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for the hybrid guys: general connection/sanity question Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 18th September 2011
  #1
for the hybrid guys: general connection/sanity question

hi guys,

it's crazy but I want go console again in 2011.. maybe.

my main issue is workflow (which I need to find out myself) and the other one is technical related.

I made the following pictures:




my main concern is monitoring and sending only the groups/perhaps single channels out to the console. I usually mix in the box these days with some hardware inserted (going out of the alphalink and back in). I have comps/eq and usually a limiter at the end of the group inserts (all digital with plugins). I want to send out the groups to the console and do some sort of summing/panning/eqing.

1. does someone do the same thing and feels like that's advantage? I had no luck with summing boxes so far.

2. I usually mix only analog (mostly with a DAW only as a tape replacement) with all analog hardware or digital/hybrid. so this pseudo-analog chain is something new for me. could someone check if I made some principal errors for the connection part of the story?


general feedback welcome.
Old 18th September 2011
  #2
teo
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Looks good too me, thats what I do.
The only issue might be the 16ch limit. I have 24 outs, and I kind of feel that's the bare minimum to mix hybrid, with 16 ch it would feel more like summing to me. What I mean is that with 24 ch i can spread out a lot of the tracks on the desk (I don't do 120 tk pop!), I usually have the drums, bass, guitars, main keys/synths and vocals spread out, and I use my last 2 ch to send out everything that doesn't fit (BG vocals, various sounds that play small parts in the arrangement, and generally anything that I feel does not need outboard/desk EQ treatment). I keep an Euphonic MC MIX on the desk to automate those tracks, actually to automate everything, since I still have to fix the VCAs on the desk
I monitor off the desk, before hitting the converters.

I would not feel confident mixing this way with 16 outs from tape.

That said, I feel I'm getting the best of both worlds this way. Of course I cannot afford a 96ch SSL!

Do you have total recall on the desk? I don't and it's a bitch!
Old 18th September 2011
  #3
No total recall. Most of my mixes take more then 24 channels, yet no more then 11 busses (where usually 3 to 5 of them are mono.).

I will look into the channel thing and recalculate.

So you dont feel like there is more of a loss then of a gain?


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Old 18th September 2011
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by teo View Post
Looks good too me, thats what I do.
The only issue might be the 16ch limit. I have 24 outs, and I kind of feel that's the bare minimum to mix hybrid, with 16 ch it would feel more like summing to me. What I mean is that with 24 ch i can spread out a lot of the tracks on the desk
George could always do a 8+ channel side car (maybe for drums or synths, etc), then 2 bus those out to the main 16 ch console.
Old 18th September 2011
  #5
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I'm in the same boat as you George. I'm designing a new studio around a Pro Tools HD Native system and I'm not a 100% convinced that summing alone will make a big difference, and I don't have the budget (or the real-estate) to fit a decent 48 channel mixing console.

Which console do you have in mind?
Old 19th September 2011
  #6
teo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
So you dont feel like there is more of a loss then of a gain?
Not at all...but I have to say that when I tried mixing ITB I always ended up swearing at the screen and hitting it with the mouse, while other people get great results.

Recalls...oh boy...
Old 19th September 2011
  #7
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just some general feedback/thoughts

To do proper hybrid setup, you need 2 mixers (at least in my setup), but I've never had the tapereturn in any mixer I've used. Therefore, I developed a setup of direct into DAW at earliest point, and avoid external sub-mixing except only were very very necessary... maybe during breakdown sections with some live splicing...

next I would probably do basically something like what you are showing in your diagrams.
Old 19th September 2011
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by the.sarj View Post
I'm in the same boat as you George. I'm designing a new studio around a Pro Tools HD Native system and I'm not a 100% convinced that summing alone will make a big difference, and I don't have the budget (or the real-estate) to fit a decent 48 channel mixing console.

Which console do you have in mind?
Studer 903.

the funny part is, that I am able to repair most of the console myself including recapping. I can buy for as cheap as a new summingbox. 16 mono inputs, 2 stereo.. so there is maybe 20channels on the input. need to check again.

2 concerns:
if I go out of my cubase/samplitude with channels and groups (don't know if that is possible within those DAWs) I have a alignement problem because of different delays (I use channel insert plugins and group insert plugins). right?

the other one is, if my workflow suffers too much if I use the console EQs/faders and work at the same time with plugins and the DAW-faders in my cubase/Samplitude..

