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Avril: ITB vs OTB DAW Software
Old 26th August 2007
  #151
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mixerguy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
No, it isn't! The 'style' of the music is pretty consistent but the sonic differences are huge. It bugs me that anytime somebody posts a comparison for educational purposes he will get the 'it's not equal' treatment. It's nothing more than an interesting way to look at certain differences with audio production. Nobody will be harmed and everybody can make their own conclusions.

Nothing is equal and you always need to take certain variables into account......
good post.

my other thought is..... does anyone think that SG (the mixer of the ITB clip here) is saying to himself.... hmmmmm what do i do to my mix to have it sound kinda flat and harsh?

Old 26th August 2007
  #152
Quote:
Originally Posted by colinmiller View Post
To me the reason all these modern rock songs sound the same isn't because of the mixes, but because of the songs. As someone said, everything is a wall of guitars with no dynamics or anything.

What happened to the guitar hero gun slinger who actually played riffs and pretty much dueted (made up word?) with the lead vocal? Now i9t's just a contest to see who can layer the most guitar chords on top of each other. 20 guitar tracks all playing the same rhythm. How about just one guitar track being original? Whatever happened to riffs? Or how about *gasp* a solo.

maybe a bit out of Topic...but actually was so interesting to hear guitar player Vitto Bratta from the band White Lion(actually I do not like White Lion...hate their songs but Vitto plays great and many people love his playing)..

Well he said that he had a new band and was influenced a lot by kurt Cobain in certain ways.... he believes KC was a great guitar player in his own way...anyway after 80's Hard rock was dying he went to talk to a big Record label executive to show the material ....Vitto said that the guy loved the band and music and was ready to sign the band...but when he knew that he was at the band he said: man this sounds too good...you should try to play like you are just starting to learn how to play guitar...and anyway a guy like you could not be good now!!!!
Really crazy uhh?
Old 26th August 2007
  #153
.

it's 2007

we have binary dynamics

.
Old 26th August 2007
  #154
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I just played the tracks for my girlfriend (who knows nothing about sound) on laptop speakers.. She chose the ITB mix.

For her it sounded clearer and the drums were 'louder'.

Its like fine french chefs arguing over fast food resteraunts. It doesnt matter what they think, even though they have tons of culinary expertise. The only thing that matters is that the taste appeals to the common person. A good chef wont understand.. bad frozen ingredients, cooked by people that have no clue, served in a cardboard carton or paper wrapper?

I remember my grandparents refusing to eat fast food when I was a kid.. I HATED getting dragged to some fancy resteraunt. I wanted a cheeseburger and fries. I didnt appreciate the fine food. They could argue til they were blue in the face about how McDonalds was crap, but I loved it. Regardless of quality, theres something in cheap terrible fast food that appeals to a wide range of people.

Thats why the big name mixers get so much work. They have a good grasp on what will sell to the market they're going for. Its all about how its going to sound in every environment, which generally comprimises how it sounds on a hifi system.

Does anyone think an Avril record that sounded like Led Zepellin would sell to kids?
Old 26th August 2007
  #155
Quote:
Originally Posted by planet red View Post

Thats why the big name mixers get so much work. They have a good grasp on what will sell to the market they're going for. Its all about how its going to sound in every environment, which generally comprimises how it sounds on a hifi system.

Does anyone think an Avril record that sounded like Led Zepellin would sell to kids?
I get your point...but that is the producers job and responsability...of course with the artist style and input.....but anyway how can you make sound Avril Lavigne like led Zep with those songs, sound, voice , production only mixing????

If Avril would sound like Zep will be a different artist and if an engineer can make sound Avril like Led Zep just mixing...well would be a Magician ...not a mixer!!heh
Old 26th August 2007
  #156
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
I'll take old Zep mixes over this trendy sounding garbage any day of the week.
the old stuff isn't old,its timeless and still sounds better than the majority of the overcompressed/autotuned/beat detective'd to death/Sample replaced SHEEIIT on the radio today.
I agree.

Both of the mixes posted on this thread are an 'assault' on the ears.

I am not dissing CLA but a while ago when I was becoming familiar with modern pop mixes (I come from a jazz / classical school of audio appreciation) I was told of the greatness of his mixes.......I listened to a few and thought wtf! - they are supposed to be great modern mixes?

OK I thought - I need to re-educate my ears to accomadate this dreadful new modern stuff.

Of course I understand and recognise the 'perspective' of this music now and how it fits into the ultra loud compressed competetive world of today's charts. It still sucks.

Every once in a while I hear an awesome pop /rock mix that truly 'breathes' and has 'dynamics' and 'space' and 'place', needless to say it hasn't been one by CLA, why? - because that is not what he does (does not mean to say he cannot).

Most Modern mixers are like Plastic Surgeons of audio, the fashionable ones are expensive and charge high fees for making a song glossy and attractive....But once you peel beneath the veeneer of 2 minutes listening if you can endure that long!

Space, warmth, depth - are you kidding me. All that money, all that fancy outboard and plugins - End results are a joke, to my ears. That mixers actually 'strive' to sound like CLA that is a bigger joke. - stone the unbeliever.

Remember that these two songs are aimed at 12-14 year old girls! and grown men on this thread seem ready to go to war over the sonic differences - getting angry, defensive, intransigent...

These routine bun-fights over 3 minute disposable fluff are entertaining though, spacious, flat, bright, warm, relief.

Let the bun-fight continue.
Old 26th August 2007
  #157
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mtstudios@charter's Avatar
 

If you mixed "Nevermind" Nirvana (AW),"American Idiot" Green Day (CLA), "Crash" Dave Matthews (TLA). You are gonna get work after doing records like these. To get that work, you have to be good to begin with.

www.bluethumbproductions.com
Old 26th August 2007
  #158
Deleted bd1be4f
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
good post.

my other thought is..... does anyone think that SG (the mixer of the ITB clip here) is saying to himself.... hmmmmm what do i do to my mix to have it sound kinda flat and harsh?

Yes, I'm sure that's exactly what he's thinking .

He's probably just thinking...hmmm, what do I do to make the mix sound right to ME? The fact that YOU think it sounds flat and harsh is your subjective assessment, which of course you're entitled to. Then again, there are folks here who think both mixes sound like crap, and maybe that's more in the mastering than the mixing.

I've certainly had mixes I've done come back from mastering sounding in a way that I would describe as flat and harsh, which didn't sound that way at all when it left my studio.

In the end, there are still so many variables in this particular comparison that any conclusions drawn here could be attributed to any one of them, ITB vs. OTB being just one.
Old 26th August 2007
  #159
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mixerguy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zboy2854 View Post
Yes, I'm sure that's exactly what he's thinking .

He's probably just thinking...hmmm, what do I do to make the mix sound right to ME? The fact that YOU think it sounds flat and harsh is your subjective assessment, which of course you're entitled to. Then again, there are folks here who think both mixes sound like crap, and maybe that's more in the mastering than the mixing.

I've certainly had mixes I've done come back from mastering sounding in a way that I would describe as flat and harsh, which didn't sound that way at all when it left my studio.

In the end, there are still so many variables in this particular comparison that any conclusions drawn here could be attributed to any one of them, ITB vs. OTB being just one.
I see your points, and agree with a lot of what you are saying...

but.... the clips that RCM posted were mastered by the same person .......and.... the ITB one sounds ( to me) as if it has less depth than the console mix, and sonically flatter (more 2D) is what I generally associate with mixing ITB....

That is where I am coming from. Some people here agree with me, some really dont. That is cool.....

I will add .....it took me a LONG time to learn how to discern "depth" in a mix..... I point out the whole 2D vs 3D issue so perhaps some more inexperienced people here can start to listen to that aspect of mixing and production..... it isn’t easy to listen behind the front of the mix.

And I want to stress - I listened to the Avril CD before I looked at the credits.....knowing that some was ITB and some was OTB, and I was consistently able to guess which was which... does that mean anything? Perhaps not to most people, but it means something to me. I am always curious about the gear and techniques.
Old 26th August 2007
  #160
I am enjoying all the responses. In regards to the complaints that this is not a valid comparison between ITB & OTB, I agree, except for the fact that I personally found each of the mixes to exhibit many of the characteristics I often associate with each of the mixing mediums. My original tests were comparing example A with recent albums by Tool and Avril's first album (TLA mixes). I would encourage anyone to do the same if they have a few minutes.

