[Ardour-Users] Automation from analog mix?

Al Thompson biggles58 at sbcglobal.net
Sat Dec 18 08:02:28 PST 2010

David Kastrup wrote:
>> David Kastrup wrote:
>>>> Umm, why don't you just use post-fade sends, then once you set relative
>>>> levels between tracks in Ardour, your mix will be done.
>>> Because you don't get the SNR of digital mixing, in particular if you
>>> _do_ some additional touchup work in Ardour?
>> As long as you don't go into Ardour and UNDO much of the mix by
>> boosting levels, your S/N should remain virtually unchanged.
> You might, for example, want to _reduce_ the levels, in order to get rid
> of overdrive in the analog mix.  Or indeed boost the overall level to
> make more use of your limited precision (the individual sound sources
> will be present in their own samples with more gain than in the total).

Reducing a channel level in Ardour shouldn't INCREASE digital noise.  It
will, however, add digital artifacts.  It might actually decrease
overall noise level since it would have the effect of turning down one
channel's worth of the ANALOG noise which would be from your console.  I
expect the analog noise floor from multiple channels of signal recorded
from a console to be far greater than the digital noise floor (and
probably greater than the level where quantize errors start to be

I have serious doubts that any such digital "inspection" would be
successful to begin with, as I doubt that any halfway final mix, with EQ
and level changes changes to effect sends, a couple of different
reverbs, effected delay returns, etc could be successfully analyzed well
enough that it could even begin to generate the automation controls
required to produce it from "raw" 24, 36, or whatever tracks input into
it.  I think it would require a day or two of computer time to generate
"something," and then a couple of days to go back and edit the generated
automation information.

Gads, what a boondoggle!  And why?  Is there a Rube Goldberg award at stake?

>> Doing ANY changes to the tracks in Ardour are going to add a ton of
>> digital artifacts, no matter what you do.
> Not a ton, but if you are going to get digital artifacts, reducing them
> to a minimum will make sense.

I agree, so why are you insisting on doing the digital manipulation when
it's quite unnecessary?  It seems that you are adding the worst
attributes of each audio method (the noise of the analog mixer added to
the digital artifacts and complexity of the digital manipulation you
want to do).

>> I have a skewed outlook though, as, when I am using an outboard
>> console, I try to use the DAW as much like a tape deck as possible,
>> because I generally prefer that workflow, and find that once I start
>> doing anything in the digital realm, I quickly begin to hear
>> degradation in the sound quality.
> Then you should probably reexamine your digital workflows as you should
> be working with a higher precision than your initial quantization
> errors.
I'm hardware constrained.  My work here at home is merely demo and
composition related.  Nothing that I record here ever goes out the door,
except some rare individual tracks.  Any "serious" work is done at our
project studio.


Check out the website I've been cobbling together.  It will never be done, but it's a start: 

My blog, with commentary on a variety of things, including audio, mixing, equipment, etc, is at:

Staat heißt das kälteste aller kalten Ungeheuer.  Kalt lügt es auch;
und diese Lüge kriecht aus seinem Munde: 'Ich, der Staat, bin das Volk.'
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