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Author Topic: M-S/conversion/routing considerations  (Read 5337 times)

Macc

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M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« on: January 12, 2011, 07:06:40 pm »

Hello all,

I'm writing this prior to doing any actual testing, but I thought it would be interesting and hopefully enlightening to bounce some of this off you good people in the meantime. It'd be really helpful to get your thoughts as I am sure someone will suggest something I haven't yet thought of.

I took delivery of an API 2500 today, and running it alone I recalled someone once saying about running it in M/S. So, using Voxengo MSED before and after DA and AD, I gave it a go. It sounds really really nice that way - really nice - and knowing the sort of material I get, it's something I'd be inclined to use a lot.

I run the chain hardwired, everything is stereo controlled and the only thing that hasn't got a bypass is the Avalon 747. Conversion is Mytek 8x192, chain goes G14 > 747 > MLA-3 > [2500 here probably] > Summit DCL200.

I can see a number of options for what I'm considering, and it's this I wanted some thoughts on. I could;

- forget the whole thing and stay as described.
- run the whole chain in MS when the material demands some MS 2500 action; it's the possible implications on the sound of the other devices that interests/concerns me here. Uneven tubey-ness between M and S, for example, also potentially undesirable fiddling with the width as the Summit gains aren't linked, and are a touch fiddly.
- set the 2500 on a separate DAAD loop and use it as a separate external plugin. Allows a little more flexibility in routing (first or last in the chain) and means the API can go either way while everything else runs LR.
- some other combination of gear on two DAAD loops.

FWIW, generally I prefer to have eq prior to compression. The 747 does gain staging and the sidechain comp acts as an eq, with the MLA being in between eq and compression (what a box), hence their position at present. It works really well. So I'm considering how to get best sound and greatest flexibility, with a view to getting that tasty MS 2500 thang happening.

Thing is that having just laid out for the API I'm not laying out for anything else just yet, and if I did I wouldn't bother with an MS matrix - rather just skip to a proper router a la Crookwood and have done with it. That's a way off though, so I am looking for a solution with what I have Smile

I'm also sure that once I actually get a bit of time to test it I may well deem something 'the way to go' or 'completely unviable'. But I also thought some clever clogs here might have a bright idea or two to get me thinking in another direction, or that at least it might make for an interesting discussion.

All thoughts gratefully welcomed!

Cheers all,

Bob.
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Bob Macciochi

www.scmastering.com

jdg

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2011, 08:38:11 pm »

i would be wary of running everything, always, in M/S through the whole chain but technically it should not matter.

so, until you get the crookwood with the floating M/S (Very Happy), i think your original idea is fine
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john mcCaig
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Macc

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2011, 08:45:24 pm »

jdg wrote on Thu, 13 January 2011 01:38

i would be wary of running everything, always, in M/S through the whole chain but technically it should not matter.


It wouldn't be all the time - I have encode/decode in digital before/after the conversion so I can pop it into MS when needed.

It was concerns about things like the tubes getting more pushed in the M and less pushed in the S (which with the G14 makes quite some difference)... Possibly just over thinking it as usual, but thought there might be some other options.

Been meaning to mail you btw, will do tomorrow probably Smile

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Bob Macciochi

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TotalSonic

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2011, 08:45:36 pm »

Let me be a contrarian in all this in that honestly I don't think much is gained by running the API 2500 as M/S versus just L/R unlinked.  And this is coming from someone who very often runs his eq's or de-esser in an M/S configuration, and who has been a long time user of the 2500.  I would also be very wary of potentially overly changing the balance of a mix by running comps M/S (I've personally only done it in some rare cases where the mix came in a little bit "wrong" - and often found myself not liking the results even in these cases).

Obviously OMMV!!

Best regards,
Steve Berson

Macc

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2011, 08:49:39 pm »

Thanks Steve - Glad you chimed in as I know you use the Derr-Essers that way...

I tend to get a lot of material with very sharp M content though, which is the source of the appeal for me. Makes sorting that out very easy, using the link filters right. Hmmm.

Thanks for the thoughts though. One in the forget it column Very Happy
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Bob Macciochi

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jdg

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2011, 10:13:20 pm »

ah, G14 is sooooper touchy to input gain.

that alone would make it a no go for me running the whole chain in M/S

wire a few transformers up
http://www.jensen-transformers.com/as/as055.pdf

wont be ultra-mega-clean, but easy



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john mcCaig
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chrisdoremus

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2011, 12:42:08 am »

I like the DIY idea...

Also, another idea would be to feed an M/S sidechain to it if you have an extra D/A

I've done this with my GML 8900 and it sounded pretty cool.

I think Dave McNair originally peaked my interest about it with a post about his 2500...
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Waltz Mastering

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2011, 01:43:15 am »

I'd vote for using two loops for routing flexibility.

