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Where do you ITB mixers use hardware instead of plugins? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 28th March 2015
  #1
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 

Where do you ITB mixers use hardware instead of plugins?

My question is where in the process do you find hardware is better then plugins? Any specific hardware that you just can't get the same result with software? Also are you summing in or out of the box and if out what summing system are you using?
Old 28th March 2015
  #2
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
2 Buss primarily. Secondarily on inserts on bass, kick, vocals, sometimes other stuff.

- 2 Buss - Silver Bullet, SB4001.
- Bass, Kick - 1176's and LA3a's.
- Guitars - LA3a's
- Vox - LA3's or LA2a's
Old 28th March 2015
  #3
Gear Nut
 
Noise10's Avatar
 

Honestly for me it's centered around compression. I'll use up all the compressors in the rack before I touch a plug compressor. Especially bus compressors wether on individual busses or the overall mix. I feel plug-in compression tends to smear transients compared to real analog signal path.

Also I find the SPL Transient Designer hardware is light years better than the plug version.
Old 28th March 2015
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Generally:
- RMS 755 on the 2buss
- WA-76 on vocals
- 160x or Altec 436c on bass

I always do a blind off/on/off/on bypass to make sure it's actually better, and while there's the odd time where I actually like straight ITB better, it's very very rare. This is mostly true on the 2buss - even without compression, there's a little somethin' sometin' that feels right - more open it seems. It's doubly great that the 755 does buss compression very well.
Old 28th March 2015
  #5
Lives for gear
2 bus only.

VCA Compressor - currently my fav is the Rolls RMS755

The Rolls is acting as my analog summing and also doing some compression - whenever I've demoed summing units, frustratingly they sound no different with 2 tracks or 16.
So I just use the Rolls and everything sound more open and 3D - gain reduction is about 2dB in general - just enough for glue.

HEDD FX = always TAPE (sounds brilliant to me) and a touch of PENTODE

The rest is ITB and the results are making me more than happy.
Old 28th March 2015
  #6
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hasbeen's Avatar
On the 2 bus

CAPI VP28
AML ez1073
CAPI Missing Link
PureAnalog DuaLevel VariMoo
Foote Class A Bus Compressor
Eisen Lilpeqr

Would love to try summing and would not hesitate to use a great console if the situation was different but constraints make that unlikely at this time.

However summing gear has been on my list for a while. I have been attracted to a few of the offerings but it seems I must have been waiting for the Heritage Audio MCM-8 because it has the features I have most desired for summing.

I have no problems using plug ins and quite like a few but either by habit, custom or old age I still like the hardware. I use a control surface just to have faders for mixing. I have never tried inserts from my DAW for fear of latency I guess. I really have no excuse for not trying that and probably should.
Old 28th March 2015
  #7
If I'm not mixing on the desk I still use hardware as a hardware plugin on the lead vocal and on the mixbus. What I use depends on what Im going for.
Old 28th March 2015
  #8
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BillSimpkins's Avatar
Hi james.

I use a hybrid setup, mostly summed OTB but I am equally as happy with the mixes I've summed ITB, they just went slower ITB.
I still cannot find ITB compressors for the two buss where the release doesn't sound completely obvious (used Slate VBC ...everything. Probably the closest to are the plugins with variable knee settings like Avid Channel Strip and McDsp Compressor Bank. I can dial in the knee so it sounds more natural).

ITB, I struggle with compressors for things like kick, snare, bass, acoustic guitars and sometimes vocals. I mean seriously, nothing comes close to the sound of a hardware 33609 on a kick or a distressor taming an acoustic guitar or splatting a snare drum or a bass being slammed into a RND 5043.

My mix buss is: Tube-Tech SSA-2A summing amp, a GSSL 384 clone with mods (like a 384 but a little smoother and wider without stripping the low end) and an A-designs Hammer EQ, Apogee Rosetta 800 (soft limit engaged) ... in that order. I actually get a fair amount of glue by driving the Hammer with the compressor and driving the soft limit (sometimes) ... pic attached.
Attached Thumbnails
Where do you ITB mixers use hardware instead of plugins?-desk.jpg  

Last edited by BillSimpkins; 28th March 2015 at 08:06 PM..
Old 28th March 2015
  #9
Gear Nut
 

plug in are in the very first stage of mixing , nothing crazy , just AVID substrative eq, gain clip and small peak limiting with UAD 1176, tonal balance/ character with decapitator.
after, my main elements have the right to get treated by my 1073's hardware ( heritage stuff ) and high end compressor for a nice polish , retro stuff , chandler zener , thermionic culture and API , all summed with the inward connection summing mixer , SSL Comp clones on the master ( Tornade music system , incredible success here in france ), compress an ITB mix is a totally different music philosophy.
The rest of the tracks get treated with UAD plugs , very good and useful tools for the "background" stage but hardware makes you smile every time and you know it james
Old 28th March 2015
  #10
Lives for gear
 
dabigfrog's Avatar
 

pultec
compressors
delay boxes roland/lex

our pultec is new and it beats the pants off the plug ins… comps too… delay boxes for their damn handiness.
Old 29th March 2015
  #11
Lives for gear
I replaced all plugin compressors with outboard when my $80 ashly smashed them all to bits. that said, the plug I turn to when needed is softube dynamite -- it actually smacks!
Old 29th March 2015
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Two buss Compressor for me (Shadow Hills MC).... I find the plugins just kill the depth too much when it's on a buss with lots of complex things going on.

