New vs older ADCs with transient and high frequency response

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New vs older ADCs with transient and high frequency response

Post by Carrousel » Thu May 14, 2020 9:26 pm

I’ve been using a pair of old MOTU 828 mkIIs to record my music for many years now. Overall I’ve been happy but since treating my room and improving my mixes, I remain unsatisfied with the high frequency content of my mixes. Specifically anything that’s high frequency with a transient, so hi hats and other percussion mostly, but other stuff too.

High frequency percussion sounds overly harsh and lacking in delicate sizzle.

Are the older ADCs on the 828mkII potentially responsible for this or is it more likely something to do with my mixing technique?

I’ve got some cash to spend on gear and I can’t decide whether to upgrade to a MOTU 828es (which I happily will if experienced folk think it will help with the above issue), or go the fun route and buy some more instruments.

Thoughts greatly appreciated as always.
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Re: New vs older ADCs with transient and high frequency response

Post by wuff_miggler » Thu May 14, 2020 9:30 pm

Do you have an uncompressed render of an example for us to scrutinize? you could be fooling yourself into thinking your sound is average?
from what i know - im sure there was a tonne of professional work done on the older Motus.

I dont know if you mix with plugins or hardware - but the difference between older generation waves plugins - say for example EQ -
RComp and the Q series, compared to the latest generation of processing by companies like Sound Toys - absolutely night and day tonal differences.

i use Apogee Rosetta 800s. fucking love them.
i plug these into a Lynx AES card.

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Re: New vs older ADCs with transient and high frequency response

Post by Carrousel » Fri May 15, 2020 1:12 pm

Ha, that might indeed be my problem. I didn’t even really think about the plug-ins I use to mix my recorded input. I actually just use ableton EQ8 and the ableton compressors. Never really thought about upgrading because I find software annoying. Do you think I’d gain more from investing in better VST EQs and compressors before swapping my sound card?

My finished work can be heard on soundcloud, link in my sig. I’ve just finished a new 4 track EP made mainly with a Summit. I can send you a rendered version of some un-mixed percussion which I recorded to make the tracks if that’s helpful?

Cheers for your advice.
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Re: New vs older ADCs with transient and high frequency response

Post by Michael O. » Fri May 15, 2020 1:46 pm

There shouldn’t be any problems with the hardware or software you’re using that would make it so that one couldn’t properly mix a song. From a very quick listen to the first track on the SoundCloud I don’t hear any glaring issues. The highhat/shaker sound is bright for my personal tastes, but I’d bet it’s more of a mix issue that could easily be eq’d out (say somewhere in the 2.5-7kHz range) as opposed to an issue caused by inadequate converters. And even then, it’s only a slight issue, and an inherently subjective one at that- one person’s harsh and brittle is another person’s clear and present. Further, a good mastering engineer ought to be able to more or less fix that in the mastering stage, which is not good practice, but I’m just saying it to highlight how minimal the problems -if any- are.

I love the tunes! They remind me of the old Warp records stuff that got me into electronic music in the first place.

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Re: New vs older ADCs with transient and high frequency response

Post by wuff_miggler » Fri May 15, 2020 6:01 pm

agree with michael O!

your stuff sounds great....the last thing me reading this thread - or anyone else would say is "oh geez - those fucking Motu converters...fuck they suck ohh man.."

re the plugins - the ableton stock stuff is EXCELLENT and no need to worry...

i think you need to hone in on a few things - im trying to think like you for a minute and get annoyed by the things you mention in order to give you advice (coz the music sounds great to me)...i'll use your track "Chiral" as a good benchmark...to me that sounds tonally the best - because it's missing two things i can hear potentially giving you a head ache - the snare and louder hi hats....instead chiral has a shaker sound with very short verb with fairly damped high end.

if you listen to Better times - there are more drums with a noise component - i think if you improve the way you're mixing THAT component - you will more or less not have an issue. try different sounds for example (if they're samples loaded in eurorack, swap em out..etc) if its drum machine action - play with the tone....then obviously eq in ableton. i think if the snare in that tune is tweaked a bit more you'll likely be much happier.

re sizzle - perhaps look into the reverb your using - to ive you an example - i've been using a plate reverb in FL - "Little Plate" - its something else - sounds better than anything i've heard before. BUT - again - i dont listen to your tracks and think "urgh - needs a diff reverb"...these are just some ideas...you may want to look into. still tho - i think you need to make some minor tweaks. what you're doing is excellent!

remember also - you have a better mixiing environment now - instead of thinking "oh - my gear sucks"...just remember you can now hear what you were doing wrong - so all you have to do is work on fixing it :-) Dont have to buy anything !

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Re: New vs older ADCs with transient and high frequency response

Post by Carrousel » Sat May 16, 2020 3:11 am

Wow, thank you so much for the really detailed feedback guys!

You’ve given me plenty to think about...I think the point about chiral having less flared percussion and having a different tighter top end may be key to the issue. I think I’m not so good at mixing open hats and flared cymbals. The brief wash of noise they create seems to obscure my mix a bit.

I’m encouraged you both think the problem can be solved without a new sound card. I think I’ll use the money to get some new instruments and I might even invest in a new software EQ. Certainly going to look up some hihat and cymbal mixing tutorials, there must be plenty available.

Once again thanks very much, and cheers for the good feedback on the tunes themselves :)
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Re: New vs older ADCs with transient and high frequency response

Post by wuff_miggler » Sat May 16, 2020 3:20 am

no worries!

reverb - i said FL....i use FL studio - but the reverb is a Soundtoys 5 reverb! sorry :-)

just to add - you probably dont need a new EQ even :P Just take time in your new room - and work on the high noise component sounds a bit more

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Re: New vs older ADCs with transient and high frequency response

Post by Carrousel » Sat May 16, 2020 4:30 am

Just had a wee look at Soundtoys 5. Looks really impressive. I may just treat myself; I use a massive hardware rig with all these fancy instruments, including plenty of modular....then I mix it all with native ableton plugins! Can’t hurt to try some fancier VSTs, even if I do hate software. I did in fact buy some of the Valhalla reverb and delay VSTs to play with about a year ago and that really helped improve my sound.

Nice one, I think you’ve saved me wasting money on a new sound card...
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Re: New vs older ADCs with transient and high frequency response

Post by wuff_miggler » Sat May 16, 2020 5:15 am

if you're gonna buy a pack - and i've caught you in time - have a look at Fabfilter bundles.
they make excellent mix plugins. Soundtoys is AWESOME for adding spice to your music - i did mention it mainly as you might like the reverb to improve tone on the snares/noisier hats...
but:
if you want bread and butter - precise mixdown tools etc. like - modern/clean - you might find that more useful?
IM assuming you have seriously decent and wierd hardware - and perhaps dont need more of that in software.

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Re: New vs older ADCs with transient and high frequency response

Post by Carrousel » Sat May 16, 2020 1:49 pm

Yeah you’re right, it’s bread and butter mixing tools which would be most use to me I think. I make all my sounds in hardware then add reverb, delay, EQ and compression in ableton. Will have a look at Fabfilter, thanks for the tip!
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