I guess for the second question, that's up to me, and I need to find out.

last question:
does someone see a general routing error in my drawing? I think the monitoring path work, the DAW to mixer path work as well.. not sure about the return path.
Old 19th September 2011
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
if I go out of my cubase/samplitude with channels and groups (don't know if that is possible within those DAWs) I have a alignement problem because of different delays (I use channel insert plugins and group insert plugins). right?
Yes, in Cubase it´s possible - see my answer below. As far as plugin delay you will have to do some tests before you actually start working. Create a test project in the DAW of your choice and fire up some test tone generators (or just play back some noise or sine waves) and then play around with your routing options. Just duplicate an audio track and send these identical signals to your board. Then insert a plugin on one of your channels and see if you can still make them null on your analog console.
Testing it for yourself before you start working is mandatory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
the other one is, if my workflow suffers too much if I use the console EQs/faders and work at the same time with plugins and the DAW-faders in my cubase/Samplitude..
You´ll need to prepare your first session carefully. Don´t know about Samplitude, but in Cubase your audio might run through three channels (the actual audio channel, the sub group, the output channel). All of them will provide a fader, an EQ and insert slots. So that gives you lots of flexibility which can be irritating on your first session.
But i assume you will make good use of these options soon. You might want to use three dedicated Cubase mixers (or mixer views) for your project. The channel mixer, the sub group mixer and finally an output mixer. That way you can keep your session orderly.
Old 19th September 2011
  #10
Thank you.

Is there a principal routing error in my diagrams?

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Old 19th September 2011
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
Is there a principal routing error in my diagrams?
I haven´t seen any. Looks good to me so far.

I don´t know anything about the console you are going to use, but i´ve been working on similar set-ups with various FOH consoles and it worked out quite well. Had a positive influence on my workflow and mixing approach.

Keep one thing in mind: Going out of the box is dangerous. You will feel the need to add hardware fx and dynamics to your rig sooner or later.

heh
Old 19th September 2011
  #12
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It looks awkward to me when you want to monitor the finalizing plugs. You go out to the console, come back through the finalizing plugs to a track(s) in the DAW. That input track is about one audio buffer behind the sends at that point. To monitor the finalizing plugs, you have to send back out to the console since that's where your monitors are connected. Or maybe I'm confused. I guess I'm saying that your setup is built to monitor the console mix and not the finalizer outputs, but then it's not clear how you'll work with the finalizer plugs in your DAW picture.

Or maybe I'm just baffled. In which case ignore this comment.

-synthoid
Old 19th September 2011
  #13
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I work this way too. You monitor the desk mix, and are just using the rerecord return to cubase/samplitude so record what you are hearing. The only difference between this and having a dedicated 2 track is you cant monitor the "record head" of your mixdown. No biggie these days as high end converters are pretty transparent ie you will record what you hear.
Old 19th September 2011
  #14
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Yep, that's what I do as well, except I monitor from the DAW, not the mixer.

I use an SW1280b which we've modded to accept an extra 12 inputs direct onto the mix buss, giving me 24 inputs to the 1280 - 12 through the channel DI's and 12 onto the mix buss. OK, for the extras it's simply summing, but for BV's and other similar tracks it works fine.

MAYBE it's possible you can mod your Studer to do that?

Good luck. Mike
Old 19th September 2011
  #15
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I usually go into the daw once , mix in there . I don't go back out as you loose recall and unless you have some very special hardware I don't think it makes a heap of difference to the sound . All the external hardware is recorded into the DAW from the console via the groups , processed externally as required.
Old 19th September 2011
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis Bernstone View Post
The only difference between this and having a dedicated 2 track is you cant monitor the "record head" of your mixdown. No biggie these days as high end converters are pretty transparent ie you will record what you hear.
The interesting thing about George's diagram though is that he has plug-ins (limiter etc.) inserted between the input to the tape deck and the record head, to follow your analogy. It's monitoring those plugs that seems trick to me. Putting them on after you've printed, no problem, but in that case they belong somewhere else in the diagram, on the track outs for example.

-synthoid
Old 19th September 2011
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid View Post
The interesting thing about George's diagram though is that he has plug-ins (limiter etc.) inserted between the input to the tape deck and the record head, to follow your analogy. It's monitoring those plugs that seems trick to me.
I used an older PC (sometimes a laptop) with a cheap soundcard as a "master insert" on the analog console. Whenever i wanted to hear what heavy limiting would do to my mix, i just inserted it in the master bus.
Don´t know if that is a good permanent solution, though.
Old 19th September 2011
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid View Post
It looks awkward to me when you want to monitor the finalizing plugs. You go out to the console, come back through the finalizing plugs to a track(s) in the DAW. That input track is about one audio buffer behind the sends at that point. To monitor the finalizing plugs, you have to send back out to the console since that's where your monitors are connected. Or maybe I'm confused. I guess I'm saying that your setup is built to monitor the console mix and not the finalizer outputs, but then it's not clear how you'll work with the finalizer plugs in your DAW picture.

