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PT fader problems? Jon?
Old 6th January 2003
  #1
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
PT fader problems? Jon?

Jon,

I know you've been busy, but I did take the time to snail-mail you a CD of some PT fader test material, at your request, and would appreciate a response.

This was in response to the question which has come up repeatedly, namely, whether moving a fader in Protools causes damage to the sonics. You had stated that this was clearly the case with a lead vocal you had dealt with. I sent you some files with a lead vocal that had been sent serially through 16 stages of aux inputs, with faders moved up and down (with a net sum of zero), compared to the same signal bounced to disc at unity. If there is a problem with the PT fader math, certainly this would indicate it.

Here's a chance to deal with a myth that has been bandied about by you, Mixerman (that should activate his search engine) and others. I'm not pre-judging the results, and it's certainly an open question whether my little test even has any validity, but your response might engender a discussion that could shed some light on this.

And it's important, too. Most of us agree that digital recording suffers from certain inadequacies. But you can't fix it if you don't know the cause. If there's a problem with summing, then a Dangerous 2-buss might help. But if the PT faders screw up the sound, then the D2B won't help at all. If neither is a problem, then maybe we need to look to converters or clocking. If that's cool, then maybe you just need to change your mind-set. In any case, it helps to break it down and look at individual factors to see what the cause of the problems might be.

In any case, sending a package to Paris was a pain and it would be nice to hear a response.

bonne annee (sp?)
-R
Old 6th January 2003
  #2
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
no doubt.
Old 6th January 2003
  #3
Gear Addict
 
CrazyBeast's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Color me curious as well!
Old 6th January 2003
  #4
s2n
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
" I sent you some files with a lead vocal that had been sent serially through 16 stages of aux inputs, with faders moved up and down (with a net sum of zero), compared to the same signal bounced to disc at unity. If there is a problem with the PT fader math, certainly this would indicate it."

Do the same test on an analog console and you'll get a different signal to the original as well. What's the point?
Old 6th January 2003
  #5
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hi Rick,

I said that I would listen to your CD. Is it at the top of my to-do list? No. Has the control room been available during human hours the past month? No. Do I realize you think I'm avoiding the issue? Yes. Do I think it will prove anything to those who depend on PT for their livelihood? No. But I will still listen to it. If you want to be impatient about it, that is your prob, bro.

This issue is one which most folks I know dealt with years ago when the MixPlus came out late in 1998. I came to my conclusions by listening and still recommend that you do the same. If you don't hear any degradation from PT fader moves, then consider yourself happy. Your life is now easier.

The practices of "A-list" free-lancers I've seen in our mix room have been a confirmation of my own position on this. Not all engineers I've met, but the ones that mix in high-end rooms for a living. If you think that's voodoo, that's cool. For my part, I will continue to prefer the sound of moving the SSL fader and leaving the PT fader at unity.

FWIW I hope to be able to listen to your CD on an HD system...to see if there is an improvement over MixPlus.
Old 6th January 2003
  #6
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: PT fader problems? Jon?

Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
Here's a chance to deal with a myth that has been bandied about by you, Mixerman (that should activate his search engine) and others. I'm not pre-judging the results
If you consider it a myth, then you must not hear any difference brought on by PT fader moves.
Old 6th January 2003
  #7
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
"The practices of "A-list" free-lancers I've seen in our mix room have been a confirmation of my own position on this. Not all engineers, but the ones that mix in high-end rooms for a living. If you think that's voodoo, that's cool. For my part, I will continue to prefer moving the SSL fader and leaving the PT fader at unity."

The eat ****, 10 billion flys do logic isnt what is at stake here, its a direct challenge to you Jon simple as that.

Oviously do it when you get the time, it shouldnt be like going to the dentist and is meant in good spirit.

"FWIW I hope to be able to listen to your CD on an HD system...to see if there is an improvement over MixPlus."

I dont fuly understand how that last statement relates to this particular test....

Rick you might be more patient, putting food on the table / earning a living is BY FAR the priority. "testing" is for lesure or "dead time" so you cant demand more than a 'when I get round to it" commitment from folks.



