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Hard disc with Analog Mixer?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by coldsnow, Jun 18, 2001.

  1. coldsnow

    coldsnow Active Member

    I am currently using a Yamaha 4416 but am thinking of purchasing the Alesis HD24 when it comes out, just so I can go back to an analog mixer (man do I miss knobs). Is this bad to go from Digital to analog than back to Digital for CD? Will my sound be much worse than using the 4416, that I am currently using?
  2. JeffreyMajeau

    JeffreyMajeau Active Member

    You're better off just staying digital, imho. You'll end up spending a lot of money on either a Masterlink or some other 2-track master recorder to print your mixes to, or some really good converters (which the Masterlink already has). On the other hand, you could probably find a 1/2" ATR for a reasonable amount and mix to that.

    How much are you looking to spend is a question you need to ask yourself. Using the HD24 with a Behringer board is probably going to end up being sonically WORSE than say, using your 4416.

    I understand missing knobs, there are times where i wish I had a ProControl to go along with the PT rig, but yaknow, total recall of an analog mix is a lofty achievement. Determine what works for your style of mixing. Either that, or keep your pennies and adapt to making an ass-kicking product with the gear you've got and spend the money where it counts more. And I'm not about to tell you what will count more, only you can determine what will be the best purchase for your studio, cause they're all different!

    Dan Roth
    Otitis Media
  3. coldsnow

    coldsnow Active Member

    I was afraid you'd say that. Actually, I'd probably go with a Mackie, Allen Heath, or Spirit board though.
  4. coldsnow

    coldsnow Active Member

    Would there be a drop off in sound with a mackie board?
  5. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Mike, you're definitely going to be in way better shape getting some good converters/front end gear and staying in the digital domain.

    The ATR-102 will run you more than any of those desks, and you'll still need to get really good converters and clocks to go dig-analog-dig...frankly, it's not really going to be worth the extra conversion processes.

    If you really give a $*^t about your audio, you won't run it through any of the turds masquerading as consoles like you've discussed above. Get yourself some decent pre's, EQ's, Compressors, and most of all converters and clocks...and get used to mixing with a mouse.

    'Mouse mixing' really sucks at first...but you get used to it. If an old ^#$% like me can tolerate it, then I'm sure you'll learn to adapt to it somehow.
  6. PaulStory

    PaulStory Guest


    Just to offer a completely diff opinion, I think that mixes either done within the DAW or to another digi medium like DAT or masterlink don't sound as good as mixes (tracks from a DAW) that go through a nice analog board. There is something about how the sound is "glued" together in the analog console that gives it a better sound to me.
    I have a d8b and desperately want an analog console. I'm looking at an Angela. YMMV...
  7. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    I had this really weird dream last night. Fletcher was advising some guy to mix with a mouse, it was wicked f'd up. At first I thought it was...

  8. Blesscurse

    Blesscurse Guest

    [My first post to this group.] I certainly do miss the Neve/Studer/Studer combo when I'm mixing at home instead of at the commercial studios I work in.

    BUT, at home, even though the stuff is running on ADAT XT's or a DR-16, by mixing in the analog domain, I get to use things I love like my Distressor, Urei 7110, Meek SC2, LA4 (Alactronics),Moog Parametric 3-band, Melcor 2-band, API 560's and 550's, not to mention all the quirky less known stuff I have on hand (Davisound M5, Ursa Major MSP anyone?)... which takes me a little closer to the "analog/ hardware" sound I love.

    In other words, if I was mixing with a mouse and staying in the digital domain, I would not be able to patch all sorts of essential stuff on the inserts/buses, since the lower end digital boards don't have analog inserts, or, if they do, there's an additional level of conversion involved, no?.... Yes, I own and have used lots of neato softwareplug-ins but I'm still sold on the sounds and the control I get with the type of hardware I've noted above*. The new Numark/Alesis has 24 D/A's built in, so assuming it ever ends up on the market, I can see why it is appealing to individuals who choose to continue to mix in the analog domain, even though their "multitrack" is low-end digital. Another thing I've thought about is to upgrade my digital multitrack D/A's. I'm already using a Rosetta for A/D, and it works quite well with my API/Neve/Altec/Avalon mic pres.

    Thus, I'm still a proud member of the hardware generation, even if I no longer always get to work on 2 inch. A recent transfer I did from 1-inch 16 track to digital multitrack actually sounds quite decent IMHO.I'm currently mixing it.... We'll see when the CD comes out, I guess.

    *I haven't dropped these classy hardware names in any attempt to impress anyone. (I wouldn't try to impress anyone in this group, because I know they only shop at Guitar Center....) But rather, to illustrate that there are people out there working with a combination of high quality and admittedly lesser quality hardware, like in my case API and ADAT or whatever. Sometime I track at a studio and mix at home. But when it comes to mixing, I just can't seem to surrender to the Mouse.

    PS: Love that "British Mod"
  9. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    I personally don't agree with the whole "I think it would be best to stay all digital." First, think about what processing you are going to use during mix. Will it be plug ins or outboard? Let's say it is outboard. So say you want to patch an analog compressor to your snare track. That will be two (D/A/D) conversions for every outboard piece you put in the chain. So that only allows you 8 pieces (remember 2 conversions per channel) to insert into individual channels to match the same method presented below.

