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Do I have a use for my ART Voice Channel?
Old 15th January 2015
  #1
Gear Head
Do I have a use for my ART Voice Channel?

What's up GS.

So last June I purchased the ART Voice Channel because it's such a good price for the things it comes with and I read great reviews of it. This was before I got into my recording engineering program and I learned a lot since then.

When I first got it, I thought this is sick, I get to have all of this stuff and it's rack mounted so I'll look really cool when I use it.

From then till now, I've also acquired an abundance of plugins such as Pro Q 2, Ozone 6, a variety of compressor VSTs, and a lot more other stuff.

Now, I know this is a super noob question and maybe I should've posted it in the newbie sub, but do I actually have a use for this? I'm positive it doesn't have more functionality than the plugins I have.

I had a lot of trouble setting it up properly when I first got it, cause I tried using spdif, but couldn't set it up in my Saffire Pro 40s software, so I am just using balanced output. But now that it's finally up and running I'm really questioning if this was a stupid purchase.

Thanks for any advice.

TL;DR Do I have a use for my ART Voice Channel considering I have a bunch of really good plugins that do the same thing but better.
Old 15th January 2015
  #2
Gear Head
 
drunami's Avatar
 

Reasons to use (cheaper) hardware over (pro-level) software:

1. You're an industry vet, and have a lot of experience getting good results quickly with physical controls, but have no patience for these new-fangled "mice."
2. You lust for the sonic what-have-yous of analog gear.
3. You don't see the value in doing something easily and efficiently when you can do it in a more complicated way for no reason.
4. You're tracking.

My guess is that the best use for that vocal channel is its intended use: to record vocals through a full analog chain, complete with eq and compression. Even if you have software compressors, there are still a bunch of people (myself included) who prefer to record through a compressor/eq (even if they're light). It forces you to commit to a sound, and to put your engineering focus on getting the sound right when recording rather than fixing it in the mix.

You'll get a wide spread of opinions as to whether it's worth the hassle when mixing. Do what you like. For tracking I think it definitely still has a home.
Old 16th January 2015
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drunami View Post
Reasons to use (cheaper) hardware over (pro-level) software:

1. You're an industry vet, and have a lot of experience getting good results quickly with physical controls, but have no patience for these new-fangled "mice."
2. You lust for the sonic what-have-yous of analog gear.
3. You don't see the value in doing something easily and efficiently when you can do it in a more complicated way for no reason.
4. You're tracking.
Those all seem like bad reasons to choose a piece of gear over another, I think it's more simple: if it sounds better for what you're going for, then use it. If it doesn't - don't.
Old 16th January 2015
  #4
Lives for gear
 

The Art Channel is your analogue front end through which you record. All your plug-ins treat your recorded stuff afterwards, in the box. Both worlds can't really be compared as they are utilized in 'chronological' order.
Old 16th January 2015
  #5
Gear Head
That was an awesome explanation, thank you.

Any other opinions on using it for tracking or other stuff?

I'm just trying to weigh out my options, cause if it's not worth it, like it's not really beneficial, I would like to sell it as I am a student living away from home. Plus we have access to like SSL Duality boards and other really great gear.
Old 16th January 2015
  #6
Lives for gear
 

I think the art voice channel is a great product.
It's a superb pre-amp (same as the mpa II people rave about), as well as a superb compressor (same as the vla II people rave about).
For your personal home studio, it should be a channel strip that's hard to beat by any means. All in consideration of its price of course.
I'd absolutely keep it, if I hadn't other (most probably much more expensive) front end options.
Old 16th January 2015
  #7
Deleted User
Guest
Nothing beats grabbing a knob and twisting it - in real time - to learn how the elements of the processing chain affect the signal.
There is a good amount of interaction between each element in a box like that, which makes it a good learning tool.
You are a student and you've asked a valid question....there is much you still have to learn, grasshopper. Do not dismiss this tool so quickly.
Old 16th January 2015
  #8
Gear Head
This is awesome thanks a lot to all of you.

I notice you guys are all mentioning that I'd use the Voice Channel for recording, but my engineering prof pretty much tells us that to get the sound you want out of something, before EQ, before effects, compression, before slapping anything on it pretty much, that we should have optimal acoustics and mic placement to get the sound we want. So I was just wondering what your guys' reasoning on altering the sound during the recording process is, if I can get a good vocal take without all of that.

Also, in our school's studios, we patch in all the outboard gear after into the Duality. I haven't recorded any vocals or drums or anything while the EQ or compressor is directly on what I'm tracking.

Sorry if I'm not making much sense, I hope someone gets what I'm saying.

