Who got rid of their Summing Box!
zak7
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#1
23rd October 2007
Old 23rd October 2007
  #1
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Thread Starter
Who got rid of their Summing Box!

Did anybody here got rid of your Summing Box because thought was not worth it and instead bought something else?? if yes please tell us what you got, which summing box you had and why do you think your summing box/system was not worth it?
#2
23rd October 2007
Old 23rd October 2007
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AMIEL's Avatar
the missiles are coming!
#3
23rd October 2007
Old 23rd October 2007
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Incoming!........

Never!! Hisssssss!
#4
23rd October 2007
Old 23rd October 2007
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#5
23rd October 2007
Old 23rd October 2007
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Yes, and I moved on to a 24 channel console. Had a SUMO and it didn't add anything. I have heard both the Manley and the API (8200) and both were pretty wonderful so I don't think you can generalize if a summing box is a good thing. I think those are both considered summing, the Manley was more of a line mixer I guess.
#6
23rd October 2007
Old 23rd October 2007
  #6
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i went through a bunch of them...

8816, nicerizer 16, spl, dangerous.

i ended up really digging what i can do with a folcrum and some preamps.

if i cannot get on a api/neve/ssl/trident/neotek/daking type desk to mix....the folcrum works great for me. i like being able to change the overall "character" of the mix bus with different preamps. plus...it makes me feel like i am getting more use out of the preamps then just when tracking drums !!

i have found that mixing INTO the folcrum is really the only way i prefer it over ITB. when i have taken ITB mixes that i had finished and then sent them in stems out to the folcrum...not much difference to my ears. mixing with the folcrum from the get go...esp when introducing some outboard comps and eqs...thats the way i like to go.

best,

jchristopherhughes
#7
23rd October 2007
Old 23rd October 2007
  #7
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Folcrom here too.
I mix into it, and once i am in the analog domain, i have an analog chain of comps and eqs before i recapture it into the Rosetta.
Love it .
And no
I don't sell it.
#8
23rd October 2007
Old 23rd October 2007
  #8
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Folcrum in our shop-- although I haven't personally used it for my stuff.. the other AE's swear by it.. and the BUZZ preamp on it.
#9
23rd October 2007
Old 23rd October 2007
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The MPCist's Avatar
 

Had a Manley Mixer for summing. Sold it.

























then bought a bigger summer: SSL AWS900.

Now I'm thinking of whether I should sell it.
#10
23rd October 2007
Old 23rd October 2007
  #10
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I sold my Phoenix Nicerizer 16.

It does make a difference to the mix, but most (perhaps all) of the difference it made I believe can be achieved by passing the mix through my Phoenix DRS-Q4, should I want that flavour and I often do.

ITB mixing + outboard inserts using delay compensation is what I'm building.
#11
23rd October 2007
Old 23rd October 2007
  #11
Owned & got rid of: Dangerous, Amek CIB mixing system, Inward Connections & Folcrom

Have tried: API 8200a,Tonelux,8816,Chandler, SPL mixdream, Shadow Hills, SSL X-rack

Own right now: None

Why?

Because without the necessary inserts, busses, aux sends, returns and automation in the analog realm there is just no way to fix what they do the audio.
#12
27th October 2007
Old 27th October 2007
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
Owned & got rid of: Dangerous, Amek CIB mixing system, Inward Connections & Folcrom

Have tried: API 8200a,Tonelux,8816,Chandler, SPL mixdream, Shadow Hills, SSL X-rack

Own right now: None

Why?

Because without the necessary inserts, busses, aux sends, returns and automation in the analog realm there is just no way to fix what they do the audio.


Hi Thrill!! do u mean they degrade the sound?
Can you elaborate your answer?
I think your opinion can be very interesting.

Which boxes did you prefer?
#13
27th October 2007
Old 27th October 2007
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The MPCist View Post
then bought a bigger summer: SSL AWS900.

