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Slate VCC Neve vs ITB vs SSL Mix Box Analog Summing - mp3's and wav files - you judge
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anguswoodhead
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21st May 2012
Old 21st May 2012
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Slate VCC Neve vs ITB vs SSL Mix Box Analog Summing - mp3's and wav files - you judge

Hi guys & gals
There is this ongoing debate about mixing ITB vs Analog Summing
Personally since I bought my 32 Ch SSL Mix Box Analog Summer I am sold on Analog Summing and my clients are too
However some believe as good a result can be had by using ITB tools like Slate VCC

So here is a (non-scientific) shootout between ITB mixing, ITB mixing with Slate VCC Neve and my SSL Mix Box Analog Summer with a hint of Gyraf G14 Tube EQ.

Artist is Californian born Singer / Songwriter / Producer Jeremy Williams who is now living in QLD, Australia.
I have used 20 seconds of his instrumental "Song For Belinda" {All Rights Reserved - Copyright 2012}
Which features slide acc, fiddle, tin whistle, mando, bass, acc rhy and some percussion.

There are 4 mixes as follows.....

Original ITB Mix - original untouched mix (48k) with an UAD2 Precison Limiter on the 2 buss to prevent overs
Mix 1 - 3 - whole project upsampled to 96k with acc gtrs and violin run thru my Electrodyne 710 and Retro 176
Mix 1 - ITB with an UAD2 Precison Limiter on the 2 buss to prevent overs plus an UAD2 SSL4K ch strip on every channel with no EQ and no Comp - just for colour
Mix 2 - ITB with Slate VCC Neve - everything else the same as Mix 1
Mix 3 - SSL Mix Box Analog Summed with very subtle Gyraf G14 Tube Mastering EQ (VCC removed from all channels)

I didn't change the EQ on any individual channels - just the EQ on the whole mix with the Gyraf tube EQ for Mix 3 (and only a tiny amount)
I noticed a change in the tone of the guitars and violin after they were put thru the Electrodyne 710 / Retro 176 combo
I tried to level match where possible but use your ears - there may be subtle level differences here and there

The mp3's are below but if you want to listen to the original wav files they are here
Attached Files
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#2
21st May 2012
Old 21st May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anguswoodhead View Post
Hi guys & gals
There is this ongoing debate about mixing ITB vs Analog Summing
Personally since I bought my 32 Ch SSL Mix Box Analog Summer I am sold on Analog Summing and my clients are too
However some believe as good a result can be had by using ITB tools like Slate VCC

So here is a shootout between ITB mixing, ITB mixing with Slate VCC Neve and my SSL Mix Box Analog Summer with a hint of Gyraf G14 Tube EQ.

Artist is Californian born Singer / Songwriter / Producer Jeremy Williams who is now living in QLD, Australia.
I have used 20 seconds of his instrumental "Song For Belinda" {All Rights Reserved - Copyright 2012}
Which features slide acc, fiddle, tin whistle, mando, bass, acc rhy and some percussion.

There are 4 mixes as follows.....

Original ITB Mix - original untouched mix (48k) with an UAD2 Precison Limiter on the 2 buss to prevent overs
Mix 1 - 3 - whole project upsampled to 96k with acc gtrs and violin run thru my Electrodyne 710 and Retro 176
Mix 1 - ITB with an UAD2 Precison Limiter on the 2 buss to prevent overs plus an UAD2 SSL4K ch strip on every channel with no EQ and no Comp - just for colour
Mix 2 - ITB with Slate VCC Neve - everything else the same as Mix 1
Mix 3 - SSL Mix Box Analog Summed with subtle Gyraf G14 Tube Mastering EQ (VCC removed from all channels)

I didn't change the EQ on any individual channels - just the EQ on the whole mix with the Gyraf tube EQ for Mix 3
I noticed a change in the tone of the guitars and violin after they were put thru the Electrodyne 710 / Retro 176 combo
I tried to level match where possible but use your ears - there may be subtle level differences here and there

The mp3's are below but if you want to listen to the original wav files they are here
I appreciate what you have done here but! Why add EQ to the Analog Master but not the Digital? That makes the fair comparison go out the window. Also I'm pretty sure the level of the last clip is louder.
anguswoodhead
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21st May 2012
Old 21st May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
I appreciate what you have done here but! Why add EQ to the Analog Master but not the Digital? That makes the fair comparison go out the window. Also I'm pretty sure the level of the last clip is louder.
Quote:
Originally Posted by anguswoodhead View Post
I tried to level match where possible but use your ears - there may be subtle level differences here and there
The Slate VCC Neve has a form of EQ to it.
Seriously the EQ on Mix 3 I have used is very subtle.

In any case the sound of the summing which to my ears is obvious is nothing to do with EQ.
It's about width and depth and the sounds popping out of the speakers - more 3D.


