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I'm switching back to analog!! Suggestions please...

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by free318, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. free318

    free318 Guest

    Here's the history: for a long time, I was running my 8 hardware synths and tracking vox/gtr through a Mackie 3204LM into an Audiowerk 2 card into Logic Plat. Upgraded the Audiowerk to MOTU 2408mkIII and was fairly happy. Then decided to get the 24I/O and lose the mixer and haven't been happy since. My tracks sound noticeably thinner and I can't seem to get the routing right to work with my outboard fx gear--so fuggeddaboudit, I'm going back.

    Here are my questions:
    1.The Mackie was okay, but I'd like to go alittle warmer this time. I'm considering a Soundcraft Ghost or maybe an older Tascam something or the other(maybe two M512's or its 24 ch counterpart,please tell me what that is). How about a TAC Scorpion board in good condition? I'll be mixing automation in Logic and mostly using the board for it's 'sound'. Willing to spend up to $3000. Suggestions?

    2.What soundcards are considered to have the best converters these days? The 2408mkIII is okay, but I think there may be something better, and I'd like to switch to firewire to boot.

    3.If I get a top of the line soundcard, do I also need, say, an Apogee AD/DA converter?

    Thanks in advance
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    It sounds to me as if you already kow what you like to hear. The best thing for you to do IMO, is to listen to all of the boards you are considering and see for yourself if they perform in a way that you like. from there you can decide which you like the most.

    You will hear a plethora of opinion on whether a board in this category is any good or not and or which is best of the bunch. There's a lot of threads here already on this subject and you can do a search on those as well for even more info.

    I advise you to check the John Hardy web site; http://www.johnhardyco.com click on the links icon
    and click on the article "Outboard Mic Preamps: What's the deal". That will explain a lot about what goes into really good pres and consoles.
  3. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Home Page:
    I have a Tascam 32x8x2 2600 MKII in my "B" tracking room (and it's used for demo mixdown), it gets a good sound, not great but definitely quite a few steps up from a Mackie, and IMO a bit rounder and musical than the Ghost. I've had that board since 1996 and it's served me well, still sounds better to my ears than 'in the box'. Lynx conversion is very good, better than the MOTU to my ears, not at the extreme top of the heap i.e. like Lavry for instance. You won't HAVE to get an external converter with an external soundcard unless the soundcard is digital I/O only. The stereo Lynx cards have analog I/O built on.
  4. Hemmick Reef

    Hemmick Reef Guest

    I was interested in this post as I have read that it's best to keep everything clean and in the box?
    Somebody mentioned analog mixers as just adding noise to a digital system.
    I only have a small home studio with an edirol DA2496 8in/8out soundcard, but I was thinking of getting a Focusrite Twin Trak pro or something similar to warm a mix up a little and add a little warmth to my music.

    My question is would it be better to buy a mixer (more options also) rather than channel strip to warm up tracks?

    Thanks fo any advice.
  5. That's really a matter of opinion. For me, its analog as much as possible. I don't even use a computer for tracking or mixing. The only thing I use a computer for is to make my recall sheets legible for anyone else at a later date (including myself, depending on my mood that day). A good analog console will add very little noise to your sound. In fact, it won't even be noticible. The reason you may get noise is because if it can be sold in the United States, then it must accept interference. Like I said, I stay analog as much as possible; my only digital toys are my reverb units, and I do have some home-built spring reverbs and a plate. I personally don't think you can get any character out of an all-digital setup. The most recent Top-40 hits come to mind... anyway...

    If you are going to track and then pull back out to the analog realm to mix, then I'd get a console. If you are going to mix in the digital realm, then a channel strip or two for tracking purposes would be all that is necessary. Most people I know hate mixing on computers and have consoles because of that. You can also have both - channel strips for tracking and a console for mixing.

    Also, preamps are ALWAYS a good buy.
  6. Hemmick Reef

    Hemmick Reef Guest

    I was thinking of the Mackie onyx 1220; it's about the best I can afford.
    The only thing is I don't know if I can send my midi tracks with soft synths out to it from cubase sx2; those are the sounds I want to warm?

    Any advice?
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    There's a lot of folks swearing by analog summing and I do not dispute their findings but I have not yet heard anything myself that says to me that summing in the box is detrimental to the audio. What I have heard evidence of is that bringing the audio back out of the DAW and processing it further can make things sound better. This flies in the face of the convention I have always held to, that any processing only alters a signal while not necessarily improving it.

    I have though, at times brought some key elements like kick drum snare and bass as well a vocals and guitars back out of the box to add analog compression and EQing from some vintage pieces I have and it really seemed to make an improvement even surprisingly in the depth of field and sound field spread.

    So I wonder if summing is really the issue or if any perceived improvement is coming from the analog channels sound while mixing ( a great board or channel strip) or if it really is a summing issue?

    Another thing I have noticed is it seems more people that use PT, are hearing these summing problems than with other DAW applications. That could be just a coincidence though.
  8. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    i dont think its coincidence. i notieced a big difranct just moving from, cubace VST 5 to SX3.
  9. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Active Member

    Sep 26, 2003
    Aurora, ON, Canada
    Interesting, as I have also considered that very same Focusrite unit to go with my Edirol DA-2496. The Edirol is good but the sound seems to me a little hard and metallic with my Rode NT1, which I'm (perhaps too hastily) blaming on the mic pres. I also want a channel strip that has built-in compression so that I can record bass guitar.

    I'm only using my mixer for monitoring and for summing MIDI rack synths for later audio recording, not really using it for the preamps.

    The TwinTrak is designed to be the front end to a DAW as it has a lot of monitoring and I/O for EFX. The option of the digital card which could hook up to the DA-2496 via SP/DIF would by-pass the pres and the converters of the Edirol. There are other affordable channel strips with compression, some of which have digital outs (Presonus Eureka, ART MPA / Pro Channel, DBX, Joe Meek, Focusrite Platinum series etc).

    There are unfortunately way too many choices for mixers that could be used with a DAW for me to make any definite recommendation. As for myself I wouldn't bother using a mixer as a front end to the DA-2496, only as a playback monitoring device. The Edirol has a lot of things going for it (lots of I/O, excellent latency performance, stable drivers, very good if not excellent sound etc.) Then again I'm only using an inexpensive Yamaha MG 12/4 which I think is a wonderful choice for what I paid.
  10. Albert

    Albert Guest

    I had a very similar experience. Went digital the whole way, was unhappy with it, and went back to analog. Actually, a hybrid analog/digital system, but the mixing occurs in analog using the DAW as a multitrack deck and editor.

    Have you thought about the Speck XtraMix? I went with a couple of them and am very happy with how they sound. I also used to own a few of the Mackie LM-3204's and feel the Speck is a big step up. Okay, a few big steps up! If the compact mixer is still at all part of your thinking, the Speck is probably the best one of those available.

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