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Is PTHD necessary Audio Interfaces
Old 8th May 2015
  #1
Is PTHD necessary

Is PTHD necessary for tracking live ensembles (piano, bass, drums, horn, vocals) or can the new Thunderbolt all in one solutions do the job. What are the latency/monitoring issues?
Old 8th May 2015
  #2
Gear Nut
 

That mostly depends on whether you want to monitor with plugins or not. Since just about everything now has near real time monitoring with internal DSP routing, as long as the dry + outboard signal is fine (+ maybe a reverb send from your DAW since a small amount of latency from that is fine), latency really shouldn't be an issue.

I've attempted to do some some semi-scientific tests and I absolutely cannot notice latencies of less than 10ms most of the time anyway. Remember that's the exact same thing as if a guitarist was standing 10 feet from their amp. The only place I think I can notice some latencies is with vocals with little to no backing track where cans aren't providing enough isolation and a loud singer can hear themselves and then ~10ms later hear the foldback.
Old 8th May 2015
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Well I used it 2 weeks ago ( native HD) as a live mixer for a gig providing 8 separate IEM mixes with a stereo master for the PA and recording 24 tracks of audio.
All channels were running FAB FILTER eq and dynamics. Reverb for VOX and gates for drums. Total latency was 1.7 Ms for the io+ 34 samples for the plugins
Ran the he buffer at 128 samples and had every channel with low latency monitoring switched off ( right click bottom of channel strip,
writing turns blue )
Worked flawlessly, I would happily use in tracking a studio session.
All this was run off a 2 year old MBP with sub 3 HArd drive
Old 8th May 2015
  #4
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye View Post
Is PTHD necessary for tracking live ensembles (piano, bass, drums, horn, vocals) or can the new Thunderbolt all in one solutions do the job. What are the latency/monitoring issues?
PT HD is the software. I think you are referring to the HDX hardware. Two entirely different things.

You do not need HDX to track a live ensemble. At least not as described but maybe you should be more specific the type of setup you have in mind.

Alistair
Old 9th May 2015
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
PT HD is the software. I think you are referring to the HDX hardware. Two entirely different things.

You do not need HDX to track a live ensemble. At least not as described but maybe you should be more specific the type of setup you have in mind.

Alistair
Thank you for responding. Not sure what you mean but I'll give it a try. The setup is as follows: Grand Piano, Drums, Acoustic Bass, horn and/or vocals are the usual lineup. All instruments acoustic. I have a macbook pro and an iMac both of which have i7 processors and TB ports.

I do have a Nord Stage which handles Rhodes, Organ, Clav and Wurly duties and a Voyager a few other synths but they don't get that much use currently.

Almost everything recorded is acoustic instruments and it is important for the kind of music we do to have the musicians playing together. We do not do allot of overdubbing however, the caveat to that is I do get hired sometimes to do keyboard overdubs on various projects that involve more pop genres than what I normally do.

EVerything is in one room. The piano is a Steinway that has a really wonderful sound and I would like to (need to) capture that.

I am not adverse to and fully expect to upgrade the computer to a Mac Pro (had one that was stolen). Generally I use few plug-ins. Valhalla for reverb. Eliosis Air EQ and the stock compressors though I might consider an upgrade there. I have no other hardware and due to space considerations hope to keep things as simple as possible. I can see adding 500 serious pre-amps and a compressor or EQ later on but that would be about the extent of what I need.

Hope this gives enough of a picture. The only other thing I would say is that recording here is limited to quintets and less. If more is needed this is NYC, there are plenty of other places.
Old 9th May 2015
  #6
I should add that I am now deciding between the Ensemble TB and the Apollo 8P. But the one thing I don't want to find out later is that I cannot increase the track count by daisy chaining these boxes without losing the ability to track without debilitating latency. That is my concern. I will probably never need more than 16 simultaneous tracks. There simply isn't enough space for that many instruments.
Old 9th May 2015
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

You might also consider Motu. I've been shopping for a new interface for the last 3 years. Settled on Motu 16a
Old 9th May 2015
  #8
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye View Post
Thank you for responding. Not sure what you mean but I'll give it a try. The setup is as follows: Grand Piano, Drums, Acoustic Bass, horn and/or vocals are the usual lineup. All instruments acoustic. I have a macbook pro and an iMac both of which have i7 processors and TB ports.

I do have a Nord Stage which handles Rhodes, Organ, Clav and Wurly duties and a Voyager a few other synths but they don't get that much use currently.

