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Neve / SSL / API console summing vs. summing box summing
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Shaman
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#1
28th January 2006
Old 28th January 2006
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Big console line ch. circuit vs. summing box line ch. circuit

This is something I´m spending some thoughts on at the moment.

If you mix let´s say on a vintage Neve console with 1073 / 1084 modules, you are actually sending all your signals through the single line channels with their transformers on EVERY channel to the summing section.

If you stem out your mix to a summing box like the d2b / mixdream / folcrom etc. you actually reduce the console sound to its summing section without having any preamp / line circuit technology on every channel.


While most summing boxes are NOT using transformers on every channel (except the new Neve with 2 on the buss only) I´m asking myself - are these mates on every channel the mystery behind a "big console sound"

So my question to all who have used BOTH, big consoles AND summing boxes is:

* What about using for example 32 channels of 1073/1084/wunder/api preamp modules in line setting into a summing box ? Would this lead me to the sound of their classic console counterparts or not ?

It´s a tempting thought to use 2x wunder pafour as a "neve console section with transformers" in the first 8 channels of my mixdream.



Please excuse the naive quuestions - they come from someone who never had that much experience with big Neve/SSL consoles...
Shaman
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28th January 2006
Old 28th January 2006
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Big console guys seem to be happy, summing box guys seem to be happy, no one in between ?
#3
28th January 2006
Old 28th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaman
Big console guys seem to be happy, summing box guys seem to be happy, no one in between ?

Shaman this is EXACTLY what the Chandler Mini Mixer is all about ... have you not looked into it? call Wade at Chandler and ask him about it.
Shaman
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29th January 2006
Old 29th January 2006
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Thanks doogie, this one looks good for sure

Does the chandler have transformers on EVERY channel ?

What I wanted to know, is how big is the influence of transformers on EVERY channel on a console sound (like in the case of vintage Neves etc.) vs. the summing section alone ?

I do like summing boxes but still miss "that big console flavour".

Investing in more discreet CLASS A preamps like 8 + channels of wunder or Neve, through wich I could send my PT signals BEFORE the summing box seems a better investment to me, since I still can use the pres per se without the summing box.

Watching the recent "summing box evolution" I notice a trend towards summing systems with "advanced input circuits" like the tonelux console f. e.

So here´s my question again:

On a Neve BCM-10 f.e., which consists of single preamp modules, pan + the summing section....How big is the influence of the single components on the overall console sound ?

Transformers on single channels: 60 % ??
Power supply: 10 % ??
Summing section: 30 % ??

And vice versa:

Taking 10x 1073 modules into a (Neve ?) summing box with pans = BCM 10 sound ???
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29th January 2006
Old 29th January 2006
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It's not summing vs. console, but summing+processing vs. console.
I use various line level analogue gears in path (most of them with transformers in and out, but not all) or on inserts to practically all channels when summing, so what I hear in the mix is what you call 'big, console sound'. I think that I can easily get (if I need so) beefy and fat sound, but with more details/resolution than on most consoles I heard.
If sound is only what is your concern you definitely don't need big, analogue console anymore and in appropriate set up most likely that you'll get better results than with conosloes.
But consoles have other functions, too.
theother
#6
29th January 2006
Old 29th January 2006
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Every SSL does not have transformers on the channels, am I right?

And most records get mixed on them.

I want transformers on every channel when I record. Mixing? Different game...
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29th January 2006
Old 29th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theother
Every SSL does not have transformers on the channels, am I right?

And most records get mixed on them.

I want transformers on every channel when I record. Mixing? Different game...
O.K. so what´s in the single SSL line input path then (besides the preamp/EQ/bussing/sends/dynamics) ?

What makes it different from the single line input circuit from a d2b or a mixdream ?

I´m not sure if you understand my question:

How to make a Neve BCM 10 out of my SPL Mixdream (please don´t tell me buy the real thing....I´m looking for new solutions...) I´m not in the market for a vintage/new Neve/api/SSL console but I definetly would be in the market of 16 channels of dicrete class A preamps with transformers/magical pepper/mystical whatever big sound flavour....

What´s missing ?

I thought a long time that 2-buss processing with all kinds of vintage comps/eqs is the solution, but it´s DEFINETLY NOT....

...so I´m trying to make some thoughts about the single channel circuits
theother
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29th January 2006
Old 29th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaman
O.K. so what´s in the single SSL line input path then (besides the preamp/EQ/bussing/sends/dynamics) ?
Lots of op-amps, caps and IC's!

