Friday, September 11, 2015

My Flow: The journey of sound at Eclectica Studios

By Tim Dolbear

I was asked to go a little in depth about the signal flow here at Eclectica Studios.(
It's really straight forward once you use it, but it may seem a little overwhelming at first... so lets dive in...

I currently have 12 mic lines on my wall jackplate in live room feeding into the control room and directly into the corresponding preamp for the feed. No patchbay, if you want to use the Manley mic pre, you plug into feed #9 on the live room panel.

My current preamps:

-Manley 40db, 1 channel

-Great River MP-2NV, 2 channels with the GR EQ-2NV inserted

-Altec 8 channel mod'd preamp from 1979 called the MASH unit (Microphone amplification system housing)

Each Preamp feeds its own compressor and the compressors feed an Apogee AD-16 analog to digital converter (not the rosetta, the original sounded better IMO). The AD-16 feeds optically the ADAT ins on the RME 9652 and 9632 interfaces that work as a single interface. I work at 96k sample rate so there are 4 channels per optical line.

I use RME's Totalmix nowadays instead of a real console. It handles all my routing, TB, cue and CR monitoring... It allows me to save mixer setups and recall session setups on the fly. It stays open on my 2nd monitor.

Liveroom headphone amp is fed from the RME 9632's analog out (the Cue mix). The Control Room (CR) is feed from the 9652 optical out to the Mytek Stereo 192DSD.

My Mixbuss: While tracking and editing in Sequoia, the master out normally feeds outputs 1-2 of the 9652 to the Mytek Stereo 192DSD. For mixing I switch Totalmix to a different setup (Preset) and feed Sequoia's master out to outputs 5-6 which send out to a Mytek Stereo 96. This D/A converter feeds the Great River EQ-2NV which then feeds the Apogee AD16 inputs 12-13 and are recorded onto a track in the project, printed as the Mix. Inputs 12-13 also then feed back out to the Mytek Stereo 192DSD for monitoring in the CR of the mix buss loop.

The GR EQ-2NV has 2 ins and outs pre channel. When used with the MP-2NV preamp, the preamp has a insert designed for the EQ-2NV that places the EQ in the proper signal path prior to the output transformer creatin a perfect "Channel strip" circuit. There is also a set of XLR in/outs on the EQ and a switch on the front that allows you to change between the mic pre insert and the XLR connection, very cool!! So for tracking, its set for the micpre insert, for mixing and mastering it is set to the XLR ins and outs.

Here is the breakdown:

Manley 40db, feeds switch that allows it to go to Ashley SC55 (1981) into the AD16 ch 9

GR MP-2NV, ch 1 feeds Ashley SC-55(1981) into AD16 ch 10,
GR MP-2NV, ch 2 feeds switch, allowing it to feed SC55 into AD16 ch11

Altec preamp "MASH Unit"
ch 1 feeds a Ashly CL-50(mid 1980s)
ch 2 feeds a Ashly SC-50(mid 1980s)
ch 3 straight in
ch 4 straight in
ch 5 + 6 Room mics or overheads, feeds Ashly CL-52 (mid 1990s)
ch 7,8 straight in
...these feeding AD16 1-8

Simple, straight through workflow. Want to track a vocal through the GR preamp? Plug the vocal mic into the input in the live room and arm the track for the input in Sequoia. Done. Adjust the Preamp and compressor.

Now go make some music!