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Ok, I'm gonna muddy the water around here. I want to know what everybody thinks about dig recording, Pro Tools in particular.
I want to like it, I really do. But I had a session recently where the project was all 24 trk 2". We decided to load one tune into ProStools for some serious editing. After a day and a half, I think we got something better, but when I started to mix, about 2 hours into it, I turned around and said, "What the fuck happened to the sound?" The assistant, who also did the editing said, "ProTools!"

MicrophoneMan Mon, 08/20/2001 - 18:23

I think it all has to do with one's application of things, and their use of the tools.

I for one, at heart am a minimalist - I love to record bands with a stereo pair of mics - in the right room, moving the instruments around manually to position them in the soundfield. This to me is the ultimate in imaging, and depth perception - yet I equally love recording instruments close, and blending their sounds together. While the recording does not maintain the pure open and clean image of a 2-track recording, it can have larger images - or thicker tones, basically its a recording that can translate to many listening systems for enjoyment - where as the stereo 2-track recording only does justice on a propper playback system.

Point being, I love to do things the purist way - it's what got me obsessed with the art of recording - yet songwriting, and production have made me love the art of multi-channel recording and editing. I try my best to encorporate my minimalist philosophy into that world, and in then end all is usually well.

As far as pro-tools goes, perhaps I have the luxury of being young, and having my first real recorder be a digital one (DAT). The reason I call this a luxury, is that I was slapped in the face with the harshness of a Sony DAT, and had to work to get a good sound - and eventually I learned how to get the most of of the recording medium. Time in and time out I would work with analog recorders, and things were just so much easier to get tone with, it would boggle my mind. I think that some of you that have had the luxury of nice analog desks and 2"for many years have had a hard transition over to digital, which is completly understandable. For me, digital is just what I know, so I deal with it.

I must also shamelessly admit that since I have been exposed to the way one can make an album with a DAW, the way I'd make a record has changed - I can see myself cutting the basic tracks for alot of instrumental bands analog - yet with other types of music, the use of computer editing is something I crave, especially the ease of automation.

I can understand people disliking digital if it really does degrade sound quality at a stage in their project - yet for me, I am still one to think that it is silly to blame any equipment for things (entirely, that is). I find some people spend WAY too much time debating what sounds better - and I also hear WAY too many big label albums with zero sonic space, zero imaging, and zero feel.

I believe it is all user-specific. For me, I have grown up with digital and think my ability to make it sound good has improved over the years - could my technique with a nice desk and 2" sound better, perhaps - yet I haven't worked in that world enough to know. Will I one day be a guy who will only mix on a desk, I highly doubt it. Will I be a guy that when I am in houses with 2", start knocking the sound of digital, I doubt that too. Right now, I'm working with a purely digital system (excluding my mic and outboard stash) - and getting a pretty good sound - yet some albums still make me feel like piss and wonder if it's all in the analog, or year of ear development.

McSnare - may I ask what conversion you used to go into PT? How hard you hit the levels upon transfer? and was any summing done in the computer? If not, and the edits/conversion just made things sound bad - then that's either fault of the conversion or plug-in's used. Please share more with me on what went on and why you think it went sour?

signed - a guy that would be happier than a guy with jessica biel if he found a mix+ system on his doorstep.

Dave McNair Mon, 08/20/2001 - 19:42

The transfer was done right off of tape to 888's and 24 bit Pro Tools. I know, I know, we didn't have Apogee's or name your fav converters here. The levels were plenty healthy for 24 bit. I just like to complain. By the way, the song still fuckin' rocked, and thats the important thing.

Member for

20 years 8 months

NEVE8068 Mon, 08/20/2001 - 20:21

Man Fuck FUCK SHIT TOOLS aand I hope Julians reading this in his mix plus glory. IT SOUNDS LIKE
SHIT no two ways about it. Give me a 2" machine and a band anyday oh yeah and dont forget the razorblade also. Music was never made to be perfect its human. And all that Shit Tools does is to make it unhuman thin etc.etc.etc... Use real gear not plug ins that will be worth a dime in 10 years . Oh yeah the funny thing about all of this shit with Shit Tools is once they go up to 96 K You all will have to begin the Vicious CYCLE of buying all new hardware and fyou know digi will do this so you get fucked by the sound and the company . Now does a tape machine fuck you like that no it's like qa faithful friend that will always be thhere for you . MARK

Ang1970 Mon, 08/20/2001 - 20:21

:) )

888's huh? Sucks to be you. Make sure you rent something decent next time. Those things suck big ass. Or at least slap a decent master clock on em.

