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Avril: ITB vs OTB DAW Software
Old 25th August 2007
  #91
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mtstudios@charter's Avatar
 

This whole thread got me thinking (and about 10 others like it).
What is better or sounds better ITB or OTB?
The answer is:
Do I/you and my/your clients like the mix/results?
Could my/your mixes better or worsen with new technology?
Does my/your budget compromise equipment decisions and results?
Why do I/you mix OTB?
Why do I/you mix ITB?

For me, budget always compromises.

I must admit I have not tried too much ITB mixing, except for hybrid situations. I do quite a bit of 5.1 with Plug-ins only, but stem out into a console. So my experience with staying ITB with 24 tracks or more is limiting. I have tried to get acoustic drums to sound like I want them to ITB only, but have failed. With electronic drums I don't have the same difficulty. I am attracted to the simplicity of ITB, but I would miss big knobs. I do like the sci-fi side of the Icon, but don't think I could live on software plug-ins only. I like advancements in sound technology and like to move forward, but also still like the old Neumann's better than the new ones. In the meantime I will stay open minded and honest to myself.


Blue Thumb Productions-Audio Production Facilities
Old 25th August 2007
  #92
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
For me, budget always compromises.

I must admit I have not tried to much ITB mixing, except for hybrid situations. I do quite a bit of 5.1 with Plug-ins only, but stem out into a console. So my experience with staying ITB with 24 tracks or more is limiting. I have tried to get acoustic drums to sound like I want them to ITB only, but have failed. With electronic drums I don't have the same difficulty. I am attracted to the simplicity of ITB, but I would miss big knobs. I do like the sci-fi side of the Icon, but don't think I could live on software plug-ins only. I like advancements in sound technology and like to move forward, but also still like the old Neumann's better than the new ones. In the meantime I will stay open minded and honest to myself.]
I didn't start mixing ITB until 2000, for the 15 years before that, it was all mixing OTB on a Neve or Euphonix.
Most of the guys who are my situation and have worked on large frame boards, then made the switch to ITB have never regretted and never looked back.

And Matt for a lot of us who mix ITB it's not a budget thing.
We like the results we are getting. If I really thought I was losing work because I was mixing ITB do you think I would hesitate for one second to move to a console?

Clearly the actions of the clients speaks for itself. If people like what they are hearing they come back for more.
In Serbans' case, I just don't see anyone backing away from hiring him. He's good at what he does in or out of the box.

You said it's about budget, and then turned right around and said, "I must admit I have not tried to much ITB mixing, except for hybrid situations."

It took me a long time to make that transition to ITB.
To get my sound and style of mixing where I was really loving it.

Even though I have been ITB for 7 years now, I still feel I get better as a mixer every year. It just so happens that it's ITB.
Old 25th August 2007
  #93
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post
This is mainly for the OTB mixers to think about.
Do you really think that the record label listened to SG's mixes and CLA's mixes and thought one was horribly different from the other?

Do you think the artist, her label, her management all listened to the mix and said those things and then said, "ehh, let's put it out anyway"?

Clearly guys, they don't feel that way. .
Well...I think if your goal is to please an A&R , so then your best shot to have him like your mixes is to kiss the A&R ass and be in his political game...A&R's in most cases are just guys with certain interest and bad ears.....we are talking about sound here!!.....not what makes happy an A&R and a manager!!!...as someone said.....Avril L may not be the most critical expert about what is a great mix (maybe we should see what Paula Cole says about mixes) ....and most likely her managers would do what make the A&R happy.....so if is that the most important goal about your mixes...well you have a good recipe...

I like both mixes...but you have your taste as anybody else...


So would be better and more interesting your opinion about the differences that you found in those mixes...specially as former owner of several consoles.... and also because I think I read that you just bought a Tonelux....that would be a more interesting opinion..
Old 25th August 2007
  #94
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mtstudios@charter's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post
I didn't start mixing ITB until 2000, for the 15 years before that, it was all mixing OTB on a Neve or Euphonix.
Most of the guys who are my situation and have worked on large frame boards, then made the switch to ITB have never regretted and never looked back.

And Matt for a lot of us who mix ITB it's not a budget thing.
We like the results we are getting. If I really thought I was losing work because I was mixing ITB do you think I would hesitate for one second to move to a console?

