Dangerous 2 bus - DAW mixing aid - user report

Discussion in 'Mixing & Editing' started by RandomGuest, Mar 7, 2002.

  1. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2001
    Dangerous 2-bus
    (D2B)

    http://www.dangerousmusic.com/2-bus.htm

    I have bought one of these to help me mix DAW sessions and use all my analog outboard. It sums 16 mono or 8 stereo pairs to 2 with a trim pot on the master out….

    So far I have patched into it via my 16 interface outputs like so

    Pair 1 = Kick (1) & Snare (2) (mono’ed)
    Pair 2 = Rest of kit
    Pair 3 = Bass (5) Lead Vocal (6) (mono’ed)

    Pair 4 = GTR’s
    Pair 5 = reverbs & FX
    Pair 6 = anything individual I want to put analog processing on
    Pair 7 =
    Pair 8 = (I will be trying separate compressed drum mix

    Sonically I have found the kick snare & bass all have benefited greatly from this box. In fact everything sounds better, I feel I am able to get more punch & ‘ruder’ mixes when using the D2B in conjunction with outboard (just go from the interface out to the outboard you want to use and then back into the D2B) and it has been nice not to have to be concerned with DAW plug in induced delays!

    From a vibe standpoint it is great, I am back on familiar turf, tweaking my analog outboard toys at mixdown.

    The levels in to this summing gizmo are basically set (there is a useful +6 dB boost button), so one aspect of using the D2B, is that all level moves in the DAW are pre the unit and will effect outboard like compression but that known, can be worked around.

    So I am happy, it represents a significant sonic leg up for me and my DAW based studio.

    I have been operating at 44.1k for the last 3 years because I was mixing ‘in the DAW’ to make 44.1 CD’s . I aim now to try tracking at 48k to squeeze a few more frequencies into the range. I plan to capture the analog output of the D2B with a separate 44.1 24-bit converter (Cranesong Hedd) feeding via AES a Masterlink. Later, I can record these mixes back to my DAW set up for a 24 bit 44.1k "mastering’ session where final eq, maximizing & dither can be added (or take the AIFF files to a mastering house)

    So it is IMHO, YET ANOTHER "must have" for the DAW studio along with: a controller with faders, good converters, a Masterlink and a FATSO..

    :w:
     
  2. erockerboy

    erockerboy Guest

    Jules, thanks for the report! Very encouraging.

    What are you using for your individual channel D/A's BTW? AD-8000, 888/24 or combination thereof?

    :)
     
  3. mixfactory

    mixfactory Guest

    "just go
    from the interface out to the outboard you want to use and then back"

    Hi Jules, this has been my setup for years. I have certain things hardwired to my outboard gear and others left open. I have a couple of questions about your setup though:
    1)Lets say you are using all of your 16 outs, what do you do when you want to use more outboard gear?(multi compressors and Eq's, outboard effect processors that don't have digital ins and outs). Will you have to buy another Digi 888 or whatever? Can you use more than one D2B at the same time?
    2)Whatabout working in surround, if the D2B is a stereo unit only, what would be the solution?
    3) Have you compared the summing sound to other summing buses? For eg;Analog-SSL,Api,Trident,Neve or Digital- Sony DMXR-100 or even an O2R?
    I'm thinking that by the time you hook it all up together, the price for everything will be about the same for a nice used analog console or a Pro Digital board. Am I crazy for thinking this?
     
  4. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2001
    EJolson "What are you using for your individual channel D/A's BTW?"

    2 x AD-8000 Special Editions and an 888/16 to run some digital reverb/FX AES i/o boxes I have in and out of my DAW .

    :)

    " I have certain things hardwired to my outboard gear and others left open. I have a couple of questions about your setup though:
    1)Lets say you are using all of your 16 outs, what do you do when you want to use more outboard gear?"

