Quantcast
Need help with DAW theories/setups and such (long) - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Need help with DAW theories/setups and such (long)
Old 21st March 2003
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Need help with DAW theories/setups and such (long)

Hey all, Bryan here...

You've got $20,000. Build me an amazing sounding DAW.

Please do not factor in a computer, mics, or monitor speakers.

----------------------------------------


So I'm racking my brain with this challenge day and night...
I want to create a very concise DAW that is capable of recording at least 12 channels. Mastering options have been chosen, and thus aren't part of the 20k.

Here is what I've theorized so far:

- Mac G4 dual 1.25ghz
- Dynaudio BM6A Monitors
- Dynaudio BX-30 Subwoofer
- Drawmer six-pack compressor (2)

The preamp + A/D + D/A section is kind of bugging me though...I've come up with 3 solutions:

1) Manley 16x2 > MOTU 192HD

I'm not sure the manley would be warm enough for such a front end though. Going straight to digital it seems something so incredibly clear might sterilize things worse than old age. Also I am very unsure of the MOTU...aside from the fact that 192 would kill Native resources...its $1600 List for a 12 I/O 192khz A/D D/A converter with AES I/O and PCI card? I'm slowly learning that you get what you pay for...and while this isn't a Q10 that has 8 mic pres, 96khz A/D D/A, PCI card, 4 inserts, 8 assignable outs, headphone out, monitor out, and S/PDIF out all for 730 dollars - its the basic idea. I'm not very comfortable buying a converter like the MOTU when there's boxes twice as expensive that only do A/D (and only at 96khz). Less features + more money = better. But would there be a WORLD of difference in converter quality? MOTU is trying to sell the "fact" that their converter is EXACTLY the same as Pro Tools 192. Whether this is bull**** or not seems moot because I haven't heard great things about the PT converters anyhow. Opinions?

2) Manley 16x2 > Apogee AD/16 > Nuendo I/O

Same qualm about Manley and sterility...is that unfounded? I'm sure the AD/16 is great, but the general consensus is that there are much better converters around for the same price range. Also I'm looking for a very rich/open sound - I'm under the impression these are a bit tighter and focused? As well the Nuendo I/O cards only have 12 channels of 96 khz ADAT I/O so I'd have to get 2... and I'm not that comfortable with having just ADAT and S/PDIF to get in and out of my comp.

3) Crane Song Spider 8 (two) > Nuendo I/O

I'm leaning towards this. The Spider seems to be on the upper echelon of mic pres, and the tape emulation would give me something I've long wanted (though some good old fashioned tube mic pres would be MUCH preferred...). It also eliminates the need for an A/D...and I've heard only great things about the converters in this piece. Again I'm concerned about the ADAT and S/PDIF only in this setup however.

Aside from the Pre | A/D section could I get some good advice on actual PCI cards / breakout boxes? I love the total routing flexibility of the MOTU, but I don't think I want their converters. The only real problem I'm having is finding something with decent output options...

On the subject of DAC - I'd like to get a HEDD 192 because of its excellent converters and tube/tape emu, but I'm having difficulty understanding where to slap this in the chain. If I output my signal to it, I can't monitor my full mastering chain because I want the HEDD before any compression/normalization/EQ.

Basically I want my Master chain to be something like:

HEDD > TC Finalizer 96k > L2 Ultra > CD-RW2000

I could shove a Mytek 8x96 DAC between the L2 and CD, but that's alot of money for alot of wasted options (I'd only need 2 analog outs and 1 AES out). The HEDD HAS stereo analog and AES outs, but it should be before the rest of the mastering chain RIGHT??? If not then this would solve alot.
ADAT Finalizer > AES L2 > AES HEDD > Analog monitors + AES CD.
But wouldn't running the entire signal (even though its digital) through all of that other junk before the monitors effect the sound quite a bit? Although I suppose the final mastered recording would be just as effected, so its more realistic anyway? Uggg...but then a finalizer and L2 would be on all the time when they'd only get used 5% of it. Aren't there any other solutions?

