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Author Topic: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?  (Read 144095 times)

Keyplayer

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DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« on: April 23, 2005, 04:04:44 pm »

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With all the debate over the supeior ease of automation in the DAW vrs that of most mixing consoles, I was wondering if anybody was actually using their DAW like a tape deck/editor and mixing from their consoles to a mixdown deck or even back to a stereo or 6 stem tracks on their DAW?

I'm pretty sure those of you with access to Neve's, API's, SSL's etc are doing just that. But for those running in the "Mid-Line" (I.E. DM2K, R-100, Soundcraft Ghost etc.) are you doing this or letting the DAW do all the work and having your desk just act as a router?
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Tomas Danko

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2005, 04:13:26 pm »

Keyplayer wrote on Sat, 23 April 2005 21:04

With all the debate over the supeior ease of automation in the DAW vrs that of most mixing consoles, I was wondering if anybody was actually using their DAW like a tape deck/editor and mixing from their consoles to a mixdown deck or even back to a stereo or 6 stem tracks on their DAW?

I'm pretty sure those of you with access to Neve's, API's, SSL's etc are doing just that. But for those running in the "Mid-Line" (I.E. DM2K, R-100, Soundcraft Ghost etc.) are you doing this or letting the DAW do all the work and having your desk just act as a router?


I went back to analog mixing with outboard after having done the ITB-thing (first software only, later with a digital console + software) and some hybrid methods in between. Not only is it way more fun, again, but it sounds better most of the time. As far as I'm concerned, I'm getting a lot of the mix "for free" just by staying in the analog domain. With all-digital, I had to put it in from the get-go otherwise I didn't end up with that much weirdness to "gel" the mix in the end.

For whatever harm my DAC's are doing to the audio, my console is more than making up for it in mojo.

Sincerely,

Tomas Danko

Ps. My console is an Allen & Heath Saber 32/16/16 LBGPG with MIDI-mute.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2005, 05:55:43 pm »

Keyplayer, as has been discussed ad nauseum on every forum here, one of the main issues seems to be summing outside the box.  So for those who don't have a great sounding console, many people are turning to the Dangerous 2 buss and the Fulcrum, etc.  

Now, there is actually debate over whether or not that sounds better.  I think it does.  There does not seem to be any debate about whether or not plug-in EQs and compressors sound as good as the real thing, though.  Well, I should say the only people who tend to debate that either designed the software or have never really used the modeled hardware in question.
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djui5

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2005, 08:13:59 pm »

I was trying to do only ITB mixing, but got sic of it and am mixing on the desk again despite not having desk automation and various other features.

We don't have enough plug-in's and processing power (HD3) for me to get the mixes I want ITB...not yet anyway. So for now...I'll still be using the board (soundtraks Jade).
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bushwick

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2005, 11:51:03 pm »

I have a Allen & Heath that is for all purposes just the shell of it original self, having been completey redesigned with a new master section, summing amps, grounding...

ITB does not hold a candle to outboard mixes from my standpoint and I even use some outboard gear inserted in the some AD-8000 channels I reserve for that purpose and don't feel like I am suffereing in great loss in almost any case with that extra DA-AD cconversion. I putting a BA6A on a snare sometimes is just what you need and there is nothing that I can do ITB to do that. I automate my volumes and some plugs in PT and do some manual automation on my console for Aux riding and sub-mix fader rides and I am cool with that and get some killer results. We just got our first shiny record so things can't be that bad!!!

I will say that a board that doesn't sound good isn't going to help matters. Some mid level boards that you are describing might not sound good and owing the the mostly 5532 based designs in that category you can have mixed results. You have to learn what each of these boards are really doing to your audio when you are pumping a hot mix through them. Some boards in the mid-level do not regulate power to each channel and when you are slamming signal to all the channels, there is some debate as to distortion arising as a result of the power suck from the main supply rails. As far as I'm concerned, there is no debate there. Also, none of them clip nicely, or have the robustness in sound that the discrete counterparts can have - I learned this first hand with the overhaul of my board which was completed in steps - so I have been able to hear the change in the sound of the board in stages. But again, even without clipping individual channels you may feel like your mix is caving the board in. In these cases, it is better to leave yourself some headroom, not push the board to hard and I think you can wind up with a clean potent sound.

As an aside, Thomas, the master section on your Saber can be made much better and the noise floor can be dropped quite a bit. Of all the mods that were done, the master section made the most improvement (so did raising the SN ratio 30db in a worst case scenario!!!). Look at the schematics - poor grounding layout and they even ground the audio to the chassis on every single card in the board.....big no no. PM me if you are interested.

