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"Pro" only OTB?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Mo Facta, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    I don't know about the new format of the forum, to be honest.

    I myself, despite six degrees of separation, know of at least one gold selling album (US) recorded and mixed completely ITB in a small bedroom in Marina Del Rey. I can vouch for it. I was there for a good week while it was being done. The only outboard that was used was in the front end, AFAIK.

    Anyway, don't wanna cause major controversy but I feel like the heading of the new Pro Audio Forums gives off the impression that all pros work in big studios with lots of outboard gear and huge LFAC's. The truth is that in this day and age, they don't. Many of my colleagues work with some of the biggest names in the business here and they are all ITB these days. What about large studios with PT systems and Icons? There are many of those. Despite the hardware, many of these studios are for all intents and purposes, entirely ITB.

    Another issue I have is that the heading gives off the impression that having a hybrid setup, mixing OTB, with high-end gear is what makes you "pro". It doesn't. As always, it's never the gear, but how it's applied. Surely that's a mantra now?

    To quote a real pro that I know from Australia:

    "Professional is an attitude and a skillset. Not a platform." (And that includes gear)

    EXACTLY right.

    Just my 2c (ZAR)

    Cheers :)
  2. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    enter steve slate......oh wait he isn't on here...good. Back to the topic, people can work however they want to work, but saying that since a gold record is made ITB makes OTB recording obsolete is not true. I know a fat kid who dates hot chicks, doesn't mean all fat dudes date hot chicks, he just has charisma.
  3. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    Never said it was obsolete. Many pros do still work that way. My argument was that the overwhelming majority don't and that the new format of the forums (check the heading for the Pro Audio Forums) was implying certain things that just aren't true; as if this forums' view is that pros only use hybrid OTB setups.

    Hope I made myself clearer.

    Cheers :)
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Excellent points. I was hoping we would get some static over this. I share your POV but its not realistic to continue trying to keep both forums together. If you noticed, we have a DAW Pro Audio forum as well and this section is taking preference here now. 100% DAW studios are the most popular.

    I think its fare to say that up until only a few years ago, Pro Audio clearly meant hardware so I think its you that hasn't come to terms with what's happened or happening to our pro audio industry. We need to cut a line here and its now done. Its not about who is better. I know you can produce solid music all ITB. But, Pro Audio Gear is hardware . I think all the engineers that participated in these forums shared this opinion.

    How I see it, Hybrid is the new Pro Audio or the end of an era. How ever it pans out, we simply cannot keep the two area's ITB and hybrid together anymore. The Pro Recording forum was simply renamed to hybrid recording.

    DAW, 100% plug-in studio are not hybrid so a division has to be made and I'm doing it now rather than a year from now when people start waking up..

    Hybrid is a combination of plug-ins and hardware.
    The DAW crowd however, has no interest in hybrid (summing OTB) and keeps trying to convince the pro audio world that their DAW systems (Mixing ITB) are equal or better. I don't think the hybrid crowd cares to keep listening to this nor do the DAW crowd either so its time to make some changed and define things better.

    DAW users are in a constant battle over who is better and this is getting stupid. Its not about that.

    Hybrid is "pro audio" because it continues to support boutique pro audio products which I am a big supporter for!
    DAW studios ( summing ITB) do not use pro audio gear so the two need to be seperated.

    This separation and new layout is not about who is better, it is about content and where it belongs. Much like grouping the stems. :)
  5. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    My OTB starts w/ the performers/instruments. Mics apply. Moves into any cool effects. I use basic realtime dsp efx.
  6. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    ITB should be called what it is.....software.
    The term "Pro Audio" has traditionally been used to refer to audio electronics (hardware) manufactured to professional standards. The difference in consumer and pro grade was merely a difference in quality, components and design specs.

    Now interfaces (A/D & D/A) are electronic hardware but could really be considered nothing more than "peripherals" to a computer system like mice, keyboard and display. So technically speaking they really aren't "audio devices", they are "transducers" or "converters". Just like microphones or speakers.

    Amplifiers, EQ's, preamps, compressors/limiters, speakers, mixers are audio devices.
    So technically everyone really uses a "hybrid" setup if you at the very least use speakers and amps.