Today the music business starts up again! hooray!

grudge heh
Old 6th January 2003
  #8
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You are right, Jules...the PT processing is already in the tracks. Rick, did you do it on a HD or MixPlus system?

I think it's funny how Rick posted that "most of us agree that digital audio has inadequacies", but in the same post asserts that Mixerman and I and others are "bandying a myth" in asserting that the math approximations play a part in those adequacies which we seek to avoid.

The problem is not just jitter and converters.
Old 6th January 2003
  #9
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
"The practices of "A-list" free-lancers I've seen in our mix room have been a confirmation of my own position on this. Not all engineers, but the ones that mix in high-end rooms for a living."

The eat ****, 10 billion flys do logic isnt what is at stake here
Hmm...it's not the greatest analogy to compare the handful of top pros to "10 billion flys".

For the 99% of readers here who aren't credited on a half dozen platinum albums each year (myself included), I thought it might be interesting to know what that handful are doing. That is why I posted that info!

Old 6th January 2003
  #10
Lives for gear
 
bassmac's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I also think there's plenty of people who are credited on top selling records... who don't know jack **** about digital audio! But, because they have "record sales" in their favor, everybody trusts their opinions of it, and continues to perpetuate the negative myths (which may have once been true) about Pro Tools, instead of doing their own research, and drawing their own conclusions.

And IMHO, Platinum selling records have a little more to do with the artist and songs, than a fader move in ProTools.

heh
Old 6th January 2003
  #11
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jon
Hi Rick,

I said that I would listen to your CD. Is it at the top of my to-do list? No. Has the control room been available during human hours the past month? No. Do I realize you think I'm avoiding the issue? Yes. Do I think it will prove anything to those who depend on PT for their livelihood? No. But I will still listen to it. If you want to be impatient about it, that is your prob, bro.

This issue is one which most folks I know dealt with years ago when the MixPlus came out late in 1998. I came to my conclusions by listening and still recommend that you do the same. If you don't hear any degradation from PT fader moves, then consider yourself happy. Your life is now easier.

The practices of "A-list" free-lancers I've seen in our mix room have been a confirmation of my own position on this. Not all engineers I've met, but the ones that mix in high-end rooms for a living. If you think that's voodoo, that's cool. For my part, I will continue to prefer the sound of moving the SSL fader and leaving the PT fader at unity.

FWIW I hope to be able to listen to your CD on an HD system...to see if there is an improvement over MixPlus.
It doesn't matter whether you listen on an HD or Mix system, or any other platform for that matter, as you won't be manipulating the audio. Just listen to the three snippets and see if you can hear a difference.

I'm sorry to seem impatient--I just don't want to let the discussion die. Really, in less time than it took for you to type these responses you could listen to those brief snippets. But how you choose to budget your time is your business, and I respect that. You may even listen and decide that the vocal isn't of sufficient quality to indicate anything. Or perhaps I overlooked something else.

But there's certainly no point in continuing to rehash the issue anecdotally when there's a new piece of evidence to consider. We've already been over how all these other engineers prefer so-and-so and how you've already made up your mind about it. I'm trying to advance it one step further.

You made the assertion that moving a PT fader clearly damaged a lead vocal, and I'm giving you an opportunity to demonstrate the validity of that assertion. I do so in the best of spirits and with the promise that I am open to having my mind changed about this.

Peace,
-R
Old 6th January 2003
  #12
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jon
You are right, Jules...the PT processing is already in the tracks. Rick, did you do it on a HD or MixPlus system?

I think it's funny how Rick posted that "most of us agree that digital audio has inadequacies", but in the same post asserts that Mixerman and I and others are "bandying a myth" in asserting that the math approximations play a part in those adequacies which we seek to avoid.

The problem is not just jitter and converters.
Well Jon, that's what I'm trying to figure out. I don't see what's so funny about my statement. It could very well be that the problem lies with the fact that the math is too accurate compared to the more euphonic inaccurate analog signal path.

We all have to deal with this stuff now. I'm interested in breaking down the source of the problems and dealing with them. Right now I'm not talking about general "math inaccuracies"--I'm simply talking about whether the math from moving faders has an audibly detrimental effect. Other tests could address possible summing bus problems, etc.

