You opinion please.
O.K., I'm new to this stuff so please be patient. We're in the process of mastering my project and it was recorded and mixed in ProTools. The project is electronic music so I'm looking to add a little texture and warmth. I know there is no "magic box" that does this but, my question is this: Do you think a mix done digitally would benifit from running the mix out of ProTools into an analog compresser and back into ProTools? There is a place near me that rents analog rack systems and we were thinking of trying it. Any insite on this would be greatly appreiciated.
There really IS a magic box & only I have it!
Whooops, no that's really not true!!!!
First off I have to say that I think you should take your mixes to a mastering studio & not do them yourself, for the best results. The mastering engineer has a fresh set of ears for the project, is impartial, has perspective, special tools & a known listening enviornment in which to judge the changes you are making in EQ, comp, etc.
Heck, send it to me....
But seriously, if you insist on doing this yourself, try out your rack & listen carefully on a couple of systems outside of the room that your'e mastering in. Compare it to lots of already released product. There is no right or wrong way to EQ anything. We just had a long thread in this forum on running mixes to analog tape before mastering. Try lots of stuff. Just make it sound competitive & pleasing to you. Keep working on it till you get there.
I really think that a mastering engineer can get you there quicker & with a greater chance of getting it right the first time. That's what we try to do!
IF you really want to have fun, send a song to Don. Send one to me. We will do a song no charge. Compare them. Both will be different in their own way and both will be great. If you like one or anothers work, use that mastering engineer for the remainder of the tunes! This will do three things. It will show you where you are, where Don is and where I am. Then you can look back at your art from a different perspective and finally know what mastering is all about! It is not a competition between me and Don, it is just two different studios, two different perspectives and I just bet all three of us will get a hell of a kick out of it as well. We all will learn each others vibe and it will only help you to make your project the best!
Don, like to give it a shot? I am game for a cut.
If you think this is a stupid idea, say so, I can call it off.
Then we all can compare and you can pick what you like about Don and my work and it will help you no doubt in the end. You will finally see what the heck can be done!
However, is highly suggest that you do *not* look at it as a competition because it is not. Just look at the perspectives and go from there.
There are a few ways to warm up your mixes. depending on the sounds you are using, tape is one way. But some of the sounds will lose their spike more on tape, which may or may not be what you want. Tube gear will also shave off some spikes but not as much as tape. The tubes will also add some harmonics which can fatten things up. gear that uses transformers can be nice but more subtle than the above. The crane song dither will fatten things up a little if it's never seen analog. Also listen to some music near what your doing that was recorded and or mixed analog and really listen to the sounds and how they sit. This will give you some ideas while mixing that you can try to make it sound more analog like. But if your renting gear and trying things out, it can get expensive looking for the right combination of things before you begin to approach what your looking for. If your looking for it to sound the best it can, then send it to someone to master. if your looking to just experiment, then rent some gear and see how things work. Maybe you'll get some ideas for future projects.
If you're gonna leave the digital domain you may want to rent a set of D/A and A/D converters if you don't already have good quality converters at your place. That will definitely make the transition both ways smoother sounding. You may also want to consider the Crane Song HEDD which adds even and higher order odd harmonics while staying digital. Reference your mixes to The Crystal Method's "Tweekend". It's one great sounding electronica CD.
"you may want to rent a set of D/A and A/D converters if you don't already have good quality converters at your place. "
Is that digital to analog / analog to digital converters? Any model you can recommend on this? The sound I really like, is the sound that Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto) gets, but he doesn't reveal his mastering technics or his gear for the back end of his production. If anyone has a url for that info that would be great. Thanks for advice guys.
Yes, digital to analog / analog to digital. I'm not sure what your local rental house has available but if they have an Apogee PSX-100 try that.
Just so you don't think it's just mastering engineers saying you shouldn't master it yourself...
The album I did I was originally planning to master myself using a focusrite mixmaster. The problem I found was that it was very difficult to try and hear the songs from the overall perspective, and I kept listening to them as mixes. Once I got the first reference back from the mastering engineer, that was a real ear-opener, and it was as if that mental block had been lifted. If this is a project that you've taken from start to finish, then I'd say it's definately time to get new ears on it!