This is a job I did for a client and decided to stick them up here for those interested.
I haven't done any special shootouts to really analyze the differences.
Maybe I will sometime if I get a spare hour or 2, and the right project.
anguswoodhead
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22nd May 2012
Old 22nd May 2012
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I'm guessing by the lack of interest in this that most people do indeed know that Analog Summing is the way to go.
#5
22nd May 2012
Old 22nd May 2012
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Angus, awesome test. SSL summing box sounds very nice. Congrats. Peace
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22nd May 2012
Old 22nd May 2012
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It's not a fair comparison, because the chain is different... Just my .02

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anguswoodhead
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22nd May 2012
Old 22nd May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixmixmix View Post
Angus, awesome test. SSL summing box sounds very nice. Congrats. Peace
Thanks mixmixmix

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhager84 View Post
It's not a fair comparison, because the chain is different... Just my .02
Ignore the EQ differences and listen to the depth and width etc.
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22nd May 2012
Old 22nd May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
Also I'm pretty sure the level of the last clip is louder.
Actually on my little computer speaker setup it sounds like the VCC mix (Mix 2) is the loudest by a small amount.
#9
22nd May 2012
Old 22nd May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anguswoodhead View Post
I'm guessing by the lack of interest in this that most people do indeed know that Analog Summing is the way to go.
I'm guessing by the lack of interest, there is just a lack of interest.

If you are happy with the SSL then great... For cost and wanting to stay mobile-ITB, VCC adds something nice to the mix as well,
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22nd May 2012
Old 22nd May 2012
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Nice...

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22nd May 2012
Old 22nd May 2012
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Quote:
SSL Mix Box Analog Summing - $50 per song - convert your ITB 'digital' Mix to an SSL summed 'analog' mix.
Provide me with multiple stereo stems and I will send you back a final 'summed' mix.
The difference is amazing.
And I thought he was just trying to justify the cost of the SSL summing box... Careful, tricky thread!
#12
24th May 2012
Old 24th May 2012
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Ruh roh...
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24th May 2012
Old 24th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anguswoodhead View Post
Ignore the EQ differences and listen to the depth and width etc.
I respectfully disagree. I often use a little trick where I use a touch of EQ to widen things like guitars, or to push them back or make them more upfront in the mix. Guys like Chuck Ainlay are masters at this. Ronan Chris Murphy did a video a while back of a simplified version of this very technique. The bottom line, IMHO, is that EQ - depending on how it's used - can definitely widen the stereo spectrum and make the mix feel deeper.
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24th May 2012
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like the SSL example most, because it sounds more open in the higher midrange because of the EQ, also it sounds bigger, and more acoustic, organic
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24th May 2012
Old 24th May 2012
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itb sounds ok.[like itb ]
vcc sounds puffed up /a tad cloudy ..no 3d
ssl clearest most honest/ best depth/air around instruments
listening w really good headphones and Barefoots.
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24th May 2012
Old 24th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
itb sounds ok.[like itb ]
vcc sounds puffed up /a tad cloudy ..no 3d
ssl clearest most honest/ best depth/air around instruments
listening w really good headphones and Barefoots.
That's the strong point in the Satson very clear and 3d. Some people use it with VCC and get great results. Sknote stripbus with Cuttertone also does this.

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24th May 2012
Old 24th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atak View Post
That's the strong point in the Satson very clear and 3d. Some people use it with VCC and get great results. Sknote stripbus with Cuttertone also does this.

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I dumped all the fake console plugs /vcc when I started using a real console again..the software just can't beat it.
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24th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
I dumped all the fake console plugs /vcc when I started using a real console again..the software just can't beat it.
+1
anguswoodhead
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24th May 2012
Old 24th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
I dumped all the fake console plugs /vcc when I started using a real console again..the software just can't beat it.
Agree however 'good' Analog Summing Box is close 2nd IMHO
#20
24th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anguswoodhead View Post
Agree however 'good' Analog Summing Box is close 2nd IMHO
i agree.had the nicerizer,tonelux and sh boxes before

the one thing I could never get w/vcc etc was the front to back 3 d air/depth sense of space/ separation thing that I can get with hardware..the thing you really hear when you put on hi rez headphones.
some the saturation characteristics and transient rounding,thickening was there but not the depth i'm hearing in the console.
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24th May 2012
Old 24th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
i agree.had the nicerizer,tonelux and sh boxes before

the one thing I could never get w/vcc etc was the front to back 3 d air/depth sense of space/ separation thing that I can get with hardware..the thing you really hear when you put on hi rez headphones.
some the saturation characteristics and transient rounding,thickening was there but not the depth i'm hearing in the console.
For sure.
I have a set of Sennheiser HD600's which are pretty cool for hearing that stuff too.
#22
25th May 2012
Old 25th May 2012
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This test shows once again that plugins just don't cut it - in terms of depth. So it makes me think - when the manufacturer of such plugin claims that the plugin
"recreates' sound of the board - are they money - hungry or perhaps - have issues with hearing?

