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Do you still consider that using OTB outweighs the costs of it? Reverb/Delay Processors (HW)
Old 2nd December 2018
  #1
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soundmodel's Avatar
 

Do you still consider that using OTB outweighs the costs of it?

Do you still consider that using OTB outweighs the costs of it?

I've been deviating between using well-chosen OTB with the idea of non-linearities, some noise, different sorts of harmonic distortion.

But I find that I'm often too lazy to actually use OTB, because it requires:

1) bussing
2) no total recall
3) printing the effect

I'm yet not sure, whether 100% ITB sound can be as nice. Compared to some combination of ITB and OTB.

Possibly, if one selects the plug-ins well. E.g. Klanghelm, Kush, airwindows and Nebula.

Another common thing, if the source is right, then minimal processing required.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #2
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I have a non-commercial studio. Art and commerce don't mix very well so I keep it clean of money's influence. When I buy something, it's to make better music, not more money. I like having options. Just because I have outboard doesn't mean I must use it if ITB works better. I still have tape recorders. Cost efficient? No. Fun? You bet. Sounds better? Too subjective. In short, if it feels good then money is no object. Bussing, not a problem with a mixer. Total Recall, I have no time to do something twice. Printing FX, again not a problem with a mixer and/or an abundance of tracks. What's right for me isn't right for everybody and what's right for everybody doesn't necessarily mean it's right for me.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #3
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Another thing is that a lot of good sounding mixes were done on small mixers and few outboard effects. Thus less can be more.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #4
No, because it doesn't really need to be all that complicated.

Even mixing into a single favorite color box - be it a preamp, a compressor, EQ, whatever - with some set-it-and-forget-it settings can add considerable life and dimension to an otherwise ITB mix.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #5
I had most of the outboard here left over from the tape days so it wasn't any extra $. Only the tank and train where changed out (storage and delivery). It was an easy and relatively low cost transition.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #6
In a word yes, so much so that I use an large 80 input automated analog console and a ton of outboard gear, that I continue to add to. Sure I have some a lot of plugs that mainly don't get used because they just plain don't sound as good. I still have my 2" 24 track which sadly doesn't get used at all. These days my DaW is used like a tape deck except for editing and midi, including a huge library of virtual instruments, and even with VI's once I have the part the way I want it I run it through some analog gear and print it .
Old 2nd December 2018
  #7
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Depends on your situation.

Producing/overdubbing: yes
Tracking: yes
Mastering: yes
Mixing: no, helps, but without a solid workflow can make things worse and more complicated.. resulting in a poor sound. If your mixing top level stuff, then totally unecessary as much of it will already have been tracked, produced and even rough mixed very well.

I pretty much tell anyone coming into the project studio world:
If you dont have at least 25k in your room and monitoring, getting hardware is a bit of a joke unless its extreme character pieces that are creative such as a distortion unit etc.


If you get hardware, I suggest printing as u go, because recalling is a world of pain and frustration. Opening sessions quickly and making the first few gut changes sounds waaaay better than what all my hardware does.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ripripstabstab View Post
No, because it doesn't really need to be all that complicated.

Even mixing into a single favorite color box - be it a preamp, a compressor, EQ, whatever - with some set-it-and-forget-it settings can add considerable life and dimension to an otherwise ITB mix.
This I've tried to nail down, but haven't figured out yet.

But yeah I had the idea of using OTB just as bus-sweeteners. Since that will save effort.

Also, at "lower" tracks it might not make that big of a difference.

The BC501 for example that I have sounds clearly more analogue than my best SSL G plug-ins.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #9
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I've come up with my 7 minute mixing rule: If I cant get the sound I want ITB on a track/bus or stem in 7 min's playing plugin-wacko-mole, I run it through outboard.

...Works for me.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by XKAudio View Post
Depends on your situation.

Producing/overdubbing: yes
Tracking: yes
Mastering: yes
Mixing: no, helps, but without a solid workflow can make things worse and more complicated.. resulting in a poor sound. If your mixing top level stuff, then totally unecessary as much of it will already have been tracked, produced and even rough mixed very well.

I pretty much tell anyone coming into the project studio world:
If you dont have at least 25k in your room and monitoring, getting hardware is a bit of a joke unless its extreme character pieces that are creative such as a distortion unit etc.


If you get hardware, I suggest printing as u go, because recalling is a world of pain and frustration. Opening sessions quickly and making the first few gut changes sounds waaaay better than what all my hardware does.
mixing on a console is more complicated? I think absolutely not. and there still is the sound of a good analog console which I believes still sounds better than ITB mixes. As far as recall, here it's not an issue, if someone wants to recall a mix, THEY PAY FOR IT.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #11
I like old vintage analogue synths and rack gear. But to keep all that stuff going you need to know a bit of DIY electronic repair.

