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Cushy High End on the 2 Bus?
Old 12th November 2009
  #1
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javahut's Avatar
Cushy High End on the 2 Bus?

Looking for something on the 2 bus that gives the really sweet high end cushy almost harmonic sound. What processing on the 2 bus or in mastering does that?

Would it be something like the DW Fearn VT-5 Tube EQ, or another passive tube EQ? Or would it be from having something like a Variable Mu compressor like the Pendulum ES-8 or Thermionic Culture Phoenix on the 2 bus?

Is there such a thing as a plug-in to do this while still in the digital realm? If so, I haven't heard it. Would love it if there was.

I really wanna know what makes "that sound" on the top end. My digital mixes sound good, but the top end does not have that nice sweet cush to it that I'm pretty sure is only available via some type of analog on the 2 bus. I want that sound on every track I mix.

Can someone clue me in?

Thanks.
Old 12th November 2009
  #2
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BradM's Avatar
Can you point us toward a track that you think exhibits what you want?

Brad
Old 12th November 2009
  #3
Gear Nut
i use my es-8 for that.
Old 12th November 2009
  #4
Untitled Document (Kush Audio Clariphonic Parallel EQ)

Not heard the unit but couldn't resist due to the insistence on "Cush"! Might just be what you're subconsciously looking for.
Old 12th November 2009
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by javahut View Post
Looking for something on the 2 bus that gives the really sweet high end cushy almost harmonic sound. What processing on the 2 bus or in mastering does that?

Would it be something like the DW Fearn VT-5 Tube EQ, or another passive tube EQ? Or would it be from having something like a Variable Mu compressor like the Pendulum ES-8 or Thermionic Culture Phoenix on the 2 bus?

Is there such a thing as a plug-in to do this while still in the digital realm? If so, I haven't heard it. Would love it if there was.

I really wanna know what makes "that sound" on the top end. My digital mixes sound good, but the top end does not have that nice sweet cush to it that I'm pretty sure is only available via some type of analog on the 2 bus. I want that sound on every track I mix.

Can someone clue me in?

Thanks.
Brad has a good suggestion above. We're not really clued in on your style and what you like. An example of the sound your are referring to would suggest a type of texture and offer more clues to the puzzle. "Cushy" is really only reminding me of my couch when I am holding a beer.

All jokes aside, I gather you are looking for the ultimate stereo enhancing tool that adjusts and balances the tone of a signal. Maybe I am wrong and then you really are in need of a processor that adjusts and balances the amplitude strength, or dynamic range of a stereo master.

In either of these process's and treatments to a master stereo buss, the sound needs to be "harmonically enhanced" and offer the top end response "that sound". Without knowing what your equipment consists of, its hard to gather which product would be correct for your needs.

Quote:
DW Fearn VT-5 Tube EQ
The point and inception of this equalizer is to enhance and balance the tonal character of ANY program material. You can make poorly recorded material come back to life. Though, You can also have fun using it anywhere you need to defy physics, when tracking. It would be considered by myself, to offer, "the sound" that is ultimately used to embolden, highlight, the board spectral range of recorded music, and program material. All of Doug's Amps use Class A Triode with Jensen Input and output transformers wired in point to point, so when you couple that with inspiration from the greatest filter networks on earth, you've got something special. In my experience using this box over a mix, I think the Vt5 has serious appeal, for the way it delicately improves audio with SLIGHT boosts and cuts. When using it, you would think you've hardly done anything to the audio, until you BYPASS IT. I SWEAR I WANT TO CRY LIKE A BABY when this box is bypassed. It has the ability to create the most BEAUTIFUL and RICH tonal shift that is uncanny. You can boost bands quite high without ANY adverse transient distortion, shaving, disturbing of the width of a mix, while it undeniably simonizes the tone.

