Mixing on a Board without Automation

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Nick Sevilla
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Post by Nick Sevilla » Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm

????? wrote:
Aquaman wrote:
Once you start moving the digital faders around, you're doing some math on the signal which I'm trying to avoid with the whole out-of-the-box mix process.
This is not accurate at all. I don't have the technical answer at my fingertips, but leaving the PT faders at unity to avoid "math on the signal" is a total myth.

Maybe some smart guy can spell it all out for us.

I'd write any obvious automation to PT, and leave the subtle micro-fader moves to your fingers on the board.
Fuck math.

When you go OTB, you're doing D/A and A/D. Even with lavrys, that's 1000x more math than moving a fader.

I doubt you're using lavrys, or radar.

I would mix on a board because I am better at mixing on a board(if that were true - I am terrible on a board). Not because I was trying to "avoid math."
:roll:


No wonder there are so many myths out there.
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Post by newfuturevintage » Fri May 30, 2008 12:29 pm

noeqplease wrote: BUT when you are playing back individual things on their own output channel, this of course does not occur, since no signal summing is happening here. The only processing that will happen is when you have an insert plug-in inside PT.
By necessity, if you move a fader in any DAW to change a signal's level, you are causing math to be done to the signal, regardless if you're summing channels together or playing a single track out a single output.

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Post by Nick Sevilla » Fri May 30, 2008 12:39 pm

newfuturevintage wrote:
noeqplease wrote: BUT when you are playing back individual things on their own output channel, this of course does not occur, since no signal summing is happening here. The only processing that will happen is when you have an insert plug-in inside PT.
By necessity, if you move a fader in any DAW to change a signal's level, you are causing math to be done to the signal, regardless if you're summing channels together or playing a single track out a single output.
Hi,

I know that.

I was referring to a specific math... summing signals. You did read my post, yes?
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Post by newfuturevintage » Fri May 30, 2008 1:27 pm

noeqplease wrote:
noeqplease wrote:BUT when you are playing back individual things on their own output channel, this of course does not occur, since no signal summing is happening here. The only processing that will happen is when you have an insert plug-in inside PT.
I was referring to a specific math... summing signals. You did read my post, yes?
Yes.

I did.

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I'm Painting Again
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Post by I'm Painting Again » Fri May 30, 2008 2:31 pm

+1 on using protools/DAW to automate..it doesn't degrade your sound a significant amount..the benefit of the automation completely outweighs any sound degrading "math"..it's like miniscule..just use the damn DAW to automate already..

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Post by trodden » Fri May 30, 2008 3:12 pm

I mix out of PT on my topaz.

pencil and paper are what I use for recalling settings.

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Post by Al_Huero » Fri May 30, 2008 4:23 pm

A bit off track but a good discussion none the less. The "math" I was referring too is probably the disucssion I remember referenced above where Joel or someone else recommended leaving things at unity gain in the DAW when mixing out of the box. And overall, that makes sense to me. How else does a digital fader change the output level of a recorded audio file?

In any event, changing things around at this point won't help me out; but maybe I'll consider that on future projects if I think going back to tweak a mix will be a big deal.

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Post by chris harris » Sat May 31, 2008 7:26 am

have any of you who live in fear of this "math" actually just moved the freaking fader to see if you hear any degradation? try that first before you run around preaching about some science that you don't even understand.

I move faders and automate ITB all the time when I'm mixing OTB. If those fader moves made anything sound worse to me, I wouldn't do it.

Stop being afraid of theoretical things that you can't even hear. It's only crippling your ability to get things done.

Also, how about the novel idea of trying to foster a situation where the client doesn't EXPECT a bunch of "revisions" before the mix is done???

Stop putting up roadblocks for yourself.

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Post by Nick Sevilla » Sat May 31, 2008 7:31 am

subatomic pieces wrote:have any of you who live in fear of this "math" actually just moved the freaking fader to see if you hear any degradation? try that first before you run around preaching about some science that you don't even understand.

I move faders and automate ITB all the time when I'm mixing OTB. If those fader moves made anything sound worse to me, I wouldn't do it.

Stop being afraid of theoretical things that you can't even hear. It's only crippling your ability to get things done.

Also, how about the novel idea of trying to foster a situation where the client doesn't EXPECT a bunch of "revisions" before the mix is done???

