analog to digital audio

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by silver, Feb 20, 2002.

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  1. silver

    silver Guest

    From what i can gather in your previous have made the transition from analog to

    If this is the case how have you dealt with DAW's lack of depth?
    Do you record straight to digital?
    My problem at the moment is recording straight to digital, i can get the width and height i want
    but even when playing with room mics. etc, i can't get the depth you do with analog.
    Any ideas or tips?
    Would bouncing stereo to analog pull the mix together a bit better and add some depth?
    It's mainly the drums that i can't seem to get just right... :)
  2. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    I am still experimenting!


    Any tricks?


    Me, I am naturally optomistic, so I am more about looking forward with digital than looking back at analog...
  3. silver

    silver Guest


    Thanx for the excellent reply...
    I hear you with duplicating tracks.....i've playing around with that and room mics aswell recently. It's just hard to get some real "weight" to the drums, etc. I'm definately venting some frustration and appreciate your ear to listen. :)

    Is it even realistic to expect to get the sound of the ssl comps and eq?
    I know different people don't even like the sound but have you heard anything in the DAW world that gets that sound?....or even anything done by someone in DAW that is close to that sound. Sure some people will say, "why try to emulate that sound, all eq's sound different" blah, blah blah :)

    I would love to get an unmixed version of a song done by one of the "big hitters" to hear what it sounds like and what i could do to it (to make it sound bad! :) )....
    Also i'd like to hear the "big hitters" mix before mastering...

    Oh well enough dreaming....
    Back to trying to make that card-board sounding mix produced on a shoe-string budget, sound like a millon bucks! ;)

  4. Krou

    Krou Active Member

    May 27, 2001
    Hi Jules,

    are you referring to the TL-Audio Fatman when you mention 'Fatso'? I've been considering some outboard lately, as the Waves plugs, although great sounding, are too processor-hungry for my system. The Fatman had great reviews in SoundOnSound and is rather affordable here in the US.

    While on that subject, for people on a budget, what do you make of Focusrite's Platinum range of outboard? Have you had a chance to try any of them and form an opinion? I ask because they're also quite inexpensive ($400-600 range) and given the name and rep of Focusrite, it's tempting to just trust the product and bypass the likes of middle-of-the-line Dbx, JoeMeek, ART products.

    I'm also referring to these boxes with the intent of adding a bit of warmth and depth to digital recordings, track by track or on an entire mix.

    Your input would be great,

  5. ron caser

    ron caser Guest

    no, he's referring to empirical labs' fatso, an analog tape emulating device. nice lil' thingy...
  6. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001

    If you go here there is a tip by "Producher" who hangs here.. he has designed an SSL preset for Metric Halos Channel strip plug in - which I belive spans a few DAW platforms...


    Stick around!

    Krou, yes, what Ron said..... empirical labs' fatso

  7. adamfrick

    adamfrick Guest

    there are no "good old days" for me - i've been doing digital since i've been doing this, so perhaps my thoughts should be taken with a grain of salt, but...

    - duplicated tracks have been working well for me recently to get a bigger punchier sound on snare in particular. the distorted version is interesting, jules - i'll have to try that this weekend!

    - the waves rennesaince collection has a certain warmth and body to it - even with no processing - and work pretty well for me. not neccesarily emulating anything in particular, but the opto-ish compression always makes me smile.

    - my #1 tip is to leave yourself some headroom on your mixer - at least that's the case in protools. if you are hitting close to 0dbfs consistently you lose tons of depth, clarity and punch and whatever other esoteric things your missing.

    my $.02 - let us know what you come up with!

  8. silver

    silver Guest


    Thanx for the link, i am using protools but don't have channelstrip :) my bad? :)
  9. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Being preocupied / obsessed with 'near zero' level on tracked instruments is a bad thing IMHO, chill on the levels in , I feel it turns out better... I used to be a 'max out' freek. Much happier now with chilled levels running through my DAW..