    Just thought maybe everyone should get a grip on the terms being thrown around.
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Maybe we need to define what a Hybrid DAW system is and/or let the manufacturers know they have it all wrong.
    Hybrid its a gray area but the term hybrid DAW systems to me does not include mics, converters, pre amps etc as Don made clear. The Term Hybrid to me is referred to POST, what you do after the recording and specifically ( Mixing OTB) with a analog summing system that is designed to work with a DAW.

    If we or I have it wrong, that would mean we should merge ALL the digital and analog FORMS ( past to present) into one forum and call it a day. And let the software and hardware users fight it out. Over and over and over.

    But what about all the people that want to talk about analog gear that have to listen to all the distraction and noise about how hardware is a waste of money and that ITB sounds so much clearer and better with these third party plug-ins..
    The two worlds are not the same to me and you cannot know this until you are using a professionally equipped DA recording system that has high end hardware and great converters. The kind of hardware that the Pro Audio world has been talking about for 50 + years. Thus, where the term Pro Audio arrived from.

    I personally think the DAW generation ( ITB crowd) has a problem coming to terms with all this. They want to be included and feel they are entitled. I've been trying to set the record straight for a long time. There is a lot of animosity towards OTB. A lot of people think software is just as good but every 18 months more software comes out claiming it is better. Well, an LA-2A has been what it is for years and the plugin looks the same but it does not sound the same. Is it better, this is not the point. Its designed to fit in a rack.

    Hybrid = DA (hardware) AD
    Pro Audio does not mean you are or are not a Pro. It is a level of gear that the "Pro" considers to be high end. Thus Pro Audio Dealers. Pro Audio Boutique Manufacturers.

    I've been trying to define High End as well. Is there high end in the ITB world?

    I suppose we could call Sequoia high end software.
    Is Pro Tools high end? Is Sonar or Cubase high end?

    What do pro's use for recording software? The same stuff that the kids use, yes?

    So, what does pro audio really mean?

  8. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    I think it comes down to analog versus digital and that is the easiest separation you can make.
    It doesn't matter pre or post becasue people use preamps and compressors/limiters going in as well as post in the mix.
    And then there are the analog mixer/consoles that do a lot of analog up front and then process everything digitally.
    Those are considered hybrid systems as well.

    Not sure where this is all going though, no matter how you slice it up, there will still be people thinking they are pros.
    There will still be ITB OTB debates...
    One thing for sure....true analog audio equipment is limited in what it can do....now and in the future. That's why they all have digital add on's or enhancements now.
    Digital audio equipment doesn't have that problem and there's no telling how far they will go.
    One thing for certain....digital systems and software programming only mimic what already exists in the real world.
    That's really all they do....computers don't "create" anything new.
    They are merely time machines that can slow down mimic and manipulate the real analog world.
    How "real" they can do that is all part of the coding.
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hybrid explained:

    To my understanding: only when you are going out of the box to further process something that has been recorded ITB is when hybrid technically occurs. It is the integration of hardware OTB.

    Hybrid is not:
    Example: Microphone> preamp> compressor, processing > AD.

    Hybrid is not:

    Mic> Console> EQ> compression etc > AD.

    Hybrid DAW = AD>DA>AD and as close to a straight line up until you add addition hardware.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    This is not hybrid. :confused:

    This is a Hybrid DAW System:

    See Page 7 to fully understand the routing of a Pro Hybrid DAW system:

    Watch this to fully understand a professional Hybrid DAW system ( full version highly recommended!):

    Watch this for a briefing of a professional Hybrid DAW system.

  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    No, you are incorrect:

    Both forums have "Pro" mentioned. I simply fine tuned the Pro Audio Forums, which I do every few years. Most people using pro audio hardware now have some kind of hybrid DAW system.

    It was time to add Hybrid into the older and evolving Pro Recording Forums, which I originally created for the R.A.P. crowd ( pre Alsihad era 3 years before gearslutz was created). 1999/2000
    A lot of people in this business do not understand the difference between hybrid, OTB or ITB and how a console is, IMHO, different from a Hybrid summing system. Hybrid is the closest OTB processing to a staight line where a console adds more of everything including (IMHO) a less effective monitoring for mixing OTB.


