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Demo sounding Mixes

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Mixxed UP, Jun 3, 2001.

  1. Mixxed UP

    Mixxed UP Guest

    HELP! :confused:
    I have been working on a ProTools / Mac workstation for the past 9mos. Instrument tracking is complete. I have been trying to accomplish Final MIX's in ProTools w/Sub-Professional results (consistently)! The bands and I am VERY DISAPPOINTED thus far. What can I do to get the Pro-edge that I thought I was buying into? (Duyplug-insalready being used!)
    I am having a hard time convincing all involved that outboard gear is not necessary - but now I'm beginning to have doubts. :confused: null
     
  2. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Is this a MIX PLUS system, or 001 you're talking about?
     
  3. Mixxed UP

    Mixxed UP Guest

    We are using Mix Plus w/additional Mix Farm Card in 500mhz G4. TC Gold Channel used for overdub tracking :D ! Digidesign 1622 i/o & Mackie 16 channel VLZ mixer w/Purple Audio MC76 compressors used for band tracking. Mic's include: AT4033, AKG C2000B, AKG drum mic's shure SM57 and KSM32. Mostly my gear.
    The individual tracking sounds wonderful! Even rough mixes we've recorded sound OK but never were considered as final mixes. Our latest attempts result with mix blend and impact lacking (all six of us agree).
    We started this project with intention of going as far as the gear and our ability could take us. (ProTools very new to us).
    But now considering a local studio for Final Mix/Mastering - only $$'s very tight (of course)...
     
  4. Obostic

    Obostic Guest

    Mixxed UP,

    What is your complete pro tools setup?
     
  5. Rader Ranch

    Rader Ranch Member

    you've prob. moved on by now, and i have no idea if you';ve researched the 40 million threads on the DUC and other places concerning PT mix sound quality, but the short list would be

    1) mix using a 48bit dbl precision plugs (like waves, msdsp, not sure about others) volume graph, not digi volume.

    2) not too many tracks near full volume, or too many in general...if you have to, submix...and when you do...

    3) don't bounce to disc for the final mix...use digital out into 2 new tracks (set to bogus out so no feedback) ...folks find sound prob.'s there also

    4) make sure you have a really good clocking source!

    5) don';t limit the mix bus for max volume! save it for the masterererrer...

    i'm sure they're more, but i gotta finish mixing this thing..in PT..right now :eek: ...ever heard of Warsaw NY?

    lotsa luck...
     
  6. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    First off, don't take everything you read on the DUC as gospel. Some people appear to have had difficulties with the quality when placing the faders in non-unity positions, taking the individual channels as direct outs and mixing on another desk. However, this isn't a problem when mixing within PT itself. Indeed, the advice of Digidesign and in my personal experience, using plugins to control the volume instead of the faders themselves actually results in less quality.

    Another point is that you only mentioned the 1622 as your A/D converter. Remember that the 1622 is only a 20bit converter and is not of the quality of the 888/24s. I use a 1622 but only for synth/sampler inputs, I never track or output my main mix through it.

    I definitely agree with Rader Ranch's points 3 & 4. Point 5 is good as well but if you absolutely have to master yourself then Waves L2 Ultramaximiser plugin is currently the only way to go.

    It is possible to get excellent results without outboard gear but you need to be using the right plugins as many of them are very poor. The Digi plugins are pretty rough and I would never use them, except for the Reverb One which is the only plugin reverb on any platform that can compare with the mid to high end outboard gear available. However, I personally also use a PCM 91. Same with EQ (I use McDSP) and compression (I use Bomb Factory and outboard).

    In short, it's certainly not as easy to produce a great sounding mix on PT as it is on say a Neve or SSL. But if you get the right plugins, are willing to work at it and are willing to change your approach to take advantage of the digital medium rather than trying to emulate the analog medium, it is possible to produce absolutely first rate mixes with PT.

    Greg
     
  7. MMazurek

    MMazurek Guest

    I agree that you may want to check in to 24 bit converters going in.

    I'm an amatuer, but have recorded two bands recently that preferred my sound to the local pro studio. (they paid there, I did mine for free) A few of the band members didn't even want to re-record (assuming they felt a home studio for free wouldn't even come close).

    I use 24 bit AD/DA (888/24's right now), nicer pre's (Avalon, Manley, Amek 9098's, etc...), compression on the way in (Distressor's, RNC's, etc...), and the 48 bit plugs mostly (Waves, TC, BombFactory, WaveMechanics).

    Maybe I just got better takes without any $$$/hr pressure, I dunno. Maybe a better vibe. Who knows.

    They did send mine to the mastering house for print, though.

    just my .02
     
  8. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    He has a 24 bit converter in the form of the TC Gold Channel.

    Are you connecting it via SPDIF to your 1620? I hope so!

    Try Waves Q10, DUY Tape on the master fader + Waves L1 maximizer

    Are you a/b ing between released CD's and your mixes? Dont forget to do this!

    good luck!

