The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Questions regarding consoles, summing boxes and ITB mixing. Consoles
Old 23rd March 2010
  #1
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 

Questions regarding consoles, summing boxes and ITB mixing.

Most of you know where I'm at; new studio, some new gear, tape machine etc... We've been mixing the first batch of tunes that we tracked in the new room, these were mostly not tracked to tape, we didn't have the tape machine yet. We are mixing itb using hardware inserts. The mixes sound good but there's something just bugging me, mostly a slight lack of muscle and weight in the mix and also the lack of cohesive color. I'm finding when I listen to songs mixed well on a console there's a pervasive tone that all the tracks in the song share. ITB sounds very transparent to me and I don't like it for rock. It's like each track sounds very unique to itself.

So I'm starting this thread in hopes of getting some concepts and direction from gearslutz members with experience with this.

A couple of questions:

1. Is it possible to get a console sound using a summing mixer and doing all your automation in PT?

2. If possible, I have a DA16X what if I got a second one and used 10 or so outs as insert outs for my hardware comps and eq's (inserting in and out on to the protools track) and then summed out stems from the remaining out (16 - 20 outs)?

3. Has anyone had success in doing this? What summing box got you the most fatness and width?

I know the ultimate is to get a console but I just don't have the money right now. The reality is that we will be using protools as the audio storage, so please don't go into how we should get RADAR and console. I can't do that now. I can probably scrounge up the money for another Apogee and a kick ass summing mixer or mixer without automation.

With what I have proposed (another DA and a mixer) do you think we can get some added fatness and ass on our mixes? I know this is a subject that has many opinions, I'm really looking for guys who have improved there mix sound from itb to some sort of alternative. This thread is the last thing I want to do, I am so sick of f'n around with gear but I feel like I'm so close and I just want to get the sound I'm looking for. The other thing is I'm looking for units with TONE, nothing transparent. I want mojo.

???

Thanks,
James
Old 23rd March 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
BradM's Avatar
James,

I know you are looking for answers to your summing box questions, but the best thing you can do for all those digital tracks you have is to bounce them all to tape and back into the computer. Just doing that will give you a lot of size and weight you just aren't feeling right now.

Put that tape deck to good use!

Brad
Old 23rd March 2010
  #3
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
James,

I know you are looking for answers to your summing box questions, but the best thing you can do for all those digital tracks you have is to bounce them all to tape and back into the computer. Just doing that will give you a lot of size and weight you just aren't feeling right now.

Put that tape deck to good use!

Brad
We did that on another record that we didn't start mixing yet but we didn't on this one. It's been so crazy here I didn't even think to do it.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo View Post
The mixes sound good but there's something just bugging me, mostly a slight lack of muscle and weight in the mix and also the lack of cohesive color.
Trust me i was there for 5 years straight between the years where i sold a console and bought another so i definitely know that sound and feeling.

I mixed ITB and ITB Hybrid day in and day out for those 5 years.


Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo View Post
I'm finding when I listen to songs mixed well on a console there's a pervasive tone that all the tracks in the song share. ITB sounds very transparent to me and I don't like it for rock. It's like each track sounds very unique to itself.
This is a very astute observation and one that's shared by lots of guys who mix on consoles and have mixed ITB hybrid as well. The reasons why that is i will not get into because that is not really what you are asking for.

One thing to point out though that has nothing to do with the platform is that the person who interprets your songs with their mixes has to bring some of that "mojo" or tone themselves. With the gear it doesn't just magically appear but i gather you know this already.



Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo View Post
So I'm starting this thread in hopes of getting some concepts and direction from gearslutz members with experience with this.

A couple of questions:

1. Is it possible to get a console sound using a summing mixer and doing all your automation in PT?

2. If possible, I have a DA16X what if I got a second one and used 10 or so outs as insert outs for my hardware comps and eq's (inserting in and out on to the protools track) and then summed out stems from the remaining out (16 - 20 outs)?

3. Has anyone had success in doing this? What summing box got you the most fatness and width?

I know the ultimate is to get a console but I just don't have the money right now. The reality is that we will be using protools as the audio storage, so please don't go into how we should get RADAR and console. I can't do that now. I can probably scrounge up the money for another Apogee and a kick ass summing mixer or mixer without automation.

