The Red 16Line is really what I've been trying to find for a long time: 16 analog line ins and line outs - an additional 2 outs for monitoring - plus 16 of ins and outs on ADAT (at 48kHz - I assume you could do 8 in/out at 96kHz). Apparently you can add 32 more ins and outs via Dante if you've got an interface that'll do it (like another Red 16Line, for example).
This interface is basically saying "use me with a console."
What it whispers to me, though, is "you can track a whole band at 96kHz without a big mess of boxes and drivers all hoping to speak to each other happily." I dig that.
I do miss the Pro VLA 2, I'd like to have one back one of these days. That thing could pump and freak out in a good way sometimes, or be a little subtle and wooly with more conservative settings.
I have a Pro VLAII and I dig it.
I use it primarily on vocals and bass. I'll mult the signal out of the patch bay after the preamp. One goes to the converters and the other goes to the compressor. I'll compress 2:1-3:1, somewhere in there. 6-10 db of GR.
My goal is primarily to give the performer a more finished sound in their mix. Most of the time, though, I'll end up muting the uncompressed vocal in the mix and using the tracks that came through the VLAII.
I suppose if I had a better compressor for those sorts of sounds I'd go through that but, you know, you work with what you've got. I didn't like vocals through my Alctron 540 (GAP Comp 54 copy) and my Stam SA 4000 is pretty much dedicated to master bus duties.
Back to the OP, it's good to know the Revive Audio stuff is legit. I'm always looking at low end stuff (because that's my price bracket) and scheming on using it as it is for a while then sending it off to Revive to improve it when funds become available.
I dig the Kush plugins. I have the subscription (they are some of the few 3rd party plugins I own) and they get used a ton.
UBK-1 is a really good bus/group compressor. I often use it on vocal groups, drum groups, drum parallel, and/or bass. It's fantastic at smashing stuff up. It's also on my parallel mix bus as a saturation/smash/distortion/pumping thing. I dig it.
Hammer EQ is on my master bus. 1db at 10k does something that I don't find other places. The low end is nice, too.
Clariphonic gets used on a lot of things when I need brightness/air, etc.. I just used it on a dull, thuddy snare drum the other day. It gave me top end nothing else was giving me.
Electra gets used on percussive stuff and stuff where I need impact and/or narrow cuts. The low shelf plus HPF has been useful on low end instruments in dense mixes where I've got a lot competing for space.
Pusher gets used less but the Diode Limiter section is killer and sometimes the transient saturation/magnetization stuff is super useful and kind of the only thing that does what I want when it's the thing I need.
I'm in the middle of some mixes for an EP right now. Novatron is sneaking its way into some tracks and I'm digging what it's doing. The unlinked stereo has been great for controlling background vocal groups and rhythm guitar groups plus the saturation is helping thicken/fatten percussion stuff. It's also done a good job holding the bass in place without making it lifeless.
The Omega Transformer plugins get used for some transient shaving and some non-EQ tonal shifts. They get used on many of the individual tracks.
I'm not at the level many of you cats are at but these tools seem to be helping me make stuff happen in my world. That's the biggest endorsement I can give any tool I have.
Last Edit: Sept 29, 2017 9:05:32 GMT -6 by schmalzy
I was having a hard time with a kick drum last night. It's on a mostly rocking project (and, thus, the basic tracks - drums, bass, one rhythm guitar were laid down that way) but this song over the course of production has taken a little mellower a sound for most of the song (there's a third of it that still gets loud and dense).
Attempting to get it to be audible and come through the mix with EQ and a couple other compressors gave me something that didn't speak enough or got buried. It's like the attack-to-tone ratio wasn't coming out the right way. The attack always seemed too "RAWK" when it was audible.
Tried Novatron on a slower attack and medium release with some saturation. It seemed to calm the attack's frequency aggressiveness but made it knock harder. I tried to EQ for that sound but sounded paper-y. Using the saturation with the compression made it less paper and more knock. I think it works much better!
My situation is still evolving and trying to figure itself out. Also, my rates are pretty low. But, I set it up pretty similar to what jcoutu said:
I basically build a custom project package for each artist. I listen to them at a show/watch a video/listen to something that already exists/go to their practice/get a phone-at-rehearsal recording - whatever - so I'm informed of what they sound like and what their playing level is. I find out the number of songs and the runtime of the project (runtime is important - I had a band bring me a 9-minute song with lots of changes and needing A TON of tracks and expect it to cost the same as a 3-minute song) and figure out what I think it should take to record it.
