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Studio Tour - Steve Vai's Harmony Hut

Discussion in 'Recording' started by audiokid, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5D0FfQkDWg#t=38
    pcrecord likes this.
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Thanks Marco, I knew you would like it. "Clear clutter for clarity!"

    The control room studio model is all we need today. A big control room like that would be sweet!! I don't know what Steve hears in Inward Connections gear though. I know guys who think completely the opposite of Inward Connection.

    The Pultec's, API and UA gear is choice to me as well. I love Eventide for all sorts of processing, especially on guitars for space creation.
    I just sold two Pultec's. They are wonderful tracking into and excellent for dialing in the mids for guitars which is obviously why he loves those too. Pulse Techniques makes a better product over investing in the noisier vintage stuff. $7000 for the vintage is ridiculous after you hear what Pulse is doing now.

    I loved the candid video and how all of us are building our own studios today. Its the greatest opportunity for us to make our own music. Lets hope music gets better because of it.
  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Vai is a well thought man. He really knows what he likes and what kind of sound he wants.
    It was an inspiring video.

    I put all my efforts in getting good tools to capture a good sound. Since, I'm in a small place and with limited budget, I turned to mics, placement and preamps in hope for the best sound I can achieve. I'd love to have a big board.. but I know it's not gonna happen.
    My own recipe is getting ok tho. UA 4-710, 4 ISA, 1 LA-610 and I'm thinking of adding a second one. I'm very far from my DBX576 and soundcraft LX7 I had 3 years ago.. ;)

    Chris, I know you've been to rough times and had to reduce your gear list. I'm glad you took this as an opportunity to grow and adapt your game to continu your great work...
    When you are ready, I'd be curious to compare some of your now and then works ;)
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    As I keep saying, a Big board is not better at all. At best, its a convince to more pre's but not sonically in comparison to a quality modular tracking and mixing system for a fraction of the price. I would gladly welcome anyone with a big console to prove the best analog console on the planet console produces a sonically better mix over what I use right now. If in doubt, show me the money and I will take the time to put that to rest for whomever really wants to hear it for themselves.

    Thanks Marco, I was able to hang on to everything I need and have already bought a few more pieces since this summer. Prism Mastering conversion is one nice addition.
    I did very detailed comparisons between ITB and OTB hardware and know for a fact I can emulate in Sequoia all the EQ's and compressors I have /or have tried and sold off to date. I can fetch a good price for a few others taking up space,, I will with a smile. Sequoia is a great DAW.

    For the record, I am always getting more gear here but to be honest, I sell it over and over because it really isn't better than ITB mixing. Some may find that hard to believe but its true. But I also have a great monitoring system so I trust I hear what I am using, with confidence. Its also why I invested in big rails with extreme headroom. The Neos rails are unmatched by any console on the planet.
    Two DAW's uncoupled, big rail pre's and summing, great converters are the biggest and most sonically dynamic sound I have ever heard. No console has bigger rails than Millennia, Neos, Dangerous gear. If you want an instant API, its pretty easy to toss in a tranny or emulate grit on the fly. Nothing is imposable today. Its just a matter of hearing and knowing your way around.
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    My big board dream is for one with great preamps (which would be better than what I have) Out of my short list of outboard preamps, I use a saffire 56, for eight channel.. Those are the ones which would go for a board like an ssl, neve or others..

    But of course, give me 24x LA-610 or other high end pre and I'm gonna forget about boards... ;)
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    How many channels do you need at once?
  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I'm actually using 18 and I'm sometime short (rarely but still)
    Running everything at 96khz the Saffire 56 would not allow more anyway (8 internal pre and 2 adat + 1 spdif)
    We are speaking of dreams here of course.. I'm able to compromise with those 18ch for now.. A 5 piece drum with overheads, room, hihat and ride + 2 guitar amp (2 mics each) + bass and a couple of vocals and a line for a reverb in the headphones. BAM, I'm full !! :)
    But 8 of those pre are the saffire.. they're ok but not superb...

    I too am gearing up all the time, sometimes from project money, sometime from personal money... I have the sickness of always want to get better sound.. LOL !!
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Not that you are asking but since we are talking about it, and its always fun :) ... you may need tighter AD consistency into the mix. One solid interface with pre's that arrive at the same time is choice to me. There is no question, great preamps are everything but your conversion is Paramount too. Not so much, having the highest quality AD but clock consistency so tracks are lining up and not getting all swirly sounding because they are off by a bit here or there. When mixing multitracking, I hear it all the time.
    Headphone bleed recorded at different takes which are inconsistent to overdubs. , Bleed not lining up between everything. All it take is a few tracks offset with overdubs drifting and you get that. It effects the center image and kills the big sound.
    This accumulative phasy sound can fool us into thinking you need better gear when its really this. So, i'm just saying.
    I hear it in everything.

    If you sent me a mix, I could actually analyze your tracking and imaging with a hopeful possibility to recommend something. Maybe sometime, you can do that.

    I would say this to everyone today. If you can't have the best, the next best would be something like the MP32 and an Orion 32 and a Madi interface. Or, a Studio Live 24 or 32.4.2 AI. I don't think the pre's are as good but the consistency is what I would be going for.

    I bet the MP32 would give you incredible results over what you are doing now. And you would have spent a lot less money, yes? $7000 tops. I am certain this would sound close enough or out perform that API console Steve is using as well. Why? because trannies sound smaller and the DAW is tighter and more colorful if you know how to add it at the right place. I'm only speculating though, if I had a 1608 I would surely do the test and have no fear to say it one way or the other.

