QUOTE (The Uncreator @ Mar 29 2012, 12:45 AM)
Uhhg, dont want to know the price but the Maselac sounds great from the page.
How exactly do you use these? I know software you simply load the effect in your chain, but with hardware how can you actively apply this to multiple tracks? Wondered about this with hardware in general, like how do your EQ settings preserve themselves? does it have software it coincides with?
It partly depends on the console/desk that you use i.e. whether it's split or in-line and whether you go pfl or afl. The general technique in mixing is that they are applied as an insert on the appropriate channel. Very often in mixing you need to place a specific comp on a specific instrument - so you might need a fast VCA type comp on a snare drum and an opto on a male lead vox. Similarly you may be using mono hardware for mono tracks and stereo/linked hardware for stereo tracks. That's a big reason why a pro mixing studio has lots of hardware - so that they can use the most appropriate. If you want the same comp or effect on more than one channel then you bus that to a group and insert to the group. In these instances the hardware can get away, to some extent, with having less finesse then what you need on the stereo main for mastering as you are not trying to make adjustments that affect the entire mix. In mastering the majority of eq/comp etc that we do is on the stereo main and there's no real need for a console but you need hardware that can operate as linked stereo. Occassionally you might need to go via a M/S encoder and then to the hardware and back and occassionally you might sum if you are doing stem mastering.
With recall - the hardware in mastering are not continuous but tend to be 'detented' i.e. when you turn a gain knob, for instance, it will click between a given number of positions each of which will be +/- a specific change in dB. So when I apply a -2.5 dB on a Q of 2.4 at 270 Hz all of those are detented and precise - on continously variable settings all of your settings are a bit hit and miss. In mastering you can note down the detented positions etc on a recall sheet or take a photo etc of how the exact hardware settings. As the knobs etc are detented you can then recall the precise settings. If I had to I could reset equpiment to the recall sheets for mastering sessions done in the past to replicate how the chain was set up.
(There a small number of outboard hardware though that are digital and which therefore allow you store and load recall positions. The vast majority of hardware though isn't digital.)
With software vsts - the two advantages are
1/ you can use multiple instances of the same vst. That's more useful in mixing then mastering as you might need to use the same comp on several different channels at the same time but with different settings. A pro mixing studio would of course have more than one hardware comp though so it's not that big an advantage. Mastering - not really an advantage as it's extremely rare that you'd need two instances of the same actual compressor - with instances of serial compression/limiting you are more likely to use different comps/limiters to get finesse and colour.
When you use multiple instances/multiple vsts you need to be aware of any unwanted side effects due to load on your processor and of other possible issues with vsts related to artifacts, unwanted colourations, distortion, phasing and ringing, any failure to null properly, poor internal summing and so on. Properly designed and gain staged hardware has already dealt with these.
2/ recall - you can store and recall your own and preset settings and so build up a library of them. Not so much of an advantage in mastering (at least for me) as I reset to zero for all new sessions and don't use presets.
Ultimately for me as a mastering engineer the pro end hardware wins because:
1/ it sounds better because it imparts musical colour then the software (and that includes all the emulations of specific hardware units).
2/ It lends itself to proper gainstaging and level control.
3/ It tends to lend itself to being driven in to the red so you can get more level/gain without nasty distortion.
4/ Phasing, ringing etc are not likely to be an issue at all.
5/ It's nicer to use then software.