Extrapolate that amount of recording time necessary by the hourly rate I'd like to hit: That's the flat fee for that certain amount of recording time. If they go over, there's an hourly rate attached to it. It motivates the band to make it happen on tracking day.
If I'm mixing the project, I'll shoot a flat fee for the mixes based on what I'd like to hit for my hourly rate and how long I think they'll take. Three revisions, after that there's an hourly rate for revisions. I shoot a little high on that estimate and I let the artist know it's because I'll edit as part of their mixing fees. I also have in my mind that at least half the songs are going to use the same basic mix settings. Save it as a template after the first mix like that is approved and some of the work is done. I can gain a little extra back on my rate there.
I master at a specific fee per song. It's lower if I'm mixing - I'm mixing into a stand-in mastering chain already so I have an approximation of what I'll be doing.
I've been looking at 'em both and drooling a lot lately.
I've got to stop using my eyes so much. Live mixes are relatively simple for me compared to the studio stuff - I think I attribute that to looking at/reading screens and using a mouse. I JUST WANT TO TWIST KNOBS AND PUSH FADERS DAMMIT!!!!!
Anyone find more good/bad in these things? Anyone using 'em with Reaper (my current DAW of choice but, if one of them worked extremely well with one or both those controls, I'd be willing to switch)?
Most of the instruments are organic sounds. All are played by me. Rapper is a local guy who happens to be a really decent dude so I said I'd write him a track. The female background vocals are from an eccentric indie artist in town.
For those struggling with cymbal sounds, why not overdub crashes? They're probably the easiest to fake into a recording with a couple of pencil mics and a decent reverb.
100% on this. If NOTHING else, leave the hihats out of the programmed drums and overdub the hats.
In PUNK - a thing I can't know anything about because I wasn't born yet - the hihat (and ride) is super important and really needs a little swing to feel real. Also, many other styles also rely on rhythmic subdivisions often supplied by hihats. With a damn nearly locked-to-the-downbeat kick and snare, an overdubbed hihat really helps to make it sound more real. I'd recommend overdubbing the ride as well.
I recently had to drop a ton of kick drum hits into a metal song. It changed how I'll deal with programmed drums from here-on-out.
Basically, the guy could play the fast 16th-note double-kick part PRETTY well when his kick was tuned super tight and it shot the beaters back at him. Unfortunately, his kick drum sounded awful at that tuning. Not only that, but that tighter tuning interacted with the shells a lot more and there was a ton more resonance and sympathetic ringing we weren't happy about. He wanted the kick lower, I wanted it lower, the shells wanted it lower, and - most importantly - the song wanted it lower. We tuned it down. He couldn't quite play the part still and we only had one day for a fairly djenty/rhythmically complex metal song.
So, there's a section of a song where the kicks were all dropped in by hand. I had something like 12 kick samples we had taken that day. I dropped 'em into the section in a random-esque order. It's something like 128-ish hits. It still sounded machine-gun-like.
I thought about a drummer actually playing the part. What would be happening? Some would be louder, some would be quieter. Some beater hits would bury more, some would bounce off the head more. Some would be a little behind the beat (most likely, because it's a fast-as-hell) and some would get ahead. Sure, but when?
So I went in and did some nudging. Just a few milliseconds, I think. I'd basically took sections of 4/5/6 hits - whatever - and nudge 'em off the grid by the same amount. Some of the sections that got nudged overlapped (so one or two of the first set of hits I nudged would also be in the second set of hits I nudged - a little randomness and "human" variation). Then I automated a pre-fx volume and I automated a pre-rest-of-the-fx-chain transient designer. I corresponded louder transients with the louder pre-fx volume automation. Randomly automated a hair of extra sustain from the transient designer into some of them. A couple passes doing some hand-on-trackpad automating and it sounded a lot more natural. It's still superhuman in playing but at least we don't instantly and obviously hear it.
Maybe the key to making programmed drums sound real is in that volume and transient designer automation. In some programs, just automating/redrawing the MIDI volume information will be enough to make those hits sound less identical in attack/sustain envelope. If not, that transient designer automation might do a lot of good work to get us where we need to go.
I agree. Both that record and their follow-up were killer.
Not everything on those records was as aggressive as that one, but it's all pretty schnazzy. A little more musical wandering, a little more vocals, a little more crazy drums - it's all throughout their two full-lengths.
I've had SO MANY bands come to me saying "we love this and want to sound like this." I have to tell them that, to me, it just sounds like rad musicians playing their hearts out like their lives depend on it. The sonics vary from fine to good, but the attitude and feel is overflowing. THAT's what I love most about their two records.
