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digital summing killing my sound???? DAW Software
Old 23rd April 2003
  #31
Quote:
Originally posted by Lynn Fuston
I have to disagree. I don't think the DAWSUM test is "semi" realistic. I think it is totally unrealistic.

Who mixes a record from stereo stems? Nobody.
Movies maybe.

And who mixes in a DAW with no plugins? Nobody.

I'm aware that it's a completely unrealistic and simlistic exercise. But, like I said to BT on the phone the other day, sometimes you have to boil it all the way down to the simplest ingredients to find out if you can hear differences. We'll start by finding out if A+B=C. If so, then we move on the algebra. If not, then we go back to the drawing board and try to find out why.

The analogy that I've used before is that we're trying to do a simple math problem with lots of 24-bit numbers. In front of us we have 30 different pads of paper of all colors and sizes. What this project tried to determine was whether we could add up all the numbers on the yellow legal pad and the purple legal pad and come up with the same answer. If not, then why not?

Even though it's not a real world test, I still think the results and opinions are going to be meaningful. I know I've learned a lot already. Then, once we get past the summing bus ("if" we get past it), we can move on to plugins, emulators, etc.

Well Lynn,

The guys that complain the most are the power users. After that everyone joins on the bandwagon. "Because so and so said that it sounds like this, than there must be something to it".

I think a true power user will be called upon to push the system to the max. Since you are in the trenches everyday you are asked to do almost "unrealistic" things. That's where the problems arise.

Its the same problem I had with the PT/Neve/Oxford comparisons. Summing just a couple of tracks as compared to a 100 input monster that starts eating up your headroom is a whole different ball of wax(I know in theory it shouldn't be).

I know some older producer cats(with all of the grammy hardware) that to this day will not mix on an SSL because at one time either the sound collapsed on a mix or other problems occured(if you remember in the old days they were mostly due to ventihilation problems as well as operator error). A lot of guys now know a lot of the quirks of the SSL, so they all have their own tricks on how to get a great sound.

That is all I am saying, for a person like me I study all of the quirks of each platform i am asked to mix on(i have to if I am to deliver a consisitent product). That is why a lot of guys have their own biased opinions no matter how illogical or un mathematical it might be.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #32
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cram's Avatar
 

In Lynn's situation how could he possibly test every concievable scenario?

You've got to start from a simple baseline, and then everyone draws conclusions from that. For instance, a test with a bunch of plug-ins engaged would be completely useless to me. I mostly use outboard.

If there are sonic differences between DAW's set at equivalent settings I would definitely be interested in hearing that.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #33
Quote:
Originally posted by cram
In Lynn's situation how could he possibly test every concievable scenario?

You've got to start from a simple baseline, and then everyone draws conclusions from that. For instance, a test with a bunch of plug-ins engaged would be completely useless to me. I mostly use outboard.

If there are sonic differences between DAW's set at equivalent settings I would definitely be interested in hearing that.

Hey Cram,

I do the same thing(mostly outboard), but on PT for eg, if you go beyond a certain amount of tracks, the DSP switches over and this does affect the sound(it is slight but you can hear it).

On most Native based DAW's same thing happens when you max out the processor(this is why dual processor is a needed).

This to me is the bigger summing issue. Since a lot of guys either mix in it or compose in it(with soft synths), this would be a big concern.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #34
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
Personally, I'm still trying to figure out why somebody would want a console or a DAW to sound "perfect". I don't. I want it to react to me in some subjectively interesting way. I want it to be inherently capable of different moods, depending on how I address it. I want it to be an instrument, not a tool. For instance, a Gibson J45 is an instrument. It "talks" back to you. It reacts and resonates in response to your input. That's what I want in a mixing console. I don't want to hear "Quack!" when I get an over and cringe, never wanting to hear that again, I want to hear some 2" type "Smack!!" on an over and decide if that's the sound I want on that channel.
(TTF beat me to this analogy, forgive the rehashed bits.)

With digital mixing, I think that "smack" and personality you're hearing is meant to be delivered by plug-ins, whether they are there yet or not.

I agree with what you're saying, but I think it misses part of the perspective of mixing digitally. What you have with a console or DAW that sounds "perfect" is basically a clean slate. By this I mean the fact that it has no character is the attraction for many people who want to add various and varying amounts of character on their own. In that respect, I think many of the most sought after characteristics of vibey ananlog or digital desks really can make them a kind of one trick pony. Mixing digitally, you have the option of throwing whatever color you want onto the palette whereas vibey boards already start with one color that predominates the picture.

