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Author Topic: The advantage of large mixers?  (Read 34108 times)

odysseys

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2004, 04:47:01 am »

Big consoles are still the best thing,but with some organization,also mid sized studios can benefit from the current technology in computer audio.
Personally i would prefer having 2-3 racks of various preamps,some digital and analog patchbays.it's just much better to have more options in preamps if you just know how each of them sounds with different instruments,voices and generally different music.
It's nice to have a neve but you can't avoid it's homogenus sound (that stands for every console of course).But this somehow,blocks original sound to be born.
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orbb

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2004, 08:59:33 am »

Also, they look cool.  Never forget the wow factor.

Bo Sweeney
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i dig music

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2004, 10:26:43 am »

Quote:

It's nice to have a neve but you can't avoid it's homogenus sound (that stands for every console of course).But this somehow,blocks original sound to be born.



Indeed.
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R. Steele

Rob G

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2004, 11:20:52 am »

Keef,

Advantages Of Large Mixers:
First off high-end consoles are built like tanks(I.E.:meant to last at least the next 50 years, or so with good maintenance). Don't believe me. Then the next time you go into a major studio check out the machine room, & you'll see what I'm talking about(the SSL power supply/computer rack is huge, and robust). Then you've got to think about everything in the highend console signal wise being balanced in, & out just about everywhere. The dynamic range, & channel crosstalk of the highend consoles is usually much better than their smaller less expensive analogue counterparts. Last I checked I think the noise floor for the SSL 9000 K,orJ series was at least -95 below '0' ref to +4 for a single channel with max output above '0' being somewhere in the +26 to +28 region. Also think about the fact that most high-end consoles have full featured dynamics in each channel module, & the amout of buss(paths) is greater as well(like 64 for the SSL 9000 Series taking into account all multitrack, aux, & output busses)when compared to almost all digital consoles outside of say the Euphonix, Sony(Top Of The Line Model), Harrison, & now Digidesign(if you consider the ICON-Pro Tools HD systems packged together), & etc. . And the type of wiring in the in the highend consoles is of higher quality as well(usually oxygen free cabling). Then to top it off the automation systems are more powerful. You've got to remember that you can spec. an SSL console out to have 120 channels, & the automation system has to be powerful enough to automate everything in the console(recall, main, & monitor mutes, large fader moves, eq, & insert ins-outs, + 5.1 panning in the XL9000K). This is alot to offer the client. Also the center section is usually alot more comprehensive the larger the console. Personally I like working with lagre format analogue consoles. You feel powerful working behind a desk that has 80, or more channel strips at your command. What I don't like about large format consoles is having to leave the sweet spot in between monitors to make eq/dynamics adjustments, or taking the 30 minutes, or so to do recalls. Just my opinion(this has been so heavily discussed on the net before it's ridiculous but I feel strongly about this so hence the post).

'Rob G.'.

P.S.: Also you'll never have to worry about samplerate capability in the future with an analogue console because there's none  to be worried about.
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Roland Storch

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2004, 06:12:52 pm »

The advantage of big consoles is, like Bob wrote:
The purpose of a console isn't sound quality. It's to facilitate performance both in front of the microphones and in the mix.

So I cannot agree what you wrote, Rob.
Looking at the quality of the signal chain big consoles have to deal with a lot of problems because they have so many features.There are more puristic consoles with better performance because the layout of the board can be built with less compromises than in a big console.

Another disadvantage is not only the huge size (acoustical problem in  the studio because of reflections) but also the huge price (overpriced?).

If you take a more puristic console with better measurements, better dynamic behaviour (ragarding the signal, not a dynamic automation) and more transparency (I do not like the expression sound quality so much, but you know what I mean) you propably have a better price/performance relation.
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Han S.

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2004, 06:27:09 pm »

Quote:

 title=Bob Olhsson wrote on Fri, 20 August 2004 06:01 What we have today is just a cheaper version of what was being used at the high end 20 years ago.