...one of those songs was a song by a crazy metal band called Cognizance.
Here's the song:
That's not Billy's mix, but that Cognizance track slid right into Billy's template and sounded a little like Billy but mostly like the band.
His template system really is something to behold. Buying the month on Nail The Mix is completely worth it but I suspect if you get that one month you'll probably end up in there longer term like I've been. I've been on for about a year now and my mixing has improved significantly.
Last Edit: Jul 5, 2017 11:33:13 GMT -6 by schmalzy
This was a band of young guys that came in. We tracked drums, one of the guitars, and bass live in my (basically) one-room studio. Drums were live. Bass was DI. Guitar amp was in my storage cellar two rooms away. We ended up retracking the bass as the drummer was tearing down - he thought he would be tighter when he could concentrate and listen closely. Then we did a handful of guitar overdubs, experimented with some weird stuff, and then got the vocalist to do his thing. The whole song was tracked in 11 studio hours. (14 hours total including a few breaks).
I'm not sure how much you guys listen to this genre so I figured I'd toss one your way and get an "outside the genre" set of opinions.
A couple notes:
1. Yep, the lyrics are repetitive. The artist was adamant about wanting to convey the frustration of reaching out for help over and over and never getting it. One of the ways they wanted to do that was through that repetition. There are also some really gross sounding chords to try to paint that picture, too. 2. Vocals are screamed and include some...language. Don't listen loud with your young kids. 3. Guitars are 7-strings drop-tuned to A. The bass was a 5-string drop-tuned to A as well. It's low. I tried to keep it from getting too out-of-hand in the mix. 4. Mixed ITB except the mix bus went through the line inputs of my Chameleon Labs 7602 X-Mods into the Stam SA4000.
Thanks for the super nice things you said! You have no idea how big of a relief that was. I was seriously freaking out thinking "what if I just missed the boat COMPLETELY and I just don't know it?"
Those synth arpeggios? Yeah, they're buried. I'm not a synth/keyboardist but I like to pretend. That was my buddy's MiniBrute. I love that thing! I tried to mute the synth parts but I and an impartial listener both preferred the extra movement present with the synths. I turned 'em up and hated my playing. I'll try bringing 'em up a bit again and we'll see what happens!
Drums? Oh, man. Did I have a hell of a time with those! My playing (my editing!), my kit, my mics, my room, no samples.
The kit is a fairly cheap Pearl Export from 2000-ish. The snare is a Tama Starclassic Maple and is the reason I struggled so much with the drum sound. I just didn't notice during tracking but it was too tight and sounded super choked. Some EQ, some compression, some distortion, some short reverb, and a bunch of parallel compression eventually gave me some length in the snare sound - but very little! Cymbals are Avedis Zildjian.
Nothing special in the mic technique except a stereo pair of Cascade Fatheads as room mics (delayed 12ms in the mix) and an Apex 205 in the other room as a mono room mic.
Quick photo of the setup:
Well, that's a lot of typing...sorry for making you read so much!
I've loved the videos. Watched one about the omega mic pre. But wtf makes this different than slate? Clean mic pre. Software.
What makes it different? Not much, I'd say.
People certainly seem to be excited about the Slate stuff. Why aren't they as quick to rush to the Kush stuff? I don't know. Marketing, maybe? Possibly it's the intention of the product and the way it's presented.
From the outside looking in (I've never used a Slate product so forgive me if I'm way off-base), the Slate stuff seems to want to sound exactly like what's being modeled. The FG Red is modeled after a specific unit. The Kush stuff, to me anyway, seems to be trying to model the essence of the gear and give you the character of 100 different units blended together rather than exactly one piece of gear itself. Gregory from Kush seems to push the marketing (and probably the product features/specs, too) towards the feeling of the thing that's being modeled rather than a specific unit. You can either get one person's favorite Neve 1073 or you could get Gregory's interpretation of what 100 people's 1073s give them to make those 1073s their favorite.
Personally, I have a few color preamps. Most of my preamps are clean. Adding the Omega plugins to channels that went through my clean preamps gives them a little je ne sais quoi. The Omega plugins also get used on a lot of my channels as saturation - the Omega N (Neve) gets bigger, the A (API) gets aggressive, and the 458A gets "nicer."
I'm a huge fan of the plugins - I don't own any of the hardware (though I'd love to have Tweakers and Electras - drsax, how many channels of each do you have? What do you find you're using them on most?) because it's all out of my price range at this point. The 500-series Electras are fairly affordable if you have a 500 box. I don't.
