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A question to Cedar, Bill, Mike and other pro guys about

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Alécio Costa - Brazil, Oct 27, 2002.

  1. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Distinguished Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Hi friends!

    I run my studio based on a PT 5.1.1 Mix with 2 adat bridges light piped to an Yamaha 02R, complemented with an 01V and some outboard gear from dbx, Lexicon, ART and Digitech. some questions:

    a) Do you think that it would be a great quality leap getting rid of the couple (02R + 01V) and going 02R 96k?

    b) Assuming that I do not need/use more than 40 tracks with my PT system, and that I apply waves/TC works plugins, AMp farm on a nice G4 800, do you guys think that is much better to do everything inside the box?
    p.s: I know that PT automation is better than the 02R, but I am very accustomed to 02R boring screens.
    I just use plugin parameters automation inside the working session , when necessary.

    c) How much quality percentage shall I have going from a MIx system to a PT HD1 rig? 20%?

    p.s: I do not think this is the right moment to do the upgrades. Too many things going like ilok stuff, OS X, 96k/192k plugings not functioning completly well yet....

    I have been doing everything at 44.1k/24 bits since early 2002.

    I also use the system for in-house (project) mastering.

    I saw people commenting to forget digital boards and investing money on better pres, amps, monitors. However, at least with Mix systems, people have always complaine about stereo image, etc.

    What are your opinions?
    Many thanks Again
    Eng. Alécio Costa
  2. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Actually, 24/44.1 eliminates problems with sample rate conversion.

    My first question:

    Are your clients happy with your work?

    Next, What have you done in 24/44.1K that you are totally happy with?

    I bet you have done some very fine productions. Upgrading room acoustics, monitors, cable is where the huge differences come into play. This will either show you that you may need to upgrade electronics..or that your present system is in need of very minor tweaks.

    Your set-up as of now is quite good. Many hits and fine productions have been pressed from the same formula.

    I am old school. This may not work for many people but it works for me and my clients.

    I decided on doing my recording via the finest microphones, acoustic environment, mic pre's and cable..keeping the cables as short and as high quality as possible. I have mic cables that cost more than (10)SM58's each. I record through the console to several machines at the same time. I impedance match. This is most difficult to obtain the same frequency response curve and dynamic signature from recorder to recorder and from the reference console output..but with patience, it is proof positive.

    The above is for live 2 track recording. Simply the finest of the finest. I do the same for 5 track, 12 track and even more. I do overdubs and punches certainly in the studio...but really, the foundation of the sound is laid this way.

    Next, Mixdown via analog. Again, very important, the signal chain. Some channels I drop into the daw, modify, and drop back into the multitrack in sinc. it changes due to needs and wants and direction I want the track to go. No formula, just whatever the track "asks for".

    After I do a mix, I copy to Hard drive and saving the OM, I do mastering in the box and mastering analog. I compare. I invested plenty of time making sure my monitors are so accurate that a 0.2dB channel imbalance moves the image 5 inches. Accuracy. Also my signal path is Microscopic to Macroscopic and non linear in the metering ballistics. A 0.5dB change in the DAW gives me well over 1dB with the console. Then fine tuning can get down into the hundreds of a dB resoluition in the DAW.

    After it is said and done, I still try for simplicity. If I recorded, mixed and mastered the work, I do each step, anticipating the next one. It all fits like a puzzle.

    Once I do 2 track mastering, I burn a CD and play it back through a reference CD Player (fine calibration, cables, etc,) and see where the final is. If the playback sounds different at all from the Hard drive (compiled to 16/44.1K), I make adjustments so the CD playback and the hard drive meet each other.

    Old school...but works. Sometimes unorthadox means are needed to achieve the cleanest final.

    I go for minimum deviation and maximum enjoyment. I like the smile and the chillbumps that follow.

    As per the set-up you have, Fats can get into specifics....I simply find that room acoustics, cables, wire and monitors are the items that make most of the difference...And a Fat analog console, Microphones, Mic Pre's and mic cables.

