AAD setup, university stiff

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by centervolume, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. centervolume

    centervolume Active Member

    Jul 10, 2011
    first time user

    I am teaching in a sprawling university "recording industry" program that is understaffed, budget crisis blah blah...
    I have been teaching business but now the production component needs assistance, univ wont hire more teachers...

    the one production guy who is there is running everything ADD and DDD, new avid c24 mixer etc.

    I come from an old school background recording to tape but this just isn't a useful platform for the student body - at least until we offer something that specialized. In addition we are going for pro tools certification site, so we are playing ball is it were.

    we are big enough to get a second platform together, and I am the guy for better or worse. So I am putting together for the first time a system that resembles the ones I recorded on before I became a teacher. From an educational point of view, it works well to have an analog heavy platform to show the historical aspects of production as well.

    These systems used the computer primarily as a tape machine but everything else was done on the analog board and outboard gear as opposed to what I consider as an infernal world of plug ins, modeling software and midi. Trying to impart a sense of of value for a REAL drum, string bass or horn sound, playing in time and on key.. you know - the stuff that USED to be important!

    Before I add in the old magnecorders, LA-2As and other fun old school analog toys, I want to get the basic signal flow straight in my head for tracking, dubbing and mixing. So far I have tracking set up but I am completely stumped on how to playback from pro tools and get the recorded tracks up on the analog board.

    I am guessing it has to do with the right I/O converter. I may have to get a new one, but wanted to seek some guidance!
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    You are probably in a good place to ask these questions. Chris (audiokid) is very interested in hybrid analog/digital systems, so there is a lot of material in the archives and more coming all the time. I'm mostly and "in the box" guy so I'm not the one with the answers.

    However, as another university stiff (math not music) whose daughter is in a music program at Duquesne let me play the devil's advocate against your basic plan. Your goal is to teach students, not make good music. You need to think about your teaching workflow in the analog domain vs. the digital. In the digital world, your students work for hours and then hand you a PT session file with all of their settings recorded and all of their actions automated. You can evaluate this in minutes, point out mistakes, even make corrections. In the analog world the only thing they can hand you is a two track mix. In order to evaluate their process you have to do it in real time. Regardless of what you think of the sound, there are huge advantages to the "infernal world" for teaching.
  3. centervolume

    centervolume Active Member

    Jul 10, 2011
    thanks bob!
    I am in line with where you are coming from- to the point that we intentionally under engineered our soon to be completed sound studio so as to not let a perfectly tuned room rob us of learning opportunities. That said, I am not sure to what degree my assessment techniques will weight the final PT session, since I am still in the initial stages of this adventure. But, using a hybrid platform will still allow for a copy of the pro tools session to be submitted. It may be such that an actual notebook (gasp!) with the production decisions is turned in. I know, I am a shrub killer for thinking this way.... and all those pencils!!

  4. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Any one of the HD I/Os should work for you. These have DB25 connectors as do most modern consoles. If the console you are using doesn't, you'll have to buy cables. Specifically, a D-Sub to XLR snake. There are analog and digital outputs on the HD I/Os so it should not be a problem.

    EDIT: I was asssuming that you are using an HD system. My mistake. I still think it would be the best way to go as HD(even HD Native) has fewer limitations than ProTools 9. If you decide to go otherwise, consider one of the Lynx systems.
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Mar 20, 2000
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    Thanks for the recommendation Bob, I'm the worst writer but I'll try.

    Hybrid, I think is the future for high end sound design but costly and more complicated in comparison to ITB. I'm still experimenting.

    The Lynx is the best bang for the buck, but I chose RME ADI-8 QS because they are more versatile including, I'm told, latency and sound quality but I've never done an A/B so that's only here say. There is far more hype on the Lynx and I'm pretty sure its because of simplicity and affordability for a single rack 16 IO plus they will also connect to Pro Tools HD via an optional interface card where the RME do not support Pro Tools Native or HD in that way.
    My Lavry AD DA 2 channel Blacks sounds even better than the RME but it would have cost about 20 grand for enough IO's so... I settled for high end mid level converters.
    The way I look at it, if you are going hybrid, you better have a high quality DAC to make it worth all the fuss or you are going to be joining the disappointed crowd and putting it all down because you missed the mark right off the bat. In my research, average DA converters, and what I'd call Lynx, isn't a consideration for hybrid. The DA is more important and I don't think they are the best choice if you are going for sound quality. If you are going for an education POV, then Lynx makes the most sense.

    With larger tracks, I group drums, bass, vocals, keyboards, FX , sounds that share similar transients / tones, MS ... including things that would be better in mono or wide stereo imaging as stems to the DA via dsub cables to an analog summing amp (SPL MixDream) that has plenty of inserts and a lot of headroom. ( I'm looking at the Roll Music Folcrom as another specialized summing system which takes another approach, Check that out too.)
    From there I 2-bus to the Dangerous Master (wonderful) which has the perfect monitoring and inserts for my 2-bus needs (My monitoring system is very important from this point on).
    Within all these summing systems, I do my analog thing which eventually all returns back to the DAW (or 2 track recording system) recorded as its own "hybrid stereo mix".
    I normalize that hybrid master track, Solo it and bounce it to become master ready or whatever next step I'm doing down the chain ( MP3, DVD CD etc). This whole process is a lot of extra steps but wow.

    I don't have PT9, yet, but I'm sure its pretty straight forward on how to do it. The ADI-8 QS have TRS, dsub, ADAT, SPDIF, and MADI so its all covered and is a choice converter for PT9 where the Lynx is DSub only (I think). RME is double the price for 16 ADDA but I felt it was worth it. If you stay with ProTools 9, the option Pro Tools interface card isn't an issue but if you plan to UPGRADE to Native or HD, you want a converter that has the avid interface option.
    Other than sound quality, those cables aren't cheap so take all that into consideration and I recommend 110 ohm digital Mogami for digital and audio cabling. My system is stellar quiet.

    There are many ways to skin a cat. I'm having fun with this one right now. Hope that helped.

    Check out this video, it helped me a lot.

    Fab Dupont explaining how and why he uses the Dangerous 2-bus for analog summing.

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