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Recording keyboards

Discussion in 'Keyboards' started by Dr_Willie_OBGYN, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    In the pro studios do they record keyboard through fancy high end instrument preamps (like Avalon) and EQ (like Manley) or not?
    Or is it more about mixing and mastering that gives techno music that in-your-face sound?
     
  2. Ravikash

    Ravikash Active Member

    When using Keyboards, if they are a good quality, they are recorded by taking the line level outputs on the back, and recording those outputs into your DAW, or whatever you have to record too. Then from there it is mixed and mastered to get the "sound" they want, pre-amps are only used to amplify sound to "line level" since the keyboards already output at "line level" a pre-amp is unnecessary. But the way the get the sounds they do, is by buying quality keyboards and tweaking that sound pre and post of the recording process.
     
  3. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    I listen to tracks by DeadMau5 for example and the production is so fat, "stereo-like" and in your face. What Waves Diamond plugins might I use to mix my keyboard tracks? Same question regarding mastering?
     
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I absolutely disagree with the previous poster. Recording keyboards via direct input or through a DI to a microphone preamp of high quality, absolutely adds another modicum of dimensionality. I can also take that synthesizer keyboard output into my console line input, as the front end and my tracking rig. This still sweetens & processes the sound with that Neve flavor. This in respect to plugging your axe directly into your crispy/wispy/metallic crappy computer audio interface input of most any quality or variety level. So let's not get too simplistic here.

    Waves plug-in? What makes you think it's a waves plug-in? Or any other plug-in? It's a synthesizer, be it hardware or virtual from within a computer. So talented manipulators of their software can create their own " recording space". I mean people wouldn't need OB/GYN's if we can only design the female pelvic bone to be slightly larger. Or maybe they use at home plug-in might be a better idea than a doctor? After all, doctors cost money and you can always steal plug-ins.

    Not having any babies anytime in this lifetime
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  5. Ravikash

    Ravikash Active Member

    Please explain to me how that is any different then what I said, lets see you took a line level output and put it into a line level input. So I don't see how you can completley disagree. I even prefaced my answer by saying
    , therefore that implies if the keyboard is of lower quality it would help to use a pre-amp, so please actually read my answer before you discard my statements. Secondly, when did I say use crappy gear and signal flow to record your keyboards. You can take the line level out of a Moog and plug it into a Pro Tools HD 192, and it would sound badass, so lets not get too complicated here. The whole point of such synths is to sound badass right out of the line level, anything you add to it, is an artistic decision. If you are telling me that a mini Moog Voyager's direct line output sounds like crap, than I guess we have very different ears.

    Also, I said "unneccessary", not, don't ever use pres its wrong. Also, do you lack the abitlity to understand the perspective this person is talking from. He is a novice looking for help, he was asking if he had to use expensive studio gear to get a good synth sound, so guess what, no you don't. And anybody who tells you, you do, they are lying. I am also not going to imply that "RemyRAD" said you need to use expensive studio gear because he didn't. I'm tired of people commenting and bragging, such posting defeat the whole purpose of this website. Yes I will admit my fault, you can use outboard pre-amps, consoles, and compressors to make the synth sound better. I didn't mention it because that is clearly not the answer this poster was looking for.

    DeadMau5 does not use a bunch of high-end studio gear to make his sound, what he does is link most of his very expensive analog synths together, puts it through a mixer via line input, and then takes that two mix via line output, from the mixer into his recording rig, I have seen videos of him doing this. Matter of fact most elcetronica artists don't even use pre-amps for there keyboards, because they invest large sums of money into quality keyboards and synths. Since those keyboard and synth compaines are aware of the fact that there gear is expensive, they take the time to make sure you have a good line level audio quality coming out of the keyboard. This is why most electronica artists record direct. Here is a crappy video of DeadMau5 studio, I couldn't find the high quaility video I watched, but as you can see, there is a lot of expensive analog synthesizers and no pre-amps. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cRt9QeItEg&feature=related

    I was just trying to give this person a practical answer, and I feel like I was attacked, which made me defend myself. I am aware of who you are, the gear you work with, and the accomplishments you have made, so please understand I am not upset at you, but at your comment. You seem like a reasonable person, and I agree with most of your posts, but come on. A real answer for this guy is to invest in some good quality virtual synths, or good quality Hardware synths, that more than anything else will help you get the DeamMau5 sound. By the way original poster, what are you using to make your synth sounds?
     
