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Workflow, Psychology, and Equipment
Old 20th March 2013
  #1
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Workflow, Psychology, and Equipment

Hi Michael,

You've worked on a diverse range of music over the years, and I've enjoyed the results / output of your efforts; such great stuff.

I'm wondering today what your workflow is like, how that may have (or has) an affect on the psychology or approach to your productions, and what and how your current equipment setup has attributed to the process.

What is your personal setup these days? Summing mixers etc...

Thanks.
Old 20th March 2013
  #2
Michael Beinhorn
 
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Thanks for saying so.

As far as workflow- that follows what i'm working on, rather than the other way around. I've matriculated to Pro Tools, partly because the expediency factor helps everyone else's workflow (and the quality has improved since Native). Everything else is determined by the project. I have a decent amount of gear and I'll have large pieces carted (and take some of the smaller ones myself) wherever I'm working.

Setups vary. I've done stuff with line mixers and without a console and can go either way. I feel these days, it's important to be flexible rather than to force people into a box based on my comfort level. My only insistence is that the quality is there and this puts a lot of pressure on the musicians to perform and on us to make everything sound as good as possible. I feel it's important to try to make the highest quality recordings one can make even in the absence of any budget.

As far as the psychology, could you explain what you mean, as I don't quite understand?
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Old 21st March 2013
  #3
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Hi Michael, thanks for the response, it means a lot.

As far as psychology, I meant in as much as how a chosen workflow (equipment setup can dictate workflow to a degree) for a given project may affect the creativity, and output result. You've seen a lot of action, and I think being a chameleon or evolving to fit the situation (while focused on optimum performance) might provide great insight to the community.

I've recently sold off my Trident consoles and downsized (like many). I use a RADAR system, and have a 16 channel API DSM system attached to it; obviously not the freedom of a full console (altered my workflow). I thought you had used the Chandler Mini Rack Mixer at one point, and wanted to know how you made that work in your post "large format console" setup / workflow?
Old 22nd March 2013
  #4
Michael Beinhorn
 
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Yes, I have used the Chandler Minimixer- it's good for some applications and is great as a bussing mixer.

As far as how the change in equipment influences workflow- it's profound, but the real question is always, "Is this way of working acceptable to me"? I feel I can bear any hardship regarding altered ergonomics or topology, as long as what's coming out the other end of the equipment in question sounds wonderful.

There is a difference between listening to music while sitting in front of a console, and listening while sitting next to a summing mixer. With the console, you have everything in front of you, sometimes you're leaning on it and can feel more connected to what you're doing - if that makes sense.

Without a console- you have a cleaner field of audio- less reflections in front of you- but the tactile relationship is missing. Both have their up/downsides.
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Old 24th March 2013
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When you say bussing do you mean as a subgroup mixer for Drums or master buss? I'm interested in what type of source material you put through the Chandler Mini Rack Mixer; I've been eyeing adding it to my setup.

Thanks, You RoCk!
Old 25th March 2013
  #6
Michael Beinhorn
 
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Thanks- I haven't used the Chandler for drums. I'm really concerned with bussing stuff when the transient response may be compromised, so I tend to avid bussing mics if I don't have a console that can handle this, or if it doesn't feel right. I think it would be ok for that application- I've just felt more comfortable keeping everything separate until mix.

Generally, I've used it on bass and guitars- although on my last project, I wasn't happy with how it was handling hotter levels from the mic pres- the coloration wasn't to my liking. I'm considering shooting it out again.
Old 25th March 2013
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fexurbis View Post
Generally, I've used it on bass and guitars- although on my last project, I wasn't happy with how it was handling hotter levels from the mic pres- the coloration wasn't to my liking. I'm considering shooting it out again.
Oooh Michael! Just curious, it's little things like this I find interesting.

So you were going mic-pre > mixer > digital (or analog) pre-mixing various mics? Do you use mics in a crossover network to achieve the desired sound one each or highs / mids / lows etc.. or a combination thereof?

I've always thought pre-mixing mics / committing to the sound upfront leaves less to ponder later.

Thanks again for your time, you've been more than gracious.
Old 25th March 2013
  #8
Michael Beinhorn
 
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Yes- that was the chain. I never thought of using mics in a crossover network- generally, just a combination of mics which are tonally pleasing and work well together. I'll have to experiment with a crossover some time to see how that affects tonal balances- thanks for putting the idea in my mind. You can't ever stop learning about this stuff.

I like to pre-mix guitar mics, although, I have kept the mics separated until mix. Generally, even if mics are separate, the balances don't change much as everything else is being built up around them and any shift can alter things radically.
Old 25th March 2013
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fexurbis View Post
Yes- that was the chain. I never thought of using mics in a crossover network- generally, just a combination of mics which are tonally pleasing and work well together. I'll have to experiment with a crossover some time to see how that affects tonal balances- thanks for putting the idea in my mind. You can't ever stop learning about this stuff.
Cool! I do this mics as a crossover network concept / technique as in thinking of the mics themselves as EQ (or tone pieces), each listening to a specific frequency range. X mic might give me the attack, while Y mic might provide the bottom or weight etc... They blend into each other slightly frequency range wise. I learned this from my time assisting another great engineer; we experimented a lot.
Old 25th March 2013
  #10
Michael Beinhorn
 
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Oh- I thought you were describing using a piece of equipment in line with an array of mics to create a tonal effect. What you're describing is what should normally happen with a grouping of different microphones on a sound source. I like what I thought you meant- it sounded very exotic.
Old 25th March 2013
  #11
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Well now, this is something. Using filters could provide an extreme version of the crossover concept, ie. using the bottom of mic a, mids from mic b and top from c. That way I would think phase coherency would not be as essential and consequently source proximity could be varied between mics- wow guys. Love it.
Old 25th March 2013
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fexurbis View Post
Oh- I thought you were describing using a piece of equipment in line with an array of mics to create a tonal effect. What you're describing is what should normally happen with a grouping of different microphones on a sound source. I like what I thought you meant- it sounded very exotic.
I like what you thought I meant too, lol. Actually that would be fun!

What about a mini variable crossover blend mixer box... Where you could put the mics into it and slide the crossover points between the sources, then output as one?
Old 26th March 2013
  #13
Michael Beinhorn
 
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Now, that sounds like what I thought you meant.
Old 26th March 2013
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fexurbis View Post
Now, that sounds like what I thought you meant.
They have them for cars (with switches)... All we need is that concept but at +4 Balanced XLR I/O, 3 in 1 out. I could see Little Labs do something like this...
Old 27th March 2013
  #15
Michael Beinhorn
 
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That could be an interesting project down the road.
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