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mastering chain
Old 9th September 2002
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
Cape's Avatar
 

mastering chain

I'm about to commit myself to the purchase of a Cranesong192 HEDD and either a Manley Vari-mu or Pendulum ES-8 and an Alesis Masterlink.

Before taking the plunge, I thought I better just test the water to see if anyone has any opinion either way.

The reason for this is natural upgrade and to rid my mixes of digititus.

The route the stereo mix would take is out of my Digi 192 analogue, into the vari-mu and then into the A/D of the HEDD and then digital out into the Masterlink all at 96khz.

It's been mostly other gearslutz who have encouraged my upgrade from Waves plugs to this. One thing still gets me is which Vari-mu to go for.
Alot of people rate the Manley and some don't, some recommed the Pendulum, but users seem far and wide in comparison, also it's cheaper.

The masterlink looks good for it's price aslong as you don't use it's convertors or onboard effects. I much prefer external units that you can focus on just one job in hand.

The 192 HEDD better deliver, and I'm confident it will.

Be good to hear your views.
Old 9th September 2002
  #2
I think that sounds very cool. I will be back with some ideas for routing soon!
Old 9th September 2002
  #3
Lives for gear
 

The guy I normally like to master with uses the pendulum and he says its the best compressor he's used. I've also seen fletcher recommending it over a vari mu for mastering work.

I'd like to get a small mastering setup in the next couple years for when people cant afford to take it to a real place. So I'm thinking I'll get a HEDD with the pendulum and the waves mastering package.

Before that I'm definetly going to have to upgrade monitors and mics though. Why is outboard gear so much more fun?
Old 9th September 2002
  #4
96k 24 bit AES - out of PTHD
- 96/24 AES in on Hedd
Analog out on Head
Patched into Pendulum
out of Pendulum Patched into Analog in on Hedd
AES out of Hedd patched into Masterlink
Tape sound set to occur on A/D - therfore your Masterlink 96/24 master 'gets it'.

A grand total of:
1 x D/A
1 x A/D
1 x Tape emulation

BTW the TAPE emulation / conversion at 96k is awesome

Thank you and goonight!
Old 9th September 2002
  #5
Lives for gear
 
DigitMus's Avatar
 

For projects leaving my studio that will never, ever see a real mastering engineer I use the following chain:
Digital(AES) to Z-Systems Q2, to HEDD192 D/A, to linked pair of Trakkers, to HEDD A/D to Masterlink(AES). I've gotten such good results with this set-up that I scare myself, since I don't even PRETEND I'm a mastering engineer. (I think the ADAM S4C-As help .. eh, Jules? :D )

Scott
Old 9th September 2002
  #6
If you are doing mastering, the most important things will be in order: 1) Your ears and your experience 2) Speakers 3)Converter(A/D and D/A 4)Playback and storage 5)Processing-EQ/Limiter. I personally think a compressor is optional. I think they are both good, the pendulum is a touch more transparent and flexible. Either or are nice. I would personally look at some mastering EQ's first, but that's me.
Old 9th September 2002
  #7
"For projects leaving my studio that will never, ever see a real mastering engineer I use the following chain:
Digital(AES) to Z-Systems Q2, to HEDD192 D/A, to linked pair of Trakkers, to HEDD A/D to Masterlink(AES). " - Scott


Hmm is that a MIXING chain? Do you have that in circuit LIVE while mixing or what?

Thanks...
Old 9th September 2002
  #8
Gear Nut
 
DrC:Drive's Avatar
 

I have 192 into Pendulum ES8 into HEDD 192 then Waves L2 limiter hardware box to another computer using a soundcard and Wavelab. The results are stunning. Go for it

James Cullen
Old 10th September 2002
  #9
Lives for gear
 
DigitMus's Avatar
 

Jules -
I tend to 'mix as I go' - getting things to sit well together during the tracking/overdubbing phase. Derpending on the material, after everything is tracked and the reverbs/effects/buss compressors (if any) are dialed in, I'll fire up the Q2/HEDD/Trakker chain for a couple of passes to see if I can improve on the mix. Sometimes I'll burn 2 versions - with & without - to a CD then do some checking on various systems. Does that answer your question?

Scott
Old 10th September 2002
  #10
Yes it does, it tells me that you are doing what I sometimes do, namely, mix with mastering style gear set up.