Quote:
another passive tube EQ
Mercury EQ-P1's? Those things are rocking on the top!! There is also the AMTEC PEQ-10, which when switched into the 10K mid band boost, and gently trim the HF band @ depending, you've got all this incredibly cool "air" and detail. This is sort of similar to using bottom "boost a bit" and "cut a bit" so as to mellow out and thicken the bottom. Though, I think the Mercury is extremely colorful and dense, and apparent in the bottom with a lot more harmonic distortion [the good kind]. The top end is "silky" fluid and "toasty" warm. The AMTEC is more about its"dc to daylight" response with very smooth kind of action, with ZERO phase shift artifacts, so its kind of out of the way, making sure the "body" and depth of a master is preserved, while you proceed to shape the balance of what you hear. I feel these are among the most versatile equalizers out there for bass/vocals/drums/program as the bottom is simply awesome!

Quote:
Pendulum ES-8
Is such a wonderful mastering limiter. There is never any audible effects with the ES-8, such as breathing, pumping, distorting, in regard to the sound of compression action. The top is perfect!! There is a startling amount of HF left alone when limiting. It can really smooth over dense material effortlessly. It has a large depth of field, and strangely inaudible compression affect to my ear. There is some euphony, but it does indeed preserve the tonal balance, regardless of how hard compression is going down. Its a very organic animal, which breads versatility. I don't particularly find it as apparent in distortion character, as other boxes, but that's not really the point with this box I think. Using Pendulum Tube gear is like breathing pure oxygen.

Quote:
Thermionic Culture Phoenix
The Thermionic Culture Pheonix is a time machine to an old tube compressor of the rarest and most esoteric form. This box has something special on the top end. Absolutely! It adds top end clarity. I suspect this is all about the way Vic has designed his inspired amp circuit, and coupled it with transformers that do something nice. It seems to offer a sound that is a familiar 351 amp type "shooting from the speaker" presence and solid character. In application, Its Delta Mu Design yields similar natural, program dependent compression that can gently smooth tone without overbearing the life and detail of a passage. It really does something to a vocal, or a bass, or a mix that is addicting. Its another simonizing machine, hands down.
Old 12th November 2009
  #6
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javahut's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Can you point us toward a track that you think exhibits what you want?

Brad
I don't have a specific track in mind. I just know I've sent some of my mixes out for mastering previously, and when they came back... they had this really cushy, smooth, top end that had taken the "digital" sounding high end and made it really exquisite sounding. In addition, it could'a slightly rolled off some high end that wasn't needed in the track.

I'm not even sure that if someone hadn't heard the tracks before, they would even notice how smooth and silky the high end had become.

So, some might say "just send it to an ME and let them take care of it". I notice that some MEs that have really exquisite gear may improve the overall sonic quality of the tracks with the gear... but they often don't take the time to really "get" the tracks, and get the levels perfectly balanced between them, and get the low end balanced with the rest of the frequencies exactly the way I think it should be.

So, I'm really looking for that high end silkiness I can put in the mix myself before the tracks are ever mastered. And if whatever the process is happens to help make the low end tight but full, and add some punchiness, too, then so much the better. But I'm looking mainly for that cushy silky top end that sounds so completely not digital, yet it still retains all the space and detail, and doesn't change the overall sonic character of the original mix.

Don't have the means to try a bunch of high end gear looking for it (right now... though I may end up having to do it that way). And I think I have an idea of a few things it could be. Was hoping maybe someone would have a better idea of what I'm talking about and could point me in the right direction... what it is that adds that "magic" to smooth out the high end of digitally recorded and mixed ITB tracks.
Old 12th November 2009
  #7
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javahut's Avatar
Thanks, Adam, for the in depth response. I'll see if I can track something down that would be an example of what I'm trying to describe. Will probably take me some time. Thanks a bunch for the info, though.
Old 12th November 2009
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

I think you are looking for the A-designs Hammer EQ
Old 12th November 2009
  #9
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paul999's Avatar
 

I found sweet high end from the manley variable-mu. The more you crank the input stage the more of the soft smooth highs you get however if you are using on the master buss you need to keep it in check. I use in on overheads. Very nice.
Old 12th November 2009
  #10
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

Maybe you could post a sample of one of your tracks, before and after mastering, that had the sound you're trying to get?

