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Mastering Stereo Mixes Question

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Mastering Stereo Mixes Question

Postby Duncanjp » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:17 pm

I'm in the market for a high end valve preamp. Looking at D.W. Fearn's VT-1 and VT-2. Since the VT-2 has two channels, I'm wondering whether it would be possible — or whether it would even be desirable — to run my old stereo mixes through the two channels, one panned L and one panned R? I have some mixes that I recorded 15 years ago using rather inferior gear, and I'm trying to think of a way to polish them up. Would doing this yield any net results? Maybe I need to do something else altogether, but I still need a new (and I want a great) preamp for my current recording work. If the VT-2 idea won't work, then I'll just get the VT-1 and go back to the drawing board on the old mixes. Sorry if I sound inexperienced with mastering.

Thanks for any input!
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Re: Mastering Stereo Mixes Question

Postby Tim Gillett » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:32 am

Hi and since it's your first post, welcome.

Re the preamps you mentioned, both are claimed to be "transparent" as opposed to the "artifacts" of solid state. However even many inexpensive solid state design preamps are transparent.
Most people choose a valve or valve/transformer based design to add certain harmonics to the sound when the unit is pushed hard. A "transparent" valve design would not do that.

What your 15 year old recordings might need to improve them is from here impossible to tell. Could you link to a sample audio file?

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Re: Mastering Stereo Mixes Question

Postby Jack Ruston » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:18 am

Yes you could do that. It might well impart something nice. But it won't improve the material or the mixes. So it won't really be transformative. You'd need to use 40 dB pads...I think it's a U pad, which you can have a tech build into an XLR plug, to knock line level and impedance into a place that looks like a mic from the point of view of the mic amp.

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Re: Mastering Stereo Mixes Question

Postby ef37a » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:04 am

Jack Ruston wrote:Yes you could do that. It might well impart something nice. But it won't improve the material or the mixes. So it won't really be transformative. You'd need to use 40 dB pads...I think it's a U pad, which you can have a tech build into an XLR plug, to knock line level and impedance into a place that looks like a mic from the point of view of the mic amp.

Jack

Hi Jack, getting a tech' to make them might be the OP's only way to get line impedance attenuators? I have looked in the past and Google found dozens of XLR slugs but close inspection showed they were mic impedance, i.e. around 1k Ohms. Those that were stated to be for "line" signals were 600 Ohms! Both types would be to low a load for many pre amp outputs.

Op could use a pair of passive DI boxes? Orchid units might prove about the same price as custom attenuators and much more versatile.

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Re: Mastering Stereo Mixes Question

Postby Duncanjp » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:07 am

Thanks for the replies! It sounds like it is not as simple as I was hoping. My technical skills are lacking - I'm a mere mortal, a rock guitarist. But I'm kind of sentimental about some of those old mixes. I came across them a few months ago and while the mixes themselves weren't too bad, the quality of the gear that I could afford in 2001 wasn't terribly impressive. It was a thought. Thank you for the suggestions!!
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Re: Mastering Stereo Mixes Question

Postby ef37a » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:31 pm

Duncanjp wrote:Thanks for the replies! It sounds like it is not as simple as I was hoping. My technical skills are lacking - I'm a mere mortal, a rock guitarist. But I'm kind of sentimental about some of those old mixes. I came across them a few months ago and while the mixes themselves weren't too bad, the quality of the gear that I could afford in 2001 wasn't terribly impressive. It was a thought. Thank you for the suggestions!!

Not sure we know where these mixes reside? On tape, in a computer hard drive or some other medium?
Wherever they are if they can be copied to a PC there is now an almost infinite range of recording software, much of it free or on a full fat 30 day trial that you could use to "massage" the tracks. (keeping the originals V.I. of course)

Do you have a decent quality Audio Interface?

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Re: Mastering Stereo Mixes Question

Postby Mixedup » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:49 pm

Had you considered sending some of this material in for a 'Mix Rescue'? Depending on the state of the material in question, a stereo 're-master rescue' might make for an interesting article... and you might find you can improve things without spending thousands on a high-end valve preamp :headbang:
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Re: Mastering Stereo Mixes Question

Postby The Elf » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:51 pm

It's easy to get caught up in the idea that passing audio through some magic wand box will solve all your problems. The marketing boys love to sell boxes on that one, and the more expensive the better. The reality is very different.

The suggestion of a Mix Rescue is a good one. Either way, to add polish, if you're not a polisher yourself, get someone involved who is.
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