Or maybe I'm just baffled. In which case ignore this comment.

-synthoid
ok.. so if I want to hear my mix with the final limiting plugins, what is your solution? sorry.. It seems I don't get my head around it.
Old 19th September 2011
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
Studer 903.

the funny part is, that I am able to repair most of the console myself including recapping. I can buy for as cheap as a new summingbox. 16 mono inputs, 2 stereo.. so there is maybe 20channels on the input. need to check again.

2 concerns:
if I go out of my cubase/samplitude with channels and groups (don't know if that is possible within those DAWs) I have a alignement problem because of different delays (I use channel insert plugins and group insert plugins). right?

the other one is, if my workflow suffers too much if I use the console EQs/faders and work at the same time with plugins and the DAW-faders in my cubase/Samplitude..

I guess for the second question, that's up to me, and I need to find out.

last question:
does someone see a general routing error in my drawing? I think the monitoring path work, the DAW to mixer path work as well.. not sure about the return path.
I'm sure those DAWs have delay compensation, so I don't think you'd run into any alignment issues.

As far as workflow goes, the way I worked it out for myself is to keep the console faders at unity gain and keep all fader position/automation within the DAW. About the console EQ, I would use them for quick adjustments "if needed" during mixdown.

Your connection diagrams are fine

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
ok.. so if I want to hear my mix with the final limiting plugins, what is your solution? sorry.. It seems I don't get my head around it.
You need a mixer/monitor switcher that lets you switch between multiple sources e.g. console mix, DAW return etc. Something like the SPL 2Control.
Old 19th September 2011
  #20
got a coleman mp3ph



so I could connect all the outs from the console and the DAW to the coleman and use it as master monitor switch.. interesting idea.. and obvious.. thank you.

I would run a separate master for the re-recorded tracks (from the console ==> final limiting plugins) to one input of the coleman, another one from the DAW and a third one from the studer to monitor the output without the final plugins...

correct me if I am wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the.sarj View Post
I'm sure those DAWs have delay compensation, so I don't think you'd run into any alignment issues.

As far as workflow goes, the way I worked it out for myself is to keep the console faders at unity gain and keep all fader position/automation within the DAW. About the console EQ, I would use them for quick adjustments "if needed" during mixdown.

Your connection diagrams are fine


You need a mixer/monitor switcher that lets you switch between multiple sources e.g. console mix, DAW return etc. Something like the SPL 2Control.
Old 19th September 2011
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by the.sarj View Post
I'm sure those DAWs have delay compensation, so I don't think you'd run into any alignment issues.

As far as workflow goes, the way I worked it out for myself is to keep the console faders at unity gain and keep all fader position/automation within the DAW. About the console EQ, I would use them for quick adjustments "if needed" during mixdown.
hm...

concerning the unity gain thing: I am fed up mixing with a mouse.. my main advantage is to use faders to controll volumes against each other.. yes.. no total recall anymore.. but you know what I mean? with a mouse I am usually stuck. also I want to "overdrive" individual channels to give them more saturation.

alignment: yes, but the busouts have different delays then the channel outs.. channel outs are routed to the groups/busses..

need to test this.
Old 19th September 2011
  #22
How about this potential issue..

If monitoring mix out - perhaps post some quasi mastering mix bus plug ins - (look ahead delay anyone..?)

You might suffer a latency between fader movement and what you hear..

...So you could end up with a situation where you won't hear your fast vocal ride movement until AFTER the the event you were trying to push up takes place - so the mix rides could get applied LATE.

OK -

What about an SSL Matrix?



Hybrid latency maths and work arounds =

Isn't a PT HD rig with hardware inserts looking good now?

Old 19th September 2011
  #23
Old 19th September 2011
  #24
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George, I thought the SSL Alphalinks were 24 channels units and please describe your mixer better, how many inputs strips? Inline? Busses? Other 2 buss inputs? Inserts, how many, pre, post, or both? auxes? Know the routing options is half the battle plus there are many ways to get more signals into small boards. Instead of putting everything to groups in the DAW why not just group the obvious stuff in the DAW like a stereo drum group to save input channels on your board (that would still allow you to put plugs on a drum group)? Once you explain what you have for a board and your reasons for grouping everything in the DAW first then we can make more intelligent suggestions. Did you ever settle on a new set of moniters?
Old 19th September 2011
  #25
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I'm in the same boat: 16 channels to spread on the console, I mostly use subgroups, in which kick drum, snare drum and bass always get their own dedicated mono channels. Much better sound!