I suppose I could put a Mytek Stereo96 for my monitor outs, put the HEDD after the L2, and then just attach the monitor cables to the HEDD when its time for the 5% mastering? But I'd hate to be using different DACs...but why should I? I mean, if you send your stuff to a mastering house, they will have a different DAC eh? Hmm....but then the HEDD is at the end of the chain, and we don't want that right? Maybe just HEDD at the front of chain and I'll use the CD-RW2000's DAC + Analog outs to monitor masters? But I'm sure that DAC sucks.........UGgggggg...........I hope you are getting confused by my confusion. Suggestions at a simplified setup would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance, all of your slutty cyber-ears are invaluable.
Old 21st March 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
XHipHop's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Go with the motu!

Motu HD 192 - 12 channels A/D D/A $1800
Apogee Big Ben - $1200

Preamps -

Pick and choose here. You can easily put together 12 nice ones for $17,000!

In fact, let me try...

Manley SLam - $7000 (better for "mastering" than L2 as well!)
Api 3124 - $3000
Drawmer 1969 - $2800 (also can be used for a'mastering' or bus compression)
Vintech 473 (4 neve 1073 copies) - $2500

Add other preamps, compressors, etc. to taste but this is a pretty strong start. That's what i would do if i were you but there are a million options.
Old 21st March 2003
  #3
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
You cant go wrong with set up 3

Spiders rule, they just sound awesome.

You will be able to get on with the music without the consearn of pre amp 'colors' . They just flat out rock.

I would get a Benchmark DAC-1 to hear your DAW

For mixdown - I would just run back into a stereo DAW track via AES / the Spider / or use a Masterlink.

For mastering I would skip the Finalizer (I just use one as a guide) and do it on a later day, with the best plug ins available (I use Sony plug ins).

so to recap

2 x Spiders
Native DAW software
16 x digital i/o (look into Hammerfall) to feed in the Spiders digital signal
Several TC Firewire DSP boxes to run Sony plug ins
UA cards too to run their plug ins
DAC-1

Killer!

Old 21st March 2003
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Suggestions noted, but:

I think I'm a little more concerned about the price of AD/DA quality...to me buying SLAM!s to go into a possible POS converter seems like sacrilige.

Also, the entire system can be $20k, but that has to include these key requirements:

- 12 channels of pres
- 12 channels of compression

Thanks
Old 21st March 2003
  #5
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
You cant go wring with set up 3

Spiders rule, they just sound awesome.

You will be able to get on with the music without the consearn of pre amp 'colors' . They just flat out rock.

I would get a Benchmark DAC-1 to hear your DAW

For mixdown - I would just run back into a stereo DAW track via AES / the Spider / or use a Masterlink.

For mastering I would skip the Finalizer (I just use one as a guide) and do it on a later day, with the best plug ins available (I use Sony plug ins).

so to recap

2 x Spiders
Native DAW software + 16 x digital i/o
Several TC Firewire DSP boxes & Sony Plug ins
UA cards too
DAC-1
ADAM S3A monitors

Killer
Old 21st March 2003
  #6
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
I think it's ill advised to be running 12 channels of compression during rock band tracking.

The whole point of Digital is that you skip tape hiss, you arent running from signal to noise ratios any more..

The 'you have to serve up the hottest signal to the converters' theory is balls

The 'get it the way I want it sounding on the way in' theory is ALSO balls

I used to belive both were corect. tutt

Sure, capture stunning signal, but sort out dynamics later TO TASTE, don't mess it up with budget dynamic controlers..

Leave yourself some SCOPE! Why paint yourself into a corner?

Sheesh just the name of it makes me shudder - - "Drawmer six-pack compressor" .

Leave the spring break 'over limiters' to the kids, with a Spider, you are crusing the strip in a Ferrari.

Old 21st March 2003
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks Jules, very helpful - and now some more.

I apologize for the myriad of questions...
I seem to have a map in my head of how this all works in a world class situation - but at every turn I seem to find that a street is blocked or is just a dirt road =\ Learning is very exciting though.

1) Is there a particular **technical** reason YOU personally prefer the DAC-1 to any others? Not just opinionated preference, because I think the whole "its just different flavors on the high-end" is really wasted on one such as myself. I understand the concept, but I'm like a man who has been eating **** for weeks - DIRT would be a step up. When you've been relying on <$1000 combo boxes with horrid DACs for years I think nearly ANY of the high-end toys would put a smile on my face and a grin in my pants.

2) Why the ADAM S3As? I've seen very little mention of them, yet its always with great respect. Is this preference or technical? As well, do you think the BX-30 is a good idea? The specs look amazing (i enjoy the pure punch of a reflex sytem), and I'm a BIG fan of hearing/FEELING the thump of my mixes. I like to listen to music in the car (and generally any high/low sweep EQ audio systems) with full treble and full bass...and I find that I horribly overmix the low end for such systems without a sub.

