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Importance of Monitoring at Delivery Rate
Old 2nd March 2003
  #1
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doug_hti's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Importance of Monitoring at Delivery Rate

On quite a few projects (especially songwriter demos), I have to mix and master in the box, or at least not out to a console....

to not have suprises from when the song is mixed to when someone else plays it on their cd player, are you guys finding that monitoring at the intended sample (and bit) rate towards the end of a mix can be highly helpful in the conversion?

I have a HD rig and have done quite a few sessions at 96k from start to finish and in my experience, the following has been true most of the time...

-contrary to popular belief, bounce to disk has not actually caused any problems or differences comparitively to record to track
-(whether or not it's bad) ProTools (even tweakhead) dramatically changes the mix EQ outcome when SRC is used (typically clouds it up especially 96k to 44.1k)
-there really is a significant sonic difference between 96k and 44.1k (not saying better or worse)
-I EQ individual tracks a bit different at 96k compared to 48k
-It's very difficult to get good results out of compression and EQ plugins on the mix buss.
-Adding just one or two pieces of quality analog gear (especially compression) across the 2 can dramatically open the mix up.

Working on a track last week, I took a mix into another studio to do some Junior+ mastering and see what a difference different outboard across the mix buss would make while listening at dif sample rate, even though the gear wasn't neccessarily optimum for the 2bus, I ran the BTDed mix out of PSX100 into LA3As linked, then into some ISA110s for the EQ, then into a Hardware L2 (clocked to 44.1k 16 bit by ardsync) then via AES (clocked by ardsync) into a dat player (DAT later back into PT new session)...I had no new suprises when it went to CD and was pleased with the results.

No matter what, I'm going to shortly invest in a stereo outboard EQ and compressor/limiter that does well across the mix buss.
But have any of you other guys been mixing this way.
I know the argument has been to print the track and import into new session at delivery rate and reEQ and limit, etc....I just have found that I have to EQ less overall if I can hear it the way it's going to be.

So if I'm looking for quality brickwall limiting after outboard Compression/EQ, are there any other cheaper or better alternatives to getting a hardware L2 and running that AES into a masterlink?

I do have Mbox that I could use if neccessary, in which after the outboard Compression and EQ, I could run it into a Finalizer (that I have) for the converters(bypassed) then into the MBox and run a native L2?

My concern is the transients that will get passed the light compression (or no compression) and EQ making it so I would have to have a lower level, in which I have to lower the L2 threshold, which seems to change the sound a bit..as I would rather have the threshold about -3.5 with the ceiling at -.2 or so.

Even though I'm sure I'd love it, getting a half inch machine is not an option.

What are your thoughts, beliefs and disbeliefs?!?!
Old 2nd March 2003
  #2
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
My beliefs...

"Thou shalt not atempt to mix & master at the SAME TIME"!



However I don't always stick to them.



I am sorry but I find your post funny because I do a LOT of the same things you do. AND IT ALL DRIVE ME FART KING INSAAAAAAANE!

With 16bit 44.1 as a delivery standard
24 bit 96k as a possible 'best' mix archive standard
And 24 bit 96k as an emerging multitrack standard

It is EASY to get in a muddle...

Anyway chuckling at your situation asside, here's my contribution to the pot.

******
I find an analog mix captured at 96k 24bit SRC'ed to 24 bit 44.1 for mastering
sounds BETTER than the same mix captured at 44.1k 24 bit.
******

Jon here is very particular with monitoring, he used to monitor via a PSX100 to check out 16 bit & would use an L2 to see what effect mastering might have.. But I dont know what he is up to now....

Old 3rd March 2003
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
As far as BTD on HD vs Mix.

As of HD, Digi has fixed whatever was so wrong with BTD on Mix, to my ears. I just had a PTHD session come in for mastering (yes, beginning to do that a bit based purely on demand) that was cut at 88.2K. We did analog xfers to 44.1K, as well as SRC xfers, comparing a few different SRC apps along the way.