MikeK.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfog09 View Post
I like old vintage analogue synths and rack gear. But to keep all that stuff going you need to know a bit of DIY electronic repair.

MikeK.
do me a favor don't tell my gear that, these are myths, if you take care of your gear and it's good stuff it will last.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougS View Post
I've come up with my 7 minute mixing rule: If I cant get the sound I want ITB on a track/bus or stem in 7 min's playing plugin-wacko-mole, I run it through outboard.

...Works for me.
Haha that's funny
Old 2nd December 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougS View Post
I've come up with my 7 minute mixing rule: If I cant get the sound I want ITB on a track/bus or stem in 7 min's playing plugin-wacko-mole, I run it through outboard.

...Works for me.
Skip the first step and you'll save those seven minutes.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #15
re Musiclab

Hate to break your bubble Musiclab. Capacitors do fail after time.
Old 3rd December 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfog09 View Post
Hate to break your bubble Musiclab. Capacitors do fail after time.
I was thinking the same thing. In fact, semiconductors fail as often than capacitors do over here, and often connectors and other oddities like shorted traces take a piece of gear down. Luckily I'm heavily into electronics so I can fix this stuff. There's no way I'd own hardware if I couldn't fix it myself.
Old 3rd December 2018
  #17
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drBill's Avatar
I'm running a 96 i/o HDX hybrid system, and I absolutely find that going OTB is worth it. In every way - sonically, esthetically, work flow wise. I have enough outboard to keep most of it at "recalled" positions, so I rarely need to tweak a knob. All my outboard comes up on inserts inside PT and it's as easy to instantiate a piece of hardware as a plugin. Often faster. If the outboard is not working, I just change to a different piece of outboard, and use trims before and after to achieve my gain staging the way I want it. I can usually find what suits my esthetic. I still use maybe 20-30% plug ins, but that's becoming less and less as time goes on....
Old 3rd December 2018
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetplane666666 View Post
I was thinking the same thing. In fact, semiconductors fail as often than capacitors do over here, and often connectors and other oddities like shorted traces take a piece of gear down. Luckily I'm heavily into electronics so I can fix this stuff. There's no way I'd own hardware if I couldn't fix it myself.
I've owned hardware for years and can't do anything with electronics myself.
The failure rate on forums such as Gearslutz is way over emphasised.
Modern gear will go for a decade or more without any tech intervention.
Vintage gear can be more flakey, but I've owned vintage outboard and synths for 20 years and have had to have something fixed once in all that time.
I DO own hardware, both modern and vintage, and can't do anything DIY.
Old 3rd December 2018
  #19
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all (digital!) hardware here, lets me do things no software can do (unless some of that stuff would get ported to plugins) - even more important though: very fast access to all functions from a surface with precise faders, multiple screens, hundrets of knobs/encoders; you can't beat a mixing desk when working with large bands/ensembles/orchestras, both live and in the studio!



p.s. speaking of costs: do you still use your 20 year old plug ins? maybe a few... or if you happen to use protools, how often did you get forced into buying plugins in a new format?! i'm not even talking about all the computers...
Old 3rd December 2018
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfog09 View Post
Hate to break your bubble Musiclab. Capacitors do fail after time.
Let me let you in on little secret, Ive been a professional recording engineer for 35 years I've owned my own studio with a large format analog console a 2" deck and a ton of analog outboard since 94 going on 25 years now. During that time I've had 2 different 2" decks and three different consoles, the first being a rental and the other two I bought. The first console was ultra reliable and lasted me over 13 years with maybe 2 times going down, and my current console I bought in 2009 and has never gone down during a session and it's an incredibly complex console with moving fader automation full switch automation, 80 inputs.

Do I have maintenance costs, sure but not anything crazy, I am not a rich guy rather a working pro. I can tell you from actual long time personal experience that yeah capacitors fail after a time but the amount of maintenance required is not anything to prevent you from running an analog place unless you have no money, and aren't a professional and maybe work out of your bed room in your mommies house. There are certain areas that I believe software plugs are an absolute necessity like most sample playback VI's but when it comes to eq's and compressors and even reverbs I'll keep my hardware thank you

Last edited by Musiclab; 4th December 2018 at 01:42 AM..
Old 3rd December 2018
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab View Post
Let me let you in on little secret, Ive been a professional recording engineer for 35 years I've owned my own studio with a large format analog console a 2" deck and a ton of analog outboard since 94 going on 25 years now. During that time I've had 2 different 2" decks and three different consoles, the first being a rental and the other two I bought. The first console was ultra reliable and lasted me over 13 years with maybe 2 times going down, and my current console I bought in 2009 and has never gone down during a session and it's an incredibly complex console with moving fader automation full switch automation, 80 inputs.

