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Author Topic: Dynamics concept...  (Read 7055 times)

JGreenslade

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Re: Dynamics concept...
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2005, 04:44:43 am »

Quote:


"Into" the mic on the screams, and "away" from the mic on the whispers



I should find out the name of the track I was listening to that provoked the remark I made about Aretha. It's not inconceivable that someone could have been riding the faders, but I guessed it was her technique as it didn't strike me as sounding "mechanical" as overdoing it with fader moves can.

Going back to the mixdown analogy: I'm now wondering if the "pages of mix notes" is more of a modern phenomena as contemporary technology has encouraged people to leave any commitment to the last minute - maybe a lot of old mixes sound more complex than they were, not just because of dynamic awareness in players, but also because the doctrine of the day was to commit to tape once something worked, rather than faff around with it until the last minute.

Having made the remark about automated mixdowns (which is something I've felt for a long while), I'm now inclined to think that live mixing to 2-track introduces a "knife edge" pressure which brings a certain inspiration to mixes, that may not come out when I can spend as much time as I want programming smooth fades for everything.

When I get around to installing a new console later in the year it's going to be strictly manual, no motors for me!

Justin  
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Level

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Re: Dynamics concept...
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2005, 06:29:54 am »

Quote:

The funny thing is, however "on form" you are when the computer records your fader movements, it never seems to have the same "vibe" when it comes back at you does it? Is this imaginary / mental attitude?




That is a very good question...will have to think about it!


It is neither imaginary nor mental attitude. It is plain ole' fact. Computers do not track fades as smooth. They do it in increments. As tiny as they are, the automation is still in steps, like it or not. Something about that vibrating motor attached to a potentiometer. When we have the tops of our hands laying across multiple faders...we are using our ears and we are doing fades at completely within the human touch. Sometimes "breathing" on a fader is all that is needed.

Can we hear 0.5dB increments? I can.

Just how precise can fader controlling motors smoothly move? At the very least, we feel we can do better...of course 21 fader moves at a time should be "printed" because performing them live is all but impossible.

What really sucks is to rehearse a mixdown and be ready for the 2mix. You simply nail a difficult set of moves...and find our the record enable on the 2 track recorder was not switched in. You do that ONE mix that was simply perfect...to not be repeated again.

Back to topic somewhat...

Here is "the" issue I seem to have with most of my clients. In mixdown, many of my clients are comparing their mixdowns with finalized "mastered works". They are strapping all sorts of boxes to the 2mix buss to sound like the latest, greatest, (nastiest compressed platinum selling) album of late. I cannot be clearer that mixdowns are not the same as final mastered product today. The chain of events and protocol is simply not what it was 30 years ago. I did my share of mixes in the 70's and plenty of vinyl mastering. We simply had the "look ahead" knowledge that seems to be painfully lacking today. I get mixes come here that simply have the last breath squeezed out of them...mastering becomes a futile exercise. I do take time to educate my clients and things go well. Recently, I mastered an EP for a "charting artist" and it seems like their was no time for education. I was given a squashed to hades reference track and asked to "match that level" (volume). The horror. here is what was so cool about it. Every time I approached the level they wanted, the mix turned to hell in very audible ways. The lead singers part would become buried along with the B/G vox (knew it would happen) and I had the lead singer fly in and we sat in the car and I asked, happy with your voice?? The answer..."No..it is not clear and punchual". I slip in the CD that has sane levels on it and he said..this is what we need to use and screw them if they think it is too quiet!

One down...many to go!
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Gordon Rice

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Re: Dynamics concept...
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2005, 09:22:57 am »

Level wrote on Mon, 14 March 2005 06:29

Quote:

The funny thing is, however "on form" you are when the computer records your fader movements, it never seems to have the same "vibe" when it comes back at you does it? Is this imaginary / mental attitude?




That is a very good question...will have to think about it!


It is neither imaginary nor mental attitude. It is plain ole' fact. Computers do not track fades as smooth. They do it in increments. As tiny as they are, the automation is still in steps, like it or not. Something about that vibrating motor attached to a potentiometer. When we have the tops of our hands laying across multiple faders...we are using our ears and we are doing fades at completely within the human touch. Sometimes "breathing" on a fader is all that is needed.

Can we hear 0.5dB increments? I can.

Just how precise can fader controlling motors smoothly move? At the very least, we feel we can do better...of course 21 fader moves at a time should be "printed" because performing them live is all but impossible.

What really sucks is to rehearse a mixdown and be ready for the 2mix. You simply nail a difficult set of moves...and find our the record enable on the 2 track recorder was not switched in. You do that ONE mix that was simply perfect...to not be repeated again.


Hmm--I'm not sure I entirely agree here.  Stepped faders *are* an issue for me with a number of digital consoles and workstations (perhaps significantly, many of those use MIDI for fader automation--I suppose that 128 steps *ought* to be enough to smooth out a 100mm fader but they don't seem to be), but I didn't hear steps on a GML system that I ran for years (good old-fashioned rotary motor driving a string attached to the  wiper), nor on the SSL 9KJ that I ran more recently.  Both of those analog systems, by the way, ran on time every time--unlike, for instance, the old Allison VCA system (I don't remember it personally, but I've heard stories!)or some current digital consoles.


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Brian Kehew

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Re: Dynamics concept...
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2005, 03:15:16 pm »

Diverging further - Amen, Justin - mixes by hand ARE pretty great, and minimize the chances for infinte variations of mixes. Commit and be strong in your choices. Our "edit together" power is better than ever, so if you know what you're doing, mixing by hand is great.

While I don't use it, I would say the power of automated mutes is a godsend. And if your could automate only FOUR faders per mix, I think it would be a lot healthier world!
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drumsound

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Re: Dynamics concept...
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2005, 03:49:50 am »

Brian Kehew wrote on Mon, 14 March 2005 02:45

is.

Aside...

Aretha - I just mixed the (soon to be released) Live at the Fillmore box set. It was the biggest mixing challenge of my life. The band was astounding, but sloppy. The random hums and buzzes made it really tough to get a consistent sound. Aretha herself - maybe it's her "live" appraoch, but she had the WORST mic technique I've ever heard. "Into" the mic on the screams, and "away" from the mic on the whispers. This meant the drums rush up in the quiet spots you wanted to raise, and the tone and level just scream when she hits a big one. And she uses those dynamics (I can see that  - on the PA - this makes her dynamics wider, but it's hell on the recorders and soundmen.)


Tom Dowd used to record Aretha while she played the piano because she sang differently when she didn't.  I'll bet he was riding the faders too.

Most of the live things I've heard/seen from her are very over the top.
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Brian Kehew

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Re: Dynamics concept...
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2005, 08:04:35 am »

I've seen photos of her using the EV 666 while recording piano/vocal like that. Tighter rejection of the piano and it handles her level changes well!
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