Macc

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2011, 11:47:02 am »

chrisdoremus wrote on Thu, 13 January 2011 05:42


Also, another idea would be to feed an M/S sidechain to it if you have an extra D/A


Hmmm.... now there's an interesting one. Very interesting. Opens up the option of eqing the sidechain when really needed as well, which works wonders in the 747. Dare I say that might even render the 747 defunct?  Shocked

I had completely overlooked that option, thanks!

Quote:

I think Dave McNair originally peaked my interest about it with a post about his 2500...


Ah yes, that's who it was. Thank you Smile

Been working (in LR Wink ) all day but I did have time to run one off with a quick additional 'blind' MS version today, leaving everything where it was and just setting up the MS routing. It was exactly the sort of material that I had in mind when starting this thread, so I'll do an in-depth AB of the two files a bit later.

Thanks for the tips so far all, sincerely appreciated.
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Bob Macciochi

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Gold

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2011, 11:51:36 am »

If you want a hardware solution it doesn't get any better than this.

http://www.ka-electronics.com/KAelectronics/MS_Matrix/MS_Mat rix.htm
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Paul Gold
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Peter Beckmann

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2011, 12:22:29 pm »

Hey Bob.

1. I wouldn't run my whole analogue chain in M/S particularly if there are any 'tweaky' processors involved
2. I use m/s processing:
a)  digitally pre- analogue loop [e.g. de-essing on sum only] b) Analogue via my Manley Backbone, usually when there is a major issue where the Manley MP in M/S can work very well.
3. I wouldn't want to run 2 analogue loops with the extra DA/AD just to be able to drop the 2500 in the loop in M/S
4. I'm with Steve re the 2500 in M/S. I was underwhelmed each time I tried it.

Pauls suggestion to build an M/S matrix looks looks cool. Certainly a lot less cost than a Crookwood or Backbone, although I have to say I would not give up my Backbone. it's essential to my workflow.

Peter
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Peter Beckmann
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Macc

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2011, 01:13:00 pm »

Thanks Peter. I'm in agreement with

FWIW, this;

Peter Beckmann wrote on Thu, 13 January 2011 17:22



2. I use m/s processing:
a)  digitally pre- analogue loop [e.g. de-essing on sum only]



I do already - it was the API/MS thing that appealed after it worked a treat on a test track (electronic sampled jazz thing with 'agggh!' cymbals in the middle). Horses for courses though eh Smile

In the broader view, interesting to see the various opinions about it all... some in favour of the 2 ADDA, some not.

Thanks also to Paul G - I've been looking at that, thanks. Knowing me, I'll probably have earned enough for the Crookwood before I get round to to building it, hehe. Yeah, I know...
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Bob Macciochi

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Peter Beckmann

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2011, 06:56:46 pm »

DIY.

Go on, you know you want to...... Very Happy


Peter
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bblackwood

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2011, 07:08:12 pm »

I think an active analog matrix is the way to go - unnecessary conversions seems like a bad idea to me...
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Brad Blackwood
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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2011, 08:10:23 pm »

bblackwood wrote on Thu, 13 January 2011 19:08

I think an active analog matrix is the way to go - unnecessary conversions seems like a bad idea to me...


I agree.  While a digital M/S matrix is not subject to as much channel cross talk or noise as an analog one is I'd still say the double round of conversion makes for more hassle in the work flow and a greater possible degradation than just inserting an analog M/S matrix .  

If diy'ing your own matrix from a kit is too much of a hassle for you then the next least expensive off the shelf option out on the market is the new Avenson Audio M/S - http://avensonaudio.com/midside.php - street price around $600.

Best regards,
Steve Berson

Macc

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2011, 08:25:51 pm »

Thanks for the suggestions everyone - much appreciated Smile

It's really busy here, but I managed to try a couple of tracks comparing LR vs MS with no compensatory moves. That is, just to see how the same chain responded with the two different routings.

I tend not to do a lot of compression, but even with barely 0.5dB tickling the API and no other compression I was disappointed with how the whole thing held up against the LR version. It's contrary to how I felt running the API alone (as in, completely alone) in the first instance. So, at least that seems to be that ruled out, unless I am going to fart about compensating... but I have work to do.

I'll try the MS sidechain idea next probably and see how that goes, but I'm inclined to agree that a switchable MS matrix might be the best solution if I'm that desperate. Would have been much simpler if it hadn't worked so nicely on that first track... doh!

Thanks again all. I'll keep updating, if anyone cares enough, heh.

Cheers,

Bob.
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Bob Macciochi

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24-96 Mastering

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2011, 06:48:11 am »

jdg wrote on Thu, 13 January 2011 04:13

ah, G14 is sooooper touchy to input gain.



I found that a general bother when I had the unit, but it's very easily modded (2 resistors need replacing) to have a usable trim range.
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24-96 Mastering
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Greg Reierson

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2011, 09:25:52 am »

24-96 Mastering wrote on Fri, 14 January 2011 05:48

jdg wrote on Thu, 13 January 2011 04:13

ah, G14 is sooooper touchy to input gain.