Now I'm thinking of whether I should sell it.
Why are you thinking of selling it?
#14
27th October 2007
Old 27th October 2007
  #14
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severe's Avatar
 

interesting thread. thumbsup
#15
27th October 2007
Old 27th October 2007
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMIEL View Post
[/B]

Hi Thrill!! do u mean they degrade the sound?
Can you elaborate your answer?
I think your opinion can be very interesting.

Which boxes did you prefer?
Its not that they degrade the sound is that they tend to push the tracks back. Sometimes that is a good thing if for example you are mixing a jazz song that was tracked digitally and all of focus is on the attack(hence the lack of depth) of the notes but no "gel".

In this case laying them back can make them more palpable and fits the music better.

But most modern music has the energy on the attacks(hence the over use of compression/hyper EQ) and laying things back is counter productive. On most great mixing consoles running the tracks through the channels(line inputs,EQ's and sometimes compressors) can "bump' them up nicely. Without these things before the summing amp you lose that little magic the console can give you. On certain consoles because of the what the signal goes through(lots of transformers for example) parallel processing becomes a god send because you can process the signal apart from the original and add back some energy. The only issue that pops up is that in order to balance the new processed energy you need some kind of automation or it is possible to overwhelm the mix.

None of the summing boxes out there provide enough of the routing options needed and none of them provide automation.

Which boxes did i prefer?

Well right now i own none so i guess that would be my answer.

I did like what some of the boxes did in terms of processing the sound though. For example the Chandler screamed character but without EQ's and the necessary routing the tone would overwhelm a lot of mixes. But i could see it as a really cool tracking or mixing tool for drums for example if you wanted to take out the digital edge. The Equinox & Inwards Connection also has a really cool tone to it that in a console would really rock but again without the routing there really isn't much there to fix things. The Tonelux to me was not what i expected at all. It was cleaner than i thought but still had a little bit of the API character. It actually to me ears had a lot of the SSL 9000 going for it as well in what an SSL does to the center image. It just lacked width and i could see getting bored with the tone after a while(just an opinion folks). The biggest dissapointment to my ears was the API summing box. It was boring and small but with some of the sound of the API 550B EQ's which i personally don't care for. It really shows that you can't pull one piece out of a console and expect it to represent the full sound of a console which is really the combination of the sum of the parts. The Neve 8816 was a nice little compromise with all of the above but i remember thinking that going through the channels of a Neve VR just made it sound nicer and i know i would need the line amps and EQ's some day to fix the sound.

All of the others i grouped in the sounds to much like PTools to my ears so why the hell would i even bother like the SPL Mixdream,Dangerous,Folcrom and SSL X-Rack. I guess some people like mixing in clean enviroments which i personally don't. I liked to be inspired once in a while how the console can instantly make things pleasant and easier to mix. This is my biggest issue with mixing in PTools. Its not the summing its the sound of the mixer or lack there of. By the time you get done with a mix you've over processed the sounds just to synthesized some kind of gel back into the mix. Hopefully in the future upgrades they will come up with a sound for that thing.
#16
27th October 2007
Old 27th October 2007
  #16
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Thrill - When you were trying out the SSL X-Rack, which modules were you using?

Mainly curious if you heard a difference between the 4 input module with levels and pan, as opposed to the 8 input module
#17
27th October 2007
Old 27th October 2007
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benmrx View Post
Thrill - When you were trying out the SSL X-Rack, which modules were you using?

Mainly curious if you heard a difference between the 4 input module with levels and pan, as opposed to the 8 input module
Honestly i don't really remember. I went to check out the channel EQ's and compressors which is really what i was looking for. They had the summing in it so i just checked it out for kicks. But to let you know i've never been a big fan of the sound of the 9000 series anyway so i wasn't really expected to be blown away anyway.
#18
27th October 2007
Old 27th October 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
Honestly i don't really remember. I went to check out the channel EQ's and compressors which is really what i was looking for. They had the summing in it so i just checked it out for kicks. But to let you know i've never been a big fan of the sound of the 9000 series anyway so i wasn't really expected to be blown away anyway.
Right on.

It's not everyones favorite sound......but what is.
#19
27th October 2007
Old 27th October 2007
  #19
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I use to think that if you were going to buy a summing system, then it should have a distinct character that it should add to the mix. Now, I'm not so sure I would want an overly colorful system (though that's probably what people are looking for).

