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M/S Hardware Box other then Dangerous?
Old 11th January 2009
  #1
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M/S Hardware Box other then Dangerous?

Dangerous makes a hardware M/S splitter box for analog M/S. Its pretty expensive. Anyone know of any competitors for this product?
Old 11th January 2009
  #2
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If you knew what the trafo's in that box go for, you'd just buy the Dangerous box. I'm having one built (with some slightly different specs) but just the transformers are - I can't remember... $800?
Old 11th January 2009
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I use a couple ADR Propak Audiomates as a M/S matrix - one for encoding and one for decoding - they were a good bit cheaper than the Dangerous stuff. I had them modded though - replaced the stock JRC opamps with National Semiconductor LME's (which are very low noise / low distortion). I also had the input pots taken out of the signal path.

Transformers are very cool - and I definitely love their sound as I have them in a number of processors - but if you're trying for "transparent" transformers aren't necessarily the best thing to put in the signal path. fwiw - I've found that a relatively inexpensive opamp based solution for a M/S matrix can work very well.

http://www.adrl.co.uk/pdf/AudioMate%2520Datasheet.pdf

Other possible alternatives are some of the older Neumann or Telefunken "panorama" x/y / M/S modules which are transformer based (although from what I've read the headroom on these isn't all that great). Another possible alternative is one of the discontinued AEA M/S matrix's - Audio Engineering Associates – Products – M/S Stereo Legacy - although this would probably be hard to find.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 11th January 2009
  #4
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Excuse my ignorance, I've seen it printed many times that M/S in the analog domain is preferrable to doing it in the digital domain when there's an analog loop.
Why exactly? The only negative aspect I can think of is losing a couple of "bits of resolution" through DA/AD conversion on the S channel. In turn though, you save a transformer or amp in the analog. Is that the only reason why many prefer analog M/S matrixing or am I overlooking something?
Old 11th January 2009
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
Excuse my ignorance, I've seen it printed many times that M/S in the analog domain is preferrable to doing it in the digital domain when there's an analog loop.
Why exactly? The only negative aspect I can think of is losing a couple of "bits of resolution" through DA/AD conversion on the S channel. In turn though, you save a transformer or amp in the analog. Is that the only reason why many prefer analog M/S matrixing or am I overlooking something?
I don't believe this to be true. I use my analog chain for coloration, my digital chain for precision. And there is nothing more precise than addition and subtraction in the digital domain done transparently :-). I won't add another analog device in just for M/S conversion unless I deem its losses to be "insignificant" or its coloration to be "desirable."

I built an M/S converter with a pair of very high headroom (heavy-duty) Lundahl's a long time ago. I think a pair of Lundahl transformers used for M/S conversion also adds a very subtle sweetening to a chain and this can be very desirable. But what if it's not in the particular instance? In that case I'd rather do the M/S conversion in the digital domain.

The THAT chips as balanced line drivers/receivers are extremely transparent. I builit an analog buffer for my analog chain using a pair of THAT 1606 line drivers. Using some clever matrixing with resistors it might be possible to get a "free M/S" conversion without adding an additional stage using these as existing line drivers.

The Dangerous Music boxes are among the most transparent and colorless analog circuitry so you can't go very wrong with them :-). Yet, remember that if you are not using your analog chain for the particular job you are doing there is no reason to add an additional D/A/D conversion to your processing, which is the first lossy step to begin with, when you can do M/S conversion totally transparently in the digital domain. What I mean by "totally transparently" is that no one can hear it at all. At least if you use a good plug or console to do this. For example, Algorithmix has a pair of symmetrical M/S conversion plugins which to my ears are inaudible when used back to back. Who can complain about "inaudible"? :-)

BK
Old 11th January 2009
  #6
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Thanks bob. I'm not sure if you misunderstood my question though. Let me rephrase:

Assuming that I will use an analog loop in a session and I want to use all analog gear in M/S, is there a significant advantage of using an analog M/S matrix within the analog loop, instead of using a digital M/S encoder pre and a M/S decoder post the analog loop?

