R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 11   Go Down

Author Topic: analog trade-offs  (Read 24208 times)

Fenris Wulf

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 499
analog trade-offs
« on: June 26, 2010, 06:33:24 pm »

Maybe someone who's used a lot of different 2" machines can answer this one. What sounds better: an MCI JH-24 (IC electronics) plugged directly into an analog console, or an MCI JH-16 (discrete transformer-coupled electronics) transferred into DAW through some good converters and mixed on the same console?

The JH-24 has gapless punch-in, which will allow me to stay analog for most projects. The later JH-16's have it, but they're more difficult to obtain.

I realize there's a lot of variables, but I'm stuck on this one.
Logged
RESIST THE CYBERNETIC OVERLORDS
KDVS Studio A

MDM,

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2305
Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2010, 07:00:52 pm »

I personally don't see the point of going from analog to DAW, although I am aware that people do it to get a 'sound'

I would say that the 24 track IC machine into an analog desk is going to give you more of the analog quality (which to me is performance vibe and 'liveness') so out of the two solutions it makes more artistic sense IMO.

the 16 is going to sound better overall because of the bigger slice of tape it records on and the electronics (assuming it is a good one and lives-up to the potential of discrete design).  But feeding it into a DAW will digitize the signal, and you lose the vibe somewhat.. so why not just go into the DAW? at least this way you are passing through less electronics, and the overall sound will be more direct-sounding.

if you are looking to create an effect like saturate drums and guitars and your band is going to cut and paste for sure then go with the DAW.. if you are going for a raw performance energy and are not too worried about getting a super hi-fi sound then the 24-track IC deck into the analog mixer would probably work better... if your band does not require massive amounts of edits.

Logged
I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy .. in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry and music.
John Adams (1735-1826) 2nd President, United States

Fenris Wulf

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 499
Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2010, 07:21:14 pm »

A clarification: The model numbers JH-24 and JH-16 have nothing to do with track count. 16-track and 24-track headstacks were made for both models. I will be using 16-track.

I should further clarify that I don't use tape as a distortion box, I use it because it handles dynamics gracefully and makes my job much easier during mixdown.

Generally speaking (there are exceptions) a machine with discrete transformer-coupled electronics sounds better than a machine with transformerless IC electronics. The question is, does it STILL sound better after going through a digital converter?

A 2" machine is a big investment, and I'd better make the right choice because I'll be using this machine for a VERY long time.
Logged
RESIST THE CYBERNETIC OVERLORDS
KDVS Studio A

wwittman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7712
Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2010, 12:25:56 am »

Better is better no matter what you do to it later


I'm not a big MCI fan of ANY generation, but staying all analogue is always going to sound better than a transfer.
Logged
William Wittman
Producer/Engineer
(Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, The Fixx, The Outfield, Hooters...)

littlehat

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1257
Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2010, 04:59:35 pm »

As WW said, "Better is better..."

I AM a big MCI machine fan.
I prefer them sonically.
Logged
Push the RED button!

kats

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1694
Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2010, 06:13:21 pm »

I've never used MCI machines, but I have heard that the JH16 can be troublesome. You might want to talk to people who have experience with them if your going to depend on it as much as you imply.

Logged
Tony K.
http://empirerecording.ca

Entertainment is a bore, communication is where it's at! - Brian Jones 1967

wwittman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7712
Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2010, 08:02:52 pm »

Many people have found themselves pumping a fist at the sky and cursing "molex!!!"
Logged
William Wittman
Producer/Engineer
(Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, The Fixx, The Outfield, Hooters...)

Otitis Media

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 564
Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2010, 08:45:37 pm »

I have recommended tape in the past for its graceful handling of overload, but the thing I have found with using digital mediums is that I have such a significantly reduced noisefloor that I don't have to run as hot. Running less hot leaves room for those things that happen (usually they're great, and you want to keep them, wooly sound be damned). The thing digital gear does not do is saturate or compress or overload gracefully at all.

I guess I would prefer to NOT use tape at this point, because 99% of the time, there's no "magic" to the sound for me, it's just a noiser media. I love the machines. I love the limited track-count. I love the technique. I hate the noise, and the mojo that everyone talks about doesn't show up until you're pushing hard. Most of the time, tape sounds pretty goddamn linear.

You get the sound you want out of it, and that means you do your best work, I'm just expounding on your saying "it makes my job easier at mixdown." That may give the wrong impression, I suppose. you knowing what you're doing and how you want to get there is what makes your job easier. Tape is just the means to that end.

THese days, most people trying tape for the first time are disappointed.
Logged
Dan Roth
Hired Gun

Fenris Wulf

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 499
Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2010, 11:47:35 pm »

A properly calibrated machine running 456 is the world's best peak limiter and soft-knee compressor. There's all kinds of complex behavior going on, like increased treble on softer passages. Whatever it's doing, every instrument comes back sounding better and requires less processing in mix. Some of the peak limiting and bandwidth limiting isn't immediately audible, but causes downstream compressors to behave more predictably.

