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  #21  
Old October 20th, 2007, 08:43 PM
Gary Boggess Gary Boggess is offline
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Upgrades and stuff...

Without going into here too deep... I was utterly shocked at what happened to my old TASCAM Model 5A mixing console here. Mixing... err... I use it more for monitoring... although the keyboards and mics go through it to the MicroSound via a APHEX 124A -10 to +4 box.

Yeah I know... your probably saying TEAC??? GEESH!!!!

Well... I was in a decision last year to replace it or improve it. After reading... studying and really tearing into what mods could do, I chose to mod it.
I rebuilt the power supply, better caps, all new regulators, external transformer... and better grounding internally... w/12ga stranded throughout.

Then I removed all of the op-amps, and used a mix of 5532's, TLO72's and Burr Brown 2604's. Why three types? Sound. They all have a sound.
It's not an EQ difference in sound... it's more how they handle complex
waveforms. Tones all passed the same way... but with music, each chip
responded differently. My thought was, since they all do have a sound, it doesn't makes good sense to USE ALL OF THE SAME op-amps.
I figured, if I had a lense filter that was very slightly pink, 15 of them
would be RED! And so, I thought mixing op-amps was similar. I chose these
three chips because I took consenus on the web by designers... about which
chips they preferred. The TLO72's were chosen because they had a overall
brittle sound... and were easy on the power supply. The 5532's were popular peformers, stable, handle wide variety of input impedences and sounded tube like and low noise footprints. The OP2604's for their high output peak safety, low noise, and warm low end friendly sound. Together... they sound awesome!
For the short story, I tested each... and ended up putting the 5532's on the inputs, the TLO72's in the middle ciruits and the 2604's on all of the outputs.
I also replaces all of the signal path caps with Panasonic FC series audio caps.
And then replaced all of the audio path resistors with metal film resistors.

The end result? Incredible. It was like a veil dropped. It was a lot of work, but a fraction of the cost of replacing the board, and rewiring the harness and patchbays. Noise dropped significantly, and the sound is (to my ears) very warm, defined and clean.

Yup... I've used Neve consoles, SSL, Euphonix... and Soundcraft... but after this experience... I wonder why most boards use all of the same op-amps???
They clearly HAVE a sound... and if you pass your audio through 30 of the SAME op-amps... you've got a very COLORED end result. I would same my approach appears to blend and balance it all out some. At least, it makes some logical sense.
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  #22  
Old October 20th, 2007, 08:44 PM
Gary Boggess Gary Boggess is offline
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Location: North Tampa, Florida
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Upgrades and stuff...

Without going into this too deep here... I was utterly shocked at the improvement mods made to my old TASCAM Model 5A mixing console. Mixing... err... I use it more for monitoring... although the keyboards and mics go through it to the MicroSound via a APHEX 124A -10 to +4 box.

Yeah I know... your probably saying TEAC??? GEESH!!!!

Well... I was in a decision last year to replace it or improve it. After reading... studying and really tearing into what mods could do, I chose to mod it. I rebuilt the power supply, better caps, all new regulators, external transformer... and better grounding internally... w/12ga stranded throughout.

Then I removed all of the op-amps, installed sockets, and used a mix of 5532's, TLO72's and Burr Brown 2604's. Why three types? Sound. They all have a sound. It's not an EQ difference in sound... it's more how they handle complex waveforms. Tones all passed the same way... but with music, each chip responded differently. My thought was, since they all do have a sound, it doesn't makes good sense to USE ALL OF THE SAME op-amps.

I figured, if I had a lense filter that was very slightly pink, 15 of them would be RED! And so, I thought mixing op-amps was similar. I chose these three chips because I took consensus on the web by designers... about which chips they preferred. The TLO72's were chosen because they had a overall brittle or digital/edgy sound... and were easy on the power supply. The 5532's were popular performers, stable, handle a wide variety of input impedances and sounded warm or tube like and had a low noise footprint. The OP2604's for their high output peak headroom, low noise, and warm low end friendly sound. Together... they sound awesome!

For the short story, I tested each... and ended up putting the 5532's on the inputs, the TLO72's in the middle circuits and the 2604's on all of the outputs. (I did use two 2604's on two inputs for variety). I also replaced all of the signal path caps with Panasonic FC series audio caps. And then replaced all of the audio path resistors with metal film resistors.

The end result? Incredible. It was like a veil dropped. It was a lot of work, but a fraction of the cost of replacing the board, and rewiring the harness and patchbays. Noise dropped significantly, and the sound is (to my ears) very warm, defined and clean.

Yup... I've used Neve consoles, SSL, Euphonix... and Soundcraft... but after this experience... I wonder why most boards use all of the same op-amps??? They clearly HAVE a sound... and if you pass your audio through 30 of the SAME op-amps... you've got a very COLORED end result. I would say my approach appears to blend and balance it all out some. At least, it makes some logical sense. Would I like to own a Neve or similar console? Sure.
But mine has paid for itself over and over again since 1977!!!!!!!
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Last edited by Gary Boggess; October 20th, 2007 at 09:01 PM.
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  #23  
Old October 21st, 2007, 12:22 PM
Rich LePage Rich LePage is offline
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Posts: 110
You're right of course about the op amps and the rest.

Amazed though you'd mod a Tascam Model 5 in terms
of the cost of the mods versus the rest of the parts, like
faders, switches, and so much else. But if it works for you,
that's great.

Your logic about diff coloration seems sound to me.
I know several folks who have done diff channels of
a board set up completely diff. in terms of channel
strips, op amps, EQs, pres, and so on. One guy managed
to build a board with Neve, Trident, API and several other
modules in the thing- in blocks of 8 channels I think.

I still have a real ancient Model 5 somewhere in storage, from
way back when I used it sometimes with a Teac 1/2" 8 track
and DBX. I did some location jazz albums in clubs that way, but
the stuff wasn't exactly built for the road and could get pretty dodgy.

I viewed that stuff mostly as "acquisition devices" for work like that.
You could do those jobs taking up only one or two tables in a jazz
club-- which was a big deal to the club owner too...