    I must achive 'it all' (the mix) with a combination of plug ins (Sony Oxford if poss) and with in the 16 analog outs (configured stereo or mono)

    "(multi compressors and Eq's, outboard effect processors that don't have digital ins and outs). Will you have to buy another Digi 888 or whatever?"

    No I have the max running for the D2B - 16 (BTW I dont have more than 16 cool bits of outboard really! :eek: My set up is designed for tracking a rock band across 16 tracks, my outboard was purchased accordingly and some of it is of no use on mixdown (mic pre's etc)

    "Can you use more than one D2B at the same time?

    I think it's makers would sooner knock you up a custom model, thats their usual line of work anyway.

    "2)Whatabout working in surround, if the D2B is a stereo unit only, what would be the solution?"

    I dont know of one, but if you can think of an engineering need, someone, somewhere out there can build something to satisfy it I am sure!

    "3) Have you compared the summing sound to other summing buses?"

    Only to Pro Tools so far

    "eg;Analog-SSL,Api,Trident,Neve or Digital- Sony DMXR-100 or even an O2R?"

    Of those only a Sony DMXR100 and an 02R would fit my room....!

    "I'm thinking that by the time you hook it all up together, the price for everything will be about the same for a nice used analog console"

    The 16 input wireing aint that much $$ I dont need $2,200 worth of a second hand junk desk in my control room!

    "or a Pro Digital board".

    They start at $10K for the decent ones IMHO

    "Am I crazy for thinking this?"

    No, it's mixing with DAW that drives you crazy!

    :w:
     
  5. mixfactory

    mixfactory Guest

    Hi Jules,

    Yeah I've been doing it for years. My first experience with digital were the Mitsubishi machines. That went through the Sony 3348(16 bits) and the early Neve Capricorn. Back then I saw that I got the best sounds by running the tracks directly of the machine straight to the outboard, a practice I still follow to this day. By the way, I guess a good DA is important if you are doing this(Especially when it comes to using the Dangerous Box). And why are you still mixing to 44.1K? Give your mastering engineers a break why don't you. I think you would want the best reprensentation of you mix? If you are going to strap a comp to the mix or if they are going to do any treatment after? Food for thought.
     
  6. mixfactory

    mixfactory Guest

    BTW I dont have more than 16 cool bits of outboard really! My set up is
    designed for tracking a rock band across 16 tracks, my outboard was
    purchased accordingly and some of it is of no use on mixdown (mic pre's
    etc)

    Wow making music with 16 tracks!!! Does this really exists?LOL

    Also, you only have 16 cool bits of outboard? I thought you were a certifiable "gear whore"? I guess we will have to classify you as a mere "gear slut". Sorry Jules.(Just kidding!!) With me its the opposite, I have I think (3)mic preamps, no microphones, and a whole bunch of mixing gear. I haven't mic'd a drumset(or had the desire to) in 7 years. I do track a vocal or a solo acoustic guitar once in a while, but that's it. No dealings with musicians, or cheap beer, or fattening fastfood. Nah, its just me, the mix, and the machines.
     
  7. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2001
    So as not to diminish my rep as a gear whore, the L&R mix out from the Dangerous 2-Bus fed a pair of Neve 1073's with a tad of HF sheen and warm LF boost - going into an SSL compressor - into a Cranesong Hedd 192 converter - into a Masterlink at 24 bit 44.1k.

    My junior engineer had mixed his first album and the act wanted my slant on the mixes, so instead of re-doing them in PT again we configured em to play back via the D2B. Without even touching much at all they sounded better via the D2B, then tweaking the key elements in the analog domain was a sheer joy and every one was much happier than the all in PT mixes that had been done.

    :)
     
  8. mixfactory

    mixfactory Guest

    Hi Jules,

    Bob Muller from Dangerous just emailed me. He says that the D2B is linkable, so you can have as many as you want linked together. I guess now I will have to check it out. Thanks.
     
