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Thread: Protools and Analog

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    Protools and Analog

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    After years of recording and mixing on a computer workstation, I've decided to go back to my analog roots and track on an analog 24-track before dumping to digital for mixing. I don't have a lot of outboard and wondered if anybody has tried using Protools as a front end to a 2-inch machine. Example: Mic pre to 888/24 converters through eq/Comp plugin's etc, back through converters and finally onto tape. I'd only use this configuration for initial tracking, so latency issues on overdubs wouldn't be a problem. I guess I'm more concerned about hitting the converters so many times. Any ideas?

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    Hmmm, I'm not a digital oriented person, but from what I've read from mastering engineers, thats one conversion too many. Every conversion does it's damage I think.
    Digital into analog for tracking makes no sense to me. But I'm no digital expert, so you digital guys can ream me if I'm out of line. But if your into digital, why are you lurking here. Just kidden, I roam the digital stuff too! Just to hear the woe is me stuff! Even at Tascam.
    fitZ
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    I would not advise that route. If it's all you have for now I wouldn't worry too much about it. Good AD/DA won't hurt your audio noticeably, the main thing is to get that great tape sound on your tracks.

    I would advise doing an A/B session between digital mixes off analog and analog mixes off of tape before deciding on a method.

    I will bet you like the tape machine mixed through a Mackie better than a profools mix. Use that computefor edits and leave it out of the mixing...just my opinion.

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    Fitz,
    Thanks for the reply, however. . . many studios use digital consoles (like the Sony Oxford, SSL's digital console, Neve, even Mackie d8b's and Yamaha's) to track to analog tape. A lot depends on the quality of the converters, bit rate, sample rate, clock quality, etc. I guess my question was, and still is: Has anyone tried this configuration? I just wonder if a WAVES renissance compressor, eq or a Massenberg eq, or Universal audio PLUG-IN, (even though routed through a protools channel at 24-bit/48k) would sound better than a "prosumer" dynamics piece.

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    Originally posted by jake-owa I will bet you like the tape machine mixed through a Mackie better than a profools mix. Use that computefor edits and leave it out of the mixing...just my opinion. [/B]
    No doubt man, but quite a few of the folks I work with benefit even more from some serious editing!

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    indiGo,

    I also use "too many" AD/DA conversions: I record to pro tools (in this case, through a Digi 002- the 888 convertors probably sounds better) and out againg to an analog board for mixing.

    In mixing, I combine plugins and outboard gear as needed and route the final mix back again into pro tools.

    I'm sure I'm losing something through all that converting, but compared to what I GAIN from the analog board and gear...its well worth it. I always record at 24/44.1 or 24/48, and it seems to sound fine.

    As to whether or not a plug sounds better than prosumer hardware... if you have it, it sounds better than stuff you don't have and can't afford. Try it and see.

    Take care,
    Chris

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    Originally posted by indiGo
    No doubt man, but quite a few of the folks I work with benefit even more from some serious editing!
    Gotcha.
    But my point was that you can do all the edits you want and run it back out to tape provided you get the 24 track synched up properly.

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    Thanks for the input everyone! I think maybe I wasn't clear on exactly what I wanted to do though. Here's the deal:
    1) I want to track (basic tracks) on analog.
    2) I want to move these tracks to protools.
    3) I want to continue with overdubs and mix in protools.

    For the past several years, I've been doing everything within a Mackie digital 8 bus-MDR/HDR environment with outboard mic pre's. If I needed a little eq or compression on the way in, I'd get it from the d8b console. The d8b is tied to the MDR via lightpipe and I want to keep it that way and charge a lower rate for that set-up.

    Now that I'm tracking to 2-inch, I have no Dynamics Processing. i.e. eq's, compressors, etc., since I cant use the ones on the console anymore. I still have some budget Behringer stuff lying around though.

    Anyway, I thought maybe I could use protools as an "input channel strip". I have plenty of I/O (mix plus with 3-888/24's).
    I'm waiting for some new patchbays to be built so I can't try this and was just wondering if anyone else had tried this sort of thing. It seems that it is the same concept as having a digital console and tracking to analog. I wondered if it would sound better than using the Behringer conpressors and eq's in an all-analog input path. Ultimately, my ears will be the judge.

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    Well, I'm confused.

    If you want to use ProTools for everything except tracking, I guess this is because you somehow hope that the 24-track will give you a more 'analog' sound. Well, maybe it will. But probably not to a particularily noticable degree.

    One common way is to track everything to 24 track, but through all analog paths, and for mixing, transfer it to ProTools. But converting everything back and forth seems strange, and if you use protools for everything except the actual "storage", you could probably get similar quality by mixing down to a reel-to-reel.

    Otherwise the mid-level consoles are getting really cheap now. Top level tascams are going for weel below $2000, and then you'd be back on "track" again.
    Random Pavarotti Disease Victim.

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    Originally posted by indiGo
    Thanks for the input everyone! I think maybe I wasn't clear on exactly what I wanted to do though. Here's the deal:
    1) I want to track (basic tracks) on analog.
    2) I want to move these tracks to protools.
    3) I want to continue with overdubs and mix in protools.

    For the past several years, I've been doing everything within a Mackie digital 8 bus-MDR/HDR environment with outboard mic pre's. If I needed a little eq or compression on the way in, I'd get it from the d8b console. The d8b is tied to the MDR via lightpipe and I want to keep it that way and charge a lower rate for that set-up.

    Now that I'm tracking to 2-inch, I have no Dynamics Processing. i.e. eq's, compressors, etc., since I cant use the ones on the console anymore. I still have some budget Behringer stuff lying around though.

    Anyway, I thought maybe I could use protools as an "input channel strip". I have plenty of I/O (mix plus with 3-888/24's).
    I'm waiting for some new patchbays to be built so I can't try this and was just wondering if anyone else had tried this sort of thing. It seems that it is the same concept as having a digital console and tracking to analog. I wondered if it would sound better than using the Behringer conpressors and eq's in an all-analog input path. Ultimately, my ears will be the judge.
    You've obviously got some decent gear but it seems like you are missing a few important principles.

    Why would you want to use post ADC limiting or compressing while tracking? The whole point in using limiters during tracking is to prevent clipping and if you use it after the ADC it can't do that job. It could be argued that some like to track with comp/lim for the sound but if you are using digital plugins you can just do that during the mix anyway.

    If you want an analog sound then track to tape with your external pres and monitor them through the mackie db. Then you can transfer the tracks to PT for mixing and processing.

    Tracking through PT to tape sounds like a worst of both worlds type of situation.

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