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Author Topic: Your chain  (Read 32230 times)

Mark Donahue

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2006, 06:58:41 pm »

bblackwood wrote on Fri, 23 June 2006 07:37

So, what's your typical chain? Is it too much? Not enough? How often do you change it up? Are you looking to change any part of it?

Discuss.

Well, This is an interesting question. For me it depends on what kind of mastering I am doing.
I have 2 basic chains:
Classical Reissue (Analog Source) Studer/Flux/Aria to the Crookwood transfer desk>
API 550M>
Custom re-formatter/mixer>
Meitner, HDCD or Dcs converters depending on sampling rate or if it's DSD.

Analog Source: Tape machine of choice for sonic character> (ATR with OEM  heads, Highly modified FrankenStuder A80 Mk1, Levinson ML-5 (A80 RCII) or above Studer Mk IV/Aria)>
Digital Source: For 44.1 masters I work in Sonic HD, For all others I use Sequoia or ProTools for playback to any one of a half a dozen DA converters. (HDCD, Benchmark, DCS, Meitner, Apogee, Lavry
Crookwood Transfer desk>
Summit MPE-200 EQ>
API 550M>
Api 2500>
Pendelum PL-2>
DBX 902 De-esser>

Additionally I have an Old school rack that I built that has the following stuff in it:
(Which I virtually never use these days)
Neumann W495STB (2x) (Modified 1dB steps)
Neumann W495 (2x) (Modified 1dB steps)
Neumann OE DUO (2x) (Modified 1dB steps)
Lawo 995/6 (2x) (Modified 1dB steps)
Neumann U473a (4)
NTP 179-120 (2) (Black Face Mastering version)
W444STB Fader

As far as the order it changes on a song by song basis. Obviously, I don’t use everything all the time, but I like to have the flexibility.  The really powerful thing about my Crookwood transfer desk is that I can change the order of the processing without patching anything. And as a bonus, I have a summing/mixing insert so I can do parallel compression or add reverb to the signal.
From there I convert to digital and enter the digital processing chain.
Like the analog stuff, I change the order and pick and choose based on the application. All the processing is on a Z-sys 32X32 Router that bridges to a Tesi 48x48 Router for all the different computer I/O.
System 6000 Mastering/Reverb
Weiss EQ1-DSMk2
Weiss DS1-Mk2
Weiss EQ1-DSMk2 (for processing after compression)
TC Finalizer 96k
Computer with Plug-ins (Waves etc...) and metering. (I virtually never use these.)
HDCD Model 1 for peak limiting or Apogee UV-1000HR for clipping (Nova rules!)
All this feeds the workstation Du Jour (Normally SonicHD, but on occasion Sequoia, Pyramix or Wavelab.)
As far as changing tools in and out, It takes me a good 6 months to work a new piece of gear into my chain to the point that I feel really comfortable using it during a session.
At this point I would have to say that my Crookwood transfer desk is far and away the thing that has made the greatest difference in the way in which I work. It allows me to very rapidly find the device I want and get it in the chain with a minimum of brain damage.
We had it built for surround, so whether I’m mastering for SACD/DVD-V/DVD-A or CD it seamlessly transitions between stereo and surround.
All the best,
Mark
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************************
Mark Donahue
Chief Mastering Engineer
Soundmirror, Inc.
Boston, MA
http://www.soundmirror.com
************************

Ged Leitch

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2006, 07:00:46 pm »

Oldfart wrote on Fri, 23 June 2006 23:26

In the box here too.

I know I need better one then the generic in WL5, so I'll either upgrade to WL6 or find another plug. Any recomendations??)
Oldfart






Voxengo R8 brain Pro.

http://www.voxengo.com/product/r8brainpro/

Get the pro version, and check out their forums on it.
It's apparently up there next to the new Weiss SRC in the tests.
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Oldfart

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2006, 07:18:00 pm »

Ged Leitch wrote on Fri, 23 June 2006 19:00

Oldfart wrote on Fri, 23 June 2006 23:26

In the box here too.

I know I need better one then the generic in WL5, so I'll either upgrade to WL6 or find another plug. Any recomendations??)
Oldfart






Voxengo R8 brain Pro.

http://www.voxengo.com/product/r8brainpro/

Get the pro version, and check out their forums on it.
It's apparently up there next to the new Weiss SRC in the tests.



Can it operate as a plug-in ? Or only as a file converting tool?

Thanks in advance for your reply,

Oldfart
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Denis Paquette

Ged Leitch

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2006, 08:05:12 pm »

Oldfart wrote on Sat, 24 June 2006 00:18

Ged Leitch wrote on Fri, 23 June 2006 19:00

Oldfart wrote on Fri, 23 June 2006 23:26

In the box here too.

I know I need better one then the generic in WL5, so I'll either upgrade to WL6 or find another plug. Any recomendations??)
Oldfart






Voxengo R8 brain Pro.

http://www.voxengo.com/product/r8brainpro/

Get the pro version, and check out their forums on it.
It's apparently up there next to the new Weiss SRC in the tests.