  6. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    Ravikash,
    Thanks for the info! I wish the DeadMau5 dude would post a video on how he mixes and masters his stuff. That is where lies the key to his in-your-face sound I'm sure. C4 compression and multimaximizer? I wonder if he does the mastering in his own studio or if he goes to a high end place.

    I have an Access Virus (my favorite), Novation Nova (has a nice cutting, "brittle" contrast to the Virus), Korg 01/W, Emu rack that I rarely use, and as far as virtual synths go Atmosphere, Native Instruments Pro-53, Stylus RMX + Retro Funk & Backbeat, and Ivory (for piano sounds). I just ordered Trilion. I prefer analog synths though by far because of ease of tweeking. After seeing that video I will take a closer look at the Moog Voyager and the Prophet 08.

    I wonder how many synths he layered on top of one another for the intro to "I remember" around the 30 second mark. Now that is a HUGE sound! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfgc4i7W-68&p=F57496E8DA32768D&playnext=1&index=1
     
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sorry if you took my reply as an attack. It was not meant to be an attack. I know you grew up on Moog synthesizer's like I did from the late 1960s. And of course I want to give equal time to the ARP 2500 series studio and 2600 series portable units. All I was trying to imply was, if you want that thick analog sound, from classic analog synthesizers, you plug them into the "preamps" that were in the console that fed those Moog CIII's a balanced output to their respective 8 track Ampex/Scully's. Especially since there isn't a synthesizer that has a +4 DB balanced output. So I come from a land of old-school knowledge & practices. Besides, back in the day, those 8 track & 16 track synthesizer recordings were mixed down upon quality analog consoles, after you had fed the synthesizer through it to the multitrack machine. And this guy that "what he does is link most of his very expensive analog synths together" has to link them together with more than a couple of patch cords from Radio Shaft. He really has to link them together through a mixer. And mixers, whether they're line level input only or not, have input buffer amplifiers throughout numerous stages. These can also be referred to as "preamplifiers" frequently followed by equalizers that have additional buffer amplifiers and then on to the stunning amplifier and then the line level output amplifiers and through a bunch of transformers on the way through. But then you already knew that. Shake your head yes. That's good. Should I put my feet in the stirrups now?

    Okay so Dr. try this: Record your axe directly into your computer sound interface gizmo. Then try using a quality preamp before it goes into the computer sound interface gizmo. Then tell me what you think. Can you make good recordings without any preamps? Of course. Do you need to have vintage analog synthesizers? And if so? Why? Maybe all you need is some vintage input bridging Transformers? Digital can be brutal along with synthesized sounds. So we want to fatten it up a bit. Don't yah?

    You were asking a subjective question and we both provided our own subjective answers. Doctors frequently confer with each other in order to come up with a better prognosis for the patient. We both have opinions & backsides. And I back up my backside with plenty of iron cores. This helps to stitch your audio together better and provide more fiber.

    Re-Lax your mind...
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Good thread starting.

    I've been doing this for decades. The old analog synths are so fat and huge compared to all the vsti. To bad I sold my entire analog rack to buy all the digital garbage. But, I saved my spirit and bought a Nord Lead. Plugging it in direct is all I need. Its so fat, smooth and quite. Now... my next journey begins with my new hybrid rid where I will be sending the vsti's , mixed Nord etc out to my MixDream > Back into my Mastering DAW, then out to my Dangerous Master rig > some eq and compression flavouring to taste, I'm pretty certain will be what you are looking for.

