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Major issue with stereo analog compression! wtf, yo
Old 25th January 2013
  #1
Lives for gear
 
thetalkinghead's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Major issue with stereo analog compression! wtf, yo

So i recently picked up a UBK Fatso and i love it for tracking, mixing, and mix buss squeeze.

Right now i am in the process of mastering a tech house track for a pretty well known DJ/producer. I am running the Fatso into an API 5500 into a Clariphonic. I love what the Fatso's glue setting is doing to the mix and the result is sounding just great. Really killer... I am in love with this box. However...

I noticed that after going through the Fatso, one channel comes out louder than the other. I bounced the track and took a look and indeed it was totally lopsided. What the hell? To compensate and make it even, i have to boost the quieter channel by SEVEN friggin ticks on the Fatso output.

One of the Kush guys actually totally coincidentally emailed me this week and told me to make sure to calibrate the left and right pots and make sure that they are even. Apparently, this was great advice! Too bad i didnt get a chance to do it yet... and the DJ needs this track in the next hour so he can play it at a gig.

Just want to know... Does this happen often? Is this totally common? Does everyone calibrate their stereo analog gear? What is the deal???

Regardless, i guess i have to calibrate this thing. In the meantime, I am going to just leave the left channel boosted by 7 ticks. Should get the same result, no? Even though it's not totally accurate, it sounds fine for now, I suppose.

As a side note, i just want to say that the dudes at Kush have been incredibly helpful across the board and this is in no way a diss to them or their products. They are hands down my favorite audio company. I am going to email them after NAMM is over but wanted your guys' advice in the meantime as i am also about to master a really important album in the next week or two so this is really time sensitive for me.

THANK YOU!
Old 25th January 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
thetalkinghead's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
make that EIGHT ticks... just made the final tweaks
Old 25th January 2013
  #3
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Yes you do have to calibrate analogue gear...that's one of the differences between a " pro" interface and semi-pro.

At this point - if it sounds right, don't sweat it!
Old 25th January 2013 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
thetalkinghead's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➑️
Yes you do have to calibrate analogue gear...that's one of the differences between a " pro" interface and semi-pro.

At this point - if it sounds right, don't sweat it!
thanks... is this something that is done just one time and then its good to go forever?
Old 25th January 2013
  #5
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thetalkinghead ➑️
thanks... is this something that is done just one time and then its good to go forever?
No, but how frequently depends on what you're talking about, and how it's calibrated. And if the calibration needs to be changed.

Basically check at regular intervals; if there's no apparent change, make those intervals longer!
Old 26th January 2013 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yeah, what it comes down to is that 2-channel analog gear comes in 2 flavors:

1) Stereo: 1 set of controls for both channels. Upside: precise matching on stereo busses with zero effort. Downside: less flexible because you can't do different things with each channel.

2) Dual mono: 2 sets of controls, 1 for each channel. Upside: Total freedom to do whatever you want on one channel and something completely different on the other (i.e., vocal and acoustic guitar, or kick and snare) Downside: if unit doesn't have stepped controls, you have to calibrate two sides with tones if you want precision stereo behavior. Stepped controls = more expensive, more precise, and less fine-tunable.

The UBK Fatso, and most 2-channel units out there, are dual mono units. True stereo units are definitely the exception.

With the UBK, the biggest cause of misalignment between two channels is the manufacturing variance in the potentiometers. Because they are made to within +/-20% tolerance (!), there can be big differences with two pots set to exactly the same setting.

You can offset the knobs (not the pots, the actual knobs) to average the differences out, but if you really want things identical on L & R (and you should want that) you need to use 1k tones. This is true of any dual mono, non-stepped piece of gear being used on a stereo bus.

1) UNLINK the two channels, turn the comp presets OFF (no LED)

2) Run a 1k tone out of your daw at -18dBFS into both sides, monitor the level of the UBK Fatso's output coming back into your DAW using a meter on the a/d input channels

3) Adjust the output of one UBK Fatso channel until both a/d inputs are seeing identical levels, -18dBFS to ensure the UBK Fatso is running at unity gain (make sure any gear between the UBK and the a/d is bypassed)

4) Do the same for any other dual mono pieces in your chain. With the Clariphonic, if you're super anal you'll check with 10k tones too to make sure your HF boosting is identical on both sides


And yeah, you need to do this with every mix because as soon as you move the Input knobs on a dual mono piece of gear, you change the difference between the two channels. IOW, a piece whose Inputs are set to 3 may be off by 1/3dB, but that same piece with Inputs set to 7 may be off by 1.2dB.

Analog: it gives you the world... but it makes you earn it.



Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 26th January 2013 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
thetalkinghead's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k ➑️
Yeah, what it comes down to is that 2-channel analog gear comes in 2 flavors:

1) Stereo: 1 set of controls for both channels. Upside: precise matching on stereo busses with zero effort. Downside: less flexible because you can't do different things with each channel.

2) Dual mono: 2 sets of controls, 1 for each channel. Upside: Total freedom to do whatever you want on one channel and something completely different on the other (i.e., vocal and acoustic guitar, or kick and snare) Downside: if unit doesn't have stepped controls, you have to calibrate two sides with tones if you want precision stereo behavior. Stepped controls = more expensive, more precise, and less fine-tunable.

The UBK Fatso, and most 2-channel units out there, are dual mono units. True stereo units are definitely the exception.

With the UBK, the biggest cause of misalignment between two channels is the manufacturing variance in the potentiometers. Because they are made to within +/-20% tolerance (!), there can be big differences with two pots set to exactly the same setting.

You can offset the knobs (not the pots, the actual knobs) to average the differences out, but if you really want things identical on L & R (and you should want that) you need to use 1k tones. This is true of any dual mono, non-stepped piece of gear being used on a stereo bus.

1) UNLINK the two channels, turn the comp presets OFF (no LED)

2) Run a 1k tone out of your daw at -18dBFS into both sides, monitor the level of the UBK Fatso's output coming back into your DAW using a meter on the a/d input channels

3) Adjust the output of one UBK Fatso channel until both a/d inputs are seeing identical levels, -18dBFS to ensure the UBK Fatso is running at unity gain (make sure any gear between the UBK and the a/d is bypassed)

4) Do the same for any other dual mono pieces in your chain. With the Clariphonic, if you're super anal you'll check with 10k tones too to make sure your HF boosting is identical on both sides


And yeah, you need to do this with every mix because as soon as you move the Input knobs on a dual mono piece of gear, you change the difference between the two channels. IOW, a piece whose Inputs are set to 3 may be off by 1/3dB, but that same piece with Inputs set to 7 may be off by 1.2dB.

Analog: it gives you the world... but it makes you earn it.



Gregory Scott - ubk
thanks a lot, Greg! really appreciate it.
πŸ“ Reply

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