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Author Topic: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?  (Read 145010 times)

maxim

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #45 on: May 09, 2005, 01:38:45 am »

every process, whether electrical or mathematical, will "degrade" the sound along the way

and there is no "good and evil", despite the fundamentalists' assurances

it either fits or it doesn't

i don't know much about science, but could the crosstalk be creating a psychoacoustic illusion of separation by introducing a faint phantom image in the other channel, thus  sounding more "realistical" for objects panned hard right and left

bob k wrote:

"Not ALL analog consoles sound better than the digital mix."

and no two digital mixes sound the same

" And "better" is truly in the ear of the behearer. "

hear, hear..and hearer

btw, my only experience of this 'mix-shrinking' phenomenon happened when i heard realtime btd in ptle, acw just monitoring the mix

i couldn't understand why it happened, but it scared me off protools

in dp, you don't get to hear the bouncedown in action, and it takes a little longer to computate (i always trust offline computing more than realtime), and the mix sounds the same (albeit, after a few minutes)so i took it as a sign to stick with dp

but i wonder if one could do a double-blind/null test comparing the monitor mix and a bounced mix, using a fairly neutral capture medium?

would it work to just take the outs and plug them into two channels (that sounds like it would introduce an extra a/d stage, which can't be "good")?

what if that were done itb, within the application?

would it still undergo the same operational calculations as the btd file, only this time, in real time?

hell, my head hurts



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bobkatz

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #46 on: May 09, 2005, 08:18:00 am »

Deep White wrote on Mon, 09 May 2005 01:22



p.s.: When mixing ITB with Nuendo, I never drive it near 0dB, since I can always drive it with Vari-MU's input gain.  I don't know if this is the key that save me from bad digital summing mixes.



Actually, the key to how to avoid "bad" digital summing mixes is to LEARN what it is that the analog stuff did automatically and apply that to your digital mix. Learn about the Haas effect. Learn how delays, crossed delays, early reflections, and phase manipulation, even the addition of noise and distortion, can be used to create a digital mix that is as dimensional (or MORE) than any analog mix you used to make.

BK
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Tim Gilles

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #47 on: May 09, 2005, 08:30:03 am »

bobkatz wrote on Mon, 09 May 2005 08:18

Actually, the key to how to avoid "bad" digital summing mixes is to LEARN what it is that the analog stuff did automatically and apply that to your digital mix. Learn about the Haas effect. Learn how delays, crossed delays, early reflections, and phase manipulation, even the addition of noise and distortion, can be used to create a digital mix that is as dimensional (or MORE) than any analog mix you used to make.

BK


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Tim "Rumblefish" Gilles

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #48 on: May 09, 2005, 12:46:55 pm »

gwailoh wrote on Sun, 08 May 2005 22:18

It seems to me though that if analog summed stereo images were consistently superior, the logic could be the reverse of what you suggest.  E.g, it's not that analog summing is adding something, but that digital summing contains digital errors which analog summing eliminates.  I'm not saying that I believe this to be true, but it does seem to be a logical possibility, and I think it's consistent with the anectodes which someone posted in another similar thread re how removing plugins from the ITB mix improved the results.



Summing and plugins are two different issues.  Plugins have their own effect on a mix independent of whatever kind of summing is being used.

Furthermore, people don't agree that analog summing is consistently better than digital.  In fact, in one controlled test, 9 out of 10 engineers in Teanneck New Jersey prefered digital summing to the same session summed through a Trident series 24.  OTOH, many of them preferred the same session summed through an SSL J series.  Many summing boxes have been tested publicly, and opinions fall on both sides, with a lot of "who cares" thrown in as well. end analog summing to digital

It has also been shown that when all other variables are eliminated that different DAW platforms with different engines (32 floating versus 48 linear) can  produce bit identical results when summing the same session.  No two analog consoles will do this, nor will 2 passes through the same analog console do this.  Common sense would tell you which system has errors and which doesn't, which of course is different from saying which sounds better.

-R
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Nathan Eldred

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #49 on: May 09, 2005, 03:51:29 pm »

Tim Gilles wrote on Mon, 09 May 2005 08:30

bobkatz wrote on Mon, 09 May 2005 08:18

Actually, the key to how to avoid "bad" digital summing mixes is to LEARN what it is that the analog stuff did automatically and apply that to your digital mix. Learn about the Haas effect. Learn how delays, crossed delays, early reflections, and phase manipulation, even the addition of noise and distortion, can be used to create a digital mix that is as dimensional (or MORE) than any analog mix you used to make.

BK


Once upon a time there was an Emperor who held a wonderful parade every Saturday....




