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isdn 10th May 2014 11:55 AM

Trading analogue console for digital , need to add warmth back
so i have to downsize , the toft mixer has to go and its being replaced with a yamaha 02r96 digital as i need something more intergrated and more channels , fx sends etc with hands con control of the daw tracks etc also.

The thing is i know from day one the sound of the yamaha will not be quite what i want exactly , i have used the 02r96 , the sound of it is fine for me accept its ' perfect ' and not ' perfectly pleasing ' like a nice warm desk and so is there one box i can wack on the stereo buss just to alleviate my pain ? bring back a smile ?

thinking retro 2a3 eq or something that adds some body and warmth ?

WinnyP 10th May 2014 12:35 PM

Just go totally ITB. Sounds like downgrade to me.

Bassmankr 10th May 2014 04:44 PM

Sonics are different ITB, that's not shocking news if you have been reading member posts on this forum for any length of time. You can get some results doing a hardware insert on the ITB 2 buss such as a colored tube pre (remember to reduce DAW signal down to mic level for pre input) or a line level box but it's not going to be a magic bullet. You can get some results with some plugs and ITB work methods but that too is not going to be a magic bullet. Just learn to get the best out of what ever you are working with. At least you have an audio reference to strive for. Buying a box or plug won't get you very far however lots of work and experimentation will move you a long way down this path.

Doc Mixwell 12th May 2014 01:07 AM

A Retro 2A3 over the mix is sublime, it has that "glow" and creamy polish. Man, that box sounds delicious. I get weak in the knees for that machine. You can turn any small turd into a golden nugget within no time. I'm saying you can actually take a cheap chinese microphone and make it sound like a REAL microphone.

But you really owe it to yourself to take a gander at the Great River MixMaster20. This would be my first suggestion for Hybrid Mix Down with a DAW. Dan stuffed 16 Transformers into the gullet of this BEAST for exactly that. Giving the DAW some Big Boy Thunder.

It sounds BETTER than many LFA Consoles

Sound is huge and PHAT.
The Kick Drum starts in the basement and travels through my skeleton, up the middle of my skull. Its something real. The DAW output sounds like Crispy KAKA compared to summing into one of these units.

And the workflow is bad ass too,

can't lose, really....

spektor 12th May 2014 03:33 AM

I love my mixmaster

Viruslabs 12th May 2014 01:42 PM


Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell (Post 10100476)
. I'm saying you can actually take a cheap chinese microphone and make it sound like a REAL microphone. really makes them grow?

Plush 12th May 2014 02:08 PM

When you trade an analog console for a cheap Yamaha console, you lose the soul of the recording.

If you are talking about really expensive digital, then perhaps it is a different story. (the best converters, mainly)

Using the Yamaha consoles can be an OK move if you go in digital and do not use the console's mic amps or converters. Get in to the console with an AES card (8 channels only) from a RME Micstasy or Audient 8 channel unit.

Viruslabs 12th May 2014 02:33 PM


Originally Posted by isdn (Post 10096655)

thinking retro 2a3 eq or something that adds some body and warmth ?

Adding warmth in the analog domain is a good idea..but you should do that before the AD conversion.

I actually use a digital yamaha desk to sum the group outputs of a vintage console. So analog summed channels get summed digitally..or i have automated groups that handle the recording aswell. The result makes me more smile than using various better pres on each channel for recording. Maybe its the specific sound of the desk.but i have more the feeling that its because all channles get the same sonic signature printed on them before they get into the digital domain.. If this would be the case than 8 times the same pre would give a better digital mixdown than working with different treatments on each channel.

but you cant say that.. its a different quality in a mix.. different sonic signatures separate better in an almost 3 dimensional way.. shared sonic signatures make the signals more connected. you have them on one sound stage defined by the sonic signature of your console..

