1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

HEDD applications

Discussion in 'Recording' started by erockerboy, Jun 19, 2001.

  1. erockerboy

    erockerboy Member

    Hola amigos,

    Have had a Cranesong HEDD 192 in my room for awhile now, and despite glowing recommendations from lots of my engineer pals, I'm not sure if I like the damn thing. Was hoping to hear more about specific usage of this box from any HEDD fans out there. Maybe I'm doing it wrong...

    The HEDD was first pimped to me as a mastering effect/2-bus converter. So, I broke out some recent finished mixes of mine, and stuck 'em thru the box digitally just to see what would happen. As soon as I cranked the knobs to the point where I could really notice the box working, I didn't like what it was doing to my audio. The "triode" and "pentode" distortion didn't sound particularly 3D or organic to me... in fact it sounded a lot like the awful DRG section in my much-hated, long-gone TC Finalizer. And while the HEDD *did* seem to flatten out transients in a manner reminiscent of analog tape, it also seemed to mess up the spectral balances in the mix, and make things sound "narrower" and "smaller".

    Now, to be fair... the mixes I was HEDD-izing were already pretty compressor-heavy. When I mix from a DAW, I'm typically doing a lot of "effect" compression both on channels and the mix bus, trying to emulate the pump, squeeze, hiss and spit of analog. If I'd been mixing to the HEDD, and getting sounds with some of the HEDD effect dialed in, maybe I'd be reaching for my other comp's less. I know the HEDD strictly speaking isn't a compressor, but the line blurs when you start talking about HEDD's "tube saturation" and "tape simulation", which is essentially what I often use compressors for.

    So I momentarily gave up on the HEDD as a mastering box, and started using it on single instruments while tracking. Bingo, things began to get very cool. In applications where I normally wouldn't track thru a compressor, I found the HEDD imparted a very cool, very analog squashiness. On drums especially, I really dug the "tape" knob. All of a sudden that old sterile DAW bottom end began to sound like a saturated 2" machine. Yeehaw! The fact that different instruments wanted to see such different HEDD knob settings, tho, again made me question whether I would ever want to strap this thing across a 2-bus.

    Which brings me back to the mastering application. Seemed like it was REALLY easy to crank the knobs a titch too far, and turn my whole mix into dog doodoo. I've always been skittish about doing my own "mastering" anyways, cuz 99.99999% of the time, the real "mastering" guy is gonna have better tools and more objective ears than I am. Plus it's way too easy to overdo it on any 2-bus processing, IMO. And by the time I back off on the processing to the point where I'm second-guessing myself, trying to hear a half-dB difference in compression... hell, might as well just unplug the damn thing.

    So I dunno.... any thoughts from HEDD aficionados out there? U guys *really* like it on 2-bus? Or tracking only? Or do you just keep it around cuz of the cool green power indicator?

    Love to hear from ya.

    -e
     
  2. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    I mostly use it tracking into a DAW...or sometimes I use the Empirical Labs 'Fatso Jr'. There is no real rhyme nor reason to the decision process between the two, it's mostly gut instinct.

    I have also found that when ever I hear a setting I like on the HEDD-192, especially when tracking, I back off a whole number on each of the three knobs. Otherwise I find that the build up gets to be too much.

    In 2-bus applications I usually only back off 1/2 a number...but it sounds like you might want to try backing off a full number.

    Best of luck...bitchin' A/D-D/A converter ain't it...I've also been using it as a 'masterclock' lately too...
     
  3. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Fletcher,

    In your opinion, how much of a fundamental difference in "analog" type sound is there between 1) using a 2" and 2) the FATSO and/or HEDD to digital exclusively instead (no analog used at all)? Do you think it would be more or less apparent that the source is digital (with the EL or CS being used) if the mix was going to 24/96 (ie DVD audio) rather than a regular 16 bit CD with dither?

    Regards,
    Nathan Eldred
    Atlas Pro Audio, Inc.
    http://www.atlasproaudio.com
     
  4. erockerboy

    erockerboy Member

    Thanks for the responses guys...

    How would y'all characterize the diff between HEDD and Fatso? I understand HEDD does its trickery in the digital domain, whereas Fatso is a pure analog box... great, so how does it sound?

    Tryin' to get Fatso in here on a demo loan... could be awhile. Ahhh, the bittersweet cravings of gear sluthood.

    :)
     
  5. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Ya know Nathan, that's a great question...unfortunately the answer is "I don't know". Working in the digital domain and working in the analog domain are two entirely different animals for me.

    In the analog domain, I kinda know what to expect and the limitations and artifacts of the equipment...how to hit the tape to have the tape be a complementary event, etc.

    In the digital domain, I'm on a serious learning curve. The way I've been approaching it lately is by trying to 'mix' while I'm tracking. In otherwords, as I'm putting something into the storage medium I try to think of how I would process this as if I were mixing it as well as recording it.

    I'll end up with stuff like two compressors, one that I think I might have used during mix time, maybe an analog EQ that I think I might have patched in come mix time, etc.

    The A/D portion of the program is damn near used like I'd use different tapes or levels, in a way...I do find myself often using a couple of different brands of converters because they all sound slightly different...which is an attempt to add size and separation to the audio.

    As for the Fatso & HEDD...I just haven't come up with anything that really even comes close to 'rule of thumb' other than the 'when I like the effect...back it off rule'...which is really just to keep the "processing" stuff from getting out of hand.

    I also find that I work differently with Pro-sTools than with Digital Performer...with P-T I try and make things sound a bit larger and almost go for a bit more bottom than I should...I've found the DP to handle the low end with better clarity and definition, so I almost lay the bottom into the DP as I would with tape. Those are the only two systems I've really used [I've dabbled with a couple others, but not enough to call myself even marginally experienced].

    I don't know if this answered the question...hopefully it got somewhere close.
     
  6. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Fletcher,

    That answer definitely helps. It's a good idea about the 'back it off a little' just for safety factor...those 2nd and 3rd order harmonics can really be excessive on every sound if pushed too hard. I remember a while back before the FATSO had come out (I think the HEDD was pretty new also), that you found transformers to be THE most determining factor in coloration as opposed to the whole tube/solid state debate. I agree with this and have found it to be true also. A true tube design (as opposed to a glowing light thingy for show :cool:

    Regards,
    Nathan Eldred
    Atlas Pro Audio, Inc.
    http://www.atlasproaudio.com
     
Similar Threads
  1. rivers
    Replies:
    7
    Views:
    1,821
  2. bassmac
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    445
  3. KyleSong
    Replies:
    3
    Views:
    1,000
  4. Yiannis
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    1,076
  5. Davedog
    Replies:
    3
    Views:
    731
Loading...

Share This Page