Conclusions, based strictly on my prefs:

1. Digi SRC is not too bad, but nowhere near great. A bit grainy to my ear. OK for quick roughs or live backing tracks maybe, but not master quality for me.
2. BTD is fixed on HD. Sounded like an AES xfer to me. We scoped it out hard, having been aghast at BTD on Mix.
3. We used analog xfers in the end, but personally, I would have been at least as happy with the best of the SRC we found, which amusingly enough, was a standalone shareware SRC app for the PC only, from Voxengo. Ran about 3-4 times quicker than realtime using the highest quality algo on my AMD MP2000+ dual CPU with excellent sonic results to my ear.

It would be fascinating, though unlikely to really ever happen, to use dual PTHD setups in parallel, one at 44.1K and one at 96K, to record the same high quality material. Mix down internally on both, then xfer the 96K down to 44.1K using both SRC and analog.

A blind comparison of the three resulting 44.1K files would be most telling. But for all the novelty that would be, my guess is that not one consumer in 100 could tell the difference at 44.1K on a Redbook CD after purchase. I'm a bit of a pragmatist, so I suppose my conclusion is that 96K today is much more about future proof archiving than it is about any advantage in selling CDs currently.

And the irony of it all is this. Anything digital that is not at 96K (and that is 99+% of the existing masters at this point), will merely be xferred over to 96K via analog (or SRC) and released as "new and improved 96K" anyway at some point in the future. What am I saying? It already *is* on the retail shelves now.

What a racket this whole friggin' biz is. Comical.


Regards,
Brian T
Old 3rd March 2003
  #4
SC
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Jules, that's pretty interesting, though I'm quite surprised by your results, unless you're doing some DSP afteryour final conversion. Although I hear a difference when MIXING at 96K, I don't hear squat between 44,1 and 96 if there are no plugins involved. (i tried REALLY hard, and I expected there to be differences, but there just aint.)

Hmmmm....


Other stuff:

Using software src sounds better to me than re-converting. also, I love the digi src, at least going from 88.2K to 44.1K. I have done blind tests wherein no-one could tell the difference between the original 88.2K session, and that same session bounced to 24 bit / 44.1K (both sessions run to tape, with the tape being A-B'd.

Doug, your problem may have been HOW you did the src. You didn't go to 44.1K and 16-bit at the same time, did you? That's a major mistake.

If you DID follow proper proceedure, then I'd love to know what other src software you tried. barbara batch by any chance? (I've heard good things about that src.)

I wouldn't be surprised if there is something better than the digi src, and would love to find it. Different src's may react differently to different rate-changes, and to different types of material, so my results may have been a fluke.
Old 3rd March 2003
  #5
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doug_hti's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by speerchucker
Although I hear a difference when MIXING at 96K, I don't hear squat between 44,1 and 96 if there are no plugins involved.
What difference do you hear at 96k? Right now I can only tell of a 96k session two ways. There is a 32k air band on my vt737. On a 96k session I can hear it interacting with frequencies I can actually hear. On a 48k session. I can barely hear a thing of it, even boosted significantly....
If I was listening blind. I could definately tell a difference from when I was mixing at 96k to when I Bounced and converted to 44.1k. But if someone was doing two seperate sessions at the same time and they were in the stage of being mixed, I probably wouldn't be able to pick what was what, even though I would hear a difference.

Using software src sounds better to me than re-converting. also, I love the digi src, at least going from 88.2K to 44.1K. I have done blind tests wherein no-one could tell the difference between the original 88.2K session, and that same session bounced to 24 bit / 44.1K (both sessions run to tape, with the tape being A-B'd.

Doug, your problem may have been HOW you did the src. You didn't go to 44.1K and 16-bit at the same time, did you? That's a major mistake.
If you DID follow proper proceedure, then I'd love to know what other src software you tried. barbara batch by any chance? (I've heard good things about that src.)


