Stereo vs Mono Di ?? Stereo bleeding ?

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by pcrecord, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    i believe you are talking about the Thorax? i had one for a while and while it didn't blow my doors off i was a very nice piece. i had an SST-1 ORIGIN at the same time (same type of product, aimed at the same market niche') and if i had to compare the THORAX and the ORIGIN side by side, the Millennia would be a hands down winner.

    imo, for a 2 buss thing, the Origin is the better choice with its ability to select a transformer or non transformer mic or line input, it's twin topology (tube or solid state) and it's fantastic EQ and compression/limiter sections that can be also be run either tube or solid state independently of the input selection.

    it's a super flexible device with lots of in inzanoutz so different sections can be run independently. to boot, with the ORIGIN you also get those fantasctic Millennia mic pres, well regarded for their transparency. A pair of ORIGIN's , an 1178 and a patch bay would make for a formidable home studio mastering rig.

    the THORAX does have the FET comp compared to the ORGIN's El-OP. for 2 buss and mastering perhaps the FET would be better? that said, it was always my dream to have two SST-1's for the two buss but then i had an 1178 already for the FET thing.

    i do how ever have a deep love for the Sebatron mic pre amps ... i had a 4 channel one and it was a stellar piece imo. very flexible.
     
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Yes, I still have the beast . It was a good trade for us both.

    Not likely.
     
  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

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    Marco has no need for anything stereo linkable, so I apologize for steering his thread further off topic. But the exchange with Kurt yesterday about the Thorax, got me thinking about the other Sebatron pres and how they might pertain to the Folcrom summing rack I'm assembling. As you know, the Folcrom is 100% passive and you need to (get to) apply the preamp of your choice to make up the roughly 30dB of gain lost to the passive resistor network of the Folcrom. I hadn't really given the Sebs a lot of consideration for that job just because they are famous for their color, not their purity. In addition to the Thorax, I have a 2 channel VMP-2000, and a pair of single channel Proximas (which I just remembered yesterday are externally linkable). Whether the CV link manages Gain as well as Compression, I can't say. I haven't tried it and the documentation isn't clear on that. Either way, it's not a deal breaker. I have some vintage Focusrite Green Range pres and recently found a good deal on a Focusrite ISA Two, either of which I think I would try across the 2-bus before I tried the Seb VMP. As I've mentioned to Donny recently, I have also been keeping an eye out for a good linkable/stereo opto tube compressor for the 2-bus - which I'm sure will elicit some comments. The balance inserts on the ISA Two seem like a possibility for placing the compressor between the 2 DAWS - and I'd be inclined to try it inline too to see if one approach sounded any better than the other. Then yesterday I had the, "oh yeah, the 2 Proximas (pre with FET compressor) are linkable" thought - and here we are.

    I've been doing the 2 DAW method for about 15 years and only run the analog signal through one or two pieces of hardware along the way to the 2nd DAW. I primarily record rock and blues type material, so tone is more important to me than a pristine path would be. Throwing this summing mixer in there adds a huge number of variables, which I can see being a double-edged sword. Limitless potential vs. countless ways to screw it up. I expect there to be a lot of experimentation (which I'm fine with) before I determine whether the Folcrom approach is a net win for me and my workflow. I've had the Folcrom sitting here for a while now, but haven't been in any big hurry to buy the rather expensive breakout cables, and haven't really had a project in the works that would have benefitted from it until now. I've got a lengthy personal project nearing completion and the OASIS project with Donny in progress. If summing improves either finished product by 1% it will be worth it. If not... Oh woe is me! I'll be stuck with a handful of really nice mic pres. Whatever shall I do? <such drama>
     
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  4. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Interesting to learn you've been capturing (uncoupling?) to a 2nd DAW for 15 years. That puts you in the lead in experience I'd say.(y) I never started this whole approach until around 2012 I believe. Before that, It was the single Box with Pro Tools.

    I find it exciting you are also preparing the Folcrom too. I had no idea we had so much in common. Why have you kept all this to yourself or have I missed this in your threads over the years?

    At any rate... what ADC's are you using? Are you uncoupling? I had to sell all my converters and that is the only sections holding me back from completing my new 2 DAW hybrid system. Damn need for money is never ending.

