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Hybrid (but mostly ITB) Setups Channel Strip Plugins
Old 2nd March 2019
  #1
Hybrid (but mostly ITB) Setups

Planning to add a couple outboard items to my mixing workflow, to try out a bit of a hybrid setup going forward.

My personal setup is currently 100% ITB, but was wondering if anyone here has any examples of their own hybrid setups that lean more ITB than OTB for inspiration.

Currently, I have my eyes on a RND Portico II MBP, since that seems like a fairly versatile unit, and I've been having to do both mixing and mastering more and more these days. Then maybe follow that up with the Maag EQ4M, or something in that wheelhouse.

Basically, I'm looking to add a couple versatile-as-possible workhorse units that can move pretty easily between the mixing and mastering realms, one for dynamics and one clean-ish EQ unit. Not necessarily "color boxes," but I'm not opposed to a bit of pleasant harmonic distortion.

Would love to see a few (or more) of your setups!
Old 2nd March 2019
  #2
mp3
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Only mixing my own stuff, mainly using Acustica Pink and Sand for ITB eq and compression. Hardware wise, I’ve got a UA 2192 (for loopback processing, I’m monitoring via BLA modded MOTU), a Phoenix DRS-Q4 mkii, and a racked pair of Spectra Sonics 110’s with original trannies. I’ve got a couple of Stam Audio pieces (SA-4000 mk2 bus comp and SA-4000 EQ) on preorder.

Also have a Spectra Sonics 1100 and a DBX 242 (used to be my drum machine submix chain) that I can’t seem to let go of, even though I can actually afford better stuff nowadays.
Old 3rd March 2019
  #3
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Musician's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mp3 View Post
Only mixing my own stuff, mainly using Acustica Pink and Sand for ITB eq and compression. Hardware wise, I’ve got a UA 2192 (for loopback processing, I’m monitoring via BLA modded MOTU), a Phoenix DRS-Q4 mkii, and a racked pair of Spectra Sonics 110’s with original trannies. I’ve got a couple of Stam Audio pieces (SA-4000 mk2 bus comp and SA-4000 EQ) on preorder.

Also have a Spectra Sonics 1100 and a DBX 242 (used to be my drum machine submix chain) that I can’t seem to let go of, even though I can actually afford better stuff nowadays.
So is hardware so much better in sound than using plugins like Acustica that uses dynamic sampling?
Can you test Pink vs your hardware eq and the same with the compressor?
Really curious
Old 3rd March 2019
  #4
mp3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musician View Post
So is hardware so much better in sound than using plugins like Acustica that uses dynamic sampling?
Can you test Pink vs your hardware eq and the same with the compressor?
Really curious
I intend to shoot out Acustica Sand vs the Stam SSL clones when I get them, but for the rest, they’re not really apples to apples. They’re all solid (or better) tools. The Acustica plugins definitely capture the essence of hardware, but I do find you can’t gainstage them for more harmonic saturation like you can with hardware. And they slaughter my 2014 Mac mini...
Old 4th March 2019
  #5
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e-are's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musician View Post
So is hardware so much better in sound than using plugins like Acustica that uses dynamic sampling?
Can you test Pink vs your hardware eq and the same with the compressor?
Really curious