    :)

    Jules
     
  9. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    Hi Jules,

    You're right, I missed the TC Gold Channel.

    Just out of curiosity have you heard the L2? I'm sure that once you do you'll never want to use the L1 again, at least I didn't.

    Greg
     
  10. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Hi Greg,
    Yes I a/b ed it at the AES in Amsterdam... It did sound better, I want it.
    :)
    Jules
     
  11. nrgmusic

    nrgmusic Member

    Originally posted by Greg Malcangi:
    Hi Jules,

    You're right, I missed the TC Gold Channel.

    Just out of curiosity have you heard the L2? I'm sure that once you do you'll never want to use the L1 again, at least I didn't.

    Greg


    Geez!!
    The wants list just keeps on growing doesn't it? It never ends funding it well hey, that's another holliday down the toilet then..... hmmnn :)

    Simon
     
  12. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    << The wants list just keeps on growing doesn't it? It never ends funding it ...
    >>

    Welcome to owning your own studio. :D

    I'm sure others have good solutions but I always put 10% of any fees received into a kitty for upgrades/improvements. This gives me a reasonable guilt free annual budget for gear while stopping me from blowing the lot!

    Greg
     
  13. MMazurek

    MMazurek Guest

    I just tried a demo of McDSP Analog Channel. VERY cool.

    Haven't tried DUY Tape, but the McDSP stuff sounded AWESOME on the master fader.

    I believe the demo works for 14 days.

    Also had a demo of L2 (only worked for 24hrs), but I noticed right away that you could drop the threshold more than twice as far as L1 before hearing that strained/nervous/whacky sound. Much smoother.

    These two plugs made my last finished project sound more like a record than just five songs in a row.
     
  14. nrgmusic

    nrgmusic Member

    Originally posted by Greg Malcangi:
    << The wants list just keeps on growing doesn't it? It never ends funding it ...
    >>

    Welcome to owning your own studio. :D

    I'm sure others have good solutions but I always put 10% of any fees received into a kitty for upgrades/improvements. This gives me a reasonable guilt free annual budget for gear while stopping me from blowing the lot!

    Greg


    Hi Greg,
    damn good thinking if you ask me, with that kinda rational thinking, me an the spousage might get a holliday after all.

    best
    Simon

    :cool:
     
  15. Mixxed UP

    Mixxed UP Guest

    Thanks for the responses. Yes, of course I know the 1622 is 20bit (16 channels were needed for tracking the band). We intend to upgrade as $$'s permit...

    The TC Gold channel really produces wonderful sounding recordings (and is 24bit). We are looking at the Apogee Trac2 as a future possiblity for purchase.

    Considering the 20bit converters used for the band tracking:

    Is this project flawed right from the start?

    Is it alrerady too late to try and salvage via plugins?

    Is our best bet a studio?

    As experience is gained, I expect to produce better mixes, but we have invested a lot of time on this recording. Our intention is a local release. :)

    btw: local music scene in Buffalo could use more PT setups than ours!
     
  16. Rader Ranch

    Rader Ranch Member

    Originally posted by Mixxed UP:
    Is this project flawed right from the start?

    not if you say the tracks sound good themselves, right? the enginneering grammie winnin' album this year was a 16 bit PT project (i haven't heard it, so i ain't gonna comment :D

    btw: local music scene in Buffalo could use more PT setups than ours!

    damn...it'd sure be nice to move back and hang with old buds again...but other than white xmasses, i'm not sure i'd be as into that lake effect snow as i was 15 years ago :eek: but lord what a house with real land i could buy for my family compared to here...the pain, the pain...

    Greg Malcangi wrote: However, this isn't a problem when mixing within PT itself. Indeed, the advice of Digidesign and in my personal experience, using plugins to control the volume instead of the faders themselves actually results in less quality.

    have to admit i hadn't heard of 3rd party plug volume automation making things worse for fully internal mixes. Greg, do you happen to remember digi's points enough to paraphrase, or remember some instances where you discovered this yourself? always curious to learn from others struggles with the many different PT setups out there...
     
  17. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    Hi Mixed Up,

    << Is this project flawed right from the start? ... Is it alrerady too late to try and salvage via plugins? >>

    Not nessesarily. Depends on the type of material and how pleased you were with the tracking.

    << What can I do to get the Pro-edge that I thought I was buying into? >>

    I think you've slightly misunderstood all the marketing hype. Pro Tools is just that, a professional tool. Professional tools for any job are not of themselves any guarantee of "pro-edge" in the finished product. The "pro-edge" comes from the professional using them. Otherwise all you've got is a beginner with high quality tools.

    So although you may not realise it, and baring in mind that Pro-Tools is a professional tool, the question you really asked was "how do I get good enough to get the most out of my tools?". Unfortunately for you this is a question that many of us here have spent many years trying to answer! :)

    Essentially it's not that difficult to learn the ins and outs of delay, reverb, compression, EQ, etc. The difficult bit is learning how they all interact in a mix. Basically there is no subsitute for experience and the intelligence to learn from it. For this reason if no other it might be worth you going into a commercial studio for a while. Even after nearly 10 years in the business I still invariably learn something new and useful every time I go into a top class commercial studio.

