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Crystalphonic - Why did you replace your SSL with an Icon ?
Old 13th July 2005
  #61
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mtstudios@charter's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by raal
great thread! makes me all the more happy about deciding on an AWS 900! right now i'm doing ITB w/ pultecs,480L, TC,AMS,LA2, 1176, bla bla bla, and i can say yeah, it sounds good. but IMHO the AWS will give me a GREAT summer, center section, work flow by being a controller also, automated analog faders when i need 'em, analog EQ with TR when i need it, and 24 channels ain't all that much to recall, so i think that's best of both worlds. most importantly i dig the sound signature of the AWS (not mushy at all), so i can pick what i want when i want it.

i can see a commercial studio going for the Icon, but since i'm the main guy i have to please here, i can't see dumping all those $$$ into a huge mouse. and i have to say i really did like the sound of the AWS. but FWIW i think resonater will be able to get the desired results in his Icon room.

next generation AWS i'm sure will be a sight to behold though...
$65,000 Mouse. Exactly!!!

www.bluethumbproductions.com
Old 13th July 2005
  #62
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by µ¿ z3®ø™
(snip)... and soon to be 1" 2 track.
Old 13th July 2005
  #63
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mtstudios@charter's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by µ¿ z3®ø™
what, so we can all argue about whether or not to use the DBX noise reduction?
isn't this discussion really about how things are changing within our field? having worked in studios for almost three decades and having my own recording gear for over 4 decades all i can say is, "the more things change, the more they stay the same."
when i was very young all of the older guys talked about how great tubes were and that solid state was going to be the end of music. tubes are still around and sound fantastic. solid state is still around and can sound very good as well.
when i was a bit older i promulgated the virtues of analog and tried to point out to anyone that would listen that digital sounded terrible. analog is still around and is experiencing a renaissance. digital finally sounds pretty good (but different than analog) if U have learned how to work w/ it.
now, everyone (almost) points to ITB as being the 3,759th last sign of the impending apocalypse. extrapolate the axiomatic here.
we are, slowly and surely, going in an new direction here. traditional consoles will be around for the rest of eternity (MY eternity) but this whole concept of integrated control surface/DAW/interfaces is beginning to emerge as a solution to what right now is a kludge. this is inevitable. by getting rid of stuff that is really only pertinent to analog mixing considerations we can (and will) move towards a solution that is geared to the concept of what digi (and others i hope) sees in this 'icon' concept.
me?
after having worked in 'big studios' on all sorts of gear, i would sooner be at home doing stuff on my own rig: loads of good outboard, logic, DP, logic control/XT/C4. dangerous 2buss/MX/monitor and soon to be 1" 2 track.
I was just pointing out that gear can sonically improve your recordings and mix.
Not to say the consumer who listens to MP3's gives a S***. It is just not all ears when it comes to getting good sounds and mixes, It would be nice to take all the credit. But a good Marshall sounds better recorded than a bad Marshall. As far as where the recording industry is headed, you are absolutely correct.
Old 13th July 2005
  #64
theother
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland
Several major studios have closed over the last few months and even those left are going out at well below par rates. The secondhand market is awash with some great analogue consoles at bargin bucket rates, Amek has ceased trading, Neve and SSL have both been sold in the last few weeks. Euphonix no longer makes an analogue desk. Too ignore these pointers is commercial suicide. Neve and SSL were not sold because of their full order books. Sure Bob Clearmountain and a few others can afford to have one sitting around, mostly because they are rich from points deals they have done over the last 20-30 years, but in the room for hire market it is very different in that most clients are now paying less and booking in for shorter times, there is generally less work to go around and costs (rates, electricity and staff etc) have risen sharpley.

Regards to all


Roland
You see this is all a misunderstanding. You talk about business, I talk about passion, about music, about quality.

I'm not interested in $, demand and supply, shrinking recording budgets when we talk about sound quality.

First I see what offers me the best quality. Then I see if I can afford it. Period.

But if I can't afford the best sounding solution I don't run around trying to convince people that the solution I could actually afford sounds better.
That's again a business trick just to get customers.

I quit this game a long time ago.

I'm in a lucky position, so I can be honest. At this junction where I am at the moment I have to say that any ITB solution doesn't sound better than mixing on a high quality analog desk with high quality outboard and high quality mics.

Mixing with a desk is inconvenient as hell (no instant recall). But I like the result. And I don't have to bear listening to something for many years only because I was too lazy to do an 1h recall.

I also don't know what all this has do with kids listening to mp3's

I always thought that a good mix, mixed on high quality gear translated every bit on every medium even cassette.