    I'm a broken record here but I love talking about it all. If you want fat, think analog. Think of investing in something like what I have. I'm also looking at the Folcom and using my Millennia M2 b to get that FAT full sound. There are quite a few ways to get there including what Remy is talking about. It all cost money once you start to figure it out.

    Check this article out.

    http://recording.org/content/460-Producer-Anthony-J.-Resta-Gets-Dangerous
     
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Here is a simple project to consider when wanting to build up a hybrid system.

    Many folks who want to sum together in analog. So numerous companies, including AMS Neve have been building 16 x 2 active summing mixers. But here's the trick. If you are dealing with +4 DB balanced or unbalanced outputs from your computer or digital multitrack, you can build a passive mixer with an active summing bus. 600 to 10,000 ohm faders work great and especially if they are audio taper. You can utilize 12,000 ohm summing resistors into a API 2520 or Neve BA 438 (and onto a BA 440 for that extra drive) utilizing a quality output transformer such as the API, Jensen, Marinair/St. Ives and you'll have that API or Neve sound & analog summation. And you can do this for a few hundred dollars. Doing simple DIY projects like this is what being in the studio business is all about. This is the way it was. People had to be creative. We didn't have any plug-ins. We were the plug-ins.

    Still pluggin' after all these years
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Is there somewhere with the schematics for this? I'm okay to try this if I have some layout and actual parts and what not to buy... But I'd rather have someone make it for me. Sounds like we should be building some stuff around here?
     
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    This passive summing mixer is not a new idea. Not everything needs an active balanced input. And it's not necessarily balanced inputs either, that make a difference. Remember, the cleanest sounding piece of electronics is a straight wire. A passive summing mixer is almost exactly that. Folks have to understand that balanced inputs & outputs are important when running long distances of cable, or in high EMI areas. In fact, wiring for unbalanced is more critical. I believe Bernie Grudman, the Mastering Engineer, had his custom analog mastering consoles all built as single ended inputs & outputs. This is where attention to proper grounding procedures is of the utmost importance. Balanced means more stuff in the circuit path than unbalanced which detracts from the straight wire concept. Again, LESS IS MORE. And the summing amplifier doesn't need anything more than a tree of resistors at its " inverting input". The non-inverting input is tied to ground and references the inverting input, on the op amp, to ground potential. This is where one can purchase, say, an API 325 card, or a Neve 3415A on eBay. You need a pair for stereo. And you may need a pair of 325 and/or 3415A cards to be utilized as gain boosting output amplifiers. Generally, the summing amplifier is run in the unity gain mode. So it's output level has the potential to be quite low. And so output boosters may be desirable. Not necessarily 100% necessary depending upon the application and its intended use. If all you're doing is feeding the input to your DAW, the output boosters are not necessary because your next input stage has adjustable input/makeup gain. But if you're feeding 1000 feet of cable, you might want that extra kick in the pants. And since one only needs a couple of these legendary Op amps, it's more affordable to have that API or Neve "sound" along from its Transformers, from the real deal components and not some knockoff imitations.

