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Summing - What track sounds better to you?

Discussion in 'Summing / Mastering consoles' started by audiokid, Mar 8, 2012.

?

Summing - Which Track Do You Prefer?

Poll closed Apr 7, 2012.
  1. Sum 1

    2 vote(s)
    18.2%
  2. Sum 2

    7 vote(s)
    63.6%
  3. They both sound the same

    2 vote(s)
    18.2%
  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Location:
    Rainy Roads WA USA
    OK here is another test round..
    This is using 4 of my tracks summed by audiokid.
    There are 3 choices this time around to make things interesting!
    I no longer know myself what is what, so I will make my choice to be tested.
    I'm sure audiokid will let us know the particulars.
    Thanks Chris!....enjoy

    SUM1 - Dropbox

    SUM2 - Dropbox

    SUM3 - Dropbox
     
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    right on Don,

    We should note, the above links just posted by djmukilteo are not related to the official OP poll at the top of the page.
    In other words, don't cast your poll based on djmukilteo links. Even though this is about the same process, there are different tracks relating to the poll. Did that make sense?
     
  3. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Rainy Roads WA USA
    Very interesting....after I loaded all three into Cubase...I get a pretty good null between SUM1 and SUM2, not perfect but most of the sound is masked. The curious thing is when the piano hits a peak, I hear a sort of granular noise?? Anybody else hear that?....Any idea what that is?

    When I nulled between SUM1 and SUM3, not much of a null, but no granular noise either, mostly high-mid frequency content left over.
    The null between SUM2 and SUM3 was close to the same thing.

    My pick is SUM3 overall.....
    They were all so close it was hard to pick one over the other.
    And I need to come back and listen to them later as I tired of listening.....LOL
     
  4. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Location:
    Rainy Roads WA USA
    Thanks for edits audiokid....I hadn't thought about the poll at the front or titling the SUM links!
    Please just post your preference in your reply and not vote in the poll for this latest test round!!
    There isn't a SUM3 there anyway...LOL
     
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I heard the granular noise you are describing on the original, prior to summing them. I looked for distortion peaks but it was well below that on these stems so I couldn't isolate it.

    Q; Were these stems of more tracks Don, or is this your total mix I worked with? I ask because it sounded like a peak that clipped on the FF800 caused by the electric piano (Rhodes) effect ( frequency oscillation modulation from the chorus effect), a common issue with that patch in a digital environment.
    What was interesting is it didn't show up on the SUM3. No idea beyond for an explanation.

    thumb
     
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    To discuss that clip sound more, if these are indeed stems, are able to audition the exact track again because it does sound like a 2-bus overload on your DAW. The perfect reason I use an analog summing during mixdown? You never have this issue because you send the track OTB, avoiding the pileup of the DAW 2-bus. Why high headroom summing amps rock.
    Flanging and chorus effects are notorious for clipping the 2-bus in a DAW. Even though your individual ITB track looks save, when they all meet at the DAW's 2-bus, you miss the overs and a clip will happen.

    That's my take on it.
     
  7. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Rainy Roads WA USA
    These were strictly 2 stereo reocrded tracks. Nothing mixed.
    AFAIK nothing clipped when I tracked it...the noise does appear only at points where those peaks occur, those peaks were strictly the velocity and attack of the keys when I played them...I don't think the FF800 did anything it always seems so transparent....but I could be wrong.
    I did not use any sort of DI on the Fantom...so it was just balanced line outs to balanced lines into the FF800.
    I'm sure with better equipment the recording could have been a better capture...but I have a humble system.
    That Aire piano patch I used is a heavily processed sound from the Fantom which could explain this too.
    There was no processing or effects that I added to the tracks...straight from the Fantom>FF800>Cubase.
    I exported each track to separate wav files (4) which is what you got. I'm still unclear if those 4 tracks are suitable and actually makes a good summing test because I'm still trying to understand how this summing works.
    In reality this was two stereo tracks split out to 4 and that is much different than your two mono mic tracks, but maybe you need to use more mono tracks. Maybe you have some thoughts on that?
    I will take a look at my original samples and see if there is anything weird with the tracks...
     
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Well, it still sounds great!