BTW, if you don't want to hear your mixing medium go "Quack", you can turn off Alerts in the sound control panel. heh
Old 23rd April 2003
  #35
Jax
Lives for gear
 

OT (but so what?) - dogz

Quote:
Originally posted by dave-G
At least I can say that's the face and attitude I have under my mixing console. heh (I just have to be careful not to run over her tail with the chair)

-dave
She looks like a great dog, Dave. You're lucky to have a good pal like that. My dog used to be able to keep up with border collies and he's a 120lb Newfie-Akita mix. lol Those were the days.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #36
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
Yeah Dave,

96-128 tracks of audio+all of the effect returns and mults and splits can easily take up 200 inputs.

If I were mixing in surround than it will go up.

Want to see a million dollar console collapse into a $4K digital board, hit it with the maximum inputs you can.heh

Welcome to the world of modern pop productions.

Its funny cause when you listen to the records they sound so simple(or I guess the arrangements sound simplistic). But the tracks involved are humongous!!!
What I don't understand is that yes, the tracks do sound painfully and annoyingly simple on modern pop stuff, so WTF could possibly cause it to reach 96-128 tracks? Endless doubled vocals and harmonies? I can make a pop song from 20-24 tracks that sounds as simple as modern pop. So how do they fit all them cells into such a simple life form?
Old 23rd April 2003
  #37
Jax
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lynn Fuston

And who mixes in a DAW with no plugins? Nobody.

When I can get away with it (has to be 12 tracks or less), I do. And it usually beats approximating the same mix with plug-ins. But that's another topic.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #38
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jax
What I don't understand is that yes, the tracks do sound painfully and annoyingly simple on modern pop stuff, so WTF could possibly cause it to reach 96-128 tracks? Endless doubled vocals and harmonies? I can make a pop song from 20-24 tracks that sounds as simple as modern pop. So how do they fit all them cells into such a simple life form?
well to start with if you have a seperate track for EVERY bell / wistle / triangle / reverse cymbal / hits / attacks / etc etc ... and if on top of that you have several pads / sweeps / .... in stereo it is not all that hard to get to those track counts. Rarely I've seen that there's more then say 60 or so playing at the same time though.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #39
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jax
( What you have with a console or DAW that sounds "perfect" is basically a clean slate. By this I mean the fact that it has no character is the attraction for many people who want to add various and varying amounts of character on their own.
I might have thought that before the DAWSUM CD. But the fact that I can pick out differences between different DAW's, oxfords and 02R's tells me that somehow each digital platform has it's own character.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #40
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Excellent point. Maybe things can be seen differently from the perspective of the DAWSUM CD. I'll have to listen for myself. I'm expecting that despite the various platforms tested, I will still believe that digital doesn't have enough color of it's own to compare with the personality class of analog boards.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #41
Quote:
Originally posted by Jax
Excellent point. Maybe things can be seen differently from the perspective of the DAWSUM CD. I'll have to listen for myself. I'm expecting that despite the various platforms tested, I will still believe that digital doesn't have enough color of it's own to compare with the personality class of analog boards.
Listen first. If your expectations are met, then you can make broad sweeping generalizations.

I'll say this though. All analog summing (as in analog summing no matter what the platform) does NOT beat all digital summing. You can't make broad generalizations about that.

There is good and bad digital and varying degrees between, just as there is good and bad analog. I'll take good digital over bad analog any day. And just maybe, bad digital is not as bad as bad analog. How's THAT for a generalization?
Old 23rd April 2003
  #42
Quote:
Originally posted by C.Lambrechts
well to start with if you have a seperate track for EVERY bell / wistle / triangle / reverse cymbal / hits / attacks / etc etc ... and if on top of that you have several pads / sweeps / .... in stereo it is not all that hard to get to those track counts. Rarely I've seen that there's more then say 60 or so playing at the same time though.
I have!!!heh

I am currently mixing a song that has 4 kicks,4 snares,4 hihats and every other percussion sound you can imagine(i am counting over 40 tracks on rhythm alone).

Its a Timberlake/JLO type track.

