mixing on PT systems

Discussion in 'Mixing & Editing' started by lukee, Jan 6, 2002.

  1. lukee

    lukee Guest

    hi,

    I`d like to know how many engineers out there are mixing on Protools(no external desk, only PT mixing) - does anybody knows any records ( maybe even well known ones) mixed on PT??

    what are the pros and cons of PT mixing?

    a lot of poeple think you`ll never be able to make it sound `fat and warm`(what ever that means) mixing on PT -
    but what if you record your stuff all trough tube and neve preamps (as I do) and then mix it on PT?

    hope a lot of you are interested in the same stuff!

    lukee :w:
     
  2. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2001
    I have been doing this for 2 years or more.

    It ain’t easy!

    But then I don’t find mixing easy anyway..

    To improve the sound, I have a Cranesong Hedd device

    http://www.cranesong.com/products/hedd/index.html

    As an insert on my mix bus, (it's also an excellent converter so I use it while recording too...)

    I believe it is easy to mess the sounds up with plug ins...

    I would stick to the following

    Sony eq
    Bomb Factory compressors

    As for reverb, a dual engine outboard reverb unit running i/o of PT via SPDIF or AES will be V USEFULL to keep the memory drain low on your rig, good reverb sounds are just emerging, but they take up so much memory power... Lexicon & TC make affordable dual engine units...

    Last word, I think the idea that you can 'do it all with plug ins' has faded to leave a more realistic - "I better get it sounding good on the way in" vibe.

    I also use an Imperical labs FATSO tape simulator, I use it while recording not at mixdown (but you could to help fatten up the sound)

    So to recap re mixing in PT

    Good points:
    The recall is amazing
    It's a 'hip system' popular with clients
    No tape costs
    My business is built around Pro tools (I have 2 x Mix + rigs) I love it.
    The ability to hop from one 64 track song to another in less than a minute - AWSOME!

    Bad points
    I felt I had to spend an additional $6,000 on the Fatso + Hedd to get a 'near tape sound' that wont piss me off
    The 'plug in honeymoon is over', there are only a handful out there that are actually very good.
    Needed to buy outboard reverb to save on memory & to get the quality I needed. (Now there are some good reverb plugins on the market)
    Computer crashes are kinda scary, the threat of data-loss is also. BACK UP!
    Setting up the mix bus per project is a big PITA for me, so far I have been just TOO DUMB to figure out how to use templates.. Seem each project needs it's own set up..
    I find PT mixing takes LONGER!

    Still I love it as a system!

    I :) PT

    :)

    As for finding mixed in PT releases you can go and buy.. I think you may struggle to find just what has been mixed and how..
    Certainly the indie label / bands first releases world will have a higher percentage of 'all in PT' releases (that’s the field I am in) But I believe the majority of big budget projects with PT have to date - preferred to patch out to a big desk (usually SSL) and mix there.
    Many have levelled accusations at the PT mixer as sounding 'thin' and lacking warmth. I don’t disagree, however, I have work to do and "get on with it" and apply all my previous engineering experience to find (or buy!) 'work arounds' (described above)
    Personally I am hoping a new upgraded PT due out in a few months will address any lingering sound quality issues.
    I remain committed to PT as a system and so far feel my investment in time learning how to make a record in a computer with it, has not been time wasted and is indeed, "the way of the future"
    :)
     
  3. DSL

    DSL Guest

    I'm with Jules 100% on this one. I mix all in Pro Tools except I go out to varios gear cause I can get the "feel" I want. Reverb One is good along with the Bomb Factory comps. C4, L1, and McDSP stuff I find myself using as well. Good conversion is a must. I use Lucid clock with RME ADI 8 Pro. I also use the Control 24 to get that board feel. I love my Pro Tools. Good mics and good pre's a must for smoothing out digital cleanliness.
    Typical preamp setup
    I get excellent sounds from Avalon 737 VOX, Avalon U5 for Bass, HHB Classic 70 for Kick and snare, Neve 1272 for overheads, using the Focusrite Pres on the Control 24 for toms and works very well (perfect for toms but may get an API box soon) Grace Design (ultra clean) for tube guitar cabs.


