Wednesday, December 31, 2014

96k world... a year plus into my adventure.

By Tim Dolbear -

So my entire world now seems to be at 96k. I even just did a Voice over session for a film company in London who attended via Skype and I tracked it all at 96K. I am loving it! Loving the sound stage or stereo field, loving the sound, the accuracy, the way plugins work, everything. But Sample Rate Conversion (SRC) using A/D/A loopback has gotten old... Run a mix for a client and have to add 15 minutes of my time just to SRC it down to 44/16 to send to them... a necessary evil I thought...

In December I was at and with the amazing Alan Silvermans' at his ARF Studios in NYC  ( ) and we talked about SRC.  He brought up the point that running a SRC out a D/A then back into a A/D still has software SRC happening as the A/D converter runs at a higher SR and then SRC down to 44.1.  Good point!  So what does he use and what do the other big guys use. Whats considered he best?

SARACON by Weiss. Weiss ( ) is a big player in Mastering hardware and he also was part of the 4 person group behind the development of POW-r dithering and NS.  So he knows his stuff.

I set out to get my hands on a copy both to use myself but also to preach  about when I travel teaching Sequoia, because if there are others who don't know about Saracon, as I didn't, they need to know. I got my copy last week and started comparing it in every way. I ran mixes off at 96k/32bitFloat and then SRC by Analog loop conversion, Sequoia's built in SRC, and using Saracons. I SRC to 44.1 32bitFloat, to 44/24bit and to 44/16bit. Using POWr-1 for the 16bit files.

There was a noticeable improvement in all the Saracon conversions. The mid held together so much better, the 44/32bit float was not even detectable in its difference from the original and the 44/16bit versions all sounded great. A huge improvement over Sequoia's built in SRC (set to its highest settings) and a noticeable improvement to the analog loop. Saracon is fast too, in fact 2x the speed of Sequoia's SRC and it does batch processing and it does every SR and bit rate, even DSD. I am truly happy!

Its not cheap, but its also not a slight improvement. Its worth every dollar in my opinion. So now I mix to 96k/32bitfloat and quickly SRC with Saracon to 44/16 and upload to the client.  ( I have also changed over this year to sending 44/16 mix references to clients instead of MP3 320s. The internet is fast enough now that MP3 and AAC just needs to go away)

That all for now,  now.... go make some music!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

SRC using Analog loop back, a How to and description of my setup/workflow

By Tim Dolbear -

I talk about Sample Rate Conversion in 6 months into the 96k adventure.  Its a few blog entries down if you want to get caught up.

Well here is how I do it and some keys factors to note.

Sample Rate Convert by playback of a high resolution file and record or capture back at 44.1:

You need 2 different audio interfaces, 2 different brands, since one needs to run at 44.1 and the other at 88 or 96. Example I have a RME HDSP9652 and a HDSP 9632 but the ASIO driver sees its as 1 giant interface with 84 Ins/outs.

You also need 2 different audio software's to play and capture since they will be at different SR too.

Sequoia allows you to open 2 instances at the same time, one records from one setup of hardware, 1 feeds the the other for playback.

So I open up the Sequoia setup I named Playback, its using the Mytek 192DSD  D/A USB interface.  Its running at 96K and will play back my 96k stereo file. The Mytek is good for this setup since my RMEs are using 1 set of Digital inputs, and it also have a USB interface.  So I simply hit a button on the front to change from my normal recording everyday operation with my RMEs feeding it to USB input, so my Playback Sequoia can feed it.

I then open my main version of Sequoia which is always set to use the RME HDSP9652 +9632 interface. My Apogee is hooked to my RMEs. The setup is clocked from my A/D (Apogee AD16) and I switch it to record from my normal 96k to 44.1k. I open a session and arm a track to record stereo the input on my Apogee AD16 that is hooked to one of the 2 outputs on the Mytek 192DSD  D/A.

Playing back the Sequoia Playback instance, the file leaves the computer via the Mytek 192DSD  D/A and is captured back into the main Sequoia via the Apogee AD16. The recorded file is 44.1.

You can certainly add any hardware processing between the D/A and A/D, just make sure you address monitoring. In my setup I am listing to the Mytek which would be prior to any analog processing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Californication... I could have been a Moody.

By Tim Dolbear -

So we just watch through all of Californication on Netflex to relive it before seeing the last season. The first 3 seasons are great, written very well, dark and funny, but after that it kind of looses its way, and especially the last season (7), it was written so poorly, like a cheesy sitcom.  I did loved the last episode though.