Everytime I come across the comparison, there isn't a comparison.  When I hear different engineer's work.  What they used to do, and what they do now.  Analog wins every time.  ITB, can sound 'okay', but it requires good outboard gear and incredible conversion (again just to get to a B+...and that's just the guys with the best skills).  The same guy doing the same thing on a high end analog console, it becomes an A+.  Give yourself a letter grade advantage without doing anything extra.  Just my $.00002 & HO.  Maybe this is obvious to a lot of people....but is average sound acceptable, because convenience and cost take precedence?
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Nathan Eldred

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bobkatz

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #50 on: May 09, 2005, 04:28:06 pm »

Nathan Eldred wrote on Mon, 09 May 2005 15:51



Everytime I come across the comparison, there isn't a comparison.  When I hear different engineer's work.  What they used to do, and what they do now.  Analog wins every time.  ITB, can sound 'okay', but it requires good outboard gear and incredible conversion (again just to get to a B+...and that's just the guys with the best skills).  The same guy doing the same thing on a high end analog console, it becomes an A+.  Give yourself a letter grade advantage without doing anything extra.  Just my $.00002 & HO.  Maybe this is obvious to a lot of people....but is average sound acceptable, because convenience and cost take precedence?


All other things being equal, Nathan? That is: NO PLUGINS on the digital side, and NO outboard on the analog side?  Try that first.

Start with excellent A/D and D/A converters, do a digital mix. Feed lots of good outboard with aux sends and analog inserts, stay away from (too many) digital compressors, and you'll have a mix that's both transparent and fat, dimensional and beautiful. It can be done.

If you have heard ONE In the Box mix that sounds superb, that is a simple "exoneration" (as if there needs to be) of the all digital mix. I've heard (and done) my share of them. You do have to learn new skills. A noiseless mixer doesn't mask or hide problems. A distortionless mixer doesn't add any sounds of its own.

BK
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Nathan Eldred

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #51 on: May 09, 2005, 10:10:56 pm »

bobkatz wrote on Mon, 09 May 2005 16:28



All other things being equal, Nathan? That is: NO PLUGINS on the digital side, and NO outboard on the analog side?  Try that first.

Start with excellent A/D and D/A converters, do a digital mix. Feed lots of good outboard with aux sends and analog inserts, stay away from (too many) digital compressors, and you'll have a mix that's both transparent and fat, dimensional and beautiful. It can be done.

If you have heard ONE In the Box mix that sounds superb, that is a simple "exoneration" (as if there needs to be) of the all digital mix. I've heard (and done) my share of them. You do have to learn new skills. A noiseless mixer doesn't mask or hide problems. A distortionless mixer doesn't add any sounds of its own.



I have done the tests, with all things being equal.  I've heard other people's attempts (that's what I said above).  I was saying that analog outboard somewhat helps ITB, plugs destroy it.  Analog outboard on a console (operator being equal) is godlike.  It's not a skill set deficiency, it's a tool deficiency.  Maybe it's distortion, maybe it's cross talk, maybe it's because we like the sound of electrons flowing through a wire.  Either way, through an analog console the music is sweeter/wider/deeper/extended/more real/more emotional intuitive to my ears, brain, and spirit.  This is one case where empirical experience has won over scientific dogma on a daily basis, for me.  And it's why I've put my money where my mouth is by hiring a tech to continually maintain a 2" & 1/4" deck, an analog console, and a respectable mix of vintage and new analog outboard.  FWIW I don't keep it completely in the analog realm, the multitrack gets bumped to the computer and spit back out to the console and tape deck.  Running a commercial studio for my client base without a partial involvement of the computer would be impossible.  But this is not for sonic reasons.
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Nathan Eldred

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Cerumen

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #52 on: May 09, 2005, 11:59:24 pm »

"And it's why I've put my money where my mouth is by hiring a tech to continually maintain a 2" & 1/4" deck, an analog console, and a respectable mix of vintage and new analog outboard."

me too!
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Jorge Hernandez

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #53 on: May 10, 2005, 01:00:50 am »

I don't think we are doubting that working with an analog console is better than totally ITB.  The reason why I myself am in this thread is because I can't afford one.  Not even the "mini-me" console SSL AWS900.

