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reccommend mixing hardware?


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#1 rob spence

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 05:50 AM

Hi
I have a mac G4 dual 1,42Ghz ( standard sound card texas TAS3004) and do alot of offline editing on Final cut 5. I'd now like to do my own sound mixing, I have a copy of logic. Can anyone reccommend a cost effective hardware setup that would produce good results?many thanks
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#2 Alex Donkle

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 10:00 AM

Mixing is far more about the room and the speakers than it is about the hardware. That's the main drive to get into a studio to get work done. Plus having a dedicated mixer on the project is a fresh set of ears and ideas to help you get the best results.

That said, if you're dead set on mixing your own stuff get a Pro Tools LE and Mbox 2 (either mini, regular, or pro (pro is the only one that'll handle 5.1 mixing)) interface. That way you can bring the files into a studio later even just for a day to check the mix and still be able to tweak stuff (since Pro Tools is far more likely to be installed in a studio than anything else).

Check out http://www.acoustics101.com/ for some basic acoustics knowledge for getting your room into good shape (its run by Auralex Acoustics). For monitors, cheapest I would go is $500/speakers for really good results. High quality just costs money. If you're able to get a day or two in a studio after your mixing session, then you could go cheaper as you can clean up the details in the studio.

Edited by Alex Donkle, 30 April 2009 - 10:01 AM.

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#3 Christopher Kennedy Alpiar

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 10:58 AM

I agree if you want to be compatible, then you need Pro Tools, and an Mbox is fine, although if you can afford the extra cost, the digi003 is really good value as well. But sounds like he has Logic, and since, while most studios have protools, every system handles wav and aif files so you arent totally at a loss working in logic. But logic is more for composers to write and mix and master music. But if you really want to stick with logic and just need some hardware I would recommend some of the MOTU products, excellent sound and features/value. I use several motu 2408 MKIII's in my studio, which is perfect for my needs but they have a smaller interface like the 828 which is still quite happening

Mixing is far more about the room and the speakers than it is about the hardware. That's the main drive to get into a studio to get work done. Plus having a dedicated mixer on the project is a fresh set of ears and ideas to help you get the best results.

That said, if you're dead set on mixing your own stuff get a Pro Tools LE and Mbox 2 (either mini, regular, or pro (pro is the only one that'll handle 5.1 mixing)) interface. That way you can bring the files into a studio later even just for a day to check the mix and still be able to tweak stuff (since Pro Tools is far more likely to be installed in a studio than anything else).

Check out http://www.acoustics101.com/ for some basic acoustics knowledge for getting your room into good shape (its run by Auralex Acoustics). For monitors, cheapest I would go is $500/speakers for really good results. High quality just costs money. If you're able to get a day or two in a studio after your mixing session, then you could go cheaper as you can clean up the details in the studio.


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#4 Hal Smith

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 09:05 PM

One of the few good, sub-$500 class speakers is the JBL Control-5. They're not for large rooms but in smaller environments they're pretty darn good. If you're mixing sound with a ton of low bass you would want a subwoofer in addition to the Control-5's.

The most important thing about a remix room is that ideally it has theatre acoustics. That way if it sounds right in the studio, it'll sound right in a theatre. At the very least, NEVER mix with your back against the wall, always try to be out in the middle of the room.

Get a copy of Tomlinson Holman's "Sound for Film and Television". It'll really help your understanding of everything about film and video sound. His initials are the TH in THX.
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#5 Paul Bruening

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 08:02 AM

If you can get only a set of two then be sure each unit has three speaker types in its box: a woofer in the 12" range, a mid range in the 6"-8" range and a tweeter. You need balanced sound from the speakers. There's no way to cheat that with two or less actual speakers per box.
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#6 Alex Donkle

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 12:42 PM

If you can get only a set of two then be sure each unit has three speaker types in its box: a woofer in the 12" range, a mid range in the 6"-8" range and a tweeter. You need balanced sound from the speakers. There's no way to cheat that with two or less actual speakers per box.


