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Auxiliary Spend

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by audiokid, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Auxiliary Spend

    I've been thinking this was coming for years but so far I'm wrong. The Round Trip is an interesting bit of exposure. What a total gong show of over spending that has created.

    In fact, when I started doing this "electronic thing" 30 years ago, I kept waiting for the bubble to burst. In the 90's, I was sure it would return back to tradition. In 2000 I couldn't believe it was still going. I don't know if it ever will return to what we consider real. It simply takes too much effort to be a great musician these days.

    We've fed the public sheat for years now, and I think they actually believe it is great sounding talent and real people called DJ's and laptop musicians.

    Soon, vocals will be unrecognizable electronic simulations. Not one thing human.

    BUT, there will always be room for real because sooner or later, the popular stuff just doesn't do it for us.
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member


    Now this raises the question of 'why' do we continue to pursue this? The elements in place to create things like Sgt.Peppers and Dark Side..are not in place any more. As was said in the article, the basic home enthusiast has as much horsepower in their ProTools 7 as to be unimaginable in 1969 or thereabouts.

    I think back on the thousands of threads here and other forums concerning this and what little was resolved throughout all the comparing and arguing that took place.

    It begs a question.....Are we simply in too much of a hurry to really sit and listen with all our inner selves to whats being played on media to even recognize the NEXT Sgt. Peppers? Or is it simply not going to happen and this can be attributed to divine inspiration and like the works of the great classical masters who's legacy was also limited to a few pieces and not duplicated since?

    For me, I'm sure its only the twist of a knob away............LOLOL!!!
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i think we may be on the edge of the return of the high end.

    the difference between the laptop/ desktop studio and a real room with a real desk and real mics run by competent recordists using competent talent is finally becoming self evident. the promise of a computer based mixing and summing solution has been shown to to be empty and it's a damn shame the damage that has passed in the proofing of the product.

    a lot of small and mid range studios were forced to close due to competition as small home based personal studios equipped with nothing more than a desktop computer and a few thousand dollars of software undercut the market. prices of used tape machines and consoles plummeted and clients ran in droves to rooms with no overhead who undercut the local studio by 2/3rds making the small studio model unprofitable. studio owners panicked and sold off their consoles and tape machines at a loss as they watched the investment they had made plummet daily.

    meanwhile back on the farm, waaaay to many people had access to these "affordable" tools and as such produced a whole lot of unlistenable recordings.

    the ability to self publish permitted these same individuals to saturate the "airwaves" ( YouTube / Facebook ) with sub standard "product" for free, cheapening the art. who's going to pay for quality when you can get a reasonable albeit not as good product for free or next to nothing? Walmart proves that out.

    it took the recording and music maketing industry almost 15 years to figure a way around this problem out but now it looks as if we are ready for a spurt of growth with quite a few high end rooms opening up going with the console daw combo. the price of used analog tape machines and high end consoles is on the rise having almost doubled in the past two years and tape is becoming more available.

    i wouldn't be surprised if someone began to make new analog recorders in the future and we already have several manufacturers cranking out consoles at a good rate.
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    What many people in this business have yet to realise is that, in sonic terms, you can only go so far with a DAW, no matter how much you spend on it. To go beyond this digital ceiling, you need to think past the box, and that generally means at least some part of the process should be analog.

    I reserve a small smile to myself each time when, using modest-cost analog consoles, I create finished mixes that easily surpass what I could achieve on a DAW. Multiply that effect by the sort of money that the top end studios are able to put into their gear and you can see why there is a new horizon for those who know.

    P.T. has a lot to answer for.
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    The round trip is the biggest farce of the last two decades. Its the reason why hybrid has not evolved to the degree Bos and I ( Kurt also has experienced this) hear it. I'm sure we're not alone but its definitely not been exposed like I am doing it now.
    Round Trip has also created a false grandeur over ITB because its a phase generator. You need a super clock to try and fix it but its still only a patch.
    I have to say, Bos, you nailed it my friend.
    Pro Tools has a lot to answer for this absolute joke way to include gear.

