Routing analog & digital audio between two DAWS

Discussion in 'Computing' started by kmetal, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

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    Lowell Massachusetts
    What does this term mean?
     
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    In studio lingo, the word "tracking" is synonymous with "recording". ;)

    "Poor tracking" would include things like using substandard mics, or bad mic placement, or a bad sounding room, or clipping the inputs of your audio capture device, or not having sufficient gain available for lower output mics to perform at their optimum...
    It would also include electronic noise, ground problems, RFI, bad room reflection, etc.

    It's basically anything that will degrade the quality of sonics of the tracking ( recording) process.
     
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  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    just kill me.
     
  4. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

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    Thanks. That's what I thought but wanted to be certain.
    I'm not sure if you are annoyed by the stupidity of my question, (maybe it's unrelated) but if it is my response, it has a reason. I've been doing a lot of back reading on the site and I'll see things like "poor tracking", "less than adequate tracking", "tracking problems", "tracking daw"etc.

    I just wanted to make sure that I was understanding it correctly. The statement was something like, "don't use a plug-in to mitigate poor tracking" (paraphrase). I just wanted to make sure I understood the intention of that advice.
     
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    please don't take it personally. i was speaking in general terms about the overall state of the art. anyone who is familiar with me, knows exactly what i meant. peace!
     
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  6. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

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    I didn't. No worries. I knew what you meant.
     
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    I don't blame the engineer as much as the bands. Bands just aren't as committed or tour seasoned many times. Look at the SOS article. The engineer was cobbling songs together from the singers iPhone voice memo recordings.

    The singer lived in California the band mates and studio in England.

    Now granted it's Coldplay and they're talented like em or not, but still.

    I blame the bands for much of it. Laziness selfishness whatever.

    All I know is I engineered dozens of bands in the same room w the same gear and house drums, similar setups. When the pros were playing I was a better engineer. The results were faster, easier, and better sounding. In short the better manes made me a rockstar engineer.

    Literally same drum kit. All the eq and compression in the world couldn't do what a good drummer did to the kit.

    If they're 'only' using externals it's either a mistake on their part, they're using it for backup, or possibly samples.

    Internal drives are better for the purpose of audio. W SSD now, Sata 3 is 'adequate, or slow' depending on things. That's both by the specs and in reality.

    Compression is arguably the most difficult thing in audio engineering to understand. Took me over ten years to really know what I was doing.

    Part of it is because compression isn't something in general that's obvious to hear. Most compression is done to be fairly transparent. Eq you hear, 3db of gain reduction you probably won't. In other words more often than not good compression technique is synonymous with subtly.

    I highly reccomend you grab the 'mixing engineers handbook' asap. It's an excellent comprehensive, easy to follow book. It has step by step techniques for eq and compression and tips for helping your ears hear thes ebtings better. Plus great tips for mixing common instruments. Again w some quick steps.

    It's a great read and I kept it next to the console for years when I started working at a pro studio.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/128542087X/?tag=recording.org-20

    And the 'recording engineers handbook' if your tracking live instruments in any way.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/159863867X/?tag=recording.org-20


    I've used a hardware urie 1176 and many software versions. There not really close. There similar in a sense that jeans or jeans or t shirts are t shirts not sweatshirts.

    But with compression in particular there is an element of live interaction w the performance that the hardware has. Also the way analog over drives is much more pleasing/different than the pluggin versions. They're similar in basic tendency like say 'punchy' compressor, but tone and everything else there not really that close.

    I've also compared the API eq w the waves version, and again not really similar in sound. Digital artifacts aside, the pluggin was far more exhaggerated than the hardware. Much more of an audible effect. I think a lot of emulations do this, they exhaggerate the tendency of the piece they're emulating.

    It's not fair to expect the same setting to sound the same when comparing hardware to software, but trying my best to match Similar levels subjectivly of boost and cut both the pluggin and hardware sounded unique to themselves.

    Can I have an autographed copy of torn book!? Excellent break down.

    Well said. Judicious use of effects analog or pluggins is so essential.

    Agree for mixing. For tracking I've found dbx in particular to be quite good on some things. Either in the instrument/amp chain, or mic signal chain.

    The press is eureka channel's compressor is also be very useful and is very transparent.
     
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    +1(y)
     
  9. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    lol I love when theirs a typo in the quote. Come on Kyle, check yourself.
     
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    i fixed it for you. :cool:
     
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  11. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    I admit to having a few channels of mundane dbx compression on my front end. But they do get bypassed fairly often. There's also a Pro VLA and a Drawmer 1960 to track through.
     
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  12. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    Dbx has a compressor w just one slider on it. No other controls. That thing has a ton of sack on bass guitar. Love that little thing.

    The cool thing about Dbx is it does have a sound. For better or worse. The 160 is moderately priced and you see them all the time in commercial studio racks. Some cheaper gear has a certain charm. Again for some things it works others it doesn't.

    Insold my 166xl recently in my gear purge. I gave that one w the one slider to the studio. I think I sold then166 for as much as I paid and the other one was given to me so no loss.
     
  13. JayTee4303

    JayTee4303 Member

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    Midwest USA
    What a great thread! Every once in a while, other forums will touch on some of what's here, but the response is mostly "huh wut?", so there's not much back and forth on these topics. Four room facility here, 11 or 12 PCs last time I counted, we use up to five in "DAW-farm" configurations. Usually not all at once, it just depends on what's going on. Control room hosts a pair of I7 4790s or 4970s, memory is the first thing to go. One video, one audio.