There is some evidence that PT itself screws up the sound, but only if you change the faders in PT. For direct in/out like a tape machine, the only variables in the equation are ADC, DAC, and clock source.

p.s. :-Light Spliff-: :-Pass to Mark Owen-: Chill dude, hehe. ;)

Mixerman Mon, 08/20/2001 - 21:39

Oh, this is good. It's these discussions that really make a forum worth having. McSnare, you have brought up one of my favorite topics here. Mark Owen, you're a pistol. I love it!

I'd like to see some opinions on this before I weigh in. So let's hear what YOU have to say.


Member for

20 years 8 months

ghoost Mon, 08/20/2001 - 21:46

888's are definitly Not The Ticket ... and the heavily advertised / marketed Appogee's aren't quite all they're crackd up to be either. :)

Kyle Ober

anonymous Tue, 08/21/2001 - 00:46

Working with PT it is a constant challenge to get good results 'sweating blood' is a good description.

On analog sessions, if I look back at them, I never found them 'a walk in the park' either. For me, making records overall is not 'a breeze', I find them - hard work. In that respect, there has been no change in my move over to total PT operation.

There are financial aspects of my business set up (I have become a music publisher recently and am starting to punt more with spec deals) that suit the low cost back up / tape cashflow avoidance that you get with DAW recording. The ability to hop from one project to another with instant ease suits the studios' hectic schedualing.

Not using analog any more, I can only admit to trying to develop a 'different' sound within the sphere on my production work.
If I were to have to put a name to it, it could be defined as the:"Cranesong / Apogee Special Edition / vintage outboard classics / outboard digital reverb / Pro Tools internal mixer & plug ins " sound.
My mission - to make my clients happy with the results...

I make no bones here that I am gambling with my own clients work in this total swap-over to Pro Tools.(and I should point out that I took a year off regular work, to do many 'trainer' projects for free or little money, to get up to speed and used to "making a record all in PT") I rely on my 19 years experience of engineering & producing in commercial (analog) music studios to get me (and them) through to the end with great results.

I dont claim victory here. If I get better at it, who loses? If I get great material out there, who wins in the end? PT or 'the songs'?

I like the sound of a good Studer, I just dont use em much anymore. I make 'Pro Tools records' now.


Rog Tue, 08/21/2001 - 01:22

Both analog and DAW have lots to offer. Sound-wise, does anyone actually believe that DAWs are better than 2"? With the compromise in quality DAWs give you you also get more flexibilty, a chance to do things which are impossible on multitrack analog and a chance to be more 'creative' in your edits and mixes.

It's a trade off so in a perfect world, 2" would be used for acoustic instruments and a synced DAW would be used for treatments, MIDI, funky plugins, etc. All this would go through an analog desk as DAW 'desks' ruin the sound and a good analog desk can actually add to the sound.

Anyone disagree?

In addition, I think DAWs can lead to laziness, a tendancy to fix stuff later, etc. When working with analog I'm more of a perfectionist, it HAS to be perfect going in or I'll ask for another take, and another, and another.

Maybe it's my perspective and my biases speaking as I've grown up with digital stuff and I have less experience with analog multitrack but DAWs are easy, fixing crap up is easy, fucking up beats is easy ... if it's all so easy why does it not sound as good as the result of hard work and tape?

MicrophoneMan Tue, 08/21/2001 - 04:02

these are just the same kind of posts that come about

the only thing I can relate to are certain types of preamps - I really don't like them, or like to work with them, yet I can - and am over my snobbery over them.

As for conversion - it is half the battle. To anyone with a Mix+ rig (or looking to buy one), by all means grow some balls and tell your salesman that you don't need an 888/24. Buy the ADAT-Bridge and save yourself being tied into a 3k piece that sounds bad and will quickly be outdated. The way I see it, when you are locked into buying Digidesign hardware - buy the least you can, and buy some other converters for the same price that sound alot better

- adat bridge - $900
- 2xRME ADI-8 - $3000

- one 888/24 - $2900

the RME's can output either TDIF or Lightpipe, which means they can double as front end's to da-x8s, or anything else with a Lightpipe in, hence versatility.

anyways - back to the whole protools love deal. I'd really love to spend some time working in a room with Mixerman, McSnare, etc - that use the glorious 2" - so that I can start making some futher decisions with my own ears - and see what is done in the computer that others may not like.
Mixerman, If you could hook up a good session for me - I'd scrounge up some of those credit-card flyer miles - McSnare, NYC I could be there in 2 hours.