-R
Old 6th January 2003
  #13
Lives for gear
 
RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: Re: PT fader problems? Jon?

Quote:
Originally posted by jon
If you consider it a myth, then you must not hear any difference brought on by PT fader moves.
To call something a "myth" doesn't mean that it's untrue. It means that it doesn't matter whether it is in fact true or false--the story itself has it's own cultural value. It's a belief that has a life of its own, whether true or false, and is not subject to any objective verification. Even a true story, when retold, can attain mythical proportions. Sometimes myths are stories that a culture continually retells in order to reinforce its collective values and identity. Rather than seek to expose a myth as false, it can be more vauable to find out what is the real truth beneath it.

BTW, I recorded the vocal in Mix through an AD-8000, and did the fader moves and bouncing in HD. The fact that I recorded it in Mix is inconsequential, unless you think Mix can't accurately store a bit-accurate output from the Apogees.

Hey, this is not earth-shaking stuff. Just a little fuel to further the discussion. When you have time, have fun with it.

-R
Old 6th January 2003
  #14
Lives for gear
 
RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jon
Hi Rick,

I said that I would listen to your CD. Is it at the top of my to-do list? No. Has the control room been available during human hours the past month? No. Do I realize you think I'm avoiding the issue? Yes. Do I think it will prove anything to those who depend on PT for their livelihood? No. But I will still listen to it. If you want to be impatient about it, that is your prob, bro.

This issue is one which most folks I know dealt with years ago when the MixPlus came out late in 1998. I came to my conclusions by listening and still recommend that you do the same. If you don't hear any degradation from PT fader moves, then consider yourself happy. Your life is now easier.

The practices of "A-list" free-lancers I've seen in our mix room have been a confirmation of my own position on this. Not all engineers I've met, but the ones that mix in high-end rooms for a living. If you think that's voodoo, that's cool. For my part, I will continue to prefer the sound of moving the SSL fader and leaving the PT fader at unity.

FWIW I hope to be able to listen to your CD on an HD system...to see if there is an improvement over MixPlus.
It doesn't matter whether you listen on an HD or Mix system, or any other platform for that matter, as you won't be manipulating the audio. Just listen to the three snippets and see if you can hear a difference.

I'm sorry to seem impatient--I just don't want to let the discussion die. Really, in less time than it took for you to type these responses you could listen to those brief snippets. But how you choose to budget your time is your business, and I respect that. You may even listen and decide that the vocal isn't of sufficient quality to indicate anything. Or perhaps I overlooked something else.

But there's certainly no point in continuing to rehash the issue anecdotally when there's a new piece of evidence to consider. We've already been over how all these other engineers prefer so-and-so and how you've already made up your mind about it. I'm trying to advance it one step further.

You made the assertion that moving a PT fader clearly damaged a lead vocal, and I'm giving you an opportunity to demonstrate the validity of that assertion. I do so in the best of spirits and with the promise that I am open to having my mind changed about this.

Peace,
-R
Old 6th January 2003
  #15
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by bassmac
I also think there's plenty of people who are credited on top selling records... who don't know jack **** about digital audio
heh
Granted, there are some semi-competents out there, but for the sake of clarity, the engineers I am referring to do indeed know what they are doing. Their personal assistants know this stuff cold, too. Working with people like that is probably the best education a working engineer could hope to get.
Old 6th January 2003
  #16
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: Re: Re: PT fader problems? Jon?

Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
I recorded the vocal in Mix through an AD-8000, and did the fader moves and bouncing in HD.
Cool...perhaps HD will be a change from MixPlus. What would have been interesting would be to do it with both and compare the relative amount of degradation to the audio.
Old 6th January 2003
  #17
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
Really, in less time than it took for you to type these responses you could listen to those brief snippets.
Yes, except that I would like to listen to your CD in the control room, not on my office boom box. Our room has been booked in lock-out sessions since early December until, at the moment, February 12 (Xmas and NY Eve included). When I'm doing a session, clients don't appreciate testing on their time. And when like today, the studio is booked with guys like Pete Schwier engineering and Pierre Jaconelli producing, i.e. folks responsible for a significant percentage of record sales in this country, the control room is kind of *not* available.