Clearly the actions of the clients speaks for itself. If people like what they are hearing they come back for more.
In Serbans' case, I just don't see anyone backing away from hiring him. He's good at what he does in or out of the box.

You said it's about budget, and then turned right around and said, "I must admit I have not tried to much ITB mixing, except for hybrid situations."

It took me a long time to make that transition to ITB.
To get my sound and style of mixing where I was really loving it.

Even though I have been ITB for 7 years now, I still feel I get better as a mixer every year. It just so happens that it's ITB.
Actually, I said it is always about budget for me personally, be it any format. It would definitely initially be financially advantages for me to get rid of my console and outboard gear, but nothing out there yet has moved me enough to want to do that. In fact I still wish I did not sell my "69" Camaro or my "60's" Fender Jazz Bass. I now have a new Fender Re-Issue Jazz Bass and an Infinity. The Infinity is more efficient and doesn't leak when it rains, but don't think I would ever miss it.

If the monetary sense in me did not exist, I would have both, Icon and SSL.

I was only posing questions and then answered from my own personal experience. In this forum I like to stay open to what others use, I try to only state what works for me.

BTW I have heard what you have mixed ITB and like it.
Old 25th August 2007
  #95
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Alex Niedt's Avatar
 

Seems silly to me that anyone could definitively attribute the differences between the two mixes to the "ITB/OTB war" rather than the MUCH more important factors here.
Old 25th August 2007
  #96
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Actually, I said it is always about budget for me personally, ITB or OTB. I was only posing questions and then answered from my own personal experience. In this forum I like to stay open to what others use, I try to only state what works for me.

BTW I have heard what you have mixed ITB and like it.

Thank you so much.
I really think if people were to give it a try they would mixing ITB too. But it's not for everyone.

I have tremendous respect for Ronan, super nice guy. But if he never mixed ITB I wouldn't think twice about it.
Analog consoles are how makes it happen for him and that's good enough for me.

I was telling Ronan the other day I am thinking of buying an analog board, not to mix through just because I love tracking on an analog board.
If I owned a SSL or a Neve I would still mix in the box.

And just for clarification the only Tonelux I own right now are the mic pres.
I have not yet bought the line inputs for the rack.
I do however like to mix completely in the box and then sum the stereo mix out to the A Designs Hammer Tube EQ.
That is my new found twist on mixing ITB.

All of compressors, reverbs, EQ... everything is done ITB, just summed out two channels to the Hammer.
You can hear and mp3 of it on my website, just click on the picture of Drew Seeley.
Old 25th August 2007
  #97
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Is it me, or are the people who like the ITB one, or mix ITB, a little defensive?
Old 25th August 2007
  #98
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm View Post
based on the advice of several other Slutz I picked up the latest Avril Lavigne CD to compare the work of various mixers (and techniques).

I created a 6 meg 44.1/16 wav file that goes back and forth between a mix by Serban Ghenea mixing in pro tools without an analog console (the first) and Chris Lord-Alge mixing on an analog SSL (the second).

Both samples are from the same album, by the same artists, mastered by the same mastering engineer. I did my best to find sections that are similar in tempo and arrangement to eliminate as many variables as possible and hear the work of two great mixers with different tools. It was really interesting to hear the two mixers side by side.

I posted the file as an educational tool over at Home Recording Boot camp.

Avril Mix Sample
-
-
Without lisetning to your track yet, I'm going to guess that Serban's mixes sounded the best, with CLA's having far less low end and TLA's being in the middle.

I've only listen to the album once, but that's how it sounded to me just on a straigh listen. I've compared three of the raw sessions that I worked on, and unmixed, with whatever fader moves and quick EQing I can do ins a single pass, I've found that I can get a much bigger sound than either CLA or TLA track in it's mixed state. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that those mixes sound better because they clearly sound unfinished, but they sound bigger.

I think that one thing that may possibly make the OTB/ITB comparison invalid, is that a lot of the tracks were done in different places by different engineers and the mix differences may be more a reflection of that than how they were mixed. Some tracks were recorded into ProTools through Radar converters, some hit tape, some were done at home on and HD rig and some were done on a Digi001.
Old 25th August 2007
  #99
Quote:
Originally Posted by kats View Post
the production fashion is so "in your face", .....it's like arguing who's faster, a turtle or a 1 legged rabbit - who cares, they're both fricken slow!

lol - classic, or maybe more accurately, like sounddawg's grandpa would point out:

If it takes sixteen and a half pancakes to shingle a dog...
...how long would it take for a grasshopper with a wooden leg to kik the seeds out of a dill pickle?


sorry, i STILL can't get over how f*cking funny this is...

in MY book, sounddawg wins sig of the year with this.