    I know Nathan from Atlas Pro Audio used the Sebatron VPM in a Folcrom shootout. The results were posted on his website for years and he also invited people to ask him in private what he felt was most interesting too. I too like Seb pre's but don't find them quiet enough for 2 bus work. In fact, after extensive comparisons with some much desired gear, the trade off in coloring vs image integrity makes hybrid sketchy at best to my ears. Like a broken record, my findings have lead me to believe the greatest benefit in any OTB mixing has less to do with gear colour and all to do with how you can improve a stereo image that remains in tack when mono'd.
    So far the only product that does that has been the Bricasti reverb. Every process I've tested OTB messes with the imaging and sonic quality. To my surprise, I've discovered what I hear as the magic I once thought happened from stacking analog gear , can all be emulated ITB. ITB processing achieves everything outboard gear does and more. I suspect some of this has something to do with my DAW choice as well.

    Being said, I'm always hoping to discover the next wow so I keep an open mind "trust but verify". Which is why I am so adamant about external high quality monitor controllers and top level ADDA.

    I'm really excited to couple the Millennia M-2b (transformer-less tube pre) with the Folcrom but even then, I have doubts it will wow me enough to go back to believing 90% of all outboard gear will improve mixes. I'm very convinced the best place for analog gear is on the front end with performances. Other than the few special reasons I use 2 DAW's, once ITB, I stay ITB.
     
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    @audiokid , @Kurt Foster, @dvdhawk , @pcrecord @Boswell

    Guys ... the reason we are considering using a dual channel pre/compressor is because Dave has a passive summing mixer that we would like to incorporate - or at least try using - in the final 2 mix between DAW 1 and DAW 2, andwe need preamplification of involved of some kind, because the summing mixer Dave has is a passive model.
    I'm not sure that we'll end up using the summing device, or the Sebatron for that purpose either, but I think I can safely speak for Dave here, and say that we would like to at least try it going into a second DAW (no clock/syncing between them).
    I've never used any of the Sebatron stuff, so I can't say whether it will work to our liking or not.
    What would the possible negatives be by using this workflow? I'm not being sarcastic, I'm sincere in my question. :)
     
  6. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I'd look for a summing box that actually does something to the sound. (with transformers or other circuits).
    You could even book a few hours to a studio with a big console. (Neve, API etc) Routing to the mixer channels (no eq or comp) and back to a second DAW..
    That would be a nice experience. :)
     
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Gee, pal... I'm not even sure if there even are any Neve or API rooms left in the Cleveland area anymore.
    There might be in Dave's neck of the woods in Pittsburgh...but those rooms are certainly not as prevalent as they used to be.
    Back in "the day", there were a couple Neve rooms around here - but they were using the later VR desks; there was one API room - for like a minute, because the guy who ran the place was such a jerk that nobody wanted to work there. Lol. SSL was more prominent, a few E and G Series; and one Trident room in Akron. At that time, there were more MCI and Neotek consoles than anything, which were common for mid level studios.
    (I was using a Neotek then, I'm pretty sure Kurt was using an MCI (?) (@Kurt Foster )
    I get what you're saying, but I think we're looking more at having our own gain chain...and perhaps at some point this would be either in the form of a custom 500 Series rack, or maybe a stereo pre from Neve or SSL...but I'm pretty sure that's not gonna happen anytime soon. What may happen soon is that Dave is looking into a modded ART Pro VLA Opto from a company called Revive. That in itself would definitely introduce a signature type of Opto Sound.
    I'm gonna need to talk with him (@dvdhawk ) more about the summing scenario, and what it is that we hope to gain ( pun definitely intended, LOL)...
    I'm not really familiar with passive summing ( or active for that matter, either). The last time I used analog "summing" was on an actual console. Lol. So I'm defaulting to what Dave thinks, along with other RO guys who have actually used this method. I have done some research, where I've read descriptions from people that have used it, and the reviews go from "subtle" to "sublime".
    Some say it creates nicer depth, others say width, others say "nice glue", which is sort of an ambiguous term to me, and always has been.
    I'm sure there could be various ranges of character introduced by using a stereo (linkable) preamp...you could have very clean (Apogee, Millenia, Grace) to subtle color (ISA 2,) or, get into stronger colorization with API, Neve, SSL, or even VERY colored with a tube based unit.
    In the meantime, I'd like to hear from the gang here at RO who have used the method, to see what you all think. I trust the pros here at RO a lot more than I do other sources. I'm sure I could hear all kinds of things from places like Sweetwater... But It helps a lot more, and I put my greater stock in the opinions of our colleagues here...when people aren't trying to SELL you a summing device. ;)
    -d.
     