With what I have proposed (another DA and a mixer) do you think we can get some added fatness and ass on our mixes? I know this is a subject that has many opinions, I'm really looking for guys who have improved there mix sound from itb to some sort of alternative. This thread is the last thing I want to do, I am so sick of f'n around with gear but I feel like I'm so close and I just want to get the sound I'm looking for. The other thing is I'm looking for units with TONE, nothing transparent. I want mojo.

???

Thanks,
James
I've heard some really convincing sounding stuff done by top guys mixing just the way you are asking for so it really is possible(like Mike Shipley for example).

I feel you have to really buy into that way of working though and for some guys it just comes more natural. I could not do it and i tried really hard(got some really nice sounding mixes out of it but always felt i could do better), but once i went back on a console it just felt right and everything fell into place even being 5 years away.

Of the summers i did try the one's with the most "mojo" to me where it really gave the mix a sound were the Chandler, the Nicerizer and the Mix690. The thing to watch out for though is that more colored units sometimes needed some massaging in order to get back the aggression you put into it. These days if i were to go back though i would probably build my system around the Aurora Audio system and the SSL. The AA is not only expandable and flexible but it sounds good and the SSL would be an option for something clean.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 
tapehiss's Avatar
i don't have any solutions for you, but just thought i'd comment because i'm experiencing the exact same thing....

i like the sound, but i know there is a lack of cohesiveness that just keeps me up at night, even though my collaborators (what some call "clients") are always leaving happy....... but i know if i could get this special magic "cohesiveness" that accompanies a quality console or summing mixer, then they and i both would be even more happy...

I can't stop from thinking the Rascal Tonebuss would serve me well..... i also really love the idea of the LiLo, which would bring me a bit closer to the console realm.......

and i can't help but want a tonelux system and also the new MiniMixer II from Chandler that is supposed to have faders and aux's.


it's a tough problem to solve, and i feel your pains!!!!!!
Old 23rd March 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Steve Honest's Avatar
 

i had to give it a go

HIya
I really hanked for the analogue summing experience, and while the studio build used up all my money, i still thought it was worth getting something going, so i bought a Sound craft 6000, not the greatest desk ever, but good enough to get me up and running , and i use it every day with 16 discrete outputs from tools, and it makes me smile, bigger, fatter, wider, juicy, and i can easily insert my outboard,
I gotta tell you it rocks.
once i get a bit of money together i will buy a nicer desk, perhaps even a desk i can track thru, but till then for the small money this cost , its a big step up from ITB.
steve
Old 23rd March 2010
  #7
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
After throwing my arms up in frustration w/ all ITB I did the summing/hybrid thing for a few years too.
had every summing mixer available[@ the time] here at one point or another. [API,Tonelux,Chandler,Nicerizer,Shadow Hills,Aurora,Inward ,Manley,etc]
in the end for me it it felt completely half assed. became really annoying trying to find a decent workaround and gave up.
Back to a console/hardware/hybrid[plugs,etc] and could not be happier!
Old 23rd March 2010
  #8
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
After throwing my arms up in frustration w/ all ITB I did the summing/hybrid thing for a few years too.
had every summing mixer available[@ the time] here at one point or another. [API,Tonelux,Chandler,Nicerizer,Shadow Hills,Aurora,Inward ,Manley,etc]
in the end for me it it felt completely half assed. became really annoying trying to find a decent workaround and gave up.
Back to a console/hardware/hybrid[plugs,etc] and could not be happier!
What kind of console did you go with? Are you automating in your DAW? Running hardware inserts through the DAW or on the console?
Old 23rd March 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

Mixing desks are very cheap today, it´s incredible.
Off course, a used desk needs some work, but it´s no voodo. Clean it, maybe recap it, adjust the meters and so on.
Get a desk, before prices will rise. If i watch the used market, i think there is increase in price already. I talked to a pro gear used shop owner and he told me, that prices raised, too.
I bought D&R orion 36 channel with a lot of cables for a very good price last week, cheaper than a serrious summing mixer and it got preamps, too
This EQs are great, nothing bad about it, q would be great, but it´s ok.
It´s crazy how alive even digital sounds (itb synth, drum samples) get when using real eqs, it´s amazing how fast you find a signals sweet spot, its amazing how fast you get a great sound and it´s impossible to do with a digital EQ...for me
And you got the Studer! You´ll love it!
Send every Instrument through it from itb.
Than do with groups later.
This will give you a lot of fun and sound!
Peace
Old 23rd March 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
 
gainreduction's Avatar
 

A cheap way to find out is to get a Folcrom, or just make a passive summing rail DIY if you have basic soldering skills. You have a good collection of preamps so just try them all out as make-up gain and see if you like what you hear. The pres will probably sit there doing nothing during mixing anyway.