I.e. is there any quality concern to this question (I have seen this written in ads for the Dangerous M/S, I think, but with no explanation given) or would it be purely down to personal work flow preferences? I can think of only one concern with the digital option (usually greater level difference between M and S, thus potentially "wasting" converter resolution), and I'm wondering whether this is what was hinted at in the argument pro analog M/S matrixing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
I don't believe this to be true. I use my analog chain for coloration, my digital chain for precision. And there is nothing more precise than addition and subtraction in the digital domain done transparently :-). I won't add another analog device in just for M/S conversion unless I deem its losses to be "insignificant" or its coloration to be "desirable."

I built an M/S converter with a pair of very high headroom (heavy-duty) Lundahl's a long time ago. I think a pair of Lundahl transformers used for M/S conversion also adds a very subtle sweetening to a chain and this can be very desirable. But what if it's not in the particular instance? In that case I'd rather do the M/S conversion in the digital domain.

The THAT chips as balanced line drivers/receivers are extremely transparent. I builit an analog buffer for my analog chain using a pair of THAT 1606 line drivers. Using some clever matrixing with resistors it might be possible to get a "free M/S" conversion without adding an additional stage using these as existing line drivers.

The Dangerous Music boxes are among the most transparent and colorless analog circuitry so you can't go very wrong with them :-). Yet, remember that if you are not using your analog chain for the particular job you are doing there is no reason to add an additional D/A/D conversion to your processing, which is the first lossy step to begin with, when you can do M/S conversion totally transparently in the digital domain. What I mean by "totally transparently" is that no one can hear it at all. At least if you use a good plug or console to do this. For example, Algorithmix has a pair of symmetrical M/S conversion plugins which to my ears are inaudible when used back to back. Who can complain about "inaudible"? :-)

BK
Old 11th January 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
Thanks bob. I'm not sure if you misunderstood my question though. Let me rephrase:

Assuming that I will use an analog loop in a session and I want to use all analog gear in M/S, is there a significant advantage of using an analog M/S matrix within the analog loop, instead of using a digital M/S encoder pre and a M/S decoder post the analog loop?

I.e. is there any quality concern to this question (I have seen this written in ads for the Dangerous M/S, I think, but with no explanation given) or would it be purely down to personal work flow preferences? I can think of only one concern with the digital option (usually greater level difference between M and S, thus potentially "wasting" converter resolution), and I'm wondering whether this is what was hinted at in the argument pro analog M/S matrixing.
I have both digital and analog M/S matrixes available to me. I find the analog matrix definitely has more cross talk than the digital version - so it's less transparent - but I've found often the sound it imparts (a default very subtle widening of the image) is desirable. The reason I use one over the other is entirely due to work flow. Having an analog matrix allows me to do M/S on just a single or a few processors in the analog chain, and to be able to encode and decode at any point in the chain.

If I use digital processors to both encode and decode when sending to the analog process chain then every processor used is working with M/S. It's something I've done in the past without a problem - but if this is your only option it can be limiting (and it also requires some finessing with your monitoring controller to be able to listen to the original source as L/R).

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 11th January 2009
  #8
kjg
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The excellent and free Voxengo MSED (Mid Side Encoder Decoder) is from version 1.9.6 beta also available for Mac Vst and AU (previously it was PC Vst only).

I find it very generous of the developer that this plugin is free, and to my ears it is absolutely flawless. Then again, how much can go wrong with one multiplication and one addition per channel?
I think it dithers at 24 bit level after doing its work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
Excuse my ignorance, I've seen it printed many times that M/S in the analog domain is preferrable to doing it in the digital domain when there's an analog loop.
Why exactly? The only negative aspect I can think of is losing a couple of "bits of resolution" through DA/AD conversion on the S channel. In turn though, you save a transformer or amp in the analog. Is that the only reason why many prefer analog M/S matrixing or am I overlooking something?
I find this an interesting question. Could the DA/AD resolution (and headroom) make an significant difference when converting an MS encoded signal?
For a very mono mix, the M component would be pretty strong, while the S component would be very weak. Since most seem to agree converters sound better with a little headroom, the side component could be getting a bit grainy if the M component is given enough headroom?

regards,
kjg
Old 12th January 2009
  #9
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I have M/S in the Weiss EQ-1 Mk2 & the DS-1 Mk3 & it's very transparent particularly in the EQ side. I also have the Dangerous Master which has an analog M/S insert point which the Sontec is currently patched into. I mostly use the Weiss for M/S when I need to perform sonic surgery but sometimes the Sontec is nice to utilize in M/S on some jobs.