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  8. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Can't hurt to try it, Donny!
     
  9. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

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    I always appreciate your input, Marco. The fact that the Folcrom doesn't impart any character of its own seems like a good thing to me. It allows me to match the tonal quality of the mic pre involved in the make-up gain to the desired result for any given project, whether it be purity or muscle, dirt or color.

    I got a great deal on the Folcrom. I have a number of pres worth trying. The DB25 to TRS Mogami breakout cables weren't cheap, but if the Folcrom experiment doesn't pan out, I can adapt them to a balanced patchbay. I've got very little to lose. It's not like the ISA Two won't be useful for anything else. :)

    My biggest shortcoming right now is that I'm not in a position to be using ultra high-end converters like Chris and Boswell. I'm not at that point right now, so I'm going to make the most of what I've got. I realize that may hobble any attempt to gain that extra 'something' before it starts.

    What it will come down to, is, how significant is the difference between letting a computer algorithm manipulate the 1's and 0's to generate the stereo mixdown vs. passing analog audio from 16 stems (probably 8 stereo pairs) through the summing mixer to DAW #2 at the target sample-rate. I've been doing stereo mix from DAW #1 > to minimal outboard hardware > to DAW #2 for a while and have found the results very satisfying. I'd have no trouble saying noticeably better than bouncing it to stereo ITB. In the end the Folcrom summing mixer may not produce any better results than the method I've been using. Only time will tell. To me, much of the fun will be in experimenting. I'm not trying to make a believer out of anybody else, I'm just curious to see if it makes a believer out of me.
     
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  10. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Good move Dave, I'm excited for you. This is exactly where I am going as well.
     
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    +1

    Edited:
    (as a business) A coloured summing amp or mixer is limited to it's biased footprint which isn't always what people want.
    This makes those designs pretty much useless for mastering as a business. Stacking coloured tranny lanes is like adding fat and grease together. Which is why transformer-less summing amps are my preferred starting point to hybrid mixing and mastering.

    Even though I don't Master (never plan to "master"), I however think like a Master. Having the mastering section on DAW 2 is therefore a BIG reason I prefer 2 DAW's in the first place.

    The Folcrom is much more versatile because it doesn't lock you in> force you into stacking grease and fat together >Two shades of beige per-say.
     
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  12. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    The setbacks of a Folcrom

    One of the most beneficial steps in a 2 DAW system is if you are able to monitor tracking on DAW1, DAW 2 or in between the 2 DAW's > your analog processing arsenal.

    Use the same pre amp that for both tracking and make-up-gain at the same time.

    In other words, while you are setting up a performance, you are actually able to listen through your hybrid mixing or capture destination. This is why a 3 way monitor controller like the Dangerous Monitor ST is so valuable and so much more helpful.

    Back to my main point:

    So... unfortunately my favourite preamp that I would use for the Folcrom make up gain, couldn't be used for tracking and hybrid monitoring at the same time. This makes the Folcrom a big problem for me. I simply cannot afford another Millennia M-2b.
     
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Dave, could a patch bay be used to switch preamps for the Folcrom?
     
  14. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

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    I've got a Mackie Big Knob (again, not anything spectacular) that I intend to use to monitor DAW #1 and DAW #2 for A/B comparison. Each input can be trimmed to compensate for whatever differences there might be in the perceived volume.

    I'd be inclined not to, but I don't see any reason you couldn't use a patchbay for the preamp switching. The fewer cables and fewer connectors involved for this the better, as far as I'm concerned. There's signal loss at every connector, and some loss for every foot of cable.

    At least that's what I'm shooting for now, it may all change as things go on.
     
  15. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    When I first set up my two-box system, I made my own design of passive mixer unit and used a DAV BG1 as the make-up gain device. There were two reasons for my choice of the BG1 (not counting that fact that I already had several of them): (a) it's very clean in sound, and (b) the gain is switched rather than continuously variable. The last one I would say is very important, as you need to be able not only to ensure that both channels are at exactly the same gain, but also that you can write in your project notes the actual dB setting that was used. I've had to go back to several tracks to make detailed mix changes, and I need to know that it's only the mix that I'm changing.