    We get used to a concept but technology is always improving. ITB EQ's are incredible now. ITB compression is incredible now. And sidechaining comps is the bomb! Spectral editing is amazing. And ITB mastering is far superior to anything analog today. Their really isn't anything left in the analog world but preamps and mics. When you see that clear, ITB clearly puts us in the drivers seat. All you need then is talent.
  9. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    In indeed do everything ITB once the tracking is done.. I can use a 1176 comp from the 4-710 or the comp of the La-610 now and then but usually, everyting ITB.

    As for clocking. I have 2 choices that I honestly don't know how well I can thrust.
    I presently use the Mytek AD96 as the master clock and I also could use the UA 4-710. They are said to be good clocks but I don't know how good.
    Other than the conversion of the saffire for its own 8 ch. I use the AD96 to send 2 tracks via spdif and the 4-710 converters for its own 4 x 710 preamps and 4 external ISA preamps.. I haven't tested a full production with this setup, I will surely send you a mix once I do one.

    I now use Yamaha HS8 monitors which are far from perfect.. so on those I don't feel and offsets or driftting..
    I stay open for new awareness and that's why I woud'nt say my settup is perfect.. Athought it's what my budget allows for now... ;)
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Your setup could be working just great for you. If I recall, listening to some of your music a few months back, I thought your work sounded really good !

    On record, I only continued because you mentioned how you wish for a console.

    When I read people wishing they could have some console, other than the tactile love to feel everything, I absolutely agree. I love the feel of a desk and hate a mouse. Steve also mentions how he likes the EQ at the bottom I think? Perhaps its more a tactile reason more than he admits too. In the end, as long as we are happy. thats what counts!
    Never the less, for whatever reasons, I do feel somewhat compelled to share my opinion for those thinking of investing in a console. If they are any better off, I doubt it, and you can't sell them to recoup the investment. Very few people will pay you, what you want. Its a used gear market and getting flooded with so much.

    If its a matter of impressing clients, or needing all those pre's to track, well then ya, but sonically, no way are they an improvement to modular or itb. And when they break down, your entire rig is down.
    Flying faders are also ridiculous. Why anyone would want a sloppy redundant sooner or later problem is beyond me a well. Please, someone enlighten me on that one?

    I've had automated faders and I hated th latency, DAW do all the better.
    Analog is never the same so how are automated faders ever as accurate for recall?

    Maybe the new crop of automated faders are better? My Neos has beautiful smooth 100m manual faders which I just love, but don't even use those much. No need to when you use your DAW proficiently. Why SPL did that is beyond me. They should leave them out. There is the odd time I do appreciate having them " if they are there, we use it". But I don't need those or the panning either. Its the rails and inserts that I only need. the rest is backward thinking.
  11. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I get you, I guess, what makes me dream of a legend mixer like a neve is the preamps and EQ and the signature sounds some offer. So I agree with you, a big mixer doesn't change anything if you are to mix ITB.
    I started to buy highend pre from that very reason. I wanted better pre than those I could find in semi pro mixers. I've always said that 32pre in a 3000$ mixer equal to maybe 60$ value for each pre. (if we consider the eq and other electronic features). The preamps I have are worth 400$ per pre to 1K (for the LA610). I can only believe that they will do a better job ;)

    As for tactile joy.. Yes I do like to work a board.. I'm doing that live a few times a year. I kept some contacts who hire me to do live sound some time. One of them have a Soundcraft K2, it sounds nice and warm compared to digital mixers other use.

    My work flow combines keyboard shortcuts, mouse, and the mackie control to help writing automations, so I'm well served on that side.

    I enjoy our exchange, I still have much to learn !
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I used to mix on a Soundcraft with Marten PA years back. It was fun! Ashley Crossovers, Crown Power. Simple system and we rocked. Bars held 500 people and it was one big party!

    Me too!:love:
  13. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I agree with Chris that with the right digital rig, you can turn out the same quality - and sometimes even better quality - than using gear that is older.

    I know that many people feel that the console sound is better than the digital mixing workflow alone, but I also suspect that there are those who actually prefer the sound of digital, but who miss the ability to put their hands on a board and manually mix.

    So, I think that one of the main attractions to the console-based workflow is that it gives the user that tactile, hands-on approach - the ability to actually reach up and tweak EQ, or move a fader, and for those of us who came up in that era, it's how we learned, so a part of us is connected to that method.

    Many of us who spent our formative years in the craft, working on consoles, feel that there is something "missing" with a mouse and keyboard as the main manual tools. And, some people are just more productive when they can actually see a mix laid out in front of them on an actual desk... Perhaps it has to do with how we perceive the process? Some are more visually-oriented, some are more hands-on, and yet, others took to the mouse and keyboard with no problems at all. I don't know if it's a Left-Brain/Right Brain kind of thing - it might be; there's no doubt that different people are more comfortable working with certain kinds of workflows.

    Familiarity can lead to more productive work. Speaking for myself, I know I'm much more productive when I'm not having to deal with the various complexities that a computer can present - things like RAM, CPU usage, buffer settings, interface issues, etc.

    There's no doubt that if you are a working engineer these days, that you have to be computer literate as well. I just find that sometimes, these things can actually inhibit my creative flow.

    But, as we all know, digital is here, and it's here to stay, so we have to acclimate and adjust to the various complexities that come with it.
  14. I would think in Steve's studio, all of those guitars hanging on the wall would resonate at odd frequencies? I wouldn't want that in my control room. If I had a control room. But that's his man cave and not really designed for any other engineers to use.
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I think work centers, where we write, track and produce are growing and growing. I think the control/ mixing room is being redefined. Mixing into master comes to mind.

    The perfect situation for me is to have everyone in my tracking/ control room where I am inspiring , playing with or producing too! There is a screen to see what we are doing, and we just keep making music like its one awesome happening.

    I know its not for every project, but for the stuff you can get it like that, its just a wonderful time.

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