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Hardware choice: Eq's OR Dynamics? Whats more crucial as HW vs. SW? Dynamics Plugins
Old 28th March 2015
  #1
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Anyone using a mixing setup around the SSL Xrack eq'+dynamics?

Hi-

Recently bought an SSL Sigma summing engine after selling my custom mixing desk, for portability and size.

Now i need to build my eq/dynamics rack since i like the workflow of all eq's and dynamics in analog and in front of me.

The first thought is X Rack modules(16 eq's x16 dynamics), but then i think, since i am not constricted to a pre-built SSL board, is it really a good choice...

I am wondering if anyone is using this setup or close to it, as far as using mostly SSL modules going into a summing box, and what are the thought? Is it doing the SSL mojo at the end of the buss or is it ...Meh....?
Old 28th March 2015
  #2
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Hardware choice: Eq's OR Dynamics? Whats more crucial as HW vs. SW?

HI-

I am budgeted for a couple of X-Racks to accompany my SSL Sigma summing box and trying to decide whether to invest in dynamics or eq's in the analog domain for each channels.

What do you feel would make a bigger difference as far as using hardware vs. software?
Old 28th March 2015
  #3
Gear Maniac
What are you missing when you're mixing now? Do you need outboard EQ AND comp to all your summing channels? Would it be wise to concentrate on the most important channels (like vocals) first?

Get a good vocal chain, as many EQs and comps and whatever you need for your sound.

Get a good master chain, comp and EQ.

You can add later when you know what you're missing.

Hope this helps.

-- Mikko
Old 28th March 2015
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by mherrane View Post
What are you missing when you're mixing now? Do you need outboard EQ AND comp to all your summing channels? Would it be wise to concentrate on the most important channels (like vocals) first?

Get a good vocal chain, as many EQs and comps and whatever you need for your sound.

Get a good master chain, comp and EQ.

You can add later when you know what you're missing.

Hope this helps.

-- Mikko
I'd agree with this. I always use hardware on mixbus and vocals. I usually use hardware on bass (but not always). Everything else is dependent on time available and budget allowed for

as an aside, and I'm not sure if it helps you, but I usually cut frequencies with ITB eq and sweeten with otb eq.
Old 28th March 2015
  #5
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Well, Ive got a bunch of good and varied outboard. I do want to "streamline" the tone and behavior of the Sigma. To extend its "tone" as a summing mixer before applying specialty colors from my outboard stuff. Have normally connected units on each channel as a starting point before scratching my head about which brush to use on particular "specialty" channels.
Old 28th March 2015
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rea View Post
Well, Ive got a bunch of good and varied outboard. I do want to "streamline" the tone and behavior of the Sigma. To extend its "tone" as a summing mixer before applying specialty colors from my outboard stuff. Have normally connected units on each channel as a starting point before scratching my head about which brush to use on particular "specialty" channels.
the ssl modules work fantastically well together with other more 'colored' processors. you really need both eq and comp modules, i don't see either as super awesome stand-alone eqs or compressors, but together they're pretty special. go for it!
Old 28th March 2015
  #7
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well, its gonna be quite hard to go for the whole 16 X eq and dynamics. So im really debating how much of it i really need...
Old 29th March 2015
  #8
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Seems to me you could get a couple 500 racks & set yourself up nicely. To answer your question- I personally think hardware compressors are more necessary over plugins. You could get a couple hardware EQs in the rack too though.

Good luck- should be fun
Old 29th March 2015
  #9
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if the choice is either ssl dynamics or ssl eq's, i'd choose the dynamics. i'd rather have half as many channels with both dynamics and eq though. if i only wanted a bunch of eq modules i'd go with crane song insignias, wastly better eq's in my book. (but more money)
Old 30th March 2015
  #10
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Kick
Snare
rest of kit, st
Bass
guitars, st
Vocals, lead+2nd
St Bus

Those are the most relevant tracks (10chs) which mostly define a song these days in many genres, so I'd first get outboard to treat these, and see from there.
Not just because processing OTB usually sounds sweeter, but because having the knobs right in front allows you to get there 1000% faster with both hands that tweaking with a mouse.

This is what I'd proposed a friend to get who's in a similar situation as yours. These pieces are IMO the best bang for the buck to track and mix hybrid with an SSL Sigma.

EQs: Neve for snare+vocal, pultec for bass, elysia for the master, SSL for the rest
Comps: LAish for bass, 2264/1176 for vocals, SSL for kick+snare+master bus, elysia for drum bus.

Hardware choice: Eq's OR Dynamics? Whats more crucial as HW vs. SW?-tm_2.jpg

With this setup you get, besides 5 neve pres (closest I've heard to a vintage that you can buy these days), 10 Comps and 10 Eqs. You can mix any song with those, using the outboard for the primary tracks and treat the rest ITB, all piped out through the SSL Sigma, where tracks will also get analog automation.
Sweet hybrid setup that will sound the best, it's the fastest to set and recall, makes you forget about the always delicate digital gain staging and even lets you drive things into the red if desired, which is something you can't do ITB.

.
Attached Thumbnails
Hardware choice: Eq's OR Dynamics? Whats more crucial as HW vs. SW?-tm_2.jpg  

Last edited by jindrich; 30th March 2015 at 03:18 AM..
Old 30th March 2015
  #11
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Something I forgot.

If you are mixing thru a Sigma with some outboard, you'll need FX AFTER outboard and analog automation.

This requires having something like PTHD cards+I/O, where you can send tracks back, thru Sigma's direct outs, into the DAW to add reverb/delay to those tracks in realtime without latency (and then back again into the analog domain to be mixed within the Sigma).