Stop putting up roadblocks for yourself.
+10

:D
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Post by operator_tape » Sat May 31, 2008 7:35 am

subatomic pieces wrote:have any of you who live in fear of this "math" actually just moved the freaking fader to see if you hear any degradation? try that first before you run around preaching about some science that you don't even understand.

I move faders and automate ITB all the time when I'm mixing OTB. If those fader moves made anything sound worse to me, I wouldn't do it.

Stop being afraid of theoretical things that you can't even hear. It's only crippling your ability to get things done.

Also, how about the novel idea of trying to foster a situation where the client doesn't EXPECT a bunch of "revisions" before the mix is done???

Stop putting up roadblocks for yourself.
:P

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Post by fossiltooth » Sat May 31, 2008 9:17 am

noeqplease wrote:
????? wrote:
Aquaman wrote:
Once you start moving the digital faders around, you're doing some math on the signal which I'm trying to avoid with the whole out-of-the-box mix process.
This is not accurate at all. I don't have the technical answer at my fingertips, but leaving the PT faders at unity to avoid "math on the signal" is a total myth.

Maybe some smart guy can spell it all out for us.

I'd write any obvious automation to PT, and leave the subtle micro-fader moves to your fingers on the board.
Fuck math.

When you go OTB, you're doing D/A and A/D. Even with lavrys, that's 1000x more math than moving a fader.

I doubt you're using lavrys, or radar.

I would mix on a board because I am better at mixing on a board(if that were true - I am terrible on a board). Not because I was trying to "avoid math."
:roll:


No wonder there are so many myths out there.
I don't think that deserved an eyeroll at all. That was an awesome "mythbusting" post, if anything. Much like this one:


subatomic pieces wrote:have any of you who live in fear of this "math" actually just moved the freaking fader to see if you hear any degradation? try that first before you run around preaching about some science that you don't even understand.

I move faders and automate ITB all the time when I'm mixing OTB. If those fader moves made anything sound worse to me, I wouldn't do it.

Stop being afraid of theoretical things that you can't even hear. It's only crippling your ability to get things done.

Also, how about the novel idea of trying to foster a situation where the client doesn't EXPECT a bunch of "revisions" before the mix is done???

Stop putting up roadblocks for yourself.
Plus 1 billion.

We all do ourselves a disservice whenever we're more interested in thinking then we are in listening. Turning that ratio around is a prerequisite for great mixing.
Last edited by fossiltooth on Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by fossiltooth » Sat May 31, 2008 9:21 am

To be fair, in older versions of ProTools, fader moves did noticeably affect the sound... much like they do on your average analog console. A bunch of folks who listen for a living, decided that early fader degradation sounded "bad", so didgidesign invented the "gain" plugin to compensate.

Since the DAW has been revised several times since then, this is essentially no longer an issue, until you get really far down on the fader, and the "gain" plug is essentially unnecessary.

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Post by i am monster face » Sat May 31, 2008 4:33 pm

Whenever I automate in the box, it always messes with my compression thresholds and whatnot. Do you guys not experience this?

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Post by mfdu » Sat May 31, 2008 5:27 pm

yeah totally - ITB automation is going to screw wth your hardware compression settings, but it's just a choice you have to make.
Some might say that what you're achieving through fader-riding prior to compression is actually going to minimise excessive compression and associated artifacts by keeping the signal from exceeding threashold by too much.
remember - a compressor is essentially an automated fader.
  • does OTB sound better than ITB?
    can i run all channels out individually, or do i have to submix ITB on the way to the console?
    do run the console as a unity summing box, or do i tweak the mix on the hardware faders?
    is hardware EQ better (or easier to use) than software EQ?
    do i patch in hardware compressors, or not?
no hard and fast answers - you just gotta decide what works best for you.

i try to only put plugins over busses, not individual tracks.
i buss ITB to my console OTB.
i generally leave my hardware faders pretty much at unity (couple of small tweaks here and there, as required).
as a rule, i generally try to use less compression. and i try to commit compression at tracking (same with EQ).

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Post by Al_Huero » Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:07 am

trodden wrote:I mix out of PT on my topaz.

pencil and paper are what I use for recalling settings.
Thanks for that. After looking at the tape/marking potential and snapping a few photos, I figured that's the best approach for me as well. I put together a little 16-ch track sheet to help organize it.

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