I'm sure there is a more qualified person than me on this forum to explain what exactly is in a SSL channel, but it's not transformers (apart from some mic input transformers that were available on request).
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29th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theother
Lots of op-amps, caps and IC's!
There you have it, I´m coming closer to my secret answer...
#10
29th January 2006
Old 29th January 2006
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hi,

I've used the chandler mini desk,its a very nice little mixer,has a 'jazz' sound to it,if you get what i mean.Im not sure if its got transformers on every channel though,i was chatting with a friend,who owns one and he was saying that there are 'upgrades' that can be done to it,not by chandler,he reckons that the op amps can be upgraded to something better. None the less,these mixers sound great,they wont work on everything,but one of these with combined with a couple of other rack mixers,i.e,the new SSL X-Rack,API DSM 24 or a Neve 1081/73 mixer,who wants to sit it front of a big console,with the sound bouncing of it,sorry,got off the point
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29th January 2006
Old 29th January 2006
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hi shaman, if you got a load of 1081 and racked them up,you could achive the big console sound,but,it would all depend on how you sum them together,have you come accross the name Blakey Boy?
theother
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29th January 2006
Old 29th January 2006
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Shaman, I think what you are looking for is not transformers in every channel but discrete class A instead of cheap IC/op-amps. This will get you closer to the Neve sound.

Have you tried the Phoenix N16?

The Neve 8816 is more in line with SSL and the new Neve desks that use IC/op-amps on the channels.
#13
29th January 2006
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Shaman, aren't you the guy who did the whole shootout with the summing boxes and decided the Mixdream was the bee's knees? What's not working for you now? Are you looking for the box itself to do too much?

-R
#14
30th January 2006
Old 30th January 2006
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I was tracking a live session and the monitor console in the control room was an old Harrison. It sounded really phatt, which I attributed to the transformers on every channel. When I listen to the same tracks through a Nicerizer 16, they don't have that same mojo.

The N16 is a killer summing buss, but I'm telling you there was something adding weight to the tracks when listening through that old Harrison. It had to be the xformers.

SSLs don't have transformers, so I wouldn't expect that type of sound from them. This must be the appeal of the old Neve and API transformer based consoles. They make it sound like a record more easily. I recall William Wittman posting something like "I just push up the faders and it sounds good". Yep.

The problem with monitoring on a console like that when tracking is that it makes things sound better than they actually are. So the producer thought he had this super phatt sound, but when I mix on something more transparent, it doesn't have that same punch.



Maybe I'll try a few xformer based pres between the DAW and console/buss on some channels.
#15
30th January 2006
Old 30th January 2006
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I owned the API 7800 with (3) 8200's, which, as you may know, is all discrete. While I thought it was good for the price point, it is not even in the same universe as my API 2488 console.

One interesting thing I discovered was that vintage API mic pres racked by Brent Averill and others, sound nothing like the pres in the console. The console pres are way better (to be fair, the pres in this console are built into the 528 input modules, which are not the 312's you commonly see racked). Also, I think the 550 / 550a / 550b / 553 etc. EQs sound very good in an outboard rack, but I think they sound better in the console as well. To my ears, there is a greater difference with the console mic pres vs. racked API mic pres than there is with EQs in the console vs. racked API EQs though.

The signal goes through A LOT more (transformers / op-amps / caps / resisters / wire / pots / switches / etc.) in a console than any of the summing boxes. This contributes to the mojo/vibe/magic of a great sounding console, and does more harm than good with a lesser console.

There is nothing like a great sounding console.

My 2 cents.
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30th January 2006
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30th January 2006
Old 30th January 2006
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mlocascio, interesting you bring that up. If my memory serves (I don't use API), don't the consoles have a higher impedance than the rack modules? I know some guys that put resistors in the rack versions to get the console sound.

(Something like that anyhow). I think I've seen some posts here on GS about the same thing if we search.


yeah I found it: 600ohm resistor
#18
30th January 2006
Old 30th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlocascio
I owned the API 7800 with (3) 8200's, which, as you may know, is all discrete. While I thought it was good for the price point, it is not even in the same universe as my API 2488 console.


There is nothing like a great sounding console.
Yes..I had the same experience.. put the 7800/8200[sums to two output amps] up and the Chandler mixer agianst an old API 3288[line amps on every channel] and the console sound won

I've got an N-16 as well..sounds great.. but the old API console still wins.
Thats why most of these summing boxes don't really intrigue me anymore..
and i'm not expecting much from the Neve one either..
The Tonelux stuff still looks interesting.
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30th January 2006
Old 30th January 2006
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Yep, that Tonelux stuff is looking better and better.

Uhh, I just realized that the snare was out of phase w/ the overheads on all this stuff I've been mixing.