    I'm not bragging, just saying it the way it is. My system is astonishing and it is all about avoiding phase shift. The next part to what I am getting ready to say is exactly this, Pro Tools and all the shills selling gear, telling us to use Pro Tools like this has done nothing for Pro Audio. And look at all the engineers claiming it is working.

    There is going to be serious deals on used gear. I'm cherry picking now. Mastering level gear for me only.

    The key to this is to get a console again. Don't insert gear into your DAW AT ALL! Only insert it into your console. Whe OTB, stay there and sum or mix into the second DAW. A DAW is better for practical reasons. You can do it with any cheap system. I choose Sequoia because its a mastering beast. Reaper is fine.

    Mix into a second DAW and forget all the BS about super clocks. Its useless hype only patching an existing issue.
    I have more to say. Christmas is near.

  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    excuse me asking the obvious, i usually just lurk around this section cuz it's fascinating to me, and i'm really just learning about hybrid and the best way to do it.

    what does 'round trip' mean? would that be for example sending stems to a mixer, but then having it return back as a stereo file to the same DAW computer/interface, that the stems are coming from too?

  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I am very bias and opinionated on this. Abrasive even. My opinion creates more negativity than good but I'll say it best I can.

    Yes and worse. Returning individual tracks , using the DAW like an analog console is plagued with phase issues. Inserting hardware like you would an analog console = Round Trip.

    Expecting the tracks to line up via round trip is absurd. It creates all sorts of phase issues. Latency compensation is a goofy patch, hardly right.
    Thus, the concept of using a master clock to correct a problem is even more a patch to a problem that can be 100% avoided.. Which I have proven now. I own the 10M and it makes no improvement to my system. But, it does if you are on the Round Trip. Proves it is wrong.

    I mean, we all have a way to my ears, Round Trip Processing is a dated concept that started from people using Pro Tools years ago. Gear pimps love this idea because they could continue selling gear to people using Pro Tools. And mass follow like the blind until it becomes mainstream.
    I can't say it any other way. Its a total joke to work like this but, its what people are doing. No wonder ITB has grown so big. People with ears hear something isn't as good OTB but do not know why ITB sounds better.

    And It doesn't really. Round Trip actually is wrong so the alternative, ITB is better because ITB isn't plagued with this problem.. Its so obvious now.

    Once you start Round Trip, you keep trying to improve the domino effect.. More and more gear added and the more you are adding phase.

    Something else I believe: Phase can sound like fat. People call this glue. Its going to get interesting now that I publicly addressed this with top level engineers who are zooming the public into believing a clock is the answer.

    Bos and I for example, avoid this by implementing a capture system, uncoupling the first DAW from the second. The sound quality is stellar. My system is rock solid. No phase, no need to use additional clocking.

    Bos says it so well.
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i think a lot of mixers at the top end of the food chain knew this a long time ago although they may have been hiding this hole card. it has to be the reason why they have stuck to mixing on a console.

    some kinds of music may be more suited to itb than others but to use a phrase you are fond of Chris, anything you want to sound "real" seems to sound better when mixed on a big board. but big boards are expensive on a number of levels. perhaps that's a good thing. if only to weed out the adults from the children. i have always maintained that a high cost of entry sets up a situation where only those with a true commitment and passion participate. this is the reason i have hope.
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I'd like to think so... but then I think of the millions of people who listen to music through the vastly popular low res MP3 delivery system and I have to wonder...

    As engineers and producers, we spend countless hours (and amounts of money) trying to better the sound. We spend money on high dollar mics, pres, platforms, consoles, and peripheral gear, all in an effort to catch that elusive "moment" where all the sonics add up to true beauty and art.... and it sounds great through our monitors.... but then what? Well, then it gets listened to through 8 dollar ear buds on a playback system that cuts the fidelity and resolution... and do the majority of listeners care? Nope.

    As far as the gear goes, sometimes I think I did better stuff when there were limitations; a finite number of tracks, for example, where only the best performances would make it to the final mix, as opposed to a limitless number of tracks where just because the user has the ability to record to 128 tracks, that they feel the need to use all 128, which is, by and large, made up mostly of crap that in a time gone by, would have been turned to magnetic dust.... a time when choices needed to be made as to what stayed and what didn't.