-josh
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Nathan Eldred

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2005, 12:07:51 pm »

I'm mixing outside of the box on a real console.  I can't get anywhere near the same results ITB (or on a digital console, same thing to my ears) as out.  Not to mention I'm using 2" 16 track now, but I have no hesitation in tracking basics to the 2" and dumping into Samplitude via Lavrys.  I'm still @ 48k and it sounds incredible.  I'm not losing that much, and it's still light years ahead of the digital with absoultely no extra effort.  So between tape and analog console, the sonics are very over the top in a good way.  But the computer is there for ease of comping, editing, duplicating, time aligning, adding a funky effect on one word or note when the client requests it, yada yada.
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kbshearer

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2005, 02:04:45 pm »

I've got to echo everyone else's repsonse. I track to 2" when the project allows and then bounce to a hard drive. I can't stand the sound of mixing in the box. I run everything back into an 80b,while using the automation in the DAW. Until something drastic changes, I am much happier with the sound of analog summing.

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wwittman

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2005, 02:13:35 pm »

approx 90% out of the box these days, on a real desk.

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RMoore

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2005, 03:29:42 am »

More and more working on the DAW I find but always mixing on a desk (Old Trident with 'issues') and (mostly, like 99%) running stems to analog multitrack and mixing from the tape machine.
Also using outboard FX, limiters etc.
Will have automation, submixing, edits obviously &  some occasional plugs etc happening on the stems going to analog.
When I 1st got the DAW I did do some ITB action but discovered the results I was getting, while 'ok' weren't all that great sonically compared to the OTB vibe.
I'll never forget the ITB mixes went out on a commercial release & I saw later on a (genre-specific) music forum some, I assumed, college student writing about the release eg: 'kinda cool project but what happened to the SOUND? Something changed, it seems all digital'...or to that effect..
Anyway, I was pretty amazed that basically an 'end consumer' could  hear the diff between a&b...and they were right too!
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studentcouncil

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2005, 09:55:04 pm »

I'm mixing on my Studer 901 for clients who appreciate the difference, and for myself.  For clients who just want it quick, I work ITB.  After going thru my mid-90's 02R phase, the increase in midrange resolution (not to mention fader/panpot resolution), etc., that the Studer provides was immediately and dramatically apparent.  You can also hit the buses with as much as you like and it never sounds saturated.
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ryst

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2005, 08:32:19 am »

I have a question.  If I can't afford large format mixing console at this time but want to start mixing OTB, would a small format console from A&H, Soundcraft, or Mackie be worth buying? Would I hear a difference (assuming I know what I am doing) between ITB and OTB with a console in the $1000 range?  Right now I use DP with plug ins...  Any advice would be great.
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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2005, 09:28:52 am »

Hi Nathan Smile,

I think you will get answers all over the map.  Some people will say you can't possibly get a better sound with a cheap desk, others will say you will.  Only one thing is for sure: they will sound "different" and only you can decide if it's "better."  I happen to have heard a few cheap desks that I think sound better than ITB, all other things being equal.  But I think it's one of those things that you have to try to really know.  Just buy a console from a place that gives you a 30 day money back guarantee, and return it if you don't think it's worth it... maybe try a different one.  This question is kinda like "which monitors are best" - it's VERY subjective.

ted nightshade

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2005, 09:41:53 am »

I'm attracted to the Fulcrom idea. I haven't tried that box, but before it came out we were replacing the make-up amp of a custom mixer with a Manley mic pre.

It's a good investment to score at least one really good mic pre, and then you can use that with the Fulcrom to have a really high quality mixer- even a tube mixer, if you use a tube mic pre! Cool idea, thinks me.
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Dave Peck

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2005, 02:38:23 pm »

ryst wrote on Fri, 29 April 2005 13:32

I have a question.  If I can't afford large format mixing console at this time but want to start mixing OTB, would a small format console from A&H, Soundcraft, or Mackie be worth buying? Would I hear a difference (assuming I know what I am doing) between ITB and OTB with a console in the $1000 range?  Right now I use DP with plug ins...  Any advice would be great.


I dunno about $1000... you'll probably have trouble finding any desks with good audio performance in that range... I've been on the hunt for a 24ch analog desk with a simple feature set and really good specs for quite a while now. See this related thread: http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/t/4298/8104/?SQ=0 a13da6e1063a3a1f82151bea285dae3

So far, the Neotek Elan II and the Trident Dream look like the closest to what I need (about $15,000), and the Speck Lilo may be a better choice for some folks who only need 16 channels (about half the cost). Something like a D&R Vision would work if you don't need to switch between tracking & mixdown (it doesn't have A/B line input switching).

But if you're not using the micpres or the EQ, you may be able to get good out-of-the-DAW results on a more affordable console.

For me, a lot of the benefit in recording to a DAW and mixing analog is in the ergonomics and the immediacy, which allows me to work a bit more creatively and, I dunno, musically(?) than trying to do the same mix in the box. I tend to use the DAW for editing the tracks and fixing things like the levels on those few pesky bass notes that jump way out in the mix, and then I can use the faders on the console strictly for creative decisions and on-the-fly level tweaks.

So the performance of the desk needs to be good, sure, but I'm not mixing analog strictly because I think 'analog sounds better'. For me, it allows me to do a better job, and THAT sounds better.
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Level

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2005, 02:42:47 pm »

Quote:

DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?


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