Honestly, that's no way to buy speakers. In fact, on lower end speakers most 2-way speakers are better than 3-way because to get 3 drivers and 2 crossovers means cutting costs on component quality. Not to mention that 3 way speakers are inherently worse for near-fields since the drivers get further apart so the sound between the drivers doesn't always blend correctly when they're placed close to the listening position.
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#7 Hal Smith

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 09:13 PM

Control-5's have two drivers, a 6-1/2" cone low frequency speaker and a 1" Titanium dome high frequency tweeter. Crossover is at 3kHz which places it above the most important speech frequencies. Frequency range is reasonably flat from 50Hz to 20kHz and they'll handle 175 watts on speech/music sources.

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$597.97 per pair at:

http://www.sweetwate...detail/Control5
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#8 Paul Bruening

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 08:54 AM

Never mind, then. So many of the rules of production have changed since I have become old. I guess something about the physics of sound changed when I wasn't looking.
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#9 rob spence

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 01:07 PM

Hi
I much appreciate the responses...I make commercials, but the main problem at the moment is I'm getting a feature together...you can view it on www.bigness.co.uk.
We played the trailer in a medium sized cinema last week and the sound seemed very harsh...not pleasant at all. It was mixed by a musician and someone suggested that this may have been the problem. I'd like to be in a position where I can get a reasonable sound together myself and then get it tweeked in a mixing studio later on.
Again thanks for the information
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#10 Hal Smith

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 01:58 PM

Never mind, then. So many of the rules of production have changed since I have become old. I guess something about the physics of sound changed when I wasn't looking.

Nothing changed, it's just that modern materials are making small speakers orders of magnitude better than in the day. For instance, by using magnet structures that enable large cone excursions the Control-5's can push out a lot of mid-bass but their weakest point is their low bass, they just can't push out the floor rattling kind.

I've got a pair of five-way Dahlquist DQ-10's in the living room system and a pair of little Control-5's are surprisingly good sounding alongside the DQ-10's with their time aligned drivers and linear phase crossovers. Not that the DQ-10's would ever get replaced by them but the Control-5's do not sound like a couple of cheap radios turned up too loud as used to be true when comparing audiophile speakers against small bookshelf speakers.
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#11 Hal Smith

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 02:10 PM

Hi
I much appreciate the responses...I make commercials, but the main problem at the moment is I'm getting a feature together...you can view it on www.bigness.co.uk.
We played the trailer in a medium sized cinema last week and the sound seemed very harsh...not pleasant at all. It was mixed by a musician and someone suggested that this may have been the problem. I'd like to be in a position where I can get a reasonable sound together myself and then get it tweeked in a mixing studio later on.
Again thanks for the information


Harsh is often a description of sound that has a lot of intermodulation distortion (IM). IM is the product (literally) of different sounds being mixed together is an amplifier that has very limited headroom and/or the sound is getting rectified into partial DC somewhere along the line. IM by being the result of adding and subracting frequencies together has resulting frequencies that are not in any harmonic relationship with each other. This is as opposed to harmonic distortion which generates frequencies in the natural harmonic series and as a result is much easier for the ear to tolerate since the harmonic products are falling at the same places in the musical spectrum as natural instrumental and vocal overtones.

If I were to get called in to figure out what's going on in a situation like yours, the very first thing I'd want to do is listen to the original recordings in a nice quiet living room type of environment with a very good playback system. I'd want to know as soon as possible just how good are the source recording. Then I'd drag out my Audio Precision ATS-2 audio generator/analyzer and go through the entire original mixdown system step by step to identify any problems along the way. Nice thing about the ATS-2 is it's equally at home in the analog and digital worlds and therefore can diagnose problems with devices that have both analog inputs/outputs and digital inputs/outputs simultaneously active and passing signal.
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