You could also call up the mastering engineer who got this mice effect, and pick his brain a bit.

Could be as simple as some multiband compression/limiting to bring the background air up without pushing the high frequency content too far out front. Also, rolling off the high end a bit can help (counter intuitive, but try it.) It seems to my ear that as frequencies approach the Nyquist frequency, they get a little harsh. So, if you're working at 44.1khz, you might hear some harshness from 11k up. 11k being 1/2 of the Nyquist cutoff. Not sure why, could be the LPF used by whatever converters are being used.

Post something, and I'm sure you'll get better info!
Old 12th November 2009
  #11
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voidtunes's Avatar
 

Ok, here is what I do>

Make sure you gain stage your mix so there is some headroom, this way the peice of kit can do its work (this is as important as the peice you buy IMHO)
Compress a little with a Roll super stereo
Then I use a JLM peq on the 2 bus with a stiff 20K push and some boot at the bottom. (there are lots of high end EQ's that are good for this, you really need to find one thats suits your mixing flavour)

#please note its a good idea to mix into this chain, not just strap it on later!

and then..........

Put T-racks master 1# on the printed mix, drop it a little so the ME doesn't slap me and BOOM! To my ears this sounds like what you describe. some may disagree but you have to try T-racks> many use it, its like a ace up your sleeve for not much bucks!
Old 12th November 2009
  #12
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+1 on T-Racks, if you want to use software that is. The Pultec is great.

I use a Neve EQ on the two bus most of the time, but I don't know if that's what you're looking for.
Old 12th November 2009
  #13
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BradM's Avatar
Yeah if you can post something that would be great so that we can hear what you are hearing.

Based on the description you gave above, I would suggest you try bouncing your mixes to tape. That usually does all sorts of magical subtle for me.

Brad
Old 13th November 2009
  #14
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javahut's Avatar
OK guys... got a couple links. This is from our Canartic - Bouncing Radar Beams Off The Moon from a couple years ago. I'll have to admit... at the time I was working on it, I heard a huge difference in the top end of the mastered track versus the mix. I still hear it, but it's not nearly as pronounced to me now... maybe because I was more intimately familiar with the sound of it back then. It's definitely subtle. But hopefully you can hear it, too, and maybe have some idea of what that cushiony top end might come from.

These are WAV. The mix is 32bit 48k. The master is 16 bit 44.1k.

Absolutely nothing on the 2 bus for the mix.

If you wanna run that mix through the VT-5 or Pheonix and upload it so I can get an idea of what can be done with 'em... feel free. ;D

Oh yeah... and tape is out for me. Too much work and hassle ;D. I'd pay thousands for some kind of processor before I'd ever go back to tape.

Warning! Pretty BIG files...

Canartic/Narcatic_Mix_32bit_48k.wav

Canartic/Narcatic_ Master_16bit_44k.wav

Thanks for your time and help.
Old 13th November 2009
  #15
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kokoa's Avatar
Quote:
If you wanna run that mix through the VT-5 or Pheonix
Great! And why not Pendulum ES-8? it could be interesting.
Old 13th November 2009
  #16
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javahut's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kokoa View Post
Great! And why not Pendulum ES-8? it could be interesting.
Oh yeah... good idea!
Old 13th November 2009
  #17
Nrt
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Analog Tape?
Old 13th November 2009
  #18
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.S.Vega III View Post
Untitled Document (Kush Audio Clariphonic Parallel EQ)

Not heard the unit but couldn't resist due to the insistence on "Cush"! Might just be what you're subconsciously looking for.
I've been mixing with the Clariphonic on the mix bus for the last 2 days. OH MY GOD.

been posting about it in the new products section tonight. This thing is sick. opens up the top end more transparently than maybe anything i've heard.
Old 13th November 2009
  #19
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javahut's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
I've been mixing with the Clariphonic on the mix bus for the last 2 days. OH MY GOD.

been posting about it in the new products section tonight. This thing is sick. opens up the top end more transparently than maybe anything i've heard.
Think I might have to check the Clariphonic out. J.S.Vega mentioned it earlier, and I remembered hearing about it... but then had totally slipped my mind. Appears it could be a pretty cool device. And the UBK Fatso seems to be loved by everyone. Price is definitely right.