3) Compression. You're thoughts interest me...but I've had incredible difficulty trying to get smooth/consistent sounding drum tracks without comp all around (of course this has been with HORRID pre's). Software and post-record compression just seems to not work with me. I have problems with seeing 2 inch high waves and millimeter high waves on the same track (but its really overheads that kill...a loud snare or china completely reduces my ability to raise general overhead levels after recording unless caught beforehand). The 12 channels of comp are actually all for drums (8 close mics, 2 overhead, 2 room mics - or possibly a tubed stereo submix mixed in quietly and perhaps delayed microscopically). I've been wanting to try the stereo mix thing in an attempt to emulate a trick Dave Bottril uses when recording Danny Carrey. He takes the entire live mix and sends it out through a monitor that is placed behind Danny (which then blasts through the same mics that are feuling it). Apparently this adds alot of balls and space. Actually Chino from Deftones does this for vocals too, but with the entire song blaring behind him!

Anyhow, I figured that since Drawmer has got a decent rep and the sixer is $2200 list that its about mid-level (as opposed to $550 or so for the DBX 1046) . I concluded that the comps couldn't HORRIBLY alter the gorgeous sound of the Spider if they were anything better than bargain basement poo. Wrong?

You say to taste...well I like the drums VERY punchy. I'm attempting a Tool/Dredge/Deftones/Dillinger Escape Plan type of drum sound...very aggressive. I can't seem to get that much punch from software post comp...but would it be possible to punch it the hell up with outboard gear? And if so would it be possible to somehow individually mixdown each track with ONE gorgeous $5000 comp and still keep it all synced in the DAW? Using outboard in post-recording is something I'm very unfamiliar with, so any help (chain details?) is greatly appreciated.

4) When you say Mixdown I assume you mean getting the ENTIRE recording into stereo. Wrong? If I'm right...then can't you just do this in the DAW with export file? And regardless of if I'm right or wrong, how would you get back into the DAW via AES with the Spider/Hammerfall setup? Please excuse my lack of intelligence on this entire question(s)...

In closing I'll say that I've definitely already been looking at PCI DSP cards, and have been debating whether to get a UAC or TCworks. I would go UAC if third party support picked up heavily...but that doesn't look like its happening any time soon.

Thank you so much for the power (knowledge).

P.S. - Could you shed some light on the HEDD 192? Not needed? I'm horribly afraid of ending up with a project that is sterile sounding...I think its something I definintely have learned to hear and dislike immensely.
Old 21st March 2003
  #8
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Heterodox
Thanks Jules, very helpful - and now some more.

P.S. - I'm horribly afraid of ending up with a project that is sterile sounding...I think its something I definintely have learned to hear and dislike immensely.
Why not use part of the budget to buy a 2 inch/24 track for drums?

A lot of the drum tracks you mentioned were tracked to analog.

Instead of simulating analog, why not just go with the real thing?

If done right you will have that punch that you are after.

Just an opinion.

Old 21st March 2003
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
1) All of the drums I mentioned were tracked to analog - at least one (Deftones) to a $500k Studer.

2) I can't spend the entire budget on one item. Although I'm sure playing the drums very close to the tape would pick up SOME vibrations, mic pre's seem pretty essential. =p

I'm pretty confident that the digital technology of today is reaching a point where its competing with Analog (not so much to BE analog, but to have its own unique sound perhaps). Of course Rush thought that in the 80's...heh.

I'll just have to make due with all digital for now - I'd imagine enough ears can be tricked (hopefully mine too!)
Old 21st March 2003
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Mike Tholen's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
a 500k Studer?
that's one hell of a Studer...I never heard of such a thing.
a Deftones Studer?
500k?
Old 21st March 2003
  #11
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Heterodox
1) All of the drums I mentioned were tracked to analog - at least one (Deftones) to a $500k Studer.
(hopefully mine too!)
$500K?

If you look around you can find a 800 or an 820 for about half your budget.

Use the rest for some mic pre's and good mics and a nice 16 channel converter to do some transfers(or to save cash do some rentals).

Nothing beats analog for drums,bass and guitars. Vocals are fine on digital.
Old 22nd March 2003
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Blargity blargity....typo!

