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Author Topic: The advantage of large mixers?  (Read 34356 times)

bobkatz

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #30 on: August 22, 2004, 09:25:11 am »

You're right, Rob. We're probably taking two different slants on the same issue. If I had experienced enough well-designed large-console rooms, I probably would be more optimistic on this issue. I just have not heard too many good-sounding (audiophile quality, as you say) rooms with large-format consoles...  

The tracking room at the old Masterfonics is certainly one of the rare candidates!

And in these days of economy rooms and a proliferation of project studios, the situation is getting rarer and rarer. You're privileged to work in such a room as the tracking room at Masterfonics (now Emerald, soon to be who knows what?).
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Rob G

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #31 on: August 22, 2004, 10:37:26 am »

bobkatz,

I absolutly 'hear' where you're coming from.  I've also had the misfortune to be in some poorly designed/maintained control rooms where the console was an issue(many years ago).  But I don't hear that so often these days(maybe it's the rooms I've been in most recently).  

I have a question though(you probably know better than I especially based upon you're knowledge of the Holman text, & such).  What system testing equipment/proceedure to your knowledge is best at detecting comb filtering effect, & other anomolies in control room monitoring, & tuning.  And what do you think of 'Bob Hodas', & his room tuning equipment, & techniques?

'Rob G.'.  
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George Massenburg

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #32 on: August 22, 2004, 07:16:56 pm »

Rob G wrote on Sat, 21 August 2004 14:02

I think you need to update yourself regarding current highend consoles, & room design trends.  The new Neve/88R's for example have been designed with a new shape that allows the sound to travel around the console with minimal interference to the room acoustics.  And SSL for years has made available custom options that fit on the back of the console, & in between the console wings that improve, or eradicate this problem.  [...]'Rob G.'.


I think you need to look around, Rob.  Either of these consoles is a HUGE physical and acoustic footprint that's found nowhere in the real world.  There have been efforts to deaden the clangy tin panels (20 years after it was pointed out) and to divert attention from the obvious, which is:

Large consoles at this point in time exist only to flatter the operator and encourage those who stand behind him (particularly record company A&R) to believe their opinions carry more weight for them, and to intimidate all others.

I don't buy it.  In fact, I won't buy them anymore.

George

p.s.  Rob, you need to answer my PM ASAP.
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LawrenceF

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #33 on: August 22, 2004, 07:26:58 pm »

There's a studio here that also serves as a school which has one of the large format SSL boards.  The room (as in music while being mixed or recorded) sounds very good.  The mixes I've heard from there do not.  Don't know if the console is a factor or not.

It's weird.  I took a 2 inch reel there (long time ago) and the mix sounded great in the control room.  When I got to the car I was sadly disappointed.  At the time it never occured to me that the size of the console could be contributing to the problem.  

Then again what do I know?  I'm just a guy who thinks he knows what sounds good.  I could never afford a $500,000 console anyway...

Lawrence
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bobkatz

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #34 on: August 22, 2004, 09:26:11 pm »

Rob G wrote on Sun, 22 August 2004 10:37

bobkatz,

I absolutly 'hear' where you're coming from.  I've also had the misfortune to be in some poorly designed/maintained control rooms where the console was an issue(many years ago).  But I don't hear that so often these days(maybe it's the rooms I've been in most recently).  

I have a question though(you probably know better than I especially based upon you're knowledge of the Holman text, & such).  What system testing equipment/proceedure to your knowledge is best at detecting comb filtering effect, & other anomolies in control room monitoring, & tuning.  And what do you think of 'Bob Hodas', & his room tuning equipment, & techniques?

'Rob G.'.  


Almost any system that can do anechoic measurements can detect the comb filtering: TDS; Spectrafoo, MLSSA....  I have Spectrafoo and it works fairly well, but buggy. I'd like to get something more stable but I'm not an acoustician, I only play at it Smile

Maybe there's a better way, but since you usually know the suspect reflecting surface, it's a pretty concrete way.