    It has also opened the floodgates to make it available to those who really have no business doing it.... no earthly clue of what the tools do... "what's a limiter? Oh well, it doesn't matter, I'll just throw one on every track..."

    I'm not suggesting that one shouldn't enter into this art if they choose to. After all, we were all beginners at one time. But the availability (and cost) has gotten to the point now where anyone with a computer can buy (or hack) a copy of Sonar, PT, Cubase, etc., and hit record. And it's evident for all to hear. You don't need to search very hard for lousy recordings.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Taken from a realated thread:

    Choice words Boswell!

    My process is more sophisticated but very similar in design and end result sound quality. For the mixing system (the bridge between two DAW's) , Bos described a modest console or summing amp/ DAW combo gets it done.
    Any capture process and cheap PC works . I choose to capture to Sequoia 12 as its a well coded mixing and mastering DAW, best of both worlds (another topic). However, any cheap DAW and PC will work just fine for the capture. Reaper comes to mind. Forget DSD unless you want to archive for some reason. Most of us are burning CD, DVD or going online. Capture to the destination and be done with it.

    You do need a "good to awesome" second 2 channel ADDA , there are plenty of used choices there. FW. USB, simple.
    I follow mastering engineers tools and concepts from this point on but you can keep it simple, low cost and mix up to their requirements and pass it on with superior results.
    For my capture I personally use Prism and Lavry but RME , Antelope, Hilo whatever. Grab a used 2 channel you are golden.
    You need something with monitoring outs because this is where you are focused and the education begins.
    This basic design is more involved than one DAW round trip but the results are superior and I'm pretty certain, less money in the long run up to HD master level. As you migrate into this, you will learn what you don't need anymore as well. No return to the 90's round trip concept. imho, its dated and done.

    I use the 10M/Orion 32 and a 2 channel master DAC in this chain. There are so many choices and used is the way to go.
    Grab a console and start having fun again.

    Happy New Year.
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I miss cooking on a desk. Yup. There... I said it.

    There are some things that I prefer with digital, mainly in the editing process, but not a day goes by that I don't miss sitting down at a console. It's how I learned, it's what I came up on, it's where I feel most comfortable, most "musical", most artistic.

    I remember going into the digital age kicking and screaming back in the early 90's; and truthfully it was only because it was forced upon me because every other studio in my area was also converting (no pun intended) and the clientele who were stupid enough to believe that it was better just because it was digital.

    I'm sure I'm not the only one here who went through the futile and failed effort of trying to educate clients who had been convinced, one way or the other, that converting music to 1's and 0's resulted in better sounding recordings.

    But, truth be told, it costs a lot of money to do analog right. It also takes a solid working knowledge of the gear to keep it running at its optimum. For me to invest in an analog rig of any quality would equal a second mortgage, and I'm convinced that I'd never see a return commensurate with the investment, at least not here in my area. Customers in this region are accustomed to spending around $20-$25 per hour for your run of the mill, endless-track digital studio, with decent mics and a nice room. At that rate, I'd never be able to pay that "dream gear" off, even if I was booked 24/7, which is also a dream.

    So, alas, without a financial return that would make it worthwhile, it would merely be an indulgence for me.

    And at this time in my life, facing the personal health issues that I am, and also trying to support a mother with Alzheimers, I'm afraid that I'm simply not in a financial position to fall prey to the temptations of those indulgences. ;)
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Demystifying Round Trip Processing

    This post is simply an observation leading up to more debate between the correlation (cause and effect) Round Trip processing and HUGE claims over the benefits external clocks have. People claim these super clocks are improving their sound. I believe them. But I don't believe it is an improvement, I believe it is a patch.
    Why are some saying "HUGE to "only a subtle" or like myself, I hear no improvement with or without the exact same super clock in a hybrid system. This is where this all gets interesting to me.

