Here at the Green-House Studio a great deal of emphasis has been placed on mixing recorded audio; whether you tracked here, or if you want to bring in something done elsewhere. The studio here is of the very best “hybrid” nature. Mixing can be done entirely “in the box” using the very best converters available and the latest software and plug-ins from industry-leading manufacturers. But, the 'crown jewel' of the studio here is the custom-designed Rupert Neve Designs 5088 console and its associated outboard hardware. Lots has been said of Neve over the years (decades!), but this may be his best design in a lifetime of extraordinary audio engineering accomplishment---that's saying a lot! Outboard gear (including the console, of course) tends to impart a a warm, rounded, classic sound to audio. When I consider classic sounding audio, I think of vinyl records or magnetic tape. Vacuum tubes, transistors, transformers. Softened high end frequencies; firm bottom end that has a warm glow to it. Nothing strident or woofy. Midrange frequencies that 'speak' without being harsh or overly pronounced. I find it easier (and more meaningful) to obtain these sorts of listening comforts with analog gear. And, there's always the prospect that analog gear doesn’t need any software updates.
Analog gear is classic for a reason: it sounds so good! It's a little bit more time consuming to mix strictly analog. But it's generally worth it.
Mixing purely in the digital domain has its perks as well.
Plugins that replace analog gear have come a long way, especially in the last 10 years. The very best ones challenge the listener to pick out which is the hardware and which is the software. It can be hard to tell sometimes. Even with the improvements in digital processing, I still find some digital processing a bit more 'strident' than with analog. That may come across a bit pejorative, but it's not really intended to be. 'Strident' as in a bit more “insistent', and as opposed to a 'harsh' connotation. Some may prefer to call it 'detail' or 'crispness', or 'clarity'. Whatever the semantics, that quality which digital imparts has its place in pulling a quality mix together. And the upside far exceeds the down with the ability to save multiple instances of mixes and the changes made to them.
The ideal approach, and that which takes place most often here is a 'hybrid' one. The best of what can happen in the digital world is combined with the classic sound of analog: the estimable benefits of digitally-oriented workflow folded into the unmistakable sonics of analog can make for efficient work and timeless sounds. The Rupert Neve Designs console here is the means to that end. The top flight converters, software, and plugins are its supporting digital framework. The permutations and combinations in which they can be combined are beyond counting. Like an artist possessing a plethora of colors with which to paint, the mix engineer who has a broad palette of audio tools, both digital and analog, has the greatest collective means at his disposal for quality output and client satisfaction. And in the end, that's what it's all about, isn't it?
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