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Thread: Hybrid Systems

  1. #1
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    Hybrid Systems

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    This has been going through my mind for a while now. I only record myself, and donít seem to have the discipline to maintain the same guitar volume (weíll call it emotion.... ). Anyway, in the past, Iíve made numerous notes about the tape counter and fiddled with the faders in the right spots to try to get the sound like I wanted. Now, Iím playing other instruments with the ďemotionĒ in the wrong spots....and that has got me thinking about using a DAW for automation.

    Since this is new to me, Iíd love to here the pros and cons of hybrid systems, as well as how people who have them use them.

    Thanks,
    Brad
    Brad Bachelor
    "Marrying an old bachelor is like buying second-hand furniture." - Helen Rowland

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    Would some kind of outboard compressor or limiter help with that?

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    I use a hybrid, but I am sure everyone uses it differently. I went from analog back in the day to digital only, and now to hybrid. Mostly, I use the DAW now (Logic Pro X) as an arrangement and composition tool, then as a "recorder" as well as sync my Tascam 38 to it.

    For mixing, I try to stick with using only volume and pan Automation in the DAW but sometimes do use other features. The DAW feeds my analog mixers and summing. I'll attempt to set the analog mixer faders at 0db. I also use external comps, EQ's, and FX. With outboard gear (like compressors) though, when a track is automated inside the DAW, level changes may affect how that outboard gear responds.

    A big con for me was the learning curve - wrapping my head around what gets plugged in where. But now I have a bunch of "labelled" patchbays - and cables....so that makes it a lot easier.

    I have a bunch of new equipment, and am still kind of experimenting with the setups, especially how I am going to "sum", but its pretty cool having the hybrid and best of both worlds.


    ~Mike

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    Brad. I dont know how this would apply to you, but here's what I use. May be irrelevant and useless but also helpful.

    I have 3 core components to my setup.
    1) Tascam msr16 tape machine
    2) Allen and Heath ICE16. 16 in 16 out converter (no onboard preamps)
    3) Tascam M520 mixing console. 20 input/8 buss console

    I record to tape and feed the tape output into the Allen and Heath converter where it is stored on an external SSD hard drive.
    My analog signal is now in the digital domain in the form of a wav file.

    From there it goes either into protools or reaper where I can manipulate the source material at will.

    From the daw I have the choice of either mixing 100% in the box, or bringing it back to the Allen and Heath coverter. Then it gets input into the desk.

    This way with it's 16 analog outs, I can feed my console and have 4 channels left for hardware processing devices.

    Mixing like this on the console is super easy, because I'm doing zero fader rides. That's already been done in the daw via automation.
    Besides, It's cool having unlimited "1176" compressors in protools.

    Anyhoo, it might be zero help to you, but that's how I do it.

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    Going hybrid is all good...but I wouldn't look toward a DAW simply as a way to fix your performance issues.
    Oh sure...it's great when you can do an edit here and there...but I think if you simply practiced more, and listened to the playback, so you can hear what's wrong with your "over emotional" performances...you could correct it at the source.

    That said...don't be too quick to level out emotional playing. That's where the magic is often found, and you take it at face value...or kill the emotion.

    Otherwise, having both an analog/tape setup and a DAW system gives you lots of options and possibilities that either alone do not. You can go as big and complicated as you like and can afford, but a lot can also be done with a smaller, more modest hybrid studio.

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    Oh good! I'm glad you posted, Miro!
    I've been gone and only recently posted a little bit. But it seems every thread I've posted in dies.
    Been starting to think I'm a 'thread killer"


    Back on topic. Lots of good things have been brought up here. Sure it will give you plenty to think about.

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    Yep.... I'll be thinking a bunch.... Right now I have an old Tascam US-800 to get tracks into the computer.... I can't go the other way, but I thought I may incorporate the 800 into my setup as I hope to be starting to cable and patch in the M-312 this coming week.

