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Why are top pros using old audio interfaces? (Pro Tools)
Old 14th October 2013
  #1
Why are top pros using old audio interfaces? (Pro Tools)

I've seen pictures of Nigel Godrich recording Radiohead, with a rack full of Pro Tools Mix Plus interfaces/converters. The big black ones with lots of meters and cursive "digidesing" logo. I've seen gearslutz' own Ronan Chris Murphy with the same boxes. Both of these guys could apparently afford anything on the planet, but they choose these 10+ year old interfaces... why?

I would even think the software or hardware wouldn't be compatible with new Macs and PCs or whatever, which is why I'm so curious...what's the deal?

There are lots of other boxes in the pictures I can't identify, however...

SN - Digidesign ProTools|24 Mix

look in the rack in the back

Old 14th October 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
Ain't broke don't fix it?
Old 14th October 2013
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Ain't broke don't fix it?
That was my thought. Either that or these are quite good, also?
Old 15th October 2013
  #4
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
I ran a mix system for years. The truth is that they are very good and if you can not make a great album using a mix system with stock converters, the problem is not the interfaces.

These days I run a Pro Tools HD rig that has a mix of newer and older digi interfaces as well as additional conversion from Apogee, Lavry and Cranesong. I would not use the older 888 interfaces for mastering, but I have no problem using them to send a kick drum to the console.
Old 15th October 2013
  #5
thanks for the input Ronan, that answers most of what I was wondering
Old 15th October 2013
  #6
These photos were also taken during the writing and recording of In Rainbows, which places them 2005-2007, which accounts a bit more for their age with regard to the photo.
Old 15th October 2013
  #7
good point, seems like yesterday
Old 21st October 2013
  #8
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firubbi's Avatar
who knows.. maybe they're not happy of the mix. look at the photo. + someone is smoking at back !!
Old 21st October 2013
  #9
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I still use a Digi 002 rack and pro tools 9. For me, the simple answer is I hate having to upgrade every Damn thing every Damn time some developers decide I should. If my clients cannot hear a difference, and I can't either, what is the point.

Right now, I expect to upgrade to pro tools 11 but am also considering moving to Sonar and Logic. The AAX adoption is slower than I like, Sonar has been 64 bit forever, and Avid as a company looks like they could fold at any second. I plan to wait 12-16 months before my decision.

So, that's me in a nutshell.
Old 21st October 2013
  #10
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lflood View Post
i still use a digi 002 rack and pro tools 9. For me, the simple answer is i hate having to upgrade every damn thing every damn time some developers decide i should. If my clients cannot hear a difference, and i can't either, what is the point.

.

spot on brother,
Old 21st October 2013
  #11
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Joeywhat's Avatar
 

It should also be noted that the first goal of most studios is to make money so they can continue making records. Why spend money on new gear when the old stuff still works?
Old 21st October 2013
  #12
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That pic is almost a decade old.
Old 21st October 2013
  #13
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Because the real world is not the internet or GS.

Thankfully.

Out in the real world you use whatever there is to use.

Out in the real world people don't worry about tiny minutiae of differences between item X or item Y.

Out in the real world the only thing that matters is the song and the idea and context.

EVERYTHING else is noise and a distraction.

If you cant make a record with an 888 and a copy of PT 6.

You cant make a record.

If you cant make a record with an SM58 and an aging Fostex 16 track.

You cant make a record.

Most people on GS cant make records.

Most people on the internet cant make records.

Most people on GS don't make records.

Most people on the internet don't make records.

Now I must be of ....















Records to make.

























Watch the GS downvote pansies take offence.
Old 21st October 2013
  #14
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^^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^^^
Old 21st October 2013
  #15
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I've thought about the same thing and made the conclusion that at least it's not about their audio quality being better. I think in many cases these audio interface were purchased to fit a certain setup with high enough audio quality and since they serve so well and know other things should be upgraded first, they don't bother to upgrade the converters... I would guess that Mastering Engineers stay more updated in order to get maximum performance out of their mastering chains, but I could be wrong...
Old 21st October 2013
  #16
Gear Nut
 
crzmky's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGreen View Post
Because the real world is not the internet or GS.

Thankfully.

Out in the real world you use whatever there is to use.

Out in the real world people don't worry about tiny minutiae of differences between item X or item Y.

Out in the real world the only thing that matters is the song and the idea and context.

EVERYTHING else is noise and a distraction.

If you cant make a record with an 888 and a copy of PT 6.

You cant make a record.

If you cant make a record with an SM58 and an aging Fostex 16 track.

You cant make a record.

Most people on GS cant make records.

Most people on the internet cant make records.

Most people on GS don't make records.

Most people on the internet don't make records.

Now I must be of ....















Records to make.

























Watch the GS downvote pansies take offence.
Nailed it!
Old 21st October 2013
  #17
Registered User
 
Rick Sutton's Avatar
 

Yeah, I really can't jump on the upgrade merry-go-round either. I ran 888's very successfully until they were quite old (still use one in an auxillary role) and have been very happy with Digi 192's and PT 6.7 since. The type of customer that insists on the latest PT software/interface isn't really the type that I care to work with.......I'm interested in results not the latest bells and whistles.
Old 21st October 2013
  #18
thanks for the replies, they're actually refreshing to hear, great perspective

makes me worry about my own converters a little less
Old 21st October 2013
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Sutton View Post
... have been very happy with Digi 192's and PT 6.7 since.
Me too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Sutton View Post
The type of customer that insists on the latest PT software/interface isn't really the type that I care to work with...
I have yet to encounter one.
Old 21st October 2013
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
I've seen pictures of Nigel Godrich recording Radiohead, with a rack full of Pro Tools Mix Plus interfaces/converters. The big black ones with lots of meters and cursive "digidesing" logo. I've seen gearslutz' own Ronan Chris Murphy with the same boxes. Both of these guys could apparently afford anything on the planet, but they choose these 10+ year old interfaces... why?

