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Dealing with DAW-tracked projects!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Jon Atack, Nov 4, 2001.

  1. Jon Atack

    Jon Atack Member

    Hi everybody, hope your mixes have been all that lately. Nowadays, it seems I often find myself mixing projects tracked on the cheap elsewhere (sometimes without an engineer) and they are given to me as PT sessions on hard drives needing a real good round of polishing.

    Now, I am curious what are your preferred methods of dealing with those sort of projects...do you like to mix it all in the box, or do you prefer to run it out to an analog -- or digital -- desk? Do you leave it on the hard drive, or do you like to transfer everything over to 2" or to DASH tape? Tight budget versus big budget...what's your method...I'd enjoy hearing how you all deal with this timely issue. Mix on,

    Jon
     
  2. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    I am mixing something soon that was recorded on Radar. I mix exclusivly in Pro Tools using a ProControl controller with 16 faders..

    Anhoo, it is being transfered into PT by a tape transfer Co - I will get it on one 18 gig drive..

    I will build a up a template for one track including eq, compression & FX (all tracks were done in one basic batch of sessions) and then drag all the other songs into that template. Then I will hop from one tune to the other throught the day to keep myself fresh...and gradualy bring out a 'vibe' on each one. I plan to have the band in for 4 or 5 days (only) at the end to do any 'tweaks'needed to the 12 tracks.

    Radar to DAW ! not quite what you asked but a 'format mix' for sure!

    :)

    Jules
     
  3. JeffreyMajeau

    JeffreyMajeau Active Member

    Pretty much whatever it takes to achieve the sound. There are things that I'd rather not bog my PT system down with, such as simple tape slaps, and outboard reverb always sounds loads better to my ears. Nothing beats a good hardware compressor across the 2-bus, software compression is good, but it gets a little funky sometimes when you try to squash it and give it lotsa balls, hardware's better for that.

    Dan Roth
    Otitis Media
     
  4. mwagener

    mwagener Active Member

    I transfer everything into the Euphonix R-1 and mix on the Sony DMXs. The Euphonix FC727 converts about any format to MADI. The R-1 also can read Broadcast wave files (via CD-R). I don't have a ProTools system, so I have to rent one for the transfer.
     
  5. Jon Atack

    Jon Atack Member

    Hi Michael,

    How do those Euphonix FC727 converters sound?

    Last month at Plus XXX studios in Paris, while running a rap track from PT out of the 888/24s to the 4064E, I saw an Euphonix converter rack in the machine room and wanted to try it as a replacement for the 888/24s. Unfortunately, it was an extra charge item and the producer didn't go for it, so I didn't get to hear it.

    Some engineers I know, like Thierry Rogen of Mega Studios here in Paris, think multitrack converter quality is a BS issue that no one will ever hear when a mix is done. While he may be right, I think the converters do make an overall difference, and most of the freelance engineers I speak to definitely appreciate having something better than 888/24s to work with. I'm happy with Apogee, Genex, Mytek, Lucid and 3348HR stock converters, not real happy with digidesign converters, and interested in hearing the Euphonix, Prism, db Tech, dcs, and Radar24 converters.

    Anyone else mixing DAW-tracked projects? I would enjoy hearing your favorite way of mixing them.

    Jon
     
  6. Originally posted by Jon Atack:


    Anyone else mixing DAW-tracked projects? I would enjoy hearing your favorite way of mixing them.

    Jon



    Through an analog console, by all means, using the combination of onboard, outboard and plug-in processing.

    Predrag
     
  7. mwagener

    mwagener Active Member

    Originally posted by Jon Atack:
    Hi Michael,

    How do those Euphonix FC727 converters sound?


    Jon, sorry for the late reply, but I was locked in the studio for a few days.

    The FC727 is not really a converter, like in D/A, but more of a digital format converter. Everything stays in the digital domain. It has direct inputs for PT (via adapter cables), so you don't need the 888s, and converts to MADI. It sounds completely transparent to me. The Euphonix MA703 is a MADI to analog converter and sounds great, so does the AM713, analog to MADI.

    Some engineers I know, like Thierry Rogen of Mega Studios here in Paris, think multitrack converter quality is a BS issue that no one will ever hear when a mix is done. While he may be right, I think the converters do make an overall difference, and most of the freelance engineers I speak to definitely appreciate having something better than 888/24s to work with. I'm happy with Apogee, Genex, Mytek, Lucid and 3348HR stock converters, not real happy with digidesign converters, and interested in hearing the Euphonix, Prism, db Tech, dcs, and Radar24 converters.

    I have a hard time telling the difference between different A/D converters listening to a single channel, but I can hear a difference when the mix comes together (or doesn't). I guess it's a matter of bad stuff adding up?

    I did an A/D comparison (as good as I could, probably not very scientific) between: Euphonix AM713, Studer D19, Sony DMX-R100 builtin, dB technologies, T.C M6000, Tascam DA98HR and the Apogee AD8000 (not SE version). The one difference I heard clearly was the AD8000 sounding a little *warmer* :confused: kind of like the difference between a Studer 2" and an Ampex ATR124. All the other converters had the same quality level (all were clocked from the Aardvark) with maybe tiny differences in depth of sound, most noticable in a positive way on the dB Technologies, which went away after five minutes of switching between them, couldn't tell anymore which is which, except the AD8000.

