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  #1  
Old 11-09-2002, 04:10 PM
imp imp is offline
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Default Digi-Rack plug-ins\' effect on sonic qualtiy?

Hello,

Quick question... has anyone ever noticed a sonic degradation while running audio through any of the Digi-rack plug-ins? We run all our audio out to analog land and mix inside an analog mixer with all analog eqs and compressors. But sometimes it is tempting to ALSO throw a Digi eq on a track before sending it out to the analog console, for extra eq control. However, the concern is that the audio may become digitally colored in some way by passing through these plug ins. We have not had a chance to really test this yet.... minor degradations are often hard to hear on just one single track, it's really a cumulative effect. So, just wonder if anyone has any experience with this. We always avoid the plugs when possible to reduce any extra digital effecting, but occasionally it's just so convenient to use a plug-in here and there... just wanna know if we are sacrificing any audio purity by doing so, at least in the opinions of other Digi users. Thanks - imp
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2002, 04:21 PM
alk509 alk509 is offline
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Default Re: Digi-Rack plug-ins\' effect on sonic qualtiy?

The extra D/A-A/D conversion you get when you mix through your analog mixer is BY FAR more damaging to your audio than any DSP process (except for the most extreme manipulations, of course...)

Peace,
Al.
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2002, 05:00 PM
imp imp is offline
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Default Re: Digi-Rack plug-ins\' effect on sonic qualtiy?

Well, we go out DA through Crane Song and RME converters, and mix all in analog land down to an analog reel to reel deck.... thus no AD. Or, sometimes we might mix back into Pro Tools through the Crane Song converter again (one stereo AD, but a fairly painless one).

So far the results of doing this far surpass that of staying inside the computer and using only plug-ins. However I will agree that in general audio will be more "altered" by passing through two analog/digital conversion stages than by merely passing through one good digital plug-in all inside the digital domain.

Our goal is to rid the dreaded "DAW sound" from our recordings.... you know, that really thin one-dimensional "cheap" sound. Our first few 001 recordings (done all inside the DAW) came out that way. Very unsatisfying results, even using good mics, pres, etc.

After that we switched back to our old analog set-up, using the 001 merely as a recorder / playback "deck"... and we then got thicker more dimensional richer results once again. So, this just proved that something was going on inside the DAW, the digital processing and digital bussing whatever, that really did some very bad things to the overall audio quality. So to this day, I am still a bit fearful of even using plug-ins... I am afraid to do any type of digital alterations at all.

(Though, on a side note, I have heard guys obtain amazing results on other DAW systems with Waves plug-ins.... so it might just be the specific tools, and not necessarily "digital" in general.)

Our goal here is to keep things as analog as possible, based on our experiences with the DAW. The thing that is always so tempting about the DAW is its incredible convenience and ease of use. So... it's a love/hate releationship... but we have finally mated the two together by using the DAW as the recorder / playback machine, and using all the analog outboard and analog console to actually MIX everything together. It's working well.

Anyway, I guess I will conduct some tests at some point when I get a chance. Maybe duplicate a track 10 or 20 times and play all tracks back at once, clean... then put a digi plug on each and every track, and play `em all back again the same way, and listen for any differences. If none can be heard in a test like this, then I can only assume that the plugs are completely transparent. This is actually not the "best" way to test... but it an easy quick way to just get a quick result.

We still have yet to take one given song, and first mix it entirely in the analog domain, and then mix it entirely in the digital domain. We do hope to do this for fun at some point when time is available.

We have done quick tests comparing 1176 plug ins verses REAL 1176s... and while the plug in performance is very impressive, the real analog unit wins every time, hands down. This is just a brief example of why we choose to go analog whenever possible, and avoid the digital stuff in general.

But, for those who do not have the room or patience to deal with a stack of analog stuff (which can indeed be a pain in the neck for many reasons), by all means the DAW by itself is an incredibly powerful tool that can yield excellent results on its own... provided good recording and production techniques are applied.

imp
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  #4  
Old 11-10-2002, 02:35 AM
Chompers Chompers is offline
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Default Re: Digi-Rack plug-ins\' effect on sonic qualtiy?

The d/a conversion is a degradation, but a worthwhile one.
After you do a mix in the real world with a analog mixer. You are no longer a believer in "keeping it in pro tools".
THe stereo mix bus in Pro tools does more damage than ANY of the above mentioned methods.
Try it! Take a mix that you made all inside Pr Tools... now take that same mix and send the drums, bass, and vocals out to their own analog mixer channels. THe results are obvious.
You need to have a mix down set up ( DAT, CDR, 1/2 inch... etc..) But the mix does not suffer from that Pro tools low end clog, or that hi mid shatter.
IT only makes sense. You cant expect a LE mix bus to handle 24 tracks at high levels, all across the sound spectrum, to deal with the harmonics and summing like an analog blend.
Try it, you will see the light.
But as always, IF you must mix entirely in PRo Tools, TURN DOWN THE TRACKS!!! Most mixes are victims of over driving the Master fader. I hear it, and see it all the time!
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Old 11-11-2002, 05:00 PM
luvmixnhigh luvmixnhigh is offline
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Default Re: Digi-Rack plug-ins\' effect on sonic qualtiy?

I will say this.
Mixing in the box is viable.
It is new.
Some people are still not used to the sound.
That is the "different" sound of mixing in the box. Notice I did not say better. Cause "better" is an opinion.
Lots of people still have to justify that 2" and big boat anchor console they paid for so itis to be expected. I sold mine off as fast as I bought into PT. Now, I did freak the first couple times I did sessions. The customers were happy and have returned as proof but, I new I could have done better. Especially on the old board and tape machine that I had been practicing on for 10 years! Duh!
After a few years my mixes are light years ahead of what I was doing on my old rig. And I can make mix adjustments in minutes for clients. Once you let your clients have a taste of the 5 minute remix--they won't go back! Unless your talking about a total recall board don't waste your time!
Learn to use the tools of the future. Learn to make them sound good. You can. all the Rick Martin stuff (Yuck!) was done in PT. And I may not like the music but the mixes speak for themselves. It can be done. Don't buy into someone elses mistakes. Move forward not back.

Keep in mind when it comes to front end you are going to have to go back for the good stuff. That is a givin.

Original reponse:
Digi plugins are the worst. Just solo a track and add the one band Eq. Even flat it will take the life out of your sound. I can assure you this is real easy to hear. If you can't hear it-check your monitors, they may not be on. he.he.
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  #6  
Old 11-11-2002, 06:19 PM
picksail picksail is offline
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Location: Hollywood, CA
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Default Re: Digi-Rack plug-ins\' effect on sonic qualtiy?

I agree with luv. Progress is not possible without deviation from the norm.

With regard to this topic (at least where luv is going with it) take a look at the TDM Tips topic: "hits mixed in the box". It includes 3 pages of heated debates for your dialectical ammusement. The only support I received was from the producer of the new Toto album who offered some reassuring advice. Very interesting stuff.

Try using McDsp's Filterbanks.
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  #7  
Old 11-11-2002, 06:50 PM
Gabriel Roth Gabriel Roth is offline
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Posts: 167
Default Re: Digi-Rack plug-ins\' effect on sonic qualtiy?

to get back to Imp's original question:

almost all of the digirack plugins are very low-quality, and i wouldn't let them anywhere near one of my mixes. it's the equivalent of running a track through a cheap, crappy hardware EQ or compressor -- it makes the track sound worse.

if you're looking to do some internal processing (which can get great results), i suggest you invest in the Waves Gold Bundle. certainly, though, don't pass judgment on all plug-in-based processing on the basis of the digirack freebies.
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