ITB or OTB?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Basslice, Sep 21, 2021.

  1. 100% ITB

    19 vote(s)
    52.8%
  2. 100% OTB

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Both, please describe in comments.

    17 vote(s)
    47.2%
  1. Basslice

    Basslice Supporting Member

    May 11, 2008
    Western Massachusetts
    Quick question and poll. Do you produce completely in-the-box, or out-of-thebox, or combination.

    List your OTB/ITB preferences.

    I have been upgrading my home studio and trying to optimize my mixing capabilities.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
  2. Uche_bass

    Uche_bass

    Jul 31, 2017
    Argentina
    I have a philosophy of "record in one take" for each instrument, for cohesion sake. If there's a mistake, re-record at least the section. When I can I use hardware processing, but obviously I can't have every piece of gear so I run vsts for what i don't (yet) have. I'd like to mix OTB but so far I don't have the money nor the space for such a setup.
    Opinions on both approaches:
    OTB I find is more intuitive and reliant on your ears, more "classic" if you'd like. You're limited by what you have, but limitations breed creativity. If you like handling faders and knobs like I do, this is pure bliss
    ITB gives you the flexibility of using anything you can dream of. It can be good, but it's easier to rely too much on your eyes and not so much on your ears.
    The hybrid approach is a healthy mix of both, more forgiving and varied than OTB, but more focused and streamlined than ITB.
     
  3. Basslice

    Basslice Supporting Member

    May 11, 2008
    Western Massachusetts
    My answer? At this point the only outboard gear (not counting lots of pedals and a looper), is a Alesis Microverb III. I will be playing around with that after I find the AC adapter.

    I have been thinking about getting some version of a L3 or 1176. Not sure - hence this post. A family member that runs a pro studio full-time says he does everything ITB now.
     
  4. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa
    For me, like others I'm sure, recording is 100% ITB out of pure necessity. I don't have the money or space for OTB, and honestly, I've never used outboard gear for recording. My DAW handles pretty much anything I want to do. But there's no doubt my recordings would sound better with an external mic preamp, compressor/limiter, reverb, etc.
     
  5. Basslice

    Basslice Supporting Member

    May 11, 2008
    Western Massachusetts
    I guess that is the heart of the matter for me. I have the space and could afford, but I am not sure if things would really sound better or not. So far I have been ITB, but it is not like I have invested in other things like total room acoustic design, or using +$500 mics.
     
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  6. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Clarification; When you say "produce" what do you mean? The terms "produce, producer and production" have been so mangled over the last two decades that they're almost meaningless now.

    Using the "classic" definitions of terms: I produce entirely OTB as the only gear involved in producing are your ears, brain and interpersonal skills. I record without any outboard gear aside from some nice higher end preamps that I configure in a pleasing way (mic/source pairing, gain staging, saturation of transformers, etc.). I edit and mix entirely ITB as I don't have the space for a board and wouldn't bother with a board unless it had full recall of all parameters. The conveniences of ITB far outweigh, for me, a board that doesn't have recall. I've since stopped offering mastering services to my clients as I've come to realize that I'm just not that great of a mastering engineer. I can usually do better than Izotope or Landr's AI-based mastering, but I'd rather just ship it off to a dedicated mastering engineer. When I was previously mastering it was also entirely ITB. My current go-to mastering engineer works in a hybrid setup.
     
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  7. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    This can be subverted with discipline. It's very easy to fall into the trap of using any and everything on a given session. I've found that my ITB workflow has gotten much better now that I've restricted myself to only keeping active installations of plugins I use frequently. Basically if a plugin/tool is not getting regular use I uninstall it and add it to a document I keep stored on my studio computer that indicates which licenses I've previously purchased. Then, before I purchase a new tool I consult my list to see if there's anything I already own that could serve the same purpose as a new purchase. It's helped a lot in making more efficient mixes and also better sounding ones as well.
     
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  8. Basslice

    Basslice Supporting Member

    May 11, 2008
    Western Massachusetts
    Yeah, terms get overused and mean different things to different people.:bored:

    In my case, I mean it in the esoteric way - hence - at home I am recording and making music. In this case this is my "production". I am writer, performer, engineer, mixer, producer. I make all the musical direction decisions. Mastering for me means making a decent mp3. If I every have a hit, I will have it properly remixed and mastered by someone that knows what they are doing. For my purposes, something that sounds good to me is good enough.
     
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  9. hbabels

    hbabels Supporting Member

    Jul 26, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    I track with mostly outboard mic preamps and some EQ and Compression. Mixing wise I use a Dangerous Audio summing mixer and a handful of outboard compressors and EQ. Occasionally I’ll even incorporate an FX pedal or 2.
     
