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Author Topic: IC's kill music  (Read 75453 times)

thedoc

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #45 on: May 11, 2005, 09:36:09 pm »

J.J. Blair wrote "Guess what I use for my master buss compressor ... an 1178.  Guess what else ... it's got an IC for the input op amp."  

Heretic!  You must be inexperienced or ignorant... Laughing
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compasspnt

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #46 on: May 11, 2005, 11:10:42 pm »

thedoc wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 21:36

J.J. Blair wrote "Guess what I use for my master buss compressor ... an 1178.  Guess what else ... it's got an IC for the input op amp."  

Heretic!  You must be inexperienced or ignorant...



Or just really like bad sound...
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David Kulka

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #47 on: May 11, 2005, 11:22:56 pm »

There's no holy grail.  If IC's and Protools are out that doesn't leave much, what with tube stuff and Neve/API so darn expensive.  Expensive doesn't mean blameless though.  We could well nitpick a lot of tube and discrete gear and post some pretty embarassing specs, but of course many would scroll right past, or perhaps become angry.  A lot of early transistor gear was pretty raunchy, though somehow or other much of it has been edging into the $$$ vintage category.  That stuff Led Zep and the Beach Boys recorded on is fun to daydream about, but you might not wanna look real closely at the circuitry.  Some of those old transformers...yikes.

Sometimes I lust for beefy, pure analog vintage gear too but then I realize that what's really behind it is, today's music bores me senseless while Ten Years After and the Buffalo Springfield sound damn good, and do something to me emotionally.  Methinks perhaps it's not the technology, it's the times.  But hey, that's just me.  Spend a couple grand on a Pultec, save the mix.  Your investment will double in a few years, like a good stock.  Carry on.
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zmix

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #48 on: May 12, 2005, 12:28:44 am »

J.J. Blair wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 18:05

All this talk of op amps and not a single discussion of slew rates.  That seems to me to be the biggest distinction with ICs, their inability to handle transients as effectively as discrete op amps.



I would say that many of our beloved circuits are not so good at handling transients, but do something in a nice way dynamically, and this is what gives them their sound. For example, I have always liked what an API 2520 does to a snare drum, but it doesn't quite reproduce the full transient, and this makes the drums 'fatter'. The later API 2510 is a different animal altogether, and quite Hi-Fi.

The API 2520 contains 10 transistors in the signal path and has a slew rate of 3V/uS. Not what you would call fast.

The Hardy 990 has 10 transistors and 11 diodes and a slew rate of 16V/uS.

The 5534 has the equivalent of 12-14 transistors and 11-12 transistors configured as diodes and a slew rate of 13V/uS.

The discrete op-amp in a LA-3a (the output driver is functionally an op-amp) is designed using just 6 transistors.

vernier

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #49 on: May 12, 2005, 12:47:53 am »

Did someone mention Buffalo Springfield!? ...oh man, don't play the "Again" album (unless you wanna hear some really really nice tube gear).  
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J.J. Blair

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #50 on: May 12, 2005, 12:53:38 am »

compasspnt wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 20:10

thedoc wrote on Wed, 11 May 2005 21:36

J.J. Blair wrote "Guess what I use for my master buss compressor ... an 1178.  Guess what else ... it's got an IC for the input op amp."  

Heretic!  You must be inexperienced or ignorant...



Or just really like bad sound...


Well, I would only use one of the two 1178s I have, so maybe I just have a goodie.  Bad sound.  yeah, that's me!  Not a single person has said to me at the end of a mix when I start the buss compression: "That thing sounds like shit."  I actually prefer that 1178 over my Manley Vari-MU, if I'm doing rock.  And my mixes don't suck.  However, you are unlikely to find me limiting more than -2 to -4db.  Terry, I'm bringing the thing with me to Compass Point.  I'm going to make you a believer!  You'll be on eBay buying more of them!

Maybe when I get a pair of 2254Es, or one of the stereo Inward Connections compressors, but until then I think it sounds better than a pair of 1176LN, if you can find a pair that are matched in the first place.  What do you like?  The API?

zmix, I think you articulated it better than I did, which is saying that the way discrete op amps handle the transients is more musical or more pleasant.
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

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maxdimario

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #51 on: May 12, 2005, 05:47:13 am »

Hi,

Regarding the slew rate, although a super fast slew rate is not really needed for audio (a lot of good audio circuits were bandwidth-limited and slow), it is essential for high negative feedback circuits such as op-amps (hence my choice of video op-amps).
This is because the output has to be perfectly aligned in phase with the input for the negative feedback to function properly.

neve discrete circuits, for instance, have a lot of small capacitors in the signal path that slow down the circuit. This is probably to eliminate stray R.F. from the audio path and make the amps more stable. (they have built-in high frequency filters)

for an amp to have a high slew rate it has to be very stable as a circuit, to avoid stray oscillations or ringing.  This makes it so that a slower circuit may actually function better for audio. The important thing is that it not be too slow, or too fast, depending on the circuit.


So for op-amps you need speed, for discrete it depends.


The 1178 uses op-amps for everything, and has no relationship to the 1176 circuit other than theory of operation.

You might like the grunge it adds, JJ.

The older op-amps were particularly grungy and add a certain roughness to the sound.

But then, you have to consider the integrity of the performance.

The thing with op-amps is that once you pass through an I.C. channel strip you've lost enough information that you will notice little further degredation regarding the integrity of the track. This is maybe why processing became so important in the 80's: the sound needs to be processed to gain back some of it's interesting qualities lost in the signal path.