I would even think the software or hardware wouldn't be compatible with new Macs and PCs or whatever, which is why I'm so curious...what's the deal?

There are lots of other boxes in the pictures I can't identify, however...

SN - Digidesign ProTools|24 Mix

look in the rack in the back


Lots of times they only use those units for additional channels. You'll often see a nice pair of mastering converters for most tracking. In other words the older stuff only ends up getting used for toms and stratch tracks. Anything important is getting tracked through a Burl or a Prism Radars etc...
Old 21st October 2013
  #21
Registered User
 
Rick Sutton's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post

I have yet to encounter one.
Over the years I have seen a few. Real RPITA. (ROYAL PAIN THE THE ASS)
Old 21st October 2013
  #22
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Because successful engineers don't chase success. They repeat it.
Old 21st October 2013
  #23
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GearAndGuitars's Avatar
 

90s Indie Albums = 888 + 3208
Old 22nd October 2013
  #24
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omtayslick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kosmokrator View Post
Because successful engineers don't chase success. They repeat it.
Nice
Old 22nd October 2013
  #25
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s12512's Avatar
a lot of these guys have a different approach to what they do. they only see this stuff as work tools. do mechanics, doctors, etc upgrade EVERY TIME something new comes out?? Nope!! these things are just tools to do a job. i never understood why some people think you need to upgrade everytime something comes out. i just got rid of my protools mix system a few years ago and made a lot of records on it. a lot of these guys in this thread are spot on!!! if you are always upgrading and not really working enough to justify the upgrades, that means a lot of money is getting wasted. look at this stuff as tools!
Old 22nd October 2013
  #26
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Sir Chris's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by firubbi View Post
+ someone is smoking at back !!
No, he's got his fist clenched over his mouth. Zoom in and you can clearly see he's not smoking anything.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGreen View Post
If you cant make a record with an 888 and a copy of PT 6.
You cant make a record.
I think what bothers people is the result not so much the fact it was done on that crap or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGreen View Post
If you cant make a record with an SM58 and an aging Fostex 16 track.
sure, but where are all those great recordings done on an e16? good luck finding them
but I'd love to hear them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGreen View Post
You cant make a record.
how do you know that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGreen View Post
people on GS cant make records.
so you can't make a record?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGreen View Post
people on the internet cant make records.
True, you can't surf with Firefox and mic something at the same time

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGreen View Post
people on GS don't make records.
I repeat myself when under stress, I repeat myself when under stress
I repeat myself when under stress, I repeat myself when under stress

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGreen View Post
Watch the GS downvote pansies take offence.
Well as of now you have +9 so not to worry. But in all seriousness, you can ponder cheap converters and rationalize that people who can't make good records with them are not talented. However People in this photo also have a LFC and racks of Neves and they have a great band in tracking room. Most people that recorded on a Fostex e16 and failed, didn't have the accompanying infrastructure like these guys do nor did they record multiplatinum acts in their basements. I mean those hosa rca snakes joining your e16 and your 'desk' have to carry some blame doncha

<snip - let's not have a personal rant now>

According to most AEs most modern digital recordings don't have the magic of old records. I'm not judging this either way. But it is the consensus. It can't be both ways. You can on one hand claim these clunky converters are fine, and then turn around and say modern recordings don't sound good, like old analog records from the golden years of audio. The reason most records the last decade sound bad is because of cheap hardware. The better the surrounding equipment chain is, the less the converters get exposed. The more people enjoy the songs, the more we can overlook bad production, but it doesn't change the underlying problem with past digital recordings, which is nine times out of ten bad converters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
Why are top pros using old audio interfaces? (Pro Tools)
Top pros are also recording top pros. Your recordings are only good as the source.


Seriously Ggreen lets here all those sonically wonderful fostex e16 records. The fact is they don't exist.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
makes me worry about my own converters a little less
OMG, we only have one life. 60 or 70 or 80 laps round the sun then it's done. And we're not coming back. Don't spend any of your precious time or energies worrying about digital audio conversion! Nyquist did all that for us in the 1920s. That stuff just works now.

Use what you've got. Ignore gear marketing and internet trolls. Close your eyes and listen to the music.

Good thread btw.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Chris View Post
No, he's got his fist clenched over his mouth. Zoom in and you can clearly see he's not smoking anything.
Doesn't really matter...but up until the smoking ban came in in...2008 maybe? People would smoke in uk studios all the time. The ban was amazing - us non-smokers didn't go home smelling of smoke every day!

HD rigs were pretty common in the uk by 2005 or so (but they were a novelty in 2002 - I remember the 1st time I saw one in use!) but many studios still ran mix rigs like this one. Higher spec studios ran apogees, many just ran 888s. I'm kind of surprised there's no apogees for Radiohead, but there you go.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGreen View Post
Because the real world is not the internet or GS.

Thankfully.

Out in the real world you use whatever there is to use.

Out in the real world people don't worry about tiny minutiae of differences between item X or item Y.

Out in the real world the only thing that matters is the song and the idea and context.

EVERYTHING else is noise and a distraction.

If you cant make a record with an 888 and a copy of PT 6.

You cant make a record.

If you cant make a record with an SM58 and an aging Fostex 16 track.

You cant make a record.

Most people on GS cant make records.

Most people on the internet cant make records.

Most people on GS don't make records.

Most people on the internet don't make records.

Now I must be of ....















Records to make.

























Watch the GS downvote pansies take offence.
Haha lol
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