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Thread: ITB or Not ITB: Mute Automation, etc.

  1. #1
    Beck Guest

    ITB or Not ITB: Mute Automation, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FALKEN
    I will be the first in line to say that plugins, volume changes and automation will corrupt the material. but I cannot see how manipulating time, or mute automation can do that. Of course having each individual track recorded digitally is not going to help in the first place...
    It’s hard to visualize I know; since everything is taking place seemingly innocuously ITB. I treat digital recording like I do tape and use outboard devices for effects, panning, fading, automation, etc. I would trust a VCA or something like the Niche Audio Control Module for automated muting and levels over an ITB solution.

    If you ever wonder why, just keep in mind we’re dealing with software. You may have 8-tracks or more to work with in your DAW, but your song is in fact one file. Anything you do to a track you do to the entire file, so you have an algorithm crunching and rearranging numbers. The perception of having separate tracks is an illusion. An algorithm manipulates information every time you edit your file. Of course the more one abuses editing features the worse it will be, so you can be conservative and get better results.

    Looking over the list of Pro Tools updates and fixes over the years is most enlightening. It reminds you that you’re at the mercy of algorithms.

    Take just one for example from January:

    “Pro Tools 6.7cs6 version fixes errors in delay compensation for mute automation when using plug-ins on master faders (Item #57447), and when using delay compensation, using a plug-in on a master fader would cause mute events to play back out of time.”

    Our virtual buttons, faders, and other controls have labels that claim various functions, but they don’t necessarily do what they say they do, or not only what they say they do.

    I came up with a quality-monitoring window for Pro Tools. It’s a game of Hangman taking place in the corner reference the number of plug-ins and other file manipulation features you’ve employed. When you use one too many the game is over.

    I always thought there should be candid pop-up windows in Pro Tools… something like this:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails warn2-jpg  

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beck
    If you ever wonder why, just keep in mind we’re dealing with software. You may have 8-tracks or more to work with in your DAW, but your song is in fact one file. Anything you do to a track you do to the entire file, so you have an algorithm crunching and rearranging numbers. The perception of having separate tracks is an illusion. An algorithm manipulates information every time you edit your file. Of course the more one abuses editing features the worse it will be, so you can be conservative and get better results.
    If you're referring to Pro-Tools, I'd have to strongly disagree with you there.

    Ever look at the "audio" folder in a session folder? Each and every region in Pro-tools plays back from seperate,discrete audio files.

    The problems occur when you have too much digital summing going on. Sending your whole mix down two outputs of your interface SUCKS THE LIFE out of your mix..........kind of like the older VCA system do when they age more than 10 years or so.

    However, if you send each output of your DAW to it's own discrete output on your DAW, and/or minimize the amount of digital summing going on, you'd be hard-pressed to find any sonic problems with it, as you can have your way with it in the analog world with any decent console.

    I DO agree with your above statement, in that DAW's can negatively change your tracks, in proportion to the amount of plug-ins and in-the-box automation you do. HOWEVER, there are MANY ways to make these features work, without having them fugger-up your actual raw audio files, or altering them in any way, shape, or form.

    For example: automating a track's volumes and mutes using Pro-Tools automation doesn't actually change the track itself, unless you click on the region, and do gain processing on it.

    The careful DAW user can ALWAYS get a true sound out of their machine, and still take advantage of the convenience of plug-ins and automation, and still deliver sonically professional results as long as the tracks are all sent to their own analog output, and summed in the analog realm for the true space that only analog gear can deliver.

    I agree that Pro-Tools and DAW's are the root of all evil, and I would LOVE to work in a studio with nothing but every kind of analog multitrack recorder at my fingertips. But I would also like to make some money in the near future. So I'll have to figure out how to max out the possibilities of what I'll be forced to work with.

    just my 2 cents.......

    -callie-

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beck
    “Pro Tools 6.7cs6 version fixes errors in delay compensation for mute automation when using plug-ins on master faders (Item #57447), and when using delay compensation, using a plug-in on a master fader would cause mute events to play back out of time.”
    ok sure the engine was off. but that has nothing to do with the sonics. I do feel that volume automation will cause the data to be divided into undending decimals which will mean a degredation but with mutes the data is either what it was or all zeros. Anyway any engine will have timing errors during playback which will be partially dependent on your machine, ram, cpu, disk speed, etc, etc. And almost all of them have buffers built in, so I dont really see the point here...... I dont see myself tracking digitally at anytime in the future again but it is always nice to learn something new even so.