.


.
Old 25th August 2007
  #100
Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11 View Post
Is it me, or are the people who like the ITB one, or mix ITB, a little defensive?
I had never heard of Serban before this album. I'm an OTB guy and will always be because I htink the differences go way beyond sonics.

Serban is clearly a bass mixer and in this case, listening on my laptop speakers, I prefer the ITB mix. It's more exciting and it supports the song better. Actually, maybe I just prefer the song. I think the snare on the second mix is compressed with too fast an attack time and there's no low end in the kick drum (on lap top speakers).

I remember if there a programmed drums with the live drums in the first one, but if there are, the phase is sample accurate as opposed to the random alignment you get with beat detective.
Old 25th August 2007
  #101
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thermos's Avatar
Oh lord, B is so much better its ridiculous. Not even a contest for 1 second, not even a split second.

That being said, I still think it has nothing to say about the quality of itb in general. As I said before, the Tchad Blake mixing on the new Crowded House sounds beautiful, very edible and not like digital icepick demons (like this first example here.) That is just awful. The music sucks giant balls to begin with (is it music? More like a disney nightmare), but with that mix its like the artistic apocalypse.

PS:listened on my sennheiser hd 280 phones and JBL LSR 28-p (through lynx aurora converters). Same hatred both times.
Old 25th August 2007
  #102
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Empire Prod's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thermos View Post
Oh lord, B is so much better its ridiculous. Not even a contest for 1 second, not even a split second.

Wow! That is really definitive. I personally am not hearing a huge sonic divide between the two. If your hearing is that finely tuned , I am interested to hear your work as it must be pretty amazing.
Old 26th August 2007
  #103
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elkpantscamino's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11 View Post
Is it me, or are the people who like the ITB one, or mix ITB, a little defensive?
Old 26th August 2007
  #104
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yumdrum's Avatar
 

B blows A away. And I'm ITB for now, so I wish it didn't...but it does. It's just much clearer, deeper and easier on the ears.
Thanks for the post Ronan! -Dave
Old 26th August 2007
  #105
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11 View Post
Is it me, or are the people who like the ITB one, or mix ITB, a little defensive?

I think it's you.
Old 26th August 2007
  #106
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post
You can hear and mp3 of it on my website, just click on the picture of Drew Seeley.

Sounds great Tony..great jobthumbsup
Old 26th August 2007
  #107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post
If it truly "sounds buzzy, flat, harsh and nasty", why would people keep going back to the same sonic well, if it sounds that bad?
.

tony, i think you're ASSUMING "buzzy, flat, harsh and nasty" equals BAD....

but i suggest that for the listeners of today, "buzzy, flat, harsh and nasty" equals NORMAL...


especially, given the ultimate market audition sources (ie. ipods, laptop speakers, phones, etc.)


and especially, given the nature of all the itb home workstations with poor i/o conversion,
a gagillion plugs, etc.



maybe this is where all the confusion is.


.
Old 26th August 2007
  #108
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mixerguy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
.

tony, i think you're ASSUMING "buzzy, flat, harsh and nasty" equals BAD....

but i suggest that for the listeners of today, "buzzy, flat, harsh and nasty" equals NORMAL...


especially, given the ultimate market audition sources (ie. ipods, laptop speakers, phones, etc.)


and especially, given the nature of all the itb home workstations with poor i/o conversion,
a gagillion plugs, etc.



maybe this is where all the confusion is.


.
+1






Old 26th August 2007
  #109
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This record is meant to sound good on the average consumer's system (Ipods, car stereos, computer speakers, boom boxes, ect.) The best test is to listen to the mixes on those type of systems and see which mixes translate the best to all those mediums, since that was what the record was mixed for. I'm sure most of the market is people under the age of 20... I doubt the label had any intentions for pleasing the audiophile market. They need mixes that translate and sound impressive on tiny speakers.. Generally with what you're losing in 'depth' helps with it sounding 'in your face'. So for someone like Avril, ITB works better (in my opinion).

