Pro tools with analog mixer and gear

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by jazzo, Aug 6, 2006.

  1. jazzo

    jazzo Active Member


    I have noticed that a lot of studios have a G5 pro tools equipement and a great analog mixer like SSL neve or trident. Most of them are equipped with great analog preamp and comp too.

    So I'm wondering how those studios use PT and analog gears?
    I mean Do they first plug mics to preamp and preamp to PT, and PT to mixer? (or another path?)

    what is the best way to track an mix when you have all those choice?

    Thank you!
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    The higher end studios I've been in use PT only for editing. That was of course with older PT. For the rest of us...I would expect all tracking to store on HD in time and never leave that environment. The less moving around the better. HD recording is so much more proficiant. Even if HD recording is less quality, analog will die out simply because the lack of support. It will be more and more, all about what you use to A/D the sounds into the HD. High-end boutique hardware examples: mics, preamps, comps, etc are and will be the rage, our magic, our quest getting the real world into a digital format.
    But... for those than can afford an all in one sweet package, why buy individual pre's unless you are looking for a particular sound only available from one of those boutique products. What we're seeing here are these boutique products blazing the trail. These designers are reading these forums, studying us all, reading the needs of the DAW world and making gear right before our eyes.
    Personally I'd rather invest in specialized gear and wait for the HD recording part to catch up. Spending a ton of cash on a big consol is a scary investment.
    Computer Logic...To keep remaking all the "basic electronic/redundant parts needed for each piece of hardware to run makes no sense. The DAW is like a mall.. It only makes sense to design a DAW /computer to handle all the basic electronics (store space) needed to power up/host and route their "plugins" to the tracks. Its all very interesting.

    This is what I'm doing and have been interested in since the Arp 2600... linn drum, synclavier, PT...

    my two cents...
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Most of us are like little kids in a candy store. Some of us will take our old vintage consoles, track most everything through them directly to a digital recorder or to a ProTools or equivalent computer-based recording system. Whereas others may track to 24 track analog and then immediately transfer that analog tape into a ProTools system. Some of us will track directly into a digital recorder, transfer it to analog tape and then back to a computer only to take the output of the multitrack computer and past that through an analog console again to mix into a 2 track digital recorder. There are yet more combinations that have been and are being used. Why would anybody want to do something like that? We create our sonic scenery with the multitude of different colors put before us. Some of it accomplished through years of trial and error experimentation. Some of the discovered through simple errors. Some of us do the same things twice. Some of us never do the same things twice. You have to know what you want to do, why you want to do it, how you are going to do it. That does not come from going to Uncle Joe's recording school and fried chicken shack.

    Let your ears be your guide
    Let the power of the farce be with you!
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  4. RecTeach

    RecTeach Guest

    Since PT 5 we have really been able to take advantage of our hardware (finally). This is the way I have mine hooked up.

    Mics > A/D Converter > Digi I/O > Computer/Board/ > D/A >Monitors

    Various > Lavry Blues > Digi 192 >G5//D-Command>LavryBlue >ADAM

    As far as inserts go with your outboard compressors and eq's this is even better. I have them hooked up to the Digi I/O's so that I can litterally call them up in a session just like a software plugin! So I can have a Bomb Factory compressor and an outboard Crane Song eq on the same channel which is pretty wild! All you have to do is hook up the out's of the outboard piece up to the Digi in's and the in's of the outboard to the Digi's out's. This way they can "talk" back and forth. So if you have done this say on channels 1 and 2 (stereo eq) and you pull up I/O "1&2" on your track you will get that outboard eq on that track just like a plugin. And Pro Tools now has an automatic delay compensation which auto calculates the latency for you and compensates for you.
  5. jazzo

    jazzo Active Member

    Ok, I understand everything!

    Well I think I will do it like this: Use external preamps+studer 269 to track into PT, then after edit I will mix into the Studer with external gears(comp, reverb...)

    My wish is to use only analog material but as I can't buy a studer A80 2" for the moment, I will record with PT but try not to mix with it.

