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Q for MIXERMAN was: Q for Fletcher

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by proaudio101, Mar 12, 2001.

  1. proaudio101

    proaudio101 Guest

    Originally posted by Mixerman:
    BTW: The experiment is simple. There can be no rides internally within Pro Tools. The moment you do rides you ^#$% the sound. You can experiment with that too if you like. But here's the curent proposed experiment:

    Run the outputs of drums to individual faders of your Mackie, or whatever board you have available. Run the stereo outputs of the computers 2-bus to 2 channels of the Mackie. Now it's a fair test. Because either way you're going through the Mackie.

    Yes, I realize, normally you wouldn't take the stereo ouputs to a Mackie, BUT, if you do, then the Mackie is tainting both sounds equally, and you can properly exaluate the DIFFERENCE between the two. Remember 'control' from science class?

    NO internal rides, unity gain, and make sure that as you A/B, the monitoring level is identical. You'll be amazed at how much shittier the stereo output will sound then the individual outputs



    I completely agree with you on this topic. I have A very powerful PC with Cubase and XT-20's with a Mackie and when I mix straight from the ADATs it sounds 100x better than anything mixed internally in Cubase. I dont think this is a phenomenon of Cubase, because when I transfer tracks back and forth from the ADATs to the DAW and back with editing they sound just as good.

    My question for you though, is why no rides with the automation in the computer? How much in your opinion does this effect the sound quality...and why DOES it as compared to just running the individual outputs of the tracks at unity?

    One thing I considered to be an advantage (budget-wise) about any DAW platform is the ability to automate the tracks. I was contemplating the purchase of a Trident 80 in another thread, and had hoped that I could eliminate the need for analog board auto by using the DAW auto. Considering that a incredible PT system could be bought for less than the cost of expensive auto it seems reasonable fiancially...but not at the expense of sound quality.

    Which would be better then in your opinion for sound quality: DAW auto or VCA automation (which everybody seems to talk smack about, but I have never had the opportunity to A/B it to motor auto)
     
  2. alphajerk

    alphajerk Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2001
    cubase is one of the worst sounding DAW's out with their mixer...

    running the tracks out at unity will give the same information out thats stored on the drive, no addition or subtraction to the audio file [as long as they are direct outs]. using no automation is due to some zippering artifacts that occured in lesser or older DAW systems combined with slower computers, some companies have gone way past that now.

    i WAS in the same place as mixerman view a few rev's ago but have gone back in and found things have come a long way in a short amount of time.
     
  3. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2001
    I can't tell you technically what happens. But the moment you start to change levels, the computer has to do all sorts of math and it degredates the sound.

    Sorry I can't be more specific (or even accurate) than that. This is where my ignorance comes in. I really only tend to deal with the realities of sonic degredation, not the technicalities.

    For my experiment to be valid, you have to have the computer levels at static unity to where they came in.

    Mixerman
     
  4. alphajerk

    alphajerk Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2001
    thats not the only place your ignorance steps in.

    oh no, a computer has to do math!? you really dont have any idea what you are talking about do you?

    i suppose all the math thats done on a george massenburg project degrades the sound too?
     
  5. I personally find it refreshing that Mixerman didn't make up some technical BS like most people do when all they're really trying to do is report a phenomenon that they have observed.

    It's really not clear how or why a given DAW sounds better or worse, probably because there are so many components in the signal path and so few ways to isolate any one component. So, it could be the math, it could be the converters, it could be the clock, it could be a lot of things!

    To put it another way, can _you_ state exactly why it's happening, so accurately that with only that explanation, we can eliminate the problem? If you can, we need you to stop pontificating and start writing some code!

    I personally have a few theories about how and why digital can sound bad, but it's a work in progress and they don't always old up in every situation.

    Happy recording,

    Monte McGuire
     
  6. alphajerk

    alphajerk Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2001
    it has to do with the summing algorithm [although roger nichols believes that EVERY digital board/DAW should sound EXACTLY the some sans eq/dyn/plugs/etc] and clock.

    the fact is that in a blindfold test, you couldnt tell if i was moving a fader within a DAW or on an analog board. set that test up, hell you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right.
     
  7. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2001
    Originally posted by alphajerk:
    it has to do with the summing algorithm [although roger nichols believes that EVERY digital board/DAW should sound EXACTLY the some sans eq/dyn/plugs/etc] and clock.