Big studio boards suffered from the same "go through so much stuff"
you mention. Examples include MCI boards (and mult passes through
the VCAs especially), and Audio Designs, which were real popular
around NYC for a while. With Audio Designs you were also going
through a zillion transformers. Every stage of the board was
boosted up to +4 or +8 and balanced- then passed on to the next
stage and done all over again, whether it was needed or not.

Result was a TON of coloration. I'm sure not against
transformers (many folks were/are)-- but that many-- geez-
between that and the early op amps it was a battle every time.
Phase shift, and the slewing problems of the early op amps--
you could def. hear all that stuff big time- not to mention
noise buildup from all those gain stages.

Luckily that vintage usually had a lot of patching and so you
could bypass some stages of the board if you had a zillion
patchcords and got there plenty early before the session start!
I used to carry around a bag of extra patch cords back then...

With the MCI's (later Sony) a lot of people modded them,
I know a few who still use 'em. One in particular is still used
for a lot of high-profile acoustic jazz work and sounds very
good -- but HEAVY mods.

Neve did things differently. You sure can't say Rupert's
stuff didn't color things, but a lot of folks still prize that
partic. coloration. A lot of those boards were parted out
because the modules etc became worth more $ individually
than as an entire console.

Cleanest (in terms of coloration) preamp we have is an
early one by John La Grou (Millennia) who was an Medit
user as you likely know. Probably a result of his extensive
classical recording work.

I like the old Soundcraft, we still run it in one mostly analog
production/mix room which also has 2 old Medit systems
with Microsync (486 CPUs, m/boards with an ISA slot!!-gosh..)
At some point that room will get repurposed probably,
but we still do some restore-from-tape work and other things
that it's useful for, though less every year. Oh yeah, a convection
OVEN is also a feature of that room! (for shake and bake that tape!)

And like Geezer noted, every time you use that stuff, you are
SO reminded of all the alignment and tweaking issues that used
to be part of every day work. Often hard to just sit down and mix
without first having to put on the tech hat for a while.
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  #24  
Old October 21st, 2007, 08:21 PM
Gary Boggess Gary Boggess is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich LePage View Post
You're right of course about the op amps and the rest.

Amazed though you'd mod a Tascam Model 5 in terms
of the cost of the mods versus the rest of the parts, like
faders, switches, and so much else. But if it works for you,
that's great.
.
Well... the faders, pots and switches aren't causing issues.
BTW... I've got the 12 channel Expander, for 20 channels total.
Since I don't actually mix or eq very with it very often, it's
mostly a monitoring mixer, sub mixer for MIDI, and 90% of the
time, I use one channel with an AKG 414 for the vocal booth.
I have a couple tube mic pre's but since using the OP2604's,
op-amps I have found the modified mixer to be cleaner!

I will admit that I chose to mod the Model 5 instead of buy
a new board... due to cost and time. Remaking 20 or more
channels of harness to the patchday, with inserts, direct outs,
tape in, monitoring outs, effects returns and all... I was looking
at spending approx $5500 in closts plus a month or so down time,
verses piece meal caps, IC's and metal film resistors,
one channel at a time.

The upgrade costs total approx. $245. And since I don't use the
board to MIX, (doing that on the MicroEditor) it was the easier
road to improvement. And fortunately, the improvement was
stellar. Along with a religiously implemented start grounding scheme,
I have no noise, hum, or buz.

When I worked at Electric Melody Studios, on the 2nd floor of
the Lantana Center in Santa Monica overtop Lucas' Skywalker Sound...
we had a 48 channel Neve with flying faders in our main mixing stage.

In the pre-lay room where I was set up, I had a 32 channel
Soundcraft board that maybe needed overhauled.
It was noisier than my TEAC Model 5B BEFORE my recent mods!
It really had some major hiss. I was amazed how our $$$ Neve console
was so under used! We barely had time to employ the flying faders.
I remember we rarely bother to use to EQ. With two to three session
per day, for movie trailers, TV commercials and general voice overs,
we didn't have time to LOG eq's and etc. Even with flying faders,
we hardly had time tap the Neve's offerings. There was always
the fear that today's project may come back for a change,
and if we had used eq, we wouldn't be able to match.
We used a 32 track Mitsubishi, a 24 track MCI, and a 16 track Post Pro.

Paying for all of this stuff was also a major burden...
pushing us to take on as much work as possible.
We had nearly $3M in leased audio gear! So although we were
well equipt, we really didn't use it to the fullest benefit.
However, it looked impressive as heck!!

So, when I look at my modified TEAC Model 5 mixer, I see a tool
that does what I need it to do, and it's paid for. And since the mods...
I wonder if this piece of crap thing isn't BETTER than some of the newer
stuff. I get plenty of tracks in here from other studios. Tracks recorded
through Mackies, SSL's, Yamaha's and others... and just recently, drum tracks
recorded into PT HD3. All I can say is, track to track,
I'm recording tracks CLEANER with my old antique.
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  #25  
Old October 22nd, 2007, 09:30 AM
Rich LePage Rich LePage is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: NYC Area
Posts: 110
Yep to all of it-- it works for you and you're getting the
results you want, and to me that's always what it's been
all about.

My Model 5 days usually involved the expander too,
though for some of those live-in-a-club gigs there
wasn't room for it. In some jazz clubs how much space you
were gonna take up was a big deal to the club owners,
and could make or break whether they would allow
the artists to record live in their place, despite the
publicity etc it would generate for them.

I still use a few diff analog boards here, like you mostly
for monitoring, though one style of working I've done
a lot of is to build in Medit using a 4 channel system,
then mix down analog. Big thing for me with that style is
the ability to use various vintage things like LA2s and Pultecs
on the mixdown w/o locking them in using Medit.
Then back to a 2nd Medit system, going back to digital
via a TC Finalizer or other stuff.

Lately I seem to do that less, though I will also do
it at times when using Audition as a multi-track, often
after pre-editing elements in Medit first. But with Audition
2, it functions much more intuitively in the multi-track
mode, more like a board with sends, bussing etc. And the
UA emulations of the LA2, 1176, Pultec and some other
stuff are good, so I'll use them.

