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Analog automation: techniques and methods!
Old 25th March 2007
  #1
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Analog automation: techniques and methods!

I asked a question about automation on Voodoo earlier, but maybe we could just do a thread on automation in general?

Could you please talk a little bit about how you automate your mixes?
How much automation do you use? On Voodoo for example...

How do you do it when it is analog? Do you use flying faders on the console? Do you do some of it manually?
Do you make passes of certain things and print these to new tracks and thereby "save" your automation?

I would be very interested in hearing how you do it?

Thanks in advance!
Anders
Old 27th March 2007
  #2
automatic...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joemamma View Post
Could you please talk a little bit about how you automate your mixes? How much automation do you use? On Voodoo for example...
How do you do it when it is analog? Do you use flying faders on the console? Do you do some of it manually?
Do you make passes of certain things and print these to new tracks and thereby "save" your automation?
I would be very interested in hearing how you do it?
Thanks in advance! Anders
hey anders,

you've got some good questions...

a brief history...
growing up in NYC, there were not many neve rooms. new york has always been mostly SSL's. most of the neve's were in LA. Right track was the 1st studio in new york and Quad the 2nd to install the SSL 9000J. i was among the first engineers to sort of "test drive" and give feedback on the 1st generation consoles. it was mostly the computer and the master section that we had issues with. Quad completely rebuilt their Studio A before the 9K installation. once installed, they asked me to do 5 days of tracking and mixing sessions to troubleshoot the room and find the bugs in the console/computer. SSL re-vamped the whole master section and tweaked the automation after listening to our comments and suggestions.

so i've been mixing (almost primarily) on the 9K ever since. had the Neve 88R come out at the same time as the 9K, i might have favored that, but neve was a little slow in that race and there were none in new york until 2001 or 2002. the 88R and 9K are the last of the "state of the art" analog consoles ever built and unfortunately, they are the final peak of analog console design. they're going to become like one of those rare vintage F1 ferrari race cars one day...

automatic transmission:
yes i use "flying faders", i don't work with VCA fader automation anymore. yes, i use quite a bit of automation. obviously i automate those crazy transitions or breaks you hear in my mixes. but most of my automation is riding the instruments and vocals. to me, this is crucial for making dynamic mixes. for a dense mix, most instruments are automated. i spend about 50 to 70% of my time getting sounds and effects together and the rest is automation. and generally, i don't turn on the automation until i'm satisfied with the overall sound. and since automation has always been available to me, i've developed a way of mixing where now i'm relying on automation for the final shaping of the mix.

of course exceptions are ever present and it really depends on the song. but most of the roots mixes or blackalicious mixes etc, had some complicated automation going on.

manual transmission:
for the past 6 or 7 years, i've been printing a lot of my effects. and yes i do manual automated moves on effects that are impossible to recreate exactly the same way. and since i still like to mix off of tape and i'm transferring 48+ tracks of pro tools to tape, i'm ending up comping things (like vocals or perc) down to stereo (or mono) tracks complete with eq/compression so everything can fit on 48 tracks of tape. and i'll do the comps from a rough mix from the board that i've prepared ahead of time. so in effect, i'm narrowing down my decision making in the earlier stages of the mix. it's rare for me to get songs under 48 tracks these days...what happened to 8 tracks? can you imagine if you only had 4 tracks? hmmmmmm....maybe i'll try that?

all the best
Old 27th March 2007
  #3
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It is complete madness this track-mania. Its at the stage where I think mixers like yourself (tchad blake, husky hoskulds also) deserve production credits on many of the mixes you do, since in a way you are taking up th slack an arranger would have in the old days of recording, through your mix decisions treatments and rides.

But I guess that topic is a whole new bag of worms
Old 28th March 2007
  #4
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deuc647's Avatar
Russell, in the last post, u said u transfer from pro tools to tape, do u see any added benefit from going from digital to tape? I would have thought that tracking to tape then digital transfer would give you more tape saturation and an added sonic benefit?

-Carlos-
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