Technical backstage: D’Anca minipassive EQ

It’s not a didactic section (when needed I’ll link related pages on manufacturer site) but so as to explain my approach to recording.


After my analog consolle D&R Dayner I want speak about a fine piece of gear, which you found a couple into my control room: D’Anca minipassive equalizer.

D'Anca minipassive EQ

D’Anca minipassive EQ

Michele D’Anca laboratory is in Milan and his products are handmade with great quality and attention.

Minipassive is a passive EQ like EQP-1 Pultec program equalizer with some added frequencies.

EQP-1 is originally made in 1951 by Ollie Summerland and Gene Shank (*) and it works with solid state electronics (EQ section) and three tubes (one to AC rectifier and two to amp section)(**).

The first time which I tried passive EQ it was the Waves PuigTec EQP-1A plug-in and I loved it because it adds a depth and tridimensional sound on my ITB mixes.

I like D’Anca minipassive much more than any similar plug-in because it adds more warmth and solid sound to instruments.

Generally I use it on drums stereo group to add a solid low frequency and a breezy high end and kick, snare and cymbals are grateful. Others tracks like bass, guitars and vocals have a good time with it.

I tested my D’Anca minipassive EQ with SpectraFoo Complete, to display how it operate.

Cheers,

Lorenzo

(*) history by Universal Audio website

(**) Pultec EQP-1 electronic


Disclaimer: I tested this gear with care, nevertheless this test is inevitably affected by my opinion and possible analyzer gear and software imprecisions.


Copyright © 2013-2014 by iuatwest. All rights Reserved.
This material has been copyrighted,  feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and, provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name @ http://iuatwest.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

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Technical backstage: my analog consolle

It’s not a didactic section (when needed I’ll link related pages on manufacturer site) but so as to explain my approach to recording.


D&R Dayner in my control room

D&R Dayner in my control room

Hi,

before talking about my analog consolle I want to expand my point of view on some questions about the summing and the mixing.

Summing

The result of summing is a single signal (electric or digital) from several sources(*), the problem is how to make it without quality drop. Obviously that signal can be mono, stereo or multichannel in order to destination.

Theorically analog or digital summing are the same, but in real world, analog gear has a non-linear response with typical distortions on second harmonics and cross-talking. Digital summing can emulate it or capture the nuances of analog gears with convolution to add “warmth” and depth to mix.

(*) example of Op-amp summing amplifieranother example

Mixing

Assumed that you used a good microphones and preamplifiers to capture several instruments, it’s probably necessarily change their timbres, levels and dynamics to make a pleasure sum. This is a basic approach to mix.

Today it’s possible work in several ways:

– Full Analog (rare)

Analog tape recorder with analog gears

– Out The Box (box is the pc) or OTB

Computer as digital recorder with analog gears like consolle and audio processor to mix

– In The Box or ITB

Computer become a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and it’s added with audio card with AD/DA converter and specific softwares.

– Hybrid

DAW and several analog outboards are chained by a multichannel DA/AD

Nothing of their is the best choice but each can be a better way to work into a specific situation.

I chose two solutions: ITB and OTB.

To work ITB I chose Apple Logic Pro (since 1996 – 2.5.4 version) with many plug-ins like Waves, Softube, Metric Halo, Brainworx, SPL and Abbey Roads (this last is discontinued – ouch).

Alternative DAWs available are ProTools 10 and Harrison Mixbus 2.x.

ITB mix is a cheapest way to add many times the same expensive (but virtual) compressor or reverb, to create automation for all parameters available, to edit takes, to create incredible audio effects, to add and manage virtual instruments and to add samples to substitute or sum it with original recording. At last to save and restore the project with one “click”.

But after many years I realized an innate problem in ITB mixing.

If it’s true that when I add plug-ins the relative delays (into DAW) are automatical compensated, the delay due in conseguence how to CPU works (multiplexing) affects time alignment of all channels into sum (unlike analog consolle where all signals are process in a parallel way). That phenomena is audible in complex mix with many tracks and many plug-ins and it’s highlighted with a shifting the mix to muddy sound with a depth deterioration.

Let’s be clear ITB mixing is good choice but adding plug-ins without limits can shift your sound in trouble although your high perfomance pc system. Just the same of any machinery when is overfilled.

It’s odd to note how many phase or time alignment plug-ins are maded in last years although digital recording has less problems about phase correlaction compared with vynil cutting.

To realize OTB mixing I bought a second-hand consolle, directly from eighties, D&R Dayner.

Ok, now I go to present it.


D&R Dayner

This is a tipical studio in-line consolle, with direct outs, tape returns, eight busses and eight auxiliaries.

It has 24 channels and eight effects return and I did broaded it frame to insert Euphonix MC Mix control surface, Apple keyboards and third screen of my DAW.

Dayner peculiarity is it floating busses (named subs), that is the possibility to assign any bus to any channel (along left/right assignement). Tape output and monitor section are substitute by bus signal. It’s useful to send to recorder premixed channels.

Dayner input section - above the floating subs assign

Dayner input section – above the “from floating subs” assign

Then it’s possible to work from 24 channels without busses to 16 channels and 8 busses.

They have three kinds of channels: In-Line, Split and Tape/Effects return.

In-line: it’s a basic channel, it manage mic and line input with eq, aux sends and volume. Also it manage tape return on specific input and monitor section. It’s possible invert input with tape return to mix the latter (remix switch). Bus assignement send it to tape out and monitor section without possibility to assign it to main.

Split: it’s the dedicate channel to manage floating bus on mixing with assignement to main. It haven’t tape return section. I haven’t split channel but on In-line channel I chained tape out with line-in to replicate their. In this way I can applied insert and complete eq section on bus signal and mix it.

Tape/Effects return: it has four balanced line input. They are perfect to manage extra eight channel to mix. Today I use it chained with two channel strip Focusrite ISA220 and to input stereo effects return from DAW.

I tested Dayner bandwidth with Spectrafoo and DAD AX32 at 96kHz (see test here) and the eq too.

Bandwidth and phase response measured at 96kHz

Bandwidth and phase response measured at 96kHz

I like the eq of Dayner, it works in mellow way without artifacts. It sounds great on drums and electric bass.

The eight auxiliaries are routed to DAW to applied reverb, delay or modulation effect.

I can mix from 32 channels without group to 24 channels + 8 groups (busses).

I’m very happy for my Dayner consolle, I suggest it to mix rock, blues and jazz (acoustic and electric).

Cheers,

Lorenzo


Copyright © 2013-2014 by iuatwest. All rights Reserved.
This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and, provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name @ http://iuatwest.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

Technical backstage: microphones preamplifiers

It’s not a didactic section (when needed I’ll link related pages on manufacturer site) but so as to explain my approach to recording.


Today I’ll speak about the second ring of the audio chain that is a microphone preamplifier.

I tried several of them while I was thinking about the adage “the worse ring define entire chain quality”.

At the end I chose Focusrite and Millenia.

Focusrite ISA series

This serie is originate from an original Rupert Neve’s project, realized to George Martin’s Air studio which sidecar of Studio One’s Neve consolle and later developed into well-knowed Forte consolle (late eighties).

Here you find Air studio historical page about Neve consolle and Focusrite sidechain.

Sir George Martin with original sidechain and ISA110

Sir George Martin with original sidechain and ISA110

Neve consolle A4792 with FSA110 modules sidecar (far left)

Neve consolle A4792 with FSA110 modules sidecar (far left)

Earlies modules made from FSA110 were ISA110 (premic/eq section) and ISA130 (dynamic section) where ISA standing for Input Signal Amplifier.

Further developments were ISA430 (producer pack) and ISA220 (session pack) strip channels with premic, eq section, dynamic section (ISA220 only compressor), de-essing and output stage.

Today it’s possible to find some racked channel strip.

Latest models are microphones preamplifiers rack modules ISA428, ISA828, ISA One (desk version) and Isa Two.


I bought two ISA428 with AD converter card and two ISA220.

They work very fine on vocals, percussions and instrumental direct inject like electric bass, guitar and piezo transducer with a nice and solid presence. I like ISA220 coupled with NeumannU87ai to record voice.

ISA eq is very sharp gear and all the small changes are immediatly audible and it’s perfect to add warmth, presence and intelligibility to every tracks. Dynamic section is beautiful with capaticy to forceful gain reduction (10dB) without artefacts.

I use both ISA220 like a sidecar of my analog consolle D&R Dayner.

Focusrite ISA 8-channel ADC cards on board on my ISA428 sound like my Apogee Rosetta800 (that is very good) and they convert eight channel each, summing ISA428 four channels with four external channels. Then two ISA428, eight microphone amplifier and sixteens AD channels conversion.

In this record I used FF ISA428 on drums and direct input of ISA220 for bass (mix is only level and panpot, no eq, comp or fx)

Millenia Media

Millenia Media is a very fine manufacturing gear founded by John and Cynthia LaGrou, his microphone preamplifier (here a chart on the design of microphone preamps by John LaGrou) are used everywhere it’s needed dynamic, wide and flat response, sensibility and depth of sound image.

Their gear is precious on acoustic instruments, classic and jazz ensemble and everywhere it’s fundamental absolute sonic and musical purity.


I bought a Millenia HV-3R, remote controlled version, eight channels microphones preamplifier to work at the best with my Shoeps microphones (see here my post on my microphones)

His sound is very clearly with excellent focus on mid and low frequency and very open high end.

This year I recorded a jazz ensemble (electric guitar, double bass, violin, sax and accordion) in a my studio but in a live like situation. Without worries about ambient noise, I used Shoeps and Millenia to best separation and quality of the sounds. The musicians have been very impressed, me too 😉

Listen them here (studio session)

or watch them here

Here on baroque music (live session)

Cheers,

Lorenzo


Copyright © 2013-2014 by iuatwest. All rights Reserved.
This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and, provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name @ http://iuatwest.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.