Someone needs to start the "adpot a digitized youth" program on here. I've managed to avoid the temptations of going to audio school, yet a few of my friends were not so fortunate - and they now work stockroom jobs (and mumble about the neve capricorn they worked on)

Member for

20 years 8 months

MichaelEarthMedia Tue, 08/21/2001 - 04:20

I record Gigs live into ProTools up to 32 Tracks.Neve, Massenberg, API, RCA & Telefunken Pres.AD8000 Apogee's .B&K 4009 etc.The whole thing is racked up to lug around,Hard Disc real estate is cheap I could not afford to take a 2 " around with me. I could not afford to edit mix & master in the tight turnaround time on any other medium. Most of the recordings are for TV music documentaries
But there is always a Double CD to remix at the end of the gig. Having instantly recallable mixes from months before at my finger tips means wading through a vast amount of material (300 gig+) easy.
The Tech would still be aligning the MCI & writing me the fucking invoice while I finished 2 or 3 mixes.I have no big beef about the sound. It took over a year & a 1/2 when I first got into digital to get any thing that stood up and listing back I think it sucks now. It is really hard work to get to the point where you feel good about your mixes on digital even when everyone & the record company say they are happening. But at the moment I feel really good about the ease at which a musical idea can be laid down & the technology is totally instant. There has never been a time when the technology has made a seamless transition from Idea to reality. The technology is not in the road of the music. It has never paused an idea from being realized. On the contrary, Ideas that come up are instantly able to be tried out without any loss of time. Creativity is King once again! (not that there is a market for good music anymore. MTV fucked that!!!!!!!)For a lot of musician committing to tape is an imposing thing, It's kind of final, set in stone. The costs kind of prohibit any new artist from any kind of lengthy experimentation.Nobody thinks very much about a computer being anything special. Everyone's got one! So it kind of cheap en's the idea of recording, But the results can still make you millions!!!Learn how to use it or don't whine,You are the one who made it sound fucked!!!
Regards Michael

MMazurek Tue, 08/21/2001 - 04:21

I probably wouldn't be learning to record & mix at all right now if it weren't for DAW's (ProTools).

Is opportunity a factor?

Is the ProTools vs Analog a matter of easier/more difficult, or is it really can/can't?

I'm always intrigued by how heated this type of topic gets. When two people decide to disagree on favorite microphones, it seems to drop quickly. Same with other gear. It ends up being "whatever gets the job done" or "hey, that's your style/sound, no prob".

Am I nuts?

anonymous Tue, 08/21/2001 - 12:45

Michael Earth
RO Member
Member # 1177

It is really hard work to get to the point where you feel good about your mixes on digital even when everyone & the record company say they are happening.


Thing is I could go back to recording to tape anytime and not skip a beat, it is tricky to learn how to make a record in a DAW, is that a not a valuable skill in the new century?
As for novice DAW recordists who have never used tape before, Dont forget their rigs ARE multitracks, provided they were working in a well maintained studio, someone could write down on a note pad all they need to know about setting levels to tape, all the hot air on "pushing tape" and recording 'hot levels' the "black art of the analog recording masters" is a total crok! It's fukin childs play setting levels!


Member for

20 years 8 months

blake eat world Tue, 08/21/2001 - 15:07

The RME's are very clean and true, no color but they're freakin converters color is not needed. When i bought my ADi-8 PRO it was like $850 at

good luck,


anonymous Tue, 08/21/2001 - 15:08

Weird thing.....well maybe not so weird, I probably have sunken in excess of $25k in digi hardware and over the past year ive been reverting back to analog. Just picked up a 2 inch a few weeks ago and currently shopping for a large format analog desk.