Even on cassette I can tell you if something has been mixed ITB or not.

Only because mixing desk manufacturers are in financial trouble doesn't mean the quality of their products isn't surperior to any other better selling product. It only means people can't afford it or simply they don't have enough orders, margins are too low etc.
Because that would mean Behringer products are the best sounding things in the world.

peace
Old 13th July 2005
  #65
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mtstudios@charter's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theother
You see this is all a misunderstanding. You talk about business, I talk about passion, about music, about quality.

I'm not interested in $, demand and supply, shrinking recording budgets when we talk about sound quality.

First I see what offers me the best quality. Then I see if I can afford it. Period.

But if I can't afford the best sounding solution I don't run around trying to convince people that the solution I could actually afford sounds better.
That's again a business trick just to get customers.

I quit this game a long time ago.

I'm in a lucky position, so I can be honest. At this junction where I am at the moment I have to say that any ITB solution doesn't sound better than mixing on a high quality analog desk with high quality outboard and high quality mics.

Mixing with a desk is inconvenient as hell (no instant recall). But I like the result. And I don't have to bear listening to something for many years only because I was too lazy to do an 1h recall.

I also don't know what all this has do with kids listening to mp3's

I always thought that a good mix, mixed on high quality gear translated every bit on every medium even cassette.

Even on cassette I can tell you if something has been mixed ITB or not.

Only because mixing desk manufacturers are in financial trouble doesn't mean the quality of their products isn't surperior to any other better selling product. It only means people can't afford it or simply they don't have enough orders, margins are too low etc.
Because that would mean Behringer products are the best sounding things in the world.

peace
Point taken. The better the original, the better the copy. Agreed.
Not all consumers (maybe most) care about sound quality.
It does not sell records. To say mixers and engineers should not strive for the best possible sound is ludicrous. It is just sad that we live in a corporate world where the passion is less important that the monetary gain. I hope I am wrong.

www.bluethumbproductions.com
Old 13th July 2005
  #66
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Interestingly, I don't think that either Crystalphonic, nor Supersonic, nor myself has ever claimed that such "hybrid" rooms will sound "better", but I think that the three of us would agree that it is our *belief* that such rooms can sound damn good now, and will only continue to get better as newer digital and analog devices are introduced.

For better or for worse, I have to pay attention to supply and demand, because if I don't, I'm in a market in which I'll go out of business. As most of you know, the L.A. studio named the Enterprise recently shut down, and I presume that this was because there wasn't enough demand to support their 5 or 6 or 7 analog console rooms. I also know that business is suffering even at the more successful studios. Lease payments on any $300k+ product, which will typically average out to roughly $6k/month FOR FIVE YEARS, are very tough to commit to in such an environment. The point being that it's one thing to discuss our sonic preferences from a purely aesthetic viewpoint, and it's another separate issue to discuss how a commercial studio succeeds here in 2005 and 2006 and 2007, etc. Again, for better or for worse, I need to think about such things if I hope to remain a viable commercial business.

Having said all of that, I personally reject any notion that hybrid rooms will *not* be able to offer tremendous sonics in the hands (and ears) of the right engineer. I mean, I wouldn't sit here on these forums and debate such a topic ad infinitum because it's a pointless debate...all of us couldn't necessarily agree on what actually "sounds good", let alone agree on how to arrive at that sound. But I do absolutely and positively believe that hybrid rooms can offer great sonics. And I'll let you know as I go along if my *predictions* on this match my actual experiences in setting up and using such a room.

I guess somehow we scared Kevin away! Sorry 'bout that Kevin...would love to hear your continuing thoughts on the topic!
Old 13th July 2005
  #67
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theother
You see this is all a misunderstanding. You talk about business, I talk about passion, about music, about quality.

I'm not interested in $, demand and supply, shrinking recording budgets when we talk about sound quality.

First I see what offers me the best quality. Then I see if I can afford it. Period.

But if I can't afford the best sounding solution I don't run around trying to convince people that the solution I could actually afford sounds better.
That's again a business trick just to get customers.

I quit this game a long time ago.

I'm in a lucky position, so I can be honest. At this junction where I am at the moment I have to say that any ITB solution doesn't sound better than mixing on a high quality analog desk with high quality outboard and high quality mics.

Mixing with a desk is inconvenient as hell (no instant recall). But I like the result. And I don't have to bear listening to something for many years only because I was too lazy to do an 1h recall.

I also don't know what all this has do with kids listening to mp3's

I always thought that a good mix, mixed on high quality gear translated every bit on every medium even cassette.

Even on cassette I can tell you if something has been mixed ITB or not.

