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Recent Video Interview with Me #3003226 08/14/19 06:37 PM
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Anderton Online Content OP
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Wow, actual publicity! This was done at the Between the Waves conference that was held in Madison, Wisconsin last June. The interview was fun to do...I hope that those of you who actually check it out like it smile


Re: Recent Video Interview with Me [Re: Anderton] #3003483 08/16/19 02:18 PM
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Great interview Craig, really enjoyed it! thu

Re: Recent Video Interview with Me [Re: nursers] #3003515 08/16/19 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by nursers
Great interview Craig, really enjoyed it! thu


Thanks! And after seeing that thumbnail, I think I learned a thing or two about how to do better click bait YouTube thumbnails smile

Re: Recent Video Interview with Me [Re: Anderton] #3003530 08/16/19 05:50 PM
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I still want to use a Pultec.


"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)
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Re: Recent Video Interview with Me [Re: Danzilla] #3003545 08/16/19 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Danzilla
I still want to use a Pultec.


But think what else $3,895 can buy you...!

Remember, though, the person I was referring to just wanted the curve....character is a separate issue. There's no significant difference in a curve generated by a software EQ vs. a Pultec, assuming the software EQ is reasonably flexible (I.e., not some weird curve). Where you will hear a difference is in the "character" due to the inductor-based nature of the original hardware, which adds a subtle midrange ringing. It's nice, but I'm not sure if that's the Pultec's most important aspect.

That said, I wonder if it would be possible to fake the ringing to some extent by putting a high-Q filter in parallel with an equalizer, and mixing the high-Q filter down really low. Probably not, but you never know...I assume the software emulations use EQ, distortion, and phase-shifting to simulate inductors. Although I guess to be really authentic, they'd need to pick up hum as well smile

Re: Recent Video Interview with Me [Re: Anderton] #3003564 08/16/19 08:49 PM
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Yeah, I wouldn't spend that kind of money... Mostly because I don't have it! But I did record in a studio once, where they had one, and it made a major change in how the project sounded, even with everything set flat, just from running through its transformers. But in a "modern" studio, I agree that having an emulation of that curve is probably the thing to have.

Just busting on ya a bit. poke cheers


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Re: Recent Video Interview with Me [Re: Anderton] #3003571 08/16/19 09:12 PM
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That was very entertaining and informative. You certainly know your subject, Craig!

Thanks for the mention at 26:25 - it gave me a warm glow smile


The past is gone. I'm sure it can take care of itself now.

Re: Recent Video Interview with Me [Re: BMD] #3003577 08/16/19 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by BMD
That was very entertaining and informative. You certainly know your subject, Craig!

Thanks for the mention at 26:25 - it gave me a warm glow smile


Does that mean you have now transformed into a vacuum tube?

Re: Recent Video Interview with Me [Re: Danzilla] #3003579 08/16/19 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Danzilla
Yeah, I wouldn't spend that kind of money... Mostly because I don't have it! But I did record in a studio once, where they had one, and it made a major change in how the project sounded, even with everything set flat, just from running through its transformers. But in a "modern" studio, I agree that having an emulation of that curve is probably the thing to have.


I'm VERY glad you brought up the subject of audio transformers. They are a "magic component" that does a whole lot of things to audio that are difficult to emulate. I think a lot of the "magic" that people associate with particular consoles or preamps has more to do with the transformers than anything else.

I visited Wendy Carlos once when she had one of those early Akai digital tape recorders (I think maybe it was even pre-ADAT). They didn't sound very good, but some reason, hers sounded great. I was perplexed, until she said she had put audio transformers at the inputs and outputs, between the mixer.

One more thing - overdriving transformers with bass is a very, very cool sound!!

Re: Recent Video Interview with Me [Re: Anderton] #3003609 08/17/19 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton

I'm VERY glad you brought up the subject of audio transformers. They are a "magic component" that does a whole lot of things to audio that are difficult to emulate. I think a lot of the "magic" that people associate with particular consoles or preamps has more to do with the transformers than anything else.


I believe that's true, but remember that transformers weren't put there to create a sound. They were an uncomplicated solution to connect low voltage and low impedance sources to high impedance tube grids. And when connecting to the outside world, they reject common mode noise. Distortion was a by-product, and designers worked hard to get transformers and terminate them properly so they wouldn't introduce a significant amount of distortion at normal operating levels. All of the pieces went into creating a device that did what it was supposed to do, with as little distortion as possible.

Transistor equipment didn't require transformers, so initially they weren't used, and what we had then is something that distorted in a different way than tubes and transistors did, and we didn't like it much. Then they came up with cleaner designs that hardly distorted at all, and we missed the sound of the tube gear with, by necessity, transformers.

Quote
I visited Wendy Carlos once when she had one of those early Akai digital tape recorders (I think maybe it was even pre-ADAT). They didn't sound very good, but some reason, hers sounded great. I was perplexed, until she said she had put audio transformers at the inputs and outputs, between the mixer.


I don't know what kind of output circuit that Akai recorder used, but I know that the first generation Alesis ADAT didn't like being fed from a singled-ended source. Putting a transformer (or an electrically balanced differential output) cleaned it right up.