    If you go HD24 out to an analog console it is one D/A conversion for each channel and lets just say one A/D for the stereo bus to the master unit. If you get your DAW setup correctly you can bus digital out to 16 ch (via HD24 or any 24 bit D/A, like Apogees new IntelliDAC) and only have 16 ch of D/A by premixing in the computer. This also has an advantage because by subgrouping like this you save resources (ie eq's,compressor,high quality D/A). For Example, only have 6 good eq's? Subgroup your guitars onto two tracks. For me this works great. This is more of an issue in a bad way with Protools than with a 32 bit float program lie Paris or Samplitude because of the busing issue. If I understand the Native platforms correctly, it isn't even really a true "bus" you are just assigning the tracks to specific outputs on your digital card (I use the RME hammerfall full version) and there is less math being done.

    I have mixed both ways with the same material, and the analog console always beats out the sound as opposed to just staying exclusively in the computer even with crappy D/A and a Mackie. I think a few people would agree with me on this. But remember if you do buy the HD24, you can still stay digital. I wouldn't use the computer as a primary recorder. It can be a real mood spoiler for you and the client if it crashes or stalls.

    You can use the HD24 like the traditional tape machine and transfer your tracks digitally into the computer for editing, some higher end digital processing (with the new UA powered plugins for instance) and transfer it back to the HD24 with the auto and edits intact. Or you could just stay in the computer. Either way, experiment for yourself and see what YOU like. Buy the HD24 and you can go either way (stay all digital or go into the analog console). For $2K and the ability to hold 160 GB (2x80 GB drives) how can you go wrong? And IMO it is going to be a lot more stable than a PC and a lot more economical than a Mac with an antiquarian ProTools system. YOMV :cool:

    Nathan Eldred
    Atlas Pro Audio, Inc.
  10. alphajerk

    alphajerk Active Member

    Originally posted by Ang1970:
    I had this really weird dream last night. Fletcher was advising some guy to mix with a mouse, it was wicked f'd up. At first I thought it was...


    i was about to say the same damn thing. ROTF. the apocolypse IS near.
  11. darryl88

    darryl88 Guest

    Hi all, I'd just like to add a small point, when mixing in digital domain everytime you make any gain adjustments (eq,etc) you are changing the word length. But what the affect of the changing in word length will depend on the internal word length of the digi console.

    I'm a student of audio engineering and at the school I usually record to either DA88s or Studer A80 2" 24 track, and mix on a Westar or MCI console, with tons of outboard gear.

    Just thought i'd add the gear I get to use, until i graduate in a couple weeks.
  12. mixfactory

    mixfactory Guest

    It seems that everyone is readily convinced that mixing on a "good" analog console(whatever this means) is better than mixing in a Digital medium. Well, it depends on the user. Back in the old days(for me this would be the Big 80's), you were lucky as a freelance engineer to get a consistent gig working on a so called "great console". Basically, what you had was tons of studios with mid line consoles, some had automation and some not(next time you have to do a recall(on a digital medium), thank your lucky stars you even have that option). What about noise, anybody for noise? Noisy channels, noisy outboard gear, noise from tape tracks,noise,noise,noise. Well we had noise reduction back then didn't we? Yeah, but how many people could afford Dolby SR(please raise your hands). No..we had things like DBX noise units and cheaper Dolby, but yeah didn't these units color the sound?(I won't get into that whole controversy). I didn't mention things like...channels that would intermittently work(or how we you use to say that felt like showing up to work that day). How about the mysterious hum? Every day at 6:00 o'clock, guess what "its here"(and always when your most important client was there). Look, I love mixing digital tracks on analog boards, and like a lot of you that would be my first preference, but do I like to do a total recall of a mix(analog console) 48-96 tracks(Sony3348HR or Pro Tools) worth of music...(would you?). I think the problem with alot of people is that they've only mixed on the lower forms of Digital boards(I've had a chance to mix on the Oxford,Capricorn and the Axiom MT, and I tell you there is a difference!!!) I guarantee you that at that level, you wouldn't miss analog as much. I believe in the adage "master your own possibilities", or in other words "stop bitchin about what you don't have or what it isn't, and get the most from what it is"
    Just an opinion.
  13. patrick

    patrick Guest

    Just in response to the original post.

    You can use an analog board with the 4416, maximum 16 channels, if you get (for example) a couple of adat cards for it, and a pair of 8-channel adat converters.

    Also, for those not familiar with the 4416, you don't have to mix with a mouse on it, since it has motorixed faders, and knobs for eq and panning, although there is only one set of knobs so you have to use the channel select buttons (one for each fader)to change channels. Other parametres take a bit more entering to do, but with both a mouse and the 4416's page select buttons, wheel and cursor, it's still a lot better than using a mouse on a computer.
  14. coldsnow

    coldsnow Active Member

    Yes but tracking is a bit of a pain for me. I'm just learning it but I can't lay down a track without opening up the manual. Talk about loosing the mood.

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