I found that a general bother when I had the unit, but it's very easily modded (2 resistors need replacing) to have a usable trim range.


I've been very curious about the G14. Robin, why do you no longer have it?


GR
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Allen Corneau

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2011, 10:30:13 am »

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Dangerous S&M yet.

It's definitely not the least expensive unit out there but it's another option.

Edit to add: There's also the SPL M/S Master...
http://www.spl.info/index.php?id=1164&L=

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Garrett H

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2011, 06:54:54 pm »

SPL also is a partner with Dirk from BRAINWORX, who have the bx_XL software and both are showing at the NAMM Show.
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jdg

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2011, 07:38:48 pm »

Greg Reierson wrote on Fri, 14 January 2011 06:25

24-96 Mastering wrote on Fri, 14 January 2011 05:48

jdg wrote on Thu, 13 January 2011 04:13

ah, G14 is sooooper touchy to input gain.



I found that a general bother when I had the unit, but it's very easily modded (2 resistors need replacing) to have a usable trim range.


I've been very curious about the G14. Robin, why do you no longer have it?


GR


double quoting for lazy

1. robin:
really? why/how would two resistors change its tendency to distort (albeit very nicely) at anything but a small input range

2. greg:
im not robin, but its very colorful nature was the reason i sold mine
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john mcCaig
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Greg Reierson

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2011, 08:52:05 pm »

jdg wrote on Fri, 14 January 2011 18:38

2. greg:
im not robin, but its very colorful nature was the reason i sold mine


Sorry John, lost track of the attribution trail.

I'm still curious. Color is the only reason I'd get another EQ.


GR
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Ed Littman

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2011, 11:00:43 pm »

Allen Corneau wrote on Fri, 14 January 2011 10:30

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Dangerous S&M yet.

It's definitely not the least expensive unit out there but it's another option.





Nice box...

Ed
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jdg

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2011, 11:52:52 pm »

Greg Reierson wrote on Fri, 14 January 2011 17:52

jdg wrote on Fri, 14 January 2011 18:38

2. greg:
im not robin, but its very colorful nature was the reason i sold mine


Sorry John, lost track of the attribution trail.

I'm still curious. Color is the only reason I'd get another EQ.


GR



its got color in spades
harmonic distortion, in a very nice way, and at the time, was too much for my simple chain

the one for sale on GS is originally mine, FYI/ETC/BBQ/HTML/OMFG

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john mcCaig
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Macc

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2011, 08:17:51 am »

It's true - feeding it (G14) a sine wave and watching an analyser while adjusting the gain into shows you how much the harmonic structure changes at different levels. It's really quite striking!

BTW The reason (I think) noone mentioned other hardware boxes was cos I was trying to find a solution with what I have and not spend any more cash on gear for a little while!!

At the moment - in what must be a bit frustrating after all this hot air (sorry!) - I am most likely to forget the whole thing as I am having a whale of a time with the chain as a whole, with the extra options the API brings. That said, it's still interesting, and there's a few things still to try out Smile
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Bob Macciochi

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24-96 Mastering

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2011, 09:47:19 am »

jdg wrote on Sat, 15 January 2011 01:38


1. robin:
really? why/how would two resistors change its tendency to distort (albeit very nicely) at anything but a small input range


My bad, I completely misred your post. I thought you meant the trim range to be too touchy (which can easily be modified).




Greg Reierson


I've been very curious about the G14. Robin, why do you no longer have it?


jdg


im not robin, but its very colorful nature was the reason i sold mine


Pretty much the same here. Things that bothered me:

- box tone was quite strong... i.e. when taken out of bypass, even with all bands switched out, at my normal chain level it colored the signal more than I wanted from my passive EQ. The character you get is grippy and engaging, can be quite cool on the right material; but it isn't optional...

- low end boosts were very broad and felt quite soft. I know many love the G14 for that, but I was looking for, and had expected a "dryer feel" in the lows from a passive EQ.

There were things I enjoyed about the unit too; I very much liked scooping mids with it. The unit feels very organic at that, pretty cool. Jakob's help in modifying trim range was fantastic too. I might have kept it around if I had more rack space, but at 3U, it took up too much space to be only rarely used.



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Macc

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Re: M-S/conversion/routing considerations
« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2011, 10:38:13 am »

At the risk of taking my own thread more OT, hehe, knowing the box as I do I'd expect it depends a lot on the material you get. That in turn likely depends on the 'level' of mixes you tend to get in general. 'Digititus' is rife in my world, , and it really eases that a lot. If you're getting well mixed stuff most of the time then it can change stuff a fair bit.

If you want less, just run it a bit cooler - a little gain difference goes a long way. One man's 'touchy' is another man's 'precise', or something. I know what I mean anyway Laughing
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Bob Macciochi

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