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Demystifying your DAW and process requirements

Discussion in 'Recording' started by audiokid, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    For the basic recording and mixing of talented musicians, I believe it is possible to get pro results using one DAW and common sense.
    I don't believe we need third party plug-ins for the basic's and I don't believe we should be activating code we don't need in the bus anymore. I think the excessive quest for the perfect plug-in is distracting and destructive processing. I think we should be sticking to one DAW that stands on its own, over a DAW that seems to need UAD, WAVES, etc etc etc.
    Better talent and less attention to processing using code sounds better to me.

    I know we can produce world class electronic music 100% on a laptop. I am convinced, you cannot do it as well with rich acoustic music.. Therefore, I'm convinced I need excellent conversion, mic(s) and pre-amp(s) for rich acoustic music, where EM, I need only one laptop with a hefty processor, memory and HD.
    I'm convinced there is a big difference between acoustic recording and electronic music requirements and if you add vocals to EM, you need to keep in mind, EM sounds stellar (or very processed) already, so you need stellar acoustic tracking equipment to compete with ITB level.
    If you know which category you fall into, you will be further ahead in choosing whats right for you. Choose the DAW that works and don't fool yourself into thinking you can fix rich acoustic music, including vocals ITB after its been processed through poor conversions and average tracking equipment.

    regards,
     
    kmetal likes this.
  2. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    I agree completely Chris. Over processing creates crappy sound. I find myself using almost no third-party plugins, (exception: Melodyne when needed and Izotope, but these are used for repairing problems usually), I mostly use the basic plugs provided with Cubase. But, as you know, I specialize in acoustic music, mostly singer-songwriter, folk, Irish, etc. and have equipped my studio accordingly. And, this type of music doesn't call for all sorts of effects that other genres do, usually its just about adding a little reverb to put the sound in a 'space' and a few minor EQ adjustments to get things to fit together.
    The majority of the work for a good sound with this type of music comes in tracking. Having great mics & pres and a great sounding room make all the difference. A couple of decades of experience doesn't hurt! With this approach when it comes to mixing things are easy... well recorded tracks fall together nicely and don't require fancy plugs to make them sound great.
    ~Jeff
     
    bigtree likes this.
  3. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Agree completely, the problem lies in when the musicians aren't talented, and stubborn. Sometimes it does take heavy processing to try and hammer it into some semblance of acceptable. Not all stock plug-insare created equal, some are worse some are better than 3rd party stuff. I find the plug-insin DP, and the PT7x to be nothing short of terrible.

    DP has and excellent, monophonic pitch correction algorithm built it. Transparent, and convenient. I think adobe audition has the best sounding stock plug-insI've ever used for any length of time, but that was like 10 years ago, but it's still smokes DP/pt7x.

    What i have been getting a lot of mileage out of lately, is the waves ssl e channel. It doesn't fart out w a lot of instances, and w the eq/comp/expansion hi/lo pass stuff all in one thing, it's not a barrage of different codes that may or may not have been designed to be used w each other. It's all part of the one thing <~ (the technical term). This leaves a lot of pluggin slots open, and between using aux bus, and a couple pultec/neve emulations on some major elements, I get away w far less processing than I used a few years ago.

    I don't notice any artifacts by using for instance the compressor, or hpf, or not using it, as I have winstantiating plug-insin the past, even if they were bypassed, w this channel strip pluggin. I would have to compare a stack of similar stock plugs vs the ch strip, to comment on this, but it's unlikely that I would need a whole ch strips worth of stuff on every channel.

    In most cases in a very general sense, stock eqs are usually just fine for cuts, it's boosts that I may or may not want some character, and in general, I usually like the 3rd party stuff for that, but it's not like boosts can't be done w stock things, just not where I look first. Compression, other than a nice 1176 model, I'm not precious about. And I tend to compress on the way in for a reasonable amount of things.
     