The real motivation for this comparison was that based on another GS thread, I asked people for recommendations of "jaw dropping" rock/pop ITB mixes that were equal or better than the best of analog mixes (the last few Tool Records and Beck's Sea Change were examples I gave of things I considered great recent analog mixes). The overwhelming recommendation was the Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson mixes done by Serban Ghanea (example A in the comparison)

So regardless of your opinions about each, according my rather unscientific polling of the gearslutz community, mix A in the comparison is the best example of rock/pop ITB mixing on par with the best analog mixes of all time.
Old 26th August 2007
  #161
thanx Ronan! I can hear the rockets coming from both sides !!!heh
Old 26th August 2007
  #162
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bcgood's Avatar
 

I listened to both clips the other day and I'll say this. I understand why someone with no audio experience would pick the first ITB mix. It has more punch and sounds brighter. Usually most average people think that equates to better. I can also hear the more mellow highs and depth in the SSL mix which is why I can understand that a lot of engineers like that one.

I agree with the sentiments Raal was conveying that it really doesn't prove anything either way. My favorite ITB mix is Sufjan Stevens - "Come On Feel The Illinoise!" I think that album sounds just as good as any OTB mix I've heard even though most of my favorite sounding albums where tracked to tape and mixed OTB.
Old 26th August 2007
  #163
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Quote:
I agree with the sentiments Raal was conveying that it really doesn't prove anything either way
I think it proves something very significant.

And that is, mind numbing arrangements with no acoustic space give ITB and OTB a bad rap.
Old 26th August 2007
  #164
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Big does not always equal cool. I think the mixers we are speaking here of try to make what might sound lifeless or bland, cool and exciting.

Recorded well or not, I like when the mixer gives puts attitude into a rock song. Puts mood into a slow song. If this is done with EQ or compression, I don't care as long as it does not distract me from the song. Big only matters to me if what come before it is supposed to be small.

Some of the critics and statements here are HARSH. These mixers don't put there name on terrible sounding records IMO.

Not to give anybody excuses, but If you have been mixing since the early 90's (Since the birth of ADAT), you know that SOMETIMES you are not always given the best. To give this excitement you might use distortion, extreme compression or whatever it takes to give it excitement.

If you are looking for pristine, orchestral and classical might be a better stage.

Blue Thumb Productions-Audio Production Facilities
Old 26th August 2007
  #165
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post

I will add .....it took me a LONG time to learn how to discern "depth" in a mix..... I point out the whole 2D vs 3D issue so perhaps some more inexperienced people here can start to listen to that aspect of mixing and production..... it isn’t easy to listen behind the front of the mix.

But this is a pop record meant for very inexperienced ears. I bet 90% of all sales are to people under the age of 25. Its like trying to sell a fine wine to someone trying to buy a wine cooler. The wine is better, but not for an inexpierenced drinker.

I dont think the lack of depth has anything to do with it being an ITB or OTB mix, its what the mixer wanted. A loud impressive mix thats has tons of punch.

So far the ITB mix has been Avrils biggest hit in years. It obviously worked perfectly for what they were going for.
Old 26th August 2007
  #166
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dokushoka's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Big does not always equal cool. I think the mixers we are speaking here of try to make what might sound lifeless or bland, cool and exciting.

Recorded well or not, I like when the mixer gives puts attitude into a rock song. Puts mood into a slow song. If this is done with EQ or compression, I don't care as long as it does not distract me from the song. Big only matters to me if what come before it is supposed to be small.

Some of the critics and statements here are HARSH. These mixers don't put there name on terrible sounding records IMO.

Not to give anybody excuses, but If you have been mixing since the early 90's (Since the birth of ADAT), you know that SOMETIMES you are not always given the best. To give this excitement you might use distortion, extreme compression or whatever it takes to give it excitement.

If you are looking for pristine, orchestral and classical might be a better stage.

