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Why does HD sound better than mix (with good converters)
Old 15th November 2002
  #1
no ssl yet 
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Why does HD sound better than mix (with good converters)

Several people have said that HD's mixer sounds much better than MIx's
From my understanding the main mixer difference in HD is that the Mixer is not dithered and remains at a constant rate on large mixes.

This brings me to wonder, If a mix system is used with good converter/clocks on a session smaller than 32 trks (a one chip session)

Would HD still sound better and if so, Why?

Some HD users make the difference sound so vast that they wouldn't touch a mix system ever again. Was protools truly rebuilt for the making of HD? or Is it just the sequel?
Old 15th November 2002
  #2
Gear Addict
 

The mixer in HD is redone a little....it was revamped for more headroom, and was given the 48 bit data-pass between chips when the mixer gets too big for one.

You are mistaken on the 32 track count tho....In mix systems, a whole chip is used to make 32 voices, or two for 64. Then a whole other seperate chip is used for the mixer plugin. So you can mix many more than 32 voices without jumping chips in the mixer with the 24 bit truncation. It depends on how complex the mixer is....and PT is smart enough in the current version to try and keep the main mix bus on one dsp as long as it can, and route aux busses and such to the second dsp first.

I just checked and was able to create a 46 channel mixer that stayed on one DSP in Mix.

I am skeptical there are big differences inthe actual mixer. Of course the clocking and converters have been vastly improved...so you have to negate those when comparing. Then since the headroom is different on each platform, that means that mixes will sum to different levels on each platform. I just think there needs to be more definitive comparison testing on this issue.
Old 15th November 2002
  #3
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cajonezzz's Avatar
 

Re: Why does HD sound better than mix (with good converters)

Quote:
Originally posted by no ssl yet

This brings me to wonder, If a mix system is used with good converter/clocks on a session smaller than 32 trks (a one chip session)

Would HD still sound better and if so, Why?

Glad to see someone here agonizing over the same issues

Call your local DIGI rep and set up a demo. They offered to do it for us. Side by side in our room.(you may have to find a studio to do this in?, worth the effort)
That's a lot of jack to spend and trying to conceptualize here and form an opinion/decision is chasing your tail.

I heard the HD rig ab'd with Apoggee, straight 888's , etc. there ARE differences. The scenario you have above was included in the demo. The Apogee+clocked MIx sounded the SAME as the HD rig at 48k) HD was a very noticeable leap forward at 96k......(I think we'll all be there in a few years, but I'll be a follwer on that wone)
That being recognized:
PLENTY of records will be produced on the "ancient" MIX+ rig for the next year(or two) to come. I personally know 10 studios in our little burg of so.ca that have no intention of upgrading till the gun is to their head so to speak (losing work to an hd equipped room, Digi abandons)
We're buying another Mix+ for the "b" room (and two channels of high end conversion and Lucid clock for the present mix+ rig) and spending the leftovers on some new widgets, xtra monitors for a surround setup, a couple of distressors, mics, and who knows maybe a 2 track TAPE deck to master to as well.
I found a Mix + for 3700.00
I WANT HD, but can't justify it right now..
Old 15th November 2002
  #4
Jax
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slightly OT - HD upgrade

The main reason I might updrage to HD soon is that I can get far more value out for my Mix core card using the upgrade policy than I can by selling it. That and the fact that I would essentially be doubling DSP, and getting a mixer that doesn't truncate, round off, or whatever it does when spanning two chips (stays 48 bit IOW) in a Mix system. Plus 6.0 looks to be a big step forward for working in PT efficiently, not that it will only work with HD, but it would be a free upgrade if I dive in soon.
Old 16th November 2002
  #5
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As soon as you begin mixing (adding plugs) in a 96k session, doesn't that "double the DSP" immediately disappear?
Old 16th November 2002
  #6
Jax
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Yes.

I wouldn't mix at 96k unless:

- the project is small enough not to tax the DSP

- I had a plan and a method (and I do) for combining HD digital i/o with my other DAW's (Sampitude) digital i/o for access to more amounts of 96k DSP
Old 16th November 2002
  #7
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
posted by no ssl yet:
Several people have said that HD's mixer sounds much better than MIx's
From my understanding the main mixer difference in HD is that the Mixer is not dithered and remains at a constant rate on large mixes.