Again it sounds simple, but its heavily orchestrated. And of course the producer wants to hear every little bit..and with lots of bottomn..."I wanna feel that bass in my chest"!!!
Old 23rd April 2003
  #43
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Lynn Fuston

I'll say this though. All analog summing (as in analog summing no matter what the platform) does NOT beat all digital summing. You can't make broad generalizations about that.
I agree totally...yet I have seen some engineers say this very thing.

This perspective is even more interesting within the confines of the test platforms in that we aren't talking about pro-sumer summing here.

Boy....there are some testers I would love to hear from on their personal conclusions.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #44
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And there is no question that a number of listeners to the DAWSUM CD, including me, have already indicated that they can clearly spot the difference between some of the DAWs, blind, without even considering the analog desks or hardware digtal consoles. This is with the Peak levels, RMS Peak levels and Average Peak levels of the files all reading within 1/100 dB of each other .

So much for the "math is math" theory. Go figure. I do not claim to understand all of the "whys", but it is what it is.

Hey, where's Erik G? He has some warm crow pie waiting to be eaten, unless I'm mistaken.

I believe a part of his quote regarding me was:

"and I called bull**** on you when you started talking about 'the mix bus".

He who has ears, let him hear. Preferably before making up his mind.


Regards,
Brian T
Old 23rd April 2003
  #45
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
And there is no question that a number of listeners to the DAWSUM CD, including me, have already indicated that they can clearly spot the difference between some of the DAWs, blind, without even considering the analog desks or hardware digtal consoles. This is with the Peak levels, RMS Peak levels and Average Peak levels of the files all reading within 1/100 dB of each other .

So much for the "math is math" theory. Go figure. I do not claim to understand all of the "whys", but it is what it is.

Hey, where's Erik G? He has some warm crow pie waiting to be eaten, unless I'm mistaken.

I believe a part of his quote regarding me was:

"and I called bull**** on you when you started talking about 'the mix bus".

He who has ears, let him hear. Preferably before making up his mind.


Regards,
Brian T
I'm glad I didn't "throw down the gauntlet" and tell everyone this project would prove once and for all that "summing is summing" and "math is math." Truth is, I didn't know for sure any more than the next guy. I was just curious to find out the answer.

I have yet to make up my mind.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #46
I'll post the "difference" values between the mixes in the next few days, to save everyone the trouble of having to do it themselves.

Next order of business: Are there numerically identical mixes that sound different?

Now, THERE is a can of worms.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #47
Gear Maniac
 
cram's Avatar
 

Quote:
Next order of business: Are there numerically identical mixes that sound different?
I'm not sure I want to even contemplate that hairball.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #48
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dave-G's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Lynn Fuston
I have yet to make up my mind.
Me too ... but you hold the unique position of knowing the actual identity and origins of the anonymous, numbered mixes ..

In your forum, I laid out my intitial impressions on disc A, but repeated listening inspires repeated listening. In my post I think I ended by saying I was eager to get the "answers", but I actually think I might want to listen a little more first.

-dave
Old 23rd April 2003
  #49
Quote:
Originally posted by dave-G
Me too ... but you hold the unique position of knowing the actual identity and origins of the anonymous, numbered mixes ..

In your forum, I laid out my intitial impressions on disc A, but repeated listening inspires repeated listening. In my post I think I ended by saying I was eager to get the "answers", but I actually think I might want to listen a little more first.
Actually, the answers are out there, just like on the X-Files. You just have to look for them.

I did most of the initial comparisons numerically to be honest, to make sure the files weren't messed up. There are lots of mixes that are numerically very similar, as Brian pointed out. Whether or not they sound the same? Well, the answers are out there somewhere.
Old 24th April 2003
  #50
Ted
Gear Maniac
 

This reminds me of cooking so much. Even though lemons, garlic, meat, spices, etc... all look the same they still have subtle variations in flavor from crop to crop. These variations would very rarely ever show up in a lab test but they definitely show up in the taste test. There's things our ears/taste buds understand that we still don't. Our senses, on a good day, are extraordinarily complex to say the least... I've never felt it was all proved in the math. I've heard the differences.

Although a bit off subject, nor do I feel any one format is the one and only choice. I did a semi national jingle in analog a couple of weeks ago and I was so excited to mix it to my ATR 1" only to find that in this case it just didn't sound good. I wanted it to work so badly. I tried different tape/speeds and ended up going digital instead which sounded great. The latest thing I did kicked ass tracked in digital and ended up sounding best being mixed to 1" by a long shot, go figure....