Quote:
Originally Posted by mp3 View Post
The Acustica plugins definitely capture the essence of hardware, but I do find you can’t gainstage them for more harmonic saturation like you can with hardware. And they slaughter my 2014 Mac mini...
Yep Acustica's plugs are great but they require a different workflow, at least for me. I would have to freeze or export many tracks because of the work load. Most Hardware I record back after the mix is done so no real workflow killer at all. Gainstaging is a big deal with Acustica but there are a few work arounds for that. I tried the couple pieces of hardware thing and it was better but things started taking shape better for me when I started building lots of outboard. Tweaking in context is key for me. Of course the Stam on the 2 bus is good and will probably help get what your looking for as well. I love it on piano, mainly when I want an aggressive sounding piano, snares, and drum bus sometimes.
Old 4th March 2019
  #6
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DrSax's Avatar
I have an extensive hybrid setup, but if I could only keep one piece of Outboard gear it would be the Louder Than Liftoff Silver Bullet from @ BradM and @ drBill - It is the perfect hybrid centerpiece and offers more sonic goodness than any other single piece of gear I’ve ever used. I would highly recommend it. Sounds stellar for recording, mixing, and mastering, lives on my two buss... plus it offers a world class stereo mic pre, Neve-ish & API-ish transformers, inserts and a great sounding EQ. Two rack spaces never sounded so good. It’s the most beneficial single outboard piece for a hybrid setup as far as I’m concerned.
Old 4th March 2019
  #7
mp3
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I want a Silver Bullet, but since I already have both vintage (SS110) and vintage-inspired (Phoenix) amps and a wide-and-sweet EQ (Phoenix), the value isn't there for me. I might go for an Overstayer Modular Channel though, that thing looks fun, in an outboard-for-synthheads kind of way.
Old 4th March 2019
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonnBoy View Post
Planning to add a couple outboard items to my mixing workflow, to try out a bit of a hybrid setup going forward.

My personal setup is currently 100% ITB, but was wondering if anyone here has any examples of their own hybrid setups that lean more ITB than OTB for inspiration.

Currently, I have my eyes on a RND Portico II MBP, since that seems like a fairly versatile unit, and I've been having to do both mixing and mastering more and more these days. Then maybe follow that up with the Maag EQ4M, or something in that wheelhouse.

Basically, I'm looking to add a couple versatile-as-possible workhorse units that can move pretty easily between the mixing and mastering realms, one for dynamics and one clean-ish EQ unit. Not necessarily "color boxes," but I'm not opposed to a bit of pleasant harmonic distortion.

Would love to see a few (or more) of your setups!
So are you basically just looking for recommendations on a mixbus chain? If so, the options are almost infinitesimal.

FWIW, I have quite a lot of outboard gear here (and lots of other gear has come and gone). The chain that most often ends up on my mixbus is the Dramatic Obsidian, Manley Massive Passive and Crane Song Held. But everyone's tastes are different and it has taken many years of trial and error to get to this point.
Old 4th March 2019
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
So are you basically just looking for recommendations on a mixbus chain? If so, the options are almost infinitesimal.

FWIW, I have quite a lot of outboard gear here (and lots of other gear has come and gone). The chain that most often ends up on my mixbus is the Dramatic Obsidian, Manley Massive Passive and Crane Song Held. But everyone's tastes are different and it has taken many years of trial and error to get to this point.
High level, yes. Not so much recommendations, but just some example setups, flows, experiences, and use cases. See if anything unique comes of it that I haven't thought of.

I'll have to check out the Obsidian for sure. Are you using the 500-series version? I have a 500 rack that could use some love, and, wouldn't be opposed to starting out with a curated 500-series chain. Maybe an Obsidian and a stereo EQ module like a WesAudio unit, or a pair of SSL EQ's.
Old 5th March 2019
  #10
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e-are's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonnBoy View Post
High level, yes. Not so much recommendations, but just some example setups, flows, experiences, and use cases. See if anything unique comes of it that I haven't thought of.

I'll have to check out the Obsidian for sure. Are you using the 500-series version? I have a 500 rack that could use some love, and, wouldn't be opposed to starting out with a curated 500-series chain. Maybe an Obsidian and a stereo EQ module like a WesAudio unit, or a pair of SSL EQ's.
You will not be disappointed with a Wes Audio Hyperion eq.
Old 5th March 2019
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by e-are View Post
You will not be disappointed with a Wes Audio Hyperion eq.
That's the one I've been looking at. Seems like excellent bang-for-buck.