  6. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    Analog is noisier and distorted by comparison. There is a bunch or BS floating around, propogated by people in our industry, that ProTools sucks, digital sucks, etc. The mix engine in ProTools HD is 48-bit. With dymanic range of 6dB for every bit, you have a total of 288dB of dynamic range in the mix engine. An SSL might hit 32 over 0.

    In the right hands, both can yield bad results or great results. There are great engineers that do not need to use "analog" as a crutch. Their music is mixed in the box, and people rave about the sound. It is STILL about knowing how to make a record. After all Boston was made on $1500 worth of recording equipment in Tom's basement studio. All of the record execs thought a decoy band was recording the real tracks at Capital. They heard the tracks, were blown away. So were the 16 Million people who bought that first record. It ain't what you got, so much as it is the song, the tone, and how much you leave it alone.
  7. jazzo

    jazzo Active Member

    In fact, I have nothing against Pro Tools. I think the best results are obtained with a good combination of analog and digital gears.

    The point is that I don't like much to work with a mouse in my hand, but I do.

    I prefer to use pots and buttons etc... like Remy said maybe there's something about a kid attitude with all that... Don't know...

    My doubt were about the studio using PT with big mixer like an SSL and others good analog gears like I've already seen, and the good way to make them work together.

    I think I have found the answer I was looking for. thanks and sorry for my english!
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Right on sheet!
  9. wwittman

    wwittman Active Member

    yeah, right.

    Sorry, but this is such bollocks I don't know where to BEGIN.

    Boston had $1500 worth of gear?
    When John Boylan mixed it, did he mix it on that 1500 worth of gear?

    this is utter nonsense.

    and anyway no one ASKED you to pontificate on the relative value of PT versus analog or anything else.

    CAN people make records ITB, yes.

    Do they sound as good as records made or mixed OUT of the box?
    That's a matter of opinion.. not "skill".

    My answer is "no".

    I record into PT just like it's a tape machine.
    We do all the editing and manipulation that you can do in PT but I tend to avoid plug-ins most of the time and entirely for EQ and compression.

    Then I mix by taking 32 or 48 outputs back into an analog desk and mix that way with the desk EQ and outboard compression, reverb, and so on.
    We record the mix to an analog 1/2" 2 track AND back into PT usually as a backup,.

    then at mastering, we can choose between the PT mix or the analog based entirely on which sounds "better" to everyone.

    The analog ALWAYS wins.

    If that's a "crutch" then I happily employ this crutch as well as the crutch of great desks, great mics, great instruments, great players, in great rooms with great monitoring and so on...

    At every point one makes choices balancing budget against quality.
    Whenever i CAN, I choose the best sounding alternative available.

    I'm still waiting to hear those great sounding "crutch-free" recordings.

    Big hit as it was, I don't think Living La Vida Loca is my model for what I wish my records to sound like.
    It's a credit to Charles that it sounds as good as it does.

    It would have almost certainly soundned better had it been recorded and mixed in a great studio on a great desk.
  10. ZZTop

    ZZTop Guest

    In 1976 $1500 was like $15,000 :lol:
    But I know nothing about PT, and have no points to make
  11. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    Don't forget that Tom Scholz graduated from MIT and built most of his equipment. So it's not like he was just some shmuck with some gear. Also I thought I read the tracks were mixed and mastered elsewhere. Either way you're right, it's the ears, not the gear.
  12. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    William...from Toms mouth to my keyboard. He said it, not me. He has told the story many times, and if you go to the Boston website (which is getting a remodel I see) there is a link to the interview.

    Analog can't always win. There are choices and opinions, but analog = distortion. There may be some need for it, but in my world of post, I do not.

    As for people not being able to tell a whole lot of difference between PT and analog mixing, consider the 3daudio disc, where a session was mixed on an old PT system and a Neve. By the time it is all said and done, the end user can't tell a difference with a CD or MP3, so why go through the expense. I think that it is more mental masterbation for artist in the studio.

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