This is the era of the compromise.
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Rob G

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2004, 09:26:52 pm »

Roland Storch,

Quote:"So I cannot agree what you wrote, Rob.
Looking at the quality of the signal chain big consoles have to deal with a lot of problems because they have so many features.There are more puristic consoles with better performance because the layout of the board can be built with less compromises than in a big console.

Another disadvantage is not only the huge size (acoustical problem in the studio because of reflections) but also the huge price (overpriced?).

If you take a more puristic console with better measurements, better dynamic behaviour (ragarding the signal, not a dynamic automation) and more transparency (I do not like the expression sound quality so much, but you know what I mean) you propably have a better price/performance relation."

                                                                                          -Roland Storch



I agree with you regarding some of your comments as far as large consoles being an acoustic problem, & their high price.  But the problem with large consoles being an acoustic problem in real case scenarios is'nt a problem.  Why, because most of the individuals that purchase these expensive large format consoles also hire expensive studio designers(Whitemark, RBDG, ADG, & etc.) to make sure that the size/shape of the console is a non issue.  And regarding purity.  Well if that's what you want then order a custom mastering console from your's truly 'George Massenburg'(if his company will agree to do so) if what you want is pure.  But if you need features more so than purity which is an 'advantage' of large mixers then buy/use the large format console.  Main line production outside of 'audio purist' jazz, & classical recordiings requires the many features of large mixers(,or Pro Tools|HD in the digital realm) therefore the wide scale use of them(large mixers).  If I'm involved in a production(Rock, Rap, Country, or R&B) that has the budget to use a large scale console I'll use one.  If called to do a jazz, or classical production, I might go one further by not even using a console but accuratly mic.ing the project in stereo with no compression, or audio treatment what so ever, just using mic's, cables, pre amp, A/D converter, & recording medium.  There are tradeoff's either way.  You choose.

'Rob G.'.
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Extreme Mixing

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2004, 10:55:29 pm »

The main advantage of large mixers is that they act as their own bass trap.  I mean, once a guy gets over say 350 pounds, he's going to eliminate a ton of standing waves and generally smooth out the frequency response of the room.  The problem is that it's just not that healthy, and the chicks don't dig it.

Steve

bobkatz

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2004, 09:55:50 am »

Rob G wrote on Fri, 20 August 2004 21:26



I agree with you regarding some of your comments as far as large consoles being an acoustic problem, & their high price.  But the problem with large consoles being an acoustic problem in real case scenarios is'nt a problem.  Why, because most of the individuals that purchase these expensive large format consoles also hire expensive studio designers(Whitemark, RBDG, ADG, & etc.) to make sure that the size/shape of the console is a non issue.  





Ha ha ha ha ha! On or off the record you will not find a legitimate studio designer who will tell you that he has designed a studio with a large console that is not an acoustic compromise. You can't beat the laws of physics.

Mind you, it is possible to design a studio with mid/far fields and with a large console where the compromises of the console have been minimized, but not below the threshold of audibility, in my experience and opinion. And yes, that's what we pay the experts and acousticians to do.

And when it comes to near fields on top of the meter bridge, they are serious compromises. The only way to reduce the comb filtering to acceptable levels is to cover the console top with sonex!

BK
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Rob G

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2004, 03:02:19 pm »

bobkatz,

Quote:"Ha ha ha ha ha! On or off the record you will not find a legitimate studio designer who will tell you that he has designed a studio with a large console that is not an acoustic compromise. You can't beat the laws of physics.

Mind you, it is possible to design a studio with mid/far fields and with a large console where the compromises of the console have been minimized, but not below the threshold of audibility, in my experience and opinion. And yes, that's what we pay the experts and acousticians to do.

And when it comes to near fields on top of the meter bridge, they are serious compromises. The only way to reduce the comb filtering to acceptable levels is to cover the console top with sonex!"