Do I have maintenance costs, sure but not anything crazy, I am not a rich guy rather a working pro. I can tell you from actual long time personal experience that yeah capacitors fail after a time but the amount of maintenance required is not anything to prevent you from running a analog place unless you have no money, and aren't professional and maybe work out of your bed room in your mommies house. There are certain areas that I believe software plugs are an absolute necessity like most sample playback VI's but when it comes to eq's and compressors and even reverbs I'll keep my hardware thank you
Checked out your page, nice rig. I have a D&R 5.1 automated console myself... 64 mono inputs with recallable analog dynamics, 10 stereo. Obvious advantages are also speed, being able to reach for a knob and adjust it instead of opening a window. Monitoring, it's nice to solo everything, create headphone mixes, routing, etc. In short.... it just makes everything easier and frankly... more fun. Big mixing consoles also look cool. Never underestimate the fact that humans are visual thinkers. Not only impresses clients but actually makes the workflow easier.
Old 3rd December 2018
  #22
The answer is yes for two reasons.

1. Using hardware gear in a studio is more fun and rewarding compared to using plug in's.

2. If I hear enough of a difference between the hardware and plug in, it is worth it to me.

With that being said, I prefer the hybrid approach as saved settings and multiple instances of good emulated hardware saves you time and money.
Old 4th December 2018
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRoy View Post
Checked out your page, nice rig. I have a D&R 5.1 automated console myself... 64 mono inputs with recallable analog dynamics, 10 stereo. Obvious advantages are also speed, being able to reach for a knob and adjust it instead of opening a window. Monitoring, it's nice to solo everything, create headphone mixes, routing, etc. In short.... it just makes everything easier and frankly... more fun. Big mixing consoles also look cool. Never underestimate the fact that humans are visual thinkers. Not only impresses clients but actually makes the workflow easier.
Hey Roy, we talked about your console in another thread, hope it gives you years of good service. Dr Bill is also a D&R guy.
Old 4th December 2018
  #24
A couple of years ago I would have said yes, now I'm a no.

I'm in the camp of using the best possible outboard during tracking, and then ITB mixing (on a DCommand).

I now am 100% ITB for mixing after many years of being hybrid.

The convenience factor cannot be over-stated. Being able to do a recall from my laptop is worth its weight in gold. And provided the tracking is done very well (which is usually what I am given), I have no sonic concerns when mixing ITB, and everybody thinks the DCommand looks great and it is fast to work on. Mixing from a mouse sucks.

Many may feel otherwise, and that's ok. I will say that it has been a major journey for me. For example, the summing box only left after over about 100 hours of comparative testing of a combination of tools ITB that now make up a couple of presets. I understand that not everyone wants/has time to invest that level of effort in analyzing ITB options in various topics/domains (such as summing). I have a variety of "chains" ITB that work great for me.

Your own experience, perceptions, and personal preferences may be very different than mine, so please take all of this with a grain of salt. Do whatever you need to do to make your business successful.
Old 4th December 2018
  #25
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Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
all (digital!) hardware here, lets me do things no software can do (unless some of that stuff would get ported to plugins) - even more important though: very fast access to all functions from a surface with precise faders, multiple screens, hundrets of knobs/encoders; you can't beat a mixing desk when working with large bands/ensembles/orchestras, both live and in the studio!



p.s. speaking of costs: do you still use your 20 year old plug ins? maybe a few... or if you happen to use protools, how often did you get forced into buying plugins in a new format?! i'm not even talking about all the computers...
I agree, mixers are made for mixing and not much else, therefore they usually handle this proces better than a multipurpose device.
You are using one from the Studer Vista series, right?
How is it holding up?
I know a place that has a Vista 5 and they had quite a few problems with it (several expensive repairs).
Very powerful desks nontheless. One of the very few that actually work well in the studio and live.
Still, I'm sticking with an analog desk, because I have very low maintenance costs and know that I'll be able to keep it running for many years. It also allows me to do some things subjectively better, although I have to resort to mixing ITB for some other things that could be done on a good digital console.
I also think that when it comes to mixing, ergonomics combined with the human factor more often than not outweigh the subtle differences in sonic character of different gear, especially when it comes to digital gear which gives us an enormous level of control.
Old 4th December 2018
  #26
Gear Addict
 

