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Thread: What did you hear?

  1. #11
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    While reading John Wheeler's comments I realized that my previous message had mixed terms for sample and track....

    I meant to say my guess is track #2 (i.e., sample 1) is the Protools mix, and Track #3 (i.e., sample 2) is the Neve.

    I share John's comments in that the mixes are very close and my guess was probably based more on prejudice than fact...

  2. #12
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    Originally posted by 3D Audio Inc.:
    <STRONG>
    I would be interested to see if your opinion changes when you listen on different playback speakers.
    </STRONG>
    Ok, I finally had the time and have now heard the mixes in three rooms and five different sets of speakers. (The first one was at home, as mentioned in my previous post.)

    Basically, I still feel the same as before, #1 PT, #2 Neve, but what was surprising is that the difference seems more obvious in small speakers than big ones. I had never realised anything like that before.

    The first "official" test was on a pair of Audix nearfields. They are not the worst of the worst, but they are quite colored. There was no significant difference between the two mixes there, and it was actually difficult to tell which was which. Knowing the sound of the speakers, this wasn't in fact a surprise.

    Next up, another pair of multimedia speakers in the same room as the Audixes (forget the brand). The difference was very much like what I had with my own somewhat similar setup. #2 sounded smoother, fuller, and more upfront.

    In the other room, I went straight for the Genelecs. I listened to the mixes on the 1032A's without the subwoofer. What surprised me straight away, that instead of "PT vs. Neve" now I was listening to the difference between the mixes - the way things were panned and the levels were set seemed very different, and listening to the sound as a whole became more difficult. Switching back and forth between the mixes, for a moment I thought I would have to change my mind. The difference wasn't suddenly all that obvious, and the "sound stage" in #1 seemed to be much more to my liking than in #2.

    A songwriter/producer friend of mine happened to be in the studio with me, and he got interested in listening to the mixes, too. After I was done my own private session, we set up a semi-official blind listening test. To cut a long story of lots of mute button clicking short, in the end we seemed to be in agreement that mix #2 was indeed the Neve, and we also agreed that mix #1 was otherwise better than mix #2.

    Once more on the smaller speakers the difference was so obvious that we both kept picking #2 as the more full and pleasant sounding 100 % of the time.

    In conclusion, if #2 is PT, I think I'll have to reconsider that 9098i... or my career.

    Timo

  3. #13
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    Okay, I'll play. I listened on JBL LSR 28's and Tannoy PBM 6.5's (with sub), both blind and sighted, and made the following notes:

    Sample 1: Warmer rhythm section, and sometimes greater sense of reality in flute. Woodwinds, at times, seem murky or fighting or swallowed by other frequencies. The crescendos seemed edgy and almost compressed sounding, maybe a little distorted. Less detail on chimes and harp swirls. Overall not as deep spacially, but engaging during the softer parts.

    Sample 2: More detailed, clearer and brighter. Drums seem neutral, (opening snare a bit papery), but with good, clean low end extension. Chimes and harp are pleasantly detailed, glock seems somehow truer. The swells and crescendos seem more dynamic and cleaner, and by virtue of this the ending is more rewarding.

    In general: I flip-flopped a lot as to which mix I preferred, depending on what my ear was drawn to at the time. My initial instinct was to prefer #1 (it just seemed to feel better), but as I listened more critically I came to prefer # 1 at lower volumes and # 2 at higher volumes. If I heard anything that would resemble a 2-bus "crapping out" (whatever that may mean), it would be # 1 during the densest, loudest passages. I could live with either one, but for some weird reason #1 reminds me of a great old recording I have of the Sound of Music. Something perhaps Neve-like is triggering a memory (of course, Neve is present on both cuts).

    In any case, I believe #2 is Protools and #1 is the Neve.
    Rick Krizman
    KrizManic Music

  4. #14
    Kevin Perry is offline Gold Club Member (1000+ posts)
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    My initial impressions were that #1 was a bit brighter and had a little bit more space....but then I figured what I was hearing was a difference in reverb.

    So I put Reverb One over #2 and tried to "add" a little more to make them match. Voila....except for the top end I can't tell the difference anymore.

    May the grand stories of the super-flawed PT mix bus rest in peace.
    Kevin Perry
    Chameleon Music
    Nashville, TN

  5. #15
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    The CD arrived today. Thanks for sending it and for doing this, Lynn.

