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Avril: ITB vs OTB DAW Software
Old 24th August 2007
  #1
Avril: ITB vs OTB

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 Tom 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
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Last edited by RCM - Ronan; 27th August 2007 at 06:16 AM.. Reason: I got the wrong brother
Old 24th August 2007
  #2
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gainreduction's Avatar
 

What strikes me more than the subtle sonic differences of ITB vs OTB is that the difference between the engineers' approaches is not bigger.

The biggest difference to me is in the low end (Serban's mix has more/deeper low end) and that CLA's mix is a little more "together" while Serban's is a little more "separated".

OTOH hand I can imagine who ever would mix Avril that you've heard her stuff before and whether you want it or not have a picture of what it should sound like.

ITB or OTB, whatever. It's the engineer.
Old 24th August 2007
  #3
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cool comparison, thanks rcm. imo the 1st mix had a little more transient info than the second, both obviously very good. but why would they release the same song, mixed by 2 different people on the same record? is avril wondering whether to get an Icon or an SSL?
Old 24th August 2007
  #4
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blaugruen7's Avatar
the album is called
"The Shootout"


just kidding.
its called "Its The Gear what matters"
sorry!
Old 24th August 2007
  #5
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Empire Prod's Avatar
 

I prefer the ITB clip......Excuse me while I jump off a bridge.
Old 24th August 2007
  #6
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Windshore's Avatar
 

Most notable difference to my ears is how much more present the OH's and H.H are on one verses the other. Interesting comparison as I end up having a similar situation with my engineer.... he likes OH's to be VERY present, I tend to like them tucked into the whole more.....

thanks for posting!
Old 24th August 2007
  #7
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skybluerental's Avatar
 

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.

console or no console it sounds like music that was pasted together very meticulously in a lab instead of performed by real people.

is this what people think is "great" mixing these days?

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.

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.

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.
Old 24th August 2007
  #8
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smoore98's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrox247 View Post
I prefer the ITB clip......Excuse me while I jump off a bridge.
Best quote ever from a gearslut. I almost fell on the floor laughing.....

heh
Old 24th August 2007
  #9
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van Overhalen's Avatar
 

Thanx for the clip.

Anyone knows where I can buy a CLA in germany? ?
Old 24th August 2007
  #10
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WATYF's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
im not trying to be rude or uppety at all
riiiiiiiiight....

since when has pop music sounded "open" and "like a band playing in a room"? That's like complaining that rap music doesn't have enough melody. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of Avril, but I don't expect pop music to sound like a rock band playing in a room, because it's not rock.... it's pop. Two different animals with different kinds of stripes.

That said, the first mix did indeed sound very "sterile". Not in the sense that it didn't sound "real", but in the sense that there were very few mix elements, and all of them were very "thin". The second one was a lot warmer, although, still sparse in the arrangement.

WATYF
Old 24th August 2007
  #11
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noiseflaw's Avatar
 

Heard 'em both...

Mix 'A' not as bright as mix 'B'

Mix A is more Rock 'n' Roll

Mix B is more Pop

To me anyways.

They are both as clinically 'processed' and as 'indifferent' as the majority of unimaginative radio friendly product these days.

Thank god I'm not a mixer, especially having to do that kind of stuff day in day out - Then I would throw myself of a bridge.
Old 24th August 2007
  #12
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gainreduction's Avatar
 

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..
I think it's first played by real people THEN pasted together very methiculously in a lab.

Old 24th August 2007
  #13
That's an excelent idea RCM!
Thanks!
Both are great mixes and pretty much ends the endeless debate about ITB vs. OTB to me.
To those complaining about the lack of life, etc, etc... if you don't like the style just don't listen to it, but since a while ago, most of the comercial mixes are like this.
I like good mixes, it just depends on the style of the music...
Old 24th August 2007
  #14
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mixerguy's Avatar
2D vs 3D !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

to me - the ITB mix is flat and 2D, and the console mix has more depth, and sounds more 3D heh

I’m surprised no one else has commented on this.

Listen to the space behind the vocal, the drums, etc (or the lack thereof)

To people who say “once you convert the clip to MP3 then no-one can hear the difference, so it doesn’t matter” - I disagree. I took the RCM edited clip, converted it to 128k MP3, and listened on my worst set of speakers - my crappy tiny little speakers - and I could still clearly hear the lack of depth in the ITB mix!



Old 24th August 2007
  #15
well, I have to confess:
when I listened to it on my studio monitors (B Truths), and on my crappy stereo speakers, I didn't noticed that much difference.
but then I listened to it on my old Sony headphones and I was impressed by how upfron t the guitars sounded without clouding the rest of the mix, yes, there was more depth/dimension.
I don't know what to say.
Old 24th August 2007
  #16
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indie's Avatar
 

This is a great example...thanks RCM.

Here's my take, I prefer the way the drums are mixed in A...more upfront. BUTTTT...
I MUCH prefer the sonics of B...it's wider and not brittle. This is what I've personally found with my attempts at ITB....center is fine with bass and snr, but it never gets as wide and deep as OTB.
A is also louder...and brighter. If B had the drums mixed more in your face, and louder, I think a lot of people would choose B.
My 2 cents...
Old 24th August 2007
  #17
I think both mixes sound good....and the differences are so tiny....so I think a bigger difference could happen because of the engineer, the style of music. arrangeament/production and the performance...than the actual OTB/ITB differences.