I meant $50k - the Studer A827 Gold Edition specificially.

I'd love to get a used 820, but I'd still need a great pre section, great compression, A/D, PCI, D/A, speakers...

I just don't think I could squeeze that all into $20k and still have a world class front end. Not to mention I don't know anything about tape machines...and whilst they appear simple enough to use, maintenace and repairs and purchasing tape would be completely uncharted waters for myself. I'm sure there's 100 little nuances (DOs and DON'Ts) about recording to tape...of which I currently know 0.
Old 22nd March 2003
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=15199

Old...but cheap. Now I am at least INTERESTED in analog gear, but there's so much to research! Damn you Thrill.

Eh...also found

OTARI MTR 90 Mk III 24trk, Remote,EC101 Time Code Syncronizer $4500

THAT is quite the price for such a piece of gear...
Old 22nd March 2003
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Mike Tholen's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I gotta Studer 827 Gold, wanna buy it?
50k?
Old 22nd March 2003
  #15
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Jules is right on the money.

My biggest problem with plug-ins is that they frequently offer an unprecedented range of settings, most of which will sound horrendous for any given application! The Benchmark Media DAC1 quite simply will enable you to find the right settings and help you avoid some of the really bad sounding plug-ins. The ease I find in sorting out the low-end with the DAC1 has been a revelation to me.

Crane Song's Spider offers state of the art mike preamps, outboard gear interfacing, peak limiting and first rate conversion. It has generated "wows" from friends who use the most expensive gear available every day.

The difference that using this quality of gear makes is not subtile. Once and for all let me say that "sterile sounding" is mostly about the really cheesy analog stages found in both cheap digital and cheap analog gear. When you use the good stuff, you'll find little need to "warm things up" while if you start out using mediocre analog electronics, you are very likely to embark on an endless and very costly journey of upgrades.
Old 22nd March 2003
  #16
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Heterodox
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=15199

Old...but cheap. Now I am at least INTERESTED in analog gear, but there's so much to research! Damn you Thrill.

Eh...also found

OTARI MTR 90 Mk III 24trk, Remote,EC101 Time Code Syncronizer $4500

THAT is quite the price for such a piece of gear...

If its an MK III it can't be that old.

But its still not a Studer...never will be.

Even though being able to store the calibration settings is cool(comes in handy when you are working with different tape formats). But the sound just doesn't cut it for me.

On your front end issue, a 4 channel API 3124/GML 4 channel and Vintech 473 will get you there. That's 12 excellent channels for $7000. This leaves you $3K for some conversion.
Old 22nd March 2003
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks Thrill and Bob, both very informative.

Bob, if you don't use plug-ins (at least for mastering) then I'd be interested to know what you do use. I'm more geared towards mastering with outboard stuff, but I've never used incredibly high-end plug-ins (nor have the recordings that have been mastered even high-end)...so that is probably a biased opinion. I'd definately like to try both.

Jules, where are you? =[
Johnny 5 NEED INPUT.

Thanks again all.
Old 22nd March 2003
  #18
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I probably use plug-ins a lot more than most people but the only way I can get away with it has been high-end converters and monitoring. When you get rid of the jitter the high-end cleans up and the image solidifies so that you can really hear what's going on with them. I also use outboard digital and analog processing when that sounds better. When you have a lot of jitter, the analog almost always sounds better because jitter generates distortion in the dsp although it goes away when the signal is finally clocked out cleanly.
Old 24th March 2003
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
nbutter's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
about that spider

boy, i hope this makes sense and is in the right thread...well here goes -

could the spider be used as a "summing bus" box, a la the danger 2-bus, in connection with (let's say) an HD 192 interface?

something like this: PT mix stems out thru hd 192 dac --> analog ins to spider master bus, thru a/d to stereo digital out --> back into 192 via digital i/o

wouldn't this do sort of the same thing as a dangerous 2-bus, albeit with 8 channels rather than 16?

as you may guess i have a 192 and am trying to think of ways to justify even THINKING about purchasing a spider...

thanks in advance
πŸ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 353 views: 63044
Avatar for c1ferrari
c1ferrari 15th June 2020
replies: 185 views: 54325
Avatar for kalle789
kalle789 27th September 2012
replies: 192 views: 38361
Avatar for mgoorevich
mgoorevich 10th December 2019
replies: 56 views: 13607
Avatar for burns46824
burns46824 6th June 2019
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump