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Author Topic: DAW + Analog mixing... how do you decide which to do where...?  (Read 2187 times)

Thomas Lester

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DAW + Analog mixing... how do you decide which to do where...?
« on: December 22, 2004, 02:31:02 pm »

I know that sounded like a strange question, so here's my preface:

80% of my recording background is all Analog.  2" 24 track or locked 48 Track analog mixing on SSL's or Neve's (and occasionally a harrison at one place).  Over the last few years, I've worked on some lower budget project that have been all DAW based.  I.e.  tracked in the box, edited in the box, mixed in the box.

So..  my experience has been pure analog and pure DAW.

Now...  I'm about to start a couple of projects that is going to be what most of you are probably used to.  I'm going to track into the DAW (PT and with one project Nuendo), but I'll be mixing in SSL rooms (4000's on all but one project that'll be on a 9000J).  

Do you guys only use the DAW as a multi track and editor or are you actually doing some of the mixing in the box, too?  I.e. are you using plugs, effects, etc in the box?  If so, how are you deciding what you mix on the desk (i.e. dynamics, efx, etc) vs. what you use in the box?

Just curious...  my first thought was I'd do it just like I do when I'm mixing all analog.... but then I started thinking...  and that lead me to this post.

Thanks,
Thomas

LawrenceF

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Re: DAW + Analog mixing... how do you decide which to do where...?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2004, 05:54:48 pm »

There are certain things that are just easier to set up in the box like timed delays, unless you've got a hardware box that does something the plugs won't do.  Otherwise I keep all delays on plugins.  I don't even own any dedicated hardware delay units anymore.

I've been torn with that question for some time although if I had access to an SSL to mix on it would be less of a dillema. Smile  I've found certain songs will just "jell" in the box while it may take more work on a console.  But the end result on the console should be better.  Or at least "warmer".

Sometimes submixing & processing backing vox in the daw before bringing out stereo to a console can help with overall seperation, or not.   It all depends on the material.

With all of that said...

If I could mix on an SSL I'd never mix totally in the box.

Lawrence
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Etch-A-Sketch

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Re: DAW + Analog mixing... how do you decide which to do where...?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2004, 06:55:28 pm »

Thomas Lester wrote on Wed, 22 December 2004 11:31

I know that sounded like a strange question, so here's my preface:

80% of my recording background is all Analog.  2" 24 track or locked 48 Track analog mixing on SSL's or Neve's (and occasionally a harrison at one place).  Over the last few years, I've worked on some lower budget project that have been all DAW based.  I.e.  tracked in the box, edited in the box, mixed in the box.

So..  my experience has been pure analog and pure DAW.

Now...  I'm about to start a couple of projects that is going to be what most of you are probably used to.  I'm going to track into the DAW (PT and with one project Nuendo), but I'll be mixing in SSL rooms (4000's on all but one project that'll be on a 9000J).  

Do you guys only use the DAW as a multi track and editor or are you actually doing some of the mixing in the box, too?  I.e. are you using plugs, effects, etc in the box?  If so, how are you deciding what you mix on the desk (i.e. dynamics, efx, etc) vs. what you use in the box?

Just curious...  my first thought was I'd do it just like I do when I'm mixing all analog.... but then I started thinking...  and that lead me to this post.

Thanks,
Thomas



This really depends on taste.  Like someone else said, tempo-timed effects like delays and filter sweeps are much easier in the box.  

If there are certain plugins you like the sound of then that would be a reason to stay in the box.  If there are external hardware you like then you would go out of the box.

For example, when working with protools into a console (especially if everything was tracked dry directly into the DAW), I like to run the bass through an external LA2A.  I also like the sound of external reverbs much more than ITB verbs.  So I'll get a couple external verbs setup on Aux sends on the console.  I really like the sound of distressors on drum room mics, and there is no plugin that really sounds like a distressor...so I'll patch the drums through some distressors and maybe an API 550b here and there.

Conversely, Autotune is much easier to use inside PT.  I really like the sound of the Soundtoys UltraFX (Filterfreak, PhaseMistress, etc) so I'll usually opt for using those in the box than trying to find something external to get the same sound.

personally I am not a huge fan of SSL consoles (Although I wouldn't be bitching if someone were to give me one!).  But that's just me...so depending on the sound you're getting you might want to use more EQs from the console, or from the DAW.

I usually use the console automation because I hate trying to draw it in with a mouse.  But plugin automation, unless you have an HUI, obviously has to be done with a mouse.

One other thing I take into consideration is the type of protools system I am going to be using.  I like the sound of the HD systems moreso than the Mix systems and the HD systems have a lot more power.  If it's a Mix system, I might try ot do more on the console than in the box...if it's an HD system I might opt for in the box first if it's going to require less setup time.

But in the end, it has to sound good regardless.  If you're used to getting really good sounds while mixing strickly analog then so be it.  Use PT as a tape deck and do everything outside.  but if there are specific tools you know and like that are in the box then you mix and match.  There are no rules on this subject.
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Thomas Lester

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Re: DAW + Analog mixing... how do you decide which to do where...?
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2004, 07:29:34 pm »

Thanks all...   I personally like to mix on SSL's (not track), but that's because my career was "raised" in two large SSL based studios in NYC...  so I have many years on them.  

Here's my big question...  and I can think of a couple of "hacks" to get around this, but...


If I'm mixing away... let's say, I have guitars coming out to channels on the console and I'm happily mixing away...  Now...  I decide somewhere in the mix process that I want to put a plug in delay on the guitars.  I instantiate my plug and all is well.  Now I decide my guitar is too loud and I bring it down ON THE CONSOLE.  Since my DAW doesn't know that I've lowered the guitars in the mix, my send to the delay is now too hot.  