This brings me to wonder, If a mix system is used with good converter/clocks on a session smaller than 32 trks (a one chip session)

Would HD still sound better and if so, Why?

Some HD users make the difference sound so vast that they wouldn't touch a mix system ever again. Was protools truly rebuilt for the making of HD? or Is it just the sequel?
Dude,

Go buy the soundtrack to Ocean's Eleven (David Holmes) and listen to it on the best system you can find.

It sounds positively fierce, f&cking gorgeous man, one of The Curve's ALL TIME favorite CDs...recorded and mixed all on a Mix system with 888/24 convertors. I know, because I emailed Studio at Sunset Marquis, and the studio manager personally verified this for me.

All of Bjørk's recordings so far have been produced and mixed on Mix systems, they all sound absolutely beautiful.

Here's my take on it: HD might "work" a little more efficiently, and therefore it's easier to get a good sound. But that doesn't mean your Mix cards suck. It's how YOU make your rig sound that counts.

Don't get me wrong: I would LOVE to have an HD system...but I'm VERY happy with the 001.
Old 16th November 2002
  #8
Jax
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Eric,

If the Ocean's 11 soundtrack didn't go out to an analog board during mixdownl, I'll buy it just to hear it. If it didn't use outboards patched in also, I'll be even more encouraged, as long as it sounds good.

Do you know if they stayed completely in the box?

thanks
Old 16th November 2002
  #9
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Some food for thoughts: "Recorded to and mixed from thru an SSL with lotsa outboard" and "Recorded to and mixed inside with only plug-ins" are two VERY different scenarios that, unfortunately, often get thrown in the same bag and misleadingly described as one and the same. I don't know for Ocean's Eleven (and don't forget that the movie final balance of the already premixed stems and the actual mixing of the music tracks are not the same again) but Bjork' stuff is usually mixed conformingly to the "SSL + outboard " procedure.

If you are to mix without the use of a lot of plug-ins a small amount of tracks (without TDM chips spanning) at 44/48k on a Mix system clocked to a high resolution source and equipped with high end converters. There probably won't be a very noticeable difference in performance. However, unless you "already" have such a system in place, try comparing how much it will cost you to improve your Mix system to the above scenario versus how much it will cost you to simply upgrade to HD (that comes with these improvements built-in more or less) and see what's the most appealling way to go at it for you.

However, if you routinely mix projects that involve a high number of tracks and huge demands on timeslots/DSP ressources, or high sampling rates, or are simply interested on future-proofing and/or what will be the residual value of your investment in 3-4 years, (AKA "the real world"), the answer is quite simple. It was for me anyway...
Old 16th November 2002
  #10
"This brings me to wonder, If a mix system is used with good converter/clocks on a session smaller than 32 trks (a one chip session)"

Ashley up 53 tracks on one chip is possible, (possibly going down to 51 on the dithered mixer) Keeping the mix on one chip, isn't as simple as keeping the track count under 53, when you create tracks and how many is important.... there is a trick to it...)

Old 17th November 2002
  #11
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
posted by Jax:
Eric,

If the Ocean's 11 soundtrack didn't go out to an analog board during mixdownl, I'll buy it just to hear it.
Jax,

I had seperate correspondence with 1) the woman who manages Sunset Marquis, and 2) Mike Olson, a second engineer on the gig, who's listed in the liner notes.

Mike did refer to a tasty selection of mics and pres. But neither made any mention of a console at all. Which would be an odd omission, since studios normally LOVE to brag about their consoles. But they specifically pointed out that the 888/24's were used.

It was listening to O-11, and then getting that information, that inspired me finally to jump head-first into PT. And it was David Holmes' compositional techniques on that soundtrack which partly inspired the approach to using PT that I outlined in my "Edit Window Cubism/Surrealism" thread.

On another note, Sunset Marquis now has HD.

They also have a very nice swimming pool. Hey! Maybe THAT'S their secret!
Old 18th November 2002
  #12
Quote:
Originally posted by Curve Dominant

All of Bjørk's recordings so far have been produced and mixed on Mix systems, they all sound absolutely beautiful
.
Where did you here this from?

Most of Bjork stuff is mixed by Spike Stent and he definitely mixes on an SSL(he is one of the biggest gear slutz there is). I guess you can call him the TLA of Europe(right Jules?).