There are some records bands bring in for reference that sound terrible on studio monitors.. Totally smashed and tiny sounding.. I'll later go to their myspace site or see the video on mtv and it sounds great in that context.

Listening on my laptop speakers I definetly prefer the ITB mix. I'm sure Serban could have gotten more depth out of the mix ITB.. but that would have smeared the attacks more and sounded less impressive on my laptop..
Old 26th August 2007
  #110
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
to me - the ITB mix is flat and 2D, and the console mix has more depth, and sounds more 3D heh
+1


The console mix breathes a little more.

I mix ITB because that's my lot in life but the OTB sounds less choked.
Old 26th August 2007
  #111
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To me #2 sounded 100x better, but I don't know if it's a fair comparison. #2 had the hard panned guitars which made it much wider, while the first one was still in a verse which didn't have that yet. i think comparing the Choruses would be much better.

And if that has already been discussed, then my apologies because I didn't read through the thread.

PS - Plus you're comparing mixers as well as simply platforms.
Old 26th August 2007
  #112
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max cooper's Avatar
 

I just noticed that too. It seems CLA is using Terry Manning's Cardinal Points® Pan Law as discussed here:

http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/m/191809/0/

It really seems to open things up and I wonder if that's it more than the ITB vs OTB.

Old 26th August 2007
  #113
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thermos's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrox247 View Post
Wow! That is really definitive. I personally am not hearing a huge sonic divide between the two. If your hearing is that finely tuned , I am interested to hear your work as it must be pretty amazing.
I'm certainly not great, but I make mixes that don't send people crawling up a wall, (and my MEs seem to like them ok). I just had a strong reaction to it (TWICE) because its as far away from musical as can be, in pretty much every way (I think the song has a lot to do with it). One of these days I'll be good. Its nice to know what not to shoot for.



Nice mixing Tony Shepperd. Katisse is a friend of mine, I'll be playing with him next month.
Old 26th August 2007
  #114
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

PISSED!

Ok, gonna vent here, but I've read this ENTIRE thread and what I REALLY see is the SAME old agenda posturing!

ITB vs OTB... people veil their comments with ass-covering statements, but it still seems like people are pushing their personal preferences or CLA star-fvcuking influenced answers and not really giving insights of substance.

I still argue if people didn't know which was what what medium, WHO mixed... the B.S. would go away and we'd hear FAR different thoughts.

Screw it, I'm gonna go mix something... my bad for getting sucked into this.

Love you guys. (Hate this thread...and worse, me for being guilty of involving myself)

-a
Old 26th August 2007
  #115
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TheNoize's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
to me both mixes sound very sterile, choked and have no sense of space.

neither one sounds like music happening in a space, a room.
A room? hm... Can you give us an example of a good mix where you hear things happening in a "room"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
console or no console it sounds like music that was pasted together very meticulously in a lab instead of performed by real people.
Huh... for that you have live albums?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
is this what people think is "great" mixing these days?
What? Chris Lord-Alge? By all means, yes, this is great mixing to me. Do you have better examples? Please share.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
seriously, im not trying to be rude or uppety at all, im just curious if people here think these mixes are great.
it just doesnt sound.................... real to me, for lack of a better term.
Yes I do think these mixes are great, by today's standards. I guess you prefer a 1970 Led Zeppelin mix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
im just curious because im noticing a trend in pop music these days where the mixes seem to make the band sound like less of a band and more of a machine. some of it is of course editing and other factors, but to me the sonics of these 2 mixes make the songs sound somewhat artificial in an undesireable way.
The drums still sound like they are played, and that's the essential.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
by the way, i really liked the comparison from an audio dork standpoint to hear the different styles of the 2 engineers and i preferred the ITB mix more because of the artistic choices of the engineer.
Right, the one that sounds more artificial? Ok, you're not being very coherent.

I'll tell you what I believe it's happening. Recently there was an article posted at ProRec (I think it was Rip Rowan who wrote it, not sure, I'll correct this post later if I'm wrong), about the most common mistakes for young engineers nowadays (by young he means not very knowledgeable, either because of young age, little experience, or ignorance).