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One more thing - overdriving transformers with bass is a very, very cool sound!


Not all transformers are like that. Put enough iron in them and terminate them properly and you'll get very clean bass out of them. But if that's not what you want, it's easy to find a transformer that saturates easily at low frequencies.




Re: Recent Video Interview with Me [Re: Mike Rivers] #3003851 08/18/19 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by Anderton

I'm VERY glad you brought up the subject of audio transformers. They are a "magic component" that does a whole lot of things to audio that are difficult to emulate. I think a lot of the "magic" that people associate with particular consoles or preamps has more to do with the transformers than anything else.


I believe that's true, but remember that transformers weren't put there to create a sound. They were an uncomplicated solution to connect low voltage and low impedance sources to high impedance tube grids. And when connecting to the outside world, they reject common mode noise. Distortion was a by-product, and designers worked hard to get transformers and terminate them properly so they wouldn't introduce a significant amount of distortion at normal operating levels. All of the pieces went into creating a device that did what it was supposed to do, with as little distortion as possible.


Of course transformers weren't intended to be signal processors, but neither were tubes, or LEDs - yet they affected the sound in interesting ways. There really is no such thing as a "perfect" inductor, so it will always influence the sound to some degree, no matter how subtle.

Re: Recent Video Interview with Me [Re: Anderton] #3003870 08/18/19 08:06 PM
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I once asked, and will ask again: Must everything sound BIG? There must be a thousand emulators of this and that for which reviews say nearly the same thing, that is, "When overdrive, it makes anything from vocals to drums sound really big." How many forms of "big" can one use? How do you know which one is right, if any?

Re: Recent Video Interview with Me [Re: Mike Rivers] #3003935 08/19/19 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
I once asked, and will ask again: Must everything sound BIG? There must be a thousand emulators of this and that for which reviews say nearly the same thing, that is, "When overdrive, it makes anything from vocals to drums sound really big." How many forms of "big" can one use? How do you know which one is right, if any?


Well, I didn't use the word "big," but I'll answer anyway. I used the word "cool" because as your last line implies, what's right is what matters. All big, all the time makes for crappy mixes.

But take bass. It violates the laws of physics from the gitgo, because no string that short, under that little tension, has any right to pretend like it's producing the same low end as a 9 foot Bosendorfer. Speakers don't go that low. The Fletcher-Munson curve says our ears don't go that low. So, I tend to use a lot of saturation on bass. It's almost like what dither does for noise - the distortion pushes the bass into a higher frequency range, so you can hear it better. Sometimes the weapon of choice is an Ampeg B15 (sledgehammer), sometimes it's a transformer (subtle, but effective - and it sounds cool).

I've always advised people to process tracks in context, because if you process everything to sound good in isolation, it's going to make a mess when you start combining the tracks.

Re: Recent Video Interview with Me [Re: Anderton] #3003951 08/19/19 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton


Well, I didn't use the word "big," but I'll answer anyway. I used the word "cool" because as your last line implies, what's right is what matters. All big, all the time makes for crappy mixes.


My question was intended to be more general, and not really about production, but about marketing. And "big" and "powerful" seems to be the most common marketing language, and that tends to follow through to product reviews and how-to-do-it articles.


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But take bass. It violates the laws of physics from the gitgo, because no string that short, under that little tension, has any right to pretend like it's producing the same low end as a 9 foot Bosendorfer. Speakers don't go that low. The Fletcher-Munson curve says our ears don't go that low. So, I tend to use a lot of saturation on bass. It's almost like what dither does for noise - the distortion pushes the bass into a higher frequency range, so you can hear it better.


Well, forgive some extreme extrapolation here, but why was an instrument invented that we can't hear? It's because the overtones make it audible and provide its place in the music. What comes off the baseline instrument, the big one with a carved top and sound holes, contains all the overtones that make it plain that there's a bass player on the session. Sort of like built-in harmonic distortion, designed right into the instrument. It's true that you don't get all the sound that a bass was designed to produce if you don't mic it to capture the sound it produced. So you add some harmonics electronically to put back what you didn't record.

In the MIDI days, when most "bass" patches produced little more than the fundamental, the trick was to copy the MIDI bass track, transpose it up an octave, and mix a little of that in with the track. If you didn't do that, when mixing on your kitchen table speakers, you'd turn the bass up so far that it would be objectionable on speakers with better low frequency response. Still, plenty of records were made with bass when the only distortion in the chain was what they couldn't eliminate.

Maybe I'm just being crotchety here because I don't record "constructed" music, I record music that sounds good the way it's played, and that's what I capture.

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I've always advised people to process tracks in context, because if you process everything to sound good in isolation, it's going to make a mess when you start combining the tracks.


That's how it should be done. That way you can tweak the bass (or whatever needs a little help) with any one of the many tools available and get good results. If you spend hours on the bass track trying this and that plug-in until you finally say "Ahhhh! THAT'S the bass sound I want to hear" you might find that, in the mix, that's not how you hear it.


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