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Old 8th June 2007
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mickglossop's Avatar

I mix both ITB and OTB, depending (usually) on the recording budget. I have a Pro Tools HD Accel 3 system in my own studio. I record mostly through the Digidesign 192 converters, but occasionally through my Apogee PSX-100. Most of the time I record (like most other people, believe it or not) at 48 kHz, although I sometimes prefer to use 96 kHz if the session is mostly acoustic.

I have mixed 9 or 10 albums completely ITB, with very good results, but....

Although I have Pro Control, it's not a lot of fun compared to working on an analogue console. This is not a criticism of Pro Tools - I had the same feeling when mixing on an SSL MT digital console, which is probably the most ergonomic digital console you'll find. To really get into the experience of mixing I need instant access to all the parameters and controls of the mix. You get most, but not all of that with ITB mixing. Several aspects, e.g. plug-in control are "one step away". Also, I find that my thinking process stays more in the vertical/logical mode when mixing in Pro Tools. On an analogue desk, with analogue outboard, my mind stays more in the horizontal/intuitive. This is because operating the analogue equipment is almost second nature - not because I've been using it for 30 years, but because the control process is much more immediate and accessible. One day, we'll have better control of Pro Tools parameters. In my opinion, it's still not there on the newer control surfaces.

Regarding summing, I feel that people are being severely led astray by several manufacturer's claims that a simple line mixer will give you the "analogue signature" of a classic analogue mixing console like a Neve, SSL, MCI, etc. This is simply not the case. You get very little sonic benefit from a simple line mixer. The sonic signature of a classic mixing console is derived mainly from the phase shift, distortion & crosstalk of the channels. This was revealed very significantly during a recent MPG event comparing an ITB Pro Tools mix with an identical OTB mix on a classic Neve console. There's a report in a recent edition on Pro Sound News for those interested.