One of the top mistakes was one that I have debated with after meeting a lot of people in pro audio world, and it mirrored my thoughts exactly. It said something like this:
Mistake # x- believing old school mixing techniques are still the best.
A mixing engineer who didn't evolve with the times cannot be trusted by any serious musician/professional. These are the ones who couldn't cope with the changes in media format (MP3) and loudness wars in mastering, as well as the obvious dramatic changes in mixing (different panning, aggressive compression, effects), so they still complain about the stylistic changes in the last 20 years. Unless the artist wants a vintage 1960 style sound in their album, instead of being up to date with the latest tendencies in what sounds great, one should stay away from that type of engineer.

Simply put, this is why a relatively young rock engineer of today, like Ben Grosse, is a lot more trustworthy for up to date mixing advice than George Martin, who probably doesn't even know how to split an audio part in Pro Tools. Different times, different heroes.
Old 26th August 2007
  #116
Gear Addict
 

1 1/2 cents...

I bet if CLA mixed his song ITB and Serban mixed his song OTB that
most of our pick-results would be based on preference of producer.

When i hear the OTB mix, i tend to like that mix better as most of you voiced. But, i think if we were challenged to make the ITB song sound more like the OTB mix, it can be done.
Old 26th August 2007
  #117
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TheNoize's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gracejames View Post
1 1/2 cents...

I bet if CLA mixed his song ITB and Serban mixed his song OTB that
most of our pick-results would be based on preference of producer.

When i hear the OTB mix, i tend to like that mix better as most of you voiced. But, i think if we were challenged to make the ITB song sound more like the OTB mix, it can be done.
Yes. This is not a comparison at all. Doesn't make any sense to compare 2 different songs, 2 different engineers, and 2 different methods.
Old 26th August 2007
  #118
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skybluerental's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNoize View Post
A room? hm... Can you give us an example of a good mix where you hear things happening in a "room"?



Huh... for that you have live albums?



What? Chris Lord-Alge? By all means, yes, this is great mixing to me. Do you have better examples? Please share.



Yes I do think these mixes are great, by today's standards. I guess you prefer a 1970 Led Zeppelin mix?



The drums still sound like they are played, and that's the essential.



Right, the one that sounds more artificial? Ok, you're not being very coherent.

I'll tell you what I believe it's happening. Recently there was an article posted at ProRec (I think it was Rip Rowan who wrote it, not sure, I'll correct this post later if I'm wrong), about the most common mistakes for young engineers nowadays (by young he means not very knowledgeable, either because of young age, little experience, or ignorance).

One of the top mistakes was one that I have debated with after meeting a lot of people in pro audio world, and it mirrored my thoughts exactly. It said something like this:
Mistake # x- believing old school mixing techniques are still the best.
A mixing engineer who didn't evolve with the times cannot be trusted by any serious musician/professional. These are the ones who couldn't cope with the changes in media format (MP3) and loudness wars in mastering, as well as the obvious dramatic changes in mixing (different panning, aggressive compression, effects), so they still complain about the stylistic changes in the last 20 years. Unless the artist wants a vintage 1960 style sound in their album, instead of being up to date with the latest tendencies in what sounds great, one should stay away from that type of engineer.

Simply put, this is why a relatively young rock engineer of today, like Ben Grosse, is a lot more trustworthy for up to date mixing advice than George Martin, who probably doesn't even know how to split an audio part in Pro Tools. Different times, different heroes.
wow!
is this guy serious?
Old 26th August 2007
  #119
Gear Nut
 
Dyer Maker's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post

If it truly "sounds buzzy, flat, harsh and nasty", why would people keep going back to the same sonic well, if it sounds that bad?
By this logic, if Keanu Reeves was not a great actor, why would he keep getting acting jobs?

I am a fan of Serban, and I was very familiar with the whole album before RMC posted the tracks. I like a lot of the mix choices Serban makes about levels and FX, but I like records on multiple levels and I wish the stuff sounded great in addition to just being fun and edgy. Its like seeing a low budget movie shot on video. The acting, story and directing might be great but you still wish that it looked great as well, and that they had the budget to shoot on film.

What ever the reason, The CLA really does sound much better.
Old 26th August 2007
  #120
Gear Maniac
 
TheNoize's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
wow!
is this guy serious?
I guess sometimes it's difficult to realize on what side of the joke you are?

Nah you're right, sorry I was a little too harsh.

Show me what you mean with quality room sound mixes, maybe I'll learn something! cool. Talk to you later
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