    If you would like to see a video on how hybrid works, I know, no better way than to point you here. MIXING - PUREMIX
    SPECIFICALLY THIS: (this is over an hour of vital information) Hybrid Digital/Analog Mixing - PUREMIX

    Its well worth watching. Its very close to how I'm doing it, with the differences being, Fab is using a Dangerous 2-Bus and I am using the SPL MixDream with a Dangerous Master. The MixDream has 16 inserts that can be toggled on and off plus a few other features. Both are stellar summing amps.

    Here is a brief explanation for Cubase: Analog Summing:Cubase Session Setup - PUREMIX
     
  9. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Rainy Roads WA USA
    audiokid:
    I went back and looked at those original tracks and the "highest" signal peaks were never more than -12dbfs and all faders at zero. I didn't track these very hot early on when I was first using the FF800, so I don't know how anything could have clipped.
    I duplicated the tracks and inverted them and they all null perfectly with no granular noise dead quiet.

    So is it possible that something was introduced between SUM1 and SUM2.
    SUM3 won't null with either SUM1 or 2 so there's no way of telling if that one has this same noise.
    I've never heard anything like that noise before, so I'd be curious to know what it is...it may not be that important but it is interesting.

    I hope I haven't killed this thread for you with my second round?....Haha..LOL duh
    Traffic has dropped off substantially?
     
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I worked on isolating it all afternoon yesterday and only hear it when I put both electric piano tracks together. Its sounds like a limiting noise but who know's, could have been introduced during the upload or possibly a conversion issue between our systems. I've heard those digital clip sounds on that keyboard patch, it could be that too. I'd be curious to hear that patch on its own.

    FWIW, its on all the SUMS on my end and most obvious right on the start of that piano attack. I think I could remove it with a spectral cleaner but that's another topic. It would be nice to find out where it originates, I'm with you on that. The only times I get something like that is if I have digital levels too hot or a patch is too hot. Its not an analog noise for certain, its digital. If it was a converter noise, it would be on the peaks throughout the track. But its only on the piano patch from what I can tell.

    For sake of argument, I also hear it at all levels I set my converters gains too but again, only when I sum the two piano tracks together in my DAW, before they even go OTB.
    Its definitely in the track of the electric piano when the chorus peaks on the patch, not the wave file. Its not even close to clipping on my end. In fact, the levels were quite low which keeps me thinking there is something too hot on your patch. If it was a conversion issue, or a peak issue, it would be evident whenever the levels peak. And there are hotter peaks where it doesn't distort.

    What sampling rate are they before you bounced them to a wave file? Or are those the raw files? No conversion on your end? I played around with that on my end but it made no difference.

    Could be I need to learn something more about importing files. It be cool if one of our members would see if they get that on their DAW when you sum them all. Seems this topic is of no interest to others. Its kind of a bone of contention once analog enters the pictures.
     
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Don,

    Analog processing could be a nice business for me. I would like to get better at this so lets work on finding out what that noise is.
     
  12. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Location:
    Rainy Roads WA USA
    Well yeah, you have some pretty amazing pieces of equipment there (awesome pictures of your studio) and I would think you would want to use it.
    Having that equipment seems far beyond any hobbyist level and I would think most people with that level of equipment would be a business...Of course I don't know how that fits into your personal goals or situation.
    I'm merely an old hobbyist organ player and semi-retired sound/electronics person and have a very minimal setup.
    So that's why I enjoy seeing (photos) and hearing (sound clips) that other people have and what their things sound like.
    It's funny but on forums like this our main interest is "sound" and yet we don't spend much time actually listening to "sound". It's a lot of typing, text discussion and the occasional arguments but not much actual "sound" being sent around.
    Now that I have this Dropbox it seems quite easy to pass samples and tracks around and I love it!
    BTW I watched that analog summing video of how to incorporate Cubase with the FF800 and that is exactly what I do using the ZEDR16, where the ZED is both the converter and analog summing.

    So I exported and uploaded the original raw stereo piano track as recorded...24bit/44.1khz .wav track fader default setting at 0dbfs....this nulled to itself perfectly on my setup.
    Also have you ever tried exporting OMF files and can your Sequoia import OMF?
    That would be another interesting trial.