And the shared sonic signature of plain AD and plain digital mixing doesnt has a sonic signature. like having the signals thrown to a flat wall, naked and without softening the impact, mixing turns more into sculpting than painting on a canvas, and that creates the demand of so much processing as we see it in ITB mixing..

At least thats my actual opinion regarding the issue, and trying to simulate such shared sonics ITB does really help to get a smoother blended soundstage.. At least for my ears.

So regarding your yamaha sound problem i actually would recomend to accompany it with a small studer desk or a preamp bank as analog frontend... analog sum treatment only as an option that also could be left to the mastering.

Bassmankr 12th May 2014 03:33 PM

The discussed Retro 2A3 is $4k and the Mixmaster is $7k. For less money you can find a used quality sidecar or chop a modular desk. One has to ask if you are not downsizing due to money and it's a downsize in space only, who doesn't have 4 to 5 feet of width for workspace?

AllBread 15th May 2014 05:59 PM

Yeah, the 02r96 is a great routing console but it's pres and conversion (and the functionality of the onboard eq and comps) leave a lot to be desired. They are great for festival mixes and live to broadcast mixes because of their flexibility but I wouldn't want one as the front end of my studio - unless I needed something dedicated entirely to headphone mixes.

May I ask what DAW you are using and why you are putting it in you room? Will it offer something to your workflow that a control surface wouldn't? If it were me, of course, I would forget about the mixer and put the money into some great sound mic pres (I'd consider upgrading convertors in your DAW but, honestly, regardless of what you are using I'm willing to bet that they are no worse than the Yamaha ones so maybe that can be a purchase for down the road). I think that the most important part of getting an analog vibe is to make sure that all analog parts of the chain (mic and preamp primarily) are of the highest quality (and best sounding) that you can afford and then converted to digital by great convertors that will retain as much information as possible and not cloud things up.

I don't know your workflow, though, so I'm not dissing your decision but I do think that adding something across the 2-buss is a bit of a band aid as most the damage from the original signal will have already been done on the front end. I think that we'd all love to help with some realistic alternatives if the decision hasn't already been and we could do that if we knew more about your set-up, your budget, your workflow and your goals. We bicker a lot here on Gearslutz but most of us want to use our experience to help others from making costly mistakes that we've made down the road and I feel that using hate Yamaha will become a costly mistake. If Yamaha spent more than $3 in parts per channel on those preamps I'd be very surprised.

Couple quick lessons that I've learned a lot along the way (from doing a lot of mixing with the yamaha consoles): I spent three days mixing for live broadcast from a truck at a local festival last year (and am about to do the same again) and they had an 02r96 in the truck. At the last minute I grabbed my RND Portico II channel strip to keep on the lead vocal channels (and my API 2500 to mix into which was a god send once I got the gain staging right). I wasn't bringing the Portico so much for it's great sound, but simply because when it came down to getting a working mix in the first 30-45 seconds that a band started playing I wanted physical knobs to turn for eq and compression instead of scrolling through menus. Sure, enough, with no sound check I was able to get the lead vocals sounding great in about 10 seconds and then could tweak and finesse more as the set continued once I got the most important elements of the song sitting well.

There were some bands whose lead vocal didn't fall on the splitter where most of the other bands did in on the stage patch and, rather than risk a repatch in the short time between acts, I just let them go to the Yamaha. The biggest thing I noticed throughout the weekend was vocals going to the Yamaha took me a long time to get to sit into the mix the way that I wanted them to and usually never really got there. Vocals hitting the RND of course sounded better (as to be expected) but something about that sound allowed me to pop those suckers right into the mix right off the bat. This is when I learned how much quality gear really mattered - it's one thing that it just gives you a better replication of the source so all the individual sources sound a better but when you capture things well and then mix in the box or with a digital console things just come together so much quicker and more naturally - usually just your pan and fader balance sounds pretty darn good and then you just go in and use eq and compression in much smaller dosages to take care of troupe spots.