    Our "DAW" Pro Audio Forums have been active for 4+ years and needing to be merged with the Mixing ITB Forums. Thus, completly taken out of the Pro Audio Forums entirely. To much conflict and a different way to sum and mix.

    Our Pro Audio Forums have been active for 13 years. These forums include Pro Audio Gear and hybrid recording methods. This forum has thousands of threads about analog processing, recording to tape and mixing OTB. Updating it the Hybrid was needed IMO.

    Before "DAW world" came along, the high end recording industry has always been referred to as Pro Audio. Just because you use, Pro Tools HD as an example, this does not make anyone more pro or not a pro. We know most people using Pro Tools are mixing ITB and do not use external hardware to go OTB and sum. They use plug-ins and stay ITB. So, this is where DAW Pro Audio is and all the topic related need to be.

    So we logically have DAW Pro Audio and Pro Audio Forums.

    Make sense?
    If you do not mix OTB you are not anywhere near a professional hybrid DAW system.
  12. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Isn't using a DA needed in both?
    So wouldn't that create a conflict in your definition?

    You source from the DAW and run that through an outboard analog piece of gear and print it back into the DAW?
    Your still using A/D and D/A and software.

    ITB uses A/D going in and D/A to monitor out!
    Also what about hybrid mixers (i.e. ZEDR16 or Mackie or higher end consoles) that are analog isn't that considered hybrid?
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I suppose you need the DA to monitor but I would not call that hybrid. Every kid on the block is doing this.
  14. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    A mixer could be called a hybrid console but I call that Mixing OTB. Hybrid rigs are more a straight analog line. Not until the audio ( not headphones) has been digitized and DA > (back to analog) via a bus/ insert/ summing system would I call it a hybrid process. Headphone and monitoring are not hybrid if you are in a pro Audio headspace. Thus, why we need to get Pro Audio out of the DAW Pro Audio category and in its own space. Generally speaking for our readers, like it or not, Mixing OTB is a whole added level beyond a DAW system, and I for one, want our topics to stay on track. I'm not at all interested in debates over plug-ins in a analog discussion.

    No doubt, there are a lot of people confused with the term pro audio. We have Pro Tools to thank for that. Literally, pro means you make money at it. And we know a lot of people are making money ITB.
    People who bought a Pro Tools HD system do not have a Pro Audio tracking system to me though and hate me for saying that all you want. They have nice DAW system that can run a lot more plug-ins than the average DAW. Flame away!

    Does a Pro Tools HD system sound any better than the $150.00 Reaper and a quality converter? I don't think so!

    And for added fun rant,

    There is a lot of BS and dilutions of grandeur floating and around over what does sounds better. My ears say Hybrid takes the generic DAW to a different level. Many argue that gear doesn't make a difference, but it does if you are mixing OTB and following the steps of people who are successful at it.

    Do plug-ins make a sonic difference?
  15. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    On the ZEDR16 (which I am only familiar with) you have analog preamps, analog EQ and analog mixing (summing?).

    When you track your going through an analog audio preamp which can be routed through an analog EQ section as well as optional external analog devices via insert which is then converted to digital and recorded into your DAW.
    This process is more analog than digital, because the only thing that is digital is conversion and recording.

    At mixdown the digital source track leaves the DAW, the console converts the digital info back into analog and the channel strip again can be used to process in the analog domain and be mixed (summed?) to a 2 track master which could be converted back into digital again if desired and printed back into the DAW.

    IMHO...there's not much difference in those two processes that are more "hybrid" than the other.
    In my mind they are both hybrid processes. And to me they are both more analog than digital.

    For that matter I could still use software or virtual plugin modules within the DAW source track and still process that track in a mix ITB (digtally using math) and/or OTB using strictly analog devices and still be considered "hybrid".
    I think that's where the blurring of these terms comes into play.
    Most of the desention comes from a misunderstanding of what ITB really is and can do....it's virtual...it's not real.

    ITB still has to capture the audio track analog and still has to monitor the audio track analog....there's no way around that!....hence ITB can never be strictly all digital or all analog...it is hybrid.
    The software people haven't managed to figure that part out yet....and they never will. The real world is analog and that all it will ever be.

