Hybrid Mixing


I have been working on this setup for about a year now and I’m finally almost done. I’ve made so many spreadsheets and Redco orders to cable and lay this out but it’s worth it. I love plugins, I’m very familiar with them and I can easily mix on a computer but this is a lot more rewarding. The key things I had to consider when implementing all this stuff was recall. The beautiful thing about all these pieces is that they’re stepped or parked on a single setting. Recall happens just as quick as before and the DAW + Plugins act as a gain stage into this setup. The summing mixer is transformer coupled both on the inputs and outputs. When I purchased this one I had demo’d almost a dozen different boxes from Great River, Dangerous, Phoenix and some others. All of them were either kind of boring sounding or couldn’t be recalled very easily. This device’s guts are a wink at the old Neve consoles and there are five stepped switches on it so for me it’s a winner. As for my three main hardware pieces, I have two flavours of SSL type compression. The Mastering Comp is an upgraded “cleaner” take on the original SSL bus compressor with an added 1.5:1 ratio. This tends to stay on the entire mix but I occasional swap it out. The Stam Audio SA4000 is a 1:1 clone of the original hardware and it stays parked over my entire drum subgroup unless the two stereo compressors are being swapped (almost never unless I’m bored). The FMR RNLA is a curious piece, I’m currently using this is an insert over my drum room group. It’s an absolute sleeper piece (all their gear is great, super affordable and hilariously ugly). This reminds me of my LA2A a bit but there’s a lot more control on this one (this one also costs $300 and is stereo compared to the 2a which is several times that for a single channel). The final piece that all this feeds into is the Elysia X-Filter. This is doing a little shelving on the top end, bottom and a small bump in the upper mids. I like this device for two reasons: 1. The passive massage button does a sort of Pultec like thing without colouring too much and 2. I think all of Elysia’s equipment is visually stunning and they have a reputation for building really clean, mastering grade stuff. I like that every device they make (except this exact EQ) has a plug-in version so you can familiarize yourself with it in the box way cheaper and then the hardware is the same style of workflow. This EQ is not available in plug-in form but is largely based on their Museq which is. The only difference between the two is that passive massage feature I mentioned earlier. I am still waiting on one more piece to cap this system off and it’s a hardware version of the 1176 Blackface in a 500 series module. I plan to use that for bass because that’s what I’ve used almost exclusively on bass for years in plug-in form. One of the awesome things about this workflow and these pieces is that the entire thing can be done in the computer with each pieces respective plug-in emulation and the results are very similar. Like most pieces of equipment the quality differences between higher and lower end stuff can be very negligible and most stuff nowadays is awesome. This setup’s recall ability gives me the advantages of a digital setup while still having some of the more traditional workflows and tone of the hardware most of my favourite records were made on.

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