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What ever happened to the Mix-Down deck?

What ever happened to the mix-down deck?

For a long time the multi-track production process employed a separate stereo recorder to capture the mix.  In the early days, 1/4” tape was ubiquitous.  Later of course, 1/2” analog machines and digital recorders (including DASH, 1630, DAT, etc.) were common. 

Currently most of the producers I work with, are bouncing their mix within the workstation.  If they have an analog mixing system, often the tracks are captured back to the workstation on a pair of available tracks.  

This way of working is definitely convenient for workflow, and archiving.  All the content is located in one place.  However, for those mixing with analog systems, there seems to be a possible opportunity to grab a bit more quality potential from a production if we think about the old mix-down deck paradigm.  

If we used a separate workstation running at a high sample rate (96 or 192 kHz for example), with a nice two channel A/D converter to capture the analog mix signal, we could potentially capture more resolution and detail from our mix without compromising track counts, or “in the box” processing options. 

Of course I’m not talking about up-sampling a 44.1/48 kHz recording, but the capturing the mix in high-resolution, natively.

I’m guessing there’s always an old, unused extra workstation hanging around studio store rooms.  Dusting it off to capture the mix at High Resolution could give it wheels again!

Why not send your mastering engineer the highest resolution mixes you can?



PS The recorder in the photo above is our modified Sony APR 5000 analog machine.  It has been customized and fitted with all new amplifiers and filters by Walzing Bear.  It sounds phenomenal for recording and playback.  

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