Blue Thumb Productions-Audio Production Facilities
Great post.
Old 26th August 2007
  #167
Quote:
Originally Posted by planet red View Post
Regardless of quality, theres something in cheap terrible fast food that appeals to a wide range of people.
yeah, it's called massive amounts of sugar, calories, salt and fat...

not exactly a mystery.....

hummingbirds (with little or no nutritional education),

will drink sugar water all day long....

..
Old 26th August 2007
  #168
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lucey's Avatar
Many nice posts here, thanks Chris.

I dont understand why one has to be better than the other in this clip or in general? Factually speaking ITB and console mixing have some fairly consistent qualities. But I wouldn't want Bjork's 'Homogenic' to lose it's ITB qualities, nor would I want Lanois to have mixed Dylan and EmmyLou ITB. For music like this it's unimportant. Either works fine.

For any music, an integrity is the point isn't it? Where there is an integrity of process, for that music, it's going to be presented in it's full potential. Where that integrity is broken some potential is lost. Integrity + Variety in Balance is the formula that makes sense to me. So I prefer to look at that, on a per project basis.
Old 26th August 2007
  #169
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The genius of this thread was putting both "Avril" and "ITB/OTB" in the title.

Shall we take bets on how many pages?

2 more cents....doesn't make sense to me to second guess why these were mixed the way they were, or who they're marketed to or any of that. To me, it is what it is....

Aside from that, it seems that some are saying there are no discernible differences between ITB and OTB/old school methods. True? Or are there? Because if there aren't, that's sort of a miracle.

Rcm said something a few posts back about people going on (on these very boards all day every day) about the minute differences between other pieces of gear (the funniest is the differences between DAWs for god sakes), yet some seem to be uninterested or unexcepting of the differences with this. Why is that?

It's been said a thousand times, you can't draw any definitive conclusions, but is it really a coincidence that the ITB sounds the way it does and the OTB sounds the way it does?
Old 26th August 2007
  #170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post

I dont understand why one has to be better than the other in this clip or in general? ....Either works fine.
.
A bass guitar and a synth bass can both work, but I prefer the bass guitar. To me, that's the whole point.

We all get to chose what we think is better.
Old 26th August 2007
  #171
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mixerguy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11 View Post
The genius of this thread was putting both "Avril" and "ITB/OTB" in the title.

Shall we take bets on how many pages?

2 more cents....doesn't make sense to me to second guess why these were mixed the way they were, or who they're marketed to or any of that. To me, it is what it is....

Aside from that, it seems that some are saying there are no discernible differences between ITB and OTB/old school methods. True? Or are there? Because if there aren't, that's sort of a miracle.

Rcm said something a few posts back about people going on (on these very boards all day every day) about the minute differences between other pieces of gear (the funniest is the differences between DAWs for god sakes), yet some seem to be uninterested or unexcepting of the differences with this. Why is that?

It's been said a thousand times, you can't draw any definitive conclusions, but is it really a coincidence that the ITB sounds the way it does and the OTB sounds the way it does?
+1!!!!!



you hit the nail on the head

Old 26th August 2007
  #172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
yeah, it's called massive amounts of sugar, calories, salt and fat...

not exactly a mystery.....

hummingbirds (with little or no nutritional education),

will drink sugar water all day long....

..

I have some chefs in my family and I attended culinary school for a year and a half and one thing you ALWAYS hear is complaints that thats all it is.. fat and salt. You lose all the natural flavors of the ingredients (which are terrible to begin with). But in the end it tastes impressive.

Kind of equates to a pop mix... no real substance.. cheap and lifeless.. but just like in food, some fast food resteraunts do it better then others. Sometimes you cant deny that a big mac, fries and a coke kicks ass.. Of course my family members that are heavily involved in cooking are too involved to understand that. Listening to them talk is just like reading page after page of complaints with modern music. Most people dont have refined tastes.. Young kids dont think old records sound good.

Thats how these mixes are to me. For what it is I prefer the ITB mix. All in your face and no depth.. but it works and immediately sounds impressive.. I'm not going to listen to Avril in the studio, but I might enjoy the video on MTV (as long as she looks good).
Old 26th August 2007
  #173
.

yes, i agree - avril always tastes better with a few tablespoons of salt,

a dumpster full of corn oil, and a cuppla barrels of bleached sugar...


