Functions needed in a Mastering Console

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Ammitsboel, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Hi all,

    I'm thinking about building a Masteing Console together with gyraf audio(witch has designed my tube compressors and passive EQ).

    What I would like to ask you about is, what do you need in a mastering console?
    I know what i need rigth now but it would ne nice to get some input because it could be that I'm missing something that I would like to have down the road...

    Right now I'm thinking about a passive design with manual switches where i can select what I'm going to use "EQ1 - EQ2 - COMP1 - COMP2" but I have to use the units in that order, fx. I can't put comp1 before EQ2 and etc.
    On the console there is also going to be a switch for patching in a tape recorder, and I can select if i want it before or after the effect chain(before or after "EQ1 - EQ2 - COMP1 - COMP2").
    Monitor volumen and meters is not going to be on this console.

    What are your thoughts about this?
    Are you satisfied with a patchbay or can't you live without your prism or manley console, and why?

    Best Regards
  2. emaster

    emaster Guest

    check out the maselec console!!

    you need to check out the meselec console, it rocks the sum and difference features are like nothing i've ever come across, you can twist the worst mix in the world into a cracker...

    and the disk cutting section is in a class of it's own...

    we bought 3 as soon as we heard it.....

    check it out.....

    hope that helps


    (sorry just read the last bit and i guess this is what you'd call a prism??)
  3. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Re: check out the maselec console!!

    Yes I ment the Maselec console.

    Thanks for you post but:
    1. Nothing can turn the worst mix into a good master!
    2. I already have S/M in my Z-sys and weiss
    3. I have an ongoing talk with Leif Mases at the moment. I don't think he's units is so "invisible" as some peoble say. Actually the MEA-2 EQ disapointed me in regard to this.
    4. I'm totally into the passive analog transfer console! with the best manual switches around.

    But keep the postings comming...

    Best Regards,
  4. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I'm going to check out the new Legacy console by Rupert Neve. I'll let you know what I think after the AES show.
  5. markwilder

    markwilder Guest

    My original desk was built by Mark Levinson. It had some interesting features. The two things I liked the most was a hard switch for EQ only, EQ-Comp, Comp-EQ, and Comp only. It allowed me to play around more effectively without fiddling with a patchbay. The second, send/return gain/attenuation. It consisted of an amplifier at 0/6/12 db gain and a seperate attenuator in half db steps to -20. depending on what the music needed, I could dial up the same gain/attenuation from the different amp settings and listen to the net effect of running the amps hot or cold.

    I'll add to this later, my client arrived.

  6. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Thanks Mark,
    I think i will include that! a switch for 1:EQ 2:EQ-Comp 3:Comp-EQ and 4:Comp.

  7. markwilder

    markwilder Guest

    It was a big-ass knob! All hard wired. And a rotary master fader. I can't fade without one.
  8. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Yeah! I bet it was... I'm seriusly considering to get my knobs custom made so they are big enough!
    Mine is going to be nothing else than big rotary swithces(shallco like types) with BIG knobs!!
  9. markwilder

    markwilder Guest

    Something I've seen, but will not partake in is a master fader that instead of starting at zero and going to minus whatever, is let's say +6/-20 db for active dynamic riding.

  10. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    I'm not sure that i follow you Mark...
  11. markwilder

    markwilder Guest

    This would be a rotary fader (big knob) that you can ride by hand to enhance dynamic movement in a piece of music. So, you have everything just the way you want it, now you can take a pass and at those special moments, let's say chorus' for example, you can ride up the gain to give the song that extra something. Maybe a db hit at the top so it comes in with a bang, then ride it down, maybe ride it back up for some key lyrical moments, etc...

  12. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    He he...

    I can see it for me:

    Recorded by mr. X
    Mixed by mr. X
    Digital edit by mr. X
    Active dynamic riding by mr. X
    Mastered by mr. X

    ...and the CD sounds hmm.... can't really put a finger on it... maybe i have an unstable net power supply for my tube amps??
  13. markwilder

    markwilder Guest

    I felt I could build in dynamics in different ways other than this way. I like my master faders starting at zero and going to - infinite. I try to do all my fades analog and this was just not going to work for me at all.

