Considering Major Studio Changes!

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by LSchefman, Sep 16, 2004.

  1. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    I have a rack of synths and samplers, and I have a fairly large format analog recording console (32 x 32 x 16 x 2) that sounds good. I've made a lot of music with this stuff for TV ads, records, you name it. And I'm thinking of scrapping most of it!

    I've gotten to the point where I like Mach Five's sound as much as my hardware samplers, and I actually prefer the newer software synths to most of my hardware synths (Waldorf Microwave and Nord excepted).

    I have always mixed my digital tracks on the analog board, but lately, I've been increasingly happy with submixing groups of tracks in the computer, effecting them there, and using outboard gear with the console only in those cases where it sounds noticeably better (and there are, of course, such cases).

    I could get away without the analog console. I don't think I'd miss most of the hardware synths and samplers at all. I might miss the console. OK, I probably would miss it. So I'll hang onto that, since it has no real resale value anyway, compared to what I paid for it.

    But I'm totally intrigued with the idea of having as little hardware as I can get away with. I've done a few projects where I've not used hardware, except for mic preamps and a few outboard effects and dynamics processors. I wasn't at all unhappy with the outcomes.

    I don't know if I'm getting crazy, lazy, or what, but I am itching to get rid of a bunch of hardware, and invest in a faster computer and more software.

    I just may do it.

    On another subject, I have found that the Mackie HR624s give me a more accurate picture of a mix than my far more expensive Genelec 1031As were able to. All of my mixes have turned out better. Of course, the Genelecs sounded lusher, and went louder and deeper, but as a nearfield mixing speaker, I love the little Mackies!
     
  2. GaryNattrass

    GaryNattrass Member

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    This is the same thing I went through and I think I can conclude in this way which is what we have also gone through in the TV and film world.

    Analogue does sound better than digital but its an operational trade off.

    I just find the ability to recall and have the desk set-up the way I want a lot more convenient and I am prepared to trade off the analogue warmth for this.
     
  3. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Speaking of the Mackie's I'm using the 624s also (thanks for the recommendation). Do you have the subwoofer too?
     
  4. wichita

    wichita Supporting Member

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    I have the Mackie's too and they are the best bang for the buck I ever spent!

    Les,
    I don't have a console at all and have been thrilled with the results. Just some nice mic pres straight into Pro Tools have served me very well.

    Ask Matt Henderson about software synths. He and Torn went that way and I know that Matt is thrilled.
     
  5. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    That's kind of funny...weird funny. I'm trying to figure out a way to get some kind of control surface to get faders INTO the process and here Les is talking about DITCHING his faders :)

    Change is good, especially when it sounds as good as or better than how you've always done it in the past.

    --chiba
     
  6. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Les-since you're such a fan of softsynths you might find this interesting.
    Muse Research Receptor is a standalone hardware VST plugin host that runs VSTi and plugins.

    It can run 16 channels of audio and up 57 plugins.

    Unfortunately for you and me, being mac users, it runs Windows format plugs and needs a special version if the plugs have copy protection but it's an interesting option to havng another computer around.

    http://www.museresearch.com/receptor_overview.php
     
  7. heinz

    heinz Guest

    Although I love soft synths, I also love having hardware.

    One aspect of software that bugs me is the temporary nature, new versions & upgrades... system stability & hard drives... controller routings & mappings.... licensing... all complicate the concept of sudden inspiration. Or of working on a piece for several years. Not that it's rocket science or anything, just a factor.
     
  8. Impulse 101

    Impulse 101 Member

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    One of my closest friends (an quite frankly the best guitarist I've ever personally known) writes exclusively for Video Helper. He uses Digital Performer, Mach 5, Alberton Live and literally hundreds of plug ins exclusively. He has a little Mackie for monitoring and has a bunch of Manley stuff for his front end. ELOP, massive passive and a some other stuff and all of his converters and interfaces are MOTU. That part sounds similar to your rig Les.

    He runs two G5's one is exclusive for soft synths and samplers. The other runs DP. It's a fairly bullet proof system and I can't believe the flexibility that he gets out of it. Not to mention his personal tallent and flexibilty. When he decided that he needed to learn loop based production he did so, and then took it to whole new levels. It's amazing to watch.

