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Thread: My first few hours with the DVD

  1. #1
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    Default My first few hours with the DVD

    Last night, I finished a recording session with an electric guitarist who's the kind of guy who can't figure out how to set his EQ--you know, a player rather than a "trained ear."

    At the end of the session, I pulled up the horizontal Cubase session (from another thread here) to get in a few minutes of listening. The guitar player asked what I was doing, and I gave him a brief overview of the project.

    First off, I own or have owned three of the preamps, so I listened and verified that, indeed, I could detect their sonic signature perfectly. It was interesting to be reminded how familiar one gets with pieces of gear after a year or so.

    Then, I moved through a few of the preamp groups, listening to the full band. When I encountered one group in particular, it took our breath away. Even the guitar player, who until then had seen this as some sort of esoteric waste of time, was blown away.

    So, now we were hooked. We listened to all of the preamps, looking for differences and noting our likes and less-likes (there weren't many cases where we were totally unimpressed, though there were a couple). Again, this was just listening to the full band.

    My personal preamps didn't do so well!

    We heard clearly the clichéd attributes that people use when describing different pre's. That was enlightening, for sure. The guitar player didn't know these clichés, but when I told them to him, he definitely agreed.

    We kept listening for about 45 minutes, but clearly we had a strong favorite.

    The guitar player left and I started soloing instruments, picking and choosing different pre's to stack together some "dream" combinations, etc. I thought that I detected a little bit different EQ signature in my favorite pre on voice. I took a different pre and used a little EQ to make it match the favorite better, and it sounded pretty spot on until I added it to the whole mix. Then, the favorite pre absolutely rocked over my EQ'd substitute. Interesting! It was definitely proof that you learn a lot by stacking channels rather than only listening to them independently.

    I had planned to spend about 20 minutes getting started. I spent 3 hours. I'm tired this morning! And I know that I've just barely scratched the surface. I'm going to be having fun with this material for a long, long time.

    I should add that, as an education tool, this thing is phenomenal. As great as the earlier comparison CD's are (and I own the mic and preamp ones), this is a whole different, much more enlightening level.

    Do you want to know our favorite "overall" pre from last night? I'm dying to say what it is, but I don't know how fair it would be to say (partially, too, because this one would win for "overall" pre, but I don't know what my favorite combination of different pre's on different instruments will be--yet!).

    Chime in and let me know if I should spill the beans. Of course, you'll have much more fun if you get the DVD and do this yourself.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Confusionator
    Do you want to know our favorite "overall" pre from last night? I'm dying to say what it is, but I don't know how fair it would be to say (partially, too, because this one would win for "overall" pre, but I don't know what my favorite combination of different pre's on different instruments will be--yet!).

    Chime in and let me know if I should spill the beans.
    Go ahead and tell, but only identify it by letter. That way the people who already have the DVD and the key will know. And those who don't have the disc will buy it because they're dying to find out. It's a win/win situation. Especially for me, as I'm trying to recoup my time and energy.

    I'd love to know what you picked too.

    And I'm glad you heard the difference between the primo and the also ran (EQ'd, first runner up) preamp. There's no way to communicate something like that in writing. You just have to hear it. And listening outside the track won't tell you. I've started finding two favorite preamps, that I like for different reasons and cutting with both of them. One may be too warm for the low stuff, which needs clarity, but sounds great on the hard, belt-it-out stuff. The other may have great clarity when it's soft but take your head off when the singer gets loud. My solution? Track with them both and use them as needed when you get to the mix. You always know what will fit better then anyway.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  3. #3
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    It's nice to hear from someone who "gets it." That is always satisfying to the person who stuck their neck out there and tried something very different and VERY ambitious. Knowing that you learned so much and enjoyed it so much makes it all worthwhile. (Three hours on the first listen, eh? You must have been moving fast.)
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  4. #4
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    Thanks, Lynn.

    Also, before I answer the question of which was my favorite, I want to add that it became obvious to me last night that, depending on your choices, you WILL make a very different album from what you would otherwise. If you choose to track with Daking, it will sound great, but it won't sound much like the same material if you chose Gordon instead (for instance). Your choice will stamp its sonic signature on the product forever--it may even go a long ways towards defining the sound of the band. I see now, after listening, that a lot of what I consider the "sound" of Zeppelin's Presence or ZZ Top or whoever has to do with the preamps chosen.