For the record though, you guys have already convinced me to keep it. My other questions are just out of curiosity.
Old 16th January 2015
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Hi again!

I think, basically your prof tries to tell you to capture/record the best signal you can get. Once recorded, a track can only be "fixed" to a certain degree in the mix by processing it in various ways. A good (in any respect) recorded track maybe doesn't even need to be "fixed" or processed much in the mixing process later on - that's your goal.
In order to get this kind of recording, you first NEED a good preamp. Maybe you need to also compress your signal ON THE WAY IN. Maybe you also feel the need to EQ it ON THE WAY IN. And so forth.
The voice channel is exactly the kind of tool (channel strip) to achieve a good RECORDING.
The better your RECORDED tracks, the easier is mixing these, the better is the final product.
One rule here: you can always DEGRADE your recordings in the mix if needed. You cannot, on the other hand, ADD any fidelity (/ make them better) or whatsoever to your recordings in the mix.
Old 16th January 2015
  #10
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elmbeatz View Post
The Art Channel is your analogue front end through which you record. All your plug-ins treat your recorded stuff afterwards, in the box. Both worlds can't really be compared as they are utilized in 'chronological' order.
Having said that, is it possible to go back to the Voice Channel and use the effects post recording? Also, in my DAW would it be possible to route multiple channels to go through the Voice Channel? Or is that a dumb question since I can only bring the effects to one setting, and it's highly unlikely that I'll ever want two channels containing different sounds to get treated with the same settings of EQ/compressor. Sorry if that doesn't make sense, lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elmbeatz View Post
I think the art voice channel is a great product.
It's a superb pre-amp (same as the mpa II people rave about), as well as a superb compressor (same as the vla II people rave about).
For your personal home studio, it should be a channel strip that's hard to beat by any means. All in consideration of its price of course.
I'd absolutely keep it, if I hadn't other (most probably much more expensive) front end options.
How do you think the preamps of that compare to my Saffire Pro 40? I usually just turn the Pro 40 down all the way and use the preamp of the Voice Channel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonbaby View Post
Nothing beats grabbing a knob and twisting it - in real time - to learn how the elements of the processing chain affect the signal.
There is a good amount of interaction between each element in a box like that, which makes it a good learning tool.
You are a student and you've asked a valid question....there is much you still have to learn, grasshopper. Do not dismiss this tool so quickly.
Definitely agree, I thought I knew a lot before I got into this program, and now that I'm in the program I feel like I never knew anything. I bet once I'm out of this program, I'll be looking back to now thinking damn, I never knew anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elmbeatz View Post
Hi again!

I think, basically your prof tries to tell you to capture/record the best signal you can get. Once recorded, a track can only be "fixed" to a certain degree in the mix by processing it in various ways. A good (in any respect) recorded track maybe doesn't even need to be "fixed" or processed much in the mixing process later on - that's your goal.
In order to get this kind of recording, you first NEED a good preamp. Maybe you need to also compress your signal ON THE WAY IN. Maybe you also feel the need to EQ it ON THE WAY IN. And so forth.
The voice channel is exactly the kind of tool (channel strip) to achieve a good RECORDING.
The better your RECORDED tracks, the easier is mixing these, the better is the final product.
One rule here: you can always DEGRADE your recordings in the mix if needed. You cannot, on the other hand, ADD any fidelity (/ make them better) or whatsoever to your recordings in the mix.
Those are definitely great points.

But I'm just curious why this one is better than just using Pro Q 2, and one of the UAD compressors to treat the recording on the way in. Is the analog sound of a unit this cheap going to compete with the sound of a really high end plug in of the same function (EQ/compressor)?

