comparing a few things

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by taylor, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. taylor

    taylor Guest

    as i do a bit of mastering work for small labels in my area as well as independant musicians, i'm always looking to improve, when i can, my signal chain.

    right now i am all in the box with UAD-1, sony oxford (powercore) and URS plug ins.

    i've been looking an cheaper, yet still pretty high quality outboard gear and was wondering what anyone thought of a signal chain consisting of?

    z-sys z-qualizer + rupert neve 5042 Portico Tape Emulation

    as opposed to say, a plug in chain consisting of UAD PEQ + pultec and/or sony dynamics warmth algorithm.

    are we talking a total upgrade in sound or do i really need to go for a massive passive + vari mu (not that i can afford those) to get a significant upgrade in sound?

    i've heard great things about the z-sys, tthough it's still digital... and of course the Portico stuff gets high marks.

    i'm wondering if those 2 boxes will give the mixes a bit more dimension than my plug in setup.

    thank you
     
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I only heard ruperts tape emulator in his mastering console and it was ok, but not wow. Depending on your A/D/A's, going the analog route may or may not be a good option. If you don't have some good ones, your sound can take a bit of hit going through them. The high end digital eq's are excellent, you can't compare them to plugins.

    To sound like a broken record, the best investment you can make are monitors.
     
  3. Sometimes you have to sound like a broken record to get that through to some people.
     
  4. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Amen to the monitors...

    Also - Don't know if this applies... I'm a Samplitude user. V8 has some really excellent analog emulation built-in. I don't get much use from it (I tend to favor an analog chain anyway), but it's pretty impressive.

    Samp & UAD... Not much you can't get away with there.

    As long as your conversion and monitoring are up to snuff. :lol:
     
  5. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member

    Depends which direction you want to take also. Looks like you would go digital and if you add a analog chain in it, it will be very much different.
     
  6. taylor

    taylor Guest

    converter is a benchmark DAC-1 coming out of my MOTU 1224 going into a pair of Genelec 1030a

    i love my genelecs.. people have mixed opinions about them (as well as mixed opinions about EVERYTHING).. and it is my experience, and belief, that it's not only a matter of having a great pair of monitors... but KNOWING your monitors.. i've had friends mix incredible records on a pair of Alesis monitor 1s... because he KNEW them....

    glad to hear, at least, that the Z-sys digital EQ is a step above even the best EQ plug ins.

    john, i know how much a fan you are of the UAD pEQ.... you still think the z-sys is a step up?
     
  7. axel

    axel Guest

    tayler wrote:

    big amen, brother :!: 8) :!:

    i have dozens of examples like that myself...

    one of the best mixers i know (and that's purely a matter of taste! of course) mixes on a set of over 15 years old home hi fi tannoys powered by an old grubby NAD hi fi amp, ALL his mixes translate always after the first mix session on whatever system from walkmans, kitchen radios to le acoustic rigs in stadiums...

    nevertheless, a good pair is a very sensible investment, and then it's time to "learn them" :!:
     
  8. taylor

    taylor Guest

    i do sometimes feel that i need a subwoofer in my system.. but, now we're getting off topic..

    i think my original curiosity was how these "lower end high end" pieces (like the Portico or z-sys) stack up to some of the better plug ins (UAD, oxford, etc)

    i know my mixes would see an improvement with a Vari-Mu.. that's an easy one :) but there seems to be some great advances out there in lesser-priced stuff.

    although, i am also a firm believer in "you get what you pay for"...
     
  9. iznogood

    iznogood Guest

    i really knew the 1030's i worked on for a couple of years.....

    then i got some proper monitors.... and my mixes changed like night and day!!

    and my masters!!!! don't even go there..... 1030's are great speakers for composing.... period.... not for mix.... not EVER for mastering.... the builtin limiters and weakass amp's.... :-?

    and did you ever wonder why people with truly great speakers never use the "knowing the speakers excuse"?? :roll:

    sorry for my arrogance.... :oops: :(
     
  10. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Iznogood wrote:

    i really knew the 1030's i worked on for a couple of years.....
    then i got some proper monitors.... and my mixes changed like night and day!!


    Amen to THAT, brother, same here!

    and my masters!!!! don't even go there..... 1030's are great speakers for composing.... period.... not for mix.... not EVER for mastering.... the builtin limiters and weakass amp's....

    I hear that, too. I was working under similar restraints, but in my case with JBLs, KRK's and Tannoys.

    and did you ever wonder why people with truly great speakers never use the "knowing the speakers excuse"??

    Well, I used to say that as well, and to be fair, it's what many of us have had to do, until we got something better.

    In my case, it was the Lipinski L-505's about a year ago. They have LITEREALLY changed my life, and my entire way of working. Believe it or not, I STILL occasionally say to myself: "well, it sounds good HERE, but it'll be different elsewhere."

    The actual truth is, my mixes DO sound good here, but in almost a year of working with them, they have never lied to me, and I have had ZERO, NADA, NONE bounced mixes or problems with the masters we've done here and taken out elsewhere. There are no nasty surprises, or ugly mistakes with these speakers. (Honest to god, I CAN hear 1 db changes in eq, levels, reverb, etc. with these speakers; it can and does make a difference now!) Virtually no one calls me back a day or a week later to say they've found the mixes to be problematic on their home speakers.

    After years of compromise, and defeatist-attitude thinking and worrying about what COULD be wrong with MY system, I am finally learning to relax now, and have begun to work without worry, without restraint, and the full knowledge that I'm hearing IS what I"m hearing. We hear the final mix here, and we master here as well. After three decades in this business, it's wonderful (and worth every penny) to NOT have to second guess oneself.

    sorry for my arrogance....

    Not at all man, not at all. I don't mean to brag, either, I just totally agree; it's just a heavy price tag to pay for that kind of security, and it took me a long long time to get there. I wish the same for everyone; great speakers will change your life, and will let you get down to the REAL business at hand: Making music.
     
  11. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    It's a common thing to defend ones monitors. No one wants to admit they are listening on something not up to par. Heck, I mastered for several years on less than great monitors fooling myself that I knew them. When I finally took the plung and put down some serious cash on monitors, my life changed. Do I have the end all be all of monitors, no way. but man what a change my work has gone through since I made the move about 6 years ago. They have paid for themselves 10 times over, I'm not kidding. I have clients that book time just to play their masters in my room for record labels.

    there is not one single piece of gear that can do more than monitors. Not only will they improve your product, but your clients will also be happier if they sit in.


    That being said, the zsys eq is a very nice eq and you won't be sorry you bought it. If you want, they will send one to you to try out.

    I went with the Weiss, and if you try it out, you won't send it back. It is one of the best eq's analog or digital that money can buy. But I know many top ME's that use the zsys eq's.
     

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