    Clean current is right up there with the rest of it. The basics first.
  3. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Distinguished Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Thanks Bill!!!
    In fact I am planning a change in my control room acoustics. My live/tracking room is oka with stones, wood, brick difusers.

    Laso, look for a good mic pre, but that is inside my bugdget.

    Seems you are not a big fan of PT or am I wrong?

    Thanks again!
  4. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Protools is workable and plenty of good productions have been done.

    As it has been pointed out time and time again, their are alternatives as well. The way Protools processes the mixdown stage math wise is audible and you have to find ways to work around it. It is a good tool and can save 10's of thousands of dollars VS a nice desk. It is simply a matter of learning where the limitations lie and working with them to your advantage..like everything else in the studio realum.

    Tools is a standard and their are many more. Use what makes it work is my motto!
  5. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Distinguished Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Thanks Bill! I do agree with you. I do not mix inside the box due to poor stereo image. I have also seen some people complain about sound quality when you go over 32 tracks. I can not comment on that because I hardly go over 32 tracks, just if I record all my efx returns into spare tracks..

    Nice week!
  6. salvator

    salvator Guest


    Just my french though on the subject...

    If you're looking to have a better sound quality, I don't think that going into the PT HD stuff will be the best investment for you. The only "real point" that provide better results in HD is the use of better converters (192 interface)
    The 02R 96 is good, clearly better than the old one (EQ/Comp). The converters and pre are a bit better too.

    Here's my advice :

    1 - Invest in one of the finest mics available.( Manley gold reference, Neuman M149, Braumer VM1...)

    2 - Excellent pre (Millennia, Crane song, Neve 1081, Buzz audio or Great River)

    3 - Converter quality AND jitter immune clocking (Mitek, Prism, Apogee track 2, Crane song spider..) Man, this point is really important...

    4 - THE CABLES DO A HUDGE DIFFERENCE. What about putting the pre in the tracking room, mic just straight into mic in ? No patchbay or extra connection involved ?

    5 - Spend most of your time with mic placements and testing different mic/pre. The mixstage will be easier/shorter and way more fun.

    6 - What about the Waves masterplug-insbundle?

    7 - All these points will cost less money than going into HD. So, save money and take some nice holidays or help other brazilians...
    Note that in 10 years, an M149 mic will have kept a good value. What about the PT rig ??? I have buy my fist mac 8 years ago (A quadra 700) for 7500 $.
    Today, I want to give it for free, nobody care...


  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    ACB, Alo!
    My 2 cents! Buy mics, pres, eq's comps, and monitors. Stick with the digital hardware you have for now. If you really want to upgrade go with a better sounding software than Pro Tools…Computer power is the issue IMO these days. The faster your computer is, the more tracks and processing you can run without degradation. I'm shooting for 48 + tracks with comps gates eq and spatial efx on each channel, in the box. I have decided to keep away from new hardware and digital tech purchases for as long as I can. You all know the reasons, I have ranted and raved on this question so much by now I can recite it from memory. I bet all of you can too!!! :D I think 24 /44.1 is fine for tracking as long as delivery systems remain at 16 /44.1. I have never heard one good reason (IMO) for using high res, high bit rate, and sampling rates in production and then bringing it down to 16 /44.1. Perhaps internal processing may be done with more accuracy and resolution but I say the baby has been thrown out with the bath water already. As long as we a using a delivery system that isn't capable of even doing what the human ear and brain is, what's the point? Some are fanatical about each step of the recording chain, mic, mic cable, mic pre, console, system interconnect, power amps and speaker cable. I think that too, is fine. Most of them, I would venture to say, are involved in classical and acoustic production styles. Gourmet food with crème' sauces. I produce pop music. Burgers and fries. I don't hear a difference in a $500 vs. a $20 mic cable. If it works and doesn't pick up noise I'm happy! I am willing to concede they must be hearing something but I don't get it. Make your choices accordingly I also favor the mic pre amps that add color to the signal, 1073 /1081 Neve's, API's (my fave!) ……
    That should do it! ……. Fats :w:
  8. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    I'm chimming in late here becuase I've been busy cutting a record.