Almost everything recorded is acoustic instruments and it is important for the kind of music we do to have the musicians playing together. We do not do allot of overdubbing however, the caveat to that is I do get hired sometimes to do keyboard overdubs on various projects that involve more pop genres than what I normally do.

EVerything is in one room. The piano is a Steinway that has a really wonderful sound and I would like to (need to) capture that.

I am not adverse to and fully expect to upgrade the computer to a Mac Pro (had one that was stolen). Generally I use few plug-ins. Valhalla for reverb. Eliosis Air EQ and the stock compressors though I might consider an upgrade there. I have no other hardware and due to space considerations hope to keep things as simple as possible. I can see adding 500 serious pre-amps and a compressor or EQ later on but that would be about the extent of what I need.

Hope this gives enough of a picture. The only other thing I would say is that recording here is limited to quintets and less. If more is needed this is NYC, there are plenty of other places.
This gives a good picture indeed and it looks like regular PT should be able to cover all your I/O needs as it allows up to 32 inputs. CoreAudio on a Mac allows you to aggregate more than one interface so that it looks like a single interface so that shouldn't be a problem either.

If you use normal plugins during tracking (So no convolution reverbs or Linear Phase EQs or similar plugins that have large processing buffers) latency shouldn't be a problem. If you go with the Apollo solution then you can even use some heavy UAD plugins during tracking as they run on the Apollo's DSP chips.

The only question that remains is whether you need the PT HD software specific features like multiple video tracks, advanced automation, surround mixing etc. If you don't, regular PT should cover your needs. (You can find the feature comparison chart here: Avid | Pro Tools Software comparison table )

On a more general note, if you are running a pro studio, I think it is always good to get PT through a reputable dealer that can help you out with any technical questions both before and after you make your purchase.

Best of luck with everything!

Alistair
Old 9th May 2015
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
This gives a good picture indeed and it looks like regular PT should be able to cover all your I/O needs as it allows up to 32 inputs. CoreAudio on a Mac allows you to aggregate more than one interface so that it looks like a single interface so that shouldn't be a problem either.

If you use normal plugins during tracking (So no convolution reverbs or Linear Phase EQs or similar plugins that have large processing buffers) latency shouldn't be a problem. If you go with the Apollo solution then you can even use some heavy UAD plugins during tracking as they run on the Apollo's DSP chips.

The only question that remains is whether you need the PT HD software specific features like multiple video tracks, advanced automation, surround mixing etc. If you don't, regular PT should cover your needs. (You can find the feature comparison chart here: Avid | Pro Tools Software comparison table )

On a more general note, if you are running a pro studio, I think it is always good to get PT through a reputable dealer that can help you out with any technical questions both before and after you make your purchase.

Best of luck with everything!

Alistair
Thank you. This pretty much answers my questions. I am now seriously considering the new Apollo 8P. We are not a commercial studio per se. We are an invitation only operation. As for multiple video tracks, should that become a necessity we will then be compelled to purchase a second system for that purpose. The reality is that though some of the musicians I associate with have done film soundtracks and some have even won awards, that piece of business will and should go to larger studios designed for such use. Again, this is NYC and there is no shortage of studios. The only way to survive is to specialize. This is not longer the time when any recording studio records everything from comedy routines to symphony orchestras. Specialization is necessary. A few studios, Avatar for example, can handle almost anything thrown at them but that is a whole other order of business. Years ago there was a keyboard player, some of you know who this is, who had a suite just able Avatar, filled with just about any synth you can think of. And he did allot of work for commercial pop recordings. Was a good player and a good business man. The point being that even Avatar needed to use independent vendors for specific work. That dynamic has grown in leaps and bounds since then and I think our small space dedicated to one specific kind of music, however underfunded it may be, is timely and useful.
Old 9th May 2015
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye View Post
Is PTHD necessary for tracking live ensembles (piano, bass, drums, horn, vocals) or can the new Thunderbolt all in one solutions do the job. What are the latency/monitoring issues?
If you want to do large projects, yes HD is necessary. The standard versions just can't keep up. They start to choke around 50 tracks even at 48k....
Also there are lots of issues with the newer native versions. Although to be fair, I suppose it depends on your hardware and what you have for a sound card as well as what your plugin and VI requirements are. Native may be good enough.

I had to even dump my HD... That couldn't even handle some of the projects I was doing. My cards were older and I found a much cheaper better sounding, high performance solutions. i suppose the HDX would work for me but it's too expensive and not better than native solutions from some other companies.

Personally I would look into buying a mother-ship and just using Cubase or Studio one.. They will vastly out perform HD is all aspects
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