Can it operate as a plug-in ? Or only as a file converting tool?

Thanks in advance for your reply,

Oldfart



Just a stand alone app, hope that will work ok for you.
It doesnt seem to get as much press as the rest, but check out the test results on the voxengo forum, they're impressive!
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Bob Boyd

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2006, 10:23:37 pm »

Here's a quick overview of the setup.  The path can change depending on the task at hand so it might be easiest to describe the hookup and provide some comments.

Playback / Initial Gain:
ProTools HD3|Accel

AES Insert 1-2 on Digidesign 192:
Crane Song HEDD 192
Weiss EQ1-LP (which I often switch between normal and M/S mode)

AES Insert 3-4 out:
Lavry Blue 824 D/A feeding the patchbay

On the patchbay:
Maselec MEA-2
Manley Massive Passive
API 550m's
Alan Smart C2 (SSL-type compressor)
Chandler LTD-2's (modified)
Crane Song STC-8/M (due in any day!)

Lavry Blue A/D returns to AES 3-4 (and also serves as a master clock when it's used)

AES Insert 5-6:
Weiss DS1-MkII

AES Insert 7-8:
Syetem 6000 (Mastering and Reverb)

AES Monitor Out feeds a Z-Sys 16x16 Detangler where it is split to the Lavry Gold DA924 and a Weiss SFC2.  The convertered output of the Weiss SFC2 is sent to a Metric Halo ULN-2 interface (AES) on my second Mac where the playlist is assembled for the disc in PreMaster CD.

All 16 Digi 192 D/A's feed a Dangerous 2Bus that can be used during mixing projects.

Any plugs that I may want to add in the chain can be inserted anywhere among the hardware inserts in PT HD.

I tend to EQ before I do any dynamics.  The API 550m's have found themselves in the path often lately even when I'm not EQ'ing with them.  They sound great.  I will do this with the Chandler LTD-2's sometimes as well if it doesn't make things too thick.  Sometimes I just run through the Manley MP and the Maselec EQ's as well.  Both of those units can add a very nice presence to the mids when they're engaged (the Manley is more colored than the Maselec of course).

I also tend to shape and color with the analog gear and correct with the digital gear - both in eq and dynamics.

I reach for the System 6000 for multiband tasks (which is rare) or de-essing in M/S mode (which is more common).  When M/S mode is not needed, the Weiss DS1 is a more transparent choice.
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Bob Boyd
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Bob Boyd

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2006, 10:25:04 pm »

Where's Brad?  Didn't he start this?
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Bob Boyd
ambientdigital, Houston

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bblackwood

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2006, 11:25:44 pm »

Bob Boyd wrote on Fri, 23 June 2006 21:25

Where's Brad?  Didn't he start this?

I'm here...

I was hoping to see folks discuss not only their chains, but why they have them the way they do (more on that later).

I can share mine if it means anything to anyone, but it's nothing special...
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Brad Blackwood
euphonic masters

Bob Boyd

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2006, 11:38:57 pm »

bblackwood wrote on Fri, 23 June 2006 22:25

Bob Boyd wrote on Fri, 23 June 2006 21:25

Where's Brad?  Didn't he start this?

I'm here...

I was hoping to see folks discuss not only their chains, but why they have them the way they do (more on that later).

I can share mine if it means anything to anyone, but it's nothing special...

Gotcha.  Just wanted to make sure you weren't getting off the hook.   Smile

I put some usage comments in there.
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Bob Boyd
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zetterstroem

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2006, 01:27:21 am »

i'm split between two "answers"

either most people are using too much "gear".... or i'm using to little.....

give me one or two notches (digital)..... a vari-mu.... an analog eq..... and an L2.... and i can master almost anything....
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bblackwood

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2006, 01:31:35 am »

My typical chain is this:
Wavelab (playback) -> db Tech DAC -> (all further processing through mastering console) -> Crane Song EQ -> Sontec EQ -> Pendulum comp -> Crane Song comp -> Crane Song ADC -> L2 -> SRC -> Sequoia

Analog is the same except I have a Studer 1/4" and 1/2" machine that takes the place of WL and the DAC above.

A very simple chain, really.

That order rarely changes - over the years I've found that EQ works better before comp (for me) and this chain's order is really symbiotic.

I'm hoping folks with analog chains will be able to share more details about how/why they came to use the chains they do...
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Brad Blackwood
euphonic masters

Bob Boyd

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2006, 01:31:36 am »

zetterstroem wrote on Sat, 24 June 2006 00:27

either most people are using too much "gear".... or i'm using to little.....

I've tried to put together a good set of tools but I never use the whole toolbox.
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Bob Boyd
ambientdigital, Houston

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Jerry Tubb

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2006, 01:55:35 am »

bblackwood wrote on Fri, 23 June 2006 06:37

So, what's your typical chain?