    So at the end of the day ITB as a term is just a transitory interim digital process in between the two ends of the real world which analog.
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    I'm with you until the headphones.

    This is of course just my opinion. Our music world is changing , methods are evolving and disappearing. Technically the headphone mix DA is a hybrid process or listening to an analog monitor mix is a hybrid process but its not very Pro Audio. Thus, why I needed to get the two worlds separated.

    This came to mind: This is a mixer Mackie - Onyx 820i and this is a Mixer:
    Which one is Pro Audio?

    More examples: I agree you can make make a hit song on the Mackie and they both use electricity. There are a lot of people who think its all the same and it comes down to the engineer. But gear does have an impact and/or influence sound. So, saying its all hybrid, yes, but there is a point where pro audio and DAWworld need to part because its simply ridiculous not moving past the basics.

    Which one of these is Pro Audio?



    IMHO, Neither .

    I suppose both are Pro Audio Software up until you prove they both sound the same as Garageband, Logic, Reaper, Audition, Sonar, FL, Samplitude, Pro Tools etc. What separates Pro Audio from Consumer? Well in an analog recording world where we use microphones to capture sound, its starts with the Mics, preamps, converters. Pro Audio Gear.

    This is where I'm having a big problem believing anything to do with software (ITB) is Pro Audio anymore. Its either more advanced software or very limited but it isn't Pro Audio to me but what else do we call it? If we are making money as a professional, I guess its DAW Pro Audio.
    Pro Audio is high end recording gear designed by the boutique pro audio manufacturers to work with DAW or analog systems. Hybrid recording uses both in a more refined and straight line. I'm sure we can argue over the particulars but this is how I see it. We shouldn't take pro so literally and get defensive over the term. If people are getting all choked up over the word "Pro", they need to do some history on this and get a life.

    Whether one sounds better than the other, this is beside the point. Pro Audio was called Pro Audio because it was used by professional in this industry long before the DAW came into this business. Pro Audio has earned its place.

    Pro Audio = gear and IMO, high end boutique recording gear.
    DAW = Digital Audio Workstation (software).
    Hybrid = gear and software and to be more presice, no console and all the extra crap.

    If you do not use hardware, you are not hybrid, you are a DAW, period. If you use High End Pro Audio gear with a hybrid System, I would call this a Hybrid Pro Audio DAW. But I think an actual hybrid DAW system is more than just monitoring to be considered an official Hybrid DAW system.

    For all our readers:

    Search for information on monitoring with a hybrid systems. They are designed to work with a hybrid summing system. Big difference from just a monitor out.
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    The DAW Forum categories have officially been reorganized for Mixing ITB. I think this is a good move. Time will tell of course. Thanks for your input guys and thanks for putting up with me.
  18. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    I think you have it all covered then.

    There are different levels of ITB, OTB and Hybrid.
    Each can have "Pro Audio" levels.

    Those levels can be easily defined.

    Headphones are still analog.
    I'm still waiting for digital speakers..
    I'm still waiting for flying cars too..
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Right on, thanks!

    Re digital speakers: I'm not sure I would want them because they are only as good as the DA. That technology is changing all the time.

    I had a choice with my Neumann KH120. ( still not available after a year) And there are others. But as soon as we fall for that, you know you are at the mercy of the conversion. I think we go backwards there.
    Traveling like the Jetsons has always been top on my wishlist too!
  20. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    I guess I was trying to point out that you really can't have "digital" speakers because there's no way to replace a moving coil that responds to air pressure.
    This is true for either the front end (microphone) or back end (speaker).
    Not possible unless there is some electrostatic mechanism that can convert bits directly into air movement.
    The closest technical item we have currently would be built in DA where you could feed digital data into a speaker enclosure and it would convert the data to analog movement of the voice coil. Same thing with these new microphones where you have built in AD stage within the capsule which outputs digital data. It's still analog.

    In all of these discussions where people want to talk about digital versus analog it still comes down to the analog real world. So I still question the real reason we alter true analog signal path with digital processing.

    Of course there are some great reasons where digital works like editing and capture.
    The rest is real world mimic.

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