It would be very cynical and foolish to blame software developers being greedy in every case. Some of them must have problems hearing lack of depth.

Like a vocal coach who is slightly flat - plenty of those around.
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25th May 2012
Old 25th May 2012
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I think the good intentions are there for the most part.
but I do know a few guys who've designed plugs and the checks are rolling in fer sure.
a good plug design properly marketed can equal good bucks.
the UA guys are no dummies..especially w that expensive dongle they're selling.
who was it mentioning and [I don't know if it was a joke] Evanna Manley recently purchased a very pricey new italian sports car from the massive passive plug sales..Fletcher?
not bad work if you can get it.
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25th May 2012
Old 25th May 2012
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Exactly - she does not drive plugin, she drives hardware. Software just makes money for manufacturer, which they use to hardware. Makes sense.

Another problem - it is so much easier to create plugin than a hardware - hence a lot of dishonest people trying to capitalize on the opportunity.

ITB is here to stay, but forever inferior to hardware. Another proof. Thx Angus.
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25th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixmixmix View Post
Exactly - she does not drive plugin, she drives hardware. Software just makes money for manufacturer, which they use to hardware. Makes sense.

Another problem - it is so much easier to create plugin than a hardware - hence a lot of dishonest people trying to capitalize on the opportunity.

ITB is here to stay, but forever inferior to hardware. Another proof. Thx Angus.
This is sig worthy
#26
28th May 2012
Old 28th May 2012
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Can you guys help me out. I'm starting to mix a rock album. I'm gonna mix the whole thing using Waves NLS plugin on every channel and bus. or VCC..will see. after that I want to rent the Dangerous Music D-Box for one day.. export 4 Stereo Stems of the mix. (the drums, vocals, guitars, bass). or I want to try some other combinaisons. like drums/bass, vocals, guitars and synth and fx sends. and do analog summing of the 4 stems. I have lots of tracks in my mixes.. do you think it will do a good job and will it sounds better? I will also print out the track to a master bus and but slight bus comp and a Tape plugin like KMT. and or the upcoming Slate Virtual Tape if demo is out.

thanks for any advices.
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28th May 2012
Old 28th May 2012
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The fact that you labeled them already predisposed people to hear what they wanted to. There's NO such thing as a truly blind test unless there's a third party involved and no intentions going in. I love analog as much as the next guy, but the people that tout "analog is always superior" have never had the bill when you need to recap or fix some component that keeps you from doing your job....

Many hit records were made ITB. The elitism this place has at times scares me, honestly...
#28
28th May 2012
Old 28th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhager84 View Post
but the people that tout "analog is always superior" have never had the bill when you need to recap or fix some component that keeps you from doing your job....
according to who?
why don't you ask my tech about the friggin invoices I get.
never had a bill..my ass.
I have a few pieces of crucial gear that are me w problems right now..mid project.
[one being a very popular mastering 2 buss comp which ime still no plug in can come remotely close to how good it sounds on the 2 buss]...
..2 console ch's acting wanky..etc

yup a hassle but still sounds better than vcc which I had for a few months and sold to an itb friend.
#29
28th May 2012
Old 28th May 2012
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Hi Guys,

I think it would make more sense for all of us to post just the mp3 files without the explanation what is what. Let people decide which mix they like better (1-4) and then after a day or two post the "answers". Many people just read "SSL" and automatically it sound better to their ears. Lets do a real blind-test without knowing what is what. But. of course, thanks for Your post and I think we all appreciate Your effort. Cheers! KO
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28th May 2012
Old 28th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhager84 View Post
The fact that you labeled them already predisposed people to hear what they wanted to. There's NO such thing as a truly blind test unless there's a third party involved and no intentions going in. I love analog as much as the next guy, but the people that tout "analog is always superior" have never had the bill when you need to recap or fix some component that keeps you from doing your job....
Agree with Round Badge here - always something needing fixing but it's worth it - analog gear rocks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhager84 View Post
Many hit records were made ITB. The elitism this place has at times scares me, honestly...
No one is denying that but I am saying they would have sounded better with analog summing.
And.....
I'm prepared to put my money where my mouth is.

Give me a day or so and I'll put up a blind shootout.
ITB vs ITB VCC Neve vs SSL analog summing.
All I'll use is a plugin L2 on the 2 buss of the 2 ITB mixes and a hardware L2 on the Analog summed mix 2 buss.
No EQ on any of the 2 busses.
Blind shootout with results posted a few days later.
I guarantee that those with good monitoring (and good ears) pick the SSL analog summed mix everytime as having more width & depth. (more 3D)
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