I admit I had more time for testing stuff back when my studio was smaller and the clock mattered less.

Actually, Jan. 9 is an off day this month, but we're installing new surround monitoring control and Dolby ProLogic systems that day. Priorities...

While waiting for my room to free up, if you want to book an hour in another room in Paris to listen to your CD, PM me and we'll put our schedules together.
Old 6th January 2003
  #18
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
It could very well be that the problem lies with the fact that the math is too accurate compared to the more euphonic inaccurate analog signal path.
Rick, we are not comparing a digital path to an analog electronics path.

We are discussing the effect of PT gain change math to a signal.

Concretely, we compare the gain-changed signal (say -5 db then +5 db) to the un-processed signal.

Math approximations are introduced by the gain change.

If you hear them, you draw your conclusions as to their desirability.

The other variables are equal here. It's just a question of listening. Have you listened (with a quality source and monitoring path)? Then you have your answer. Simple, no myth to it at all.
Old 6th January 2003
  #19
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
geez, just stick it in a stereo.
Old 6th January 2003
  #20
Jax
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
No chit. Jon, you got a buddy with a studio you could visit? That would work too.
Old 6th January 2003
  #21
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Guys,

I thought you wanted a critical listen. Listening on my boom box or at friend's home studio isn't going to be very conclusive. You are all just going to have to sit tight and wait until I can listen in my CR.

Lotsa spectators here.

To those who have posted and shown an interest, do any of you have an actual opinion on the issue?
Old 7th January 2003
  #22
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jon
Rick, we are not comparing a digital path to an analog electronics path.

We are discussing the effect of PT gain change math to a signal.

Concretely, we compare the gain-changed signal (say -5 db then +5 db) to the un-processed signal.

Math approximations are introduced by the gain change.

If you hear them, you draw your conclusions as to their desirability.

The other variables are equal here. It's just a question of listening. Have you listened (with a quality source and monitoring path)? Then you have your answer. Simple, no myth to it at all.
Yes, in my general statement to the effect that I (we) have some problems with digital, I was comparing it to analog. It's something you have to factor in since you're running your PT outputs through analog faders. When you move a fader in Protools it will hit the front end of the console harder or softer, resulting in not only a volume difference but a euphonic difference as well due to the console's analog electronics. There's a sweet spot, right? It's also going to affect your analog S/N ratio. All in all, it's just questionable gain-staging practice and one would expect to pay some audible consequences in the analog domain. I mean, say you were to trim back the output of an analog multitrack going into your console and upped the fader to compensate. It might sound different, right? Well, by not going through a console I've eliminated that variable.

In any case, you're right, it's a question of listening. I have listened and drawn some conclusions--not necessarily as cut and dried as you might think. But I don't have my answer, because the issue here is what are YOU able to hear. You don't need to explain to me that math approximations are introduced by gain changes, nor do you have to explain back to me how I created vocal snippets for comparison. (but if you'd like to send me something to listen to which demonstrates what you're talking about I'll pop it right in.)

If your last paragraph is meant to shine me on, which is what it sounds like, then just say so.

-R
Old 7th January 2003
  #23
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: Re: Re: Re: PT fader problems? Jon?

Quote:
Originally posted by jon
Cool...perhaps HD will be a change from MixPlus. What would have been interesting would be to do it with both and compare the relative amount of degradation to the audio.
First, you're assuming there is any. Secondly, I have tested both platforms, as well as native Digital Performer.

First things first, eh?

-R
Old 7th January 2003
  #24
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jon


While waiting for my room to free up, if you want to book an hour in another room in Paris to listen to your CD, PM me and we'll put our schedules together.
What, I have to book a flight from Venice, CA to Paris and book an hour of studio time to watch you listen to thirty seconds of vocal snippets? My work is done. You're free to listen to it anyway you want and bang on it with any sort of hammer you see fit to use.
-R
Old 7th January 2003
  #25
Lives for gear
 
RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
geez, just stick it in a stereo.
He can't, they're 24 bit AIFF files. They need to be dragged into a PT session (or any other compatible platform). I wanted to eliminate dither as a variable.