It can max out a Pent 4 2.5 gig machine quickly though,
even though the UA stuff runs on its own card.
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  #26  
Old October 22nd, 2007, 09:41 AM
Gary Boggess Gary Boggess is offline
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Location: North Tampa, Florida
Posts: 28
Rich LePage

How did you get through my previous post with all the typos?
I just read it again... all I can say is...
I must have been more worried about the Cleveland Indians losing to the
Boston Red Sox than I thought!
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  #27  
Old October 22nd, 2007, 10:07 AM
Gary Boggess Gary Boggess is offline
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Location: North Tampa, Florida
Posts: 28
Something to be said for the word: "Convenience"

A final note concerning my heavily modified
"antique" TEAC TASCAM MODEL 5:

Socketed IC's are a wonderful thing.
(As long as you use the gold plated ones
to ensure optimum contact.)

Having looked over many of the newer mixing
boards at various audio retailers... I see
a maintenance issue I don't have with my
old module based Model 5:
the larger scale circuit boards used currently
make repairs a major ordeal.


When I have a problem, I have two choices:
a) Remove two skrews, pop the front panel, remove one *****
I meant skrew, *geesh Dave*
and PULL the channel module, pop in a few new op-amps,
and re-install. The process takes less than 15 minutes.

b) Change out a module... but how could I improve on (a) ?

I stock at least 50 spares of each chip type thanks to Ebay.
A while ago, I bought a 3rd Model 5 board as a spare
and for remote use. So, I've always got SOMETHING
to get through the moment.

If I had a newer mixing board... repairs would THEN mean...
UNPLUGGING THE ENTIRE CHASSIS and unscrewing a
major portion of the casing, just to replace an op-amp!

And in my case, where I've harnessed the entire board's rear
I/O's to the PATCH BAY, it just looks like a newer mixer would be
the more trouble than it's worth!

RE: screws, ***** or skrew...
(Pitty to the forum if Dave or "the web meister" get their
hands on a Thesarus of Rap and Heavy Metal words!!!!)
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Last edited by Gary Boggess; October 22nd, 2007 at 10:24 AM.
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  #28  
Old October 22nd, 2007, 11:18 AM
Rich LePage Rich LePage is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: NYC Area
Posts: 110
Yeah, these days are def a "when it acts up,
replace it" type of thing - another symptom of much else that's
not as fixable as once was.

It has made some stuff very cheap and reasonably
quiet... but fixable- not! Everyone uses "surface mounted
components" which are almost impossible to repair --if
you can even get parts that will fit. (Mouser and Digikey
are a couple places I've often bought from)

I had left a pair of Audio Technica 4033's at an outside
studio for a few days, someone used them w/o my OK,
and dropped one hard. I sent it to A/T but not repairable
in the end. They tried and sent it back, but it sounded so
diff we refused to keep it.

Just about everything else is same- from your wall oven
to (in my case) a Jeep SUV. Squirrels from hell munched
on its wiring and fried its 2 computers- resulting in not
running at all, big tow bill, and bigger $ to replace both
"modules" and rework the main harness.

When we did the work on the Soundcraft and also on some other
old stuff, we indeed socketed many things, same reasoning as
yours w/the Mod 5. I also had done that for ages on Ampex cards
and on some old UREI pieces - in partic. the "little dipper" filter
set they made, which I used to use a lot.
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  #29  
Old October 22nd, 2007, 12:45 PM
Gary Boggess Gary Boggess is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: North Tampa, Florida
Posts: 28
Economy is a part of everything... survival being #1

I used to but newer "state of the art" stuff.
These days, I don't. Not unless there's a client
asking for it or a project I KNOW will be significantly
better if I upgrade something. As I did last year
with the WAVES plugins. I've watched too many
studios COME UP and GO DOWN because of debt...

while trying to BUY ALL THE LATEST AES hype gear.
The sentiment of "buy it and THEY will come"
is too risky in our current economy.

Once, I paid $9800 for the Emulator I.
(Synclavier was WAY WAY WAY too expensive for me).
I was the first (I know of) studio in Ohio to have a sampler.
For six months, I did have calls to the Cleveland area ad
agencies to do effects sampling and musical application of
hamburgers frying, chopping sfx and etc for GD RITZY commercials.
And there were a few others.

While I was paying monthly for the Emu I... for 3 years...
Sequential Circuits came out with the Prophet 2000
with 10 times the features for $2500 the next year!!!
I bought one ASAP... and eventually two!
I still have them... the filters are ONE OF A KIND!
I also have FOUR Emulator samplers (two e6400 Ultras/E4X/e6400)
which I bought off of Ebay for a total of $1350...
plus I've spent $$$$ on sample libraries too.
These samplers are incredible musical tools... and
sound BEEFY, MUSICAL and have real KNOBS!
I know that many who traded their Emu samplers
for the newer software versions have retreated!
So I love advancements these days... the "crowds"
dump their great stuff for newer junk...
and I can buy great tools for pennies on the dollar!

Unless it's a monitor speaker, or a sensitive device
that's easily damaged, I say buy it off of Ebay
and take your wife to dinner with the savings.
The newer junk isn't THAT much better these days...
and the savings from buying TWO or more years
OLDER gear is just too smart from every aspect.
If you want it today and it's $950, wait a year or
two and you'll buy it for $300 or less.

Not to mention that people are trading off their
stuff way too early to know if the new stuff is actually better!
And in numerous cases, I've determined the NEW
STUFF is often the future CLASSIC STUFF people
salivate for. Case in point, my Moog MINIMOOG Model D.
I bought it in 1972 for $1250 and it's worth over $3700
now if not more. And many of my music clients ask
me to use it on their music.

Old isn't necessarily old... and new isn't necessarily better.
MicroSound is also such a case (for the most part.)