A similar thing happened in another space when we switched out HD-24's for a Pro Tools rig with Avid I/Os. The cumulative affect of the conversion was huge and the mixing engineer on those jobs said that he had to totally change his mix template and the way that he mixed the show because he had gotten so used to fighting a big ball of low end mud and trying to get things to pop more in the high end and was using lots of processing in the box to do so. Now he uses much less EQ and says that everything just falls into place much more naturally. Everyone in the production chain (I edit after he mixes) including one of our producers who has a great ear for music, of course, but isn't one to normally notice upgrade in the signal path was immediately asking what the difference was vs what we had been hearing for yours and wondering why it wasn't always like that!

Sorry for the long post - the adderall just kicked in and I guess I had more to say on the topic than I though!

kraus 17th May 2014 10:28 PM

Dude, I just did almost the same thing you're doing.. I flipped my Toft and went back to ITB mixing. I'd owned it for six years and finally got sick of all the cables, noise floor and constantly fixing things...

Analog EQ on your inserts is HUGE. I've got a custom rack of Westar Parametric EQs and some DBX 905s that do things I can't come close to ITB. In my personal opinion that is where the computer lags furthest behind right now.

Get "Metric Halo Thump". It's a free plugin that does wonders to the low end. I've been using it on kick for almost every mix I do. Much easier and more flexible then dialing in the old Gated Sine Wave.

After buying the console I never really had enough money to get Class A pres. Since I dumped the board I bought a Wunder Cobalt and 512c and that has given me all the "Analog Warmth" I could need.

I don't miss the console a bit. I've got a patch bay set up with a bunch of outboard gear and some choice plugins. Recalling mixes has never been this easy..

Good Luck.

TheBuffaloCave 18th May 2014 11:31 AM

UBK Fatso. Harsh sounds can be made into a combination of butter and caramel.

MIKEHARRIS 18th May 2014 12:06 PM

Unless I missed it...are you coming into the O2R96 via analog or digital ?
First thing I would do is put a Brainstorm DCD-8 on the clearly is one of the best clocks...very competitive with the T/10M at 1/6 the price (actually preferred in the shootouts we've done)
From the replies it appears you will be using the 2 bus processor in the analog domain.
What kind of music do you do...and what converter follows the processor ?

My thoughts are for tube...the TubeTech CL-2...solid state the PorticoII MBP...depending on how much "repair" the processor needs to do.

hitsville 11th August 2014 09:45 PM

I use the 2a3 on the 2bus for that purpose, it does wonders !

BearOnGuitar 11th August 2014 11:27 PM

To answer your question, I suggest taking a look at the DIY Colour Analog Saturator (CTX module), CAPI VC528 ML2 and Rupert Neve 524 Tape Emulator. You could use them for tracking and on the mix buss. For ITB coloration the Slate plugins are outstanding and VCC has a Trident 80B emulation which you might like.

How would you feel about going fully ITB in combination with using a Slate Raven touch screen and high quality preamps and conversion. The analog warmth could then come from using analog saturation and tape emulation while tracking and on the mix buss, and console and tape emulation plugins in addition if needed.

avare 12th August 2014 02:16 PM

Without knowing exactly what the OP has, the current version of the mixer is the 02R96VCM. That has tape emulation; UREI and DBX compressor; and a Neve based equalizer effects built in. Use them as desired.


waldie wave 13th August 2014 06:59 AM

I know someone who has a Yamaha 02R console and has produced a series of world class orchestral CDs with it. It is no slug.
He has a collection of outboard gear that he uses with it, including the following reverbs/fx units: 480L, 224, PCM90 and PCM80.
He mixes onto analogue tape. This guy really knows his stuff, fixes high end analogue consoles, tape recorders and outboard processors, and prefers to use a Yamaha console instead of a Neve, SSL, etc (which he knows inside and out).

When I had a DA7 I found the Manley MP and VariMu worked well with it on 2 Buss.