  9. Nimrod

    Nimrod Guest

    Talking about analog summing vs digital, I have just heard Lynn Fuston's Neve vs PT mix CD, he compared the analog stereo output of the Oceanway 90 channel Neve desk mix bus on a 68 track mix converted to a 48/24 and 44.1/16 stereo master vs the same tracks imported into PT and mixed internally using the digital PT mix bus. Guess what, they are virtually identical. In fact I thought the PT mix sounded better after blinded experiments. I think it can be done and an analog mix path may only be beneficial if you want to use hardware outboard. It is the outboard that sounds better not the mix bus. This seals it for me having done blinded comparisons

    James Cullen
     
  10. mixfactory

    mixfactory Guest

    Hi James,

    Be careful with those statements, in some circles this is blasphemy. I was following the posts on rec.audio.pro and a couple of guys were able to hear the difference(Mixerman of course!!). I think all it proves is that:1)Some guys who have never worked on an 8078, can't tell what they sound like and don't know what it does to the sound 2)Blind tests mean nothing!!! It is what you do with your tools!!! Also the music has a lot to do with it. These were rough mixes done on both platforms, no EQ, compression nothing. Just a touch of the 480L. If it was a full mix, then I bet you would hear the difference. I think Mixerman said it best, if you are in the market to do just enough, than ProTools will get you there. But if you strive to create "magic" in your work than its a different story. I think society nowadays dictates and rewards the former not latter. What a shame!!!
     
  11. Nimrod

    Nimrod Guest

    I am sure you are right that with all the sexy outboard comps and EQ that an analog mix would sound better. The "blasphemy" you refer to is the idea that there is something inherently wrong with the mix bus of PT, I think the truth is that analog mixes probably get their magic from the advantage of high end outboard vs crappy plugins and that the mix bus is not the advantage over PT. this experiment has some people back peddling and I smell a sniff of defeat from some analog die-hards who felt that there should have been more of a difference. The tell tale sign of this is that the methodology of the experiment is now being undermined since most listeners probably cant tell an appreciable difference, so the explanation for this is that lynn does not understand Neves and so did not get the best out of it. i think this is insulting to Lynn and a cop-out for the fact that the mixes are virtually indistinguishable to my "reasonable " ears.

    James Cullen
     
  12. mixfactory

    mixfactory Guest

    Hey Jules,

    On a side note, what do you do when a client brings you a file on a different platform other than Pro Tools such as: Logic Audio,Cubase or Digital Performer? Do you transfer it over or do you not work with it unless its in Pro Tools? What if there is Midi with it, what do you then? I was just wondering because I know you are a Pro Control user and I am not sure it works the same with these other platforms. Thanks and Cheers.
     
  13. mixfactory

    mixfactory Guest

    Mr.James Cullen,

    I read your posts and on the most part I do agree with some of it. I've gone as far as doing an experiment where I sent a stereo mix through an SSL and a Mackie. I burned a CD of both, and asked people if they could tell the difference. Most couldn't, but this means nada because its just (2) tracks. I am sure if I had burned it from the Pro Tools itself, I would have gotten the same response. Had I mixed the tracks seperately then the difference would have been drastic. Lynn's experiment to me means zilch, cause in the real world you are either going to mix on one or the other to their maximum. He didn't, they were just roughs and no care was taken to maximize the strenghts of each. If this makes all of the Pro Tool users in the world feel better about themselves so be it. I know which I prefer to work on at the moment. This does not make me do a double take at all, only the fact the peoples ears are so use to the sound of "crap" that the quality doesn't stand out anymore. Have people forgotten the sound of excellent analog? IMO.
     