In case you didn´t like it, not much money lost.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #11
Gear Nut
 

The Audient Zen lets you control your analog faders with pro tools automation. So basically that means you can automate your mix levels with pro tools automation post insert without going through an additional ad/da conversion. There is also the tonelux shadowmix system. I believe you can get the Rupert Neve 5088 with shadowmix as well. Of those three I believe the Zen is the least expensive route to go. I think as of now the Zen is only shipping with 16 faders but you get 32 inputs on mixdown but only 16 automated faders. I believe Audient Zen is supposed to release a 32 fader version of the Zen. The Shadowmix you can get in banks of 8. The only weird thing about these systems is that you have to arrange your tracks a certain way at least with pro tools and there could be some strange stuff with the hui protocol.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #12
Lives for gear
 
tapehiss's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by banevt View Post
I think as of now the Zen is only shipping with 16 faders but you get 32 inputs on mixdown but only 16 automated faders. I believe Audient Zen is supposed to release a 32 fader version of the Zen.
this is not going to happen... i just asked them...

and although i think a 24/32 would be a very successful product, they aren't going to make one....

unless you have heard otherwise in the last two weeks.....

but their R&D said they had no plans of expanding the Zen in the future, which is a total bummer.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Silvertone's Avatar
James,

The short answer is yes to the console. In my personal writing room I have a 16x4 Electrodyne console. I find that is what gives my sounds the "analog" flavor again. I mix stems and individual instruments through that and it's amazing how even just a few channels can affect the mix... in a positive way.

I believe it to be the iron on each channel and on the two buss that gives us the "character" that we like so much. It really helps in achieving a separation between the tracks. Add to that pan, EQ and outboard FX and things get much much better.

I just showed another engineer (while I was mixing a song for Tony Levin) how the ITB reverb plug in on the vocal compared to using a 25 year old Lexicon PCM 60 reverb through the console... lets just say that the voice stayed intact with the outboard reverb and with the plug in certain "frequencies" had been stripped out of the vocals... that alone is enough to convince me what the right choice is.

Now before everyone jumps all over me I still used ITB plug in's on other tracks and background vocals... but on the lead vocal... I'll still take a 25 year old 16 bit reverb! How crazy is that???

I love mixing in a hybrid fashion... been doing it since the 80's when MIDI hit kids, so this is nothing new to us old engineers... however it is so much easier today. No one really has any excuses for a bad "anything" today other than the "skill set" involved!

Knowledge is power... use it!

One other thing... and I've done this a couple of times. Could I just about match my mix ITB??? Short answer, yes! However it took a few extra hours and quite a few tricks to achieve a similar mix. So it is "doable" to a certain degree but it is so much easier with a console... and immediate. This works for me... however, YMMV.

best, Larry
Old 23rd March 2010
  #14
Gear Addict
 
la grange's Avatar
 

Hey James,

Unless I was doing the same type of music over and over again, I want a certain transparency from my board and will get my color from the tracking gear decisions and the mixing inserts. Musicality from EQ's yes but too much mojo can be a bad thing

90% of people hanging around here would love to be able to track using a 8068 onto tape, then bounce it to protool and use a SSL for mixing using some kick butt outboard gear.
This being said, the weight you're talking about comes out of the tracking and outboard more than the mixing board it self.
It feels like I am stating the obvious here.
That doesn't mean that mixing on a colored board is bad. I think we could all get by with a neve or focusrite as mixing board.

Might be wrong here but it is my take on this subject.

Oli
Old 23rd March 2010
  #15
I have a Rascal ToneBuss on the way to me right now. I have 24ch of I/O so I got the 16ch version letting me still use some of the I/O for hardware inserts and I always have an analog chain on the 2-bus.

