*one* piece of gear to mix through in my ITB studio

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by taylor, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. taylor

    taylor Guest


    i have a decent InTheBox studio based around digital performer and a handful of, what i feel, are quality plug ings ( UAD-1, sony oxford, URS)... however, i've been talking to friends of mine about the difference in ITB bouncing down a final mix... vs. outputting the mix into a piece of analog and back into a digital recorder.

    i have a decent D/A converter (benchmark)... and was wondering what ONE piece of GOOD outboard gear would be most beneficial to me for just final polish and dimension upon mixdown.

    i know this question can really go off on tangents involving converters, or summing mixers, etc... but, i was thinking something along the lines of a Manley Vari-Mu... for *slight* compression and overall dimension.

    do you think this is a good choice.. if i could only buy ONE piece to mix through? or is it a waste of time.. and i should just keep it ITB?

    thank you for your thoughts
  2. I've used the Emprical Labs Fatso to great satisfaction -some harmonic distortion, some compression, etc.

    My thought is: Are these mixes predominantly sent to a Pro ME or are you doing most mastering in-house? If the former, and you're otherwise happy with your mixes ITB than I wouldn't be as concerned.
  3. Albert

    Albert Guest

    I think the benefits of doing a two track bounce-down ITB and then going to an outboard processor for those two tracks will be minimal. In your scenario, you are still summing in the box.

    The benefits of analog mixing/summing don't come into play in my opinion until you do some summing of buses OTB. Once you start dealing with 8-16 buses being summed analog then taking that through a final processor you'll get much more of the effect you are looking for.

    Incidentally, I've done the FATSO and Vari-Mu thing as both of you have described and wasn't blown away by it. I used to own both those units.
  4. taylor

    taylor Guest

    great replies. thank you. actually, the majority of the material is "mastered" in-house.. i'm quite confident of my ear, and my system,and especially my plug ins.. the only drawback is that i'm mastering my own material.. which isn't always good...

    but, interesting about the summing issue, and i'm glad to hear from folks who have tried what i'm trying.. thank you.

    i do have a friend who has (or maybe had, depending if he had to bring it back to his main studio/client) a Vari-Mu in his studio.. best thing would be to borrow it and see if i like what it does.

    i'll look into the Fatso.. just out of curiosity, as i've never heard of it before.
  5. bounce

    bounce Guest

    You could get a passive Folcrom summing box for about $800. Might work great...Many folks seem to love it. I haven't heard it (so I can't really recommend it) but it's worth a looksee...

  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I have yet to hear benifit to summing outside the box myself. I've tried it but in my situation it seems to sound worse than doing it ITB, which really is the whole idea of DAW.

    I think those who report significant improvment are using large format consoles or very high end summing solutions that actually impart a sonic signature to the audio.

    When ADATs were popular I used to get a lot of people tell me, "I hated the sound of these things until I heard them at your studio ... and I would answer, "That's beacause all you've heard them through up to this point was a Mackie mixer. The MCI JH636 makes all the difference."

    If I still had my MCI, I would be mixing through it, of course. But the whole idea of going DAW was to eliminate the expense of housing and maintaining the large console.
  7. heathen22

    heathen22 Guest

    This is not exactly the same but I mixdown from my o2r/mackie hdr rig from the stereo out and patch into an Alan Smart c2 comp.Was such a massive improvement I then went out and got myself an apogee psx 100se for conversion,then I was happy with my sound for the first time in a while,the combination of those 2 peices of gear was an amazing improvment.The c2 just seems to hold everything together perfectly.Analog summing gear wont make immediate improvments as Kurt said.But the right piece of gear on the right track will always make an improvemet.The c2 was that for me,it is exceptional.I probably would have gone for the vari mu though if it were'nt $8000 here in Australia.I'm happy though and so are my clients.I say don't just think 1 piece of gear think of combinations.The Apogee I picked up on special new for $2500au was $7500 when first released.There are some great bargains to be had on superceeded or second hand gear.The psx in reality is probably just as good at conversion as a new rosetta,just no firewire though.
  8. taylor

    taylor Guest

    actually, i'm looking seriously at the new Neve Portico tape emulation box... getting massively good reviews..

    might be exactly what i'm looking for....

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