  14. Nimrod

    Nimrod Guest

    Have people forgotten the sound of excellent analog? IMO.[/QB][/QUOTE]

    I am sure you are right that those engineers who have had the privelege of working with great analog paths know that there has been a step down in quality of stuff they are hearing in the control room. by the time it ends up at 44.1/16 it has suffered a considerable degree of corruption anyway. So if you are comparing final master formats of analog and PT the difference is gong to be small on most domestic listening conditions. I do not have much experience of analog and do not claim my opinion means much, but I can hear stuff fairly well, and personally was expecting a bigger difference between the files. I suspect if I was in the Oceanway control room and had time to optimise the sound it would have sounded better on the Neve, by the time it got to my CD player in my car, I wonder whether the difference would be audible. Mixing and mastering engineers have the privilege of hearing the best audio only to see it smashed when its put on a CD. Most people out there never hear that. When LP was the standard, I agree the sound of a top end system vastly blew CD away. I agree with you that we have lost something, but mayebe it will come back with higher sample formats such as SACD
     
  15. "When LP was the standard, I agree the sound of a top end system vastly blew CD away."

    Where the CD really shines is in the worst case scenarios- unfortunately much more common than anything else. The cheapest CD player sounds much much better than the cheapest turntable or god forbid any cassette deck that's never had it's heads cleaned.
    That's why some of us consider it a lifesaver- working hard on a cassette demo only to have it played back in a crusty car tape deck was a dismaying experience....
    Ted
     
  16. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2001
    "what do you do when a client brings you a file on a different platform other than Pro Tools such as: Logic Audio,Cubase or Digital Performer? "

    Import the files from a ISO 9660 (mac or PC) CDR PT can handle WAV. But the client is asked to make all files 'start from zero" and be 'whole' til the end of their part in the tune..

    Then a blank session is made and you 'drag' the audio from the side window, onto the empty audio tracks...

    As for midi, a file can be saved, burnt onto a CDR along with the Audio & read by PT somehow, that's one for the manual and my brainy young engineer / assistant !

    I have learned to ask folks with Logic / cubase whatever... to record the FX they have set up at home.. That can save HOURS messing around trying to re-create some F£^$(@* delay FX made with a Logic Plug in or some such non PT FX. :)
     
  17. >>I aim now to try tracking at 48k to squeeze a few more frequencies into the range.<<

    Only to lose those frequencies, and more, when you do numerous sample-rate conversions. When will you people learn??
     
  18. Nimrod

    Nimrod Guest

    Jules, have you had a chance to compare some mixes done in PT and those done at 48/24 via the dangerous 2-bus down sampled via the HEDD, I am seriously tempted to look at the 2-bus, my system is identical to yours, and my limitations for space similar, and despite my pro PT bias expressed here, I do think that some of my mixes lack punch due to plugins and possibly the mix bus, but I am yet to be fully convinced until I can do a proper A/B comparison in my studio. With your extensive experience I would be most interested in your conclusions on this. As for Lynn I have another of his CD's and his productions in PT are outstanding and have fooled some golden ears in the industry, so mayebe PT can get there with the right approach

    Cheers

    James Cullen
     
  19. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2001
    "I aim now to try tracking at 48k to squeeze a few more frequencies into the range." (me)

    "Only to lose those frequencies, and more, when you do numerous sample-rate conversions. When will you people learn??"

    Er.. what I mean is blast out my highest sample rate available - 48k - into my analog system (the topic of this thread) for eq-ing & compression outboard and summing then CAPTURING THAT ANALOG at 44.1k with another coverter.

    This is fine, and there is no 'number crunching' SRC in sight..

    A mastering house faced with 96k or 192k material would do the same thing - run that through it's nice analog out board the capture it with a great 44.1k converter to make the CD.

    I proposed the same thing... I think that is fine... isnt it?

    :eek:
     
  20. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2001
    "have you had a chance to compare some mixes done in PT and those done at 48/24 via the dangerous 2-bus down sampled via the HEDD"

    Hmmm if you were able to organise some sort of 'non plug in' dependant session you might be able to swing by one day and do a quick test yourself at my place.. sessions depending... I am very behind on a lot of mixing :mad:

    BTW you could just record the output of the D2B back into PT for future mastering..
     

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