I think at this point, I'm just looking for a versatile way to interface all my analog outboard gear with my DAW (and without converting back in through the A/D's for every piece). I think the X rack makes a lot of sense, being a modular system with TR.

I can't wait to check it out.
#20
27th October 2007
Old 27th October 2007
  #20
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These three options make sense:

1) Full analog console

2) Staying fully ITB (incl possibly using hardware inserts)

3) Just taking two channels out from DAW, running through an ATTY or other simple attenuator, and back through a preamp and whatever other analog goodies you like.

The option to use a summing device hasn't made sense since they fixed the ITB summing algorithms years ago. You get 8 times as much sound of your DACs (which generally isn't that good a sound, especially when you have to pay for all those DACs), which you can minimize by just running 2 channels out of them and keeping 6db of headroom. You lose precise panning control, which means that you can't use e.g. a mono analog compressor on something you want to pan anywhere other than full left right or center the entire mix. Etc.

Analog summing devices are a lose-lose proposition and will be one of the things we laugh about 10 years from now. You'll be able to buy old ones for $50 or so and use them as line mixers for old analog synths and such.
#21
27th October 2007
Old 27th October 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
Analog summing devices are a lose-lose proposition and will be one of the things we laugh about 10 years from now. You'll be able to buy old ones for $50 or so and use them as line mixers for old analog synths and such.
I completely disagree.....

Tony hit the nail on the head....

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
I think at this point, I'm just looking for a versatile way to interface all my analog outboard gear with my DAW (and without converting back in through the A/D's for every piece).
Hardware EQ's, comps and other goodies are not going anyplace anytime soon and summing units (like my Tonelux) are perfect for integrating this hardware into my system.
#22
27th October 2007
Old 27th October 2007
  #22
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I've never integrated one into my setup beyond a short time frame. I think the Folcrom is a no-brainer for anybody who wants to try summing and has high quality mic pres (and choices) to add character if they like. I use Nuendo, and believe having a high quality analog device at the end of the chain with a transformer on board can make a big difference (again, Folcrom comes to mind by choosing the right pres) but that Nuendo itself seems to do a fine job of summing anyhow.

I do hear a difference though in the energy of a mix even when running out and back in to re-record the mix rather than an internal bounce. It's not huge, but enough to hear it and it seems to affect low end relationships in the mix a bit and kind of blur them some (internal bounce). There is a difference between playback in real time and the final mix when done internally though, again it can be subtle but it's there.

I've just never been real big on them overall but there certainly are ones that effect the mix. The Speck x.sum by the way is clean like all of Vince's stuff, yet a very useful mixer for other things and I consider it to be exceptional as it is multi purpose as a full mixer for synths, effects etc with panning too.

War
#23
27th October 2007
Old 27th October 2007
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
These three options make sense:

1) Full analog console

2) Staying fully ITB

3) Just taking two channels out from DAW, running through an ATTY or other simple attenuator, and back through a preamp and whatever other analog goodies you like.

The option to use a summing device hasn't made sense since they fixed the ITB summing algorithms years ago. You get 8 times as much sound of your DACs (which generally isn't that good a sound, especially when you have to pay for all those DACs), which you can minimize by just running 2 channels out of them and keeping 6db of headroom. You lose precise panning control, which means that you can't use e.g. a mono analog compressor on something you want to pan anywhere other than full left right or center the entire mix. Etc.

Analog summing devices are a lose-lose proposition and will be one of the things we laugh about 10 years from now. You'll be able to buy old ones for $50 or so and use them as line mixers for old analog synths and such.
I disagree. In my private studio, where I'm doing a portion of my mix work these days, I'm using Logic, into a Radar, summed through 2 Dangerous 2 busses linked together. I have done extensive testing between mixing out 2 channels and mixing out 22 (two are reserved to print the mix), and the difference is significant. And just so we're clear, I made this determination before actually purchasing the 2-busses. And all DAWs bog down at the 2-buss. All of them. I always thought it was a PT issue. But now I know, it's a DAW issue. Not a platform issue.