One thing for sure, you've got to know the gear you're working with and it needs to be flexible enough to be able meet whatever challenge you throw at it. Also, I'd be very interested in knowing what happens sonically when you move files back and forth from different formats to edit, mix, etc.. I mean couldn't this potentially cause a problem now that there is a proven difference between platforms and math is not math and files are not just files?

Thanks again Lynn and everybody else, great work!

Thanks,
Ted.
Old 24th April 2003
  #51
Quote:
Originally posted by Ted
Although a bit off subject, nor do I feel any one format is the one and only choice. I did a semi national jingle in analog a couple of weeks ago and I was so excited to mix it to my ATR 1" only to find that in this case it just didn't sound good. I wanted it to work so badly. I tried different tape/speeds and ended up going digital instead which sounded great. The latest thing I did kicked ass tracked in digital and ended up sounding best being mixed to 1" by a long shot, go figure....
Ding, ding, ding.

Give that man a ceegar!

"There are no absolutes. You still have to use your ears."

Today's best is not always the same as yesterday's best. Nor will it necessarily be tomorrow's best.
Old 24th April 2003
  #52
Quote:
Originally posted by Ted
This reminds me of cooking so much. Even though lemons, garlic, meat, spices, etc... all look the same they still have subtle variations in flavor from crop to crop. These variations would very rarely ever show up in a lab test but they definitely show up in the taste test. There's things our ears/taste buds understand that we still don't. Our senses, on a good day, are extraordinarily complex to say the least... I've never felt it was all proved in the math. I've heard the differences.

Although a bit off subject, nor do I feel any one format is the one and only choice. I did a semi national jingle in analog a couple of weeks ago and I was so excited to mix it to my ATR 1" only to find that in this case it just didn't sound good. I wanted it to work so badly. I tried different tape/speeds and ended up going digital instead which sounded great. The latest thing I did kicked ass tracked in digital and ended up sounding best being mixed to 1" by a long shot, go figure....

One thing for sure, you've got to know the gear you're working with and it needs to be flexible enough to be able meet whatever challenge you throw at it. Also, I'd be very interested in knowing what happens sonically when you move files back and forth from different formats to edit, mix, etc.. I mean couldn't this potentially cause a problem now that there is a proven difference between platforms and math is not math and files are not just files?

Thanks again Lynn and everybody else, great work!

Thanks,
Ted.

Hey Ted,

Did you mix through the 1"inch or added in on last?

Because that has alot to do with it.

I've stated this same thing in the case about the new analog summing boxes. If you are used to mixing on a digital platform, you will have to unlearn somethings when mixing through one of the new boxes. Now that is a choice people will have to make themselves. Some will feel that is not worth it, I'll stick to what i know and what works for me(which is the attitude a lot of guys have who mix on analog consoles). Others will embrace it openly.

One thing is summing through the unit while mixing and adding it on afterwards will yield (2) different results.
Old 24th April 2003
  #53
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5down1up's Avatar
 

this is again a scary thread which wants my head go explode ...

digital vs analog ... i am thinking about those stuff a lot , still , 1000000³ thoughts later , i havent decided which way to go .
comparing the money value of what the pros say you need to make digital workable is on a big budget which come close to buy a nice analog console .
the thought of being more flexible with digital gear would be a great bonus ( 5.1 , recall , etc. ) . but the main reason buying gear should be the sound . and to be honest , the plugins i have using pro tools dont make me happy at all . for my ears its real subtle if theres something happening during " usual " processing .
i was scared in the beginning in fact of wrong processing , but nowadays i end up using the same comp on the track twice to get that result my ears are " looking " for .
you guys are talking a lot , that digital has to be used different , myself hasnt found out yet , how to make it work for real .
i love gear which is handsome , you turn it on , and you get a result 2 minutes later ... all the other stuff is more releated to scientists imho.

still it looks like you need to have all of both worlds , which makes it even more complicated in fact of wiring , space , etc .

i know the answers of my questions would be , HD & this and that andandand ... but thats out of reach .
shall we wait for a payable digital solution or will that not happen during our life time ???

to "really understand" what f.ex thrill is talking bout i really would like to hear something you did on your setups ...

thx , peace
Old 24th April 2003
  #54
Quote:
Originally posted by 5down1up
this is again a scary thread which wants my head go explode ...

to "really understand" what f.ex thrill is talking bout i really would like to hear something you did on your setups ...

thx , peace
It really isn't as scary as you think.