Ask me privately about your other question.
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bobkatz

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #35 on: August 22, 2004, 09:34:53 pm »

[quote title=I wrote on Sun, 22 August 2004 21:26]
Rob G wrote on Sun, 22 August 2004 10:37




Almost any system that can do anechoic measurements can detect the comb filtering: TDS; Spectrafoo, MLSSA....  I have Spectrafoo and it works fairly well, but buggy. I'd like to get something more stable but I'm not an acoustician, I only play at it Smile




I forgot to include:

The technique I was taught with TDS was to put an absorber on the suspect surface, and compare the frequency response with and without the absorber. As well as look at the time-domain response of the impulse to see if the frequency response anomalies correlate.
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There are two kinds of fools,
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Rob G

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #36 on: August 22, 2004, 11:00:23 pm »

George Massenburg,

Quote:"I think you need to look around, Rob. Either of these consoles is a HUGE physical and acoustic footprint that's found nowhere in the real world. There have been efforts to deaden the clangy tin panels (20 years after it was pointed out) and to divert attention from the obvious, which is:

Large consoles at this point in time exist only to flatter the operator and encourage those who stand behind him (particularly record company A&R) to believe their opinions carry more weight for them, and to intimidate all others.

I don't buy it. In fact, I won't buy them anymore."

                                                                                                              -George


1.)You say  "......found nowhere in the real world."......... .   I don't get what you're saying.  These consoles exist in many major studios(Conway-LA, AIR-UK, Ocean Way-LA, Hit Factory-NY, Larrabee-LA).

2.)The clangy 'tin' panels I've not noticed(sonically).  Not in 'The Tracking' room in Nashville,  'Studio A' at Transcontinental in Orlando,
Starstruck in Nashville, Electric Lady in New York, or any other studio that has SSL 9000J's, or 4000 series consoles.  Granted the music I work on is high volume Rap, Rock, R&B, & etc..  But that does'nt matter.  I'm always close enough to the console to detect any form of clanginess or rattle.  As a matter of fact when ever I first audition a room one of the first things I do is walk aroung the room to see how the room sounds in a variety of positions(including at the extreme sides of the console).  So it would be hard for this to escape me because I do 'look around', and listen around as well.

3.)I agree with you that the console occupies a HUGE physical/acoustic footprint in these types of installations but if it's such a problem then why do so many excellent mixes come out of these specified rooms?  This footprint is a 'non-issue' to me as an end user due to the fact that the acousticians have apparently solved the bass buildup/combfiltering problem(at least in the rooms I've mentioned, don't know about others) therefore I can't agree with you in this area.  Now how much time the acousticians spend in doing CAD designs to get around the console problem I have no idea.  But I do know what I've heard, & seen.  And the results seem tangible to me.

4.)I agree with you regarding the large console flattery effect(I'm flattered myself).  I don't endorse holding the position of use of the console to influence decisions to carry more weight, or intimidate people.  I don't encourage those types of situations although they do exist but not if I can have anything to do with it.

5.)I personally can't afford one of these large format consoles but I will employ one in production if the budget permits.  Yes things are being done more, & more in the box.  But these large format consoles are nowhere near being put into retirement just yet.  So I feel that you, & any others that might be ready to put the nails in the coffin for these large format consoles are going to have to hold off for a little bit.

'Rob G.'.

P.S.: Additionally check your email.
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djui5

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #37 on: August 23, 2004, 02:45:02 am »

Rob G wrote on Sat, 21 August 2004 23:13

bobkatz,

 Another example is Transcontinental's 9000J room(which is right in your home town).  That room does'nt seem to have problems with comb filtering effects. Ross Alexander(whom if I recall correctly was the acoustic designer for Transcontinental's 9000J room) did a great job of designing that room.  I've used the main monitors there, & mixes off of that monitoring system translate well almost anywhere with great results even if there is slight comb filtering going on which apparently is on the level of being a 'non-issue' based upon the mixes coming out of there.  
'Rob G'.'



  Yes..it was designed by Ross Alexander....who also recently did the acoustics in Eric Schillings home studio (which is quite an elaborate acoustical application).