    Dunno about RTAS CS try askin em!

  10. Ted Nightshade

    Ted Nightshade Active Member

    Dec 9, 2001
    With 24 bit you have room for "chilled levels". I think the maxed out levels is a hangover from tracking at 16 bit.
    I'm also a spring enough chicken never to have worked extensively with classy analog, so maybe I don't know what I'm missing, but I'm getting results I like a lot with no compression at all. Dynamics is the fourth dimension! :p
  11. I'm hearing you with chilled levels and I also like the sound of less compression. Seems more natural to my ears. The trouble I have is that with the increased dynamic range inherent in that approach on small budget projects that I master myself I find myself really having to squash it more than I want to get the overall level to that of commercial CDs. Seems kind of counter productive to me (what 24 bit giveth the marketplace taketh away!) any how do you guys handle that situation?
  12. silver

    silver Guest


    It's not that i track lay with the levels really hot, but when i'm done mixing (compression,eq,etc.) even with pulling the plug-in gains down, my levels sit pretty high. Is this going to degrade the sound at all?.....i'm very careful about digital distortion so i'm never that extreme. I'm keen on trying things cooled off a little but want to know 'why' i'm doing it.
    I usually do things for a reason (no matter how absurd it might be). :)


    I know what you mean. That's one reason why i get things sitting reasonably high at the master fader so L2 doesn't have to 'squash' to much.
    Then again, what do i know?....(apart from the fact i know nothing! :) )

  13. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Oh sorry then, sounds like you are fine..

    I on the other hand spent my early days on PT whacking levels to the endstops of my AD8000 with soft limit on.. a naieve mistake..

  14. Yes, but what I'm referring to is not really about getting levels up to the top, but more about the difference between peaks and the average level of the music. Seems like if I don't use a fair bit of compression on individual tracks (as well as some on the 2-bus every so often) there's enough dynamic range in the music that if I'm doing the mastering myself I'm having to push the limiter (L1) to the point that I'm getting 5-6 db attenuation. Once you get here to my ears the limiter really starts coloring what I'm hearing. This would be ok except that in most cases I was perfectly happy with the sound of the mix before limiting, I'd just like it to be loud enough so that it dosen't disappear when put in the changer with other CDs. IOW I can get my output up to -0.5, 0.0 or whatever, but I guess that just leaves me w/too much peak level in the material. To me it's kind of a drag 'cause I like the dynamics and 24 bit seems sometimes just to give me more rope to hang myself with in this regard than 16 bit. It also seems like for me some of the dimension does go by-by when having to limit excessivly. Any thoughts?
    Area 51
  15. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    .3 is a good setting for max output level ...

    L2 is supposed to far better than L1... Perhaps you have outgrown L1 and need something better sounding....

    Sounds like you should be concentrating more on mix COMPRESSION rather than trying to push it through some tiny digital keyhole at the end...

    Charles Dye of Ricky Martin engineering fame, advises to use no more that 3 db of limiting with 'mix maximizers' .

    What do folks think?

  16. dave-G

    dave-G Active Member

    Nov 16, 2001
    Home Page:
    The bitch of this in Digital (to me) is having to do delay-compensation math to get things properly time/phase aligned between the multed channels -- on an analog console, your multed, thwacko-compressed snare was not at all delayed by its processing (well, okay it may be a little delayed, but only by the amount of time it took for the electricity to travel the extra wire and circuitry, which ain't enough to hear) . . . In PT (for example), we've gotta use Timeadjuster or slip tracks around so we don't get comb filtering and other crap from the 23 sample delay introduced by our super thwacko compressor plugin or DA-AD hardware inserts... Auto delay compensation would be good, right?

    Yeah... Tape took a lot of transient energy out of "peaky" sounds... it compressed our individual tracks a little bit for us. In popular music recorded digitally, I think it's preferable to compress some things (like drums, guitars, etc) to leave room for greater dynamic range in stuff like vocals, or lead instruments, so that your main sources of high peak energy don't require you to squash the whole mix as much in mastering. There's contrast to be made in the area of dynamic range characteristics of elements within a mix.... you don't have to compress everything, just pick your battles and plan ahead.