    Audio utilizes a MOTU PCIe 424, with three 2408s and an HD-192. Not exactly Myteks, but the massive ADAT routing capability serves some very useful purposes, and we get 120 dB dynamic range, in and out, from 10 channels on the HD-192, plus AES which is near permanently populated with the Bricasti M7. Video has an M-Audio C600, just for monitoring, we pull a SPDIF stereo feed out to the Audio box and monitor from there. We will move into X.1 audio for video, if and when revenue supports it, but haven't looked into better audio so far. Instead audio arrives via file transfer, after mixdown and mastering.

    On networking, in addition to QOS concerns with Dante and AVB, make sure you create a non-blocking backplane architecture with your routers and switches. 8 or 24 Gigabit ports seems great, but if your 24 port Gigabit switch or router's backplane can't handle 48 (full-duplex) GB datastreams at once, you might as well be running Fast Ethernet. Or worse...somewhere around 55-60% saturation, ACKs and RESENDs will bury your network anyway. Ethernet, like H20, is an incompressible medium!

    We use a flexible networking schema, to keep core computers unexposed to the net, while maintaining update capability when necessary, with internetworking always available. Basically, frequent net connected boxes (we call them DMZ machines. not strictly accurate, but illustrative)r un DHCP, from a router/server, with IP addys limited to the x.y.z.3-100 range. Dot one is the gateway of last resort, obviously, with dot-2 and dot-3 reserved for wireless access points. Core machines, mostly isolated from the net, run hard coded IPs, on the exact same x.y.z. schema, but limited to dot 101 thru dot 255. Anytime a single cat-5 cable connects the two networks, the IP schemas seamlessly merge, or, well....they COULD if we put in the necessary hours on the router table codings, hey...it's on the list, we'll get to it! In practice we usually have to do some pinging, from a shell window, to get everybody on the same page, after merging the Core and DMZ networks.

    For digital routing, we use a Z-Systems Optipatch Plus. 30 Toslink ports fully leverage the 2408's and 424's significant ADAT I/O. One sample thruput latency, and it reclocks the signal, extending Toslink's inherent 6 meter limitation w ADAT, to 12 meters, over plastic fiber. We are beginning to find the limits of the device as all 30 ports are now populated, but each of the 2408's triple ADAT ports , offer " sidechain" ADAT routings for dedicated processing pipes, where we don't need the Optipatch's routing flexibility.

    The Tracking Room DAW, originally the sole computer, is an older I7 2600, with a Profire 2626 gateway to 8 analog and dual ADAT ports. The whole room is set up to be operated by an engineer/artist, standing up, wearing a guitar or bass. Good for when a couple other players are over and there's no designated engineer. For the most part these days, it handles VSTi hosting for guitar or keys, or both, once we get options pared down to choices.

    The Live Room DAW is an older Core Duo, under very light duty, simply passing audio thru it's pair of 2408s. There's a subsystem for each major instrument, which we streamlined for "right now" composing work, with patchbay options to simply swap out our gear for client gear, while keeping the facility routing setups intact. Our V-Drum kit comes in via a "sidechain" (not thru the Optipatch) ADAT pipe, from an Octapre Dynamic. Acoustic drums use the patchbay to access the Octapre. The Core Duo is also where we capture MIDI from the V-Drums or triggers, one of the the usual times we'll sync up multiple DAWS. We've long seen the utility in being able to do drum replacement right here, or even drum VSTi hosting, and since the Core Duo doesn't begin to cut it for either app, it is next on the block for replacement. Maybe a mid grade i7, direct swap, but we are beginning to need more expansion slots on the video box in the CR, so we might go dual Xeon/Titan there, and move the current vid box to the LR, we'll see.

    There's a Core Duo in the vox booth, w ADAT connectivity, but we house our better pres in there too, so we backed that up with an XLR snake into the CR, for operations with zero fan noise. The idea is that songwriters can write in iso there, then pipe offerings out system-wide, but it hasn't found much use to date. The rest of the PCs are single cores, or i5 laptops, the singles are support, (internet, playback, realtime outboard control via MIDI and MIDI synth programming), and the i5 laptops are used with the live rig.

    Long enough for an initial "hey!' in this great thread, you can check out pix and more info on our webpage: www.e4mm.com .

    Ok, one more thing, a question, sort of... The Bricasti lives on AES in the CR. We are firm believers in the un-synced dual DAW approach, stemming back to the legendary SOS article "Does Your System Need A Master Clock?" Master clock is Master Clock, while Chase Sync is always chasing. Reaching into a gray area here, bear with me. Using the M7 as a hardware insert, it loses a LOT of its brilliance. Brilliance heard while monitoring. We don't get that brilliance back unless we tap the M7s AES outs, as mono inputs, re-recorded live into Sonar. One more time, because I know I'm not explaining well.

    Vox, in the CR, cans on, I monitor the mic>pre>HD-192>M7 via DSP. My cans hear the AES input from the M7, and whatev I'm playing back from Sonar. Sounds Bricasti Brilliant.

    Recorded vox, run thru AES to the Bri and back into Sonar as a hardware insert, NOT rendered, sounds dull and lifeless.

    Recorded vox, out thru AES into the Bri, re-recorded onto two mono tracks, hardpanned L and R, the brilliance is back.

    What gives? Is this a latency comp issue? Or is it Chase Sync chasing? The Bri processes at 96, according to Casey, and being a video houise we run 24/48.

    Or is is a combination of these, or something else entirely?

    Hard facts, AND wild speculation appreciated.

    :)
     
  14. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure it's been covered somewhere...

    What about a round trip from/to one machine with two separately clocked interfaces?
     
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