  4. #4
    Beck Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Muckelroy
    Ever look at the "audio" folder in a session folder? Each and every region in Pro-tools plays back from seperate,discrete audio files.
    Well I’m not picking on Pro Tools in particular, but since you brought it up… yes, peeking into the region bin now and then can be helpful.

    Maybe I could have phrased it better. With an analog tape recorder you have separate physical tracks and information in each track spread over the length of the tape. When you play a tape adding, deleting or muting tracks doesn’t change demand on some central resource. Analog tracks enter the world with the same quality regardless of how many you are using, or not using. Outboard processors and devices have their own resources.

    A DAW has files, not tracks, and everything ITB depends on the same resources. You have a common project file of some kind directing how common resources are to be used. Digidesign goes into great detail about managing resources, and what minimum requirements those resources must have for the system to perform at the desired level.

    We can manage resources (Memory, processor, hard drives, etc) and choose an inferior sonic quality in favor of more tracks, more plug-ins, MIDI, or other functionality. Thus, depending on the demands we place on the resources, the audio files in a project will run differently.

    And in answer to Falken’s “I don’t see the point” comment… keep in mind we have two categories of issues with Pro Tools… limitations that Digidesign will acknowledge, and those they can’t very well call attention to while marketing PT as the Swiss army knife of the recording world. That goes for other companies as well.

    We will each find limitations that cause a product's performance to fall below our standards of musical excellence. Since we all have different missions, music styles and standards, some limitations will depend on individual discretion.

    Also keep in mind I take the analog purist approach. Between my perspective and the total desktop angle there are many ways in between to get the job done.

    As for bringing out individual tracks from your DAW and mixing in the analog world... I couldn't agree more.

    Last edited by Beck; 02-23-2007 at 23:51.

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    wait...has resources even been an issue for the last 5 years?? Did you read the article in the new tape op about the guy who is making television spots on a G3 ???

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    holy crap....beck....that Niche Audio Control Module...ive never heard of that, I went and looked it up....does it really perform? That sounds amazing really. How does it work?

  7. #7
    Beck Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by FALKEN
    holy crap....beck....that Niche Audio Control Module...ive never heard of that, I went and looked it up....does it really perform? That sounds amazing really. How does it work?
    It's a really nice unit. It's all MIDI controlled, so you can use it with any hardware or software MIDI sequencer. I even used one with the onboard sequencer of an old Ensoniq ESQ-1.

    It sounds great... well actually it sounds transparent, which is great in this case. Niche also made a control surface (The Automation Station)… you can use two ACM modules with it for 16 tracks of level automation. Sad to see it discontinued, but you will find them now and then on eBay, craigslist, musicgoround, etc.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Beck
    It’s hard to visualize I know; since everything is taking place seemingly innocuously ITB. I treat digital recording like I do tape and use outboard devices for effects, panning, fading, automation, etc. I would trust a VCA or something like the Niche Audio Control Module for automated muting and levels over an ITB solution.
    Speaking of VCA mixing, I still have my Mackie 1604 with the OTTO-1604 just kinda laying around. Anyone who wants a clean sounding 16 track mixer with easy MIDI automation of all track and aux levels and main out levels, cheap, can PM me at their leisure. Someone ought to be using this. I'll even sell the automation alone if someone has an original 1604 to install it in.

    Cheers,

    Otto

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    Quote Originally Posted by ofajen
    Speaking of VCA mixing, I still have my Mackie 1604 with the OTTO-1604 just kinda laying around. Anyone who wants a clean sounding 16 track mixer with easy MIDI automation of all track and aux levels and main out levels, cheap, can PM me at their leisure. Someone ought to be using this. I'll even sell the automation alone if someone has an original 1604 to install it in.

    Cheers,

    Otto
    Oh, yeah, it does track muting/unmuting, too.

    Cheers,

    Otto

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    PM'd.

    I am guessing though to use either of these setups with tape you would have to give up a track?

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