    Around 2002 I started following the people raving about the round trip. I paid extra attention to what they were using from gear to DAW's and their past and present process. They were also the ones slamming Pro Tools the most while raving about external clocks.
    At that time I was using Pro Tools 24 Mix

    In 2006 I dumped Avid completely and went modular. There is no denial, Pro Tools has been revolutionary for both affordable and pro audio recording (good, better, best), there is also no denial it is also a software marketing machine and a computer with limitation. The concept of running critical audio streams in and OTB and expecting them to arrive at the exact same time without any cause and effect has always seemed pretty unreal to me, so I bailed on Pro Tools thinking it was that product with the most problems.
    Moving ahead to 2013, the more I think about all this today, Pro Tools is not really the culprit here. Its the people using a DAW like a analog console that have the problem. Its done nothing positive for Pro Audio other than confuse people into thinking they need more than they do, line the pockets of the fast expiring gear pimps, stimulate excessive software and make ebay a lot of money.
    The used market is huge and the boutique manufacturers and dealers who got us here in the first place are seeing their gear sell far below value on the used market. What a gong show this all has been. Its a good time to rebuild! This will surely make a mark in recording history.

    In 2006 I dropped the whole idea of the Round Trip and began rebuilding my system.

    I'm including this article here because its very relevant.

    Does Your Studio Need A Digital Master Clock?

    If that ain't a clue... take a read through this one ,

    starts here: http://recording.org/threads/what-is-clock-jitter.45012/

    Some Mastering Engineers are hearing huge improvements with this super clock too. They are obviously patching or loosing sync somewhere. If ya need it, start the process of elimination and find out why you or your clients are out.
    Marcel, from Antelope, sent me a mastered song last year (10M before and after) and I was blown away on how much better the 10M version sounded through my capture studio monitors, same ones I use today. The difference between those two versions was HUGE. The track was electronic music. Go figure.

    I have the 10M now and there is no improvement with it on or off. My system was obviously already in phase and locked. There is a reason why I don't require this very expensive patch.
    If the writing isn't on the wall.

    My suggestion today:

    Any console, two low cost computers, a well put together monitor control system, 2 DAW's of choice (one for tracking and mixing, the other for capture/mastering) two converters that are FW or USB. Done.

    Keep the levels in check. The rest is just a matter of good music.
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    To most, reading this will be nothing more than yet another silly web conflict, but to me, its more confirmation over the whole round trip and gear pimping that started back when digi was taking out the large format consoles. Gear pimps saw great opportunity to stay floating so what better way to keep selling gear than to push the round trip to the affordable and pro audio recording market. RO was the place where we saw the transition. Most of our members back in that day were the people who pushed this concept.
    Studios switching over to digi could keep using their vintage gear in a hybrid system while the pimps sold everyone more and more gear. When they discovered the external clock, digi took the biggest kick in the balls and Logic became the contender. Next, RADAR and ... so it continues.
    I'm not saying this was a conspiracy. It evolved this way and was an opportunity for the blind leading the blind. Even as we speak, people aren't clueing in as to why something is still wrong with hybird syncing to the DAW with complete accuracy.

    Even though I know its total BS or lets put it a better way, a really expensive and essential patch, the super clock continues to find its way into studios. It is without a doubt to me, the blind leading the blind.

    Ironically, I just found this. :
    Lavry Engineering • View topic - Lavry Removed as PSW Moderator
  14. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I don't understand this thread at all. Have any of you actually read the article "Auxiliary Spend?" The (pretty damned plain) point of the article is that gear doesn't matter: "Once the signal actually hits the microphone 90 percent of the job is already done and any creative mixing work that follows is still much more a matter of skill than of what's in the signal path." Now I'm not saying it the article is wrong or right. But if you go on about how signal path X is far better than signal path Y, you are disagreeing with the original article. If you then go on about someone else "pimping" for signal path Y, you have "a lot to answer for" if you then tell anyone that only music made with signal path X is fit to listen to.
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Good point, the whole thread is full of loaded POV and quite precisely meant to engage your opinion without images. Yours is obviously completely different than the rest.

