Analog Summing + Printing in other computer

Discussion in 'Summing / Mastering consoles' started by Víctor, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. Víctor

    Víctor Active Member

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    I read something at gearslutz that make me think but didnt understand 100%

    Im into analog summing, my setup is Orion32 as converters, 2Bus+ and Pure2 for capturing the whole mix.

    Someone wrote "Without going on too much more, for those really wanting to take hybrid past the playground, if you are using the same computer to go ADDA, "The Round Trip", you are already defeated. Two DAW's and high headroom analog in the middle works. If I couldn't do that, I would stay ITB."

    I have to say that i print my mixes in the same projetc, i dont know how could i benefit of doing it in another computer.

    Why another computer for printing? Ive seen this do it to Luca Petrolesi with another computer... but why? Does it change much the sound doing it with another one?

    Best regards,

    V.
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    I started the quest into what resulted in the two-box method by trying to emulate the apparently superior quality of the "direct-to-disc" stereo jazz recordings in the early days of stereo LPs.

    The analogy of the two-box process that I came up with is a stereo microphone plus pre-amp set up to record something like a jazz combo or a symphony orchestra. In the two-box mixdown method, it's the job of the first box to provide the raw tracks representing the orchestral instruments, and then the analogue mixer takes these and produces the 2-track output. The second box captures the stereo mix as though it were the output of a 2-channel pre-amp being fed by the stereo microphone. I found that once you get that model in your mind, you separate out the complexities and a lot of things become simpler.

    Capturing the 2-bus mix on the same computer that is sourcing the raw tracks has several shortcomings, including:

    (a) It (usually) stops you choosing different hardware for the DAC reproduction of the source tracks and the ADC capture of the mix. In particular, the stereo ADC is the critical component in the two-box method, and audio interfaces that do a respectable job in outputting many analogue tracks may not give you the quality you want on the stereo capture. With OSX/macOS you can indeed aggregate audio interfaces, but in my experience the technique is not bullet-proof, and it does restrict the number of tracks that can be reliably output concurrent with stereo capture.

    (b) You are constrained to working at the same sampling rate as the raw tracks. It means, for example, you can't use the 2-box mixdown method for generating CD mixes starting from 96KHz tracks. One of the principal aims of the two-box method is to avoid the explicit use of a sampling rate converter (SRC).

    (c) There is a fixed phase relationship between the output samples and input samples. This can emphasize sampling characteristics in the audio hardware that would be not noticeable when there is no synchrony between output and input, even at the same nominal sampling rate.

    We have had many threads here in RO about the two-box method. Try the search facility to locate aspects that particularly interest you.
     
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  3. Víctor

    Víctor Active Member

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    Im mixing and mastering my own stuff, and im working in the same sample rate wich im going to release the tracks, 44.1khz.

    I hear what im going to record and also whats is recorded after, and for me is the same.

    There is no synchrony on the audio of what i hear and what i record after, btw.

    I will try to search other threads of this topic, im a little bit confused with all this.
     
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    The point about the two-box process is that it starts to makes a difference at the high end (of quality, not frequency). The higher the quality of your recorded tracks and of your listening gear, the more you are able to hear a difference. This is not the Emperor's new clothes, it's a real effect.

    Whether you like what you hear is a different matter, and you may choose to retain your DAW-mixed masters if you perceive them to give a better reproduction of what you are looking for as a recording of those particular performers.

    Many years ago I used to go through a process that I called "mastering" of my own mixed tracks. That all changed when the performers in a couple of sessions I recorded were willing to pay for the mixes to be sent to an external mastering house. I couldn't believe the sound of what came back from the first set of tracks, so when the second set came up later, I asked if I could sit in the room with the ME to see and hear what he was doing. That single session made a huge difference to how I listened to what I was mixing. The result was that, with a bit of practice, I was able to generate mixes that were both much more ME-friendly, and, in the charity cases where I finished them off myself, gave a significantly better "mastered" result. It wasn't just down to the set of mastering gear that the ME used, it was having a different, trained set of ears listening to my work and dealing with a whole raft of small problems that were there but that I was overlooking.
     
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  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    One thing I remember Chris ( @audiokid ) said about the 2 DAW setup is that it's possible to mix into master in realtime so it makes the decision process much easier.
    The effect of going analog with decoupled clock and interface and in a seperate recording unit or computer is what makes the biggest difference, so they say.

    I'm nowhere near attempting such setup but one thing I know is it's futil to go OTB without pristine conversion. If you are to degrade the signal it's better to stay ITB... (which is what I do now)
     
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  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    i don't agree. i've noticed what i perceived as an an improvement even with cheap converters and summing through a cheap table top Mackie mixer into a stand alone CD recorder.
     
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  7. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Stereo round trip: Well... sonically what you likely perceived as an improvement was what happens when you take any stereo wave and pass it through another analog device.All its doing is shifting the stereo waves like adding a touch of chorus. Curious... How did your process sum in mono after you did this?