What I've noticed with the Dangerous M/S is that it tends to get a bit clearer or perhaps a touch brighter when it's engaged. It also refocuses the center information a bit more as well (any subtle L/R discreps with the Sontec are removed in M/S mode). It's a very subtle effect but can be useful sometimes but if I have a great mix to work with I usually prefer the dimensionality of the Sontec in dual mono L/R mode over M/S.

Matt
Old 12th January 2009
  #10
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Using the Crookwood here with Stereo or M/S options. I'm currently upgrading it for floating M/S. Currently all analogue inserts are either stereo or M/S, the floating M/S upgrade would allow any insert to be stereo or M/S.

I think M/S EQ is a fantastic tool, but have never been a huge fan of M/S compression. So this upgrade should solve that problem.

The bass is not as defined when using M/S compression...and the stereo image can collapse with phase shift. This is why the Dangerous Master only has one M/S insert- as you chain gear in sum and difference mode the phase shift and other problems such as channel separation accumulate. The Dangerous circuit is based around the EMI 'spreader' control which I remember did a wonderful job when not overdone (cough). The strength of the TG was in sum and difference mode.

In my experience you can push an analogue M/S circuit harder and it will eventually saturate. Doing M/S in the digital domain, whilst probably more accurate, doesn't quite have the same sound. I kind of like the M/S spread on some rock music, but avoid it for bass heavy dance and hip-hop.
Old 12th January 2009
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post

The THAT chips as balanced line drivers/receivers are extremely transparent. I builit an analog buffer for my analog chain using a pair of THAT 1606 line drivers. Using some clever matrixing with resistors it might be possible to get a "free M/S" conversion without adding an additional stage using these as existing line drivers.

This is a very clever circuit.
Old 12th January 2009
  #12
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Vertigo is coming with some interesting analog box VSM-2 which has M/S and some more options ...
Old 12th January 2009
  #13
kjg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Gold View Post
This is a very clever circuit.
Yes, it is. Thank you for sharing the link.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
Vertigo is coming with some interesting analog box VSM-2 which has M/S and some more options ...
Does anyone know how much that unit would be, roughly?
Old 12th January 2009
  #14
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Kjg .. Keine Anhung wieviel ...
Old 12th January 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
Thanks bob. I'm not sure if you misunderstood my question though. Let me rephrase:

Assuming that I will use an analog loop in a session and I want to use all analog gear in M/S, is there a significant advantage of using an analog M/S matrix within the analog loop, instead of using a digital M/S encoder pre and a M/S decoder post the analog loop?
I don't think there is an advantage either way, if your analog M/S encode/decode circuit is of high quality and especially if the analog circuit is part of an analog piece that's already in your chain so you're not adding any noise or distortion. Pick the tool that makes you feel better :-).

Some people might argue that the most accurate encode/decode should take into account any phase shift in the analog section. Such as they might argue if you have a transformer coupled analog processor that should be in front of the M/S encode. But that's way down on my list of "probably inaudible." M/S encode/decode really doesn't give you tremendous separation... you can't work on the "vocal" as if it's a raw track. All it gives you is some advantage for instruments that are "primarily" in the center" or "primarily" on the sides, enough to make it worth doing M/S.

