Hybrid DAW - Starting Over on a Budget 2014

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by audiokid, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    :) howdy

    After using some of the better gear available, I have come to the realization that a scaled down hybrid version of what I do now would get the job done very well. Rather than investing in a bunch of software, I choose to share the work between a few computers systems and a clean stand alone analog console. I find this process sounds bigger and punchier with far less reasons to keep spending money on endless software upgrades.
    Everything here is easy to sell or add to the core without loosing the farm. The process is what I find most interesting.
    The sound quality and pleasure I get from this kind of system over ITB is hard not to pass on. Therefore, I thought a starting over thread for 2014 might be an interesting topic.

    Aside from monitors and acoustic treatment, if I was starting over I would do something like this over any All-In-One DAW system and a bunch of plug-ins.


    Process / Chain.

    Console > AD > Orion 32 >DAW1 > DA Orion32 > Console > 2 channel ADDA with monitoring connected here > AD > DAW2 (DA monitoring) > Done = ME, CD, online

    Two basic optimized computers both loaded with your DAW's and OS of choice . ( I would choose PC any day but if you are on Mac, who cares). The computers aren't working hard this way.

    1x Orion32 (USB or MADI).
    1 x 2 channel ADDA. FW or USB works great. ( this should be good quality but USB or FW is all ya need)
    1 x monitor control system
    1 x analog console of choice With no interface!
    ( Toft Audio ATB24 | Sweetwater.com) or
    Analog Mixers | Sweetwater.com
    Some additional hardware to follow. External Effect processing for certain. A great start to freedom is less than $10,000. Used, maybe half to get started.

    The concept is to use your console to track and mix through and use DAW 1 for basic tracking, processing and clinical editing.. Bus and Aux the entire DAW1 session OTB so everything arrives together at the console. (the more stems and aux's you can accept the better). Mix both DAW and Console, with attention on the analog side and capture on DAW2.
    You monitor your entire mix from DAW2 via the 2 channel DA. If you can include an independent monitor control system (not the console monitor section) the better.

    I pretty much guarantee within no time you will discover how little you want or rely on plugins again. You are free of so many extra bugs and upgrades. Other than the basics included in your DAW, you are free and heading to a cleaner and bigger mix. I choose Samplitude because its of mastering quality however any DAW will get the job done.

    What would you do?
  2. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    I've always like this approach where the DAW is simply a tape recorder in concept. After all it's still the actual device that allows "recording" of sound in the first place. Years ago you needed or wanted a 2" 24 track recorder, which was the best SNR format you had available for simultaneous multi-track recording.
    I think with the advent of high quality A/D and D/A's and the software, it's there now. So that replaces the big tape recorder....in fact in many respect's it totally surpasses the old technology...

    The next factor is the tracking signal chain. Mic, preamp, routing into a tape deck.
    All of this is really still in the analog domain so consoles or discrete analog devices still can be used just like they always have going into the "tape recorder".
    Same thing really happens with playback, the mix and the monitoring side. You still have to eventually get back to analog. So the only part that "needs" to be in the digital domain is the 2 conversion points between our ears and the computer for recording and playback.
    At that point the software and A/D/A should really be a seamless object/device, like the 24 track analog deck with line cards is. So it really doesn't have to be termed a "hybrid" system you've just replaced your tape deck! And that really all you've done. The quality of that approach is still all a matter of cost.
    The only reason you have or need plugins is because all the outboard gear that used to be used with consoles to process, route and trick out audio tracks cost a ton of money and they still do!
    Whereas plugins are cheap and easily added into any signal chain and in many cases are even free!

    This whole ITB is still the cheap way for the average human who wants to record themselves or others for very little money. This is why there is an entire consumer industry that revolves around ITB and has diluted the entire process into what it is today.
    So really these two approaches are about economics. If you want to talk about quality of the process and which approach is best than I think you know which one is the better system.
    If you have the money to have a full blown console I think you have the more pure process, but you also have the higher priced system and depending on your economic plans, you have to decide if it's worth the investment in a diluted industry and society that cares nothing about quality. Quality has become passe and a niche', cottage effort. Mainstream society doesn't seem to value any of that any more.
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Well said!
  4. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Well thanks audiokid, but I don't know if it really says much about where this whole situation is headed or what it actually means in the future or long term theme of starting over. It seems like all this is a lost cause in some ways.
    On the one hand you have this cheap recording industry with it's digital technology that really has no business recording audio and yet it has created this new industry and economics for anyone to buy into and play with. It then becomes diluted as an art form or craft and becomes just a toy for the masses to play with. It then loses it intrinsic value and just blends into the fabric of everything else.
    At the other end of the scale you have this total loss of the old business and economics where utilizing some of the systems and concepts were talking about and that you have put together really becomes obsolete. Real studios with this real equipment aren't truly viable or even needed anymore. It then becomes a personal goal, taste or argument and isn't advancing the audio world art form.
    So why bother, maybe the new technology does a better job and will change the art form!