What you want to do to check this out is to take a clean signal (from a discrete pre) and pass it through your I.C. device. Listen to what happens to the 'livelyness' of the sound compared to it's discrete equivalent.

Or since you are a guitar player JJ.. get out a good tube d.i. play your guitar through different studio compressors and boxes etc.
I'm sure you'll find that the best boxes are also the ones that feel better to play through.  There is a reason for this.

Fundamentally, there are characteristics to a sound that make it stand-out and be supportive in a mix.

The fundamental one is the performance, which is largely dependent on rhythm and transients. Then there is the 'hardness', size,  and natural-ness of the sound. if the bass was rich and full it should remain so, if the highs were captivating and urgent-sounding, they should remain so.

Once you remove the feedback from the typical IC used in mixers it becomes a grungy, bandwidth-limited noisy distorted super-high-gain amplifier. Each op-amp probably has over 15 or 20 transistors inside. Not good for audio.






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HansP

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #52 on: May 12, 2005, 06:20:24 am »

So it is not the IC itself, but the reason to use it:
cheap and easy design, and space.
High-end gear designers may decide to use an IC in the signal path for a good reason, but then it will be a special device surrounded with well-designed circuitry.
Until now, signal delay and phase was not mentioned explicitly. The number of transistors in series will make a signal delay, and corresponding phase shift of the higher frequencies.
Audio ICs avoid serial transistor stages or add internal gain reduction and HF compensation for each amplifying stage. Specification is very clear what to to with the particular IC type, e.g. what gain it is made for. With an OP-amp you can do almost anything, but most time with limited quality.
As for slew rate, of course crucial for high negative feedback, but also to consider, a non-ideal A/D driven from a high-SL output might sound worse than with a slew-limited device.
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Timeline

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #53 on: May 12, 2005, 06:35:43 am »

So what I would like to see is a discrete opamp with:

Balanced electronically throughout +18 to +28 dependent on transformer select in or out.

variable slew rate selection 1vpm 2vpm 4vpm 10vpm 100vpm 200vpm.
variable im distortion in percent .001, .01, 1, 2, 4, 4.5%D.
variable gain (although it could be front end or non feedback type)
variable bandwidth 20khz, 50, 100, 200, 500khz  
on the low end flat to 3hz cutoffs (high pass) 20hz, 30hz, 40,50,60,80, 100 150 and 200hz all selectable per octave 3db, 6db, 12db, 18db,  ? using inductors
Lowest noise posible.

switchable transformer with one great OP transformer capable of +28 @ 20hz set 1:2 which would also switch in a current driver matched class A design pair that can handle big current.

Lets see a designer build this one!

Years ago I spoke with Dean Jensen about something like this.  He always wanted to design an amp with a knob for distortion but never got around to it.

I gave him an 1108 to model for one of the solid state tones.
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compasspnt

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #54 on: May 12, 2005, 08:52:28 am »

J.J. Blair wrote on Thu, 12 May 2005 00:53

... Bad sound.  yeah, that's me!  Not a single person has said to me at the end of a mix when I start the buss compression: "That thing sounds like shit."  I actually prefer that 1178 over my Manley Vari-MU, if I'm doing rock.  And my mixes don't suck.  However, you are unlikely to find me limiting more than -2 to -4db.  Terry, I'm bringing the thing with me to Compass Point.  I'm going to make you a believer!


Hey!

Again, I was just being facetious...I didn't mean you really liked bad sound, or that the 1178 was bad!  I was just following up on the previous post's tongue-in-cheek humour.

My problem is that I totally refuse to use the little "emoticon" things, so sometimes my humour is just too dry to cut through the mix.

I'm sure I would like an 1178 in certain instances.

Best regards.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #55 on: May 12, 2005, 08:59:20 am »

Well, since it seems relevant, somebody explain the popularity of SSL compressors to me, which I have just never really cared for.

BTW, I had an Inward Connections discrete stereo buss section installed in my console first thing when I got it.  I don't know the specs of the Inward Connections op amps, but I know that there are a number of people who have replaced all their 2520s in their API consoles with them.  Anybody else hip to these?

Terry, don't be hatin'!  

But seriously, I knew you were kidding.  Hey, we can't all have been spoiled with 175s.
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

gtoledo3

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #56 on: May 12, 2005, 10:17:10 am »

Wow!

This is killing me! My brain is going to explode.

This is EXACTLY why I never made the move to digital. Or even tape.


Or EVEN recording!

My setup is pure and simple.

Elegant in it's simplicity.


Two coffee cans. One piece of string.
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David Schober

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #57 on: May 12, 2005, 12:18:50 pm »

As for the SSL, console (and compressor..)

My old boss used to say, "It a great console.  I just doesn't sound good!"

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David Schober

compasspnt

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #58 on: May 12, 2005, 03:23:34 pm »

David Schober wrote on Thu, 12 May 2005 12:18

As for the SSL, console (and compressor..)

My old boss used to say, "It a great console.  I just doesn't sound good!"




Bob Clearmountain:  Wanna chime in on this point?
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JackJohnston

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Re: IC's kill music
« Reply #59 on: May 12, 2005, 05:20:24 pm »



I wonder if there is something undeniably "pop" sounding about an SSL console that drives its popularity? I would guess that Mr. Clearmountain could use whatever he wanted, but must like the sound of it as much as anything else. But what are these mods that have been done to his board? Is it an SSL or is it really alien technology that has been carefully hidden in a 4072 G+?

Whatever the secret is, I bet the 35 foot water slide makes the mixes even a wee bit better. Not only that, the pool has its own kitchen.

Jack
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