    What the heck, here are my "votes":

    Sample 1: Neve
    Sample 2: PT

    Also,

    Sample 6: M50s RADAR only
    Sample 7: M50s RADAR + PT

    John www.SpringStoneStudio.com

  6. #16
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    This has been a very interesting experiment. Thanks mucho to Lynn for his efforts to help us all gain more insight into the weird world of audio. And thanks to others who've offered their experiences with the gear so freely.

    As for me, I haven't used a Neve nor Alsi...er...Pro Tools, so my opinion isn't worth the paper this is printed on. But I got the CD & thot I'd better fess up to what I'm hearing. I've read all the posts on rec.audio.pro til now - and it hasn't changed my original opinion of the tracks - which I listened to before reading any feedback - and listened to again recently. Haven't read any responses on the 3d Audio site yet. Oh yeah, those are NOT chimes, but Orchestra Bells (or Glockenspiel, in a marching band.) Tubular chimes sound like church bells.

    To the point, I like Sample 1 better than Sample 2. I won't even try to guess which is PT or Neve.
    At first, I thought: I'm supposed to like the Neve better - so that must be #1. Then I wondered if Lynn was making a point, so #1 might be PT. Actually, I don't care. I'm not invested in either one (don't I wish.) I just liked Sample #1 better than #2 consistently. I feel confident that if it were a blind test, I'd still be able to pick out #1.

    I was actually more interested in whether I liked Sample 6 or 7 better, since I CAN see RADAR in my future at some point. For that comparison, my vote goes to Sample #7. To better compare those samples, I created a new track of 4 short 24-bit sections of each sample in SDII, but switching quickly between so I could hear a more direct comparison. My audio memory isn't so good anymore either. Now what was I talking about?

    I listened on Sennheiser 580's and Mackie 824's. Here's what I heard.
    First Lynn, really nice recording job! I have new respect for your talents. And I love this sort of material.
    Understand that in trying to describe what I heard I'm looking for the differences. They are very slight, but there are a few of them.

    Sample#1 - Creamy, but not muddy. Airy. Smooth. Instruments blend well. Softer attacks. Longer sustains. 3-dimensional instruments. Pleasing stuff in the upper frequencies. Rich blend in the string section. Slightly more distant - and not in your face (see: "airy.") Less clarity and distinctness of each intrument and section - but in favor of the overall blend and timbre. Less distict placement in the stereo field - but a unified ensemble. All instruments sit well in the mix. Lotsa bottom and sustain on the big bass drum.

    Sample #2 - Right there. Less room sound (or 480L.) Distinct (sometimes wider) placement of intruments in the stero field (due to panning?) Harder attacks and more edgy - esp. brass. Less intensity & bottom on bass drum. 2-dimensional. Closer to the listener. Less processed (480L again?) String harmonies more separate / less blended. Edgier string attacks and tone. Slightly less verb in silences (shorter tails or more step-like?)

    I could go on, but you get the idea. If I were watching the movie, I'd want to hear #1 as the sound track.

    I liked Sample #7 better than #6 and the differences were in a similar vein, but much less distinctly so. This makes me wonder just how much of my impressions in #1 & #2 were because of the 480L settings or differences in panning. Yeah, I understand it's apples and oranges, but PT is in the chain in both comparisons and I'm trying to draw some impressions here. Anyone else pay attention to #6/#7?

    OK- so my ears are old and I'm still a newbie at recording, but I wanted to play along. Take it or leave it. Any observations are welcome, though.

    Next?

    Best...
    Rich
    Stolen Moments Audio
    StoMoAudio@aol.com
    http://members.aol.com/stomoaudio

  7. #17
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    Originally posted by Kevin Perry:
    <STRONG>My initial impressions were that #1 was a bit brighter and had a little bit more space....but then I figured what I was hearing was a difference in reverb.

    So I put Reverb One over #2 and tried to "add" a little more to make them match. Voila....except for the top end I can't tell the difference anymore.

    May the grand stories of the super-flawed PT mix bus rest in peace.</STRONG>
    Why, because you couldn't tell that #1 sounded far superior to #2 the argument rests in peace? And becasue you could mask the differences even more with reverb, their's no issue? What happens whe you are working on material that requires no revberb? No more masking. Tsk, tsk, out of luck.

    Cut me a break, the difference was so obvious, I picked mix #1 as superior in headphones, and I have the flu!

    At the studio the difference was even more obvious. Perhaps your monitoring environment leaves a bit to be desired.