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  10. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    I don't know if it qualifies as both, but I chose both because of going in through good pre's and compressors on the way to the box. After that, I don't bring anything back out to any hardware.
     
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  11. Slough Feg Bass

    Slough Feg Bass Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2007
    San Francisco
    I record to tape, overdubs, vocals, solos, effects, everything to tape.
    if I am mixing, then it's all analog signal path to 24-bit I/O CD-R.

    If it's for a wide release or a big project, then I export everything to WAV and send to professional for mixing.

    I like the way both sound, but different projects get different treatment based on time, budget, distance.
    during Covid, I was sending / receiving files all the time...sucks.
     
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  12. Jazzkuma

    Jazzkuma

    Sep 12, 2008
    Both. I have some instruments, di’s and mics but all the recording, editing, mixing is done in the box.
     
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  13. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    ITB, it's all so simple. Not much use for the old patch bay, and I'm fine with that.
     
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  14. Bonafide

    Bonafide The Adventures Of Fusion Chicken

    Oct 15, 2002
    Central TX
    Both. For years - For tracking I have excellent tube pres or big iron pres (Neve, Vintage Yamaha, Great River, UA, Anthony Demaria) For mixing I have UA hardware plugins but great converters so I primarily use classic analog /digital outboard delays, comps, verbs etc... Manley, Emperical Labs, Vintage Lexicon, Vintage Yamaha, TC Electronic,vintage Roland etc. Its all done for vibe, energy, intent etc. Truth be told I could use either and be super happy. Some days I just like scrolling through clumsy small screen menus of old gear. 'Part of the process' I enjoy...
     
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  15. My style is mixed or hybrid.
    I have some outboard stuff that I track through to get things close to finished early on in the process.
    I prefer to mic things up (guitars, drums, vocals, percussion, etc) and use hardware synths (even if they are romplers) instead of the plugin alternatives.
    I then mix mostly ITB, but will patch my outboard stuff when I feel it will fix a problem or help reach a sonic goal.
    None of my stuff is terribly expensive.
    When deciding where to spend money, once the most elemental stuff is covered (computer, audio interface, monitors) my first option is always room treatment. Second option is microphones, maybe not to get the most expensive, but at least to get to a higher quality than the average cheapo bundle mic and have good variety. From there on, budget goes to the instruments themselves, amps, cabs, keyboards, etc.
     
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  16. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    I thought "OTB" means "over the board," as in playing a game of chess with a real board and real pieces and an in-person opponent as opposed to a computer screen. Oops, wrong forum! Or not.
     
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  17. Basslice

    Basslice Supporting Member

    May 11, 2008
    Western Massachusetts
    Off-Track Betting!
     
  18. erratick

    erratick

    Mar 2, 2014
    So most of my songwriting- and especially production- is ITB. But when I hear completely in the box, to me that means no mic, no interface. All in the computer or via Midi input to computer instruments. Digital. No analog at any point. Even the samples are from a digital source. Maybe a midi interface into the computer for playing/timing/controlling samples.

    My son produces 100% in the box. Nothing from an analog instrument ever (via a sample it may sound like it though).

    But some of my stuff is OTB- in that I record via mic or interface or re-amp (send stuff out of the interface through something and back in like sansamp or effects mainly). Analog at a point and converted to digital.

    With a band I record mics and then do all production and mix down- everything in the laptop. But I regard that is OTB- because all the audio sources are from out of the box.

    Most of my stuff is say- keys, drums, sound effects in the box. Guitar/bass/vocals recorded in- sometimes keys recorded in (Moog Little Phatty- I'm looking fondly at you). Then everything arranged/produced/mixed in the box.

    So what do you mean by ITB and OTB?
     
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  19. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    these days: it's mostly "ITB" strategies because it's quicker/easier most of the time (although i may use several boxes in series), but i also have/use "OTB" gear/trinkets when i think it's a better move for the production. sooner or later, though, it all gets thrown into a box and i'm using a mouse and a screen instead of knobs/faders/VUs.
     
  20. Basslice

    Basslice Supporting Member

    May 11, 2008
    Western Massachusetts
    I see what you mean. My inputs are all (mostly all) analog (mics and instruments). I am running them into a Scarlett 18i20 (was using a 2i4, but just upgraded). So all my pres are in the 18i20. I do some stuff with virtual drums midi plugins and some keyboard midi (totally ITB). I think there is some confusion as to what OTB means to different people. A lot of my stuff starts OTB, but then all my mixing is done with the DAW. The question I am asking is regarding what to do if you want to do OTB processing either before capture or after capture.