    I find that with good colored gear combinations and experimenting you can achieve any complete customizable sound you want out of your Pro Tools system.


    Jules, you may know this one but close the session and "get info" on the session you want as a template or creat a new one, clike the little SAVE AS TEMPLATE and your done. I use it all the time and even though I may change it a little pre song, I find I have a standard setup I generally use. It is a timesaver sent from heaven. (Digidesign)
     
  4. mixfactory

    mixfactory Guest

    Hi Jules, how did you come to the 19 samples number? I am looking to put together a digital delay management system for outboard analog gear connected to ProTools via the d/a and a/d. It would have different outboard gear such as (1176,LA2a,Distressors,DBX,Neve,API,etc)you get the point. I actually got the idea from John Klett's website. I think its about time this is done. I am tired of shifting tracks visually or aurally to get them not to phase with the originals. I tried the sample anmounts that are in the ProTools manuals, but they don't always match.
     
  5. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2001
    We did it by 'eye' gradualy nudging (doing a mental 'count' at the same time) till it was in line with the rest of the drums.

    Bus out (= delay)
    Trip through & Back via Apogee (different than an 888/24 remember) (= delay)

    I doubt you need to do a survey of delays via ALL the various outboard units as, once you get into hardware, the time it takes for signals to rock through them is measured in picco seconds I belive, in other words, very f quick! But it would be interesting to see if there is any difference between them I suppose! (I bet not!)

    :)
     
  6. DSL

    DSL Guest

    Plug and send delay is the main thing that pisses me off about my Pro Tools setup. Eyeing things sucks and doing by ear works but a PITA.
     
  7. planet red

    planet red Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2001
    I've read that a lot of people prefer to leave the master fader up really high and leave the individual tracks further down (opposite of an analog mixer). It seems to sound better for me, but i dont know if i completely trust my ears yet. I also agree in not using a lot of plug ins and getting your sounds going in. The last project i did had a total of 6 plugs on the whole thing and sounded great.
     
  8. erockerboy

    erockerboy Guest

    what are the pros and cons of PT mixing?

    Now this... THIS... is the question of the millenium, as it were. This is the crux, the axis around which the digital vs. analog wars, as of the moment, revolve.

    Leaving aside the sonic questions momentarily, I'd like to examine another aspect of the PT vs. SSL argument.

    Do any of you PT guys feel that your rig can match a properly equipped analog studio from an ergonomic standpoint?

    In the final analysis, I (as a working producer/engineer, like most of you) can only bill for the projects that I've completed. I don't exactly get to bill by the hour, and in the rare cases where I *do* get to bill by the hour, the client won't be calling me back if I take too many hours.... nome sayin'??

    Ergo... a HUGE consideration for me when evaluating a mixdown situation is: HOW LONG will it take me in this environment to get the result that I, and/or my client, demands?

    And I have to say: I HATE the 'tech geek' aspect of ProTools mixing. I HATE fiddling around with drum submixes to make latency go away. I HATE having to deal with mouse clicks and GUI's instead of physical knobs. I HATE making my head hurt with I/O routings and aux tracks just to patch up a stupid analog compressor on a stupid channel insert. I HATE worrying about what each gain change and plug-in instantiation might (or might not) be doing to my sound. I HATE it when my Mac crashes.

    :D

    Having said all that, I LOVE what non-linear recording has done for the creative process. I really, really do. But when mixdown time rolls around, it takes me 10x as long to come up with a workable result all in the 'Tools, compared to a hybrid approach where I use PT exclusively as a 'multitrack replacement', and do my mixing, EQ'ing, outboard processing etc. in the analog domain. I know, I know.... I give up 'recallability', and my rig takes up a LOT more space. But I don't care. This is the way I want to work, and frankly I don't think I can be as productive when working "all in the box", at least at the current state of the art.