    (Expired Link Removed)
     
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    BC, Canada
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    I hear ya. For over a year I've been personally sticking my neck out trying to engage people. There is a lot of typing on forums indeed. I hope to improve that stereo type this year. We've had 13 years of DAW talk, its timely we started comparing tracks and stepped up our learning chat with some examples. Surely you and I aren't the only ones on this forum who are brave enough to do it openly, or care. On the other hand, The internet is getting faster. Dropbox is very cool so track sharing and posting audio tracks will evolve.

    The reality and some insight:

    The analog guru's don't care to discuss much with the DAW crowd in public anymore and the DAW crowd doesn't want to hear about it anyway, so I'm not expecting much support from either. Not many people own what have who aren't already doing it as a serious business or are getting out of the business because they can't pay for it because DAW studio are killing that area of the business. I have over 100 grand into my personal studio ( my test studio lol) and don't need to make a dime from it if I don't want too. Guys that have gear like this have a reputation to worry about and bills to pay so they aren't going to be engaging in a loosing debate with people arguing about a plug-in that is claimed to sound as great as a $8000 processor.
    The guys that own stuff like this, know what they are doing and don't waste their time on public forums arguing with wankers. Plain and simple.
    We had that crowd here from 1999 to 2004. The golden years ( POST R.A.P.). Great topics on hardware are buried in our archives. Many of the guys that shared this info are out of the business or don't care about forums anymore. RO had the best crowd in the business here during those years. They will not all gather like that again. I don't miss their arrogance but I do miss the golden info. And its all here if you dig for it.

    A few months ago I was working on a deal with a very high end manufacturer who makes (I'm told) a very nice analog compressor that I should look at. I asked him if he was interested in the DAW crowd and if he would be interested in our support here. I had $7000.00 in my hand ready to make a deal with him. I offered to trade him some advertising in exchange for a discount. He said the DAW crowd was a waste of time. He couldn't care less. His personal feelings about plug-ins and people who don't know the difference are part of the wanker crowd. Plug-ins are being produced to sell mass to the uninformed and home based studios playing around in this business. He said, if they see the light they will find me ( same way I found him). The crowd that uses his stuff don't waste their time on forums with wankers . I was shocked by his incredibly negative response, but he had a point.

    So I'm not expecting much support. I'm just doing my thing as sincere and open minded as I see it day by day.
    FAB Dupont is doing an awesome job. I have a lot of respect for what his team is doing. Glad you liked the tutorial. The tutorial that costs $30 on hybrid is well worth it. 1 hour 20 min of knowledge. The Cubase one is just a teaser but informative never the less.
    Fab is really shedding light on the best of plug-ins and analog. Hybrid!

    Does your console have built in converters? I thought you were using a FF800? There is a peak limiter on the FF800 yes? Did you use it? I never used it. Tracking Limiters scare me. Lavry has a good one. The ADI-8 QS are very good too. I've never heard them clip. I'll have a Prism Orpheus next week. Can't wait to mess with that. Its my new 8 channel mobile gem. So much gear, so little time.

    I'll download those tracks and get back to you...thumb
     
  14. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Rainy Roads WA USA
    I completely agree with everything you said and all of the philosophy that goes with that...
    The whole electronics/computer era is the cause of all of it.

    Having been in the sound and communications industry as a career systems engineer and technician for many years before moving into aerospace (and making real money,,,LOL).
    I've always worked for someone else in my life and I have always been the troubleshooter, the tech, the fix it man the in house wizard and never the businessman. I understand it....and them but I don't like it....it's not what I enjoy.
    I'm happy hooking up stuff, tweaking and troubleshooting and 99% of the time I know what's what or what's wrong. I also love music and have some nice audio stuff for me...so for me it doesn't need to be that professional, but I can understand what's good and what's not. I have musician friends who always ask me to help, fix, repair and most of them have their own systems now which they could never afford years ago.
    I know what you mean with that division between professional and all the other levels below that. So I've seen that, worked that. And like you said anyone who is busy actually making a career isn't posting on forums unless their business model has something to do with drumming up business or they are gracious people who have the time to post advice. I think 99% of these forums are kids sitting in front of an iMac with Audacity trying to rap...they are just consumers and they're used to going on the internet and finding how to beat a video game! And what pops up with those kind of questions on Google....you are! They want to buy what they can afford like they buy video game consoles or cell phones...and when they can't figure it out...you know exactly where they're going...Hehe..
    The trick then is given this known and predictable behavior is there someway to capitalize on it?...probably!
    Wow...a lot of blab there...sorry
    Yes the Allen & Heath ZEDR16 has 16 analog channels and FW converters...not as high end as the SPL or Dangerous stuff, but it is dead quiet and a really great analog board and digital interface.
    Call it the all in one hybrid.
    I have since sold the ZED to a musician friend who couldn't be happier and just use my FF800 for my own things at home now, but I'm over at his place at least once a week acting as recording engineer and occasional keyboard player...LOL.
     
