Mixing in the Box

Mixing in the Box, originally uploaded by fohdave.

David Stagl

6 Responses to “Mixing in the Box

  • looks as though you need some more processing power.

  • I think I’ll be OK. There’s also some stuff in there that will get turned off before the final bounce. Plus I’m almost done adding processing.

  • I see you’re still on PT 8. Have things settled down a bit and worked themselves out or is it still quite unstable?

  • The stability is still inconsistent so here’s my take on PT8. The photo is for a mix I’m working on for a potential DVD release. It’s one song that’s maybe 30 audio tracks with a half dozen to a dozen FX sends and returns. In this capacity, PT8 is getting the job done. It’s also been a help to have some of the new features like the power view of the waveform. This was great for speeding up cleaning up the tom tracks that had a lot of extraneous drum kit bleed. Power view made it very easy to spot the transients and edit around them vs. peak view that just showed a lot of garbage.

    The ability to explode the playlists and cut between them to a master take has also been great. This particular song was recorded at three services with the third serving as the master. So I essentially have three takes to edit between as necessary, and I’ve got them all stacked as playlists. So, for example, there was a bit in the third service where the bass player flubbed going into the bridge. I look at the other takes, and it’s visually obvious that he nailed it the previous 2 so I just grab a measure from one and comp it in and listen. The resulting master take also retained the alternate color from the playlist so it’s a different color compared to the other takes which is nice because I can see where the edits happened. So now if there is something wrong with picture there I can get the video guys timecode on what I used for the mix, and they can see if there’s a ISO’ed camera to use to fix it. We most likely won’t need that for the bass, but if I have to do something to a lead vocal….

    Now as far as the rest of PT8’s stability, I’m still not sold on it on our studio machine which is a G5 that’s a few years old. There are also some things on that machine that are not approved by Digi for PT use such as a couple of RAIDs. I didn’t set up the initial system, but I understand why things are this way. Regardless, since the initial system wasn’t setup to spec, it’s a lot harder to troubleshoot what’s causing the problems. Is it a software thing, hardware thing, horsepower thing? We’re still trying to track that down.

    I had to do a lot of hacking with the playback engine to get things stable for us to work on Sunday when we’re tracking AND mixing live in the same session. The result is sluggish performance when doing things like the daily post-type stuff we use the studio for such as this DVD mix. I can live with that most of the time during the week because I don’t typically work in there a lot. But I still consider us to be beta testing PT8 for our Sunday use.

    Luke added a ton of RAM last week, and I’m still trying to figure out if that made a difference. Prior to that I was getting a lot of pinwheels of death. When we initially upgraded to PT8, I had a TON of trouble using our Expansion|HD chasis, and we can’t function in there without the processing power of 4 cards. The sessions we do in there on Sunday get pretty screwy with routing to work around ProTools’ limitations when it comes to tracks that are armed for record; we’ve done some creative stuff that the Digi guys talked to us about so that we can use VCA’s and delay compensation while tracking. It’s less than ideal, but it has helped a lot, and our volunteers have picked it up pretty quickly.

    So I guess my overall stance on ProTools 8 is I’m not endorsing it, yet. I know a lot of guys who’ve been thrilled with it and are amazed at the trouble we’ve had so I guess folks who are thinking about upgrading should look at that, too. That said, I still have absolutely ZERO intention of upgrading our FOH ProTools rig. We’re still running 7.3.1 out there, and it’s been rock solid for tracking and virtual soundcheck for a long time, and since that’s all it does that’s the way I’m going to keep it–I need at least one rig I can rely on every week to capture. If I was running my own studio, I would probably work in 8 when I’m alone and go back to 7 when clients are in the room.

  • Dave, I’d love to hear more about the process you go through to make a good mix. Having three takes helps a lot, I’m sure. Are there any parts that you rerecord or additional parts that you add? Are you mixing for Dolby 5.1 on the DVD?

  • Bill, I think I’ll do a post to answer your questions.