Console in Hybrid Set up

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by Steve@Russo, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    So...I bought an audioarts 8x console, and besides being excited to use its "super mediocre" eqs as remy put I am thinking about how to get the most out of it.

    I currently have a 2-bus lt and a monitor st, but will probably want to get rid of them now and sum through the board.

    So I plan on, tracking drums and scratch to tape, bouncing to PT, mixing in pt, then summing out to the consoles using outboard comps and the onboard eqs back into pt to bounce to disk.

    How are you guys using your consoles in your set ups

    Please let me know if you guys think I am dumb, I am just so friggin tired of computers
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    personally I think you are taking a step backwards, but I think you are going to have a lot of fun. It sounds like you have the right idea. I can't think of doing it any other way that how you describe your flow.

    What converters are you using? What outboard gear were you using with your 2-bus?
  3. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    I am just using a focusrite saffire and digimax fs, I have a pair of api 527. I probably will keep the monitor st, but the 2-bus lt is kind of uninteresting to me at this point of using the same summing box for around 5 years (?). Time to do something else. Bands I record like character, not many rich guys coming into studios that want super clean sounding recordings. Mostly guys like me who would take a little character, the noise floor on that console line in is crazy, line .0005 I read somewhere
  4. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    That console is pretty old (early 80's) so chances are it needs a looking at, i.e. re-cap, service, power supply recondition etc. Audioarts is still around (they make primarily radio consoles now) so I don't know if they'll be any help but if you know a good console tech maybe he can get it up.

    The main problem with buying old consoles (even higher-end modular types) is that over a couple of decades the power supplies start to deteriorate along with the electrolytic caps. This is the main source of noise and distortion and if your console is well used, I'm willing to bet it's not performing up to spec. I am also willing to bet that this is not going to improve your situation coming from the 2-bus as it's a high headroom device (+28dBu) and it's, well, new. In case you didn't get a manual, here are the specs of your console:

    line .0005% 20hz – 20khz (not a missprint it's that low! crazy....but true)
    mic - .05%

    Bus to bus less than –90db @ 1khz
    W/patchpanel engaged - less than –75db @ 1khz

    Dynamic range
    Line 110 db
    Mic 100 db

    Input impedence
    Line 40k homs bal
    Mic balanced bridging nominal source impedence 0 ohms

    Max level +26db bal (ref @ .775v)
    +20dbm unbal
    Impedence 600 ohms bal
    10 ohms unbal

    Gain Max (mic) +75 db

    So while a max level of +26dBu is pretty high the 2-bus still has it by 2dB. It's a quiet console, however, with 110dB of dynamic range on the line inputs and 100dB on mic. That's pretty damn good and the THD specs are pretty unreal. Figures like that are definitely on par with the 2-bus if not better and if it's accurate, it's super clean. However, when it comes to crosstalk the 2-bus still wins (101db to 90dB).

    So when that console was new it was pretty serious but it's probably seen a few battles over the years and doesn't perform to those specs any more. SO, if it's worth it to you to get it back up to spec (if it indeed needs it) by spending some moolah on it, you will have to a pretty decent console there. The advantage over the 2-bus is that you get preamps and EQ and if you can get it to perform like new, then it will probably be worth it.

    Now all you need are some decent converters. :tongue: thumb

    Cheers :)
  5. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    The power supply was just overhauled and recapped, which is why I sprung for it. I have waited to buy "vintage" gear in closes to mint condition but still at a low price, I got my 8516 which literally looks right out of the crate for less than 800 with all accessories needed (deguaser, url tape, splicing block, +4 interface, remote etc) and tapes. I have owned a Lynx Aurora in the past and I have owned apogee with my old pthd system, I sold all this stuff for a long time. They were ok, but to be honest, the Lynx which seems to be the new fad I had 6 years ago, so I am not going anywhere near it right now, makes about as much sense as purchasing a new mac pro.

    I actually am putting out higher fidelity recordings with my saffire into pt10 then I ever did with the aurora into pthd7, but that is not an equal comparison being I have 6 more years experience now.

    I also got to admit that with the bands I deal with, mojo is a factor, the last few bands I had in that tracked to tape were so hyped up on the fact that the reels were spinning that I do believe I got better performances out of them, I know I did.