For me to spend money... my decision to BUY is
based on one or more of the following points:

it has to make my work:
a) more profitable and be requested by clients
b) faster and easier without causing more issues

and it has to:
c) be something I need or at least WANT
d) be manufactured with integrity so I can rely on it
e) fit within the design concept of my facility
f) significantly IMPROVE the audio quality to a noticeable extent

And with all that in mind... you'd think I'd already have ProTools!
Truth is, I get about two calls a year that ask for ProTools.
However, I know of several Tampa area ProTools studios
who are no longer in business.
The rest of the inquiring people
just want to record and produce their projects.
My hourly rate seems to be the major deciding factor... to
the point I often ask: "does it matter if the person who records
your sound has any experience or knowledge that would make
your recording good enough to actually SELL & MAKE money?"
__________________
G. Boggess

Last edited by Gary Boggess; October 22nd, 2007 at 01:06 PM.
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  #30  
Old October 22nd, 2007, 01:39 PM
Gary Boggess Gary Boggess is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: North Tampa, Florida
Posts: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Boggess View Post
I used to buy newer "state of the art" stuff.
These days, I don't. Not unless there's a client
asking for it or a project I KNOW will be significantly
better if I upgrade something. As I did last year
with the WAVES plugins. I've watched too many
studios COME UP and GO DOWN because of debt...

while trying to BUY ALL THE LATEST AES hype gear.
The sentiment of "buy it and THEY will come"
is too risky in our current economy.

Once, I paid $9800 for the Emulator I.
(Synclavier was WAY WAY WAY too expensive for me).
I was the first (I know of) studio in Ohio to have a sampler.
For six months, I did have calls to the Cleveland area ad
agencies to do effects sampling and musical application of
hamburgers frying, chopping sfx and etc for GD RITZY commercials.
And there were a few others.

While I was paying monthly for the Emu I... for 3 years...
Sequential Circuits came out with the Prophet 2000
with 10 times the features for $2500 the next year!!!
I bought one ASAP... and eventually two!
I still have them... the filters are ONE OF A KIND!
I also have FOUR Emulator samplers (two e6400 Ultras/E4X/e6400)
which I bought off of Ebay for a total of $1350...
plus I've spent $$$$ on sample libraries too.
These samplers are incredible musical tools... and
sound BEEFY, MUSICAL and have real KNOBS!
I know that many who traded their Emu samplers
for the newer software versions have retreated!
So I love advancements these days... the "crowds"
dump their great stuff for newer junk...
and I can buy great tools for pennies on the dollar!

Unless it's a monitor speaker, or a sensitive device
that's easily damaged, I say buy it off of Ebay
and take your wife to dinner with the savings.
The newer junk isn't THAT much better these days...
and the savings from buying TWO or more years
OLDER gear is just too smart from every aspect.
If you want it today and it's $950, wait a year or
two and you'll buy it for $300 or less.

Not to mention that people are trading off their
stuff way too early to know if the new stuff is actually better!
And in numerous cases, I've determined the OLD
STUFF is often the future CLASSIC STUFF people
salivate for. Case in point, my Moog MINIMOOG Model D.
I bought it in 1972 for $1250 and it's worth over $3700
now if not more. And many of my music clients ask
me to use it on their music.

Old isn't necessarily old... and new isn't necessarily better.
MicroSound is also such a case (for the most part.)

For me to spend money... my decision to BUY is
based on one or more of the following points:

it has to make my work:
a) more profitable and be requested by clients
b) faster and easier without causing more issues

and it has to:
c) be something I need or at least WANT
d) be manufactured with integrity so I can rely on it
e) fit within the design concept of my facility
f) significantly IMPROVE the audio quality to a noticeable extent

And with all that in mind... you'd think I'd already have ProTools!
Truth is, I get about two calls a year that ask for ProTools.
However, I know of several Tampa area ProTools studios
who are no longer in business.
The rest of the inquiring people
just want to record and produce their projects.
My hourly rate seems to be the major deciding factor... to
the point I often ask: "does it matter if the person who records
your sound has any experience or knowledge that would make
your recording good enough to actually SELL & MAKE money?"
This is a repost to correct some really dumb typos!
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  #31  
Old October 22nd, 2007, 02:21 PM
geezer geezer is offline
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Location: Martinsburg, WV
Posts: 181
Old and new, big and small money....

....Yeah, back in the days when I had my truck up and running with the 600B, 2 inch and Dolby SR (early 90s), my famous younger brother (Paul R. Smith) had been invited by a major studio musician to record his band at a newly renovated studio on music row in Nashville......He brought the tapes up to the truck for a listen and quick mix kind of thing......Classic Neve console, well constructed rooms in the current design mode, etc.

I have to say that the tracks, although they had a certain kind of big time flavor, were not particularly good sounding to my ears at the time, and several had some pretty good hum on them. What was that all about? I think it was probably: a)maintenance issues on the big board b)doing things the "way they were done" instead of the way they sounded best c)low attention paid to essentially a non-paying client inside of that very busy atmosphere d)recording with a very particular set of effects and eqs planned for use later at mix time.

When I built my truck, I made it multitrack only as an afterthought. I had come up in the live sound and NPR school of mixing to 2 track, and all of the truck was designed that way.....Perhaps it was a little arrogant and foolhardy, but the idea was to get it right the first time. I printed any eq and compression (didn't use much then) I used live right to the multitrack, and I did not have a way to mix back from the tape live. The original notion was that the tracks were only going to be usable if I could get a decent live mix.......The multitrack tape was so expensive at that point that most of my public radio client base couldn't have afforded to pay for it anyway.

Even though this put me in the pretty precarious position of not really knowing how my tracks sounded until after the fact, I tended to get praise for the sound of the tracks when they went out to other studios, even though recorded through a mid-level Soundcraft......I think my sort of classical use of eq made up for the less dynamic and bandwidth capabilities of the Soundcraft compared to the Neves, etc......Plus, I had spent some money and time having one of the old school NPR design engineers build me a balanced, carefully level matched set of direct out amps for the board.

I had not really done any serious multitrack work when I started that series of Blues Alley albums (other than 8 track work at a couple of friends studios). It was a pretty big shocker when I tried to get the mix of the first set of tapes to sound as good as my live mix....with the obvious goal of sounding better in the end, of course. It was not only an issue of hearing the alterred sound off of tape, but also me being removed from the live situation....A real eye opener. It probably took me a week to get to that point with the first tune on the first of those 5 or 6 albums.. ...Over time, I have always added the things I learned in the multitrack mixing back into the live mix, however, so some of it was certainly just gaining new skills on my part.