My only other real question in this quest for cushy, smooth, elegant top end... whether my RME FF AD/DA is good enough to warrant running analog on the 2 bus mix.
Old 13th November 2009
  #20
Gear Head
 

Try IBIS with color on band 4.

michiel
Joystick Audio
Old 13th November 2009
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

when i went thru trying to get my top to sound better coming out of a ghost - as well as trying to forego a lot of work i was relying on an ME to do - i started with a drawmer 1968 due to budget. worked really well for me. i just tickle the lights red and rarely use compression...adds the something i like to hear.

still in between my board - now a SW 34 - and a master link. just got my a80rc re-fixed and doubt i will take it out when i use that.

Mike
Old 14th November 2009
  #22
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roger's Avatar
 

Dude leave it up to your mastering engineer...those guys really earn their keep...they have the ears and (probably) the (extremely expensive) gear to leave your tracks with that luxurious sheen/air that your plugs just don't do. My M.E. Has sontecs and buzz and api eqs for that as well as the ears and the balls and the experience to get things So utterly and perfectly sweet and 'cushy' if that's what the track wants...I have lovely comps myself but I reckon it's eq magic you are hearing...dunno about you but I can't afford a sontec!
Old 14th November 2009
  #23
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u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by javahut View Post
My only other real question in this quest for cushy, smooth, elegant top end... whether my RME FF AD/DA is good enough to warrant running analog on the 2 bus mix.

If you want that cushy top end, analog is the *only* way to get it. You can print it on the front end, or goose it on the back end, but you can't create it in the middle with plugins.


Gregory Scott - ubk
.
Old 14th November 2009
  #24
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dick swifter's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Johan View Post
I think you are looking for the A-designs Hammer EQ
+1.... The Hammer has a really sweet top end! Good Luck with your search.
Old 14th November 2009
  #25
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by javahut View Post
Looking for something on the 2 bus that gives the really sweet high end cushy almost harmonic sound. What processing on the 2 bus or in mastering does that?
I've had good results w/Ear 660's to Pultecs into the Anamod.
looking forward to hearing Greg's new box.
Old 14th November 2009
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

What about the Abbey roads Brilliance pack?
Old 14th November 2009
  #27
This year I have been mostly using a Thermionic Culture Phoenix (mastering) and the Amtec eq's. Very happy with the sound.
Lovely glow but lots of punch and thump.
I don't believe there is a plug in that could achieve a sense of long lasting satisfaction in this department yet.
Old 15th November 2009
  #28
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GYang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
This year I have been mostly using a Thermionic Culture Phoenix (mastering) and the Amtec eq's. Very happy with the sound.
Lovely glow but lots of punch and thump.
I don't believe there is a plug in that could achieve a sense of long lasting satisfaction in this department yet.
Agree 100%
Old 15th November 2009
  #29
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An old Lang PEQ, doesn't get any sweeter. Might be noisier than you'd want tho'...
Old 15th November 2009
  #30
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
This year I have been mostly using a Thermionic Culture Phoenix (mastering) and the Amtec eq's.

I've got a Phoenix coming next week, I'm psyched!

Although I gotta say, it's an open question whether I'll trade it out for a Culture Vulture. I'm having a schizophrenic artist identity right now, part of me yearns for soft sweetness, part of me yearns for utter filth.


Gregory Scott - ubk
.
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