    So now, I understand that having a wide variety of options available and making good choices is necessary. I love Alison Krauss and Union Station through Millennia. That's a great combination. But that doesn't mean I want to hear Nickelback through that pre (or any other pre, come to think of it).

    O.K. The drop-dead great pre: R! I'm both very surprised and of course not. We'll leave it at that....

    P.S. I reserve my right to change my mind and modify my statements many times as I keep listening!

  5. #5
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    Oh, good lord! Why'd you have to go pick that pre!?

    Wouldn't be a surprise to most of you, though.

    Can't argue with its pedigree.....
    - Ken

  6. #6
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    ok guys don't give too much away,,...still awaiting my copy.
    Hoping Canada Customs has the decency to let it pass the border
    uninhibited. >> fingers crossed <<

    ~ mike

  7. #7
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    It has arrived !!!

    First of all, THANKS so much Lynn for taking the time and energy to put this all together. Got so much more than I paid for. (i feel like a thief.)
    (... a happy audio thief, mind you.)

    Can't wait to give the tracks a good going over, but just had to load it up and give it a quick listen.

    So I've just had a chance to brief over the tracks in a mix as a whole.
    So a very unscientific listen, but interesting none the less.

    So without having seen the key yet, the ones which stood out for me in a way which I really liked for a variety of reasons are,
    (and I also reserve the right to completely change my mind after a good critical listen) BCHLMQU.

    Gotta go outta town tomorrow, but hope to do more listening later this week, probably on the weekend.

    (and Canada Customs was kind enough not to open my package and charge those extra ridiculous handling charges,...whew! )

    ~ mike

    >> fingers uncrossed <<

  8. #8
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    Anyone else get their PreAmps in Paradise DVD?
    Any other initial thoughts?

    ~ mike
    Last edited by Mike Derrick; 04-04-2006 at 04:00 AM.

  9. #9
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    curious to know everyone's method for listening to the tracks on the DVD...?

    Are ya matching levels for a similar mix throughout all preamps?

    Are ya making the best mix ya can from each preamp and then comparing?

    Obviously fun to compare and isolate one sound on one preamp to same sound on another preamp.
    (Although like Lynn and Confusionator said earlier, it doesn't always give you the whole picture of how it will fit into the mix.)

    also wondering Lynn, if you used EQ on the preamps which have EQ options. I ask because V seems to have some high end dialed in,
    which just seems too bright (in a natural sense) compared to the rest.

    I started the first night just making a general mix and listening to all of the preamps, but noticed that it was too easy to fool my ear due
    to the varying recorded levels (and sometimes player's performance intensity and/or variances in notes/drums chosen,) however some
    obvious, overall, general characteristics did shine through and have seemed to have been maintained throughout my listening process even
    though I am trying to make the mix differences more subtle.

    I moved on to trying to come close to matching either average levels or peak levels.
    I thought so far that this method gave me a more accurate picture of the distinctions between the 24.

    Other ways anyone's tried?

    Confusionator will you reveal your favourite overall preamp from the first night of listening?

    ~ mike

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Derrick
    also wondering Lynn, if you used EQ on the preamps which have EQ options. I ask because V seems to have some high end dialed in, which just seems too bright (in a natural sense) compared to the rest.

    I started the first night just making a general mix and listening to all of the preamps, but noticed that it was too easy to fool my ear due
    to the varying recorded levels (and sometimes player's performance intensity and/or variances in notes/drums chosen,) however some
    obvious, overall, general characteristics did shine through and have seemed to have been maintained throughout my listening process even
    though I am trying to make the mix differences more subtle.
    First answer. There were only two EQs used. My Pultecs were used on the kick and snare for every preamp. There is a picture of the units and settings in the liner notes pdf. Other than those two sources, no EQ or any other signal processing was used, even if it was available on the unit. The sound you hear is as close to preamp only as we could get. If there was an output that bypassed any other processing, we used that.

    Second answer. The differences in level you notice will be due to performance variations. The levels of all units are matched to +-.1 dB. Now the other difference that your ear may be perceiving as level difference is the sound of the units. A preamp that is more forward will sound louder. So be aware of that as well. So when you switch from one preamp to another preamp within the mix, know that an apparent difference in level may be due to the way that instrument/preamp combination "fills in" the track. I have noticed this many times before.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

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