Also super hi "air" eq (pultec etc) is still much better on hardware I find. Just sounds more natural and less "plasticy"
Old 29th March 2015
  #13
7+1
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7+1's Avatar
 

Ive been mixing my Warner placement tracks ITB for about a year.. and was doing album stuff going through my custom summing box then monitored with the SH Equinox (bypassing their summing- just not a fan at all). With either a SH on buss or the Thermionic.

Lately ive been staying ITB as I am really starting to get really great results with just coming into the Thermionic and then printing to the BURL.

My studio of 7 years closed its doors because of the tear down of the building and putting in new condos.. So i built this sort of shadow hills 60s style console with a fader port! Everything seems to be working nicely.. Testing out new areas in my room. And again happy ITB with the 2buss and Burl..
Attached Thumbnails
Where do you ITB mixers use hardware instead of plugins?-img_1148.jpg   Where do you ITB mixers use hardware instead of plugins?-img_1067.jpg  
Old 29th March 2015
  #14
Gear Addict
 
BluegrassDan's Avatar
For bluegrass, hardware compressors for vocals and possibly fiddle and bass. ITB plugins for guitar, mandolin, and other instruments.
Old 29th March 2015
  #15
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Rob King's Avatar
Always the 2 bus. Usually the drum bus, backing vocal bus. Stereo stems. I refuse to put a plugin on my mix bus. Just weird like that. I'm 75% ITB with hardware inserts and a pretty extensive 2 bus. I also would never want a console again, slows down my workflow, power bill, etc. The older I get the smaller and more focused I want my work area. I just sold my 20 fader Daw controller to have more desk space. I love it! Ok, back on topic....
Old 29th March 2015
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7+1 View Post
So i built this sort of shadow hills 60s style console with a fader port! Everything seems to be working nicely.. Testing out new areas in my room. And again happy ITB with the 2buss and Burl..
That is stunning...great work!
Old 29th March 2015
  #17
Lives for gear
 
lordward's Avatar
1. do you find hardware is better then plugins?
Most definitely.

2. Any specific hardware that you just can't get the same result with software?

I have a Sky Audio Mic Shaper EQ, which is basically a really great Pultec with a mid boost/cut as well, and no plugin comes even close. Also preamps. I "re-amp" boring signals into mic preamps to get some life into them. The simulations just don't match up. There is no substitute for the API 2500, the Drawmer DL251, Distressor, Neve Portico 5043, etc.....

3. Also are you summing in or out of the box and if out what summing system are you using?
Yes, but mainly for my workflow needs. I'm using the X-desk which is summing 20 channels. I'm using 48 channels of SSL Alphalink to sum and for my insert points into Cubase 8. Loving it!
Attached Thumbnails
Where do you ITB mixers use hardware instead of plugins?-image1x.jpg  

Last edited by lordward; 29th March 2015 at 10:26 AM.. Reason: forgot pic
Old 29th March 2015
  #18
Lives for gear
 
SoundEng1's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7+1 View Post
Ive been mixing my Warner placement tracks ITB for about a year.. and was doing album stuff going through my custom summing box then monitored with the SH Equinox (bypassing their summing- just not a fan at all). With either a SH on buss or the Thermionic.

Lately ive been staying ITB as I am really starting to get really great results with just coming into the Thermionic and then printing to the BURL.

My studio of 7 years closed its doors because of the tear down of the building and putting in new condos.. So i built this sort of shadow hills 60s style console with a fader port! Everything seems to be working nicely.. Testing out new areas in my room. And again happy ITB with the 2buss and Burl..
Same here, ITB with Neve MBP on the master & plugins, and burl B2 ADC for the print, and clock for the HD I/O. Getting great results.
Old 29th March 2015
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7+1 View Post
Ive been mixing my Warner placement tracks ITB for about a year.. and was doing album stuff going through my custom summing box then monitored with the SH Equinox (bypassing their summing- just not a fan at all). With either a SH on buss or the Thermionic.

Lately ive been staying ITB as I am really starting to get really great results with just coming into the Thermionic and then printing to the BURL.

My studio of 7 years closed its doors because of the tear down of the building and putting in new condos.. So i built this sort of shadow hills 60s style console with a fader port! Everything seems to be working nicely.. Testing out new areas in my room. And again happy ITB with the 2buss and Burl..
Nice!
Old 29th March 2015
  #20
Lives for gear
 
SoundEng1's Avatar
Marc,
Who made you desk? Looks awesome.
Old 29th March 2015
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob King View Post
Always the 2 bus. Usually the drum bus, backing vocal bus. Stereo stems. I refuse to put a plugin on my mix bus. Just weird like that. I'm 75% ITB with hardware inserts and a pretty extensive 2 bus. I also would never want a console again, slows down my workflow, power bill, etc. The older I get the smaller and more focused I want my work area. I just sold my 20 fader Daw controller to have more desk space. I love it! Ok, back on topic....
I don't understand - i thought 2bus = mix buss...can you clarify?
Old 29th March 2015
  #22
Lives for gear
 
antichef's Avatar
I have a hard time not running the drum bus through an API 2500. I recently got the waves plugin but haven't spent the time to figure whether I can use that intead.

