Dr. AIX's POSTS — 20 October 2014

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My studio is equipped with a Euphonix System 5 console. I purchased it back in the summer of 2000 in order to do all of the post production audio for my high-resolution audio projects and so that film mixers could use my room as well. Back in those days, consoles like this were very rare…and expensive. No one was designing and building all digital consoles that would handle high-resolution sample rates and word lengths. But Euphonic did. And the console has been rock solid for over 14 years now. I did do a major upgrade to the digital mixing cores but that was about 7 years ago.

The System 5 console is not a hardware controller. This system actually ingests analog audio using an analog to MADI (Multichannel Audio Digital Interface) converted module and outputs digital audio back to the analog domain using a MADI to analog rack mountable unit. The rest of the connections are done entirely in the digital domain. I can mix, equalize, dynamically process, group, and do automated mixes using the system…and maintain a 96 kHz/24-bit digital path the entire time. There is no converting from analog to digital, to DXD, to DSD, and back to PCM. The Euphonix is a great piece of equipment for working in real HD-Audio.

But it’s come time to upgrade it. Generally, my personal philosophy is, “if it’s working don’t fix it.” I still run an older version of the iOS system on my iPhone 5 and I haven’t upgraded from Mac OS 10.6.8 to the latest OS. I’m just not completely comfortable with the process of upgrading…I’ve had some bad experiences in the past. However, I’m confronted with a situation that requires me to upgrade the console from eMix 5.0 to eMix 5.3.

I want to be able to control my Pro Tools rig from my console. The idea is to use the physical faders, switches, and knobs to move the virtual faders, switches, and knobs that are displayed on the computer monitors. Most music and film scores are done in the ubiquitous PT rigs. There is just no way around it, if you have outside clients using your studio. Whenever we’ve done film projects in the past, I dismantle part of my Euphonix System 5 and install a D Command control surface from the studio next door. The D Command is specifically built to communicate with Pro Tools. And it works like a charm. But it’s not perfect.

AVID, the owners of Pro Tools, purchased Euphonix not too long ago and opened up the communication protocols so that all of their devices could talk to each other. Their new protocol is known as EuCon and it’s part of eMix 5.3 not 5.0. So I have to upgrade.

I spent most of Saturday afternoon backing up all of my titles and mixes, removing the older eMix software and installing the new versions of everything. It tool several hours. And then the moment of truth came. I selected a MIXER MODEL and tried to reboot the console. It came up but when I tried to open the 96 kHz sessions that I had stored on the hard drive, I got an error message. This MIXER MODEL is not compatible with the currently active MIX MODEL. I couldn’t reach the tech support person so I was out of luck until today. It was operator error not a machine error. I simply had not scrolled down to find the MIXER MODELs that I needed. It wasn’t obvious but I admit I messed up.

As of right now, I haven’t yet accomplished the goal of moving the PT faders with my Euphonix desk but I’m getting closer.

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About Author

Dr. AIX

Mark Waldrep, aka Dr. AIX, has been producing and engineering music for over 40 years. He learned electronics as a teenager from his HAM radio father while learning to play the guitar. Mark received the first doctorate in music composition from UCLA in 1986 for a "binaural" electronic music composition. Other advanced degrees include an MS in computer science, an MFA/MA in music, BM in music and a BA in art. As an engineer and producer, Mark has worked on projects for the Rolling Stones, 311, Tool, KISS, Blink 182, Blues Traveler, Britney Spears, the San Francisco Symphony, The Dover Quartet, Willie Nelson, Paul Williams, The Allman Brothers, Bad Company and many more. Dr. Waldrep has been an innovator when it comes to multimedia and music. He created the first enhanced CDs in the 90s, the first DVD-Videos released in the U.S., the first web-connected DVD, the first DVD-Audio title, the first music Blu-ray disc and the first 3D Music Album. Additionally, he launched the first High Definition Music Download site in 2007 called iTrax.com. A frequency speaker at audio events, author of numerous articles, Dr. Waldrep is currently writing a book on the production and reproduction of high-end music called, "High-End Audio: A Practical Guide to Production and Playback". The book should be completed in the fall of 2013.

(2) Readers Comments

  1. Hi Mark, that’s my one major criticism of the way hi-res is being introduced; the path that it’s necessary to follow is way too complex for the average person. Just explaining that they need to buy J-River to keep WMP off of their music…With your knowledge and aptitude, here’s a way to make a lot of money; design a “MUSIKOMPUTER,” as follows. When you turn it on, it immediately lists your music collection, and can only access music download or purchasing sites.( No news, no sports, no porn,) only music comes out. Select album or track and press play.Why should it be harder than putting on a disc? Could have a good DAC built in or not. It acts like a piece of stereo equipment, not a computer, simple layout and controls. That’s what is needed; a one size fits all method of downloading and playing music w/o being a computer head. Incidentally, and I can laugh at myself too, I did buy a Pono yesterday knowing I won’t get it until someday, and of course their are numerous other players. I guess it’s the old hippie in me that causes this belief and loyalty. Just build that music box and you won’t need to write any more columns. Best, Craig

    • I did actually built a PC music server but it wasn’t easy to operate. I’ll be curious what you think about the new Pono device.

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