                                                                                                    -BK



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.  There are even some recording studios out there that have cavities(traps) built under the flooring as acoutic 'relief' zones that help to aleviate this problem.  Please do a little more research in this area.  I'm not saying that the problem physically does'nt exist.  What I am saying is that people have already come up with solutions for this problem.  It 'was' a major problem some 15 years ago.  Not so much of one now(currently a non-issue if you employ a 'proper' acoustician).

And, I don't know about you but I stopped putting nearfields on the console top years ago.  I use speaker stands that are placed slightly 'behind' the console at a distance where they are still in the nearfield but height/angle wise cause console reflections (that would cause you to hear comb filtering effects) to present themselves in a place below, & behind your ears rather than within your listening position (in the 'sweet spot').  So this as well is a non-issue if you set your monitors up correctly.  Just my opinion(and scientific fact).  

'Rob G.'.
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bobkatz

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2004, 03:51:19 pm »

Rob G wrote on Sat, 21 August 2004 15:02




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.  

(snip)




Well, that's interesting. I'd like to get some feedback from high-end acousticians as to whether these new console designs REALLY fix all problems. For example, the amount and kind of absorption that has to be put on the back of the console to avoid reflections/refractions from monitors mounted behind it.

And the measurable comb filtering off the top of the console surface (measure the time delay between the direct sound and the reflected sound off the console to the user's ears). If this has been eliminated in "modern" console designs, then either I'll eat my hat, or tip my hat to the acoustic architect that designed around the problem.

Quote:



And, I don't know about you but I stopped putting nearfields on the console top years ago.  




Hooray! You're preaching to the choir, Rob. When I have mixed in front of a large-format console (it's been about a year, remember, I spend most of my time in the mastering room)---I also take special pains to mount a pair of high-end monitors on stands OFTEN completely away from the console surface (e.g. to the right of the console, necessitating rotating your chair and turning your head). It seems strange to the producer until he starts listening! Then he's a believer.

I only mentioned the near fields because there are still many engineers who continue to mount the loudspeakers on the meter bridge, believing that the direct wave of the near fields will overcome all the other problems.
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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 #26 on: August 21, 2004, 07:20:12 pm »

bobkatz,

Quote:"Well, that's interesting. I'd like to get some feedback from high-end acousticians as to whether these new console designs REALLY fix all problems. For example, the amount and kind of absorption that has to be put on the back of the console to avoid reflections/refractions from monitors mounted behind it.

And the measurable comb filtering off the top of the console surface (measure the time delay between the direct sound and the reflected sound off the console to the user's ears). If this has been eliminated in "modern" console designs, then either I'll eat my hat, or tip my hat to the acoustic architect that designed around the problem. ............."
     

                                                                                                                        -BK


The SSL option 'is' partially made up of what you described.  From what I remember last I saw this modification up front, was that it was a framework that is mounted on the back side of the console(foam 'is' a part of this modification package).  Masterfonic's(Now Emerald Entertainment) 'Tracking Room' had one installed on their SSL9000J which by the way is a console/control room setup that was commissioned almost 10 years ago. And monitor placement(height as well as angle, & depth behind the console) greatly contributes 'in part' to 'the fix' of this age old problem.


'Rob G.'.

P.S.: One of the acoustic designers you may have to tip your hat to is 'Tom Hidley' who's credited with designing some of the 'top' recording studios in 'Nashville' as well as 'the world' over.
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JamSync

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2004, 12:03:39 am »

Touchwood Studios wrote on Thu, 19 August 2004 18:52

What would have people said if 20 years ago someone on a soap box would be standing a saying "Most of the music/video/film/composing will be done with computers."
They all would have laughed.
Never say Never.


Those of us who had access to Synclavier in the very early 80's often said that. I think they laughed when I said it wouldn't cost $100,000 to do that in the future.

bobkatz

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Re: The advantage of large mixers?
« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2004, 12:18:12 am »

Rob G wrote on Sat, 21 August 2004 19:20



commissioned almost 10 years ago. And monitor placement(height as well as angle, & depth behind the console) greatly contributes 'in part' to 'the fix' of this age old problem.