Often run lead vocal through a CL1B

Frequently put an A-Designs Hammer on the mix bus / 2 bus with just a little 10k and nothing else - big impact for some reason.

Occasionally run a kick through a UA 1176 (part of 6176)

In each case I have a nagging feeling that I *should* be able to stay ITB if I work hard enough, but the hardware is like instant gratification and gets me to the finish line much faster. I can't tell you how many times I have struggled with trying a dozen different plugins on a vocal track while the blue colored tube tech keeps waving at me from the corner of my eye (not that many actually - I usually give in pretty quickly)
Old 29th March 2015
  #23
Gear Addict
 

I use as much hardware as possible on all tracks. I mix 90% rock and metal.
I think the plug-ins are not able to give me the depth and 3D sound I want.
All effects such as delay and reverb are also hardware. Uses absolutely no plug-ins for this. It is the same reason as I said above. Even the cheapest effect unit will knock out a plug-in.
Everything goes through two summing mixers and mix down on another computer.
Old 29th March 2015
  #24
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSimpkins View Post
Hi james.

I use a hybrid setup, mostly summed OTB but I am equally as happy with the mixes I've summed ITB, they just went slower ITB.
I still cannot find ITB compressors for the two buss where the release doesn't sound completely obvious (used Slate VBC ...everything. Probably the closest to are the plugins with variable knee settings like Avid Channel Strip and McDsp Compressor Bank. I can dial in the knee so it sounds more natural).

ITB, I struggle with compressors for things like kick, snare, bass, acoustic guitars and sometimes vocals. I mean seriously, nothing comes close to the sound of a hardware 33609 on a kick or a distressor taming an acoustic guitar or splatting a snare drum or a bass being slammed into a RND 5043.

My mix buss is: Tube-Tech SSA-2A summing amp, a GSSL 384 clone with mods (like a 384 but a little smoother and wider without stripping the low end) and an A-designs Hammer EQ, Apogee Rosetta 800 (soft limit engaged) ... in that order. I actually get a fair amount of glue by driving the Hammer with the compressor and driving the soft limit (sometimes) ... pic attached.
Thanks man, nice setup. What’s the 16 fader unit you have there? Looks nice, you like it?
Old 29th March 2015
  #25
Lives for gear
 
subspace's Avatar
ITB I'm mostly using IK's plug-ins, 1176, LA-2A, SSL channel and bus comp, 33609, 1073, 1081, 550A and Sontec. I'll start stemming out of the box in subgroups and that's where I replace plug-ins with hardware. 2-bus first gets the HM2 Nail, then the drums get the Audient VCA Bus Comp. Sometimes I'll break the drums down to sub-subgroups with a kick bus and snare bus each getting a 1081 & 160XT, depends on how much shaping they got on the way in. Guitar bus often just gets a Trident EQ across it. I usually chain a plug-in comp into a hardware comp on bass and vocals, like an 1176 plug into a Pro VLA II on the bus. The processed subgroups return to automated VCA faders on the Audient for summing.
Old 29th March 2015
  #26
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordward View Post
1. do you find hardware is better then plugins?
Most definitely.

2. Any specific hardware that you just can't get the same result with software?

I have a Sky Audio Mic Shaper EQ, which is basically a really great Pultec with a mid boost/cut as well, and no plugin comes even close. Also preamps. I "re-amp" boring signals into mic preamps to get some life into them. The simulations just don't match up. There is no substitute for the API 2500, the Drawmer DL251, Distressor, Neve Portico 5043, etc.....

3. Also are you summing in or out of the box and if out what summing system are you using?
Yes, but mainly for my workflow needs. I'm using the X-desk which is summing 20 channels. I'm using 48 channels of SSL Alphalink to sum and for my insert points into Cubase 8. Loving it!
Thanks man, what desk is that?
Old 29th March 2015
  #27
I have an external reverb i use as in insert and but mostly on the 2-buss. Analog compression and EQ, higher end external D/A/D as well.
Old 29th March 2015
  #28
Lives for gear
 
SighBorg's Avatar
 

Snare compression. If there is a honk/boxyness on a source I'd switch hardware EQ to get rid of it... much more effective/easier to eliminate than with software for some reason.
Old 29th March 2015
  #29
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 

Another question is there a plugin that can sound as good as an H3000?

Last edited by James Lugo; 29th March 2015 at 04:36 PM..
Old 29th March 2015
  #30
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Sotsirc's Avatar
Distortion/saturation. Fatso, Tube preamp, analog tape
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