Analog Summing Valid or Voodoo?

Discussion in 'Summing / Mastering consoles' started by daveski69, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I'm going Folcrom on my next rig.

    In my opinion, you don't want the analog coupled to the mastering AD DA in any way. Its best the analog section of the 2 DAW system is independent and before the AD DA of DAW 2.
    The advanced steps of this system are idea if you can build it up to a point where you can stem mix or sum on either DAW 1 or DAW 2.

    If you can include mastering DAW software on DAW 2, this is ideal as well. DAW 2 is my full on mastering suite.
     
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    (Edited to say a bit more)
    (Note for those just sorting through all this information, be clear how we use "tracking hardware" is not to be confused with mixing or mastering). Thus, once ITB, stay ITB.

    My last rig had many of the worlds finest analog "mixing and mastering" boutique tools available and I used top end AD DA for everything.
    Which ever analog way you go, to my ears after incorporating thousands of dollars in hardware, then comparing everything to the nth degree..., the mastering section on DAW 2 is where the most significant aspect of this entire system excels.
    Being able to study your mix-downs, move them around, compare various captures side by side and master it all on DAW 2 is where the workflow and demystifying blooms.

    When you make DAW 2 your mastering DAW and for example, load it with something like Sequoia ... most of the analog "mixing and mastering hardware market" starts "sounding" like a big big waste of money.
     
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    In its simplest form, the way to think about the two-box process is that it's like recording a single stereo microphone (and pre-amp). All the tracking, data storage, effects and individual track dynamics are handled by the tracking device (box 1). At mixdown, box 1 outputs via a multi-channel D-A to an analogue stereo summing device. The 2-track mixed output of this device represents the stereo microphone, which is simply digitised by the capture unit (box 2). Any necessary effects and dynamics needed at the 2-track mix stage can be applied in the capture unit.

    The most sensitive (quality-critical) part of the two-box process is the stereo capture ADC, so you may want to consider targeting your future gear purchases in that direction. Unfortunately you can't use a single A-D/D-A box like the Lio-8 for providing both the track/stem analogue output of box 1 and at the same time the 2-track capture of box 2, as the clocking is not independent between the input and output sections.

    The two boxes are interfaced to separate PCs. There is no sampling clock or any other digital connection between the boxes. Note that this process provides an excellent way of avoiding the use of sampling rate converters and all their problems, so you can happily track at 96KHz on box 1 and capture at 44.1 KHz on box 2.

    You can expand this simple view of a two-box process in a great number of ways. Chris, for example, describes above how he has done this with switchable monitoring and further mastering processes.
     
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  4. Dykesh

    Dykesh Active Member

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    Chris,
    I do believe I have a copy of an older Samplitude I can use and also Reaper. I guess I will need to do some experimenting and see if the Metric Halo summing is better than ITB and maybe compare some expensive 2 track AD converters to what I have.
     
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Yes, please share your experiences! I am always interested in more ways to skin the cat. An older version of Samplitude Suite would be great. The mastering plugins are what I like.
     
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Fabfilter makes some great tools too.
     
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  7. vibrations1951

    vibrations1951 Active Member

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    I apologize for butting in. I've been lurking again lately and thought I would ask a question that has had me confused about panning with the Folcrom in a 2 box setup if you don't mind? I have written to Folcrom and thought I would copy my query here as well.

    "Scenarios and questions:


    1. I pan a mono channel in my DAW to 40% Left. I pass this mono channel to the corresponding mono channel of the Folcrom. Will depressing the L side of the corresponding channel on the Folcrom retain this position (40% L) in my 2 bus mix leaving the Folcrom?

    2. My Nuendo DAW is capable of panning a mono channel in the DAW simultaneously left an right at different %'s at the same time as well. Will passing this signal to a corresponding mono channel in the Folcrom retain the panning scenario from the DAW by depressing both left and right buttons of the corresponding channel on the Folcrom and retain this dual placement and percentages in the 2 buss output of the Folcrom?"

    The nuts and bolts of panning continues to confound my thinking from time to time and I am embarrassed that I still don't have a good handle on it! I mean I get it, but then when applying it to new scenarios like the 2 Box setup, I confuse myself all over again! Color me humbled and confused......any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for putting up with this old fart with a slow newbie mind!

    Namaste
     
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I can't tell you how it is with the Folcrom yet because I've not completed my new studio but will without hesitation once I am up and running.
    My last hybrid rig used a console which I still panned ITB. I could pan OTB but that was useless even though I could... The Neos console is an amazing console but the panning is a complete waste of design imho.. I did not pan snares, bass freq, kicks and main vox, those I force mono into a stereo bus.
    Everything else in stereo is usually hard left or hard right with the exception of some details and sweeping effects.