  14. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    So you never fade inside the DAW?
    Do you always convert when getting digital formats?

    I'm a little audiophile when it comes to this, if i can avoid a pot or an attenuator i will do it.
    This is also why i'm building a passive transfer console, i hate to put more gain stages in my chain if i can avoid it.
  15. markwilder

    markwilder Guest

    I almost never fade in a workstation. Mostly, I hate the way fades feel in my workstation. Not only is it the tempo (feel), I hear the color of the audio change. With a hand fade I can caress the ending just the way I like it. I'll often do 3, 4, 5 passes of just the ending to get the perfect fade, then do a butt splice to piece it together. This also leads to more musical segues. Also, there are times I'll use HDCD, and with HDCD, if you modify the bit (fades, gain, etc..) you lose the HDCD flag.

    Most of the time, I will not go to black between bands. That feeling of absolute zero between songs is too dramatic for me as a listener. After my fades I'll leave 5-10 seconds of analog silence, so when I'm pacing the CD, I'll have just the slightest hint of noise floor.

    I basically agree with you on the minimalist thing, but what I've found is that, for me, a gain stage before (send) and after (return) my inserts allows me to hit my gear with just the right amount of level (send), then get the level just right for conversion (return). These levels never seem to be the same for me. On the Levinson desk, my amps were on switches so if I wanted I could cleanly bypass them. My tweekest clients have never been offended by the gain my old desk. They have been more offended by the sound of my workstation. (this goes back to the Doug Sax discussion). And since we're talking about gain, I'd rather reprint at a different level then do a gain move in the computer.

    Mark Wilder
  16. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I'm a patchbay kind of guy myself. As much as I would like the convienence of of some of the switching capabilities, I prefer to run it through as little as possible. On the otherhand, I like the flexibility in the monitoring side. Patchbay's are much cheaper than great switching too, that is also a concern for me. Hmmm, a new weiss box or some fancy switching.... I'll take the weiss. I do all of my fades inside the DAW, I like to leave it at the last possible moment. I hate nothing more than having to run something again because they want to change the fade.

    Lately I've been looking for a used weiss 102 system with the controller. It's an old unit but I still think it's great, if for nothing more than the contoller.
  17. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    The best as i see it is to do the direkt connect the units, select the units you are going to use and then direkt connect them instead of using a patchbay.

    I have a patchbay at the moment, a real expensive one with silver connectors and silver cables(not cheap ass silver cables).
    But i often feel that it could be better with some very good switches instead as they will only replace the very good connectors and i will then have shorter cable lengths(better to work with and also soundwise).

    My box of switches doesn't cost as much as a weiss unit?!? and they are the best switches around.

    Mark, what kind of DAW do you have?
    I'm not notishing the things you do when fading in 32bit float.
    I will try soon to make an analog fade to see what happens... but the problem as i see it is when you get digital material that doesn't need a conversion.

    Best Regards
  18. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Mark, since you not have the Mark Levinson any more, what do you have now? and does it work fine?
  19. markwilder

    markwilder Guest

    A. I use a Sonic System. To be replaced by a Sequoia in a couple of weeks. No matter, I'll still fade analog. It's a feel thing. It's a big rotary, and pacing a fade is infinitely easier, for me, by hand.

    It's rare that I process digitally. My analog chain is very sweet and becomes a positive asset for almost every project. When I do go digi, it's a combination of Weiss and Harmonia Mundi (the 102).

    B. The Levinson (Cello) finally died a couple of years ago. It's a long story, and I will not bother here, but currently I'm using GML Modules (from the modular rack-mountable mixer) which were a step up sonically. I'm about to take delivery on an SPL stereo desk (Nov. I think).

  20. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    he he, so you are moving to PC too!
    A bit of advice, have patience...

    I like to fade last like Michael and I'm satisfied with Sequoia's fades at the moment... maybe I reconsider somewhere down the road, but not now.

    You sound like you are a superb analog knob fading guy...?
    What converters do you use?

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