Only because mixing desk manufacturers are in financial trouble doesn't mean the quality of their products isn't surperior to any other better selling product. It only means people can't afford it or simply they don't have enough orders, margins are too low etc.
Because that would mean Behringer products are the best sounding things in the world.

peace

I would like to think that most of the people on this forum have a passion for music, recording shouldn't be about the gear, it is a means of providing a listener with an emotional experience, at least I like to think so.

That being said, I am concerned with the bottom line as I think anyone who earns their living in this business or any other needs to be. My wife would be very upset with me if I failed to "bring home the bacon".

I also do take issue with those that say that the best sound quality can only be had from an analogue console. If we really get down to it, most large format consoles sacrifice audio quality due to the amount of electronics and wiring that goes into them, a compressor/gate and large scale buss system takes its toll. As I have said before on other threads, there are enough good people with huge reputations doing it ITB who are happy that they are not sacrificing their reputations for it to be more than a fluke. I've heard great work done both ways.

That there are people who prefer the sound of large format analogue consoles I have no doubt, my point was it looks really unlikely that they will be available. I read two articles in Audio Media magazine this month concerning the takeover of SSL and Neve and an undertaking to continue production of high end (expensive) analogue audio consoles was suspiciously absent.

I suspect they will do a lot more AWS systems and alike, possibly a lot more SSL/Neve channel in a box, it seems more what is selling these days. IMHO, even Gabriel isn't going to sit their and pour his money into an ever growing abyss.

Regards to all


Roland
Old 13th July 2005
  #68
no ssl yet
Guest
change

We are at the center of a change, and these guys have chosen to embrace this change from the fore front. ITs less risky then investing in a large format console because there is less cost involved. Sonic quality aside, THIS IS A BUSINESS. The first rule of business is making sure that you can cover your expenses.

Alot of the records we have heard in recent years have been recorded via hybrid means. THIS is not going away.

I think these guys waited until a stage where they thought sonic quality was at a professional level and they acted. Now We may not be at a point where digital is "there" yet. But if studios dont embrace the changing industry trends, they wont be around to see the outcome. (ENTERPRISE) comes to mind.
Old 13th July 2005
  #69
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syra's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by no ssl yet
We are at the center of a change, and these guys have chosen to embrace this change from the fore front. ITs less risky then investing in a large format console because there is less cost involved. Sonic quality aside, THIS IS A BUSINESS. The first rule of business is making sure that you can cover your expenses.

Alot of the records we have heard in recent years have been recorded via hybrid means. THIS is not going away.

I think these guys waited until a stage where they thought sonic quality was at a professional level and they acted. Now We may not be at a point where digital is "there" yet. But if studios dont embrace the changing industry trends, they wont be around to see the outcome. (ENTERPRISE) comes to mind.
Well put
Old 13th July 2005
  #70
theother
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by no ssl yet
Alot of the records we have heard in recent years have been recorded via hybrid means. THIS is not going away.

And I don't want it to go away. I'm the first one to jump ship and go all digital when it delivers.

I had my fair share. I jumped ship already a couple of years ago and went back to analog mixing burned.

But I haven't stopped looking for alternatives and never will.

It's just something mixed analog has a better feel and better represantation of how I want my songs to be.

But I also have to add that before having a second rate analog console I'd rather go ITB.

I did a couple of mixes with the UAD-1, URS and the only reverb I had was the UAD-1 EMT140, plus the PSP42 Lexicon and have to say it sounded damn good.
There was no outboard. Only a PC with Cubase and the UAD-1 plus native plugins.

The same mix though an SSL with all the outboard & Lex480L etc. just sounded a little better.

It's shocking how small the difference is and how big the amount of money you spent.

But still it sounded better.

There you go. Some will say I will not spend 10000x the money for the last 5%. Some do.

And now we can talk for ages if your or any business can afford that.
Old 13th July 2005
  #71
Quote:
Originally Posted by no ssl yet

Alot of the records we have heard in recent years have been recorded via hybrid means. THIS is not going away.

And a lot of these records sound like?
Old 13th July 2005
  #72
Here for the gear
 

I'm not scared away from the thread... I'm just amazed that exactly what I stated I DIDN'T want to discuss has resulted in this thread: SSL vs. Icon. MP3 quality. How studios that don't adapt die, etc...

I can point to all the business reasons I made the decision I did: The Icon is faster to work on while mixing, it will allow a much faster "Total Recall" than an SSL, it runs from a computer that isn't 20 years old, it is completely intuitive, etc...

We were all very scared to let go of the SSL, as it's a big name console, and an attraction. It also sounds great, and many people are used to working on it. I did some of my best mixes on it, and I put this studio together, so I felt very strongly about it. However, there was a point where I realized that most of this fear to let go was based on EMOTION, nothing else.