Monitor placement, height, depth, and angle does not eliminate the comb filtering, it only reduces it. The reflections are still there, and unfortunately you're playing with their amplitude, as it is impossible to make the top surface of the console anechoic. Check out Holman's book, "5.1 Surround Sound" for the diagram of the problem (though it is as old as time; the first time I saw it was in Burrough's Book, over 30 years ago). I would say the 3 to 1 rule ought to apply to comb filtering of reflections off a console surface, though our ears are not the same thing as a "channel" and we have a remarkable ability to ignore the second reflection as it is not being mixed to mono---as Burrough's rule is normally meant to apply.

I've never worked in a Hidley Room. The only one I did any significant listening in was Glenn Meadows' Masterfonics mastering room. But, notice that a large format console was conspicuously absent in this great-sounding room. My ears are extremely sensitive to time-delay effects, and I find it impossible to believe that a console can sound as good as no console! There will be a compromise.

BK




'Rob G.'.

P.S.: One of the acoustic designers you may have to tip your hat to is 'Tom Hidley' who's credited with designing some of the 'top' recording studios in 'Nashville' as well as 'the world' over.[/quote]
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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 #29 on: August 22, 2004, 01:13:47 am »

bobkatz,

Quote:"Monitor placement, height, depth, and angle does not eliminate the comb filtering, it only reduces it. The reflections are still there, and unfortunately you're playing with their amplitude, as it is impossible to make the top surface of the console anechoic. Check out Holman's book, "5.1 Surround Sound" for the diagram of the problem (though it is as old as time; the first time I saw it was in Burrough's Book, over 30 years ago). I would say the 3 to 1 rule ought to apply to comb filtering of reflections off a console surface, though our ears are not the same thing as a "channel" and we have a remarkable ability to ignore the second reflection as it is not being mixed to mono---as Burrough's rule is normally meant to apply.

I've never worked in a Hidley Room. The only one I did any significant listening in was Glenn Meadows' Masterfonics mastering room. But, notice that a large format console was conspicuously absent in this great-sounding room. My ears are extremely sensitive to time-delay effects, and I find it impossible to believe that a console can sound as good as no console! There will be a compromise."

                                                                                                                     -BK



I think we might be saying the same thing in some areas.  You say angles, & etc. do not eliminate the comb filtering effect.  I say it solves these problems 'in part'(check my previous post) not totally.  But this 'proper' monitor mounting in addition to treatment/design of the physical console, & other modifications to the control room contribute to make the console a 'non-issue'.  And when I say 'non issue' I mean relativly to the point that the mastering console in the mastering suite that 'Glenn Meadow's used previously contributed to a comb filtering effect in such a minor way as to be a 'non-issue'.  And if you want to get really technical.  Even in a room with no console whatsoever the cabinet of the speaker(via reflections, resonances, etc.) itself many times depreciates the quality of the drivers in a speaker system but if the speakers cabinets are designed properly the cabinet presence problems are still there but are minimized to the point where they are a 'non-issue'.  I do have one request.  Go, & listen to the monitoring system in 'The Tracking Room' for yourself, & see if you can detect any distortions relating to comb filter effects.  If substantial problems exist there it sure is'nt stopping engineers from tracking/mixing major hits off of that monitor system.  The sound of that particular room when last I heard the monitors was as good as I've ever heard from a highend 'audiophile' system.  And I've heard some of the best 'audiophile' speaker, or high-end professional monitoring systems on the planet in environments that have, & have not had consoles in them.  Sonically the sound of the monitors in 'The Tracking' (if still properly maintained) are on the resolution level of some of the B&W 801 series speakers which have been 'audiophile' standards for up to 15 years.  No comb filtering effect problems.  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.  I don't think it is possible to totally eliminate comb filtering effects.  But I do belive that comb filtering effects can be minimised to the point that they are a 'non-issue'(meaning that they don't effect the quality of product coming out of control rooms with 'proper' design).  

'Rob G'.'
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