    Mono round trip:
    If I recall your time line, The early converters sounded pretty raspy... Any analog device softened them which was the big buzz back then. Back in the day converters sounded like crap so any analog change helped smear or soften the rasp.

    imho
     
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  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    :rolleyes: ..... i always check mono. long story but it was an issue once and i never made that mistake again. :ROFLMAO:

    these were Alesis AI3 24/48 converters that had only line inzanoutz, set at +4 levels (i'm pretty sure these are the same as used in the Alesis HD 24) and a Frontier sound card through a Mackie SR24 with Cubase DAW.

    from the start, I had issues with how Cubase itb mixes sounded. when i would record tracks, they sounded fine. when i mixed itb however the mix was flat and dull to my ears. not harsh. harsh was not the problem. mixes with a lack of dimension and dull and lifeless closed in sound was.

    once i began to sum a few stems through a mixer and recording to a second recorder through the analog inputs things came back to life and sounded more like they did at capture. itb summing was the culprit imo. computers do a wonderful job for a lot of things but as a replacement for a mixer or summing they don't hit the mark. one reason a lot of manufacturers are making new consoles again.
     
  9. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I ment doing it roundtrip isn't worth it.. I admit I didn't test any of the summing configuration... ;)
     
  10. Víctor

    Víctor Active Member

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    Afaik you can mix master also in the same daw, i have to buy the cables to do it wich i hope i will do soon, but the root will be Daw >Orion32 >2Bus+ >Orion32(Daw Master Bus) >Pure2

    Im with Antelope orion32 converters, they are very nice.

    So the real thing of recording in another computer is about the SRC, isnt it? But for me is not doing nothing because i stay in the same sample rate, so i dont have to convert.
     
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Humbly speaking specific to this topic: After extensive hands on > OTB vs ITB (mixing, mastering and summing) my conclusion and choice way to work would be to incorporate 2 DAW's > one set up for tracking and mixing and the second DAW set up to capture and master. I prefer to use the same DAW program on both computer because it makes it easy to switch, import/ export or exchange to and from equal DAWs for obvious reasons. My choice of DAW's are Samplitude or Sequoia.

    basic requirement:
    two computers> one loaded with a mixing DAW and the other loaded with a mastering DAW
    • two high quality converters
    • stand alone monitoring system. example Dangerous Monitor ST, SPL MTC.
    That being said, the new generation of high quality converters sound rich and open to me. When I've used high quality converters, compared what OTB summing does to a track or a mix I instantly hear the amazing DAC smear and degrade.
     
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  12. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    partly this.

    If all you are doing is mastering and tweaking a few aspects of a mix then you may not need to go belong one DAW. However, if you are already part way here and using something like the Orion 32 then you are beyond the basic mastering a 2 mix correct?

    So... If I am stem mixing and want a more advanced way to study and mix or master I would mix into a master or master into a master as well. To me this entire process is more about better workflow that helps isolate and study, compare processing, cause and effect. Its about hearing what you are doing.
     
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  13. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    To me , two DAW's (not two boxes) demystifies and exposes how unimportant OTB mixing and mastering gear is in comparison to how important hearing deeper into a mix and being able to compare change more efficiently.
     
  14. Víctor

    Víctor Active Member

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    Cool. Yeah, now im understanding better.

    But the thing is with this root Daw >Orion32 >2Bus+ >Orion32(Daw Master Bus) and then by Spdif>Pure2 (Capture of the final MixMaster) i can mix/ master at the same time

    I dont think i need another computer and also another converter to mix/master at the same time.

    I need to mix/ master at the same time, that was i did when i was ITB, but i wasnt recording, i was making a bounce online... didnt like it.
     
  15. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I think you had good answers to why decoupling is better. It's up to you to do your own experiment and decide if it's worth it or not for what you do...
    As an exemple, someone doing hiphop with samples already mastered may not need to do much to achive a great sound.
    On the other hand recording a jazz trio with great instruments, room, mics, preamps will also be easy to mix since the genre ask for natural sounding instruments.

    Another aspect that wasn't discussed is the computer ressources. I don't know about you but many of my projects have more than 30 tracks because I mostly record/mix full band instrumentation. They are often recorded live in the studio or overdubed.
    The point is, if I do a full mix of the song and then add mastering plugins, my computer will crash. Of course I can go for a bigger buffer size but you get the picture.
    Since I don't have the budget to go OTB with nice gear or have a second computer. The way I do it is mixing, exporting the mix into a Stereo file then I take all the songs in a new project and do my master.
     
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  16. ronmac

    ronmac Active Member

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    Another workflow to consider is to export stems from your tracking DAW and import them into a session in Harrison Mixbus for final mixing/mastering. Mixbus has a deliberate distortion added to the buses for an analogue style summing experience. You can adjust this to taste on each track, so it can be the best/worst of both worlds. Easy to try, and with a trial download of Mixbus you are not out of pocket if it doesn't please you.
     
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  17. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    once again i reiterate two computers are not required to do this. you can print a two mix to any stand alone recorder with analog inputs. you can then take those 2 mix files and reload them into your DAW for mastering. of course you can't "mix and master" at the same time but to me that doesn't really qualify as real mastering.
    it's more like mixing in two stages.

    there's what i call bullsh*t mastering and real mastering. mastering to me means taking your mix's to different ears in a different room and system that is optimized for mastering. typical recording studio control rooms aren't suited to mastering. it's a specialized task requiring special systems, monitors and rooms that cost far more than the typical pro or home studio.
     
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  18. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Nicely said, I personally call mine pseudo mastering ;)
     
  19. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    Forgive me for double checking this, but is the actual two box method AD-DA-AA-AD-DA? This is better?
     
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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