No, I didn't convert and dither in one go. The only SRC that I have used is Tweakhead in BTD and for the kicks of it, whatever conversion is used when I import 96k files into 44.1 session.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is something better than the digi src, and would love to find it. Different src's may react differently to different rate-changes, and to different types of material, so my results may have been a fluke. [/QUOTE]

I would love to find it as well. And I'm really not being skeptical of these things. I'm not the person that can hear all of the subtle differences of one mic cable or another, etc etc. But there is a differnce IME. Maybe it's how I EQ some things in the air band range?!... In which I may tend to put less high shelving on 96k then 48k because it interacts stronger at 96k?! I'll have to start paying more attention to the differences.

People suggest zsystems converters etc. But I am also of the mentality, how in the world can a real time converter sound better than something like quality software that can take as long as it needs to do it. I believe it can be done, it's just weird. I'm impressed with some of Zsys's stuff and have used there big AES routers.

So for mixing and mastering yourself. Besides the obvious, why is it bad to DA/AD (with good converters) to another sample and bit rate. Especially if I'm using outboard gear on the mix buss, because I'm still DA/ADing.
Also, for me it seems that capturing at the intended sample rate and bit depth, your going to get as good of results as possible with that particular session rate...

Rather than dithering with software? I use POW-R dither type 3, sometimes type 1. I think it's good, but again, it seems like it would be even better to run a fully processed mix...with no additional processing....?!
Old 3rd March 2003
  #6
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thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Re: Importance of Monitoring at Delivery Rate

Quote:
Originally posted by doug_hti
On quite a few projects (especially songwriter demos), I have to mix and master in the box, or at least not out to a console....

to not have suprises from when the song is mixed to when someone else plays it on their cd player, are you guys finding that monitoring at the intended sample (and bit) rate towards the end of a mix can be highly helpful in the conversion?


What are your thoughts, beliefs and disbeliefs?!?!
In a word...yes.

I've been doing this for years. I equate it sometimes with mixing in mono and stereo. If you get it to sound great in mono, than when you pop the stereo button it just opens up that much more.

I do this with radio mixes and MP3 mixes. I have a unit that replicates both.
Old 3rd March 2003
  #7
Gear Addict
 
Bernd G's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
44.1 vs. 88.2

I also believe that multitrack highsampling mixed and then converted to 44.1 sounds better than multi-tracking at 44.1 with no SRC necessary. Then, again, I multitrack at 88.2 so that the SRC does not have to do that much math (i.e. throw out every other sample). Also, I wonder sometimes if the plugins are murking up the original signal. With some plugins I can hear signal degradation very clearly, especially at high resolution.
Old 3rd March 2003
  #8
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doug_hti's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: 44.1 vs. 88.2

Quote:
Originally posted by Bernd G
I also believe that multitrack highsampling mixed and then converted to 44.1 sounds better than multi-tracking at 44.1 with no SRC necessary. Then, again, I multitrack at 88.2 so that the SRC does not have to do that much math (i.e. throw out every other sample). Also, I wonder sometimes if the plugins are murking up the original signal. With some plugins I can hear signal degradation very clearly, especially at high resolution.
I work at 96k, as if something is used for dvd, i would rather it not be upsampled. And I've heard numerous reports that the conversion math problems aren't an issue anymore with the amount of oversampling involved.

But then again, i started the thread to try and deal with the audible changes from a SRC, but I'm defending the 96k to 44.1k conversion...urrgghhh, uh..
maybe I'll try 88.2
Old 4th March 2003
  #9
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
I am using hardware SRC in the form of the "up-down" option for a Finalizer 96k. Some folks belive hardware SRC to be superior to software SRC. Re-sampling creeps me out but shouldnt be discounted I suppose..
I understand it when ultra high quality analog outboard EQ & compression is to be used.. But DAW folks dont always bring that stuff to the "mastering party"

Lately I mix listening to my analog mix converterted to 96k 24bit.

I monitor the D/A

Old 4th March 2003
  #10
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by speerchucker


I wouldn't be surprised if there is something better than the digi src, and would love to find it. Different src's may react differently to different rate-changes, and to different types of material, so my results may have been a fluke.
Try the hardly ever talked about TC Spark XL program.

It has one of the best SRC's software or Hardware around.
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