So, I did a mix on the SSL that I was very happy with. Then, I tried to re-create the same mix using a hybrid approach--mixing in ProTools while utilizing all the same outboard equipment I had used for the SSL mix. As I stated in the earlier thread, it's the ears, not the gear--so there's no point to me even saying what I thought between the two--any of you would draw a different conclusion based on who you are, how you mix, what you're comfortable with, etc. I chose the Icon, that's enough of a statement for me to make.

A lot of people are talking about how mixing on the D Control will never feel like mixing on an analog desk. My point is, why should it be expected to? They are two different beasts, completely. One similarity exists that attracted me to it: After I saw the demo, I sat down with it and tried some mixing. I purposefully turned the LCD screen off, to see if I could avoid staring at the project while working, and I found myself feeling the same way as on the SSL--the console was "drawing me into the mix." I actually didn't feel the need to keep the screen on at all as I worked through settings, and I found myself LISTENING to the music.

And I thought, "this is why I love the SSL, it brings me into its world." That's what the Icon does--it removes the feeling of "expensive mouse" and screen hypnosis and gets you in the mode of mixing again.

I'm also located in Virginia, and don't have to keep up with the trends of bigger markets where everyone makes sure to emulate each other to keep up appearances. I can pick and choose things because I like them, and with our monthly expenses as low as they are here, I can go out on a limb and do something different.

Thanks...


-Kevin McNoldy
Crystalphonic Recording Studio
www.crystalphonic.com
Old 13th July 2005
  #73
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dim light's Avatar
 

Hey good luck with the Icon - the studio looks awesome! thumbsup
Old 13th July 2005
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystalphonic
I'm not scared away from the thread... I'm just amazed that exactly what I stated I DIDN'T want to discuss has resulted in this thread: SSL vs. Icon. MP3 quality. How studios that don't adapt die, etc...

So, I did a mix on the SSL that I was very happy with. Then, I tried to re-create the same mix using a hybrid approach--mixing in ProTools while utilizing all the same outboard equipment I had used for the SSL mix. As I stated in the earlier thread, it's the ears, not the gear--so there's no point to me even saying what I thought between the two--any of you would draw a different conclusion based on who you are, how you mix, what you're comfortable with, etc. I chose the Icon, that's enough of a statement for me to make.

-Kevin McNoldy
Crystalphonic Recording Studio
www.crystalphonic.com
Kevin,

Great post. Thanks.

I'm sure that we all *would* love to hear your impressions of the two mixes (one SSL, one hybrid) that you did. Not that we all will *agree* with your findings, but I LOVE to hear what people's experiences were in such "comparison" tests.

If you don't mind...I'd love to know!

Best,
Old 13th July 2005
  #75
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected]
mmm, lets all get Tascam 4 tracks then.
\\maybe you should try opening your mind sometime...
Old 14th July 2005
  #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theother
I did a couple of mixes with the UAD-1, URS and the only reverb I had was the UAD-1 EMT140, plus the PSP42 Lexicon and have to say it sounded damn good.
There was no outboard. Only a PC with Cubase and the UAD-1 plus native plugins.

The same mix though an SSL with all the outboard & Lex480L etc. just sounded a little better.

It's shocking how small the difference is and how big the amount of money you spent.

But still it sounded better.
Out of curiosity, what sampling rate did you process at, 96k? Do you think the difference you're hearing would come across after mastering (GOOD mastering, not mediocre)?
Old 14th July 2005
  #77
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystalphonic
We were all very scared to let go of the SSL, as it's a big name console, and an attraction. It also sounds great, and many people are used to working on it. I did some of my best mixes on it, and I put this studio together, so I felt very strongly about it. However, there was a point where I realized that most of this fear to let go was based on EMOTION, nothing else.

So, I did a mix on the SSL that I was very happy with. Then, I tried to re-create the same mix using a hybrid approach--mixing in ProTools while utilizing all the same outboard equipment I had used for the SSL mix. As I stated in the earlier thread, it's the ears, not the gear--so there's no point to me even saying what I thought between the two--any of you would draw a different conclusion based on who you are, how you mix, what you're comfortable with, etc. I chose the Icon, that's enough of a statement for me to make.
Kevin,

Kudos to the great posts and great balls for putting the cards on the table. As a long time SSL user, I'd like to add a few things. Massenburg mixes digital and I've heard no one slam his work. So there is no question at all that digital mixing with or without the control surface of choice, can be done to the satisfaction of consumers and critical peers ... now, with no summing boxes, no unity analog console feedthroughs.

I've been mixing hybrid for years, even for SSL artist/owners stauchly against ITB mixing. They were more than pleased with the results when they used their ears and not their eyes to mix. Recently, I mixed a heavier prog artist. I mixed the first track SSL fed by PT; the mix was good. After mixing the rest of the CD at my facility in PT HD, I went back and remixed the original track as it simply didn't stand up. Same mixer, different gear. Technically, my room visually carries less bling sans SSL 9080J but it was built by a leading builder of major facilities in my area, is tuned and serves my purposes well. Can you hear bling??? I always thought if the mix felt good, it was right ...

I've always been an advocate of the mixing process being about the painter and not the brush. Ultimately, the tools that one is comfortable with are the right tools for them. The eddies in the industry decide if/when those tools become too expensive and/or obsolete in one way or another for her.

Great room Kevin. Thanks for the inspiration. thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup

Best,

R.
Old 14th July 2005
  #78
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thermos's Avatar
Just to throw this in.
I sat in on an Andy Johns mixing session a few times these last few weeks, as hes mixing one of my friends albums. Its super low budget, so hes using PtHd and channel strip, thats right folks.......Channnel strip.
I HATE channelstrip.
And renverb.
Of course, it sounds freaking fabulous, better than 98.8% of the garbage being mixed these days. When I first heard it, it was after 4 other guys had tried mixing the same stuff. Mostly on neve boards with generous helpings of tasty outboard. I heard his mix and though "yeah, this has the best stereo image and sounds the most open and natural, must be some great board he has." Then I was told it was the pt summing bus and channelstrip.
Andy actually said he hates ssl with a passion, and thinks the eq in channelstrip is eons more useful to him.
Just thought that was a fun fact.
Old 14th July 2005
  #79
Gear Maniac
 
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reso, very interesting thread, and i'm psyched about your icon room. i think it's great that someone is doing that. here's my one concern: i went to r.s.p.e. here in la to mix a song on their icon and really just spent 4+ hours trying to learn the surface w/o doing any real mixing. so my question is, how are you gonna overcome the learning curve for engineers coming in there wanting to mix on the icon? no one's learning that thing by assisting in the studio for a few years, i would imagine. i guess it'll just be a slow process. anyways, good luck with the room! i can't wait to hear how it goes over the next few months.... best, travis.
Old 14th July 2005
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travista00
reso, very interesting thread, and i'm psyched about your icon room. i think it's great that someone is doing that. here's my one concern: i went to r.s.p.e. here in la to mix a song on their icon and really just spent 4+ hours trying to learn the surface w/o doing any real mixing. so my question is, how are you gonna overcome the learning curve for engineers coming in there wanting to mix on the icon? no one's learning that thing by assisting in the studio for a few years, i would imagine. i guess it'll just be a slow process. anyways, good luck with the room! i can't wait to hear how it goes over the next few months.... best, travis.
Travis,

Truth be told...in the early going of the room, I don't really expect sessions to be booking in for mixing, because no engineer will want to stake his/her reputation on an *unknown* mixing surface. SO, I expect more overdubbing (vocals, etc) than mixing. For overdubbing, it's a no-brainer, because you're really only concerned with the vocal channel anyway...console is there just for playback.

THEN,

what I expect to see is this...overdub session ends for the day...producer and artist leave...engineer decides to stay for 2-3 hours making a good rough mix...engineer starts learning about the Icon...producer comes in the next day...says, "hey, that rough mix sounds pretty good"...everyone lives with rough mix...come time to really mix...producer turns to engineer and says, "you know, that rough sounds pretty darn close...why don't we just stay here to finish the mix?". Then, producer is giving his/her ok for engineer to take some more time to learn the Icon even more intimately, etc etc. Once the engineer gets familiar with Icon and starts to really like the process (and not all of them will take to it), he/she wants to mix more and more on the Icon. But in the early going, it will most likely be booked for overdub sessions, which will give the visiting engineers a chance to experience Icon in less-than-demanding overdub sessions. Comfort level fully intact for everyone.

That is how I see it going down.

Best...

John Van Nest
Resonate Music Studios
Old 14th July 2005
  #81
Lives for gear
great post crystalphonic! best of luck to you sir. FWIW i think you'll do great.
resonator, hopefully you'll be surprised and the 'tracking phase' will be alot shorter than you think (specially with your outboard)...

gut feelings usually work. in the 80s we had a great little studio with (2) Trident 80s, which was risky as they'd just come out - since we couldn't get A ranges, we went with these -- we were happily chuggin' along, but the devil got into us and we hawked our souls for 2 X V3s! yeah we got all the big names, but it was hell keeping that motel booked - years later the landlord raised the rent and off we went into the sunset. had we just kept our little 80s... anyway... the gist of the story is i think you guys have done your homework and the move you're planning is sound.

i myself am psyched about getting the AWS but who cares? objectively speaking, i think with PT now, good converters, good outboard, a good room and a transparent monitor section, what's the problem?

but the very existence of this thread i think proves that we are finally living, or at least about to live, in times where a $600,000 console is no longer a prerequisite for a 'world class' studio.

so be it a used SSL, Icon, Dangerous + outboard, AWS, or 8068 to tape, DAW w/16X, or whatever rocks your boat, as the bar for sonic excellence goes up, the $ needed to achieve that excellence IMO is clearly going down... heh
Old 14th July 2005
  #82
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystalphonic
A lot of people are talking about how mixing on the D Control will never feel like mixing on an analog desk. My point is, why should it be expected to? They are two different beasts, completely. One similarity exists that attracted me to it: After I saw the demo, I sat down with it and tried some mixing. I purposefully turned the LCD screen off, to see if I could avoid staring at the project while working, and I found myself feeling the same way as on the SSL--the console was "drawing me into the mix." I actually didn't feel the need to keep the screen on at all as I worked through settings, and I found myself LISTENING to the music.

And I thought, "this is why I love the SSL, it brings me into its world." That's what the Icon does--it removes the feeling of "expensive mouse" and screen hypnosis and gets you in the mode of mixing again.
[/url]

this is probably one of the best posts I've ever seen on this subject and it EXACTLY describes the way I feel about the whole topic. Excellent remark about turning the LCD screen off. I've done and still will do that on occasion. I like to turn off the screen during tracking sessions too. Everything you need is right there. You can fully concentrate on what you hear instead of what you see.

Might sound silly, but I 'trained' myself on it like that too. Create an empty session and then turn the screen off. Simple 16 track session ... just create the tracks, do your routing, arm the tracks and record as if it was a tape machine. find good punch in and out points etc etc ... then after tracking , lay out eqs and dynamics on every track ... and mix it. Aux's for reverbs and delay to outboard. From creating the empty session to printing the mix. You don't need to turn the screen on once. No fancy editing of course ... just simple good old days recording and mixing a song in its most pure form.
Old 14th July 2005
  #83
maybe the discussion is further on, but I like to write down my little experience...

I mix in the box all the time (cubase sx2) and do a lot of midi/rewire (with reason, ableton) stuff..

My problem is, that mixes go straight too hot, and lacking of punch.

So I thought it's maybe because of my bad interface, my inexperience with getting the bass right, stuff like that.

But then, I visited a studio (pmtstudio.com) and we did a recording trough analog outboard (some live**** from a punkband) going straight trough RME adi8 and recorded the bitch to nuendo 3.xy..

Then the downmix was done on the console (yamaha pm2000).

First of all:
The recording (as it was recorded) sounded ****ing powerfull and punchy!

Then he layd down his hands on the board and started mixing (without any outboard used).. the outchain was going trough a unit, that I'm not allowed to talk about it here, then a massive passive and a pendulum audio ES-8..

wow, it was hell on earth man!! this thing simply rocks.

well my conclusion is:
- you can't get mixes in the box as loud and punchy as on analog gear (without missing transparency and stuff)
- a total recall is not so easy in the box (well you can safe a project without any FX and stuff and then reload this again) but most times you mix and mix and safe to the same project.
- you MUST have a goodsounding room. His was awesome, living, a lilbit dry with a short reverb. Man that rocks.
- cheap interfaces lacks on recording the transients.. I have to push my recordings with waves x or the freeware plugin called dominion

but

it's much cheaper to mix in the box If I can afford it, I would buy outboard too.
Old 14th July 2005
  #84
theother
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by juicemaster1500
Out of curiosity, what sampling rate did you process at, 96k? Do you think the difference you're hearing would come across after mastering (GOOD mastering, not mediocre)?
I always work @ 44.1kHz.

The difference will always be there no matter what you do afterwards.

It's a high price to pay to go all the way. But if you can afford it why not?
Old 14th July 2005
  #85
Lives for gear
 
bongo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Resonater
Travis,

Truth be told...in the early going of the room, I don't really expect sessions to be booking in for mixing, because no engineer will want to stake his/her reputation on an *unknown* mixing surface. SO, I expect more overdubbing (vocals, etc) than mixing. For overdubbing, it's a no-brainer, because you're really only concerned with the vocal channel anyway...console is there just for playback.

THEN,

what I expect to see is this...overdub session ends for the day...producer and artist leave...engineer decides to stay for 2-3 hours making a good rough mix...engineer starts learning about the Icon...producer comes in the next day...says, "hey, that rough mix sounds pretty good"...everyone lives with rough mix...come time to really mix...producer turns to engineer and says, "you know, that rough sounds pretty darn close...why don't we just stay here to finish the mix?". Then, producer is giving his/her ok for engineer to take some more time to learn the Icon even more intimately, etc etc. Once the engineer gets familiar with Icon and starts to really like the process (and not all of them will take to it), he/she wants to mix more and more on the Icon. But in the early going, it will most likely be booked for overdub sessions, which will give the visiting engineers a chance to experience Icon in less-than-demanding overdub sessions. Comfort level fully intact for everyone.

That is how I see it going down.

Best...

John Van Nest
Resonate Music Studios


You are a very smart man. Best wishes.
Old 14th July 2005
  #86
Here for the gear
 

My impressions of the SSL mix and the ProTools mix:

First off, our ProTools mix can't be considered an "In The Box" mix. We have to change the wording here, because no one can say I'm running an ITB mix when I'm using the kind of outboard we have. Mixing ITB means that you're running plug-ins for everything, which I'm not. So from now on, I will refer to ITB as "mixed completely inside ProTools, no outboard"... HYBRID will mean "mixed in the ProTools environment, bounced externally to a separate mixdown medium, and utilizing high quality outboard gear in place of plug-ins most of the time"... and SSL MIX will mean "mixed on an analog SSL, utilizing outboard gear and bouncing to a separate mixdown medium."

First off, I have done mixes completely In The Box. They sound a bit one dimensional to me, like there is plastic wrap over the sound. It's hard to get things to project and be upfront in the mix. Using plug-ins that emulate vintage hardware is, well... pretty much a joke. Some stuff comes close, but most of it doesn't sound anything like the real units. I can tell you for sure that any Fairchild 670 plug-ins are pretty much laughable in comparison to the real thing. However, as I posted earlier, the URS plug-ins actually come very close to the real pieces.

OK, so now the SSL mix... done in the typical way, routing around to outboard gear and EQ'ing, compressing, etc. A few tracks utilized the SSL EQ's and compressors. A touch of SSL stereo compression on the output, and bounced into a Masterlink through an Apogee Rosetta 200 clocked with a Big Ben. Very nice sound, as one would expect... very open, lots of air, nice low end... typical SSL mix (on a nice console like ours, that's been modified! A normal E/G+ would sound a little more "drawn in" and aggressive, maybe a little spitty).

And the Hybrid mix... all the same outboard was used, we were very careful to match levels going in and out of gear, but we had to emulate the SSL EQ and compression that was used sparingly on the first mix. So, on those certain tracks, I used the MDW EQ plug-in for EQ, and DUY plug-ins for compression. Bear in mind that we had used TC System 6000 reverbs on the original, so I did the same thing on the hybrid mix--no ITB plug-in reverb. We then bounced into the Masterlink in the same way as the SSL mix, patching across to the SSL stereo compressor for a touch of overall compression, then into the Masterlink chain.

I carefully cailbrated levels, and then gave everyone a blind test. I could easily hear the differences, but wanted to get the impressions of engineers who hadn't been in the room at all. Everyone initially chose the Hybrid mix as the better of the two, stating things like "the low end is much more full," "very present in the lower mids," nice punch, obviously SSL" and such. When it was revealed that they chose the Hybrid mix over the SSL, and that most of them had mistaken it for the SSL mix, they were all very surprised.

I then began pointing out what I thought were the perceptual differences between the two--I actually didn't think one was better than the other, they were just DIFFERENT. The SSL mix sounded a little more aggressive, the Hybrid mix sounded a little more "removed"--but not with the "veil" over it like my previously mentioned ITB mix. The SSL's bottom end was indeed softer than the Hybrid mix... the lows had a nice, round warmth, but didn't seem to project down as far. The transients were slightly "lobbed off" on the SSL, a bit like analog tape, and on the Hybrid mix there was a bit more s*****-ness. Overall, the Hybrid mix sustained more of the individualism of the tracks, placing them more firmly in their stereo position, where you could point to them easily... and the SSL mix gave more of the impression of "combining" the tracks as a slightly more cohesive whole.