Member for

20 years 8 months

otherw Tue, 08/21/2001 - 16:28

Newbie here. Interested in the RME converters, but can't find info on yahoo. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

MicrophoneMan Tue, 08/21/2001 - 18:12

Newbie here. Interested in the RME converters, but can't find info on yahoo. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

I'm not solid on the official RME site, or know who deals them. Yet I have made believers out of a few ad-8000 owners with the unit with the Nuendo silkscreen on the front. - products - 8 I/O

great piece for the cash - yet as of late, I'm having a hard time spending any money on anything that doesnt help write a song, or wont maintain its value or use in 2 years.

riconga Tue, 08/21/2001 - 19:35

I wonder how much age has to do with it? I grew up on analog (mono) equipment most of which my father built. I think my ears are tuned that way now, biased by what i got used to when I was most impressionable. My kid on the other hand thinks HD recording is great and actualy likes the sound of mp3's. I cant hear the difference between pro tools and nuendo although Im told by others they can. I used to think anything digital sucked but now that Im getting used to it I realize my perception probably has more to do with early influences than any real "quality" value. (i dont hear alot of difference between 20 and 24 bit either but i can sure hear a big difference between tube and solid state) anyone else notice this age bias?

Teacher Tue, 08/21/2001 - 20:39

do all these argument for and against pro tools go for all computer software logic, cubase, sonar etc... or are they worse/better?

ALl i know is DAW recording so i'm not to knowledgable on the subject analog recorders are too expensive...heh

Mixerman Tue, 08/21/2001 - 21:10

Originally posted by McSnare:
Ok, I'm gonna muddy the water around here. I want to know what everybody thinks about dig recording, Pro Tools in particular.
I want to like it, I really do. But I had a session recently where the project was all 24 trk 2". We decided to load one tune into ProStools for some serious editing. After a day and a half, I think we got something better, but when I started to mix, about 2 hours into it, I turned around and said, "What the fuck happened to the sound?" The assistant, who also did the editing said, "ProTools!"

Alright, it's time for my take on this one. There's no doubt, if you use 888's and the USD clock, you can kiss those great sounds goodbye. However, compared to what happens when you move the faders, they are at the very least useable.

I was working on a project where we would record drums, and then transfer them to Pro Tools, and then the PT operator would edit them in the next room, while we recorded the next song.

At one point in the project I had the individual Direct Outputs of PT into the console like it was a tape machine. At one point I switched songs, and suddenly the drums went to shit. I started changing levels, but couldn't balance them (which is very odd), so then I reached for some EQ, and had to do some really whacky EQ's, and I still couldn't get the drums to sound good after about 5 minutes. Mind you, when I started, I could put a balance up on the drums and they sounded the way I wanted them to with no EQ whatsoever.

After a few minutes, the Producer walks in, and inquires "What the hell happened to the drums?". I had an 'aha',looked back at the computer monitor, and the faders were out of unity gain. When the editor was working on the tracks, he was listening to them as a stereo track, so he had balances within PT's but forgot to reset them to unity. The moment they were put back in unity I could get a decent drum sound fairly quickly. It wasn't as great as it was off tape, but it didn't CONPLETEY lose its integrity.

Now, I'm familiar with several other clocks that are much better, but in regards to converters I've not used the RME converters, or the Cranesong converters, or even the db technology blue converters. So I'm only familiar with shit as far as PT is concerned. Most people I know feel the appogee converters are only marginally better, which has been my experience as well.

If you use Pro Tools stock, you're not doing yourself any favors. It's below mediocre. If you tie in some great converters, it will be an acceptable tape machine, but it'll cost you a grip and a half.

As far as I'm concerned, the biggest flaw with pro tools is the math. Move a fader, and your audio is irreparably damaged. It baffles me why people would buy a system that will be obsolete in 3 years, sounds like shit, and costs more than a quality analog machine that is, well, proven to sound good.

But PT is easy, and that's what most people care about today. It's very easy to put blinders on and pretend it's almost as good, when it doesn't come close.

If you think that PT sounds good, you're fooling yourself. If you think that an ADAT sounds good you're fooling yourself. But none of that has anything to do with a great song, and a great performance. A great song and great performance, recorded by a great producer and engineer will transcend the mediocre system it was recorded on. But we're losing out on that last bit of magic that could come from the recording, and to me that's tragic.

To the average listener, it doesn't mean a shit. These are not important things to the everyman. But I contend that even the everyman will pick the analog recording blind every time. And he'll have no idea why. And the oddest thing of all is that you can put your scope on it all you want and measure it to the zillionth nano-micron of a whatever, and it won't mean a shit, 'cause the everyman can pick it out blind.