I've been kind of intrigued by their entire lineup really. They seem like a company that's very forward thinking in terms of hybrid workflows, just been in a bit of a wait-and-see position in terms of how their units actually perform out in the wild.
Old 5th March 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mp3 View Post
I intend to shoot out Acustica Sand vs the Stam SSL clones when I get them, but for the rest, they’re not really apples to apples. They’re all solid (or better) tools. The Acustica plugins definitely capture the essence of hardware, but I do find you can’t gainstage them for more harmonic saturation like you can with hardware. And they slaughter my 2014 Mac mini...
Stam SSL is the worst of the clones. mucky and confused sounding. the only think i hate more is the API 2500 for doing too much and too little. the Alan Smart C2M will never clump. i use one daily. i also have a Gyraf SSL clone that sounds a little more vca saturated but is quite alive. especially with the side chain options mod.

the massive passive sounds fantastic. even with no bands on. just the gain stage. i also routinely use a Tubetech SMC2B. sounds great. get the crossovers right and you are done. the manley varimu gets used a lot as well. especially in Mid Side mode ( it's an option ).

otherwise i like my old orban 464 Co operator. it pumps like it's having fun.
Old 5th March 2019
  #13
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e-are's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonnBoy View Post
That's the one I've been looking at. Seems like excellent bang-for-buck.

I've been kind of intrigued by their entire lineup really. They seem like a company that's very forward thinking in terms of hybrid workflows, just been in a bit of a wait-and-see position in terms of how their units actually perform out in the wild.
I have the Dione and Hyperion and I can tell you they are great. Functionality is superb and recall...well, in this day and time is remarkable.
Old 5th March 2019
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by e-are View Post
I have the Dione and Hyperion and I can tell you they are great. Functionality is superb and recall...well, in this day and time is remarkable.
Wonder if anyone has compared the Dione to the Obsidian, or even the SSL G Compressor. I work primarily in low-end heavy genres (Urban Pop/R&B, Hip-Hop, 808-infused Indie Pop), and want something that can handle low end coming at it pretty fast and loud, as transparently as possible. Wonder how the G-Comp-style stereo comp units compare (or maybe even improve upon?) the real thing.
Old 5th March 2019
  #15
mp3
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAllianceEast! View Post
Stam SSL is the worst of the clones. mucky and confused sounding. the only think i hate more is the API 2500 for doing too much and too little. the Alan Smart C2M will never clump. i use one daily. i also have a Gyraf SSL clone that sounds a little more vca saturated but is quite alive. especially with the side chain options mod.

the massive passive sounds fantastic. even with no bands on. just the gain stage. i also routinely use a Tubetech SMC2B. sounds great. get the crossovers right and you are done. the manley varimu gets used a lot as well. especially in Mid Side mode ( it's an option ).

otherwise i like my old orban 464 Co operator. it pumps like it's having fun.
I've got to say that's the first bad words I've read about the Stam. Not that I've scoured the web or anything... I thought they were generally well received? I'm getting the new one with the discrete VCA replica, by the way. They aren't in the wild yet.
Old 5th March 2019
  #16
Think I'm definitely going to grab a Dione and Hyperion to start. That'll fill out 4 slots, and I can leave the other two for a couple single slot units. Maybe a Little Labs VOG and a new color preamp to replace the Daking pre that I'm not 100% wild about.
Old 6th March 2019
  #17
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSax View Post
I have an extensive hybrid setup, but if I could only keep one piece of Outboard gear it would be the Louder Than Liftoff Silver Bullet from @ BradM and @ drBill - It is the perfect hybrid centerpiece and offers more sonic goodness than any other single piece of gear I’ve ever used. I would highly recommend it. Sounds stellar for recording, mixing, and mastering, lives on my two buss... plus it offers a world class stereo mic pre, Neve-ish & API-ish transformers, inserts and a great sounding EQ. Two rack spaces never sounded so good. It’s the most beneficial single outboard piece for a hybrid setup as far as I’m concerned.
Thanks Darren for the very kind words. Keep pounding out those #1 Billboard hits!!!
Old 6th March 2019
  #18
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DrSax's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Thanks Darren for the very kind words. Keep pounding out those #1 Billboard hits!!!
You got it brother, my pleasure! I call it like I see it - the Silver Bullet is so sweet.
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