    I could just use outboard compressors JP, but thought it might be time to learn what this DAW thing is all about too. I'm a little limited since I'm running a linux system. I've chosen Ardour as the DAW because it seems to offer the most versitility (and works with the (US-800 interface.....). I'm sure the lack of or quality of plugins will be an issue, but I'm just start to figure it out, so I probably won't know the difference.

    Thanks for posting your setups. R.... I think I'm looking towards what your doing and recording to tape and feeding the tracks into the computer for a digital editable track. Right now, I don't think I'll be able to take the tracks back out to the mixer like fstrat does.

    Miro.... emotional playing is good, but sometimes I get so emotional, I'll catch the high e string with the pick and then yell a compound word..... so hard to take that out of an analog system..... (part of my reason for going digital is my lack of talent...... ). ...but I also like the ability to be able to experiment with different things.......

    Thank you for your replys..... I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!!

    Brad
    Brad Bachelor
    "Marrying an old bachelor is like buying second-hand furniture." - Helen Rowland

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    Quote Originally Posted by bachelorb View Post
    I could just use outboard compressors JP, but thought it might be time to learn what this DAW thing is all about too. I'm a little limited since I'm running a linux system. I've chosen Ardour as the DAW because it seems to offer the most versitility (and works with the (US-800 interface.....). I'm sure the lack of or quality of plugins will be an issue, but I'm just start to figure it out, so I probably won't know the difference.
    I'd be interested to know how that goes. I haven't had much luck with that one - JACK in general is a bit of a headache - but at the same time Audacity is a bit limited.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpmorris View Post
    I'd be interested to know how that goes. I haven't had much luck with that one - JACK in general is a bit of a headache - but at the same time Audacity is a bit limited.
    I’m using pulseaudio and alsa.... I had all sorts of problems with jack..... everything I’ve read said the Tascam should match up with alsa (I haven’t tried the US-800 with it yet but I will this week).
    Brad Bachelor
    "Marrying an old bachelor is like buying second-hand furniture." - Helen Rowland

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    Lately Iíve been a Hybrid Creeper....

    If you guys who use digital and analog are starting to feel a bit uneasy..... it’s just me

    Backstory: I’m a lame songwriter who does this for a hobby. Trying to learn home recording from the ground up. Occasionally I record other people for which I charge them $0/hr studio time. I must be doing alright though because I have never had to give a refund.....

    I have finally gotten a Windows 10 machine. Linux was just too hard to find compatible things for. I’ve started setting up the system and wanted to see what you guys thought. I wanted to keep my “analog only” capability too. Please add any advice you can think of.

    My thought is, I will always be recording to tape, then going to the DAW. Any more than the 4 tracks will be done ITB. I am concentrating (....for the moment.....) on using the DAW for Automation, noise reduction, and (since I only have a four track recorder) additional bounced tracks.
    So here’s my setup:

    Analog only (current):
    12x8 Mixer => (Mono compressor/Reverb) => 4 channel tape=> mixer=> Digital mix down

    ......and here’s what I’m thinking......

    Hybrid Setup (to DAW):
    4 channel tape => mixer tape return inputs (Ch1-4) => Ch1-4 Direct Outs => 8x6 Audio Interface line inputs (3-6) => DAW

    Hybrid Setup (out of DAW):
    DAW=> 8x6 Audio Interface Outputs (1-6)=> Mixer Line in (7-12)=> (Mono compressor/Reverb) => 4 channel tape (...or digital mix down)

    I think that this way, I can keep what I’m familiar with, and work my way more into the digital world.

    My biggest question is.... Should I use 4 PGM group tape returns to go to the DAW rather than just the 4 channel tape returns? That would leave me 4 PGM groups available for other things, or should I keep all 8 PGM groups available?
    Ex...
    Hybrid Setup (to DAW):
    4 channel tape => mixer PGM tape return inputs (PGM 1-4) => PGM1-4 Out =>Audio Interface line inputs (3-6) => DAW


    Just curious if I am on the right track or not. Any suggestions y’all have are welcome.

    Thanks,
    Brad
    Brad Bachelor
    "Marrying an old bachelor is like buying second-hand furniture." - Helen Rowland

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