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Mastering engineers going digital only ?
Old 6 days ago
Gear Guru
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar

Verified Member
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
Hey they forgot my studio, Terra Nova Mastering !

we’ve been doing it for 30 years, 10,000+ masters... and still going

and there are some other glaring omissions that I won’t mention

silly lists, just some nerds’ opinion

but to address the OP...

I’ve got both, analog and digital mastering paths.

building up my ITB MacBook Pro all plug-in & emulation DAW over the last year,

copying my OTB Analog mastering path to a degree,

but my loyal clientele keep telling me they love my analog gear sound,

actually it’s my hybrid approach:

Pro Tools HD > Lavry DAC > Ampex ATR-102 1/2” > NSEQ-FF > Sontec 432 > Manley VM > Rupert Neve MBP > Antelope ADC > soundBlade HD > Benchmark ADC > Goldpoint Switch > MacIntosh 2500 Amp > Dunlavy SC4A Monitors & Audeze LCDX headphones.

throw a few plugins into the mix:

Epure 2 or 3 EQ, Sonnox Suppressor, Sonic NoNoise, Rx spectral repair, PSP Xenon, Fab Filter L2, Sonic Mastering EQ, etc... and there you have it.

I’ve been using this path for 10+ years, with a few variables... it feels like home and can be dialed in -very- quickly!

But! the ITB curiosity keeps tugging away at me, so occasionally i’ll work ITB:

Pro Tools 12 pitch and catch ITB, Flux EPure 3 EQ, Sonnox Suppressor, UAD Ampex ATR-102 1/2” GP9 15ips +6dB with noise off, Acustica Sontec 432 emulation, UAD Manley VM emulation, Weiss Compressor & Limiter. soundBlade HD to assemble and deliver also with Sonoris DDP Creator.

~or~ some alliance of the two worlds, pitching with the MacBook Pro Scenario with a few of those plugins, out the USB to AES convertor MOTU 8D (stole this idea from Howie) through my old reliable analog path.

just depends on the sound of the project, budget & deadline...

All Mac in all scenarios... so if i drop dead tomorrow, at least someone will know my DAW EQ path(s)!

but i expect to be working for at least another 10 years <(:~o}>

Cheers, JT
Maybe not a "bad" thing considering this list was on the LANXR site.
Old 5 days ago
Lives for gear
JP__'s Avatar

Verified Member
Originally Posted by mirochandler View Post

Interesting... I thought Nebula could maybe replace some hardware? I never tested it in my room...
Some hardware? Definitly possible.
A great chain? Never!

Old 5 days ago
Lives for gear
Ben F's Avatar

Verified Member
There are plenty of top ME's that are digital only or 90% digital. Easier choice when you are dealing with top mixes- less is more in terms of processing.

For the tone and heavy lifting I still prefer analogue EQ. Don't need much compression these days. If the mix isn't great then some outboard compression can work wonders.

The clients don't mind as long as it sound good.
Old 2 days ago
Gear Addict
cemski's Avatar
Always hybrid! I made endless tests and comparisons, and always ended with including the analog chain.
Sometimes, when i receive mixes with a certain texture, mostly squashed in dynamics, i stay digital, as the mixes need a "super-less is more"-treatment. Those masters i actually don't like in the end, but what can you do?
Old 2 days ago
Lives for gear
andrewj's Avatar
Originally Posted by TanTan View Post
I've moved from analog mixing on an SSL console with outboard to 100% ITB

In the same time I've only expended my analog mastering setup..

Two very different things
Really curious to know why you made the switch to totally digital when mixing? You have a fantastic outboard setup!
Old 1 day ago
If I may add something from the trenches here - and I don't know if my experience mirrors any others here or not - but I get basically two main types of productions these days:

1) all analog - recorded to 2" tape, mixed on an analog console. These usually are very intentionally using the gear and process to get something that can't be achieved ITB, and have the desired analog tone well baked into the production. Adding more analog processing often takes things the wrong direction. I'll use my Weiss hardware usually for these projects to get in and out while keeping the inherent analog vibe fully intact.

2) all ITB. These vary widely in style, but what they all seem to have in common in 2020 is gobs of ITB saturation on everything. Taking these out to analog and back can be tricky, even with the best converters. Sometimes the saturation tips from "warm" to "gritty" with just the extra DA-AD loop, and then you're fighting it right from the start. So in these cases again I'll go with the Weiss hardware.

So yes, definitely more digital happening now than even a few years ago , and solely because its the right choice for the material I'm seeing.

I still have my analog gear and I don't hesitate to use it when its the right choice, but I have to be honest about what's best for the material at hand, and not just default one way or the other. Certainly clients care more about the results than what vintage tubes you have in your eqs, despite what you might be lead to believe reading around here.

All that said, if i am going to stay digital, its got to be hardware, and not ITB, simply because the hardware interface keeps me in the right frame of mind to make good decisions quickly, whereas working with ITB tools takes me right out of the flow and into a technical / visual state of mind that is not conducive to doing good work. For me, at least.


- J.

Last edited by JLaPointe; 2 hours ago at 06:52 PM..
Old 4 hours ago
Lives for gear

I myself use more and more distortion in my mixes, and i can hear tons of distortion in modern mixes, also in tutorials from well known mixers... guess we all want stuff to pop on phone speakers...
Old 3 hours ago
Lives for gear
Shawn Hatfield's Avatar
Originally Posted by JLaPointe View Post
simply because the hardware interface keeps me in the right frame of mind to make good decisions quickly, whereas working with ITB tools takes me right out of the flow and into a technical / visual state of mind that is not conducive to doing to good work. For me, at least.


- J.
For many. This can't be emphasized enough.
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