Also is important to note that the most musical , elaborate, natural , "serious" o ig projects are being mixed on a SSL o any other great consoles ...and beside basicly this type of Pop/Pop Rock and many R&B music , most producers did not give the chance to the ITB mixing to see how this big Records can sound ITB ...this is why many believe that mixing OTB is better.... ITB mixing have basicly very few examples of these Big type of Records!

alos the last Pink album is a good example of what Ronan tried to show here here!
Thanks Ronan!thumbsup
Old 24th August 2007
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indie View Post
Here's my take, I prefer the way the drums are mixed in A...more upfront. BUTTTT... I MUCH prefer the sonics of B...it's wider and not brittle.
he said sonics... huh...huh huh huh.
Old 24th August 2007
  #19
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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

I’m surprised no one else has commented on this.
i preferred # 1 but i'm sure neither SG or CLA are loosing too much sleep over this thread. i'll be happy when i'm as good as either one, in or OTB.
Old 24th August 2007
  #20
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ok..just to be clear....in the WAV file the first mix you hear is the ITB and the second is the console?

anyway.....

i prefer the second quite a bit....there is something going on in the high end of mix 1 that is really annoying (listen to the "t" at the end of "feel alright"...then the delays...sounds almost like a digital high hat). it sounds like a sample even tho it is a singer. maybe that's desirable...i find it ugly.

the second mix has a darker sound with more body (to me). also the singing is less annoying...so that makes for some bias. the drums sound a bit more natural as well.

listened back to on dyn bm6 p and lavry D/A.

either way.....not crazy about either.
Old 24th August 2007
  #21
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Audio Hombre's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post


To people who say “once you convert the clip to MP3 then no-one can hear the difference, so it doesn’t matter” - I disagree. I took the RCM edited clip, converted it to 128k MP3, and listened on my worst set of speakers - my crappy tiny little speakers - and I could still clearly hear the lack of depth in the ITB mix!
on phones the 2nd clip sounded fuller and deeper imho and the bass sound was superior. i didn't read that the part deux of the clip was otb until after listening as i didn't read the post just followed the link so i wouldn't form premature opinions.both mixes sounded fine though and like the "current" style of mixing. i think i'd be more impressed that cla probably mixed this in 1/2hr than the fact that he was otb
Old 24th August 2007
  #22
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrox247 View Post
I prefer the ITB clip......Excuse me while I jump off a bridge.

LOL!!!!!!!!!!
Old 24th August 2007
  #23
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This proves once and for all that ITB and OTB both sound like complete ****.
Old 24th August 2007
  #24
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

G.S. B.S.

I can't help but wonder if many of these comments would be different if people didn't know which was which!

I sense G.S. B.S.

Wider, deeper, fuller... and how do you not know you're not responding to the fact that one has the guitar mixed up the center and ther other doubled and mixed wide or simply just different taste of bass up or down? Or just taste in mix period?

Ehhh, don't know, I smell B.S.

I've been a hardcore G.S snob myself and I have to admit, my first reaction was the ITB was better... or the first mix was better.

-a
Old 24th August 2007
  #25
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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
Agree.

Although in a way, I think the console mix sounds dated.

And dated is worse even if it's better.

Of course, it's hard to make any conclusions at all since these are 2 different mixers, and even then...
Old 24th August 2007
  #26
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indie's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11 View Post
.....And dated is worse even if it's better....
wow...so true. that should be someone 's GS quote!
Old 24th August 2007
  #27
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audiomichael's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrox247 View Post
I prefer the ITB clip......Excuse me while I jump off a bridge.
LMAO!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeronimo View Post
when I listened to it on my studio monitors (B Truths), and on my crappy stereo speakers, I didn't noticed that much difference.
No offense, but it might be time to look into getting some new monitors

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
...i’m 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...
You're just noticing that now???
Old 24th August 2007
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
I can't help but wonder if many of these comments would be different if people didn't know which was which!
i actually didn't when i did a quick listen. laptop>amp>NS10s. though i leaned toward #1, the fact is several liked # 2. why am i not surprised? what i really wanna know is if avril bought an Icon or an SSL. that'll finally settle the argument and we can all get back to work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11 View Post
This proves once and for all that ITB and OTB both sound like complete ****.
lol. can i use that as my sig?
Old 24th August 2007
  #29
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mixerguy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
I can't help but wonder if many of these comments would be different if people didn't know which was which!

I sense G.S. B.S.

Wider, deeper, fuller... and how do you not know you're not responding to the fact that one has the guitar mixed up the center and ther other doubled and mixed wide or simply just different taste of bass up or down? Or just taste in mix period?

Ehhh, don't know, I smell B.S.

I've been a hardcore G.S snob myself and I have to admit, my first reaction was the ITB was better... or the first mix was better.

-a

Well... the first time I heard the Avril CD I heard the differences in the ITB mixes vs the console mixes clear as night and day... and I didn't know which was ITB vs OTB before I made my assessments.

The ITB mixes sounded flat and 2D to me, and the console mixes sound deeper.

So how is that BS? my ears told me the differences.
Old 24th August 2007
  #30
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well even if i DID know which was which....you have to admit they sound different. the ITB just had much more prominent high end....that's just objective.
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