    Then there's this whole resurgence of people now, looking to get into analog consoles again and claiming analog OTB is the "new" way to go and the "thing" to have. I know you know what I'm talking about here.
    So it's all quite bizarre and it appears as if we are just walking in circles.
    I think that is why I focused on the "tape deck" concept in particular and you have to realize there are analog realms that can't really ever be replaced like that. Mics and speakers will have to be the last transducers to succumb to technology.
    Another odd trend is this concept of the technology is the added flexibility and nuance which comes with the new systems.
    Every time we go down this digital technology rabbit hole it inevitably creates completely new features that couldn't even have been conceived of before. In some cases these added bonuses wouldn't even be possible or thought of under the old systems.
    So I guess my whole question to throw out there now is OK so we update, coagulate, extrapolate, but I'm wondering where is that really taking us?
  5. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    And another thing!....LOL
    I guess I'm on a roll here watching the Canucks in LA and the NFL Playoff games and happy to have NO in Seattle next week!
    Really hoping the Canucks beat LA and SF49ers lose tomorrow!

    Anyway sort of off topic.....but maybe this has some point in our topic here...
    What is up with this phenomenon of "lo-fi" and the kids out there who seem to thrive on plinkity plink mindless noise and the worse the recording the better?
    Why is it that instead of looking for the improvement in audio and sound quality and the recording process they have at their disposal (for cheap) they are enamored with total garbage.
    It's something I've been watching happen more and more.

    Damn! LA just scored!....come on guys!....really?

    You would think the kids would be advancing things musically given this new technology, but all I see is the dilution effect causing them to go the other way!?!
    They don't seem to look for quality equipment, they don't seem to like good listening devices and they don't even have a clue what music is?
    It all sounds so mindless and robotic....and they fret and argue over the most mundane details and nonsense that doesn't even matter....
    I would love an explanation of this trend.
    gdoubleyou likes this.
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I think its within reach.
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    i think as more and more people decide to use computers as only a recording device, it's going to open up the market for standalone recorders/editors again, in the vein of the mackie hdr or the alesis hd24. some people love the radar system, and even the brand new one (6?7?) is a modest computer i think its a dual core. the joe co black box is another example. i like the idea of something that is built to do one thing, does it well, and for a long time. i wouldn't be surprised to see this happen soon.

    as far as 'lo fi' i don't personally understand it, but i think the mentality is to go in the complete opposite direction of the mainstream for the sake of going in the opposite direction. i don;t buy into it. but what i do buy into is that some mediums can suit some bands better, and i think it should be a consideration during pre production, if various mediums are available.

    my last band was a blues rock band and we went into the studio i worked at and cut 5 songs, and ended up scrapping them cuz we like the cassette recorder recordings better, from some random practice room. so we ended up re-diong them on a reel to reel. the daw recordings were just not gritty enough, and while there were a couple nice pres, i didn't have enough to do the whole kit to get some edge.

    but even w/ the reel to reel, we didn't strive for crappy, we spent a lot of time w/ mic placement and eq on the mackie p.a board, and we tried to get the best sound possible w/ the limited equipment we had. if i had a super nice tape machine, i woulda used that. and it's not tape vs digital or anything really, it's just that way captured the vibe that we wanted, which was a girtty, 70's ish sound of us in a room. a vibe that was missing from the studio recordings, which were overdubbed, and to a click.

    i think the lofi thing is just a lack of understanding on people's part, same as the million pluggin phenomenon, or the cheap condenser mic school of thought. which basically echos what dj was referencing.
  8. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    That sort of makes sense kmetal...opposite for opposite sake. It's funny how good old stuff sounds after exposure to the new sound isn't it. I think that's telling...
    I'm just old and I only like good music, rock, pop, jazz, blues, soul, reggae....I even really love electronic music, moog's and synth stuff, pop edrums of the 80's 90's are some of my favorite things to play with...but some of this dub, prog, or whatever it is with monotonous drones and repetitive beats I just don't get it at all...I thought it would go away....LOL
    But if they like it who am I to say it's crap...hehe...I just sound like my Dad when I was jamming to the Beatles and Stones with my Roberts tape deck in my bedroom!
    Plugin's are no doubt the cheap way to fix and trick out tracks for sure...and it's hit the point where all kids look at it as part of there gamer mentality and component. They have the internet and computers and wide open tips and tricks to get the most out their entertainment. They are buying and downloading them like apps for their phones....just sad to see the pablum of sound that is being thrown out there and marketed just because you can. It's cheap and entertainment in an internalized digital world. Hardware and analog is the "real" genuine way to record music. I think after the dust settles and the fashion fad of cheap "producers" and plugins subsides, things may come back around to the real world.

    I truly think the A/D/A, the powerful computer and recording software is a remarkable improvement to the quality of sound recording and I do like the concept of modular card 500 series systems, I think those can provide a less expensive flexible approach to hardware and OTB analog processing. So there are real things out there to use, you just have to search them out and put them together.

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