I'm extremely curious to see if the ToneBuss makes the difference I'm hoping to hear - I like my mixes now (and more importantly, the clients do!), but I want that extra "thing" I get when I'm on a proper desk, but with the more immediate recall of my setup.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #16
Here for the gear
 

James,

In my opinion the regular summing mixers are a waste of your money (except the Chandler) because you already know you're gonna buy a proper board in the near future. I'd suggest to buy something that'll last and will remain valuable in your recording setup. So, in short;

-Save your money on the Apogees
-Sell a couple of outboard preamps
-Sell some more guitars
-You already own a couple of neve modules
-Buy more 1073/84's/23's

And then buy this mother trucker:

BAE 8cm

Bussing amplifiers are 1272's
Direct outs
Panning per channel
Stereo output


This would make a killer recording and mixing tool! At the time you've got the money to buy the empty API 1608 (you already have loads of 500 series stuff), you'll still have eight channels of Neve.
It'll give you the Eggs and Bacon you're looking for man!!

Best,

Mattias
Old 23rd March 2010
  #17
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo View Post
What kind of console did you go with? Are you automating in your DAW? Running hardware inserts through the DAW or on the console?
combo of vintage Neve, API 1608 and Tonelux
all inserts done at console
Old 23rd March 2010
  #18
Lives for gear
 
superburtm's Avatar
 

the other thing to consider is that not all engineers are equal at mixing ITB. If you aren't liking the mixes you might look at who is mixing them.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #19
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by superburtm View Post
the other thing to consider is that not all engineers are equal at mixing ITB. If you aren't liking the mixes you might look at who is mixing them.
I don't think that's the issues, the mixes are great it's the sound of the internal summing I think that is bugging me.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Tony Shepperd's Avatar
I believe the Mark VIII is perfect for you.
Let me know when you're available and I can bring one down to the studio for you and Greg to check out.
Or you can come by my studio in the Valley and take a look/listen.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #21
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
After throwing my arms up in frustration w/ all ITB I did the summing/hybrid thing for a few years too.
had every summing mixer available[@ the time] here at one point or another. [API,Tonelux,Chandler,Nicerizer,Shadow Hills,Aurora,Inward ,Manley,etc]
in the end for me it it felt completely half assed. became really annoying trying to find a decent workaround and gave up.
Back to a console/hardware/hybrid[plugs,etc] and could not be happier!
LOL Just the opposite for me. heh heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying_Dutchman View Post
Mixing desks are very cheap today, it´s incredible.
Agreed. It's really unbelieveable to tell you the truth. I keep pinching myself wondering when people are going to figure it out, but it hasn't happened yet.

That said, I'm completely ITB when it comes to mixing. Some inserts via DA/AD, but not thru the console. I use the console everyday for tracking, etc. though. thumbsup

PS - way too go on the D&R. Two thumbs up!!!thumbsupthumbsup
Old 23rd March 2010
  #22
Lives for gear
 
superburtm's Avatar
 

One sure way to find out. It might save you alot of hassle and money.

Take the same song and engineer and book a room with a nice desk and do a mix of the same song you did ITB and see for yourself. If you notice a major difference you need a desk...if you don't notice a difference and you dont like your mixes you need a new mixer heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo View Post
I don't think that's the issues, the mixes are great it's the sound of the internal summing I think that is bugging me.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #23
Gear Nut
 

How do people feel about the API 8200a? It seems to be a pretty economical way to go. It's only 8 channels, but you can expand it and have 16 channels with inserts and panning.

I'm on the fence for one right now.

Can you get a similar sound as running through the 1608? You obviously won't have the flexibility of routing, but if the sound is there, that's enough for me.
Old 24th March 2010
  #24
Gear Addict
 
TRCS's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by exploded View Post
How do people feel about the API 8200a? It seems to be a pretty economical way to go. It's only 8 channels, but you can expand it and have 16 channels with inserts and panning.

I'm on the fence for one right now.

Can you get a similar sound as running through the 1608? You obviously won't have the flexibility of routing, but if the sound is there, that's enough for me.
There is a very reasonable deal on eBay right now for the whole API summing setup... I think it's the 24 channel one. With the 2500 comp and 7800 master section.

I'm currently summing with one 8200 and two 7600s. The weight definitely comes from the two 7600 strips. But if you're patching in outboard on the inserts then you should get the same kind of weight. Also, as far as I know there are only transformers on the stereo bus... Which is probably why there is more punch and tone from the 7600s.
Old 24th March 2010
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post

Agreed. It's really unbelieveable to tell you the truth. I keep pinching myself wondering when people are going to figure it out, but it hasn't happened yet.