Having worked in that room I can agree that there's no comb filtering problems....though there is this weird bass issue with the room caused by the gap between the racks....
The room does translate well......not sure about the mains though....I hate the sound of them and never used them as a reference much...just a "loud" thing sometimes...
That room is one of the better sounding rooms I've worked in..

Quote:


2.)The clangy 'tin' panels I've not noticed(sonically). Not in 'The Tracking' room in Nashville, 'Studio A' at Transcontinental in Orlando,
Starstruck in Nashville, Electric Lady in New York, or any other studio that has SSL 9000J's, or 4000 series consoles.



Not sure if this is what he was talking about but I have had problems with the panels on the back of both consoles in Transcon's A (9000J) and B (4000G+) rooms coming loose and annoying the shit outta me when mixing/tracking by rattling.
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Rob G

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #38 on: August 23, 2004, 07:18:29 am »

djui5,

Quote: "Not sure if this is what he was talking about but I have had problems with the panels on the back of both consoles in Transcon's A (9000J) and B (4000G+) rooms coming loose and annoying the shit outta me when mixing/tracking by rattling."

                                                                                                              -djui5


Funny I never had that problem in Room A which is where I was.  And I really don't see why in the 4000 room.  The monitors in that room were much smaller than the A room(JBL's if I remember vs Quested in room A).  I did'nt feel comfortable in the 4000 room.  The 'vibe' was good in the Amek Big room(even though small but great to do vocals/overdubs), & 9000J room.  I've since recommended the rooms to several different producers from my camp, & other camps.

Of note it's kind of interesting that Susan, & Eric(husband, & wife) are key individuals at two different facilities within the same state(Transcontinental, & Crescent Moon respectivly last I checked but, it's been a while).  I believe Ross Alexander did some design work at Crescent Moon as well which is a facility I'd like to do some work out of in FL in addition to Hit Factory-Miami.

When I was at Transcontinental I met this guy who had amazing producing potential(I think his name was Kabari, or Dakari).  We commented on each others tracks.  Been checking for credits for him but hav'nt seen much.  Is he still working there do you know?  Reason is if he's not still with Transcontinental I can give the guy 'alot' of work starting at about 7 months from now.

'Rob G.'.
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George Massenburg

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #39 on: August 23, 2004, 07:29:12 am »

Rob G wrote on Sun, 22 August 2004 22:00


George Massenburg wrote



[...] [SSL4&6K and Neve's represent] a HUGE physical and acoustic footprint that's found nowhere in the real world. There have been efforts to deaden the clangy tin panels (20 years after it was pointed out) and to divert attention from the obvious, which is:

Large consoles at this point in time exist only to flatter the operator and encourage those who stand behind him (particularly record company A&R) to believe their opinions carry more weight for them, and to intimidate all others.
[...]


1.)You say  "......found nowhere in the real world."......... .   I don't get what you're saying.  These consoles exist in many major studios(Conway-LA, AIR-UK, Ocean Way-LA, Hit Factory-NY, Larrabee-LA).


Nooooo, those places are dinosaurs for the most part.  I'm talking about real places: millions of homes' listening rooms.
Quote:



2.)The clangy 'tin' panels I've not noticed(sonically).  Not in 'The Tracking' room in Nashville,  'Studio A' at Transcontinental in Orlando,
Starstruck in Nashville, Electric Lady in New York, or any other studio that has SSL 9000J's, or 4000 series consoles.  Granted the music I work on is high volume Rap, Rock, R&B, & etc..  But that doesn't matter.  I'm always close enough to the console to detect any form of clanginess or rattle.  As a matter of fact when ever I first audition a room one of the first things I do is walk aroung the room to see how the room sounds in a variety of positions(including at the extreme sides of the console).  So it would be hard for this to escape me because I do 'look around', and listen around as well.