  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I'm all into less = more. Thing is channel eq and effects of Sonar are not the best I've used. I started compare EQ and Comp with Fabfilter and was seduced instantly.. it just doesn't sound the same.. the DS is rather nice to.
    I tried the SSL plugins, it sound good.. but being in the computer already, I don't need that hardware look. Give me a spectrum analyser, yeah! I dig this ;)

    I guess you just need to find what works for you !

    Of course, it's just an opinion.
     
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Sonar substantially smears. For EM related I prefer Ableton out of the two.
    I agree! Fabfilter is excellent. Pro L is all I use on my master bus. Have you tried it? (y)
    I downloaded the D? and really like it too. Object based de-essing (thats what I call it in samplitude) works wonderful. You only de-ess the subject freq at the timeline never effecting a "bit" before or after the wave.
    DAW's are super for the clinical. I feel I made the mistake years back trying to get one DAW to do it all. I spent thousand of dollars on DSP and software, which only ended up smearing the audio, and creating so much frustration for me.

    Trying to get analog to be clinical is better done analog. Trying to get digital to be analog , is really bazaar to me. I don't think any all-in-one gets it done well.
    .
     
  6. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I'm kinda stuck with sonar because I had all the versions since cakewalk pro audio 6... I'm a so good user, I have nightmare thinking I would have to learn another DAW from nothing... But, one day I'll get the courage to invest time in an alternative... Anyway, it does well with the basic, audio, midi, staff, automation, etc..

    When I need an analog feel, I try to record with the good choice of instruments and preamps to fit the need. Then, with the computer, I try to do transparent editing with clean tools to keep the goodness that were captured.. I tried to emulate warm analog sound with my computer for a long time but always failed. So I stopped stacking plug-insand I try to keep it real.. Man, analog gear is expensive! A unit at the time, I'll get there ;)
    One thing is : one unit at the time, give me the chance to know my gear very well, by the forces and limitations of each unit.

    The right tool for the job is my modo !!
     
    kmetal likes this.
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I know, it took me a year to feel comfortable after switching from Pro Tools to Samplitude (Apple to Windows) This industry is one big carrot waving in our face. And these forums don't help because everyone has a reason and a flavour and expectation. We are all growing up, in and out of the business at different stages. And all we really want to do is make music. Some days I just shake my head thinking about all the wasted time I am spending trying to get a computer to react like a human. Or even better, following someone later to find they are clearly going in a different direction.
     
  8. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Chris, how do you do this? Is this kinda built in somehow, or do you automate a pluggin in and out? I'm very curious about this, as I'm into the minimalist type thing when it comes to daw based plugins.
     
  9. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    Here's an article from Sound on Sound about object-based processing in Samplitude.

    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may07/articles/samplitude_0507.htm

    I get the impression that it's something like this: instead of firing up a plugin and automating its settings to cut in and out at a certain point in the timeline (with the plug running all the time in the background and having *some* effect just by being there), the plugin only affects the object you assign it to. And the object can be anything from a millisecond of noise to a note to a bar to a whole song, whatever you like. This way the plugin isn't there running in the background and doesn't affect anything until the moment it's needed. I think.
     
    kmetal likes this.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Kyle, no wonder you are improving so much! You spot the gem.
    apstrong has most of it, except I don't use a plug-in at all for this particular process.

    I select just the ess of the word and remove it manually. And I know some reading this say, are you kidding, "manually!". Well not with Samplitude. It takes no time at all to get through an average song. Removing sss takes maybe 30 min. I select the sss or harsh freqs, slice and loop it and perform savage eq cut. Its a process of boost and sweep to find it, deep cut to remove, double check it in the sentence, move to the next one.
    You can leave all these edits (which are open slices of just the sss) in the time line for later tweaks. When you are 100% satisfied, you can glue it like it was never there. You never used some plug-in to mess up the entire vox track like this. Takes no extra cpu and effects nothing around the wave. I have excellent de-esser plug-ins, but only resort to using them if its impossible to contain. I do this kind of editing in everything. This is why Samplitude is the best. Nothing comes close to what this software does so intuitively . You can even send an aux or bus of an object edit otb. lol...
    Fades, de -ess, adding effects via plug-ins, everything can be object based edited, glued or left open.
     