So... sending (not inserts) from the DAW, but mixing on the console is going to make the auxes on the DAW act like they are all pre-fader.  How are you guys getting around this?  I know it can be done by manually brining down the send every time...  but MAN!  I don't want to have to do that   Shocked

-Tom

LawrenceF

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Re: DAW + Analog mixing... how do you decide which to do where...?
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2004, 10:26:12 am »

I though PT allowed sending from a console back to the daw so you could actually be post fader with the daw plug?  Isn't that the big selling point of PT vs. Native...  very low latency hardware?

That may work although you're looking at extra conversions.

Lawrence
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Leo

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Re: DAW + Analog mixing... how do you decide which to do where...?
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2004, 03:23:50 pm »

Thomas Lester wrote on Wed, 22 December 2004 19:29


Here's my big question...  and I can think of a couple of "hacks" to get around this, but...


If I'm mixing away... let's say, I have guitars coming out to channels on the console and I'm happily mixing away...  Now...  I decide somewhere in the mix process that I want to put a plug in delay on the guitars.  I instantiate my plug and all is well.  Now I decide my guitar is too loud and I bring it down ON THE CONSOLE.  Since my DAW doesn't know that I've lowered the guitars in the mix, my send to the delay is now too hot.  

So... sending (not inserts) from the DAW, but mixing on the console is going to make the auxes on the DAW act like they are all pre-fader.  How are you guys getting around this?  I know it can be done by manually brining down the send every time...  but MAN!  I don't want to have to do that   Shocked

-Tom



Group/link the faders in the DAW.
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Thomas Lester

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Re: DAW + Analog mixing... how do you decide which to do where...?
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2004, 08:59:16 pm »

Leo wrote on Thu, 23 December 2004 15:23



Group/link the faders in the DAW.



I guess I didn't convey what I'm talking about clearly enough.  I'm talking about the fact that if I'm sending from the DAW, the DAW has no way of knowing that I've moved the fader on the analog console (i.e. it's not a control surface).  Therefore, the dry to send gain ratio will be altered if I'm sending to an aux via the DAW but mixing levels via the analog desk.

-Tom

zmix

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Re: DAW + Analog mixing... how do you decide which to do where...?
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2004, 09:40:15 pm »

Thomas Lester wrote on Thu, 23 December 2004 20:59

Leo wrote on Thu, 23 December 2004 15:23



Group/link the faders in the DAW.



I guess I didn't convey what I'm talking about clearly enough.  I'm talking about the fact that if I'm sending from the DAW, the DAW has no way of knowing that I've moved the fader on the analog console (i.e. it's not a control surface).  Therefore, the dry to send gain ratio will be altered if I'm sending to an aux via the DAW but mixing levels via the analog desk.

-Tom



Tom,
I've been in this situation a few times. If you want to use a plug in for a delay, simply route one of the busses from the SSL via a small fader or an aux to one of the *many* unused inputs in the DAW, just like you would do if using a PCM-42.

The DAW becomes a transport and an FX box...

I did a record in Paris last year using PT and an SSL, the PT system had only 24 analog outputs, so I did a lot of submixing in PT but kept the drums guitars and lead vocals separate. I used some internal delays, automated within PT.  I think I might have used a pair of outputs for all the internal FX returns.

-CZ

Thomas Lester

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Re: DAW + Analog mixing... how do you decide which to do where...?
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2004, 10:13:30 pm »

So...  did you just make a decision somewhere in the game that if you needed to use a DAW plug on a DAW aux, that from that point on, you mixed and automated from the DAW's mixer (fader)?

That makes since to me....

-Tom

decibel

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Re: DAW + Analog mixing... how do you decide which to do where...?
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2004, 10:30:16 pm »

I think what Zmix was saying, was that you can create a plug in on an aux track in Pro Tools and use that just like you would use a stand alone box.  So that your effect send is coming from the console, not from within Pro Tools.  The aux track in PT's input is coming from the console and the output is going to the console.  So....you patch it in just like any other external box...except that your ins and outs are "audio interface 3&4" instead of "H3000 L&R".  that's just an example....but you know what I mean.....

that way, everything behaves as usual in regards to levels and automation.
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zmix

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Re: DAW + Analog mixing... how do you decide which to do where...?
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2004, 10:39:47 pm »

Thomas Lester wrote on Thu, 23 December 2004 22:13

So...  did you just make a decision somewhere in the game that if you needed to use a DAW plug on a DAW aux, that from that point on, you mixed and automated from the DAW's mixer (fader)?

That makes since to me....

-Tom




Tom,
I would likely have used a spare fader on the SSL to automate a send to the DAW effect, since I only had 24 outs, I had a lot of extra faders.
I do use the DAW automation for panning and special effect moves... it's convenient...

-CZ

Thomas Lester

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Re: DAW + Analog mixing... how do you decide which to do where...?
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2004, 08:33:20 am »

decibel wrote on Thu, 23 December 2004 22:30

I think what Zmix was saying, was that you can create a plug in on an aux track in Pro Tools and use that just like you would use a stand alone box.  So that your effect send is coming from the console, not from within Pro Tools.  The aux track in PT's input is coming from the console and the output is going to the console.  So....you patch it in just like any other external box...except that your ins and outs are "audio interface 3&4" instead of "H3000 L&R".  that's just an example....but you know what I mean.....

that way, everything behaves as usual in regards to levels and automation.


Ah!  OK..  I understand completely now.  Routing to and from PT just as if it were a hardware effect.  That makes complete sense.  Thanks Decibel and Zmix.

-Tom
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