    I concur with Fats. Keep the Mix+ and spend your money on (in order of importance):
    1. Mics. They make the BIGGEST sinlge differrnce in the initial sound . Mics and thier correct placement will get you 99% of the sound...done right.
    (AFTER the real biggest factors of:player/Instrument/Room)
    2. Pre's. Good mics need good pre's to capture and translate the frequencies and dynamic range properly.
    3. Compressors/Limmiters. Some sources (especially Vocals) need to be compressed. Best to do it going in, or coming out (if you mix "out of the box") in the analog domain.
    4. EQ's...sometimes you might need or desire to EQ. I find it possible to skip this step untill mixdown, but sometimes it helps.
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    HARRUMPH! :tu:
    Good mics will always be worth what you bought them for unless you pay too much for them or buy new. Buy some, it's an investment. Especially in Brazil. The same goes for good pres. Neves and APIs for pop music....and yes, you will need some quality eq's IMO, at least for drums and bass. Do you record a lot of pop or are you doing more of what we have been discussing re: the horn band? If that's what you're doing you may not need eq's and you may want pres that are more neutral like the Grace or Millennia pres. But all quality front end gear holds its value. It's a great hedge against inflation.......Fats
  10. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Distinguished Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Bill, Salavator, cedar and the other friends:
    I have never received a better advice in any forum I had been since I started surfing on technicall stuff!

    I have had the same feeling of yours but becomes quite confusing seeing some "big guys" in the USa saying that my PT mix and my 02R now are considered almost Garbage..
    Lots of people told me that I would be stupid buying an 02R 96K instead of selling everything ( 02R + 01V + PT mix) and going into an HD2 with 2 192´s.

    Also, some other guys told me not to investon digital clocked pres/stuff because of planned obsolescence.

    The other studio in my city, which has a very very "mafia style" money resources is bashing at me because I have a Mix system and he has a PT HD3 with lots of Focusrite gear.

    I have seen awful projects done in high end analog as well as in high end digital..
    It depends more on who is behind the desk..

    Anyway, just not to change the focus of this post, I donot have much reason for going PT HD.. I do mainly POP/Reggae/Gospel?rock and every 2 years, a classical CD.
    40 tracks is more than enough to me. I have to confess that i never used more than 40 tracks.

    Also, people like to use numbrs and here it goes. I have seen guys commenting that PT HD is 20% better than PT Mix because of new converters of the 96 and 192 boxes, not because they are recording at 96khz in fact...

    I have seen so many poeple fans of mp3 and buying mainly 44k/16bit CDs.. what is the use for 96k/192K?
    Maybe DVD audio, SACD?

    Hope to hear from you again!
    I have to print your thoughts!will ask some guys to appear on here and se with their own eyes!

    BTW.. I have just finished the HORN BAN stuff..
    More on this later...
  11. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Here, Here!
    Being that "The Wall" only used a 16track & 24Track (i.e. 38 tracks after you eliminate 2 for code). 40-48 tracks is more than enough...unless you are seriously unable to make decide untill the mix (album production of course...post is another can of worms)
  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    IMO 8 tracks are all anybody needs. One engineer friend told me one that I can make 8 tracks sound like 24. Adding more tracks doesn't make things better. It just gives wing nut yahoos a chance to record more crap, muddying up the water. :D
    RM you last comment intrigued me... I read an Alan Parsons interview a while ago where he stated the Pink Floyd stuff was all done on 2 - 16 tracks, not locked together but rather loading 16 up on one machine and then bouncing subgroups to the other and doing further overdubs. (God Bless Abbey Road) Drums were relegated to 2 tracks on the final multitrack tape! Talk about making decisions you have to live with!. AP was commenting on how he is looking forward to having a chance to remix the Pink Floyd tapes using all the original source tapes and 32 + tracks .......... Fats

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