I started doing this with a Finalizer

Then moved over to doing it with analog summing sent to an outboard compressor - then back in digital via a Cranesong Hedd with mastering style plug ins enabled on the return stereo channel (the output of which was sent via AES to my Masterlink) .

Years back , from when I started using the (Semi Satanic) Finalizer, I became slightly 'damaged' - in that I liked to hear a radio ready 'hot' / 'mastered' sound AT THE TIME OF THE MIX.

In the quest for better sounding output from my studio. I have fallen back to a - track flat (as possible) and mix with not to much eq, then CRANK THE LIVING **** OUT OF THE TOP END / SHEEN FREQUENCIES AT MASTERING position.

This is where I presently am.. I find myself wondering what to use for self mastering EQ (I love going to mastering when budget allows) and your Z-Sys piqued my attention, as I had heard they represent a 'bargain' in high quality digital EQ department and am a fan of their Digital de-tangler product. So, if you would be so kind, would you detail the Z-Sys EQ's action? In particular the HF / Sheen performance.

Sheen 'mastering boosters' in consideration (for a future lottery win)

Massenburg 8200
Massive passive
Z-Sys digital eq
Cranesong Ibis
Focusrite 315

Chime in too Brad & everyone!

Thanks

Old 10th September 2002
  #11
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
This is where I presently am.. I find myself wondering what to use for self mastering EQ (I love going to mastering when budget allows) and your Z-Sys piqued my attention, as I had heard they represent a 'bargain' in high quality digital EQ department and am a fan of their Digital de-tangler product. So, if you would be so kind, would you detail the Z-Sys EQ's action? In particular the HF / Sheen performance.
I like the low end on the ZQ-2, but the top makes cymbals sound like plastic. I think the Weiss is the only dig EQ that can begin to hang with good analog (and they aren't 'budget').

Quote:
Sheen 'mastering boosters' in consideration (for a future lottery win)
Massenburg 8200
Pretty good - but good luck matching channels - especially on the low end...

Quote:
Massive passive
Too colored, imo, to be your singular mastering EQ. Good box, but too many thinsg keep it from being a decent mastering EQ...

Quote:
Z-Sys digital eq
See above. Had one twice for demo and ended up sending it back. Very reasonable price, but not mastering quality imo.

Quote:
Cranesong Ibis
Now you're talking. I am completely un-biased (right) about this product and think it the finest EQ made.

Quote:
Focusrite 315
Not crazy about the sound of the Focusrite Blue stuff - seemed a bit 'flat'. And good luck getting those switches fixed whne they get noisy ($$$).

I am very picky about my mastering EQ. For the part-time mastering guy, the Crane Song Ibis and the 8200 would prolly be your best bet. Of course, ultimately, you'd have a Sontec and an Ibis, but that's just me...
Old 10th September 2002
  #12
Aside from the Phenomenal audio that the Pendulum puts out, the Pendulum Opto does things that other Optos cannot do making it more practical for a wide variety of sources. Peak, RMS, or Program dependent...that right there says it all. Plus the piece is really natural and transparent sounding. Same with the HEDD 192. Everyone that hears it has to sweep their jaws off the ground. It's nice having the option to put THD in the path digitally at a later time too rather than having to decide on the way in. You'll be extremely happy IMO with those tools.
Old 10th September 2002
  #13
Lives for gear
 
DigitMus's Avatar
 

Jules, I'm gonna defer to Brad on the high end sheen question. I haven't used the Q2 in that fashion (mainly I use it for subtle tone balancing - I go for the sheen on individual tracks with Massenburg plug-in on the D8B) and I haven't really compared it head to head with true mastering quality EQs as Brad has. It does have one really interesting trick up it's sleeve - mid/side processing (Thanks to Brad for pointers on how to use this feature).

Scott
Old 10th September 2002
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
Cape's Avatar
 

Cheers for the advice, looks like the pendulum wins hands down.

It's also good to know it can be put to other uses as it's got faster attack times than the Manley etc. If it was down to looks though, the Manley would win.

As for eq in the chain it's abit budget dependant at the moment, and it would need to be a bloody good one so as not to let the side down. The Sony Oxford + GML is cool, but where and if this should be used on the 2 bus is another question.

I've been using the DBX Quantum for some time, and as time goes by I use less and less of it's functions, before I'm like 'OK, I'm not using one of them, now'. It has to go.
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