At this point, if I was offered a choice of working at Skywalker Sound with huge rooms and no analog anywhere (AFAIK), or working at KDVS in a ridiculous kludged-together studio with 1" 8-track ... ho ho ho. Maybe I could smuggle in a tape machine and throw a tarp over it when "Mr. CGI" stops by.
Logged
RESIST THE CYBERNETIC OVERLORDS
KDVS Studio A

littlehat

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1257
Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2010, 02:26:04 am »

Otitis Media wrote on Sun, 27 June 2010 20:45

The thing digital gear does not do is saturate or compress or overload gracefully at all...
the mojo that everyone talks about doesn't show up until you're pushing hard...
THese days, most people trying tape for the first time are disappointed.


The thing digital does not do is sound as good as properly implemented analog.
It starts out better sounding and works its way up to mojo, then past mojo to muddy or hairy.

These days, most people trying analog for the first time treat it like a stunt piece of gear that you push until it lights up.

How good was sex your first time?
How about the hundredth time?

Not understanding something is a sure fire way to get the least out of it.
Logged
Push the RED button!

MDM,

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2305
Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2010, 06:09:03 am »

Regarding analog 'feel':

I remember talking on the phone with Peter Weihe many years ago and when we touched the 'feel' argument of tape vs digital, he did say that once they recorded a rock'n'roll outfit on both tape and pro-tools and listened to playback.. the impression is that some part of the performance was lost with digital and remained with tape.. Peter can clarify this, perhaps (as I may have jumbled up the facts a bit)

My 'wake-up' moment was when I used tape for the first time in a few years and I had a sort of flashback to how it used to feel to record on tape, as far as performances.  The 'musician in the room' effect was more pronounced, regardless of sound quality.

I think that the biggest differences will be noticeable with groove and feel-oriented music.. therefore that leaves behind much of what is recorded today, which is sometimes less 'exciting' (to tap into the recent thread) to begin with in the tracking room..

I don't think you can hear it in an obvious manner on just any source material unless you are listening very attentively..

I hear it with just plain guitar and vocals, but maybe 15 years ago I might not have heard it without someone pointing it out.
Logged
I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy .. in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry and music.
John Adams (1735-1826) 2nd President, United States

Otitis Media

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 564
Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2010, 06:26:02 am »

littlehat wrote on Mon, 28 June 2010 02:26


The thing digital does not do is sound as good as properly implemented analog.
It starts out better sounding and works its way up to mojo, then past mojo to muddy or hairy.

These days, most people trying analog for the first time treat it like a stunt piece of gear that you push until it lights up.

How good was sex your first time?
How about the hundredth time?

Not understanding something is a sure fire way to get the least out of it.



I do understand tape, and I see the merit to the "musician in the room" vibe, but I wonder how much of that is the medium itself, rather than the the way the process runs with tape.

I disagree that digital stuff doesn't sound good. You may have to figure out a new way of getting the sound you want versus tape, but the differences are just that, differences.
Logged
Dan Roth
Hired Gun

wwittman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7712
Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2010, 09:37:27 am »

You're "disagreeing" with something he never said.

He never said "digital doesn't sound good"

He said properly implemented analogue sounds BETTER.

and it does.
At least for music

I agree with Littlehat.
I don't actually think it has ANYTHING to do with track limits or recording live or any other 'workflow'... I probably do that mostly the same in Pro Tools as on analogue the vast majority of the time

It's ALL about the sonics for me.
And not as an 'effect'. It's an emotionally truer representation of what is coming out of the desk

Logged
William Wittman
Producer/Engineer
(Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, The Fixx, The Outfield, Hooters...)

Jim Williams

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1105
Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2010, 11:05:52 am »

I choose door number 3. That is all high end analog electronics combined with the best converters. That gives me the most intimate sound. Analog tape is too noisy and lossy for me these days. I don't like the fog it produces. The transient reponse is too slow, the hf THD is too high (4~5%), the low end is thin and sloppy. I also hate digital processing (except my outboard digital reverbs like the Bricasti run in analog I/O) or anything done in a computer.

All analog here except for the tank and train, (storage and transfer). Editing is done the original way (play it again, Sam).
Logged
Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades

Otitis Media

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 564
Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2010, 12:35:28 pm »

Quote:

 It's an emotionally truer representation of what is coming out of the desk


I'm not sure whether you're anthropomorphizing or what.

I don't want to pick on the poor guy who's trying to choose between tape machines and hijack his thread. I guess I'd go for the discrete transformer coupled machine AND use a desk. If you're gonna go, go big. I like discrete, I like desks.
Logged
Dan Roth
Hired Gun
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 11   Go Up