    Of course, now I have a project if I want to tackle it since I have 60+ Neve 3415A's & 3724 I/O modules, designed for just such an application. And that's before I decommission/dissolve/part out the second 36 input Neve. So if someone wants a custom analog summing amplifier that sounds like a Neve, now you know where to get one or how to build one on the cheap. Of course if you want conductive plastic faders as opposed to carbon Taiwanese volume controls, there is a considerable difference in cost. This is where the potentiometers out cost the summing amplifiers. The good faders are only important if you really want to do some actual analog mixing but the carbon ones are easily preset and usable until they get dirty and cost a fraction of a conductive plastic fader. So simple rotary or linear throw, audio taper volume controls & linear taper Pan Pots are really all that's necessary. Utilizing Penny & Giles or API faders, will cost approximately $45 each US and then there's the Pan Pot. Actually I'm not certain why all of these commercially available summing mixers seem to all be 16 input?? I mean DUH? Especially when half of the ProTools rigs and other digital recorders are still 24 outputs. I guess this is so it would look pretty in a 19 inch mount, designed for fat fingers? And, oh, the power supply is placed away from the summing mixer so as not to introduce any additional noise. Remember, balanced circuitry will keep you from hearing any hmmm/buzz. But what people don't understand is that the hmmm/buzz is actually modulating the audio, which ain't good. This causes its own kind of distortion artifacts, even if you can't hear the hum/buzz humming or buzzing. It's still on top of the audio degrading it quite effectivelyBy modulating the audio by 60 Hz/120 Hz/240 Hz, etc.. And this is why home project studios should be wired unbalanced. This way, you'll work out all of the grounding issues & problems that would be causing less than stellar audio if you are wired all balanced. Just remember kids, microphones have to be balanced (especially to carry phantom power) unless your cable is less than 10 feet long, it's not a phantom powered condenser microphone and not near any EMI. And I'm not talking about the record company here. We're talking Electro-Magnetic Interference. Which is the leading cause of problems to unbalanced & balanced wiring schemes. But when we are talking about line level, as opposed to microphone level, unbalanced can be cleaner. Okay, so I can come up with some schematics but they are so simple, I might be embarrassed? Anyone with any expertise will know this is a hack. But hacks work if you hack it right. And I pride myself on being a talented hack.

    Hack & Sack is a butcher shop, in New Jersey, I think?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  12. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    Agree w Remy that quality DI boxes are critical to getting a detailed sound, with which further enhancement/mangling can occur.

    I use a Stereo Demeter DI, which is very badass. However, even it is inferior to my bassist's Avalon U5, at least for bass.

    The difference might not be apparent on tracking, but in mixdown you really start to see the benefits of detailed tracking.
     
  13. nbarts

    nbarts Guest

    "They" do whatever feels necessary. There are great instruments that sound amazing regardless what preamp you choose. Tube pres generally do make them more "airy" in my experience.
     
  14. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Make sure you jump in on the ADL 600 contest. That thing is killer for exactly what you need and way more.
     
  15. lisa001

    lisa001 Active Member

    I am getting confused between the difference between making a MIDI connection from keyboard and actually recording the sound.
     
  16. lisa001

    lisa001 Active Member

    I am getting confused between the difference between making a MIDI connection from keyboard and actually recording the sound
     
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    midi isn't sound, it is a function. It stands for Musical, Instrument Digital Interface. It is like a phone connection between other midi instruments. It allows other midi instruments to talk to each other, to control each other, to share their sounds and functions, to have one master midi controller that can access all the other midi instruments from one main controller to control it all from a control center. Understand? Midi has a master and slaves. It is amazing.

    Midi is a language that can trigger sounds. Its not sound, its a function that electronically controls parameters of sounds like volume, delay, sustain, pressure and so on and more. Midi can move faders up and down in a timeline (start to finish when recording). Midi can even turn lights on and off in a concert ( if they have midi). Follow?
     
  18. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    This is going to be another twist on things.. And going to throw a spanner in the works but.. Did any of you guys use any of the reason products ? I spoke to Deadmau5 at a show in liverpool not so long ago and I found out that a big part of his production rig was reason 5. It's a product that I have been learning to use for many years now and I completely overlooked it. Tell you what though. Some of the sounds you get out of that with just a midi controller are out of the box amazing, and you can mess around with the parameters all you want. If you're not familiar with it then you should probably take a look. I know it's nice and homey to use your live synths and everything and I think perhaps the important part of this thread was to discuss how you can take a live synth and make it sound badass. Maybe on that count I missed the point but I thought I'd throw in some extra info and highlight that Deadmau5 does actually use reason rewired for quite a lot of his stuff.

    I hope this helps.
     
  19. Keyrick

    Keyrick Guest

    +1
     
  20. Dr_Willie_OBGYN

    Dr_Willie_OBGYN Active Member

    Seems like Reason 5 is a drum machine kind of thing. Does it have a built in synth module with cool patches? Is it a multi-track recorder? Does it have a cool sample library like Stylus RMX?
     

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