Mastering Analog Processor Budget: $12k

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by covenant66, Apr 19, 2008.

  1. covenant66

    covenant66 Guest

    I'm gonna be trading in some old equipment and getting all new stuff for analog mastering (comp, eq, limiting).

    Will be using my same Bowers and Wilkens 805s, B&W Sub, and Bryston Amp for monitoring.

    So, if you had $12k budget constraint for analog mastering comps, eq and limiting, what would you get?

    If you could tell me a bit about why you would make your choices, that would be great. I'm just trying to get a bunch of opinions.
  2. covenant66

    covenant66 Guest

    I'll tell you guys my selections so far:

    Crane Song Ibis EQ
    Crane Song STC8/M
    Manley Vari MU

    Any ides anyone? I would really, really appreciate any suggestions
  3. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    There are four pieces of outboard that I can not imagine doing without --

    And all of them are from Crane Song --

    The STC8M, Ibis, HEDD192, Avocet.

    Take away any of them, and I'm in instant misery.
  4. covenant66

    covenant66 Guest

    Do you use the HEDD as your AD/DA converter, if not, what do you use it for? If you do use it for AD/DA, what do you use the Lavry for? I am only driving a pair of bowers and wilkens & sub -- would I need the Avocet for anything, since I don't need to switch monitoring systems?
  5. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    The HEDD would be the "main" converter. The Lavry gets used here and there, I also use a Bel Canto e.One DAC3 to feed the chain. The AD in the HEDD is without a doubt the main capture unit.

    The Avocet is the DA/monitoring controller to the mains. It doesn't matter if you only use one set of speakers -- You're going to need a converter and some sort of calibrated volume control. The switchable inputs are going to b as important as switchable outputs.
  6. covenant66

    covenant66 Guest

    Wait a sec, I don't really understand John.

    The DA converter has outputs, and, in the past, I have connected those outputs directly to the amp. You said there needs to be a converter and some kind of calibrated volume control, but I normally control the volume with my DAW, and keep the amp at the same constant volume. I always thought it was this calibrated and steady amp volume that lets you develop volume perceptional reference points.

    So there is a conversion that needs to happen between the DA and the Amp? What is it? Is the volume between the DA and the amp the one that needs to be calibrated? When you say calibrated, what do you mean? Like I said, in the past I have calibrated my amp volumes, but not between the DA and the amp. It looks like I may not fully exposed to what is supposed to happen between the DA and the amp.

    I don't understand how the Bel Canto gets used either. So you have a pre master CD loaded into Samplitude. So you send it out through the DA and goes in to the Ibis, then the STC, then the Vari-Mu, and whatever other analog gear, then to AD which goes into two separate tracks being recorded in Samplitude? Where in the chain does a second DA become useful?

    BTW, How much do you use the HEDD's pentode and triode DSP? Is it something that you pretty much tweak on all sessions? Does it sound like any DSP TDM/VST/DX/UAD-1 plug-in? Do you bypass the pentode and triode DSP much? Or is it pretty much always in use?

    Thanks a ton man, I eagerly await your response.
  7. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    The DA's are project-dependent. Some material sounds better through the Bel Canto, some through the HEDD, the Lavry's AD gets the lion's share of tape work and layback, etc.

    On the monitoring situation -- It would be a very cold day when I trust a DAW's control to adjust the volume... One wrong mouse click and my speakers would probably blow. But there's no doubt that you need a precise "home spot" properly calibrated, to return to. After that, at least 20dB above and below that for detail work. That's going to have to be a DA that's not involved with capture.

    Volume perception is why there's always a "home" spot. But I need to clearly hear what's going on at -70dBFS also...
    A) I tend to not work from CD resolution, but occasionally it happens...
    B) Yes, "pitching" DA (chosen on the spot) out to the chain.
    C) Back to a stereo track in Samplitude through the "catching" AD.
    D) The second DA is the Avocet.

    The program material decides whether the HEDD's processing is engaged. Triode is almost never used -- For tracking/processing bass or vocals (or several other things) I'd use it a lot I'm sure. Pentode and Tape get a decent workout on capture...
  8. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Take a look at the Pendulum OCL2 as well.
  9. covenant66

    covenant66 Guest

    Is there anyone else who might choose the Pendulum OCL2 over the Crane Song STC-8?

    BTW, thanks a ton John.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Since we sell SPL here on RO, ( nice mastering gear) but , hardly ever see any comments on their products. I'm not a mastering engineer, however, I like what I see. I'm curious to hear any comments on SPL.

    I own a passeq and its killer.
  11. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Their Passeq is killer. Their mastering consoles are also very nice. their other stuff is ehhh for mastering.
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    what is the SPL MixDream about? Would the SPL MixDream be useful for mastering?
    front view
    rear view

    I know I should know more about this unit but its all "new to me" .

    I'm interested in developing my mastering a bit. Since RO sells SPL, what other products would you recommend me to buy?
  13. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I saw Burgess McNeil at the AES, for the first time in years and you can still get his Sontec mastering EQ and other Massenburg conceived dynamics processing. Nobody's mentioned that. Of course he doesn't make converters just analog stuff. At least I don't think he makes a converter? I couldn't afford any of his stuff anyhow. I'm not a mastering engineer. I'm a murdering engineer. Killer of sound.

    Stitches of surrealism
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  14. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    looks like their version of a summing box. not useful for mastering.

    their mastering console and the two mastering eq's are nice. That should set you back some $$. The Passeq is a broad brush stroke kind of eq, you'll also need a surgical eq.
  15. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I have the Avocet and the Hedd 192. I do use the Tape, Pent and triode on some recordings that need a little 'glue'. I also use it quite often for tracking bass, and have used it a few times on vocals. I really like the effect, but it’s not for everything.

    I am also very happy with the avocet. Having the consistent control over my level saves a lot of time, even when mixing. I also just use 2 monitors.
  16. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Crane Song Ibis in the analog domain (IMO - as far as I can tell, this unit can do no wrong - ever) and Weiss in the digital domain.

    My favorite plug-in for surgical EQ is the UAD Precision EQ.
  17. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    I am really interested at the the Hedd 192 but with its high price tag I could get an 192 I/O plus the MD3 HD package and increase my I/O wih the current Accel rig.

    I have been pretty satisfied with Neon HR for surgical EQ and Xenon for limiting. Pendulum does the glue/first stage compresson on my chain.

    I am surprised Waves has not released an L3 multi as a hardware box.

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