We all know who the big dogs are in the DAW world, and most of us can admit that for years there has been a virtual monopoly in the world of DAWs—doing as much to hinder the progress of DAWs as it has to establish a standard. As more and more great music is produced in project studios—users are opening their minds to new software and hardware options. PreSonus has made a name for itself making project-studio-ready hardware that compromises little quality in the name of affordability. When I learned that PreSonus was behind Studio One Pro and Studio One Artist—the newest competitor in the DAW market—my skepticism was reduced.
Can a modern product like SSL’s X-Desk really compare with their classic large format consoles? If so, you may finally be able to mix through the same mix bus as the many of the best engineers in the world. I put the X-Desk’s summing to the test against the 9000J, and also did some serious thinking about this seemingly stripped down mixer. I’ll do my best to provide an accurate summary of its analog summing.
If you caught the parts one and two of this direct recording series, then you’ve seen that direct recording is all about flexibility.It’s hard to imagine that I’ve still not mentioned the most flexible technique of all, re-amping.Treating a direct signal with a software emulator or a plug-in will always be cool, but using outboard equipment might just be that much cooler.Re-amping is simply the process of sending the analog output of a prerecorded digital signal into some hardware device (namely an amp or effects) and then rerecording it.Your options will be somewhat limited by your collection of hardware, but there can be a benefit just from bringing your signal out into the analog realm.
If you tuned in for the last part of this series then you learned all about the fundamentals of recording a direct signal. Now that you've got a solid understanding of the options available for direct recording, hopefully, you've had some time to make some direct recordings of your own. But a direct signal is only useful if you do something with it, and that's what the next two parts of this series will focus on. This segment will cover the basic things to watch out for with your direct signals, and cover some of the great software emulators out there that can take those sounds in an infinite number of directions.
Many budding recordists have heard the term "direct box," or even used one without really knowing what it does. Maybe you've heard that a direct box (or DI) matches the "impedance" of your devices, but you really have no idea what that means. If all you're looking for is a nice tone from your instrument into your computer, then don't fret--a strong understanding of impedance is not necessary--but, you may want a little back-story to help wrap your mind around the concept (if not, skip to the section about types).
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