Here's how I suggest everyone test it. Beg, borrow, steal, or purchase (for possible return) a summing box. Start mixing a song ITB with 2 outputs. Go beyond the point in the mix where it's pumping and you're loving it, to the point where you are beginning to struggle and hating it. At that point in the mix you should switch to multiple outputs into a summing buss (and if you want to take a break before you do this, by all means do). I've only tried the Dangerous 2 bus, so I have no basis of comparison between different brands of summing, but by using multiple outputs into a Dangerous 2-buss, there is a greater depth of field, considerably more clarity in the bottom end, a seemingly broader frequency range, and more punch. It's night and day.

Now, when you do this, your mix will have changed slightly. The reason I suggest doing it at this particular struggle point in the mix, is because that is the time that you are most in tune with what you're trying to achieve. You know the arrangement, you know the problems, you know how everything interacts. At the same time, you have quite a bit to go before your mix is in the bag. At this point in the mix, when switching to multiple outs, you should notice an immediate improvement on how your mix is working and sounding, particularly in the bottom end.

Now, I've used a whole lot of adjectives to describe this for you, and you may describe it differently, but all DAWs bog down on the 2-buss. All of them. You can argue it if you like, and if you think I'm wrong that's fine. But for those of you that have NOT tried using a summing box of any kind, you're making life more difficult for yourself. DO NOT TAKE MY OR ANYONE ELSE'S WORD ON THIS. You MUST do this experiment, as I've laid it out above, for you yourself. When you do, you'll most likely own a new piece of hardware, and you'll be sending me Festivus (the holiday for the rest of us) cards for the rest of your life.

My final disclaimer. I can't vouch for any 2-bus other than the Dangerous. So, if it doesn't work out for you, then there is something seriously wrong with that piece of kit.

Enjoy,

Mixerman
#24
28th October 2007
Old 28th October 2007
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixerman View Post
...by using multiple outputs into a Dangerous 2-buss, there is a greater depth of field, considerably more clarity in the bottom end, a seemingly broader frequency range, and more punch. It's night and day.
..which brings me to my .02.

I don't own a summing unit, however I do sum my mixes through a small 24 channel Soundtracs at home. I have to agree with Mixerman's opinions on the effects of summing. I had similar results with my initial testing and have kept it to a hybrid ever since.

At times I've thought of losing the board I'm currently running through, though I'm not sure a summing box would make much of a difference. I've also hoped I'd find a DAW that would give me the same results as mixing OTB. Each has it's advantages we're all aware of, but I can't see keeping it to ITB for most things I do anymore.

BTW, a lot of what I do is rock oriented at the moment. Kinda indyish type of stuff. Highest fidelity is not the most crucial thing for me. But it's not just a fidelity issue that's gained by summing, IMO. It's a combination of several things, all of which Mixerman has described.. if that makes any sense.

I've kept some less rock oriented things ITB. I think, on account of the quality of my mixer at home, if I were to begin work on a more polished sounding production I would try to keep it ITB until I'm able to afford better summing of some kind, whether another mixer or box.
#25
28th October 2007
Old 28th October 2007
  #25
Gear Head
 

would one gain any benefit just coming stereo out of my da into a mixdown deck of whatever sort, instead of letting the software do the internal summing?
#26
28th October 2007
Old 28th October 2007
  #26
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I've built three Folcrom style summing boxes to date. The first one didn't maintain the correct impedance when some of the outputs weren't used. Then I built two more. One had 8 channels (3 stereo, 2 mono), and the other had 12 channels (2 mono, 5 stereo). I did many experiments and tests using every preamp I had available to provide makeup gain. By the way, the Pacifica and API 3124 were my faves.

What I found was this:

1. It was a handy way to hook up my analog gear during mixdown.
2. It was an awful way to hook up my analog gear during mixdown because I couldn't put a fader after the processors, and so automation screwed with levels going to compressors.
3. It sounded "better" than just doing an ITB mix because it was going through gear with transformers and/or tubes.
4. It was a royal pain in the ass to patch it all together.
5. It used up all my D/A channels.
6. All the cabling involved (Mogami) actually degraded the tone of my tracks in ways that I didn't like (yeah laugh all you like, but try getting some high end cables and doing loopback tests to compare how the audio is "filtered" going through various cable options...match levels and compare to the sound that doesn't leave the computer).

