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Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

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Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby Skyline » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:09 pm

A little while back I decided at last to sell my two ten year old ADATs and Tascam DA30 DAT recorder as I hadn't used them for ages, instead just using Sonar 8, i7 Scan PC, Delta66 interface and the Tascam 16:8:2 analogue desk I've always had and used with the ADATs and DAT.

Before selling the stuff on ebay I thought I'd give a last listen to my old DAT masters and to my dismay the songs sounded, well, distinctly better than stuff I've been doing in the last couple of years with the PC only setup above. When I say better I mean brighter, cleaner with instrument separation a lot clearer. I was a bit surprised to say the least. One explanation of course is that I've regressed in terms of mixing skills, but I really don't think that can be the answer.

Could it be that the AD/DA converters in the ADATs and the DAT were far better than those in my Delta66? The path I used to use for mixdown was ADATs -> Tascam analogue desk -> DAT. To play back the path would be DAT -> analogue desk.

Were ADAT converters highly rated? Should I (better late than never) seriously upgrade my Delta66, to say a Lynx L22?
Would this get my old ADAT/DAT mojo back? :crazy:

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Re: Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby jaminem » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:43 pm

It could well be your Delta66, its getting decidedly long in the tooth now, and wasn`t really 'top end' when it came out.

I too owned a Delta 66 back in the day and was allways disappointed with it, it has a harsh, almost 'crusty' hard top end, which improved if you recorded @ 96khz but when I swapped it for an RME HDSP9632, the difference was night and day as far as I was concerned.

Interesting in your DAT comparison, as I had a pro Sony DAT (studio clearance from a mastering studio in soho) which had superb converters as I recall, really natural sounding and very sweet at the top end.

Not heard the Lynx, but its highly rated, so I'm sure you'll hear a difference.

The ony other thing I can thnk it coud be, is have you moved your recording space recently? You may have had great acoustics when recording with your old setup and nasty one now?
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Re: Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby akkk » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:34 pm

Mixing in the box just sucks. Similar experiences. There is something wrong with the platform, it´s not the converters, gotta do something with windows, software, pc components etc. Tracks ain´t have air between, they are mush. U get separation by taking them out to mix desk. This is a problem.
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Re: Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby Skyline » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:36 pm

akkk wrote:Mixing in the box just sucks. Similar experiences. There is something wrong with the platform, it´s not the converters, gotta do something with windows, software, pc components etc. Tracks ain´t have air between, they are mush. U get separation by taking them out to mix desk. This is a problem.

akkk, you've really got me wondering now, because I hadn't twigged that the biggest difference to my pre and post-ADAT/DAT setups is that I used to mix outside of the box. At mix down I'd run the two ADATs' 16 outputs into my desk, mix using the desk faders with the result going to the DAT. Maybe I should instead be looking at an interface that lets me go back to mixing outside the box. Any suggestions?

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Re: Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby chris... » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:54 pm

akkk wrote:Mixing in the box just sucks.
Opinions differ ;)
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Re: Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby narcoman » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:37 am

akkk wrote:Mixing in the box just sucks. Similar experiences. There is something wrong with the platform, it´s not the converters, gotta do something with windows, software, pc components etc. Tracks ain´t have air between, they are mush. U get separation by taking them out to mix desk. This is a problem.


I agree with a decent console - but with cheap gear?... ITB is better..... but you need to be better to make it work....... despite the great democratization - experience still rules.
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Re: Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby akkk » Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:52 am

Quality soundcard with several outputs, rme fireface etc. to quality analog mixer with plenty of headroom and good components

something like this:
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/LX308B

better with eq, but will cost pretty much then

analog pro compressor

and this to master recorder, or go to pro studio with your fireface and computer- only way to get pro sound

small mackie, soundcraft, a&h, yamaha mixers gives deeper (three dimensional, more enjoyable) and wider mixes than ITB, but u kind of loose the advantage, because they mush low and up end of frequenzys and no pro level headroom. Is stil prefer my mackie mixes over ITB, more enjoyable. But really pro is pro and u dont get that with cheap components and engineering. Kapitalism creates shitty products, I am sorry for us all. Wasted hours with broken tools. Neve, SSL level quality components, pro comp ati2500 etc., good master recorder, sounds from different sources (even more separation and air between tracks), pc, synths, samplers, there u go.
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Re: Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby akkk » Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:55 am

ITB= plastic, not Hi-Fi.
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Re: Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby The Elf » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:56 am

akkk wrote:ITB= plastic, not Hi-Fi.

Lots of opinions differ. :roll:

Strangely, none of my ITB mixes have ever come back because they don't sound good enough...
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Re: Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby JamesSimpson » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:23 am

ITB sounds great, flexibility is fantastic, I just find it takes me atleast twice as long to get the same result out of ITB as OTB.

A nice console is still preference, with good converters, good speakers, good room, great outboard.

But who has that money anymore?
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Re: Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby jaminem » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:33 am

akkk, sorry but your answers make no sense.

In your first post you say its not the converters - its everything else, then you suggest the OP buys what appears to be a very average looking soundcard just so he can mix on a desk?

Clearly you like mixing on a desk, thats fine, but to say mixing ITB is rubbish because its not your preference isn't really based on any facts is it?

You then state that it probably won`t be as good unless you can buy a high end console with some top end outboard? I'd have to assume that this option isn`t open to the OP as if he had that kind of cash he'd be taking his advice from a professional company not some bloke on a forum.

The OP wondered if it was his soundcard causing an issue - it could well be, it could also be his acoustics, use of processing, mics, or people he's recording.

Agree with you that upgrading the signal chain may help, but seems unlikely a Neve 88RS is in the budget?
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Re: Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby James Perrett » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:40 am

I'll bet that you changed your mixing technique when you started to mix in the box. I know that I certainly use compression differently now that I have an unlimited number of compressors. In the old days I would compress groups of tracks and compress on the way to tape whereas nowadays nearly everything is compressed separately at mixdown. Perhaps you are also using separate reverbs for everything? This can cause a very confused soundstage unless you are extremely skilled at mixing. I find that my most successful mixes use no more than 3 reverbs - much the same as my out of the box mixes used to.

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Re: Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby Pete Kaine » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:22 am

That's a great post James. I only finally moved everything ITB last month after messing about with a few hybrid solutions for the last few years and I'm finding it a lot more productive.

Your absolutely right through (at least in my case) where I used to send everything through the same half dozen effects returns out of my desk before this and that limited me to only so many options, I now don't give a second thought to loading up the effects on every channel.

Whilst that's not so bad for dynamic effects, with the spatial ones now that you've made me think about it and I can see just how much damage that would do to the depth of field.

Thanks!
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Re: Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby akkk » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:16 pm

Better souncard helps so far, but doesn´t solve the issue. And yes, yes, they sell ITB mixes in beatport and where ever, but if we only concentrate on quality, vocals really shining in its own space, deepnes.......Pc+souncard with many outputs+ quality high-end analog mixer+ maybe some hardware comps and reverbs.......best solution. Doesn´t matter how many vst comps u put there, never achieve that kind of airiness and separation between tracks ITB.

ITB is ok, but but but, guys, really?, u must know what I am talking about??
8-)

U get little bit more open and shining master when u record your soundcards output to DAT and not use itb summing, but this will only get u so far.
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Re: Old ADAT/DAT masters sounded better - weak link my Delta66?

Postby akkk » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:22 pm

Elf, does your mixes sound like this?:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jByHIk27PE

Vst synths, but mixed outside with high end gear. Show me that kind of shining vocals with deep reverb and separation between the tracks in ITB mix. I don´t think so. Do you?
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