The other thing going on here, though, is probably the slightly mid-level state of the Soundcraft as a summing mixer.....In other words, the direct out amps I had built were really tweaked, and all happened before anything entered the stereo buss....so when the tracks hit the tape, they were pretty darn optimized sonically....when they came back though all the gain stages and the stereo buss, they were probably slightly degraded compared to the world of API and Neve.....who knows, but it was all a major learning experience for me.

Even in that relatively simple set-up with that relatively simple console, I did have maintenance issues with the 600B which nearly put me out of business a couple of times, and definitely degraded one of the albums in that Blues Alley series. My operation did not have a lot of financial headroom, so this was a very big deal indeed.......My general impression has been that the maintenance issues tend to become more frequent and more expensive as the complexity and retail price of the console goes up. The brand new 8000GB SSL we had at BET (a broadcast version of the 4000) had constant little issues, and SSL wanted $12,000 a year to maintain it. I always though that was a good deal for BET, but they did not go for it, and paid the price in console down time.....When I have gone into lower budget studios that have picked up vintage consoles inexpensively, there is almost always a relatively serious maintenance issue that crops up.

I have since gone to monitoring and mixing off tape, etc., for all the obvious reasons.....This really did not work so well with the 02R, but the 02R was fabulous for mixing the tracks I recorded (digitally, starting with DA88s) on the Soundcraft. The first day I had the 02R, my multitrack mixes suddenly sounded bigger and more pro.....I am sure most of this was 1)The fabulous automation, and 2)suddenly having 50 compressors available......

The DM2000 works really well in "big time" mode for mixing off tape, and has a lot of the same kind of analogue depth as the big time analogue consoles, so I guess, after swallowing the credit card debt, I'm in a pretty good place now. It is certainly a more powerful console in most ways than the big, bad analogue boys, and requires virtually no maintenance. With all that power comes some complexity that doesn't always make things easier, though, and I guess that is what started me down this whole path of thought.....

I'm not really nostalgic for the analogue days, just trying to figure out logically if I have lost anything since then, and if so, how I can get it back without losing the new stuff I have......I'm an old man, and I get a little confused about this stuff from time to time......Just mining memories to see if I can clear my head a bit.
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  #32  
Old October 22nd, 2007, 02:47 PM
Gary Boggess Gary Boggess is offline
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Younger brains... OY!

I had a younger guy in hear one day who said the reason I may think my modified mixer was quieter was because I'm old (55) and I can't hear anymore!!!!

Of course, he wasn't right and he's not a client either!

We're all older. And I say thank God for it. We've seen a lot and we know where it all came from.

As for analog recording... I don't miss spending hours tweaking head zenith and the 50 million combos to alignment. I did it often enough to KNOW that nothing under 40hz was really there, and that anything above 14kHz was a blessing. I used DBX type I NR and it worked very well... even flawlessly to the point where I could abuse the medium a little. And I did.

But miss analog? No way. However... I miss being able to do something the average Joe Bag o' Donuts can't do. I sit here at my COMPUTER and click and peck way... missing the days when I worked with a console all lit up and the multi-track spinning around with meters and lights flashing. It was something unique.

Now, in a certain way, I'm just another warm body with a TV screen and a Windows based computer that doesn't work. And I can attest... I spend 10 times the time troubleshooting WINDOWS, as I did in tape machine alignment. Microsoft is the WORST part of this new technology. I resent their monopoly, and I resent being forced to essentially be a subsidiary of MicroSoft Inc. Without them, I and most of us HAVE NO BUSINESS. And yeah... it might be worse if there WERE 4 other OS systems. But at least there would be competition to produce the BEST OS and one that is reliable. The way it is now... Bill could care less... put up and shut up. He's a philanthropist now and more concerned that he leaves a legacy about how he tried to save the world.

So what have we lost? IDENTITY. CONTROL. FUN... and the sense that we were doing something unique that few others were doing. Now anybody with $450 bucks and a computer can record and mix and process with effects and basically, achieve a semblance of audio quality WITHOUT US. It's similar to what I'm seeing in the film world... they buy a digital video camcorder, a Mac G5 with Final Cut Pro and they're a filmmaker/director/producer. Don't laugh... it's happening!

And don't dare question them about what frame rate their film edit is at because they'll get real mad! Honest. It happened last week. According to this "filmmaker" ... SMPTE wasn't important. And when I told him differently, he was insulted.
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  #33  
Old November 8th, 2007, 08:04 PM
geezer geezer is offline
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Adobe Audition Noise Removal!

So, here's a little story from some local work I did today that illustrates what I think the real problem is for updating and resurrecting MicroEditor:

I am transferring some Bach organ recordings for a man that his mother had recorded on 1/4 track tape 48 years ago. After putting a lot of effort into finding a functional playback machine (went through 3 before I got one that works) and a source for splicing and leader tape (only one in the US as far as I can tell), I transferred the recordings successfully into Wavelab. There was a lot of starting and stopping, and the levels were all over the place between different takes. All takes had relatively high 60cycle (120, 240, 480, etc) hum on the right side mostly, which really destroyed the stereo image and was loud enougnh to be beating noticably at times with bass notes from the organ.


On takes that were really quiet, I had the output of the tape machine cranked enough that the combined hum, tape noise and tape machine amplification noise were literally riding as high as -12DBFS!....and were often up at -30dbfs or higher.

I felt relatively sure, since the noise level was pretty constant for each take, that I could at least clean this up some.....If I had done this with the original DOS DNoise, this probably would have required at least an hour's worth of experimentation, then at least 2 passes of an hour's worth of processing for every few minutes of audio.....In addition, I don't know if I actually could have made it work that well for noise levels only 12db down from the max.

I checked through my Waves plugs, and realized I had not purchased their high end restoration tools. Before going on line with my credit card, I remembered that I had really thought highly of the Cool Edit noise removal, so I opened up my mostly idle Adobe Audition 2.0 to see if it still had that function built in.......The long and short of this experience is that I was able to get the noise out of every clip within 30 seconds (including defining the noise section and all processing) with 24 bit audio, and yielding a 32bit file. There was virtually no decision making on my part and no multiple passes needed, and the resultant files have virtually no loss of loudness or fidelity issues. They sound every bit as good (if not better)as the files I labored over all day with Dnoise in '96 or '97...Even the file with the -12 combined noise level! It literally sounds identical to the files with the noise down around -35......It was effortless, and I have never used the program before. I did not have to think at all, and the files are sitting in the same folder I started for the Wavelab project and will go effortlessly into the Wavelab CD Montage.

