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Analog summing anyone ?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by 1poorplayer, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. 1poorplayer

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    Putting together a new recording setup , in my "once-operational" studio.
    I may just have to give Logic another try ( since I'm using apple computers ) , and the census is - that's it's more "logical" than it used to be.

    The option of an analog summing box is on the table. I believe this topic is somewhat debatable. I'll be using an Apollo 8P for a primary interface , and I need a decent monitoring section.

    It would allow me to easily grab some of my old rack gear , but are they really necessary these days ?
    The argument is often that the analog section allows audio to push the envelope in an area which is only equated to clipping - in the digital realm.
    So , what do you guys think ?
    Are the results of the added low end umph on stems , or slightly pushed levels , or whichever benefits - worth it in your mixes ?

    I can see the rational to being somewhat equivalent to the idea of choosing the right mic , at the time of recording , to get the "flavor" without further processing.
    Anyone ?
     
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  2. BillyZeppa

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    I think the 'old' gear removes some of the dynamic range and adds some harmonics that digital gear needs to be instructed to do in order to get there, but there are plenty of plugins to get there these days, including console emulations. I can usually get the push I need on tracks from a series of plugs like tape machine emulator, console emulator, classic compressor plugin, Softube driver or other tube emulator. just a little from each - no need to overdrive any one too hard. .
     
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  3. barhrecords

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    It takes some finesse and careful planning of signal flow, but I believe its possible to get a "big console" sounding mix entirely in the box.

    Analog summing could be an easier and more straightforward way of achieving the same result.
     
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  4. Patzag

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    I have a 48x8 summer at the end of my signal chain. The outputs of the final DA feed the summer and all summing is done in the analog domain.
    Each channel ABs but the sum is better than the sum in the box. Not sure why that it. It just is. So that's what we've got in the studio. Sometimes it's hard to hear, sometimes it's more obvious.
    I can totally live with the ITB sum. But I do admit that final product of the analog summer is superior.
     
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  5. BillyZeppa

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    You add another 'amplifier' stage when you do that though, right, somewhere? So a more accurate test might be to AB Summing vs. ITB using an Analog Summing plugin on the mix bus. :)
     
  6. Geezerjohn

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    I think an important question would be what is the intended use of the final product? Personal pleasure? Commercial release? The proverbial demo? Other artists? The end result should be considered as well as the means to get there. There are reasons why some studios still use rack gear, even though there are computer based alternatives. The analog sum can yield a great result. For home studio enthusiasts, there are many options to pick from. Is there a way to try the AB sum and if it is a disappointment then return it or is it walking the plank?
     
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  7. #7 aziz, Apr 16, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
    aziz

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    Instead of a $$$$ box with 0.01% benefit, check some popular 2bus/master processors. Louder than liftoff Silver Bullet or Tegeler Creme for example. Way more bang for the buck than the imperceptible change analog summing alone might do, and you won't have to try to hear the difference with tin foil on your head and blind AB-tests. Summing is very very low in the benefit/price equation, you will achieve a lot more with the same money somewhere else. The Apollo converters and especially the monitor output DA are not regarded as the ultimate in quality anyways, perhaps improving on that could be higher in the usefulness-scale.

    Go for analog sum after you have so much gear that you'll save several AD/DA concersions by summing analog. For example, all your stems go through hardware compressors/EQs, then it makes sense to sum them all before the final AD conversion.

    A nice analog compressor, some saturation from the Silver Bullet (note: very easily adjusted flavors and amount for it), additional air and oomph from the analog EQ section = YEAA! Infinitely more useful and controllable than a sum box, 100% guaranteed!
     
  8. steadystate

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    The quality of emulation plugins (at least the good ones) has reached the point where "in the box" is difficult or impossible to differentiate from real analog gear. To me, it is more a matter of what type of user interface and workflow you prefer to work with.
     
  9. kisslorand

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    I didn't believe in analog summing also, until I tried... I hope I will never have to go back to ITB.
    Please do not misunderstood me, I am talking only about MY experience. For ME it was a huge leap. It might be MY lack of knowledge to obtain ITB what I can OTB. For ME analog summing simply is the thing I've been missing for more than a decade.
    I use Ferrofish for AD/DA, Mixdream 2384 16x2 from SPL for summing and RME Digiface + Fireface fo all the I/O.
     
  10. barhrecords

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    I would say the benefit of analog summing would indeed depend on the rest of your analog signal chain and A to D and D to A.

    In addition to the quality of the tracks, DAW and plugins.

    Pro Tools using UAD or Waves plugins, among others, is used for big studio mixing in the box.
     
  11. 1poorplayer

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    The box I am considering is the dangerous D box , as it gives me summing and monitor control in one rack space.
    @Geezerjohn , yeah it's time to sh+t or get off the pot , with my material.
    I was reviewing unreleased material last week , that I only kept 2 bus masters of , that sound great ( with my old gear ) , but weren't flawless , so I need to rerecord them.
    My teenage boy was freaking , because he got to hear the tracks for the first time ( since they were recorded before he was born ) , and thought they should be published.
    So , here we are .....
    I'll keep you guys in the loop with what transpires.
     
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  12. Geezerjohn

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    Wow. Insightful post. I have long felt that musicians should make every effort to record their music. Music is an art, and like all art, it should be preserved. As a musician, you have no legacy unless you record and preserve your music. We all pass away, and after you are gone, if you have no recorded legacy, what legacy do you have? Even if friends and family say, "Man, he was an awesome guitar player", it is meaningless unless you have recordings a person can listen to. If you have recordings, then your legacy is preserved for future listeners to enjoy. Just my $0.02.
     
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  13. ChristThePhone

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    Never thought about making my music my legacy. Interesting idea.
     
  14. 1poorplayer

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    The musicianship is probably the only part of the recordings that will be recognized ( which is certain ) but I truly enjoy the art of mixing as well. I take a lot of pride in the songwriting and mixing aspect of my recordings.
    To the average listener , they haven't a CLUE - what goes on to make a great recording.
    The countless "tricks" and techniques to create space inside a mix , layers of sound , and 3D within a stereo spread , etc. I love the whole process.
    While I'm doing it , I'm rarely ever satisfied. When I listened to some of my old recordings with my son ( as I was saying above ) the mixes sounded great. Tough to replicate. The sounds of the sources made me mix the songs the way I did. Without those exact sound sources , the feel of everything changes.
    Ready for the challenge.
     
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