.
Old 26th August 2007
  #174
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
.

yes, i agree - avril always tastes better with a few tablespoons of salt,

a dumpster full of corn oil, and a cuppla barrels of bleached sugar...


.
or a steely dan
Old 27th August 2007
  #175
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matt82aust's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
I see your points, and agree with a lot of what you are saying...

but.... the clips that RCM posted were mastered by the same person .......and.... the ITB one sounds ( to me) as if it has less depth than the console mix, and sonically flatter (more 2D) is what I generally associate with mixing ITB....

That is where I am coming from. Some people here agree with me, some really dont. That is cool.....

I will add .....it took me a LONG time to learn how to discern "depth" in a mix..... I point out the whole 2D vs 3D issue so perhaps some more inexperienced people here can start to listen to that aspect of mixing and production..... it isn’t easy to listen behind the front of the mix.

And I want to stress - I listened to the Avril CD before I looked at the credits.....knowing that some was ITB and some was OTB, and I was consistently able to guess which was which... does that mean anything? Perhaps not to most people, but it means something to me. I am always curious about the gear and techniques.
Interesting views. Are you implying that it is impossible to get a "3D" mix from ITB?
Old 27th August 2007
  #176
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt82aust View Post
Interesting views. Are you implying that it is impossible to get a "3D" mix from ITB?
well.... i have yet to hear it!

but i have an open mind...
Old 27th August 2007
  #177
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picksail's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
well.... i have yet to hear it!

but i have an open mind...
Of course it's possible. Otherwise I would personally seek to discover another mix medium.

It's not as though I'm sitting there in the mix position everyday thinking, 'Wow!!! 2-D is great. I can't wait to print this!!!"

BTW, indiscreet brick-wall limiting will most definitely squash anything into a 2-dimensional mess.
So will improper gain structuring and not paying close attention to digital/analog reference levels.
This will yield the sound of "distorting the distortion" across the entire mix.
Old 27th August 2007
  #178
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
well.... i have yet to hear it!

but i have an open mind...
As you say your notions of depth and space etc, are peculiar to you.

You think that the CLA mix has depth and space, to me it absolutely does not.

It sounds artificial and in NO WAY 3D just like the SG mix is not 3D.

Your criteria for what contributes to a good in a mix are 'space' & 'depth' - even if it is a contrived artificial type like the one you percieve in the CLA.

Try listening to some classical and film music mixed ITB.

But somehow I percieve that you will never accept or acknowledge that an ITB can have depth or space.

I wonder if you greatly enjoy playing the role of the 'unconvinced' - I wonder if you feel elevated somehow in your position.

How did you score on the Digidesign test?

Let me guess 100% you identified the ITB mixes straight off the bat, Or are you suddenly going to say they all sounded flat....

Curiously I do not see any contribution from you on the Digidesign ITB test thread. For someone who has yet to be convinced about ITB I would have thought you would be very keen to try the test, check the results - and speak your thoughts...

A few of the big boys have contributed to that thread.

I wonder if you could be so self assured without knowing the results first.

I think you would report back that all the ITB mixes sounded worse.

I don't think you (and some others) want to be convinced or hear those qualities in an ITB mix - and maybe that is why you have not tried the test, it would mess up your world and corrupt your cosy paradigm - it's hard to change a fixed and comfortable postion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
but i have an open mind...
I wonder.



Old 27th August 2007
  #179
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To me, it's not really about better or worse, but about different...and whether I like that difference or not.

but again I'd like to ask, from the ITB is as "good" perspective (I think we all know the general OTB perspective), do you hear any difference at all, not in this example, but in a general overview of the whole ITB/OTB nightmare of a subject....what difference do you hear...any? None at all? If there is a difference, how would you describe it (comparative positives and/or negatives)?
Old 27th August 2007
  #180
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

THIS JUST IN... !

The "CLA mix" was NOT mixed by CLA, turns out it was mixed by his assistant. He was asked to mix the track but had a schedule conflict, they (A&R)/label)) settled for his assistant, who he said could still do a great job, who did it in the "B room"... what for it... ITB!!!

Now what?

-a
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