March 27, 2007

This Amon Tobin record...

by Chris Randall

So I got the new issue of Remix in the mail the other day, and there's a story about the recording of Amon Tobin's "Foley Room" album, and it piqued my interest enough to go buy the album. (It should be noted that, eclectic tastes aside, I'm usually a latecomer to the "latest and greatest" electronic acts, simply not having enough time in the day to sift through all the dreck to find the diamonds.)

Whether you like the whole slice-n-dice thing or not, this record sounds fantastic. He mixed in Cubase, but summed with an Apogee DA16/Chandler Mini Mixer rig, through a Manley Massive Passive. The difference in sound quality between this record and another of its ilk done totally ITB (I'll use Forss' excellent "Soulhack" as example) is quite vast. The analog processing really knocks the edges off the inherently digital nature of this sort of music. Anyone that doesn't think there's any difference between mixing ITB and using a system like this is quite simply deaf, plain and simple.

In any event, this is a fucking phenomenal mix job for an electronic album; very pleasant and non-fatiguing to listen to. Two thumbs up.



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Mar.28.2007 @ 4:58 AM
I guess Roger Nichols is "quite simply deaf":

link []">link []


Mar.28.2007 @ 5:23 AM
"I guess Roger Nichols is "quite simply deaf":"

It would seem so. He doesn't acknowledge Sonar's 64-bit mix-buss either in the Q on 64-bit applications.


Mar.28.2007 @ 6:08 AM
Oh and for what it's worth I love the new Amon Tobin album too. The accompanying DVD was interesting, but not exactly massively informative.

Mar.28.2007 @ 7:24 AM
Foley Room is a great disc, but Out From Out Where is still my favorite of his, with Permutations and Supermodified tied for second.

I need to put his records down for a while though. I worked at getting most of what I was missing out of his catalog in Juanuary/February of this year....and by the time Foley Room came out, I was kind of burned out on his sound.

That being said, the Collaborations ep is a nice one too. I was listening to it yesterday.


Mar.28.2007 @ 7:48 AM
vintage king has a nicely-done summing mixer "shootout" page:

link []">link []

i'd have to hear amon tobin's ITB stems vs. his externally summed mix to be convinced that external summing was the sole difference between 'nice... ok' and 'holy crap!'. nothing i've seen/heard with regard to the external summing trend has been *that* black & white.


Mar.28.2007 @ 10:47 AM
penzoil washington
external summing trend? ITB is the trend, external summing is how every record ever was made until recently. anybody not in denial who sits down at a desk, plays the ITB mix, and then breaks out the parts to channels will hear a definitive difference.

Mar.28.2007 @ 12:02 PM
I've done in-the-box and summing mixes. I can't definitively say which was "better" because there were so many other different variables involved - the gear I was using, the speakers, the room, the material, etc.

I want to see a magazine or individual take a good project and mix it both ways, then have some "golden ears" evaluate. And/or do the old "throw one mix out of phase and listen to the difference".

Until then, I'll still take the convenience of totally in-the-box mixing over the hassle of a board any day.

How many of the "summing boxes" out there are using, to paraphrase CR, "some 5-cent op-amp" in the chain? Is the improvement in quality worth the extra DA-AD conversion involved?


Mar.28.2007 @ 12:07 PM
penzoil washington
a test at flat levels will show the difference but is besides the point if you want to actually DO things with a mixer, and all the outboard gear you can hang off that. Journalistic shootouts wouldn't be necessary if you just sit down at a desk and listen to the digital mix vs the separate tracks on faders.

Mar.28.2007 @ 12:29 PM
Chris Randall
Penzoil has the same experience I have. I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that breaking out even to stems from any DAW I've ever used makes the mix sound wider and more dynamic. I don't give a fuck about charts, graphs, and other people's opinions, truly. I'll spend a lot of money on things that I know from personal experience make my job easier and the results better. What Roger Nichols has to say on any subject at all means so little to me.

Q.E.D.: it's quite easy to mix a record well when the songs are top-flight, the musicians are some of the best in the world, their gear is as good as it comes and maintained by professional techs, they're in a studio that is second to none, and time and money are not objects. I'd get a Grammy too if I had that to work with, ITB or not. So he can bite me.



Mar.28.2007 @ 1:07 PM
On the low end of the price scale, don't forget the Folcrom:

link []">link []

Totally passive box, 16 channels, each assignable to L/R/C.

$775 street.

That said, the Shadow Hills Equniox is one of the sexiest designs I've ever seen. $4k gets you 30 channels of summing, switchable iron, two micpres that double as the summing makeup gain stages, and a control room section.


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