I wasn't that blown over by the sound of Vespertine(it might have been tracked to a MixPlus system but it wasn't mixed in one).

In the past I've had the oppurtunity to work on some of the remixes for her stuff.

Excellent music.
Old 18th November 2002
  #13
She has a Mix + (perhaps running on a laptop) in her apartment studio... (if I recall correctly)

She operates it herself but has in the past hired a PT whizz chum of mine and his own rig for intensive work.

Spike Stent is THE big mixer in the UK, he uses an SSL and has his 'own room' at Olympic studios, out in the suburb of Barnes, West London.
Old 19th November 2002
  #14
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Curve Dominant

All of Bjørk's recordings so far have been produced and mixed on Mix systems, they all sound absolutely beautiful
.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Where did you here this from?

Most of Bjork stuff is mixed by Spike Stent and he definitely mixes on an SSL(he is one of the biggest gear slutz there is). I guess you can call him the TLA of Europe(right Jules?).

I wasn't that blown over by the sound of Vespertine(it might have been tracked to a MixPlus system but it wasn't mixed in one).
Oh, sorry, got the "mixed in" part wrong. Thanks. It's nice to know my posts are being closely monitored for inaccuracies.

I liked Vespertine, like the sound very much, "strange-beautiful." Maybe I wasn't listening to it with my "golden ears" attached, but I've just gotten a new amp for my crib system so I'll give it another listen. Hopefully the knowledge that it was mixed through an SSL won't take away from my appreciation of it.

Thrillfactor: Point me in the direction of your Bjørk remixes, and I'll go buy them, please, seriously. Feel free to email me if you prefer to maintain online anonymity. I love anything Bjørk and am happy to shell out the $$$ for her stuff.
Old 19th November 2002
  #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Curve Dominant



Thrillfactor: Point me in the direction of your Bjørk remixes, and I'll go buy them, please, seriously. Feel free to email me if you prefer to maintain online anonymity. I love anything Bjørk and am happy to shell out the $$$ for her stuff.
Me too Thrillfactor.
Old 19th November 2002
  #16
Jax
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If you (thrillfactor) would let me know which ones as well, I have a few Bjork CD's and a friend of mine has the rest!

Thanks
Old 19th November 2002
  #17
Bear in mind remixes might have been on a past single that is now unavailable..

Old 19th November 2002
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
From my understanding the main mixer difference in HD is that the Mixer is not dithered and remains at a constant rate on large mixes.
This is not quite true. The standard mixer for HD is un-dithered. But there is an optional dithered stereo and a dithered surround mixer extension for HD. They both use much more dsp than the 'straight' ones. And many people think they are better.

I think the HD mixer (all versions) sound a lot better than mix. When I had mix - I always used my DMX-r100 as the mix bus to improve things. Now with HD - its not necessary. The best thing about this is that now I can mix in the B room (which doesn't have a DMX - but it does have HD3).

If you include the improved convertors into the equation - the difference is even more dramatic. I've gotten lots of comments from my customers about how much better the studio sounds now. These responses are from the all acoustic CD I finished a few weeks ago. It was entirely tracked directly into 192 analog in and mixed completely inside HD with the dithered mixer (in the B room!). I've never had customers notice my gear improvements to this degree before .
Old 20th November 2002
  #19
Quote:
Originally posted by Curve Dominant


Oh, sorry, got the "mixed in" part wrong. Thanks. It's nice to know my posts are being closely monitored for inaccuracies.

I liked Vespertine, like the sound very much, "strange-beautiful." Maybe I wasn't listening to it with my "golden ears" attached, but I've just gotten a new amp for my crib system so I'll give it another listen. Hopefully the knowledge that it was mixed through an SSL won't take away from my appreciation of it.

Thrillfactor: Point me in the direction of your Bjørk remixes, and I'll go buy them, please, seriously. Feel free to email me if you prefer to maintain online anonymity. I love anything Bjørk and am happy to shell out the $$$ for her stuff.
Hi Eric,Renie and Jax.

Yeah I will try to dig some stuff up. They were mostly dance remixes done by some of the guys here in NYC(in the mid 90's I was heavy into the dance remix scene). If I remember correctly one of the remixes was for a track in Post the other was in Homogenic(my 2 favorite Bjork albums).