    Nothing wrong with putting breast implants on your studio, I may keep the 2-bus incase I ever wanted some clean summing, but I do like the ideas of the eqs on the summing bus and I don't have enough money to buy 24 channels of api
  6. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    I also read about putting transformers on the master and buses to make it preform more like an api, I like projects and since I don't do this for a living I have the luxury of messing around
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I echo everything that Mo Facta said.

    FWIW, you never gave the Dangerous 2-Bus a chance, and used it only at its basic level ( DA > 2-bus > AD ) which is a common ( mistake) response from people expecting it will do magic on its own. You bought it as an effect which is not what it is. Its a HIGH HEADROOM summing amp. The idea of having a summing amp of that level is to use it with all sorts of specialty analog gear. If you had high end gear inserted in their respected stems for tone shaping, you would never be talking about it being too clean. You really missed that mark on what its designed to do.

    A summing amp like that is far more flexible (true blue) than the direction you are going now. It gives you unlimited variations of colour options. You are now stuck with a console that has its own sound that you have to live with. No matter what you add to it, will always be coloured pink. So when you use the API stuff, they will always have a shade of pink so they really aren't API anymore. Summing amps don't shine on their own, they shine when you insert quality gear and crank up the juice. smoke
  8. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    no I have used it in the past with everything that chandler offers, really everything, curve bender the whole deal, and it is great, but I can't afford that. When I was able to sign this stuff out for months at a time it was a different story. I just don't have access to this gear anymore
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    gotcha thumb But you referred the 2-bus as clean so it sounded like you don't understand it?
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Same with the Monitor ST. That thing is the bomb. You will never have as good a monitoring system with that console. The monitoring system is crucial.
  11. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    yeah I am keeping the monitor st for sure, I might keep the 2-bus, me and my buddy have been sharing these on and off for about 4 years. I am looking forward to working with the console and the tape deck together, that was the real reason I purchased it. I got to see how if can flow with how I work.
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Not trying to change your mind or hijack your thread, its sounds like a lot of fun and also very positive for the inspiration you noted!
    However, there are a lot of people who don't get the whole summing amp and hybrid thing. It took me a while to get it all sorted so, to clarify any misinformation and confusion for other readers following this over time...

    High headroom summing amps shine when you use choice analog compressors and equalizers (even synths I'm told) as inserts for the stems that are grouped logically. Until you do that, you are absolutely missing the bomb.
    I doubt I will ever go back to a bulky and noisy console or 100% ITB. A controller yes, but not a console. Modular excels because it doesn't lock you into one sound or space like a Zoo. The only thing I can see "changing or adding" to my hybrid chain would be how I harness the audio. Tape, DAW, DSD, but always using specialty hardware that I collect one piece at a time over the years for the hybrid system.
    I can see cascading or adding more of them including things like the liaison or replacing my MixDream for something like the NEOS which has even higher headroom. Why do I need more juicy "analog" headroom you ask? Space of course.

    DAW = zoo. I love this, I hope you get it:

  13. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    Yeah, I have been on summing amplifier thing for a about 6 years or so, just as they were becoming En Vogue. Sold them for a long time, I think they are awesome and everyone should literally use one, however a summing amplifier does not allow me to monitor playback of my tape machine. That is another reason I need the console rather than line mixers for decent play back before dumping to daw.

    I think that the phase issues encountered when mixing down in a DAW is the biggest advantage to analog summing taking other processing out of the equation.
  14. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I haven't been using tape for 14 years but from my guess, my MixDream has 16 send/return IO plus 16 direct outs/returns that would be ideal for a tape deck. Plus precise monitoring and a mastering IO. Pretty sure this is not a problem.