After flipping the phase on the snare, it sounds considerably punchier.
#20
30th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaman
O.K. so what´s in the single SSL line input path then (besides the preamp/EQ/bussing/sends/dynamics) ?
What makes it different from the single line input circuit from a d2b or a mixdream ?
I´m not sure if you understand my question:
How to make a Neve BCM 10 out of my SPL Mixdream (please don´t tell me buy the real thing....I´m looking for new solutions...) I´m not in the market for a vintage/new Neve/api/SSL console but I definetly would be in the market of 16 channels of dicrete class A preamps with transformers/magical pepper/mystical whatever big sound flavour....
What´s missing ?
I thought a long time that 2-buss processing with all kinds of vintage comps/eqs is the solution, but it´s DEFINETLY NOT....
...so I´m trying to make some thoughts about the single channel circuits

Honestly, why not buy a console ? Just to try something new ? I was in your exact same position last fall and after investigating all the options I bought a console. It just made no sense to buy all the pieces of a console, rackmount them, wire them, and figure out a way to interface the whole thing. It's a kludge no matter how you look at it. If you want the big console thing, get the console. Get a little Daking, Wunder or Tonelux console and be done with it.
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30th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robmix
Honestly, why not buy a console ? Just to try something new ? I was in your exact same position last fall and after investigating all the options I bought a console. It just made no sense to buy all the pieces of a console, rackmount them, wire them, and figure out a way to interface the whole thing. It's a kludge no matter how you look at it. If you want the big console thing, get the console. Get a little Daking, Wunder or Tonelux console and be done with it.

That's my plan as soon as I save up the bones
Shaman
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30th January 2006
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Thanks for your replys ! thumbsup

All v. interesting thoughts.
84K
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30th January 2006
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Shaman,

Are you developing a product??? This sounds like a part of the research... If so, I wish for you great success!!!

There are many things to a console that are overlooked... signal path, routing structure, etc. It is a complex thing. But, summing amps seem to be the latest craze in pro audio. It could go further, there is a lot you can explore. Interesting...
#24
30th January 2006
Old 30th January 2006
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Mixing consoles are a thing of the past, never to be made again.

Summing boxes are the new black.

Next year, we'll get summing boxes with EQ, the year after with aux sends/returns, then faders and then autmation and recall. Then more channels. Then they'll be too big for a rack and they'll be laid out horizontally.

Then "summing consoles" will have finally replaced "mixing consoles" and everyone willl have to buy one.
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30th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey
Mixing consoles are a thing of the past, never to be made again.

Summing boxes are the new black.

Next year, we'll get summing boxes with EQ, the year after with aux sends/returns, then faders and then autmation and recall. Then more channels. Then they'll be too big for a rack and they'll be laid out horizontally.

Then "summing consoles" will have finally replaced "mixing consoles" and everyone willl have to buy one.
It's funny how history repeats itself isn't it?
#26
30th January 2006
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Buy yourself a Neotek Elite, change the master summing amps to Burr Browns, and be happy. Those desks sound punchy warm and fat as hell and you can get them for about 15 grand. Great eq, real faders, real meters. Other then that, I'd buy a Folcrom over any other summing box, nothing better then choosing your two buss make up gain. I love the Folcrom to the Neve Portico, lots of flavor.
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30th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesd
hi,

I've used the chandler mini desk,its a very nice little mixer,has a 'jazz' sound to it,if you get what i mean.Im not sure if its got transformers on every channel though,i was chatting with a friend,who owns one and he was saying that there are 'upgrades' that can be done to it,not by chandler,he reckons that the op amps can be upgraded to something better. None the less,these mixers sound great,they wont work on everything,but one of these with combined with a couple of other rack mixers,i.e,the new SSL X-Rack,API DSM 24 or a Neve 1081/73 mixer,who wants to sit it front of a big console,with the sound bouncing of it,sorry,got off the point
Really? That sounds extremely unlikely because, one, a products as new as the mini mixer don't usually have people tryting to mod them this early, and two they didn't really cut corners. I guess you could change the transformers or remove them and make it transformerless for a totally different sound, but then why would you have purchased the box in the first place?

Please tell us which op amps he wants to upgrade and to which model/value. Also please give specific locations within the box for where the op amps are. Or maybe that was a mod he did to his own box, extending the signal path and adding op amps that no one else has, because the Chandler Mini Mixers don't have op amps in them. Check with Chandler if you need verification, but your comments sound like you're just repeating generic criticisms that can be applied to any box rather than accturate information based on acutal use.
#28
30th January 2006
Old 30th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesd
hi,

I've used the chandler mini desk,its a very nice little mixer,has a 'jazz' sound to it,if you get what i mean.Im not sure if its got transformers on every channel though,i was chatting with a friend,who owns one and he was saying that there are 'upgrades' that can be done to it,not by chandler,he reckons that the op amps can be upgraded to something better. None the less,these mixers sound great,they wont work on everything,but one of these with combined with a couple of other rack mixers,i.e,the new SSL X-Rack,API DSM 24 or a Neve 1081/73 mixer,who wants to sit it front of a big console,with the sound bouncing of it,sorry,got off the point

it does
#29
30th January 2006
Old 30th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesd
hi,

...,who wants to sit it front of a big console,with the sound bouncing of it,sorry,got off the point
Uh... I do!!!
#30
31st January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlocascio
Uh... I DO!!!
me too
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