    Of course, as soon as the 'brain-to-ProTools' interface is available from Digidesign's Biotechnology division, this will all change. :D

    Jules (or any other of you Alsihad jihadi's), you can't tell me that the PT/ProControl thing, as cool as it is, is REMOTELY as fast as working in an adequately equipped analog studio... sound quality aside.
     
  9. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2000
    Originally posted by EJolson:
    Jules (or any other of you Alsihad jihadi's), you can't tell me that the PT/ProControl thing, as cool as it is, is REMOTELY as fast as working in an adequately equipped analog studio... sound quality aside.

    Can't we???
     
  10. I'd like to examine another aspect of the PT vs. SSL argument. Do any of you PT guys feel that your rig can match a properly equipped analog studio from an ergonomic standpoint?

    I suppose it all depends on what you are doing and how you are doing it!

    I write/produce music for TV/Film. Many of the projects I've been involved with have had between 50-75 individual music cues. The speed of total recall in PT and the fact that I run my visuals from PT too means that even though it takes longer to mix in PT, I'm still way ahead of the game in the time saving stakes.

    Another point to bare in mind is that there used to be a set deliniation of tasks: You would compose the music first, then record it, then edit it, then mix/produce it and finally master it. After about 7 years with PT I've found that my method of creating music has evolved and that the deliniation between the tasks has become much more blurred. For example I'll usually mix and produce certain tracks in a mix before I've even finished writing the piece. The affects of this early production then influence the completion of the composing. In effect the mixing and production are now part of the composing process. So when it comes time to mix there is often only a little tweaking to be done to create a finished pre-master.

    I know that the majority of PT users don't use PT like I do but even for those that don't write their own music PT is an integrated product that can blurr the lines between editing, mixing, production and pre-mastering. As far as the actual control surface is concerned, an SSL beats PT hands down, even with a ProControl. However, I don't believe the overall ergonomics of an analog system containing an SSL are better than a PT system.

    Greg
     
  11. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2001
    Originally posted by EJolson:
    Jules (or any other of you Alsihad jihadi's), you can't tell me that the PT/ProControl thing, as cool as it is, is REMOTELY as fast as working in an adequately equipped analog studio... sound quality aside.

    Perhaps not as fast but I had all the eq and compression I needed on an 80 fader session (many stereo I might add) recently. That is a BIG DEAL in my tiny little set up. If I had the analog spend that my Procontrol cost there is no way I could have an 80 fader automated console. (correct me if I am wrong) = the small footprint of the PC is great!

    With only 16 faders there were a few times where I was going slightly crazy trying to find stuff!!! (but not that often)

    Banking through faders works fine overall.

    My priorities:

    1) Wheel em in wheel em out - assembly line operation
    2) Low (no) tape costs
    3) Hoping from one job to another (between spec & paid)
    4) Trendy hip system with a good rep amonst musicians
    5) absolute session recall
    6) Low mainatanence
    7) Sound quality sufficient to earn a living with.

    PT suits those needs, ProControl helps further to not 'shut out the clients' they can grab a fader.

    If PT sound quality, ease of operation and my skills on the PT platform are playing 'catch up' so be it! Bring it on! Onwards and upwards!

    Make a list of what YOU need for studio survival and buy accordingly.

    :)
     
  12. DSL

    DSL Guest

    I can fly on the control 24. It took a little time and always learning. The plugin control on the C24 is better than the Pro control for now. You'd think Digi would impliment more scribble strip for plugin tweak on the Pro control. I've chosen my weapon based on my needs.
     
  13. FrankO

    FrankO Guest

    My vicarious and trusty advice is not to mix on PT. It sucks. Get an external analog or perhaps digital mixer and you should hear well recorded material open up.