If you don't own PTHD, here's the solution:



Add an Apollo Twin JUST AS A REALTIME FX processor for the OTB tracks. You'll need some sort of 8ch>ADAT converter to add more inputs to the apollo, somthing like the Behringer ADA8200.



There you get all together 10 input chs (coming from sigma's direct outs) into the apollo to add EMT+Lexicon+tape delays to the tracks, with all fx returns then output in st to mix into the sigma.

Voila, 10 high quality, instantly recallable, outboard FX processors in realtime for just €1k (+plugin prices)

Last edited by jindrich; 30th March 2015 at 11:23 AM..
Old 30th March 2015
  #12
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Great ideas. Thanks! I have a ton of vintage gear, but they are in a different continent at the moment. And i mixed a ton on a board and ITB over the years.

The point im at is where i am trying to think what would be the best way to extend the tone of my summing mixer. i want to work fast and intuitive and not spend half a day experimenting on each sound. So i am drawn to the SSL or other complete package that would be consistent from channel to channel like on a proper board, with the added color here and there from a specialty box.

However, there is a thought that i am bothered with...:

Since the Superanalogue gear is very clean by definition, is it not the closest to it's plugins simulation out of the entire range out there?

Is that really the right choice when spending many a thousands in order to not use the equivalent plugs?

Would it be wiser to invest in "dirtier" gear that loves to overdrive and really utilizes the benefits of the analog, non linear, domain?
Old 30th March 2015
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rea View Post
HI-

I am budgeted for a couple of X-Racks to accompany my SSL Sigma summing box and trying to decide whether to invest in dynamics or eq's in the analog domain for each channels.
...
Dynamics all the way. Good plugin EQs (linear phase in particular) sounds awesome, more precise and suits better for surgical work than any analog.

On the other hand, I know only of two or three digital compressors that are good enough to me and can stand the comparison even with low-end hardware. Invesing in dynamics will yield times more palpable results.

If you own or have access (al least temporary) to some nice hardware EQ, you can sample an impulse response from them and use it later in the situation like this, when the hardware aren't available. It won't give any "color" and "dirt", but captures the phase response with perfection which yields correct hardware-like EQ without digital top and all. Pure convolution plugin without developer "knowhow" is needed though, TL Space, Altiverb or Waves IR won't do. Don't know if such plugins are available for your platform.
Old 31st March 2015
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rea View Post
Would it be wiser to invest in "dirtier" gear that loves to overdrive and really utilizes the benefits of the analog, non linear, domain?
I'm a firm believer in this! I want my hardware to do something that no plugin can and I often find that it's the distortion characteristics of some analog pieces that can't be replicated in the box. The great news is that there are some truly fantastic plugins out there that have allowed me to sell off a fair amount of my analog gear.
The analog gear that I do have is all very colored.

Right now I have:
2 Chandler Tone Controls - usually used on guitars but sometimes vocals.
API 2500 - usually drum bus but sometimes guitar or keys
Chandler TG1 - this sucker gets used a lot!! I'm often printing tracks to use it again
BAE 10dC (or whatever it's called!) - vocal
Sta Level - bass

So, I personally think that you're on the right track and should trust your gut and go for color on your outboard (and not to invest too much in it). I'd consider getting a UAD card if you don't have one. Their API, SSL, and Neve plugins are fantastic and for the cost of one channel of analog SSL eq and dynamics you could have your choice of different sounds on every channel of your mix.
Old 31st March 2015
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ringo_mod View Post
On the other hand, I know only of two or three digital compressors that are good enough to me and can stand the comparison even with low-end hardware. Invesing in dynamics will yield times more palpable results..

Which ones? i am curious
Old 31st March 2015
  #16
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Ancient Waves RComp - completely unlike hardware, transparent gain reduction and I don't hear any digital grit/artifacts from it.
FabFilter Pro-C - again, not hardware-like, but artifact-free.
The third is my custom plugin, called Despot. Does not emulate anything. It is anything but transparent, aggressive feedforward smashing in-your-face compression. It does not have any analog-like character, but free of digital grit too.

The others I like is Cytomic The Glue and Waves API 2500 emulations. They can be inferior to hardware they emulate, but does not digitally damage material.

Anything else I tried (and I have a large collection of plugin compressors) has some awful digital grit to it, especially on fast attack.
Old 4th May 2018
  #17
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich View Post
Kick
Snare
rest of kit, st
Bass
guitars, st
Vocals, lead+2nd
St Bus

Those are the most relevant tracks (10chs) which mostly define a song these days in many genres, so I'd first get outboard to treat these, and see from there.
Not just because processing OTB usually sounds sweeter, but because having the knobs right in front allows you to get there 1000% faster with both hands that tweaking with a mouse.

This is what I'd proposed a friend to get who's in a similar situation as yours. These pieces are IMO the best bang for the buck to track and mix hybrid with an SSL Sigma.

EQs: Neve for snare+vocal, pultec for bass, elysia for the master, SSL for the rest
Comps: LAish for bass, 2264/1176 for vocals, SSL for kick+snare+master bus, elysia for drum bus.



With this setup you get, besides 5 neve pres (closest I've heard to a vintage that you can buy these days), 10 Comps and 10 Eqs. You can mix any song with those, using the outboard for the primary tracks and treat the rest ITB, all piped out through the SSL Sigma, where tracks will also get analog automation.
Sweet hybrid setup that will sound the best, it's the fastest to set and recall, makes you forget about the always delicate digital gain staging and even lets you drive things into the red if desired, which is something you can't do ITB.

.
Hello,

have just found in my research for ways for a hybrid setup this post from you.

Did you change your mind the last 3 years or would you still recommend this as a very good option for a hybrid setup in 2018?

I also want to get a bit more out of the box.


Thanks and Greetings
Matthew
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