The plugins (I have a subscription) always give me something fun and useable. I could open up a compressor and adjust some stuff to try to find the sound and maybe I'll get there or maybe I'll have to grab another compressor plugin. Or I could just put on UBK-1 and slide down the threshold, listen, click on the different compression types, and probably pretty quickly get something I like plus add controllable amount of saturation - both in a blendable amounts. I could put on an EQ or I could use an Electra, Hammer EQ, or Clariphonic (depending on needs). Similar to what I mentioned in the summing thread the other day - things just move more quickly and I smile more when I'm using the Kush plugins. I'm learning I need those two things to mix as effectively as I can at this point...which isn't great but I'm improving.
Zip tie the snake cables to the spring clamps, Clamp the spring clamps to the top back of the rack.
If my setup was more permanent, I'd screw or staple the zip ties to the underside of the top of the rack. I know that my not-too-terribly-distant future is going to include a complete new desk and rack layout. I'm staying modular enough to learn how I like to work until then.
Last Edit: May 16, 2017 15:20:46 GMT -6 by schmalzy
Holy shit, I type too much. Sorry for the long posts (every single time I post, it seems).
I'm still fairly new to really utilizing a summing workflow but I'm seeing a couple patterns emerge.
Pattern #1: my mixes come together faster. Of course, I might just be getting better and the summing has nothing to do with it - except I mixed a project all ITB a month-ish ago and I fought it the whole time.
Pattern #2: I'm more inclined to commit to gain/level-related decisions early in the process - especially on drums - and I'm sticking with them because it makes more sense. That translates for me to mixing by pulling things down rather than mixing by pushing things up. If my drums are hitting my analog compressors a certain way I like, I'm not about to push those shits up to live with the bass and guitars. I'm going to pull the bass and guitars down to live with the drums. That's the way I work when I'm mixing a live show and I'm not sure why it's different for me when using a mouse, but apparently it is. When I work "the right way" then I seem to see better success. This methodology encourages me to work the way that works better for me.
Here's my setup:
I'm using a passive summing box. I've been sticking to 8 outputs (four stereo pairs) and trying to pair them up in a "what makes the most sense" fashion. I have 16 outs available in my DAC and 16 inputs into summing my but I just haven't used it in that way yet. Most of what I've been mixing through my summing box has been rock stuff - vocals, drums, bass, guitars - so it's not like I need too much bussing anyway. I've basically been stemming them out to the summing box the same way (with the vocal bus getting all the ambience effects, too).
My passive summing runs to my Chameleon Labs 7602 XMods (Neve-style preamps with 3-band EQ and Carnhill mic and output transformers plus a "custom wound" line input transformer - a noticeable difference we shall talk about soon), through my Stam SA4000, and back to the ADC.
I have six channels of available compression (in varying forms of stereo linkability) and I've been able to work four of those channels in comfortably - the other two channels are part of Presonus Eureka channel strips and are hard to get to behave (they work well enough for individual instruments but not great - at this point with me steering the ship - when working on a stereo pair).
DAC - to compressors - to preamps - to bus compressor - to the ADC has been part of my workflow as I have been getting to the end of mixes faster. Is that contributing? Possibly. I'd imagine the analog compression is doing as much (or more) than the summing to help me get there.
Of course I could go line out of the DAC - line input on the preamp - bus compressor - ADC but something's a little off when I do that. Going straight into the line input transformers on the preamp seem to have a less bottom available (maybe that transformer high-passes higher up) and less upper mid clarity than the summing box into the mic inputs. I tried to test fairly but we all know how easy it is to be fooled. My summing box was a pretty cheap DIY thing so I'm not out a ton of money if I don't use it. I'd love for the difference to be negligible and not have to run a bunch of extra cabling back and forth. As of right now, though, it's not. BradM , is the line input transformer much of a different beast from the mic transformer on the Silver Bullet? I don't know enough about that stuff, do you see any sorts of difficulties or advantages of using one or the other?
One cool thing I was able to do, though: DAC - Bus Compressor with slowest attack, fast release, and dimed makeup gain - into the line inputs of the preamp (with the output trim turned way down to not clip the ADC). Huge distorted transients. It was a super cool sound that would be great - probably in parallel - on the right project. That project hasn't come along for me yet. I also bet it would be easy to set up and get close to it (or beat it) ITB.
As of now, I'm sticking with the passive summing world for a while. I've got two projects in the not-too-distant future that will be great to test if the hybrid thing is really doing anything for me. I'll report back with any significant findings!
Last Edit: May 16, 2017 11:13:17 GMT -6 by schmalzy