    I prefer not to add any dynamics on the way in to the capture device, but that's really a matter of personal choice rather than an engineering rule. I suppose that it stems from my early days of not trusting that I could make the correct decision on things like thresholds, attack and release at capture time.
     
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Ah, its starting to make more sense to me why you stop at the 2 box apposed to a 2 DAW system. I'm going to have to get a DAV pre one day. I've always wanted one.
    Have you ever done mono tests after your capture to see how well everything sums up?
     
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    The more I rethink the Folcrom the less inspired I get thinking it will "perform well in a 2 DAW system". After extensive use with Dangerous and SPL summing systems... both company designs offer so much more control, stability and insert options with their units compared to every other brand I've looked at. It's hard not being spoiled and wanting to go back to SPL actually. However, I am hopeful the simple pass is really all I have been looking for all these years.
    I'm excited to see this through like Dave.

    Q: The Millennia m-2b has detent volume controls but I'm guessing...

    Are there are other factors that can negatively shift the audio imaging around from example: tubes and voltage swing? Or how does the actual make up gain work with a passive summing box like the Folcrom?

    My current conclusion: The pros and cons to adding character with hybrid plays out as a big waste of money.I think a lot of companies making summing boxes know this, its really just a gimmick.
    When ever I thought something seemed to sound better, scrutinizing what I could get from what happens to the pass seen on DAW 2... it really was nothing more than what happens when we move a left and right slightly out of line with each other to give that wider image. Mind you it does it very musically and I suspect this is why we need very stable analog products for 2 buss duties, including less stacking equates a more musical shift.

    ITB vs OTB mixing... In every case there wasn't one piece of gear I've ever used that couldn't achieve the same effect better ITB for free.
     
  18. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Wow, you guys are way over my head on those 2 box setups.
    I hope one of you could post a comparaison of 1 DAW exported file vs a 2 DAW summing setup.
    There must be a definitive difference to engage such investment (2 daw, 2 interfaces, 2 computers..)
    Do you aim to send stems ot the summing gear or each individual tracks ?
     
  19. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Bos mentioned something here that I hadn't thought of for this workflow... which is switchable gain vs continuous gain.
    The ISA One has switchable gain ranges, with a rotary continuous pot for fine adjustment.
    Dave or Marco... (@dvdhawk @pcrecord )...does the ISA Two gave switchable gain ranges as well?
    I'm just thinking out loud a little bit here... The ISA pres aren't going to be quite as clean as a Millennia, because they have the Lundhall XFO's, but it's still a very clean pre if you don't drive it hard.
    For an XFO based pre, it's probably the "cleanest" I've ever heard. It doesn't have nearly the level of "color" that Neve, Amek, API, or even SSL has...

    I know Chris (@audiokid ) prefers Preamps that are as clean as possible, hence his love he for Millennia - and I totally get what he is saying. I know he would like another one, LOL, and I can't blame him either. The times I've worked with Millennia (and Grace) pres, I've been knocked out by the clarity and the gain of both of those.
    But...we don't have even one Millennia - LOL, so, using what we do have, I'm wondering if maybe we incorporate the next best preamp option, which would be the ISA range of Preamps. And, if you did want to add some vibe, the modified ART Pro VLA Opto you're thinking of geting would be a pretty nice thing to try, I love the sound of Opto GR anyway, and we don't necessarily have to even add any reduction at all, or very little, just kissing the signal so that the VU barely moves - but enough to add "that" sound...?

    I totally get what Chris is describing, and I think that if we can, it would be good to have options. As far as ADACs go, I've got that Apogee on the way - and while my main reason for getting it is for the converters, it does have two very clean and hi gain mic Preamps in it as well, so perhaps that gives us a range of options, from clean to colored?
    Again, I'm just kinda thinking out loud with this stuff guys. If we have these options available, I think we should at least try various combinations...and what sounds or works great for one mix might not work as well for another mix... We'll not know for sure until we actually use all these pieces, right?
    I know one thing for sure...I think we're gonna have a lot of fun doing it. ;)
    :)
     
  20. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Yes, I think all the ISAs have them. ISA Two and ISA 428 do.
     
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