    Mixerman
    Got Alsihad?
    http://www.prosoundweb.com/recpit

  8. #18
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    Mixerman wrote:

    Why, because you couldn't tell that #1 sounded far superior to #2 the argument rests in peace? And becasue you could mask the differences even more with reverb, their's no issue? What happens whe you are working on material that requires no revberb? No more masking. Tsk, tsk, out of luck.

    Cut me a break, the difference was so obvious, I picked mix #1 as superior in headphones, and I have the flu!

    At the studio the difference was even more obvious. Perhaps your monitoring environment leaves a bit to be desired.
    Nice, strong opinions Mixerman. Clear, decisive pronouncements -- AND YOU WERE RIGHT!! You certainly put Kevin Perry in his place.

    One small point, though...

    Is there a reason why you waited until *after* Lynn publicly announced which mix was which to make your post?

    (Also, for the record, StoMo's remarks were posted after the contest was over, but he wasn't being mean - so no reason to take him to task.)

    Lee Blaske

    FWIW, I didn't get around to requesting a CD, and I don't consider my ears to be overly golden. No matter what the results, I would have continued to work in PT with Logic as a front end for creative, ergonomic, budgetary and deadline reasons. I am, however, heartened by the fact that participants in the test were not able to come to a clear conclusion. I conclude that it's now a matter of craft, taste and personal preferences. Henceforth, if a mix isn't good, it's an indictment against the mixer, and not an analog vs. PT mix bus issue.

    IMO, the PT mix bus is officially vindicated. (and HD is an improvement on that!)

    We can all get back to work!

    BTW, I am also surprised that all the industry and list heavyweights who profess strong opinions did not weigh in on this topic, and sign their names. I consider this additional vindication for PT.
    Lee Blaske
    Excelsior, MN
    http://www.reverbnation.com/leeblaske

  9. #19
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    Lee, I sympathize with your impulse to tweak Mixerman for the tone of his reply to Kevin. But in fairness, it needs to be noted that Mixerman posted his (correct) conclusions on rec.audio.pro on Wednesday night...so the 20-20 hindsight angle is out of court. (And if you check the r.a.p. archives at google.com, you'll see that several other folks expressed an opinion there who didn't find their way here; look especially under the "Lynn's PT vs. Neve Comparison" header.)

  10. #20
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    Originally posted by Lee Blaske:

    Is there a reason why you waited until *after* Lynn publicly announced which mix was which to make your post?

    Lee Blaske
    I posted this on RAP on March 6, a full 24 hours before the results were revealed. Again, it's pathetic that so many so-called ENGINEERS can't hear the degradation. Makes me want to puke.

    Alsihad vs. Neve test results:

    I started the thread. I guess Lynn will post the answer tonight, but the
    differences were somewhat obvious.

    The Neve mix is #1.
    The Alsihad mix is #2.

    For starters, the first mix sounds better than the second mix, hands down. I
    could hear THAT in the headphones. But I wanted to be sure in a critical
    listening environment. After all, it's my cred that's on the line here!

    I took the mixes to Dave Collins' room, and he played the first mix and then
    the second. Again, we both noticed immediately that the first mix sounded
    better than the second. But was that enough to make the determination?
    Probably, but I was looking for the smoking gun.

    I had Dave play a section back to back again, and then one more time, then
    suddenly I heard it. That Alsihad sound. The second mix sounded like it had
    a veil over it. The cymbals lack a fluid sustain. There's a certain
    'unnatural' sound to it. It's present, but yet it has a bit of a
    lifelessness about it.

    It took me a few listens to find the definitive sonic characteristic of
    Alsihad. Partly because I had to get focused in, and partly because it's
    hard to get past the differences in the mixes. But mostly because Lynn used
    a 480L on both mixes. This greatly reduced the damage that Alsihad had done
    to the audio by masking it with a quality reverb. Might be something for all
    you Alsihah's to keep in mind. If he had used internal reverbs, I would have
    been able to pick it in the first 30 seconds.

    The recording is excellent. But from what I hear, the Neve 8078 blows away
    the Alsihad mix. Now, I am reading people waffling back and forth as to
    which is which, and I've seen some people get the answer out and out wrong.
    But believe me, as a guy that has listened to the differences between these
    two platforms, it's quite obvious that the first mix sounds markedly better
    than the second.

    This experiment is actually a decent representation of the differences
    between the two platforms. Maybe I'll try and do one similar to it with
    drums. That's ALWAYS enlightening.

    Good job, Lynn.

    Mixerman
    Got Alsihad?
    http://www.prosoundweb.com/recpit

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