    Hi Rader Ranch,

    << have to admit i hadn't heard of 3rd party plug volume automation making things worse for fully internal mixes. Greg, do you happen to remember digi's points enough to paraphrase, or remember some instances where you discovered this yourself? >>

    A bit off topic but here goes. Using direct outs and mixing on an external desk requires each output from PT to be individually truncated to 24bit. So at low fader levels you can sometimes hear noticable quantisation error artifacts. Mixing internally within PT is an entirely different ball game. The fader outputs are not truncated but passed direct to the mix bus which calculates values based on 56bit resolution. The resolution of plugins is only 24bit, even those that use 48bit precision math have to then dither back to 24bit. Obviously in this scenario, mixing internally and adjusting volume with plugs, you are adding dither noise and working at a resolution lower than the mix bus. It's not massive but I've tried it both ways and can hear the difference, even in double blind tests. Conversly if you are using direct outs it makes sense to leave the faders at unity and adjust volume from inserted 48bit precision dithering plugs.

    Greg
     
  18. Mixxed UP

    Mixxed UP Guest

    Feedback welcome-

    Well I gave mixing the first 5 tracks another shot. My results are still less than stellar :(

    I believe the next step may involve retracking some of the vocals and Bass parts; as these tracks seem to be the most "needing of attention".

    We are at the point where we would rather rerecord a track or two rather than try tweaking the sound via the Plugins currently available to us.

    I like the idea of going into the studio to gain my chops w/PT's. A local Pro-Studio we have contacted sounded reluctant to OJT... but has allowed for 2 of us to sit-in during the "Mastering" of our final mixes.

    What sort of outboard gear is available to provide analog tape compression simulation and tube warmth?

    I think that maybe if the we rerecord with this effect encoded prior to digitizing, we will achieve better results with the Bass and vocals.

    I have recently developed a theoretical problem with the concept of trying to introduce this effect via a TDM plug-in (DUY, McDSP, etc.) to a source file that is totally lacking of this character, and expecting to "rescue" it after-the-fact. Any thoughts?

    Take care all...
    Mixxed Up
    null[/LIST]
     
  19. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    Hi Mixxed up,

    << What sort of outboard gear is available to provide analog tape compression simulation and tube warmth? >>

    An analog compressor with a tube! There are a lot of plugins out there that try to emulate existing gear. Without exception they are not as good as the gear they are trying to emulate. The occasional plugin, like the bombfactory compressors, get fairly close but mostly they are way off base. In fact, of all the plugs available across all the platforms probably less than 5% are in my opinion of decent enough quality to be worth owning.

    << I have recently developed a theoretical problem with the concept of trying to introduce this effect via a TDM plug-in (DUY, McDSP, etc.) to a source file that is totally lacking of this character, and expecting to "rescue" it after-the-fact. Any thoughts? >>

    Without hearing what you have got and understanding what you want it's vitually impossible to say whether it is possible to "rescue" what you've already done. If as you say the character that you are looking for is totally lacking, I would guess that it's going to be at least very difficult. As a general rule you want to try to record a sound as close as possible to the sound you are looking for. If you only need to add a few plugins to your mix and they are only providing light processing, your mix will sound better than if you have to load up with plugs to try to get the sound you're after.

    If you have an opportunity to sit in on a session in a pro-studio I would advise you take it. Keep your eyes and ears peeled and try to get as much as you can from the experience.

    Good luck,

    Greg
     
  20. Todd Farone

    Todd Farone Guest

    There's good news! The local music scene here in Buffalo can wait for you to perfect your mixes! You guys aren't desperate already are you? Relax. You've got a band, an Apple and ProTools....How bad can it be? My suggestions are ...

    1) Educate yourself. You need to start working smarter not harder. I've learned a lot from you guys...I like the fact that you aren't afraid to ask questions...Now do your homework! 4 or 5 hours a day on these forums will straighten you right out !
    I myself got hooked somewhere around "Jules reporting from OZ"...That was the coolest thing BTW !!!! Thanx Jules! I'm also inspired by MMAZUREK....mulchin' with the real studios...Are you crazy?
    Nice job!
    2) You might want to rethink your methodology a little...What kind of band are you anyway? For Pro Tool newbies, instead of trying to record 16 tracks at a time , with Mackies and 20 bit converters... How about refining your gear ...and tackling say...4 tracks of drums...for starters. You've already got the AKG drum mics...If you can, try starting out with a basic configuration...mic on kick..snare and two overheads...The track 2 can wait...For the money, you might be better off with something like the RME 8 ch conv...adat bridge and the True System's Prec. 8..mic pre.... (example of an upgrade...)
    Your signal path is only as good as your weakest link...blah, blah, blah...tools like these could help you take your tracking sessions to the next level! Just remember..one step at a time... Good Luck ! Flush
     

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