    I suspect the Folcrom will be more of a one trick 2 bus effect for me as I am less and less interested in analog stacking and processing stems with analog gear. To me, those beautiful days are long long gone for good reason.
    I am pretty much focused in what a Bricasti and high end preamps will do during the mixdown and capture to the master DAW. I suspect the preamps will degrade the imaging but the wire will make up for whats lost in mojo providing I use a good preamp and keep the pass really simple.
     
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Are you still using Sequoia? Or Samp?
    Is there a big difference between them?
     
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I've always used Sequoia for tracking, mixing ITB/OTB and mastering but next year it will be Samplitude for tracking and mixing and Sequoia for mastering. Samplitude will be new for me but according to my tests of Sam a few years back, there is no sonic difference between either. Samplitude suite gives you the mastering tools that come stock in Sequoia. It really is all one needs for a DAW. Its complete.
     
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I always reflect back to the days we only had a console and a tape machine. Did we need to keep buying extra stuff> I sure didn't. I/ we all relied on talent as a musician, mics and the place we were set up in to lay it all down. What a blast!

    So... that's what Sequoia or Samplitude are... only better than the good old days. All extra things I couldn't afford or even source out back then, come with our DAW's today.
     
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Lol ...you don't need to convince me pal. ;)
    I was just wondering which program you were using for your mastering. :)
     
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I do indeed know you do! Just passing the love to whomever follows us here. ;)
    Either Sam or Sequoia will work. Sequoia is just more complete for mastering and video, so I'm told.
    I'm likely getting Vegas Pro Suite as well and now preparing my new studio for A/V as we speak. Exciting 2018 for me. As you may remember, I sold off 75% of my studio 2 years ago and will hopefully have the new hybrid system turned on before spring. :)

    Edit: I have a 16w x 22d x 9h mixing/editing room ready to go. So excited! Then the shop with a 20 ft ceiling to rock it out in. Its far from perfect but its going to be mine and my sanctuary.
     
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  14. vibrations1951

    vibrations1951 Active Member

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    Thanks Chris. After doing more research it seems that to do what I want utilizing the Folcrom, besides hard panning, I would need to dedicate a stereo signal (2 channels from the DAW) to pass the proportionate non-hard-panned signal through the Folcrom to it's 2 bus. It seems like this might work though it will eat up available Folcrom channels and need to be done judiciously. I don't expect to hear from Folcrom until after the holiday.
    Again, thanks for the feedback and letting me butt in! I look forward to your follow up on your Folcrom experiences Chris.
    Namaste
     
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Are you generally only sending mono DAW channels to the Folcrom?
     
  16. vibrations1951

    vibrations1951 Active Member

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    Yes, that's right.
     
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Ah, not sure if this is best for you but I never send mono channels out. Everything I send OTB are stereo 2 bus lanes.
    In a 16 channel hybrid system I would typically do this:
    • Create 8 stereo bus outs in DAW 1: (Drums, Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion which would include overheads, Back ground Vox, Main Vox, Effects)
    • DA 8 stereo lanes into 16 Folcrom inputs. (possibly mono bass, kick, main vox channels on the Folcrom)
    • AD Folcrom L/R stereo main into DAW 2.
     
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    PS

    Not sure if this is of interest to the readers in general... or am I in any way insinuating my way is any better than the next man, however,
    I've never used hybrid mixing to round trip single or stereo lanes back coupled to DAW 1, or to reassemble a stereo imaging OTB and return it back, coupled to DAW 1 or DAW 2.
    All the imaging, panning is done ITB, never OTB. Thus... hybrid summing is all about stereo channels.

    The only reason I add analog is for a completed stereo effect via a final 2 buss analog mojo. The less I mess with mono lanes OTB, the better it sounds to me.
     
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    It will be interesting to see how the Folcrom and my stereo preamp keeps the integrity of the stereo field. I'm expecting less than perfect but hoping the effect adds a silkiness from the tubes of the M-2b.

    What are you using for a preamp? Have you tried a few?
     
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Thinking more on my last hybrid setup.
    I had 24 DA > into the Neos so I could dedicate more stereo lanes OTB. I had dedicated stereo overheads, room and ambiance which was really nice. The new system will be scaled down to 16 DA so I'm going to creatively figure out how I want to sum less stereo lanes. I'm likely hard panning all Folcroms L/R to keep it simple.
     

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