All this on my 5 year old laptop. How can MTU compete with this kind of software? Adobe Audition costs something like $250 on the street, and has the full multitrack/mixer thing going on.....It still doesn't seem to have the effortless, open-ended thing that MTU has, but Wavelab certainly does.

Am I missing something here? Is there some kind of business hole left for MTU to fit in?

I can't imagine what the Waves noise removal stuff is going to sound like. Yikes.
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  #34  
Old November 8th, 2007, 08:33 PM
Gary Boggess Gary Boggess is offline
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Noise removal

Yup, there are various alternatives for noise removal that are more effective than I found DNOISE to be. Although I think denoise works good on many things. But it takes a scientific effort.

I have the WAVES plugins for noise... and it DOES work wonders... but not so hot on complex noises like you find on 78 records.

For that, I recommend DC Seven

http://www.enhancedaudio.com/dc_seven.htm

If their demos are REAL, they have found the Holy Grail
in dnoising. Of course, their program is about $1800.
But it appears to work miracles... literally.
They've got some OTHER software too... and all I can say is,
if I could make money in this business, I'd own all of their
software. But alas... this business is getting more and more
rediculous by the day. After 37 years... I'm trying to figure
out what else could I do for a living. All these schools are
graduating "audio engineers" by the truck load... and by the
time they can't find work, and then start wacking down the
rates, thus reducing the marketplace to non-profit
status... I have to ask what's the point anymore?
CD sales are less and less... and piracy is more
rampant daily. The public now thinks they're entitled to FREE
music and movies. So... where does that leave us?
BROKE... POOR and unemployed.

Hate to dump negative vibes here... but...
we're all in a pickle.
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  #35  
Old November 9th, 2007, 09:38 AM
Rich LePage Rich LePage is offline
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I must have missed a few posts here, didn't get an email that there was anything new but just did now.

Yeah, the Audition noise removal and also its spectral editing are things I've used to great advantage at times, especially with stuff that comes in with problems.

Same deal with the spectral editing, really handy tool.

The new version has been delayed and now won't ship till end of Nov.
Good about the 24 bits, having not done much with that I'm glad to know it can handle it well.

Yes on the Diamond Cut stuff, I've used that too to advantage, but overall I like a lot of what Audition does. The Audition click removal tool is something I use often too. There is also a 3rd party diff type of de-clicker that was written specifically for Audition.

On Gary's age etc stuff-- yeah, we're all of that general vintage and I've sure seen that kinda thing. Folks don't value expertise and experience and yep, you're another guy with a pile of gear. It's become VERY commodity and too many clients don't know the difference -- many don't listen at all either.

In the ad work I did piles of, too often you couldn't pry the client off the phone, much less get them to really listen. It was more of a "camp out in the studio" thing, and very much like the hotel biz. I began to realize that with them it wasn't about the work or the value I was trying so hard to add-- at all-- it was about lots of other stuff, from decor to lunch to their own internal politics.

What I've found in some cases though is that once clients go somewhere else and run into problems- because the competitor just doesn't maybe work to the same standard and try to exceed what's expected-- they come back.
(Not the ad guys as much as others though!) I've had many situations like that, where they realized after the other experience the difference in quality and also just overall easiness of getting the work accomplished in a good manner.

Comments are like "gee, your stuff is so much smoother", or "so much more detailed" or "just flows better" or whatever. Sometimes I'm asked to fix up other's work, too. When that happens, you hear all too often some really big things that anyone should have noticed -- but apparently didn't- or just didn't want to bother with them or whatever. (gosh, maybe that's what their def. of "smooth" is...)


But there are still plenty of people who don't listen. Also with many larger companies, the people who buy the services have totally nothing to do with the people who are closely involved with the actual work-- and so they never hear it at all. They only know if they have heard there are/were problems with something.

Another downside is that sometimes we're never even considered for a project because of being such a small biz. I've heard "well, if he's in the studio getting the stuff laid down, he can't be editing and mixing at the same time and that will affect our deadline". Yeah, but gee, we could have worked that out by just scheduling it intelligently and made that work to their advantage, but too often not given the oppty.

You're right, it's harder than ever. And in what's become a commodity business with everyone under the sun professing to be an expert, I guess it can be hard for the customer to determine who DOES have some expertise - if they don't even listen! I keep trying to hang in, but all the stuff Gary mentions definitely impacts all of us.


On Micro CD, I had an inquiry from another user about newer burners.
One new solution I have found with Golden Hawk apparently going away is that you can still use MicroCD for making images and use Nero (version 7 in my case, prob. works with current version 8 too) to burn them from. Nero will find the MicroCD/Golden Hawk CUE and WAV files and you can burn directly from the CUE file with it.

It came up recently when I couldn't update CDRWIN and couldn't reach Golden Hawk at all. The last version of their stuff we have did not support a new Plextor burner I bought-- found it as a reader, but not as a recorder.
But Nero 7 found it, even though the Plex model was not out when Nero 7 was (now Nero has Version 8). It's a little cumbersome, but it works.

I think NTI's burning programs will also handle cue sheet burning, though pretty sure Roxio for instance does NOT. I had a copy of Nero 7 here and it wound up working. (never opened since bought last year until this, I've used OEM versions of Nero for moving data and doing CDROMs for ages though -it comes bundled with some OEM drives).

Rich
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  #36  
Old November 19th, 2009, 01:54 PM
geggyboy geggyboy is offline
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Still use MTU

And MTU only. My goodness me.. I aint been here for soooooooooooo long. Are we all still alive????

Yep still on MTU....sorry to be that old dino, but everyday, all day, mostly all night as well, MTU Krystal is still going. In fact I type this on the very same machine on which my editor is installed. Of course the computer is a 2 core duo yappiddy whippidy dingly dangly now with a zerabyte of ram.. but still MTU Krystal on board and a twin system in the video suite.
I talk with Jack Parnell quite a bit.. He is way up now in years, more than me even, but still using 2.7 on Win 98 but EVERYDAY threatened to move up. Maybe he did by now, but up to what??? Krystal cards are as rare as unicorn dung now.