    Frankly, that "source" doesn't have a whole lot of credibility in the area...this is the same guy who's been yelling that digital audio has been the greatest thing since they invented pussy since the early 80's...funny, every year the best just keeps getting better!!

    At the same time, you have no digital audio period with a "clock", so "clock" stability is a huge factor when it comes to audio quality in the digital domain.

    the fact is that in a blindfold test, you couldnt tell if i was moving a fader within a DAW or on an analog board. set that test up, hell you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right.

    In a "one fader test" I dare say you're right. It's when you start to get a whole bunch of channels involved that you start to hear a cumulative effect. Hey, one mic pre on a Mackie doesn't sound too bad, but when you get the rest of the console working, that one little 'doesn't sound too bad mic-pre' starts to go all to $*^t...add 20 something more channels of 'cumulative effect'...well, you start to get the picture.

    I think, the bottom line here is that if someone perceives this as bad, to them it's bad. End of story. If you don't have a problem with it, then you don't have a problem with it.

    You can't really argue what someone else does or doesn't hear...if you could, would you mind arguing with the voices I hear all the time, frankly they're wearing me out and I may have to start listening to them one of these days...
     
  8. alphajerk

    alphajerk Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2001
    actually i found roger's statement to be absurd. it would basically put an oxford and the cubase mixer on the same field. i dont think so.

    "Which would be better then in your opinion for sound quality: DAW auto or VCA automation (which everybody seems to talk smack about, but I have never had the opportunity to A/B it to motor auto)"

    im actually curious about this statement.

    clock stability is about the same as alignment on a deck. if either arent "on", then they both sound like $*^t.

    im saying on MULTIPLE fader test, modern daw's [im not talking this roland BS] sounds better than something like a mackie, listen to the bottom and low mids get flabby quick, the highs get out of control. DAWs give you more stability like a large frame analog [which i would certainly be mixing on over a DAW]. the bottom stays a LOT tighter on the DAW.

    im listening to a cd right this minute that i know the production notes well and what was done to what [contains both digital and analog mixes] and i PREFER the digital mixes. not to mention that the guy mixing analog wasnt a slouch by any stretch. i can hear the hiss slurr the audio. with digital, i can hear the backsides of the notes in detail. maybe thats not what you want.
     
  9. Speedy

    Speedy Guest

    cubase is one of the worst sounding DAW's out with their mixer...

    I agree. Switch a flat eq and insert section in/out. Sound changes...
     
  10. alphajerk

    alphajerk Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2001
    "this is the same guy who's been yelling that digital audio has been the greatest thing since they invented pussy since the early 80's...funny, every year the best just keeps getting better!!"

    actually thats pretty true. it aint as good as pussy but every year it does just keep getting better, soon well have some virtual pussy too. mind you i havent been singing the song as long as the early 80's about digital, just the past few years has the power become available but i think the tipping point is coming quite soon. just like magnetic tape did to cutting plates.

    we are like the sir george martians who kept peering over at the tape deck sitting there while the engineer was hoping the plate was cut properly.

    i do find the approach totally different. and i like it.
     
  11. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2001
    Originally posted by alphajerk:
    "Which would be better then in your opinion for sound quality: DAW auto or VCA automation (which everybody seems to talk smack about, but I have never had the opportunity to A/B it to motor auto)"

    For me, that would actually depend on the song. There have been a few songs where I went from the 'motors' on Ultimation (tm) to the 'VCA's...the VCA's sounded shittier, but more appropriate for the song at hand. It's kinda tough to describe.

    For "overall" sound quality, it would seriously depend on the VCA system and the DAW system. The 'Megamix' systems [are they still in business?] used a 'Class-A' VCA which sounded the balls. We installed an inboard 'Megamix' system in an old API desk many years ago.

    I was in the middle of a mix on the desk for Capricorn/Warner Bros. when the automation system came it. We charted where all the faders were relative to "O VU" with a 1 kHz tone, installed the automation system. Reset the levels, ran a couple of movement passes, added a few channels of the "internal noise gates" (all things that should have made the tone go to hell), and I'll be damned if the mix didnt'get bigger and clearer sounding than with the conductive plastic faders.


    clock stability is about the same as alignment on a deck. if either arent "on", then they both sound like $*^t.