That said, I'm completely ITB when it comes to mixing. Some inserts via DA/AD, but not thru the console. I use the console everyday for tracking, etc. though. thumbsup

PS - way too go on the D&R. Two thumbs up!!!thumbsupthumbsup
It will happen, i think and than prices will raise dramtically.
Orion is very good, so far the short mixdown tests can say.
I think it was a very good decision.
Why don´t you use it for mixing? I think the EQs are very usefull.
Old 24th March 2010
  #26
Lives for gear
 

i tried around a lot woth summing. unless you have a proper console its pure marketing BS in my opinion. even worse, in most cases the users diminish their sound quality by the use of inferior converters. dont do it - unless you have great converters and a nice desk. besides . how are you supposed to apply proper post fade sends when doing the hybrid summing thing (assuming you are using otb compression and eq)? the hybrid thing is simply not working yet. there are no sends. you need a desk. or do it itb.
Old 24th March 2010
  #27
Lives for gear
 

On a price, features and sound front, I quite like the TL Audio M4 desks.

They are quite a nice hybrid between a console and a summing mixer, and also just so happen to have pretty nice pre-amps in them too, and cost very little.

I use one for summing but with the little added value of a nice punchy valve EQ, insert points, and the fact that I can use it on the way in too if I so want to.
Old 24th March 2010
  #28
Lives for gear
 
ddageek's Avatar
 

I tried the digital console route hated it. Tried itb hated the sound ! Every summing system was just a console without features someone thought I didn't need, but they were wrong !
32 channels of Panasonic/ Ramsa DA and my old DDA it works for me!
So James I say find somebody with a Toft or any other middle of the road desk , try putting up a couple of mixes see if it works for you, then find a console that works for you !
Yeah you could try a summing box but you are probably going to find it clumsy And at some point are going to wants real mixer.
I knew when you bought that studer you were goingto end up at this point !
Old 24th March 2010
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Bubbakron's Avatar
 

Here is the real question!!!!!! I know everybody says "just get a console" - well duh. Do you have $60 grand I can borrow??

this is what it comes down to-

option 1) Cheap Console with input trannies on every channel, and totally crappy eqs and parts. But because of the amount of trannies, it sounds good. Mix to tape!!$ 8,000

option 2) Print all tracks on the way in through 3 pieces of top notch outboard gear per track- which goes through like six transformers, giving the tranny sounds when printing to daw.
Then sum through something like "shadow hills equinox" for summing and main output trannies to tape. $ 4,000

The only difference is that you print the sound of the input/output trannies instead of live when mixing through a console. Can that really make a difference?? Is using a Zen audio eq instead of your outboard api's/neve eq's gonna make it sound worse? YES What is the console doing that option 2 is not??

Then comes the idea of mixing the tracks live to be able to match up sounds in a mix. I just use plugins to see what tracks are competeing w each other at what frequencies, then bounce through a analog neve eq at those settings give or take. Therefore it remains all analog, but I dont have to buy 32 eq modules.

Now could someone explain why a "high end" conole sounds $40 grand better than option 2 please!?!?!?!?! How is a cheap console gonna sound better than a "High end" summing unit!?!?!?!
Thanks
Old 24th March 2010
  #30
Gear Addict
 

I have the Folcrum and did many tests with it mixing tracks ITB and then through the Folcrum. Sometimes it works, especially when I want to get a "loud" mix. However, most of the time I usually stay ITB becuase it sounds more uniform that way. I also tried different pres for make up gain but honestly I keep going back to the SSLs for their transparency. And also, each mix is different. I would say to hell with the Hybrid aproach unless you go with a cheap solution like this one below. Then save for a decent mixing console like the SSL AWS or even the SSL Matrix. That way you can use your preamps for choosing the color.

PASSIVE SUMMING Network for ProTools HD 192 - eBay (item 220506770520 end time Apr-05-10 14:27:41 PDT)


Hope that helps,

-Tguy
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
malekmusic / So much gear, so little time
7
perx / So much gear, so little time
0
arthurchino / So much gear, so little time
6
jho / Q+A with Mike Shipley
5

Forum Jump
Forum Jump