You would be surprized what the so-called pros out there are doing. Digital up the ying yang.. The best converters.. the THD better than a vacuum... yet still MOST pro studios using the 'Analogue outputs' of their bog standard computers.. Yes sir/madam!! You would be shocked. Try going studio to studio like we do everyday using ISDN. Here we struggle to stay digital and the kit accepts it.. (Mayah buit in- and Audio TX - with 3rd party sound card), good Lord above.. we find sample rate mismatch 98% of the time with the other ends not having a clue what is going on.. 'BUT IT WORKS WITH EVERYONE ELSE - I'VE RECORDED 6 COMMERCIALS TODAY AND A DOC FOR HISTORY.. ALL FINE.. NOBODY COMPLAINED".... Of course not.. Because they are using analogue. (another reason we'd kill for wordclock on MTU).

Anyway: Got Two Pro Tools systems for the very same reason Rich got his - to be there in case.. Digi 001 and a Digi 003 . I HAVE NEVER EVER EVER USED THEM.you might even see some rough old pix if you go to my web site www.geghopkins.com (I will eventually take some better pix - but these are accurate as such - early 2009)
Got 48 tracks of Alesis HD24s..still - Yamaha DM2000 (like Geezer Jim)
Still got the old Akais 24 track DR16 + 8 in sync.. still work wonderfully.
Got Cubase. It came free with DM2000 Version 2 update.. but we already had it.
Got Audition which we use in the video ALL THE TIME.. But it is fed from the MTU. We record NOTHING directly to it.

Most of the time for music on the fly - I use the Yamaha AW4416 in 24 bit mode @ 48K.. Try beating it.. You cannot.. it is a lovely sound off that... But all digital not analogue in and out - and all cuts, edits and final.. transferred to MTU ..

Nothing touches MTU. If it goes another 5 years... then it will more than likely out live me and there is really NOTHING new out there... it has all been invented.

Anyway.. I came on here really to find out two things. I don't suppose Dave ever got to grips with wordclock for the Kyrstal although it supports it.. (onboard receptical socket) as far as I know the software doesnt... Maybe I am out of touch..

The other thing is.. I am still trying to get the Krystal to default as the Windows sound card, like I did before with the Rev J I think. I can't ever remember doing it with XP --But so many years gone by.. maybe we did.
G
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  #37  
Old November 19th, 2009, 02:49 PM
Rich LePage Rich LePage is offline
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Nice to see Geg is still out there and still using the stuff too.
Also very nice to see these forums back up and running.

Yep, wordclock would be nice, not essential here for my use,
but nice to have.

Enjoyed talking with Dave a month or so ago, too - it had been
ages.

Lately, still using Medit (in fact using it right now) as a first pass
device (also to lay stuff like v/o down with usually) and then I usually move
WAV files made from 1st pass editing over to Audition and pile on the
plugs as needed. Often I use Ozone now, also quite often will go to the UA digital plugs which are very good. We have several of their DSP cards, the old and new ones both. A few of the
Waves plugs often seem to get used too, though less than a few years
ago - I tend to prefer the UA ones for many things and they run well
with Audition.


Also nice to catch up a bit with Jim Smith - it was right around the time
my original mentor Les Paul passed away and so particularly insightful.
I'd spent a lot of time with Les in his last several months, though much of
it was in hospitals, including his last birthday in June.

Medit continues to be a really solid tool for me and very reliable.
Usually I will mix down (digitally mostly) from a multi-track Audition environment to a MTU system too, rather than "render" in the box with
Audition. It's also very handy for some jobs to be able to put in track markers on the fly while doing that and then go back and align them correctly after everything is done. I still use it for making all CD masters - or at least the images the masters will be burned from. Then I take the cue files and WAV image file over to a Nero system (to support the newer burners) and make the masters using that, mostly with late-model Plextor IDE burners.

Golden Hawk - whose underlying code was used in MicroCD- seems to be totally gone now, they still have a website but are not reachable.

The P/Tools gathers dust here. I did hook up the 002 Rack module on a test machine to mess with using Audition, but I wound up liking a TC firewire interface better - lower latency and overall better sound. We have a MOTU one as well that sounds good but seems a bit more of a resource hog so it works better with the higher-end machines, dual or quad core etc etc.

I did upgrade the software to version 7 at one point, played with it for about an hour, confirmed I still didn't like it and put it away. As for comptability reason we originally bought it -- it just has not ever been an issue. Oh well.

The interface (other than MTU) that has been very reliable is (of all things) an old Aardvark Q10- with the only Win XP drivers they ever made for the thing. It's been very rock-solid on a Pent 4 3.2 gig system for a long time,
which runs Audition and usually several of the older UAD1 boards.

What's so curious about that -- is that the DSP chip on their PCI board is none other than the same one MTU used in Krystal. Likely the reason Aardvark suddenly went out of business was same thing Dave faced with Motorola!!

I only ever got Medit happy with Win XP on one machine - the other Medit systems here run on Win98 and WinME- might be ancient now, but they work very well for what they do. The other systems are all XP except one office machine which runs Vista- which for me has been rather quirky. No Win7 boxes yet... though I did set up a Ubuntu machine recently using old junk parts and a Pent 200 and was pretty amazed how well it runs for simple stuff using old - and today really slow- hardware. It has Audacity in it because they have a free version for Ubuntu/Linux. But I just use it for playing around, nothing serious.

Another editor I've been hearing some about over at www.audiomasters.com (which is a Cool Edit/Audition user group) is Reaper. But have not tried it - might when I have a little time though.

I don't record much directly into Audition either though seems to work fine when I do that. I'm just so used to MTU way of working that it works better for me -- besides sounding real good.

Hope all of us stay well and stay working- best regards to all - and thx MTU for putting back this forum. Back to some editing here...

Rich
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  #38  
Old November 19th, 2009, 03:45 PM
geezer geezer is offline
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word on Krystal, other editors, etc.

Hey Geg, et al!