Your problem is too much "analysis by paralysis".

Your trying to cover every angle, every one problem in one shot.

The truth is you really can't. Just trust your instincts(or as i always say"go with your gut") and choose.

This where the forumns can destroy you. You start to weigh everyone elses opinions against your own. Fact of the matter is you should take what everyone says with a grain of salt(I know I do).

In the end, the only opinion that matters for you is...you!!!

It is your studio, your music and your visions. You are the one that's going to have to pay for it, not me.

See the problem is you probably don't have that much experience working on analog mediums. If you did you would understand what I was saying. I grew working on super consoles and sh*tty mixing boards. The first album i ever mixed was on the 12 track AkAI thing(i think it was the 1214 something and somehow we synced up two of them). I remember going into it thinking man "how am i going to pull it off, coming from working on SSL's at Unique", man it can't be done my friends would say", well hey I did it anyway and it went on to sell a million units on the Spanish market(my first Gold record actually).

Was it difficult? Hell Yeah. Did the thing have a lot of crosstalk,noise and if you remember that thing it would break down after a couple of hours? Yes!!! But someone had to do it. It taught me that no matter what the format is on, if you decide to learn it and get the best out of it, nothing should stop you.

Only you can stop you.

Would I mix a record on it today? Hell no!!! But now there are more choices.

If you make a decision you are not happy with(digital or analog) you can always sell it and start over. That is the benfit of the internet.

Old 24th April 2003
  #55
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

excellent post thrill....


Old 24th April 2003
  #56
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Lynn Fuston
Listen first. If your expectations are met, then you can make broad sweeping generalizations.

I'll say this though. All analog summing (as in analog summing no matter what the platform) does NOT beat all digital summing. You can't make broad generalizations about that.

There is good and bad digital and varying degrees between, just as there is good and bad analog. I'll take good digital over bad analog any day. And just maybe, bad digital is not as bad as bad analog. How's THAT for a generalization?
Well Lynn, I like you but for the moment, you've annoyed me. You've copped the "broad generalization" phrase one (or two) too many times for me. You're replying to my post, which is replete with me saying "I think." "I think" does not mean it's a broad sweeping generalization. "I think" means that at this point in time, this is what I believe, and it's subject to change.

Anyhoo, maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed or somethin'. I should know for sure by tomorrow... right now I only think that might be what happened. heh

Old 24th April 2003
  #57
Quote:
Originally posted by Jax
Well Lynn, I like you but for the moment, you've annoyed me. You've copped the "broad generalization" phrase one (or two) too many times for me. You're replying to my post, which is replete with me saying "I think." "I think" does not mean it's a broad sweeping generalization. "I think" means that at this point in time, this is what I believe, and it's subject to change.

Anyhoo, maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed or somethin'. I should know for sure by tomorrow... right now I only think that might be what happened. heh
Fair enough. I think you were justified at being annoyed. I wasn't singling you out though.

I've heard "analog summing beats digital summing" so many times that I'M annoyed. I don't think it's true. Based on the samples on the DAWSUM CDs, I think there is proof that it's not true. It may be true sometimes, but not always.

So, forgive me for making "b___ s____ g____s" too many times.

I just hope that people will listen and decide for themselves.
Old 24th April 2003
  #58
Ted
Gear Maniac
 

Thrill,

I mixed to, not through, in every case. Is there that much difference?

Thanks,
Ted.
Old 24th April 2003
  #59
Quote:
Originally posted by Ted
Thrill,

I mixed to, not through, in every case. Is there that much difference?
The answer will be "no" only when we find the perfect mixdown format that gives back exactly what we hand it. I'm still waiting.

I'll never forget the first time I heard back what a DAT machine interpreted that my mix sounded like. Ouch. Come to think of it, that was when I first started shopping for ADCs. Boy, was it shocking to hear what it did to my mix.
Old 24th April 2003
  #60
Ted
Gear Maniac
 

Hey Lynn,
When is the ADC disc headed our way?

Thanks,
Ted.
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