Then there is the question of your particular analog chain. Maybe you want to decode M/S BEFORE you run your compression. But the compressor is analog. In that case for sure you should do your M/S decoding in the analog domain to avoid an additional conversion.
Old 12th January 2009
  #16
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg View Post
Yes, it is. Thank you for sharing the link.
And Wayne Kirkwood's circuit is sonically very transparent. Those THAT chips are the bees' knees. Takes advantage of the precision resistors already present in the balanced receiver chip.
Old 12th January 2009
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
The Dangerous circuit is based around the EMI 'spreader' control which I remember did a wonderful job when not overdone (cough). The strength of the TG was in sum and difference mode.
EMI? Wow, that's interesting! How do you know this?
I think most people assume there are transformers in the Dangerous. I used to use a Lundahl matrix back in the day but Chris M. insisted his circuit was cleaner.
Old 12th January 2009
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phild View Post
EMI? Wow, that's interesting! How do you know this?
I think most people assume there are transformers in the Dangerous. I used to use a Lundahl matrix back in the day but Chris M. insisted his circuit was cleaner.
I thought the Dangerous S/M was tranformerless as well. I believe Chris Muth has a history of encouraging folks to take transformers out of the signal path for their mastering chains. I like to have them as options myself.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 13th January 2009
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phild View Post
EMI? Wow, that's interesting! How do you know this?
Chris used to work with a tech I know from 301. They analysed the TG in great detail so it could be repaired.

One benefit of the Crookwood is the signal path is always balanced. Many switchers and M/S encoders are unbalanced circuits with differential inputs/outputs.
Old 13th January 2009
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
Using the Crookwood here with Stereo or M/S options. I'm currently upgrading it for floating M/S. Currently all analogue inserts are either stereo or M/S, the floating M/S upgrade would allow any insert to be stereo or M/S.
Would you do this by putting the encoder on one insert and the decoder on a second?
Old 13th January 2009
  #21
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For the analog relm the clm dynamics db8000 has a great M/S encoder/decoder. The hard part is trying to find one these days.
Old 13th January 2009
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
Chris used to work with a tech I know from 301. They analysed the TG in great detail so it could be repaired.

One benefit of the Crookwood is the signal path is always balanced. Many switchers and M/S encoders are unbalanced circuits with differential inputs/outputs.
Apparently the M/S matrix in the Manley Backbone keeps a balanced signal path throughout as well.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 13th January 2009
  #23
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I got a pair of lawo ms modules for less than 500 bucks, just need to rack them, dunno how they are going to sound but I was recommended them by someone who's info I consider as always valuable.

Anyway if I don't like them I'll sell em and buy the dangerous.
Old 2nd March 2009
  #24
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Lagerfeldt's Avatar
Just a small bump to see if there are any new analog 2 channel M/S boxes out?
Old 2nd March 2009
  #25
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I build this circuit with Lundahl LL1588 transformers for <$400.


GR
Attached Files
File Type: pdf MS Matrix.pdf (9.0 KB, 1185 views)
Old 2nd March 2009
  #26
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Lagerfeldt's Avatar
Link? Pictures? Specs? Do you have the blueprints?
Old 2nd March 2009
  #27
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Sorry. File attached to previous post.


GR
Old 2nd March 2009
  #28
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Lagerfeldt's Avatar
Thanks
Old 2nd March 2009
  #29
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Lagerfeldt's Avatar
BTW, almost on topic..

I used the Flux Epure in M/S mode today to remove some resonance caused by a stereo keyboard sound in the side signal, lifting the sides a bit too. Then cutting two areas with harshness in the vocal in the mid signal.

Worked like a charm.


Side


Mid
Old 3rd March 2009
  #30
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For mastering applications, M/S can be a tricky circuit to implement if you want to keep your equipment on the same settings for stereo or M/S processing.

When converting to M/S you will get 6dB of gain in the M channel. This has the potential to distort equipment if it is being driven hard. So to compensate for this, many mastering M/S processors drop the signal by 6dB when encoding, then you have your ananlogue inserts, then it will boost the signal by 6dB on decode. Some resistors will do the trick. I'd personally use OP-AMPS over transformers as they are more predictable in their behaviour, and have greater common mode rejection.

Then you would also want to monitor the Mid or Side signal pre/post processing.

So the circuit will quickly go from this:
Pico Compressor Audio Design Forum &bull; View topic - Mid Side M-S Matrix Uses No Precision Resistors

To this:
Pico Compressor Audio Design Forum &bull; View topic - Mid Side M-S Matrix Uses No Precision Resistors

On top of this, an M/S 'spreader' circuit. This differs from just boosting or cutting the side level for more 'width', as this method affects the mono signal as well.
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