this either or **** always makes me wonder? Use both, use either, use the tools you have to achieve the best results.

JJ switched his methods and is now proving, in a public forum that it can be done. He is somewhat popular so people pay attention.
When I did this 10 years ago I got slammed for it. Who cares.

Same thing happened in the mastering forum when I would rave about the Weiss DS1 and how I could beat anything analog with that box... well I got slammed for that as well until the plug in came out and now everybody gets it.

Who cares? Make great music. Use tools that give YOU THE RESULTS YOU ARE LOOKING FOR, be an engineer. Enjoy!
Old 19th April 2018
  #23
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there are a few now that can do what others could do ten or twenty years ago - rather than discussing gear, i'd prefer discussing aesthetics: still can't stand those mixes where room sounds/reverbs of different instruments don't match (of the guitar and drums in this case)...

but this is not (so much) about itb versus otb and/or summing but about separated sources versus playing together (and direct versus reflected sound), so all things for another thread.
Old 19th April 2018
  #24
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Cool mix JJ. DId you mult the BD on a couple (few) faders to get all the different aspects of it to make sense? Maybe I'm just hearing a drum parallel. Anywho, its sounds great and I like the feel of the band.
No. I probably have a trigger on the kick and share, and I always parallel compress my drum bus. If you have the UAD Vari MU, my preset is in there. Try it.
Old 19th April 2018
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
still can't stand those mixes where room sounds/reverbs of different instruments don't match (of the guitar and drums in this case)...
You better throw out most of your Beatles records.
Old 19th April 2018
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
You better throw out most of your Beatles records.
now that you say it: my sister had a few, i didn't, so no need for doing so - nevermind, you're in good company the way you mix.
Old 19th April 2018
  #27
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
No. I probably have a trigger on the kick and share, and I always parallel compress my drum bus. If you have the UAD Vari MU, my preset is in there. Try it.
Cool. I'll try to remember that if I get into UAD land.
Old 19th April 2018
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
JJ switched his methods and is now proving, in a public forum that it can be done. He is somewhat popular so people pay attention.
When I did this 10 years ago I got slammed for it!
Maybe you were using the wrong mouthwash?

Being popular is news to me. Seems like I"m constantly under attack from a group of folks. LOL. And I was thinking YOU were the popular one here!

I'm still trying to figure out if I miss faders, or if I prefer writing my trims manually where I can see the amplitude changes, and just loop the section and adjust until I hear what I want. I have templates and my own presets that I tend to reach for, so I'm not sure that it takes more time to do the three extra steps ITB to get there. I mix really quickly. However, my 5088 will have SWIFT Mix, and we'll see if I wind up using the faders as controllers or not.

As I keep saying, it's about speed and convenience, as long as I am not paying a sonic penalty that makes a difference to me. (As you know, everything has a sonic penalty.) I have a good friend who does really, really great mixes using mostly Waves Renaissance plugs for EQ and compression, and does his mixes on Sony 7506 headphones. Two methods I would never, ever choose.

As always, it's the samurai, not the sword.
Old 19th April 2018
  #29
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Farmboy presents's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
must be hard for some folks to learn that their otb gear maybe doesn't do a lot that cannot be done itb although they spent so much money on summing mixers, adda converters, cables/connectors (and time to evaluate, install and process/render)...
Clever shopping is the answer. I just bought a fairlight 24track recorder for NZ$800 and last year got an older apogee converter for $400. All obsolete according to some but still working perfectly well compared to that laptop you all bought 2 months ago which now is trying to phone home. Now if only someone will get tired of their " API The Box".
Old 19th April 2018
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmboy presents View Post
Clever shopping is the answer. I just bought a fairlight 24track recorder for NZ$800 and last year got an older apogee converter for $400. All obsolete according to some but still working perfectly well compared to that laptop you all bought 2 months ago which now is trying to phone home. Now if only someone will get tired of their " API The Box"
now this is serious business! and early apogee converters have a sound of their own...

[i was importing a fairlight cmi III in the late eighties for a little more money! (and kept upgrading until mfx? don't even remember) one could call those fairlights many things, 'but summing' box was not necessarily the first thing that would pop up...]

forget api - digital otb summing rules!
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