Thanks again guys.
Old 16th January 2015
  #11
Lives for gear
 
tedtan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cembojones View Post
Having said that, is it possible to go back to the Voice Channel and use the effects post recording? Also, in my DAW would it be possible to route multiple channels to go through the Voice Channel? Or is that a dumb question since I can only bring the effects to one setting, and it's highly unlikely that I'll ever want two channels containing different sounds to get treated with the same settings of EQ/compressor. Sorry if that doesn't make sense, lol.
You can route one track to the channel strip at a time. If you want, you can create a submix (e.g., a bus) and send multiple channels to that and then into the channel strip, but you'll only get a single mono channel back from it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cembojones View Post
How do you think the preamps of that compare to my Saffire Pro 40? I usually just turn the Pro 40 down all the way and use the preamp of the Voice Channel.
Test them! Seriously, the only way to know is to try them out side by side.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cembojones View Post
Definitely agree, I thought I knew a lot before I got into this program, and now that I'm in the program I feel like I never knew anything. I bet once I'm out of this program, I'll be looking back to now thinking damn, I never knew anything.
Yeah, the more you learn, the more you realize there is more yet to be learned.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cembojones View Post
But I'm just curious why this one is better than just using Pro Q 2, and one of the UAD compressors to treat the recording on the way in. Is the analog sound of a unit this cheap going to compete with the sound of a really high end plug in of the same function (EQ/compressor)?
Does your DAW allow you to track through FX and print them? If not, you'd have to do all your processing in the mix using the plugins.
Old 16th January 2015
  #12
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by tedtan View Post
Does your DAW allow you to track through FX and print them? If not, you'd have to do all your processing in the mix using the plugins.
Well I use Ableton for finding my sounds, and arrangement. But I have Logic X and Pro Tools 11 to track audio into. I don't know exactly what you mean by print them, but when I EQ the incoming vocals into Ableton through the Voice Channel, I hear it on my headphones, so I'm sure it would record that way into Ableton. Could be wrong, but I don't see how it would strip the EQ off during recording.
Old 16th January 2015
  #13
Lives for gear
 
tedtan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cembojones View Post
Well I use Ableton for finding my sounds, and arrangement. But I have Logic X and Pro Tools 11 to track audio into. I don't know exactly what you mean by print them, but when I EQ the incoming vocals into Ableton through the Voice Channel, I hear it on my headphones, so I'm sure it would record that way into Ableton. Could be wrong, but I don't see how it would strip the EQ off during recording.
What I mean is that if you use the voice channel, you will record the same thing you are hearing, including any EQ or compression you apply. But if you were to use the Saffire preamps along with the VST effects you mentioned, you may not record what you are hearing because many DAWs will only apply the effects to the monitor/headphone mixes, not to the audio being recorded. In that case, you would have to go back and apply the VST effects again in the mix. So by using the hardware, you can make mixing easier on yourself by applying some EQ and compressions while recording so you have less work to do come mix time.
Old 16th January 2015
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tedtan View Post
....by using the hardware, you can make mixing easier on yourself by applying some EQ and compressions while recording so you have less work to do come mix time.
Yes.

Remember that it is sometimes good to do these things a little at a time....particularly with compression. Those commitments that you make during the tracking process will get you going in the right direction.

They also let you add some analog goodness to your tracks without making another trip out and in later in the mix.
Old 28th May 2019
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Let me add my two cents. I have three ART channel strips. The most recently purchased is the Voice Channel as modded by REVIVE. This is on its way. For the price my tube preamps and compressor work great, and in the mix IMHO any originally perceived noise-if any- is not observed. I will let you know on the Revive Voice Channel as that cost about two thirds more than the original factory price as it was heavily modded with better components. I think this will be a great unit simply due to the components in the chain. My band and I have a small 24 track digital studio, and getting the sound you want up front in the monitors is a great way to avoid tedious mixing and e-q-ing to death, plus when you listen to the performance as a whole it has to move you internally. If not, try again. Best wishes to all of you in the recording field, we have some challenges ahead of us. Edward William Case
Old 29th May 2019
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Some things to think about:

1.) As you progress, you will discover that it's nice to have a variety of tools at your disposal. With the ART and your sapphire, you have tube flavor and solid state preamps, each of which will prove useful for different things.

2.) If you sell your ART, then you won't get what you paid for it back out of it. That is basically an added cost to whatever is the next piece of gear you buy. Do this often enough and you've spent way more money than is represented by the gear you actually own. This is okay as long as you have used a piece of gear for long enough to get your money's worth out of it. In this case, it sounds like you haven't.

3.) Theoretically speaking, your prof is correct: the order of importance with regard to great captures is, good sound at the source, followed by mic placement, followed by mic selection, with the other items in the signal chain way down the list. In a perfect world, with a perfect room, you can get all of your sound by using the right mic and moving it into the right place. There is no such thing as perfect. You should strive to get the majority of your sound via mic technique, but there are times where you will need some EQ and possibly some compression on the way in to get what you need. Sage wisdom is great to have behind you as long as you remember that no one piece of good advice is going to apply to every situation.
Old 21st July 2019
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by unitymusic View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by drunami View Post
Reasons to use (cheaper) hardware over (pro-level) software:

1. You're an industry vet, and have a lot of experience getting good results quickly with physical controls, but have no patience for these new-fangled "mice."
2. You lust for the sonic what-have-yous of analog gear.
3. You don't see the value in doing something easily and efficiently when you can do it in a more complicated way for no reason.
4. You're tracking.
Those all seem like bad reasons to choose a piece of gear over another, I think it's more simple: if it sounds better for what you're going for, then use it. If it doesn't - don't.
That was sarcasm I believe
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