A procedure for mixes for two jazz groups

Basic Setup:
  • Initial Recording Format: 8 Track ADAT
  • Mix Destination Format: Mac Hard Drive – Sound Designer 2
  • Final Format: One-Off compact disc
  • Mixer: Panasonic DA7 Digital Mixer
  • Outboard Processing: Art QuadFX Reverb

Tracks were recorded live on 8 Track ADAT and output through ADAT’s elco
connector to analog inputs in the DA7 mixer. Trims on the board were
calibrated and left at +4dB input level. One effects processor was used,
an Art QuadFX Reverb; input from analog aux out 3-6 on
the DA7, output to aux returns 3-6 on DA7. Mixes were prepared on the
DA7, saved to scene memory (to come back to in case of remix), and output to Sound Designer 2 digitally.
Sound Designer 2 files were trimmed and imported into Masterlist CD
software, where they were gain corrected and burned on CD.

Problems Encountered:
  • It would have been more desirable to output from ADAT’s optical digital
    out into the board and remain in the digital domain. But the ADAT tracks
    were recorded at 48kHZ sample rate, and CD’s are 44.1kHZ. Four of the
    Bill Wood mixes were output at 48kHZ digitally to ProTools, mixed in
    ProTools, then exported to Sound Designer 2 files (thus remaining always
    in the digital domain). Technically, this might be slightly better as far
    as sound quality; recording initial tracks with a better resolution
    (48kHZ) is desirable. However, to be able to burn these mixes to CD, they
    had to be converted to 44.1kHZ, which was very slow and proved VERY
    inefficient. I opted for the analog inputs on the board; the board would
    convert that analog signal to 44.1kHZ and output that directly to Sound
    Designer. (As a side note, this initial method
    bypassed the mixer entirely, which in some circumstances could be good,
    but the DA7 is a powerful new board and widely used, and it was quite
    desirable to get some real experience with this board…it is QUITE
    impressive…although I wouldn’t have had to use the analog inputs if it
    had a realtime sample rate converter.)
  • The DA7 outputs both SPDIF and AES/BEU digital signal, but lacks a
    normal RCA output for SPDIF. The studio didn’t have a XLR-RCA cable
    suitable for digital signal, so I had to output AES/BEU signal to a DAT
    machine (using the DAT machine as a very expensive converter box), and
    output from the DAT to the computer (also, that DAT only outputs AES/BEU
    and optical, so I used a second converter box to convert optical to
    SPDIF). This presents no degradation of sound quality, but does add
    incovenience, and ties up a DAT machine. The DA7 could use an RCA SPDIF
  • The ADAT was normally integrated into the mac and ProTools through a
    special ADAT/ProTools interface. When connected, this interface caused
    problems recording to or even using Sound Designer 2. This was unexpected
    (I’m still surprised) and took a while to troubleshoot. Finally we
    figured out that it was the interface, and for this project, disconnected
    the ADAT interface and ran the ADAT totally separate from the mac.
  • Notes:
    • These were given to me as ‘rough mixes’, so they were done VERY quickly.
      Still, the consistancy of the tracks made it easy to go from song to song
      and already be fairly close to a good mix.
    • Effects were used sparingly on the Kostur mixes and not at all on Wood.
      The room they played in is very live, and the music needs to sound
      natural, not over produced.
    • Projects that are intended to be mixed in this fashion in this
      particular studio setup should be recorded to ADAT at 44.1kHZ. Several
      options would then open up for recording, and efficiency would be greatly
    • Using a JL Cooper DataSync, I was able to sync the board to ADAT
      (with the board’s MIDI input), enabling automation of mixes. I didn’t
      ever feel I needed to use automation, but it might come in handy on other
      similar projects, when the ProTools/ADAT interface is disabled (theboard
      normally syncs to ProTools/ADAT through MIDI, mastered by the Mac, but
      when the ADAT is not synced to ProTools, this can’t happen. So I brought
      the DataSync out and used that to sync the board to the independant ADAT).
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