THIS vs THAT
Eventually I’ll do a few posts about the never ending debates: Analog vs Digital. ITB vs OTB. Does conversion matter? The old “Loudness War.” 44.1kHz vs 192kHz. Do cables matter? Buffered or True Bypass? Blah Blah Blah… I’ll just admit right now that I use analog and digital which means ITB with outboard gear as well as plug ins. I use a Lynx Aurora 16 converter. I believe the best mastering engineer will preserve transients and still make a mix loud. Even though I can work in greater bit depths and sample rates I still track and mix in 24 bit and 44.1kHz and 48kHz sample rates, occasionally 96kHz. Cables matter more as your signal chain improves. True Bypass does you no good for long cable runs.
It always comes down to what do YOU think sounds better? Different converters at different sample rates sound different and perform differently. 44.1kHz and 48kHz are fine most of the time since transients in the listening range are preserved but classical music may benefit from 96kHz. A lot of plugs perform better at 96kHz, aliasing is more accurate, and latency is lower while getting a potentially harmonically rich mix, though way above most listener’s range anyway. While you can’t physically hear above 20kHz, there’s an influence they may have on the harmonics you CAN hear. If you want to read a lot more about this debate, simply cruise over to GEARSLUTZ and search the term. You’ll find hundreds of pages of very smart, though nerdy, audio dudes like us, arguing back and forth for over a decade. Seriously. You’ll enjoy it as well as learn a lot by hearing all the perspectives. Also, that forum is home to some of the smartest people in our industry not limited to but including those who invented many of these tools we have at our finger tips. The analytical guys who’ve done all the research, testing, and can provide tangible information to support their opinions. However, at the end of it all, your ears will make your decision.
The point of this post is about calibrating your DAW and the use of digital metering in an effort to help get away with that inherent “digital” sound by making sure you’re not getting lazy and not metering properly. In the days of all analog you couldn’t work without VU metering every step of the way. Working ITB, many bedroom producers are either untrained, unaware, or lazy.
I really don’t need to write anything more since this guy on YouTube really nailed it in his installment video. This is a great piece about metering in the DAW, calibrating the system, and even comparing some metering plugs as part of the video.
Thanks to Paul Draper for such a great tutorial.