    What I get from this article, based on my experiences of the industry and where its headed, is not positive for boutique manufacturers. Thus, addition comments of why we got to this point. My perception is obviously quite different from yours. Mine will generally be an open to the reader way of writing. Like a book without images. Or a song without a video.
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I don't fully take the writers POV to heart either. I think the cream is rising and we are all becoming more satisfied, informed and less confused as to what we as individuals can do or need.. don't need. My POV is, less is more with HD always in mind. I couldn't do that to satisfaction using my previous system and process. Plug-ins as an example would fall into this ridiculous spending of money.

    To add, we are ultimately here because of the DAW / computers.

    But along the way, some took advantage of the opportunities and demise of - out with the old , in with the new.
    I personally enjoy talking about some of this which came through misinformation, shilling, blind leading the blind, politics and really smart people etc etc that contributed to unnecessary spending. Its pretty clear so its fun discussing it.

    The super clock and what Dan Lavry was talking about years back made me think about this thread today. I have a $6000 super clock here and its useless to me. A complete waste of time but the "reason" it is, hasn't really been talked about in depth. It usually falls into a topic of it is a must or its no longer needed, if ever.

    Which is exactly why this article is so interesting.
    And, I'm hearing a new 384SR is next. Will I buy it. I'm good @ 44.1 most of the time, I have analog on my side. :)

    I'm actually thinking we are onto a new phase, yet once again!

    What more do you get from that SOS article, Bob?
  17. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I did Bob. And I hope anybody else who picks up this thread late reads it too.


    Mr White's opinion is that we all need to quit worrying about the latest gizmos and concentrate on writing, arranging, and playing/singing songs worth recording. As far as the technology goes - once you get to a certain level there is a point of diminished returns. Beyond that point, it's easy to get caught on the "if I had a Ringo-Tronics Thumper 2000 I could totally make a hit record" treadmill. Manufacturers will be happy to provide an endless stream of profit generating shiny new carrots to dangle on the end of that stick.

    I personally believe in Max's philosophy, whatever you do, it must serve the song.
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Isn't that the truth!
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Where I'm putting my money is in high HD hardware room simulators and 2-bus shaping. All the nonsense on gear gear gear, flavours and toys and and rows of software plugs is fooling us into thinking we need so much colour and control to every minute part of the wave = a complete facade to me.

    I have a simple but very effective system now (sold most of everything redundant) that is designed to capture acoustic music before it hits the 2-bus. In between that 2-bus is a rack of Bricasti's and Eventides designed to create space. They take all the wonder out of trying to create space in your mix, if you don't have it, or need to repair it.
    The mix isn't a mix without the room. No gear other than a great real or virtual room will get you there. If I could have 16 M7's on every bus I would. Thats what I need. But, I can get by with a few. If I had room, a golden room, I would be smiling indeed. But, we can do most of it virtual for thousand less that I ever expected.

    Tracking gear - Its an important one for me so I have my basic mic collection, a few LA2A's, 1176, EQ or two (going in better makes right off the bat is all the difference in the world imho)...
    If you need more EQ's going in, I'm looking for a basic analog console now (a simple one with no interface). Yup, I will be 100% golden.
    The only thing I'm missing is the real musicians. The rest of this business to fame and fortune is politics and who you know. And thats the least of my concerns.

    Where are all the musicians? Bless my kids as they are able to actually play, that's what keeps me going.

    Damn, if I was only 40 years younger and had parents that have what I have today.
  20. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I'm basically in agreement with White in the sense that if you have a great performance in a good room in front of the mic, it doesn't matter what the gear is as long as you know how to use it - the recording will be great. In the same way, if you have a crappy performance in front of the mic, it doesn't matter what the gear is...you can't make chicken salad... On the other hand, it is our job to manage the signal chain after the sound gets to the mic, so it's worth talking about how to optimize that (within the financial constraints of our studios.) But the bottom line is that a huge portion of listeners are completely unconcerned about audio quality. If someone records Chris Thiele in a $1,000,000 studio and I record him in mine (dream on) and we produce two mp3's and people listen to them through gimme ear buds - all that's gonna matter is if Chris nails the performance.

    Now, I think the last line of White's essay acknowledges that we can all nod our heads at this good advice, but it's harder to stick with the program. The lure of shiny knobs is very strong. I'm certainly guilty.

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