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I download that stereo track Don, it is different from the 2 mono tracks and was not lined up the same way. The right mono track is further behind. That would be imposable to know had we not done this. I can see stereo stems are the way to go. This was a very good lesson because how would someone know something is out of line without going through a massive NULL process with tracks.

    I wasn't able to get a true NULL using the stereo track with the mono once i lined the mono to the stereo either, but its very close. It sounds tighter now and I don't hear the clip. Wasn't this a helpful for us!

    Where do you hear the clipping most on my examples? Right at the start?
     
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I wonder why they didn't bounce the same as the stereo track. I would also suggest not using mono tracks for a stereo keyboard now too. Way to easy to have a problem like this when they are independent. Especially with chorus effects. Hard to tell if its moved.

    Cool lesson I must say. We both learn something today!
     
  17. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

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    From the beginning one of the things I was confused about along the lines of this stereo track thing came up when I was downloading your first stereo wav files and if you remember I was trying to figure out why the waveforms were not split L and R on the screen in the track waveform. They always came in as one consolidated waveform.
    When I sent you the 4 tracks, I first "split" those 2 stereo tracks into 4 mono tracks and I was very careful about rendering all 4 tracks at 0.00 so that they would all import in line. But the timing is very tricky and the slightest variation would sound weird (at least to me) right away, which I'm not hearing in any of your sums.
    So in my mind if you imported them and snapped them all to start at 0.00 in your project grid then everything should have been properly time aligned.....but maybe not.

    The noise I'm hearing is always there whenever the Sum1 and 2 peak to -6dbfs and I might be totally wrong here but to me it sure sounds like some sort of distortion that's on one of the Sum files. I did discover that Sum1 seems to be the cause, because if you null 1 and 2 you get it, when you null 2 and 3 you don't get it and if you null 1 and 3 you get it...so my logical conclusion is Sum1 has something in it that is what were hearing. Anyway try that test and see if something is different with Sum1...BTW I don't know which process used is which so maybe you have a clue why Sum1 contains the artifacts...
     
  18. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

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    I usually track stereo with my Fantom, and both of the original tracks were stereo to begin with, so I should have just sent you 2 stereo tracks to sum!
    I thought I was being tricky by splitting them to give you more tracks to sum and in mono, so I may have caused the whole problem right there....but then that gets us right back to the summing argument of bouldersound's.
    Which is something I'm still curious about and having a hard time wrapping my ears around.
    I still don't understand exactly how you go about your OTB summing process.
    It's good to learn something new everyday I always say...keeps the ole neurons firing...

    The reason the last one was not lined up the same was because I didn't bother snapping it to 0.00 like I did with the other ones...I figured I was sending one track and didn't think it would matter...sorry about that chief!
     
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Don, sum 1 are your original tracks and sum 2 & 3 are clones of one but run through the analog chain. The stereo track you sent me doesn't distort so non of them would have that clip in them now if I did it again.
     
  20. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    It makes no sense because the original stereo track I just sent you wasn't distorted or clipped and never peaked above -18dbfs! And the 4 tracks I sent you were the same. I loaded those 4 tracks I sent into a new project and they were the same and fine. But all the summed versions now all peak around -6dbfs. So they were all "boosted" in some fashion at your end. When Sum1 peaks around -6dbfs that's when you hear the noise. So it had to be something at your end in your summing that added the noise...there is no noise or clipping on any of the tracks I sent you.
     

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