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    At the end of a mix, maybe 48 tracks, I may on an average have 10 plugins running and they are generally on a bus or aux. The plugs would be eq, comps and a delay that I keep open to prepare my external tweaks otb. I try and replace what I do itb, otb. If I can, I will close the itb plugin so i have less and less itb processing. I'll use the daw to teach me what I need to do in analog. Anything I can get done otb, I will.
    The beauty of OBE (object based editing), you can fix it using plugins but once you've fixed it, it no longer needs to be running in the background. This process not only keeps your daw session crazy fast and free of crashing, I swear it sounds better too. Which is another topic...
     
  12. Josh Conley

    Josh Conley Active Member

    a limiting factor i think has been helping me is relying on the uad2 solo, and the little bit of kit i have for everything.
    when it craps out, thats it!

    you are building a strong case for samplitude lately. like i need another carrot ;)
     
    bigtree likes this.
  13. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    That's really cool, between your description and the SOS link, man, why doesn't any other DAW do that? The older engineer I work w wanted to eq each word of some backup vocals, to correct intonation and resonance as each word changed pitched. The idea got nixed because it would've been reasonably complicated to automate, and not out of the question to make new track lanes for each one, but on a stack of vocals, it woulda been a lot of screen real estate.

    The guy tends to get super super detailed and kill budgets, but man I love how's samplitude handles that.

    I guess the closest I could get in DP is to create a new lane for a vocal, in the case of sss, and destructively eq each one in my new lane, and then render to the keeper take when I'm done, in case I need to go back.

    Does samplitude not use extra dsp in a way similar, to some programs freeze tracks? I just wonder how this gets accomplished out of curiosity. Once you glue it, are you committed fully, or could you go back if maybe you were tired and missed something?

    Also Chris, you brought up OB processing, what's your stance on OB digital effects units? There's a couple at the studio, some of which have optical in/outs, and spdif. With something like that, would you tend to keep it digital to avoid conversion? I'm guessing in your case you want it to move thru your mixer, but if there is not mixer involved, what is your preference, as I'm guessing you probably have explored the avenue before your arrived w your current system.
     
  14. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I haven't even touched on explaining all the capabilities of this DAW. I could go on for days... There are dozens of tutorials on youtube.
    If you can imagine being able to use the entire DAW's DSP on an sss (object), thats the power of Samplitude.
    Transient detection, spectral restoration. man, unreal and more topics.

    Once you glue, its destructive. But, thats what you wantl. You free the DAW up and take it back to zero. That being said, I will save the original waves so if by chance I make an error, I can reach for the back up; common sense.
    You can undo a glue so even though I say its destructive, it isn't as long as you haven't saved the session and wiped out the undo's. Also, time lines are never deleted. Even if you cut a section out, its actually still there. You pull it back into the time by using a mouse, grabbing a start or end and pulling it back in. You cam adjust the volumes of an object the same way and fade it by touching the slice and simply curving it to a fade. Explaning this in words isn't easy. There are things this DAW does, that I never saw on the screen. little notches that have a function.Double clicking an object open it up to full DAW editing.

    Duplicating lanes is so simple
    Manual editing objects become a whole new journey.

    Why aren't other daws doing this? I'm not sure but I do know Magix has been doing this for 2 decades and it is very well thought out.

    Samplitude seems very confusing at first, but thats because we are used to the other platforms. Once you start using it and doing the things I am sharing here, it all of a sudden starts making sense.
     
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Sam can freeze tracks, all that does is freeze it from being changed, correct? Gluing is like bouncing it all in.
    I use OBE to do clinical work and to apply an effect just for that slice. So, Gluing it after is a pretty solid conviction. You can applt effects to any object and the DAW will remember it all. To refer back, all you do is double click on an abject and it opens up all the edits you've done (except a glue) if its glued, its done. Make sense?