3.)I agree with you that the console occupies a HUGE physical/acoustic footprint in these types of installations but if it's such a problem then why do so many excellent mixes come out of these specified rooms?  This footprint is a 'non-issue' to me as an end user due to the fact that the acousticians have apparently solved the bass buildup/combfiltering problem(at least in the rooms I've mentioned, don't know about others) therefore I can't agree with you in this area.  Now how much time the acousticians spend in doing CAD designs to get around the console problem I have no idea.  But I do know what I've heard, & seen.  And the results seem tangible to me.


Acousticians have not solved this, and in fact are still guessing about small rooms in general.  "Acousticians" can't remove a huge spectral reflection in front of a listener.  You could do as I used to do and cover the large console with 4" of Sonex.  But it's so much easier to just put it up on eBay.
Quote:



4.)I agree with you regarding the large console flattery effect (I'm flattered myself).  I don't endorse holding the position of use of the console to influence decisions to carry more weight, or intimidate people.  I don't encourage those types of situations although they do exist but not if I can have anything to do with it.


Of course you don't encourage it.  But if you really wanted to stop A&R men you'd get rid of them.  Which is what I'm trying to do.
Quote:


5.)I personally can't afford one of these large format consoles but I will employ one in production if the budget permits.  Yes things are being done more, & more in the box.  But these large format consoles are nowhere near being put into retirement just yet.  So I feel that you, & any others that might be ready to put the nails in the coffin for these large format consoles are going to have to hold off for a little bit.

'Rob G.'.



Large consoles are good for one other thing.  For overweight engineers it's a boon - everything is conveniently arrayed on front of them (even if it sounds like shit); they don't have to bend over revealing their butt crack to clients anymore.

George
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Rob G

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #40 on: August 23, 2004, 07:50:23 am »

George Massenburg,

Man you really are anti-large format console!  Well my position is still the same.  I like the large desk if for nothing else other than the wow effect, & for part of the work I like to do it gets me, & others where we need to be sonically even if it's just the quadcompressor that we're after.  Apparently I'm not the only one( who still favors the big consoles).

And while we're in discussion.  What is your alternative set up to acquiring the 'big console' analog sound digitally, or do you not desire the sound of analoge at all these days.  I'm very interested as to what you(a major trend setter) uses these days.  Is it a Pro Tools|HD rig with a 6 foot rack of interfaces, & an ICON(I would assume you being who you are that you would have probably gotten one of the first ICON's - a Beta version even).  Or do you have the huge rack but just an 8 to 24 fader controller?  If I'm forced to mix 'in the box'  I've found that the URS, Bomb Factory, & (don't laugh) T RackS plugs help me emulate some analogue character.  And of course I use your plugin when appropriate(but man does it each up processing slots).  I guess you get what you 'plug for', I mean 'pay for'.

'Rob G.'.

P.S.: 'Tony Maserati'(engineer for Mary J. Blige, & Beyonce), 'Chuck Ainlay'(engineer for Trisha Yearwood, & Steve Earle), 'Jimmy Douglas'(engineer for Missy Elliott, & Justin Timberlake), & 'Jeff Balding'(Faith Hill, & SHeDAISY) who are avid large format console users last time I checked are not 'fat' guys, unless you're talking about the sound of their mixes which in their cases would be considered 'phat'.  Who are these 'fat' guys you're talkling about?  Just kidding(as I'm sure you have been here, & there).  Additionally I, & my people can put up with the A&R guy/gal as long as they make sure that their labels business affairs dept. has the checks cut on time, & made out properly, in the right amounts(correct numbers of zero's, & etc.).
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bobkatz

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #41 on: August 23, 2004, 12:08:04 pm »

Rob G wrote on Sun, 22 August 2004 23:00



2.)The clangy 'tin' panels I've not noticed(sonically).  Not in 'The Tracking' room in Nashville,  'Studio A' at Transcontinental in Orlando,
Starstruck in Nashville, Electric Lady in New York, or any other studio that has SSL




Try sending a slow swept sine wave out of the monitors and listen for rattles.