-R
Old 7th January 2003
  #26
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
Yes, in my general statement to the effect that I (we) have some problems with digital, I was comparing it to analog. It's something you have to factor in since you're running your PT outputs through analog faders. When you move a fader in Protools it will hit the front end of the console harder or softer, resulting in not only a volume difference but a euphonic difference as well due to the console's analog electronics. There's a sweet spot, right? It's also going to affect your analog S/N ratio. All in all, it's just questionable gain-staging practice and one would expect to pay some audible consequences in the analog domain. I mean, say you were to trim back the output of an analog multitrack going into your console and upped the fader to compensate. It might sound different, right? Well, by not going through a console I've eliminated that variable.

In any case, you're right, it's a question of listening. I have listened and drawn some conclusions--not necessarily as cut and dried as you might think. But I don't have my answer, because the issue here is what are YOU able to hear. You don't need to explain to me that math approximations are introduced by gain changes, nor do you have to explain back to me how I created vocal snippets for comparison. (but if you'd like to send me something to listen to which demonstrates what you're talking about I'll pop it right in.)

If your last paragraph is meant to shine me on, which is what it sounds like, then just say so.

-R
Rick,

The CD you sent deals with the effect of PT gain change math on audio, which is a wholly different set of issues (and tests) than the analog gain staging topic you are now plunging into. If you want to compare analog console gain staging to digital math, you will need to devise a completely different and altogether more complex series of tests. I'm not really interested in that debate, as the repeated experience of re-doing PT mixes out on an SSL J has amply answered the question of which works better for me.

I'm not sure what your expression 'shine you on' means.

When I've had a chance to listen critically to your snippets, I will post what I hear and perhaps you can come to some conclusions about it.

That's all for now.
Old 7th January 2003
  #27
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
He can't, they're 24 bit AIFF files. They need to be dragged into a PT session (or any other compatible platform). I wanted to eliminate dither as a variable.

-R
how big are these "snippets"? can they be posted so we all can participate? i can post them on my server if they arent too large. i would also like to include the DP files if possible.

andi bet a masterlink could play the files.
Old 7th January 2003
  #28
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jon
Rick,

The CD you sent deals with the effect of PT gain change math on audio, which is a wholly different set of issues (and tests) than the analog gain staging topic you are now plunging into. If you want to compare analog console gain staging to digital math, you will need to devise a completely different and altogether more complex series of tests.
You claimed that changing a fader in Protools adversely afffected the sound of a vocal. If you were monitoring that vocal through an analog console then it's possible that the non-linear qualities of the analog input channel could be responsible for the anomaly you heard. That is, when you moved the Protools fader you moved out of the input channel's sweet spot. I'm not claiming that that's the case, but I am pointing out that it's a variable I eliminated by doing my comparison totally in the digital domain. So yes, it's a relevant issue.

-R
Old 7th January 2003
  #29
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
how big are these "snippets"? can they be posted so we all can participate? i can post them on my server if they arent too large. i would also like to include the DP files if possible.

andi bet a masterlink could play the files.
I'll have to look, but I think each one (there are 3) is under 2 meg. About 30 seconds of 24/44.1 mono. The DP stuff is a test I did some time ago, the results of which I never coalesced into an uploadable file. I reached my own conclusions and moved on, and I'm not intending to demonstrate anything about the validity of DP fader moves. But anybody easily could. This is not brain surgery, and I'm not doing anything that anyone with a DAW couldn't do for himself. Just run a signal through a series of aux inputs, with the faders moved up and down, and see what you get. Everyone should do this for himself.

If you want to post the files I'll send them to you. EveAnna made the same offer, but I was waiting until there was some sort of interest in the issue. I'm not sure there are enough people who believe there is a problem with PT faders to really justify a large-scale discussion.

In my next experiment I hope to demonstrate that the earth is (roughly) round.

Yours truly,

Dr. Science
Old 7th January 2003
  #30
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
If you could post them or email to me I would appreciate hearing them. Thanks Rick!
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