And thus users like I are talking about what we can do in the underworld to improve our sound to B+. Razz

I don't see any conflict in what we're talking about.  Very Happy
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Arys Chien
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Juan Covas

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #54 on: May 10, 2005, 04:22:30 pm »

Yes I still using as much analogue as posible.Still a warmer and fatter sound.I've been using both for the past 15yr and is the perfect combination.Trident pre rules.....
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maxim

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #55 on: May 11, 2005, 09:41:17 am »

arys wrote:

"I don't think we are doubting that working with an analog console is better than totally ITB. "

i think bob k just intimated that it might not necessarily be the case

the question is not whether you can do a better mix on a daw, but whether a better mix can be done on one

not the same thing
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bobkatz

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #56 on: May 11, 2005, 12:12:26 pm »

maxim wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 09:41

arys wrote:

"I don't think we are doubting that working with an analog console is better than totally ITB. "

i think bob k just intimated that it might not necessarily be the case

the question is not whether you can do a better mix on a daw, but whether a better mix can be done on one

not the same thing


The key here is to define "better". For some kinds of music, the slight loss of transparency in any D/A/D setup (external analog mixer) is more than offset by the coloration you like. Sounds nice, the additional fattening or HF rolloff or the thousands of other kinds of colorations are very appealing (in the VERY GOOD sense). However, if you are going for a mix that is TRANSPARENT you will be less tempted to do an analog console mix. I honestly feel that a digital mix with aux sends going to lots of good outboard analog gear can give you the best of both worlds (and controllable to any degree, as well).

I don't like to generalize, but "rock and roll" tends to sound better with an analog mix or lots of analog outboard, and "jazz" and "classical" tends to sound better with an all digital mix.

Oh boy, am I going to get creamed for that generalization... all I am trying to do is describe in complex words what only takes 10 seconds to realize by ear  Smile

With the right tools and decent original miking techniques and decent original recording rooms, you can get as much depth and dimension and separation in a digital mix as ANYONE out there trying to do it analog. There are, of course, many ways to skin a cat, and the words "all other things being equal" automatically cannot apply when comparing a digital mix to an "equivalent" analog mix. Because you MUST add or apply different things in the digital mix to get some of the distortions that happen "automatically" in the analog mix. Been there, done that. I've really done a number of studies of this. Remember, every day I get in a new mix from a new client. I ask them, "how did you mix this?" After hearing hundreds and hundreds of such examples, each one auditioned on this high resolution mastering reproduction system, I can reasonably reach some conclusions. More easily done with listening examples than words.

The skills of the mix engineer TOTALLY enter in here. That's why I say, "all things are never equal." A good mix engineer who is skilled in both how to take advantage of the analog mix console AND a digital mix console is still a rare animal.

Anyway, speaking of skill sets. I received two songs (for a 3-song demo) from one engineer and a third song from another engineer working in the SAME ROOM with most of the same equipment and the same monitors (HD1-S). The second engineer wonders how the first engineer was able to get so much more depth than he. (Both were mixing on SSLs). The answer: Skill. Also, the first engineer had available to him two TC System 6000s and the second engineer only had a TC 5000 and a few other "lesser" reverbs available to him. But after mastering I was able to marry the first two songs with the third quite nicely and please all parties concerned. So, in other words, I was able to increase the "dimensionality" of the third song to fall more in line with the other two.

I'm willing to dare say that the same sound or a "reasonable equivalent" could have been gotten by a properly-skilled engineer working with an all-digital mix from the same sources, provided that all the same analog outboard gear was available, and MAYBE a couple of SSL modules or equivalent if you wanted to gild the lily and get a certain "sheen or warmth" that did not seem to happen in the digital mix.

BK
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Nathan Eldred

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #57 on: May 11, 2005, 12:15:18 pm »

bobkatz wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 09:41



and "jazz" and "classical" tends to sound better with an all digital mix.

Oh boy, am I going to get creamed for that generalization... all I am trying to do is describe in complex words what only takes 10 seconds to realize by ear  Smile
BK




Booooo....

Just kidding Bob, to each his own. Smile

XXXOOOOXXX
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Nathan Eldred

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djui5

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #58 on: May 11, 2005, 03:55:15 pm »

Juan Covas wrote on Tue, 10 May 2005 14:22

Yes I still using as much analogue as posible.Still a warmer and fatter sound.I've been using both for the past 15yr and is the perfect combination.Trident pre rules.....



Juan!
Welcome to the forum. It's good to have you here. I sent you a pm.
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ted nightshade

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Re: DAW & Desks: Is ANYBODY actually still mixing on their desk?
« Reply #59 on: May 11, 2005, 04:39:17 pm »

Of course it's not really necessary to mix either way, if the sound can really all happen in the same space all at once and for real.

I think we expect a lot of mixing. What an incredible trick to take all those separate tracks and make one big sound out of them. Of course there's serious degradation, analog or digital. But we are so invested in this approach that we see the shortcoming in the summing, not in the whole approach. What a miracle we expect this summing to do. No wonder we're always looking for a better way.
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