My humble mastering chain in Studio A:

Analog Playback: Ampex ATR-102 with Dolby SR, A, or dbx noise reduction if needed.

Digital Playback: Pro Tools HD 7.1 with Digi's 192 I/O interface, the typical Waves plug-ins, & NoNoise. Sometimes add/subtract a dB or two of level here.

Lavry Blue DAC - nice and smooth!

Millenia NSEQ-2 - sexy black mastering version with detents, considering adding Forsell's new mod. It goes first because of the 6dB level loss.

Manley Vari Mu Compressor, a version 4, no mods... a few dB of gain here.

Sontec MES-432C - the mastering EQ with the Big Knobs & Big Sound.

Lavry Blue ADC - sometimes hit it pretty hard.

Waves L2 hardware - I like the knobs, leave it unlinked, & set the release time manually... almost never turn it past 3dB limiting.

Pro Tools HD 7.1 to print,  WaveBurner 1.2 to assemble, dither, and burn.

Quote:

 Is it too much?


Usually not, one or two EQs should be enough... the tailor that cuts the least...

Quote:

Not enough?


Maybe add a Weiss De-esser, and an alternate flavor of analog compression.

Quote:

How often do you change it up?


Although the core of the chain remains the same, I sometimes modify it depending on the task... like insert a Z-Systems EQ before the DAC for corrective EQ-ing (sounds better than plug-ins), or put the Sontec before the Manley. Sometimes use plug-ins for M/S work, do a tape bath, or even add an 1178, many variables.

Quote:

Are you looking to change any part of it?


Other than the few items mentioned above... very pleased with the sounds we're getting. I'll leave Nick to describe our Studio B chain.

JT

p.s. Good topic Brad, a welcome change from the volume wars & ice cream truck threads.

p.s.s. How about your chain DC ? ... give it up!

addendum - I added a pic of my chain, can you spot the tuning fork & the ratshack SPL meter?
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Bob Boyd

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #27 on: June 24, 2006, 02:02:08 am »

Jerry Tubb wrote on Sat, 24 June 2006 00:55

p.s. Good topic Brad, a welcome change from the volume wars & ice cream truck threads.

Has anyone noticed how loud Marcussen's Ice Cream truck is?

He blamed it on some little girl down the street.  Said it was the "client's request".
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Bob Boyd
ambientdigital, Houston

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cerberus

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #28 on: June 24, 2006, 02:12:07 am »

Bob Boyd wrote on Fri, 23 June 2006 22:23


Crane Song STC-8/M (due in any day!)

if anyone ever says my work is half as good sounding as your work is, then may i use that line too? Laughing

edit: my bad mood..not personal...i just found it funny to see it buried in the gear list as if the work of yours that i heard and really liked... had been constructed from anticipation more than gear itself. i hope you took it lightly bob, you've been helpful to me here!

jeff dinces

mcsnare

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Re: Your chain
« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2006, 02:20:23 am »

My chain which stays the same almost always is:
Wavelab playback>Lynx 1 AES out> Lavry blue DAC>
Input 1 Dangerous Monitor console with 3 inserts
Input 2 is an ATR-102
Insert 1 NSEQ 2 with the amazing Forssell mods> API 2500
Insert 2 STC-8M > API 550M usually with M/S mode on the console
Insert 3 Pendulum OCL-2
Cranesong Hedd A/D @96K >
dbx Quantum SRC 96 to 44.1 >
L2>
second Lynx 1 for AES dig in to Samplitude and dig out to second Lavry as monitor D/A

sometimes I use the L2 at 96K and use R8brain for src
insert 1 gives me eq before comp
insert 2 comp before eq and M/S option
insert 3 tube love

This order evolved after trying things in different spots and feeling like this is the most versatile way to chain stuff.
I sometimes use plugs on playback and sometimes plugs after capture.
I sometimes use a bit of width on the Muth M/S knob, but not necessarily with the insert engaged or the opposite, insert on M/S setting but no added width.
All processing on the inserts is pretty close to unity so I use the console input level to drive things and the output level to determine level at the A/D.

The biggest thing I want to change is having realtime src after the L2 so I can use it at 96k and not have to take the time to software src. Once in a while I want to use the STC-8 but not with the 550M's, so I unplug the API's cause they don't have a true bypass. Another thing I've wanted to do for a while but didn't want to lose the 550M's while it's being done! I'm using a Coleman for monitor level and input switching to the monitor D/A. Input 1 is after Samplitude ( post processing), input 2 is console out, preprocessing with Chris's nifty gain matching knob for equal level comparison. A Muth monitor switcher is also on the wish list.
I've been thinking about some tube eq, some kind of Pultec style copy. I used to use the Manleys but never thought they were as good for mastering as they are for mixing. Anyone try those Mercury Pultecs?
Dave
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