    -dave G.
    - -DaVe g.. . .
  17. silver

    silver Guest


    Where abouts (is that a word? :) ) do you have individual track levels sitting after mixing?

    Area 51,

    Jules is right on the money about the new L2. I never used to use the L1. Even with only 3db of constant attenuation the snare and kick lost most of their attack. I recommend downloading the masters demo bundle from waves. I've heard people say they can use 8db of attenuation without transient loss! (althought i wouldn't recommend such extreme limiting....2-3db constant is enough to get a loud enough level without killing all the dynamics.)
    That bundle sounds pretty amazing. The eq is excellent! :)

    On a side note i've read that tom lord-alge will compress individual tracks heavily and use fader automation for dynamics.....not everyone likes his style but every idea is worth trying....(well most!)

  18. Ted Nightshade

    Ted Nightshade Active Member

    Dec 9, 2001
    I will be a martyr to the cause- everyone will say, why is this CD so quiet compared to everything else in the changer?
    Who knows, maybe they'll like it quiet. :eek:
  19. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Jan 18, 2002
    All - First, I'm not picking a fight with anyone, just commiserating. Wouldn't it be lovely if we sensitive "Ar-Teest" types could just make things that sound wonderful to us, then have the consuming public buy them and say "Wow, that sounds wonderful", or similar heart-warming phrases - We all spend so much time worrying about our CD being "as loud as the other guys", it's difficult or impossible to give enough thought to the things that made us musicians in the first place - inspiration, talent, (dare I say) uniqueness - Maybe what we need to do in our "spare time" (what's that?) is lobby the CD player manufacturers to install slow-acting AGC circuits after the D/A converters in all their CD players - That way, maybe we could use more than 6 dB of the purportedly 100+ dB range of today's digital media, and consumers could percieve all CD's as being loud enough to hear, while still being able to enjoy the dynamics available in 24 bit digital - hell, there's at least 80 dB of un-used headroom in a 16 bit product for that matter. Since the ultimate decision on this (at least for commercial purposes) remains with the consumer (remember who won the VHS/Beta war? Definitely NOT quality...), I guess we can try to be happy that the 6 dB of dynamics on our own CD's are absolutely perfect, since we threw away about 100 perfectly good ones to get there.

    Rant over - I know we're all in the same boat, I just wish someone had a paddle... Steve
  20. osmuir

    osmuir Active Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    well, the thing is: w/more dynamic swings [a beautiful thing] comes more issues for the consumer. driving in the car--compression is kinda needed, cause of road noise, etc. i just want to hear the song!

    i flip by all the crap on the radio, and i will stop dead on the shittiest station going fuzzy as hell just for a police song.

    so we'd have to build compressors in there.

    ever tried listening to PJ harvey's "rid of me" in the car? an albini production number. sounds great, just needs yr hand on the volume knob in the car.

    just saying.

    or music at night? you set the volume so carefuly so as not to disturb others, and let you still hear it. with my arvo part classical stuff? no chance in hell.

    dynamic range necessitates good listening environment and GREAT sound gear.

    consumer audio $*^t just don't do it.

    sad but true.

    now i'm not advocating going overboard [i can't stand to listen to most of that faux angst frat-boy red cap wearing $*^t, it is so compressed it's like a local car dealership ad on tv. seriously those movie explosions now a days...]

    however....hell, that's what dvd audio should be.
    2 versions--the first is the mix as it really should sound, the second is just put through the f'n limiting blender.

    now there's an idea.

    ok, back on topic:

    jules: i usualy track at around -6 dbfs. where do you track at?

    i am pretty hardcore about mixing my work so it won't clip the mixer--i will go through and automate down the drum hits that clip the summing bus, for heaven's sake.
  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

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