When I started recording one had to have a console to mix. So I bought a console and mdm machines. Technology is grown so much that you can now mix in the Box which was pretty much unheard of back then. However I've tried mixing in the Box and just found it to be a long tedious process to get the sound I hear in my head.
Literally I could pull up a mix on the console and have an excellent thing coming together in a matter of minutes whereas in the Box I've spent months trying different plugins and this and that trying to replicate the console sound. I think for me I'm going back to the old methods and mixing on a console. It just feels better and I'm very familiar with it and I like that workflow. I don't have to worry about recall because most of the time it's my own stuff and I can let it sit on the console till I get the mix I like. I think there's just something about analog summing that creates a blend that is really pleasing to the ear. Only you and decide if that's something that you want to invest in. However I find it to be completely worthwhile despite the drawbacks.
Old 4th December 2018
  #27
There are actually 3 ways to be OTB.
1) Use good hardware and outboard when creating and recording the music.
2) use a full mixing console and outboard when mixing.
3) Mix in the box, but send stems out through good outboard to finish your stereo mix (known as summing).


Option 3 retains everything about ITB mixing, like instant recall and use of powerful plug-ins, but adds potential colour from hardware EQ and compression just before the final stereo master.

Personally I use both options 1 and 3.
I don't think you lose any of the advantages of ITB when recording using some hardware synths, drum machines and good mic/pre in the creation of your track. Buying a decent summing set up for final mix down is very affordable. I have a passive summer (16 channels) and a variety of hardware units I can process the mix with. All you would need is a nice sounding pair of mic/pres and a nice compressor.
Old 4th December 2018
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetam View Post
I agree, mixers are made for mixing and not much else, therefore they usually handle this proces better than a multipurpose device.
You are using one from the Studer Vista series, right?
How is it holding up?
I know a place that has a Vista 5 and they had quite a few problems with it (several expensive repairs).
Very powerful desks nontheless. One of the very few that actually work well in the studio and live.
Still, I'm sticking with an analog desk, because I have very low maintenance costs and know that I'll be able to keep it running for many years. It also allows me to do some things subjectively better, although I have to resort to mixing ITB for some other things that could be done on a good digital console.
I also think that when it comes to mixing, ergonomics combined with the human factor more often than not outweigh the subtle differences in sonic character of different gear, especially when it comes to digital gear which gives us an enormous level of control.

from what i've heard, studer was moving production from soundcraft in the uk to a new factory in hungary due to quality issues... - however, i haven't ever experienced a single failure on the vistas which i own or got to work with (while i do experience issues with some other well known desks...)

the only issue i once experienced was that a configuration, which was created by someone who wasn't knowledgeable enough, was faulty - possibly the reason why studer isn't eager to give everyone access to their configuration tool? a very powerful tool though, with options far beyond other manufacturer's possibilities: i'm using a couple of different configurations tweaked exactly to my needs (and some for more generic needs/guest engineers)!

no, i'm having zero maintenance costs for a couple of years now - and yes, the whole concept of the vistas is about ergonomics, workflow and hence speed! factors which often get underestimated imo.

(i do sometimes get asked how it's possible to get so many inputs/outputs going in such a short period of time - to which i answer that coffee break is high on priority! the downside is that i rarely ever get a monitor engineer even when mixing larger bands/ensembles...)



p.s. forget analog summing folks, digital rules: i'd never ever leave the digital domain just to mess with my carefully crafted sub-/mixes...

[i do however like the sound of tape, transformers and tube gear (on some occasions): i'm surprised that no one is offering a digital box with emulations of such devices (and no, i'm not talking about a saturation plugin but a digital hardware device)]

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 4th December 2018 at 11:37 AM.. Reason: details added
Old 4th December 2018
  #29
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Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
i'm surprised that no one is offering a digital box with emulations of such devices (and no, i'm not talking about a saturation plugin but a digital hardware device)]
All of the expense of a hardware unit with power supplies and cabling to run an algorithm in the digital domain that is identical sounding if run from a PC processor via a DAW or it's own processor?....... I'll have a word with marketing!
Old 4th December 2018
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post

p.s. forget analog summing folks, digital rules: i'd never ever leave the digital domain just to mess with my carefully crafted sub-/mixes...
Sometimes I'm barely touching the EQ and with light compression.
Also, it doesn't negate an ITB mix, it is an additional, very quick and easy process which means you can choose which one is your master - the summed mix, or the ITB mix.
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