    The reason I go otb isn't necessarily all about analog, I choose to go otb because I want to expand my ITB at a specific time. So, I will also use specific hardware just for that part in the chain. Same for the capture. I choose to capture and only perform certain process at different steps.
    Accumulative aliasing is a big problem with DAW's. Once you start hearing it, and have a DAW like Samplitude, where you can deal with the issue in the object, and avoid accumulative distortions by removing plug-ins running, it all starts making sense.

    I know this can't be easy to understand.

    Not to keep going on but the same thing applies to the round trip.
    Why would we go OTB and back to the same session where its all accumulating?

    Here's another way I look at this process. I treat my session like I paint a house. I fix all the walls, patch the holes, sands to make paint stick or make smooth, restore all the lines and edges so they are smooth and ready to paint. Do I leave all the drywall dust and mess everywhere. Do I need extra ladders laying around. Do I need to have tape on places that don't need tape (de-esser)? I sweep it up and prepare for the next step. Painting.

    The DAW = prep work = the clinical stuff like, tuning, de-essing, level control , fades etc.. Once thats all done, glue it (clean it up!) Get it ready for mixing.

    This is how I use OBE.
     
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  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    There may be a time I have to revert back to 100% ITB. If this ever happens, I would still work the same way with any DAW I used. I would pre the same way I do now, only not do the expanding OTB, that would happen at the bus's or groups section.
    I would however, appreciate Samplitude even more, because of how easy it is to prep and clean up prior to mixing and mastering.

    Thats enough of me on this, I'm sure I'm pushing my welcome on Sam.
     
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    "Sam can freeze tracks, all that does is freeze it from being changed, correct? Gluing is like bouncing it all in."

    It may depend on the DAW software. In Sonar, when you freeze a track, it temporarily "renders" it, with all FX, pans, pan and volume envelopes, etc. This is done to free up memory, if you happen to start experiencing drop outs because you are taxing your processor and RAM too heavily.

    As far as I know, it was designed originally to increase efficiency during a time when 32 bit systems were the norm, processors were slower, and because you could only ever tap into so much RAM.

    Because Sonar running on 32 bit systems like XP would only recognize up to 4 gig of RAM, - and really, you weren't even getting that by the time your computer took the RAM it required to run the OS of your PC, you were left with maybe 2 gig of RAM to work with in Sonar - so they implemented this freeze function, which temporarily mixed each track down, committing effects and processors, along with volume and panning envelopes. The result was that it freed up memory. I don't use it too much anymore because I'm using a 64 bit system now, with a beefier processor and much more RAM, but it still occasionally comes in handy if I'm working on a project with a large amount of VSTI's.

    That being said, I'm gradually moving away from Sonar and doing more and more work in Sam.

    d/.
     
  18. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Interesting stuff. While I'm still trying to get a hold on and master DP cuz that's what is at the studio, I'm very interested in samplitude, and it's way of working, and it's not out of the question to buy a copy and use it at home, and at the studio, my boss is pretty cool like that. Especially w the board getting up and running soon, over the next year, I'm really gonna start employing a capture computer, probably a Mac mini, and mix through the trident. No matter what I put thru that thing, in my messing around w finished songs, it's just sounds bigger fuller and better, even on recordings that I already love.

    So I'm defineatley intereted, as usually when we get to the mix stage, I merge all my edits, and anything corrective into a rendered wave for each track, so drummagog gets printed,edits fades, ect. So it's not out of the question for me to employ samplitude, even if I tracked in DP and moved the project to that for the edit phase, if that'll save time. I tend to do a lot of manual editing, as opposed to strip silence or beat decective, and I'm a lot more likely to nudge/replace single hits or ntes than to just copy large sections in grid form. Which is why I end up doing a lot of work I don't charge for, becuase I know there are faster ways, but my effort is to try to keep as much of the original as possible, usually anyway.