    My personal rig uses Sonar 3 producer. I'm using the RME HDSP 9652 card with three ADAT light pipes in and out. Soon I'm going to be using a Yamaha 01V to do my mixing externally, which will allow me to run each digital audio stream at a higher bit rate which bypasses the internal mix buss headroom limitations. For now I'm using my ADATs as a converter bank and my Mackie 2408 to accomplish the same thing.

    I think that this the best solution to digital audio issues when using soft synths, soft samplers and a Digital Audio Workstation because I use a similar system (Bigger system with DP, and an 02R96) at a studio where I freelance occasionally and it works great.

    JT
     
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>Speaking of the Mackie's I'm using the 624s also (thanks for the recommendation). Do you have the subwoofer too?<<

    Not yet, what I want to do is go surround, and do a whole 5.1. But I do want to add the sub.

    >>Les,
    I don't have a console at all and have been thrilled with the results. Just some nice mic pres straight into Pro Tools have served me very well.<<

    Yeah, that can work well for most things, but here's my question: let's say you have a production where you're tracking a live band, and you need to monitor and buss a dozen or so mics? Doesn't the lack of a board then become quite complicated?

    Also, I haven't had to deal with latency issues while recording and monitoring, since I monitor analog off the board. How does one get around this problem?

    Lots of good ideas in your answers, guys!
     
  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>That's kind of funny...weird funny. I'm trying to figure out a way to get some kind of control surface to get faders INTO the process and here Les is talking about DITCHING his faders <<

    Actually, I think one needs faders, even if all they're doing is controlling the software.
     
  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>Les-since you're such a fan of softsynths you might find this interesting.
    Muse Research Receptor is a standalone hardware VST plugin host that runs VSTi and plugins.<<

    That's a cool idea for someone who uses tons of processing.

    Honestly, though, I did 48 channel productions with my analog board and only a few hardware effects processors in the days before plug-ins with my old DA-88/DM-80 system. In those days all I ran was a PCM-70, an H3000, a cheap LXP-1, and a TC 5000 for effects. You know what, the productions sounded really nice. Of course, I used EQ on the board, and the aux sends and returns for the various channels.

    I don't think I need quite that many plugs going all at once. I'm already running a bunch of soft synths on a converted G4 with only 500 mhz, and plugs, and having very few problems.
     
  12. Impulse 101

    Impulse 101 Member

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    The digital mixer system that I described handles all of those issues. You have all of the mic inputs on it, it can do multiple monitor mixes with no latency and you have seperate monitor and studio outs as well. Add in the fact that the Yamaha boards have some pretty nice internal effects, compressors, EQ and can be automated easily from your DAW via realtime and snapshot control and you can save a lot of processor power and use it to run your softsynths/samplers.

    JT
     
  13. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    Would ditching that hardware make your studio appear less credible to clients dropping by the studio? I suppose if that were a factor, you could always invest in some Funk Logic gear. ;)
     
  14. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>Would ditching that hardware make your studio appear less credible to clients dropping buy the studio?<<

    I suppose it might, however, if I got rid of the console, I'd pick up a fader pack of some sort that would look fairly professional.

    I'm guessing, here. I'll probably just keep investigating the whole idea until something seems obvious.
     
  15. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    I hear you, Les. I'm looking at offloading some more analog gear, as I'm tending to do it all in the box these days.

    Although nothing beats analog summing and hitting a 2" Studer (with SR), I hear the gap narrowing every year. What a time to be a studio geek!
     
  16. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    Totally soft synth(NI Komplete, REFX Vanguard, Beast, Juno, Phatmatik Pro, Trilogy) and sampler based here(have been for the past year and a half). No control surfaces either. I'm a strictly mouse mixing monkey and I'm cool with it. I tend to mix while I'm tracking anyhow and I avoid EQ unless absolutely necessary until mastering. My rig is tiny.
     
  17. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Matte - hw much for Beast? My VST analog basses are working my nerves!
     
  18. matte

    matte Senior Member

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  19. drezdin

    drezdin Member

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    anybody here use absynth?
    one of my favorites.
     
  20. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>Although nothing beats analog summing and hitting a 2" Studer (with SR), I hear the gap narrowing every year. What a time to be a studio geek!<<

    True, that.

    I do like the analog summing and I still miss the big tape machine.

    I was offered an Otari MTR90 with SR for $6,000, a machine I know to be extremely well-maintained. But I couldn't say yes. The guy still has it, and every time I see it, I drool.

    With the 24 channels of SR I think he paid close to 90 grand for it. Six grand!
     

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