Since I use Reaper, it's easy to visually and physically lay out the tracks to their corresponding console inputs. In my default project, I have a "folder track" for each stereo (or mono) channel – all I need to do is to drag the track onto that folder, and the output is routed. I don't know if a similar approach is possible in SAM or Cubase?

I use my outboard mostly pre-console-channel, e.g. DA > compressor > console. If I feel the need to print it, I simply use the compressor output and patch it to the AD. That way I can still decide if I want to use the insert plugin and bounce the effect – which sometimes indeed means to align the recorded track manually (but this doesn't take more than 1 minute usually...). The original track will be muted (and maybe hidden) in the DAW.

For the dubby stuff, I'll use the console's Aux sends, and monitor the reverb/delay in realtime through the AD. That way I can instantly record all those tweaks and don't have to plug cables around....

In order to check the 2-buss I would as well use the realtime monitoring in the interface control panel. Of course for the price of 2 output channels :( I mean there's often a subgroup with some bling-bling sounds that won't have any effect on the dynamic treatment of a limiter (that'd be channels 15/16 most likely ). But honestly: a good mix is a good mix, I have decided not to craze about limiters and all the contingencies that might happen during mastering. It will sound different anyway, so who cares ?

Generally, some real huge advantages of the hybrid approach with a console:
- headroom: just keep the DAW levels conservatively low and move the faders on the console. It's much faster (for me at least) to get a well levelled mix, especially with transient-rich drum signals
- saturation: it's perfect to not only "level" a signal, but also to mildly clip it, if you have a nice sounding console. The gain pot is your friend

Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid View Post
The interesting thing about George's diagram though is that he has plug-ins (limiter etc.) inserted between the input to the tape deck and the record head, to follow your analogy. It's monitoring those plugs that seems trick to me. Putting them on after you've printed, no problem, but in that case they belong somewhere else in the diagram, on the track outs for example.
It depends how you want to drive the tape... That's another real advantage of the hybrid approach I would say.
Old 19th September 2011
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules View Post
How about this potential issue..

If monitoring mix out - perhaps post some quasi mastering mix bus plug ins - (look ahead delay anyone..?)

You might suffer a latency between fader movement and what you hear..

...So you could end up with a situation where you won't hear your fast vocal ride movement until AFTER the the event you were trying to push up takes place - so the mix rides could get applied LATE.
At first I was chuckling at the idea of moving the faders so fast that a few ms of latency made a difference. Then I remembered that some finalizer limiters and eqs have a pretty whopping big latency, i.e., thousands of samples, for a linear eq for example. So that really could be an issue.

So, if you can put a negative delay on the console sends that's equal to the lookahead delay, then you're golden. Well, or frustrated with having to goof around so much with delays, depending on your temperament.

-synthoid
Old 19th September 2011
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid View Post
At first I was chuckling at the idea of moving the faders so fast that a few ms of latency made a difference. Then I remembered that some finalizer limiters and eqs have a pretty whopping big latency, i.e., thousands of samples, for a linear eq for example. So that really could be an issue.
It´s an issue, no doubt. That´s why i used a second computer as an insert which i plugged in occasionally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid View Post
So, if you can put a negative delay on the console sends that's equal to the lookahead delay, then you're golden. Well, or frustrated with having to goof around so much with delays, depending on your temperament.
That would be a time machine then.

Music production studio & time travel agency = growing business.
Old 19th September 2011
  #28
Thanks Jules and gang.

That's an argument with the delay...

Let me think.about it..

I will write down the technical details asap.

No protools is not an option.

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Old 19th September 2011
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opentune View Post
That would be a time machine then.
haha, no, it's possible in most DAWs to set negative as well as positive delays on playback tracks. A negative delay just means that the audio is ahead wrt to the other tracks rather than behind.

-synthoid
Old 20th September 2011
  #30
Jules: matrix has no sound and the price stability is not good. used matrixes go for as 11000 euros.

Monitors: Focal is coming to town nov22. I am trying hard to grt a pair of atc 25 at the same time (no luvk so far) and adam s4hx are in the studio already installed. except the quested I will decide afterwards.
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