Quote:



3.)I agree with you that the console occupies a HUGE physical/acoustic footprint in these types of installations but if it's such a problem then why do so many excellent mixes come out of these specified rooms?  This footprint is a 'non-issue' to me as




One of the following:
a) I guess it depends on what you call an excellent mix  Smile
b) many recording engineers have learned to compensate for the acoustic weaknesses
c) the room may be designed, as you say, to minimize the problems... and it depends on your tolerance for such problems.
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Rob G

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #42 on: August 23, 2004, 03:04:47 pm »

bobkatz,

I'll try the sine wave technique you mentioned.  I regularly use the signal generator in Pro Tools for this when checking for blown speaker's/diaphram's, driver fatigue, and other such things.  But still I doubt that I'd miss some rattling.  I have reference tracks that during breaks(automated solo's), & such drop everything out except the drums with one containing an 808 kick that has the top filtered off, & the pitch descending to the point of what would be the free air resonance of several control room mains systems.  If that reference track can't expose 'anything' loose in a control room none will.

Regarding excellent mixes.  I'd say that Shania Twain's mixes are on a high level(even the ones done almost 10 years ago in 'The Tracking Room' if I recall the credits correctly).  Alicia Keys has a few mixes that are stellar( done at Electric Lady, once again if I recall the credits correctly).  It kind of depends on the genre of music you're listening to.  What's considered a proper recording/mix balance of a kick drum in 'Country' realm is'nt going to play well in the 'Rap' field where tracks are still 'gritty' but a 'polished' type of grit these days vs. ten years ago where if the track was'nt mostly 'grit' it was'nt considered Hip-Hop.



'Rob G,',  
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bobkatz

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #43 on: August 23, 2004, 07:07:33 pm »

Rob G wrote on Mon, 23 August 2004 15:04

bobkatz,

I'll try the sine wave technique you mentioned.  I regularly use the signal generator in Pro Tools for this when checking for blown speaker's/diaphram's, driver fatigue, and other such things.  But still I doubt that I'd miss some rattling.  I have reference tracks that during breaks(automated solo's), & such drop everything out except the drums with one containing an 808 kick that has the top filtered off, & the pitch descending to the point of what would be the free air resonance of several control room mains systems.  If that reference track can't expose 'anything' loose in a control room none will.




You're probably right!

Quote:



Regarding excellent mixes.  I'd say that Shania Twain's mixes are on a high level(even the ones done almost 10 years ago in 'The Tracking Room' if I recall the credits correctly).




That's your opinion. I can't listen to a Shania Twain CD for more than 30 seconds without feeling like I'm exhausted from all the squashing, overcompression and over the top-in your face...   Sounds good on the radio, though, but not because of this, despite it.

Quote:



Alicia Keys has a few mixes that are stellar( done at Electric Lady, once again if I recall the credits correctly).  




I'd have to recheck my CD collection. I can't remember what I thought of her sound, sorry.

Quote:



It kind of depends on the genre of music you're listening to.  What's considered a proper recording/mix balance of a kick drum in 'Country' realm is'nt going to play well in the 'Rap' field where tracks are still 'gritty' but a 'polished' type of grit these days vs. ten years ago where if the track was'nt mostly 'grit' it was'nt considered Hip-Hop.




Well, if David Banner's current is "where it's at", then I can do it, but I can't stand the sound. It's lot all its punch... for the sake of the loudness race.
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There are two kinds of fools,
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The other says-this is new and therefore better."

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Rob G

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #44 on: August 23, 2004, 07:26:53 pm »

bobkatz,

I agree.  David Banner does'nt a catch my  attention as far as sonic excellence.  In the Rap/R&B category 'Outkast' really caught my attention sonically, which from what I heard was mixed mostly in the box but then some mixed on SSL XL9000K(large format console reigning in once again on 'Hey Ya' which was the track that caught my attention the most).  But if you want excellence no matter what genre then the Al Schmitt engineered 'Diana Krall' recordings absolutely take the cake.  Or if you listen to SACD check out the 'Red Rose Music' SACD's.  But, like I was saying great sonics kind of depend on the genre, & what that particular genre defines as good.

'Rob G.'.
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