    I'm gonna have to check out the YouTube stuff and see how easily I can incorporate some more destructive processing, nod maybe even some clinical eqing ect, before the "creative" phase of mixing. A spark has been created in this noggin :)

    As an aside- i recently met a man who is a legendary NY tech, who among just about every other top studio there helped build the first hit factory, and did/does repair, Dan zellman, is the guy. Anyway to be brief, he played me these wonderful recordings he did, one had Steve gad on drums, and a lot of others old and modern, none of them had the zzz of that harsh upper mids. Okay well a student and neve doesn't hurt, but still some were mixed in PT. And after an hour or so he mentioned oh these are 320 mp3. Amazing. It was truly the real thing, like ever heard someone say, 'it's starting to sound like a record' I know what they mean now. So while my attitude towards an analog and and digital is evolving, but what has been proven to me, is that just cuz it's digital doesn't always mean bad, it's a matter of how its used, and I think since it's relatively new, workflows and the like really aren't as hard set as some other standards in pro audio.

    I'm looking forward to trying to make some significant improvements w my stuff real soon in my quest to really start producing "the real thing".

    Also, (sorry for text wall). I guess this is a hybrid question, but do you use a particular set of converters on your capture system, based on there sound? My options are ua appollo, apogee Rosetta,/ad16x, motu, and M audio. Nothing of boutique quAlity. What determined your choice of capture ADC? Burl has a brand new set of medial converters out, but I always worry about this area, as it changes so fast, and my personal $ has been for bills the past few years, and not much gear.
     
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I use Prism because I use it also for classical remote work. It serves two purposes. Capture/Mastering and remote.(y)

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  20. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    "So while my attitude towards an analog and and digital is evolving, but what has been proven to me, is that just cuz it's digital doesn't always mean bad, it's a matter of how its used, and I think since it's relatively new, workflows and the like really aren't as hard set as some other standards in pro audio."


    I'm not against digital, I use it everyday.

    I agree that it's all about how you use it, and that you realize just how much of a different beast it is compared to analog, and that you have to approach it with the differences in mind.

    I've heard some people I respect say that analog tends to me more forgiving, and while that may seem to be the case on the surface, I'm not sure I believe that completely.
    The general consensus is that analog tends to be inherently "warmer" than digital, which has a tendency to be cold and sterile... but I can say with complete honesty that I've heard more than just a few cold, harsh and brittle analog mixes in my time, and I've heard songs sourced in digital that sound fantastic.

    In regard to the differences, I think that there's more of an awareness now than there used to be, and the marketplace has evolved to help narrow the gap between the formats.

    For example... along with the mass availability of analog front end models - things like tube preamps, OB gear like classic channel strips, and the recent interest in hybrid systems, we've also recently seen a resurgence of things like ribbon mics.

    My theory is that it's because not all condensers sound good within the digital realm - at least not without some kind of analog front end to warm them up - because they have a tendency to have hyped presence and a brighter top end, and while that was fine in analog when we were all trying to cut through the analog smear and bring things to the front, and add presence to things like vocals; that doesn't necessarily work the same with digital. Hence, ribbons have become popular again, because they tend to be darker and a little warmer sounding than their condenser cousins do.

    As far as similarities, there are facets of fundamental recording principles that apply to both formats - things like mic placement, gain structure, your chain only being as strong as its weakest link, your room, monitors, etc., etc. These things apply to both formats.

    I think that the true downside to digital is really all about how Kurt has described it - that because it has become so affordable to the masses on a home/basic level, it has attracted and given cheap access to so many people who really have no business being anywhere near the craft...

    25 years ago, songwriters were buying little porta studios - those 4 track cassette models - for around $400 or so, that helped them get their ideas to tape. But none of them - or at least very few, had any grand illusions that their little four track decks would really ever launch them into stardom from the recordings made on those machines. They were what they were, and they served a purpose. If they wanted effects like reverb and delay, it required another investment into various separate FX processors. And still, very few thought that the fidelity was ever really going to be good enough to be able to release those recordings. commercially.

    So, they got their ideas down in a basic way, arranged the songs, and eventually went into a real studio to record and mix the final versions.

    But these days, users have unlimited track counts, thousands of free effects plugs, all available for a budget of around $600 total - and that price includes the computer needed to run the DAW progs.
    And that minimum investment has allowed people access to the craft who shouldn't have it. ;)

    IMHO of course.

    d/
     
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