Then everyone began explaining why they chose the mix they chose as the SSL version, when it wasn't... it was all the reasons I was outlining above, but they couldn't immediately articulate. A more aggressive mix made them feel "ProTools pushes everything forward, it must be the Hybrid"... "ProTools probably can't handle extreme low end well, so the softer lows in the mix must be the Hybrid." "The softening of the transients must be the ProTools mix buss disintegrating under the pressure of too many tracks." And "the smeariness of the mix must mean it's ProTools falling apart, as the clearer mix must be SSL."

So many preconceived notions! As we listened through with the "blindness" removed, talking more and more about the mixes, people really were surprised at the quality of both. The consensus was, as per my initial impression, that neither mix was "better," they were just DIFFERENT. I've been mixing on SSL's for a long time, and I could probably get to what I want faster, but that's just because I'm used to them. That doesn't mean it's slow to work on the D Control / Hybrid system, it will just initially take some time to get used to--my first mix on an SSL many years back was quite a time-killer, and pathetic!

We also tried another test, to see if we could get the two mixes to sound more close to each other. We bounced them both through our ATR Services 1" two track, and the differences did disappear a little more. Of course, not everyone will have a 1" machine to split the differences, so this doesn't apply to everyone... but it did make the Hybrid mix sound very similar to the SSL mix (as expected, the tape pulled back the transients slightly, softened the bottom end (but of course left it huge!! It's one inch tape, after all!), and "combined" parts in a very pleasing manner).

But I've done other Hybrid mixes since then that I didn't run through the tape machine, as I didn't feel they needed that effect. Again, it's all in the ears, and when they tell me it's right, I trust them. I can also trust them because I'm listening in our rooms, which we spent tons of money on getting the acoustics perfect.

Final conclusion: Those who know me know that I would NEVER accept something unless it sounded excellent. I don't take any decision in audio lightly, down to the slightest details. I also don't make decisions based on spur of the moment emotion or because other people say it's the way to go... I base my decisions on evidence--my own. I tried everything myself, in our world-class rooms, and made my decision.

And that being said, this experiment is ultimately flawed. Why? Because I'm using a new system that is completely its own thing to emulate something that is completely its own thing. There's no sense in it, as neither claims to give you the same experience. Mixing on an Icon is so new, and the "pattern" of why engineers like it will only reveal itself with time, just as on early SSL's.

Thanks...


-Kevin McNoldy
Crystalphonic Recording Studio
www.crystalphonic.com
Old 14th July 2005
  #87
Lives for gear
 
tommyd's Avatar
 

Kevin,
Great post, and I very much appreciate the time you took on your very detailed explanation. You may have already mentioned this in a previous post and I missed it, but do you plan on trying one of the various summing boxes out there for your "hybrid" approach, or are you satisfied with the PT "in the box" mix bus?
Thanks again!
TommyD
Old 14th July 2005
  #88
theother
Guest
thanks for such a detailed report and sharing it with us!

Old 14th July 2005
  #89
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Comparisons are very difficult because one of the biggest challenges of mixing is not overmixing, going past the point of magic. This is why quick rough mixes can often slaughter final mixes. A mix really IS a performance.

As for the studio business climate, when I started out in the mid '60s, the bread and butter of all recording studios and session musicians was advertising. The Beatles changed all that making a music business only studio a possibility for the very first time. Just one new landmark artist could easily change it all again.
Old 14th July 2005
  #90
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystalphonic
...Then everyone began explaining why they chose the mix they chose as the SSL version, when it wasn't...
hilarious. i can just see myself in that group!

Quote:
...Of course, not everyone will have a 1" machine to split the differences, so this doesn't apply to everyone... but it did make the Hybrid mix sound very similar to the SSL mix (as expected, the tape pulled back the transients slightly, softened the bottom end (but of course left it huge!! It's one inch tape, after all!), and "combined" parts in a very pleasing manner).

But I've done other Hybrid mixes since then that I didn't run through the tape machine, as I didn't feel they needed that effect. Again, it's all in the ears, and when they tell me it's right, I trust them. I can also trust them because I'm listening in our rooms, which we spent tons of money on getting the acoustics perfect.
wow... i thank you for taking the time to post this.


Quote:
And that being said, this experiment is ultimately flawed. Why? Because I'm using a new system that is completely its own thing to emulate something that is completely its own thing. There's no sense in it, as neither claims to give you the same experience. Mixing on an Icon is so new, and the "pattern" of why engineers like it will only reveal itself with time, just as on early SSL's.
sounds to me like you know what you want to hear, and you use whatever tools you need to get there - if you didn't get satisfactory results with the hybrid approach i don't think you would have hesitated to stay with the SSL - i can't see where the experiment is flawed.

one last question: in the hybrid example, i assume you went back ITB with the TC 6000 before printing. did you do this digitally or through the converters and what converters did you use? thank you.
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