My understanding about getting Krystal to take wordclock is that this was one of the original problems noted about Motorola, etc., and that it just never will be able to do it.

HOWEVER, it is certainly easy to make Krystal sync to incoming digital via the AES port, and this is a perfectly good substitute. I am always doing this with my Alesis Masterlink, by the way, and it makes an enormous difference in the resultant playback sound.

My two MTU systems are still sitting on a shelf in the barn unused, though I took the CD burner out of one of them to install in my youngest son's newly purchased used AW4416, which does work amazingly well, as you suggest, Geg. I got him up and running and doing automated music mixes in a single day on the thing.

I have had occasion in the last year to do some critical listening and comparisons with newer stuff to my last couple of CDs mastered on MicroEditor with MicroCD from 24bit projects, and have refined what I think about that....have made comparisons with the old 16 bits-all-the-way-through stuff, too.

Although I still find the MicroCD dither-free bit reduction to retain most of the frequency response pallette of the original file, I also find it to have a bit of a "veiled" sound overlaid. When starting with 16bit files, this additionally veiling does not happen.......But I am still struggling with how to bring ANY 24 bit file to a CD without destroying it.

I am still using Wavelab with Waves plugins to achieve this most of the time, but still have to experiment heavily with each product to get it to sound the way I want.......A big time mastering engineer that has been mastering some major label albums for a good friend of mine seems to achieve this simply by doing all processing in the analogue domain, and having superior converters on either end of the process.

The importance of conversion has really been hammered into me over the last couple of years. Luckily, I have found what I consider to be the ultimate, perfect D to A converter, and now have that in my monitoring chain so that I feel I always know what I am hearing while working on anything......This is the converter built in to the Dangerous Music "The Monitor" monitoring/switching unit. It syncs instantly to anything you switch it to, so you can be working with multiple sources at different sampling rates that are not clocked together and make instant A-B comparisons.

This has been a godsend. Before having it, I was going through enormous contortions making sure the monitoring section in my DM2000 was clocking correctly to whatever I was listening to.......And the accuracy of the Dangerous converters is vastly superior to anything else I have heard. The result is that when I listen to my old mixes, the stuff which was always good still sounds just fine, but the stuff that had some problems that I could not quite fix now sounds TERRIBLE and I now know exactly what I should have done........Something about the phase accuracy across the whole spectrum.

Unfortunately, Dangerous is not making A to D converters, so that is a whole other can of worms I am still thinking about......but at least now I can trust what I am hearing all the time.

I am still using Wavelab as my primary editor/mastering environment, but I am about to enter the DAW multitrack world a little more forcefully than I had ever intended. This will mostly enhance some long distance production and music making that I have started in on......and will probably force me, kicking and screaming, into the Pro Tools HD world.

I am, just now, finishing up the album that was tracked at NPR 3 years ago on PT HD, and I have also been doing some long distance consulting with a friend for his major label mixing on his brand new PT HD system using a Dangerous 2 Bus for external analogue summing.......In both instances, I have to say that there is just something about the PT HD files that I do not like. It is hard to define....some kind of low level dithering cloud or something, but it is there. I have not had the opportunity to really dive into the use or setup of a PT HD system, so I don't know if I can find ways to use it that avoid this. I do know that every time a file makes a trip through the system, dithering is added, so maybe that is what is going on.....but that should not have affected the NPR files.....who knows.

I am still very, very happy with my DM2000. I bought an 02R96 for my live work, and have found that it sounds almost identical to the DM2k as long as you keep it in the digital domain.......The converters in the monitor section sound awful compared to those in the DM2k, however, which is how this whole quest for converters started with me......I actually ended up dropping money on the other Dangerous switching/monitoring box (Monitor ST with DAC ST) so that I could have the same kind of confidence in what I was hearing when I was out on gigs. Big money, but big relief, too.

I still have 7 DA78s and 2 MX2424s, but I have been using the HD24s almost exclusively for all my live work. Both of my machines have the XR converter upgrade, and I have come to think that they actually sound quite good. I used them in tandem to record a festival in NY last summer, and they worked flawlessly in that environment.....Although it seems as if Alesis is getting ready to discontinue them (the supply of EC-2 converter upgrades is drying up completely), they are simple enough, and there is enough support coming out of the forum, that I think they will stay useful for quite a while. One guy on the forum is making caddies that take SATA drives, and another writes fabulous software that allows file transfers, repairs damaged files, etc.

The only other choice out there seems to be the X48, which has some other nice features, but a few drawbacks, as well........Even though it is priced very fairly, I can't justify the expenditure for it at the moment...not enough work.

Anyway, I am just sort of dawdling along. Just got the last kid out of the house, and my oldest just made me a grandfather, so this generally takes the front seat and the audio stuff sits back a bit.

I have been trying to branch out a bit more into video editing.....I produced a Blu Ray presentation for my brother at NAMM in January, and I am finding all the hi def stuff pretty exciting.

I may try to crank up one of my MTU rigs to salvage some files from an old album.....If so, you guys are sure to hear from me, because I can't remember anything about how to use them.....it has just been too long.

....good hearing from everyone. Don't hesitate to contact me directly:

mudsmith@earthlink.net 304-261-9426
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  #39  
Old November 19th, 2009, 03:56 PM
geezer geezer is offline
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I/O boxes

.....Just wanted to add that my purchase of the Lynx AES 16 card as my primary desktop interface for various software packages a couple of years back made a HUGE difference in my ability to get quality sounds in and out of the computer. The thing is just rock solid. Zero jitter bit stream.

I also just upgraded what I am using with my laptop to the newer RME Multiface and mobile card, and that sounds a lot better than the old version, too, but was pretty expensive.

I am sure there are new, less expensive options that I have not used.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 04:56 PM
Rich LePage Rich LePage is offline
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Wow, cool to hear from Jim again here too!

The summing thing is definitely a road I plan to investigate.

And great to hear about the Dangerous D/A and monitoring and the Lynx- they are roads I think I too will travel before much longer - work and funds permitting!

The dithering thing is interesting too. I want to play around with more 24 bit stuff and see if I hear what Jim noted, I don't hear it (as he noted) on 16 bit projects.

All best to you guys!

Rich
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