Last year they(record label) put the word out that they were looking for stuff(remixes) for Vespertine(they were worried there were no real singles on it). One of the guys I use to work with actually called me about doing some mixes of his remixes(he does stuff for everybody) and I said sure. But I guess it never worked out.

I love Bjork's music(even though I don't think soundwise its the greatest, but who cares!!). I wish it was more popular here in America. I am actually producing a guy(on Sony) here who might actually change that. The music is very textural and a little commercial at the same time(sort of a cross between Seal and Maxwell). Its really cool stuff.


We've been working on it for about a year and i think if Sony decides to really push it(fingers crossed)it will open up the scene here in America for different artist. But you know how that goes, they sign one guy who is different and sells, then all of a sudden there 20 other guys out there who are similar.
grudge
Old 21st November 2002
  #20
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Hi Thrill, I confess an emotional vulnerability to most of Bjork's music, especially on Homogenic. Your project sounds interesting, tell us when it's out I'll grab a copy. Early Maxwell stuff sounded pretty good (even though the lyrics were a bit pathetic). I used to be on Sony, not the best experience of my life... Keep messing with those stupid suits!
Old 22nd November 2002
  #21
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I think that Bjork is awesome.. defintley some of the most inspiring albums to pop up during the 90's. Whenever there is something new out i am there on the day that its released
There is something that is so intangible and more to the point unquantifiable about her music that give the listener that what they have on the little shiny disc is exactly what transpired in her imagination just transferred to a different medium for us to enjoy.

RE: Spike.. love his work. He has from what i read a large 48 i/o Mix plus. I never liked mix plus but he is someone that seems to get around the sonic issues that we all love to bitch about and managed to bring the best out of the song etc... and yes he is a TOTAL gearslut too.. look in the Sound on Sound Archives for a complete transcript of him talking baout his 'digs' in olympic and his gear list!..drools..lol

I also read that Bjork is very handy on the 001 and comps and records all her own vocals... sweet...

But i have heard stuff done on mix plus that sounds ace even with 888(oops i meant 666 )..lol heheheh
So its all down to the dude/gal putting the stuff in on the way..

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 22nd November 2002
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Can we just rename this thread to be something like "Gearslutz talk about Bjork"?

I'm a big fan. I have nearly all of her releases (which including all singles - is a whole lot). I prefer to listen to the DVD-audio of Vespertine in my surround control room. Its a great surround mix - not flashy but not just stereo plus either. I knew I bought all those speakers for something - my clients sure don't want surround!.....(yet?!?)
Old 26th November 2002
  #23
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Back to the original question,

I found this on Digis FAQ

With the release of Pro Tools 5.3 for the HD system, have there been any changes made to the Pro Tools Mixer?

1. The dither code was rewritten. Now every dither source is uncorrelated. What this mainly means to users is that when multiple dither sources (e.g. from busses) are mixed together, the dither noise floor won't be as high. Summing two correlated dither sources results in a 6dB increase in noise floor, where as summing two uncorrelated dither sources results in a 3dB increase.

2. The master fader code was rewritten in the stereo mixer to be more inline with the surround mixer, and to have slightly better truncation error performance.

3. The mixer summing bus headroom was increased from 30dB to 48dB.




Peter
Old 28th November 2002
  #24
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by schmeete


Now every dither source is uncorrelated. What this mainly means to users is that when multiple dither sources (e.g. from busses) are mixed together, the dither noise floor won't be as high. Summing two correlated dither sources results in a 6dB increase in noise floor, where as summing two uncorrelated dither sources results in a 3dB increase.
They STILL don't understand dithering!

Dither BY DEFINITION MUST BE UNCORRELATED.

"Correlated dither" ain't dither, it's just correlated noise that builds up in the center and screws up the imaging!

Hopefully they finally got it right even if it's for the wrong reason!
Old 29th November 2002
  #25
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Either that or they don't want to admit they weren't previously doing it right.
Old 29th November 2002
  #26
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I think they understand...I believe what it means is in the past, the dither was created and then basically "copied" to all busses where dither was required. Thus, when you have the same exact bit for bit dither going on several places in the mixer-- then you suddenly have correlation. And all these nasty things start happening as Bob stated.

Now everywhere dither is needed in the mixer, it has it's own random dither. No "master" dither signal.
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