    With 8 channels of A/D from an anlog multitrack I heard a little more of a difference when mixing those 8 tracks to stereo, mainly in the way instruments were *glued* together, very hard to describe. The AD8000, Tascam and Euphonix had a more glued sound, instrunemts flowing together, while the rest had more separation which could be interpreted as "harder". It's hard to say if any one is *better*, just different. The difference would probably be greater with more tracks.

    I think there is a definite line in quality, below which the *cheaper* converters really show a noticable difference to the high end models, but the difference between the high end models seems not so obvious. But, like I said, my test were not very scientific.

    I hope all that makes ANY sense
     
  8. sjoko

    sjoko Guest

    mwagoner - cool! Finally someone who realises that you can really only hear a converter's quality when you start putting tracks together!

    When we tested a bunch of converters here I found the only way to get a really accurate comparison was to stack vocals.
    We used a Nigerian singer called Uru, who is one of those very blessed perfect pitch people and a master at creating harmonies. Recorded 8 x 10 second lines for each converter.
    Done like this the differences between converters became immediately in-yer-face apparent.

    As a footnote, I had already made my choice (out of 9 8 channel converters), but did a blind test with 6 invited musicians and engineers I knew to have good ears. Two converters stood out over everything by a substantial margin, unanimous choice, and the same 2 as my choice. They were the Lucid and the Stagetec.
     
  9. fourk

    fourk Guest

    The first few times I mixed a PT session through a Neve/ SSL I always did the same little routine: assign the instruments to individual outs without changing the internal levels from what I'd been listening to when editing, put faders at zero and listen. The difference ( from what I'd heard summed by the PT 2-bus) was always staggering.I know this topic has been done to death here and elsewhere, but it still gave me a kick to hear how much better my track was going to sound before I'd done anything! I've just finished an album recorded in PT; I gave the label, manager and band roughs to go away and critique. They thought they liked what they were hearing but were stunned by the final outcome, largely due to this factor.
     
  10. Jon Atack

    Jon Atack Member

    (great post, Michael)

    Some comments...

    Sjoko, one friendly critique of the test you decribed is that your perception of the converter quality will be affected by variances in the singer's performances. The singer's performances really need to be multed to all of the converters simultaneously in order to remove the performance variable. On another note, each converter should be used to monitor the D/A of its own A/D. BTW which Lucid and Stagetec boxes did you prefer and which other boxes did you test?

    Fourk, do you set the PT faders back to unity when mixing out on the analog desk?

    Is Jules the only one here mixing all in PT?
    :w:
    Jon
     
  11. Jon Atack

    Jon Atack Member

    While we're on the topic of comparing converters...

    IMNSHO the only useful converter test is to take a 2" reel of analog tape source tracks, transfer them via different converters, and compare the 2" source to the post-ADDA converted signals.

    Any other test without comparing to the source is just BS, for it does not allow you to hear what the converter is actually doing to the signal.
    Anyone disagree with that?

    Jon
     
  12. ckevperry

    ckevperry Active Member

    Hello all,

    I'm a little new, but I mix all in PT. Great converters and a great clock make the world go round. Myteks are a wonderful bargain. Try the D/A's and your mix will open up so much you won't even recognize your own mix.
     
  13. patrick

    patrick Guest

    Originally posted by Jon Atack:
    While we're on the topic of comparing converters...

    IMNSHO the only useful converter test is to take a 2" reel of analog tape source tracks, transfer them via different converters, and compare the 2" source to the post-ADDA converted signals.

    Any other test without comparing to the source is just BS, for it does not allow you to hear what the converter is actually doing to the signal.
    Anyone disagree with that?

    Jon


    I would add that perhaps the AD should go directly to the DA, so that you're not adding any more digital stuff in between them, like a console or a hard disk recorder.
     
  14. sjoko

    sjoko Guest

    Jon, you are very right. We tried a number of different things. In the end the one we found the easiest and most accurate was recording the vocal tracks analog (Telefunken 47 - AMEK 9098 console - Studer 2"). Thereafter we converted to 24/48, listened in real time as well as put the tracks to disk. We did the test over a number of days, each day listening to 4 converters, with the best 2 going through to another day.
    We also had short orchestral, guitar and rock samples in addition to the vocals.
    The purpose of the excersize was A/D's, not D/A's. We had previously tested D/A's and tested all through a Lucid DA9624
    The cheapest 8 channel tested was just under $2.000, the most expensive just over $10.000
     
  15. BruceKeen

    BruceKeen Guest

    Hi, there. I mix only in Ptools and never go analog except for a vocal chain or an insert or 2. I use an AD8000 and it sounds ok to me. Much better than the 888/24. It's hard work getting Protools to sound right but it pays off in flexibility and precision in the end. I remember the days when people used to make million dollar albums on 3324's and be happy because they could edit to hearts content, nevermind the fact that they sounded like absolute $*^t. I find it very hard to put your finger instantly on a decent converter and say this is better. It takes a while to get used to it's color and then figure out if you like it. I used to be able to easily spot a Mitsubishi X850 from a 3348 but after everyday comparision for a long time.
     
  16. fourk

    fourk Guest

     

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