Upon watching the first show, I was heartbroken for leaving California. I really do miss SoCal.  Every street they shot the show on, I have been on, every place and scene was my old place and scene... I am not moving back, ya kidding? A smaller house for 750K on a lot they list in square feet and not aches? its not for me any more... I love the vibe of So Cal, and I really relate too much to the show.  I am not and have not been a druggy or drinker... but my vise was elsewhere... I can't help but think I could have been Moody, or at least very much like him. My life could have been totally different, but God had different plans for me.

If I had not surrendered to the plan Jesus had for my life, everything would have been centered around self destructive activities in an never ending search for happiness between the legs of another. Harsh, but true.  Life still has its firestorms, but as the storms circle around me I have comfort from it and a peace that only comes from knowing Him.

Sometime we are given a glimpse of what could have been, those are the times to realize just how much Jesus cares for each one of us.  I see where my life was, the road I had hoped to go down, and reality of the pain if would have brought.  My life now is good, very good, I must always remember that. People talk much about Jesus being our Savior, and how He gives us eternal life, but today think about how he is your Savior for your current everyday life.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Inside Eclectica Studios 09/08/2014

By Tim Dolbear -

So a lot has been going on.  2014 has been a very busy year.  Lets recap a few cool things:

I added links to most of my Mix Magazine reviews  You can find the here:

A new reality show following Music Producer Tim Dolbear as he works with groups and artist in the studio.

Well, we got some good responses from the first web-episode of 6421. But as far as developing it into a reality show… production companies just wanted to script it all out. So we back burnered the project.  We will move this 1 episode into a promo about working with me and the studio.  So not a complete waste.

New Gear Added this year!
The stunning Great River MP-2NV 2 channel preamp has made a home here. Absolutely love it. If you watched the Dave Grohl Documentary on Sound City (where I worked for a while at Kieth Olsen’s Good Night LA Studios) all about the studios’ NEVE console, this preamp nails the sound of that board.  You can push the input into the red and add a wonderful sweet harmonic rich tone to the sound, amazing!  More about it soon.

I also added another 1981 Ashly SC-50 Compressor, Blackface.  It will be permanently married to the MP-2NV. 

I also added the sE5 Stereo pair of mics this year.  Just a great set of room and overhead mics.  I did a review in Mix on them if you want to know more about them…

We started testing Sequoia 13 here months ago and it was released last week. all going good with it and we are digging the new workflows features. 

That's it for now.  More in a few days. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

6 months into the 96K adventure…

By Tim Dolbear -

6 months into the 96K adventure…

So a lot has happened in the last 6 months.  I am still loving 96k!  I upgraded all my converters, now I am strictly Apogee A/D, Mytek D/A, and I am using a RME HDSP 9652 and 9632 together for all my ins and outs. But a few procedures have become the norm around here.

New website:
Also, check out Eclectica Studio's revamped website:  


For my first blog all SRC (Sample rate conversion) was done inside Sequoia, which as we all know has a very high quality of SRC.  At the urging on of a few friend and for my own curiosity, I wanted to test simply running the 96k mix out the Mytek D/A at 96k and back into the Apogees and capture at 44.1, then compare to simply SRC the mix at mixdown in the box.  

The 2 different ways of SRC sound very close on the surface but once you listen into the mix you start hearing big issues.  The version converted by way of D/A – A/D and captured at 44.1 sound very close to the original. Most people would never hear a difference and I struggled too.  The SRC done in the box had an issue with sound that was further back in the mix. i.e. the snare drum,  it now sounded like a blanket had been placed over it,  hi hats were dull and more distant too, but the snare was a big surprise.

So now all my mixes are run off at 96k 32bit float in Sequoia.  From there I can SRC down to 44.1 by playing the song out the Mytek D/A via its own USB interface at 96k from one instance of Sequoia and then capture back in through the Apogee to the other opened instance of Sequoia running at 44.1 through the RME setup.   Simple and sounds wonderful. And I have 96k mixes that I can also master from and make hi-res WAV and MP3s

Mixing projects that come in at 44.1.

So I am now up sampling everything to mix at 96k.  The plugins and EQ sound so much sweeter and better at 96k.   My favorite channel strip, the UAD NEVE 88RS used to bother me in the high end.  I could never get the ‘AIR’ I wanted out of it.  At 44.1, high end EQs up sampled to a higher sample rate to be able to handle the highs better, at 96K there is no need to do this, the UAD NEVE 88RS now has this benefit and sounds absolutely wonderful.   Other are also benefiting greatly.

That’s It.  :-)