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I have been mixing ITB but considering building a summing mixer to mix OTB.

I would think the best signal path would be to take buses out of the daw, mix together in summing box then run through any analoge processers of choice, and then resample into anouther daw running at 16/44.1 thereby achieving the best sound quality by avoiding any SRC at the same time. IOW you've completely avoided any SRC, yet haven't added any DAC/ADC from what it would take to mix outside the box alone.

How do people then get these results when sending their mixes off to a mastering engineer? I don't imagine ME's want to see mixes already converted to 16/44.1, yet if I wanted to mix OTB this would be my only option unless I was to resample at hi res and let the ME do the SRC, resulting in one more DAC/ADC than necessary, assuming the ME is downsampling. Either way there is more processing than necessary.

Seems to me the only way to accomplish this would be to master the mix at the time of mixdown, anything else would be a compromise. Keep in mind I am talking ideals here, if I wanted to compromise I'd just keep mixing ITB.

To me this all seems to point to the fact that maybe the line between ME's and MIX Engineers will be or should be a little more blurred than they are now. Possibly integrating the two or maybe working together on the same mix at the same time to get the best results possible.

Any thoughts?

kidindoor Tue, 12/06/2005 - 14:08

you seem to be so afraid of converting your signal to analog and then to digital that I don't know why you don't want to mix ITB...technically speaking it is the best way to preserve the quality of your mix.....thousands of great records have been done by converting to analog each track to put them together on an analog console and then reconverted to two tracks digital....Now if you have the choice and very good sounding analog gear (and you want to use it for the sound of it) and a very good A/D converter, record the mix in 24 bits/44.1 on the same DAW or another one, you will get better results than recording in 16 bits, and let the mastering engineer tweak and adjust your mix to finally dither it in 16 bits at the last stage....

Eriksmusicproduction Wed, 12/07/2005 - 13:45

I'm not really that afraid to convert DAC-ADC, its just that I have been looking into mixing OTB and one of the advantages to my way of thinking is that you could resample at the end format and avoid the dithering process as well (Correct me if I'm wrong but the dithered SRC seems to screw with the sound a little bit) But most ME's from what I hear use analog mastering equipment anyway so they would be doing an additional conversion. Just seems to me the best way would be to integrate the two at the same time.

I realize the diff. is extremely small with good converters but it should still be there.

kidindoor Wed, 12/07/2005 - 14:19

that's true, but I think you have better results when you record in 24 bits and keep it 24 bits until the last stage especially if you have some quiet moments in your mix. That way you can also keep your final mix in 24 bits for further other uses of your music or for 24 bits media that will appear in the future. Of course if you know the mastering engineer and if you know he (or she) will use analog gear, it is also a good idea to do a 24bits/96 khz version for him (or her) which is good for the future too. But if you absolutely want to record it in 16 bits, UV22 (from 24 bits Apogee converters) is a good process to use, I think. I would be less confident in the digital sampling rate conversion (from 96khz to 44.1 khz for instance) than the digital dithering from 24 bits to 16 bits, but that's only my opinion.

kidindoor Thu, 12/08/2005 - 00:49

I don't understand, you mean you will do the mastering yourself ? You spoke of an another mastering engineer ? You told me you were intended to mix in 16 bits/44.1 then directly to the master CD ? that means you don't want to do any mastering anymore or you meant recording the master in 16bits/44.1 doing the mastering before ? I don't follow you....

Eriksmusicproduction Thu, 12/08/2005 - 01:16

What I meant was that the only way to accomplish the signal chain I talked about was to do any "mastering" at the time of mixdown. Which would also be the time of resampling at 16/44.1 and from there on wouldn't be changed any.

So as your mixing down, someone (an ME, or even yourself) will be "mastering" it as well, sticking whatever equipement is needed between the DAW and the resample DAW, as well as whatever an ME usually does. only difference is that its at the same time.

I hope my question wasn't too convoluted, sorry bout that.


kidindoor Thu, 12/08/2005 - 02:16

Ok, now it's clear, I think it's not a good idea because a professional ME will not accept to master your project in a studio and on monitors and with devices he doesn't know (they usually work always in the same places they know very well..) another reason is that you will not have a "non mastered" mix for future other uses when you think of the number of mastering that exist of Pink Floyd's "Dark side of the moon" album for instance, you will understand that it's a good idea to keep the mix for future new mastering or other uses like using your song on a film project, advert etc. Another reason for not doing this is that it 's very good idea to separate the mix and mastering process even if you do the mastering yourself, don't master your song the morning after the day you mixed, take a little time to listen to it on some different monitors, at home or different places and type of system, you will get a better idea of what your mix need to sound like a final master, it is a good idea too to master the different songs of an album, after mixing all the songs and knowing the playing order of them, it is very important to know how the songs before and after will sound like. If you do it yourself try to forget the mixing process and try to listen to your song like if it was the first time you were listening to it, that's the first reason why I would advise you to ask someone else to master your song. Sometimes we get so focused to some details in a mix that it is more interesting to get another pair of "fresh" ears (especially if you also producing the song....). Why do you want to do the mix and mastering at the same time ? I think compare to all these reasons, the advantage of recording the final master instead of recording a "mix to master" is so weak that I don't advise you to do so....Have a good day !

Reggie Thu, 12/08/2005 - 08:18

If it is the dither process you are afraid of, then you can probably find a ME who will follow your special request when they master your 44.1/24 mix. Since they will prolly be sending the mix out through at least a partially analog chain, then you might as well send them your full resolution mix, let them send it through their chain, and tell them to record the master at 44.1/16 rather than dithering down from a higher bitrate. There will still be one extra A/D/D/A than with your proposed method, but I think it would be too big a pain in the arse for everyone involved trying to do a dueling mix/master combo.