    Also, this is interesting:
    Hybrid Systems
  15. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    yeah I read that thing last night
  16. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I only indicated that the equalizers on TA-SCAM analog consoles were miserable sounding. Other low-end mixers may also suffer the same malady but not all. Low and high frequency shelving equalizers generally suffer from less lousy sound than peaking/bell shaped curve equalization on low-end desks. That has to do with how wide the bell shaped curve is or Q. Whether gyrator or inductor equalization is utilized and how well the circuits are designed. The TA-SCAM mid-band equalization is too narrow a Q. Therefore it is also far less " musical sounding " i.e. opposite that of " British " style of a broader Q. Which typically makes those more effective and more musical sounding. A tighter Q is more important when one wants to " notch out " problematic acoustical aberrations. A lot of us like to boost things as opposed to notching things out and want a more musical sounding equalization circuit. The API 550/550 A/550 B had what was known as a " proportional Q ". That meant that lower DB boosts & cuts yielded a broader more wide ranging Q. Where at higher boost & cut the Q becomes more narrow and tighter. In that application, one might want a 4 DB boost with a broader Q, affecting more frequencies. But at 4 DB boost the Q may be too narrow? This would require 2 passes through a 550 (any version except the 550-A1 which was a reciprocal Q equalizer) at 2 DB per pass for a 4 DB boost (or cut) creating a broader Q and affecting a broader range of frequencies higher and lower than the selected center frequency. But the 550 was really the only " Proportional Q " equalizer, ever produced. The only other variation of the Q on other brands of equalizers required full parametric control of both frequency selection & Q bandwidth only obtainable with parametric equalizers of mostly "gyrator" designed equalizers relying upon IC chip operational amplifiers. All of which affect the flavor of this sound depending upon the design concept of the equalizer. My previous Sphere Eclipse C equalizers were switched quasi-parametric ferrite core inductors providing only a switched between broad and narrow Q and so were not fully parametric. Those equalizers however were designed much in the same way as the Neve equalizers of the most desirable types from the earlier 1970s. And there were really no Neve's created with an adjustable Q bandwidth control. So the Sphere had the same sound as a Neve with a slightly broader range of control. Plus the boost & cut was only switchable in its amount, like an API 550 as opposed to the continuously variable controls with no way to create precise repeatability as the Neve units were designed. And the API's never used inductors but instead an RC network, without any " ringing " inductors. Both API & Neve provided for a high quality of tonality in comparison to others built to more highly budgeted concepts. And that's where most of the cheaper ones provide no sonic improvements but instead sonic deterioration regardless of available features. It's great to have versatility as long as the quality level is maintained. It really can't be maintained in equalizers designed to cost $15 instead of $1000, each. In that respect it really does prove you get what you pay for. So no equalizer, even hot rodded budget oriented equalizers can't quite compare to a really finely designed equalizer where the budget vs. tonality was not part of the design criteria to begin with. Those were designed to produce hits and not basement recordings. That's not to say that less than the best can't produce a quality sound provided that the electronics are not over extended by the engineer's choices.

    Equalizers 101
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  17. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    not a tascam, and I can't afford any high end eq at this point and want to get out of the box, seems like every conversation goes the same way around here
  18. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Steve, I know you don't have a TA-SCAM mixer now. Of course you can get out of the box with any console. But with any console you don't necessarily get anything special unless the console is already, special sounding. Basically what people are trying to say is that while zirconium looks like a diamond it isn't. It might scratch glass but it's not going to cut it. And the same will hold true for average and poorly designed equalizers & preamps, summing amplifiers, etc.. So a Indianapolis racecar might look cool and run on regular 87 octane gasoline but it sure as heck isn't going to win any races that way running on skim milk, soda pop. It'll do much better with 190 proof pure grain alcohol. You know, the same stuff we use when recording and mixing (hic). Stop, stop, I can walk on my own.

    I was only mixing, officer...
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  19. SPL

    SPL Active Member

    A "real" DAW or Tape Return requires a complete balancing send/driver stage... only this ensures direct comparison to what you do with the RECORDING signal. We have included this into the dedicated "TAPE RETURN" of the NEOS, but it is indeed not included in the MixDream. You can, of course, use any channels also for monitoring, but this is no perfect Tape Return.

    And you may allow me to add on EQs that we also have parametrics with proportional Q filters: Qure and PQ 2050. The PQ 2050 offered switchable content and proportional Q bands. However - PQ is discontinued meanwhile, successor is not foreseeable yet.
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Thanks for clearing that up for me Paul.

    Interesting to learn you have this option for the NEOS. Why? Are there more people using tape again?
    Sad to hear that about the PQ, I've been eyeing that one up for years. I bet it was very expensive to build. Is there talk about a successor? The Qure looks very nice.

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