So I stopped using that setup and switched to the following which sounded superior to my ears:

1. I used my A/D and D/A for hardware inserts within the DAW. This simplified routing greatly and was easier for me to set up and recall, which are big plusses to me.
2. I send the output of the main bus in Cubase directly to a custom mix bus compressor I made and return directly to A/D. I use my highest quality cables for this connection to minimize signal degradation. This compressor has transformers on the output and that adds the right amount of analog mojo that I seek. I also still enjoy occasionally sending the entire mix into the inputs of my Pacifica preamp. Creamy goodness.

Bottom line. Summing boxes are bunk to me. I agree that the audio world will view them as a passing fad. Everyone needs to do your own experiments and make up your own mind about this stuff since each us have different workflows and processes and therefore have different needs.

I too agree that software mixes should have a sound. I would be really into that.

Brad
#27
28th October 2007
Old 28th October 2007
  #27
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TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hamonrye View Post
would one gain any benefit just coming stereo out of my da into a mixdown deck of whatever sort, instead of letting the software do the internal summing?
The software would still be doing the summing if you came out two channels..
#28
28th October 2007
Old 28th October 2007
  #28
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TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
snip

All the cabling involved (Mogami) actually degraded the tone of my tracks in ways that I didn't like (yeah laugh all you like, but try getting some high end cables and doing loopback tests to compare how the audio is "filtered" going through various cable options...match levels and compare to the sound that doesn't leave the computer).

snip

I used my A/D and D/A for hardware inserts within the DAW. This simplified routing greatly and was easier for me to set up and recall, which are big plusses to me.
2. I send the output of the main bus in Cubase directly to a custom mix bus compressor I made and return directly to A/D. I use my highest quality cables for this connection to minimize signal degradation. This compressor has transformers on the output and that adds the right amount of analog mojo that I seek. I also still enjoy occasionally sending the entire mix into the inputs of my Pacifica preamp. Creamy goodness.
But, now you're passing through additional conversion stages and aren't worried about that degrading your sound?

If you only have a handful of analog EQ's and compressors, it's probably not so much of an issue. But, I have around 16 channels of outboard EQ AND compressors... I think if I used all of it and went in and out for every piece, it would effect the sound tremendously.
jho
#29
28th October 2007
Old 28th October 2007
  #29
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I am getting an X-Rack so I'll let you know what I think after some extensive testing. No one so far that has posted had more than limited time with it so IMO the jury still out.

I had the API 8200 series and I did like it. Definitely gave your mix the API console sound.. very rock and roll, some minor compressing happing. The reason I didn't like it was because of the user interface. Teeny knobs that easily got changed with no center point. (I had two of them a 8200 and an 8200A). I kind of wish I'd held onto them but I was lusting after something else more and that was the most expendable at the time.

But, I figure with the X-Rack, I'll have more options because even if the summing doesn't do it for me, it takes pres, dynamics, EQ, and buss compressors, I have lots of options and I'll never outgrow these things. And the new VHD pre looks really useful. Not to mention the total recall on all the modules... that is sweet.

I predict I think I'm going to be very happy with the summing. Will let you guys know after a few mixes.

#30
28th October 2007
Old 28th October 2007
  #30
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Brad McGowan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
But, now you're passing through additional conversion stages and aren't worried about that degrading your sound?

If you only have a handful of analog EQ's and compressors, it's probably not so much of an issue. But, I have around 16 channels of outboard EQ AND compressors... I think if I used all of it and went in and out for every piece, it would effect the sound tremendously.
Yeah I only have a small handful of outboard stuff. So it's definitely setup dependant. But to answer your question I find my Mytek converters color the sound less than the Mogami cable hooking it all up so I'm not really worried about the conversion. I know this because hooking up better cable sounds less degraded to my ears.

Brad
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