    Borrow one to try out if you have to, but I'm sure you'll appreciate the difference.

    Good luck :)
     
  14. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2001
    Many hope that the new PT system will improve 'mixing in PT'
    Fingers crossed!

    Several of the top mixers do it all on digital boards now...

    :)
     
  15. Produceher

    Produceher Guest

    Pro Tools mixing would be alot easier with Plug In Controllers thru Ethernet.

    Email me for Picts
     
  16. CFS

    CFS Guest

    Albums mixed in PT out there now in the big leagues:
    Palo Alto/ Palo Alto (Rich Costey is the mixer I believe)(American Recordings rick rubin produced)
    Rival Schools- United By Fate(Same)(Island records)
    The Misfits- 13 Hits From Hell(Alan Douches is the mixer it was recorded about 20 some odd years ago and remixed by him should be out now on caroline records)
    As well the Misfits new singles comp on Roadrunner the songs Steve Evetts mixed were done all in Pro Tools as well he mixed the new Skinlab on Century Media all in PT.
    The latter 3 I think sound damn good and heaps above most of the stuff out today but definitly not in that Andy Wallace/Mark Trombino percentile.
     
  17. My vicarious and trusty advice is not to mix on PT. It sucks. Get an external analog or perhaps digital mixer and you should hear well recorded material open up.

    Sorry can't agree with this. I started off with analog and digital mixers. I switched to PT mixing as a step up in quality, not down. I had a SoundTracks desk, I used an O2R for a couple of years and I had a D8B for a while as well, none of them produced the audio quality I can get with PT. If you are talking about the high end, say a Neve analog desk or a Sony Oxford digital desk then yes, I agree, you will notice an improvement but you'll also notice a hole in your wallet that's a bit too serious for most of us!

    I don't want to get back into a re-hash of the anaolg/digital debate. What I would say is that if what you are really after is that high quality analog sound then you are probably going to find yourself getting frustrated with ProTools or just about any digital system for that matter. The only way to really get that high quality analog sound is to use a high quality analog recording and mixing chain!

    Greg
     
  18. planet red

    planet red Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2001
    Steve Evetts is mixing in PT now? I used to love some of the stuff he's recorded (the recordings, not the music). I couldnt imagine mixing a big metal record all in PT. Just doesnt seem right.
     
  19. radiophonic

    radiophonic Guest

    Originally posted by Julian Standen:
    We did it by 'eye' gradualy nudging (doing a mental 'count' at the same time) till it was in line with the rest of the drums.

    Bus out (= delay)
    Trip through & Back via Apogee (different than an 888/24 remember) (= delay)

    I doubt you need to do a survey of delays via ALL the various outboard units as, once you get into hardware, the time it takes for signals to rock through them is measured in picco seconds I belive, in other words, very f quick! But it would be interesting to see if there is any difference between them I suppose! (I bet not!)

    :)


    Try this:

    -Bring the original bass drum track and the insert D/A - A/D looped bass drum track up on a fader each.

    -Flip the phase on one of the tracks.

    -Nudge the insert looped track forward (left) in time while listening. (Count how many samples you move). When they audibly cancel, you have your exact sample latency.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  20. FrankO

    FrankO Guest

    Quote:-
    ---------------------------------------
    I don't want to get back into a re-hash of the anaolg/digital debate. What I would say is that if what you are really after is that high quality analog sound then you are probably going to find yourself getting frustrated with ProTools or just about any digital system for that matter. The only way to really get that high quality analog sound is to use a high quality analog recording and mixing chain!
    -----------------------------------------

    I understand your angle, however I feel that given the opportunity and budgets aside, it could all sound a shed load better. I am curious to know that if the mentioned great sounding tracks had been mixed on an out board mixer would they have been even better. My bet is that any experienced engineer would be able to produce a MUCH better sounding track.

    Yours respectfully
     

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