    That's not entirely true...some clocks sound better than other clocks, it seems that the 'jitter' spec is entirely relevant to the tone, and little else. I ^#$% around with analog deck alignments all the time. I will often realign for level when cutting a guitar part, and will often "underbias" when cutting a vocal...different tracks, different songs, different things I'll do with a deck to ^#$% around. It also heavily depends on how much time I have, whether I can waste a couple hours ^#$%ing with deck alignments.


    im saying on MULTIPLE fader test, modern daw's [im not talking this roland BS] sounds better than something like a mackie, listen to the bottom and low mids get flabby quick, the highs get out of control. DAWs give you more stability like a large frame analog [which i would certainly be mixing on over a DAW]. the bottom stays a LOT tighter on the DAW.

    Ya know...that just get's into a matter of personal taste, not "gospel truth". I still haven't taken a shine to CD's yet, but some of them suck less than others.

    If you can get a clean vinyl copy of "Waiting for Columbus" play it. You'll never be able to listen to CD's ever again. It's kinda like your first shot of speed...it's the fuckin' best. From then on, every time you shoot speed, you're trying to get back to that same place you got the first time...and you never will.

    I humbly submit that you are from the generation that never knew vinyl? Those of us that have, have an entirely different perspective on the whole digital thing. We are looking for something in the audio that isn't there, that I can only relate to the feeling of that first time you boot speed.

    Hopefully you have no idea what I'm talking about :( :mad:
     
  12. alphajerk

    alphajerk Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2001
    actually i meant more like the head alignment, azimuth, etc. not tape alignment.

    actually all my younger years were spent listening to rolling stones [mono] and beatles [again, mono version], not to mention other artists of the 60's, on a turntable and AR-3a's [still have them too, although the mid needs replacing AGAIN]. up until i moved down here, my friends tended to be older with supposedly the ultimate setups [$500 toner arms, massive platter, and such] and we'd sit around and toke it on up listening to good records and cd's alternating between the two. even though i moved to the hills, everyone here my age has huge record collections although crappy stereos [i wonder if some are even in phase...all the speakers working, etc]. anyways, im not that young or naive. always had supernova arguements on the finer points between the two formats, but it all came back around to passing it again and drinking a lot, digging a bunch of cool tunes and having fun. because in the end, it ALL comes down to the song.

    yeah, i hear what youre saying with vinyl [and tape for that matter], literally. i hear what you are talking about. ummm, i know what parts of it that you find appealing... does that make sense?
     
  13. Tymish

    Tymish Guest

    Check out this thread from another forum (hope that it's OK to post here, the was nothing in the FAQ against it). The topic may sound a bit off but there is an extremely detailed explantion of what is being discussed (argued?) a bit deeper in the thread.
    (Dead Link Removed)
     
  14. erockerboy

    erockerboy Guest

    Yuri, thanx for that info... very informative read.

    To steer back to the original question on this thread, which was: "Why no rides with the automation in the computer? How much in your opinion does this effect the sound quality...and why DOES it as compared to just running the individual outputs of the tracks at unity?"

    Glad to see that I'm not the only one trippin' out about this. These days I'm leaning more and more towards using my DAWs (DP and PT) exclusively as a disk-based replacement for my multitrack, and doing *all* my levelling, mixing and comp/EQ'ing with analog outboard. To my ears, everything sounds way better doing it this way. The main thing I'm giving up is the fader auto.

    Having said that... are any of you guys using retrofit fader or VCA auto with any success? Usually, even in a BIG mix, I'm only riding faders on maybe 10 trax, tops... lead and BG vox, maybe ducking a guitar solo or something, maybe some rides on the drums submix. I don't need 48 trax of moving faders. So I'm wondering what other solutions you guys are using (short of going downtown to the SSL room).

    Thx 4 any input... great forum!

    -e
     
  15. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2001
    Here's a question for alphajerk- what DAW do you use/like? Why? Just curious.

    Originally posted by alphajerk:
    cubase is one of the worst sounding DAW's out with their mixer...

    running the tracks out at unity will give the same information out thats stored on the drive, no addition or subtraction to the audio file [as long as they are direct outs]. using no automation is due to some zippering artifacts that occured in lesser or older DAW systems combined with slower computers, some companies have gone way past that now.

    i WAS in the same place as mixerman view a few rev's ago but have gone back in and found things have come a long way in a short amount of time.
     

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