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Hardware Summing / Outboard gear that makes a "noticeable" difference to the mix? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 1 day ago
  #91
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markodarko's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by drainyoo View Post
I used to think the analog summing was BS until I tried it. It's night and day for me. I will never go back to summing in the box. <snip>

Ableton > Burl B32 > Drawmer 1978 > Elysia Xfilter > Overstayer Saturator > Ableton
That's great that you found a combination that works for you. Unfortunately, that combination of gear you listed is nearly £6000 and hence way out of my price range.
Old 1 day ago
  #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drainyoo View Post
I used to think the analog summing was BS until I tried it... my OTB summing chain is:

Ableton > Burl B32 > Drawmer 1978 > Elysia Xfilter > Overstayer Saturator > Ableton
I don't see how this can be described as a summing chain, at least not the way you have presented it.

Summing, in the widely understood meaning of the word, requires there to be mixing involved, either of individual tracks or stems.

Where is the mixing taking place in your system?

Are you, in fact, summing your mix in Ableton and then pushing out the stereo mix through the quasi-mastering chain described above?

If so, that ain't summing, or rather your summing is being handled digitally by your DAW, i.e. Ableton's mix bus.
Old 1 day ago
  #93
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Synth Buddha's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
I fail to see how this can be a a summing chain, at least the way you have presented it.

Summing, at least in the widely understood meaning of the word, requires there to be mixing involved, either of individual tracks or stems.

Where is the mixing taking place in your system?

Are you, in fact, summing your mix in Ableton and then pushing out the stereo mix through the quasi-mastering chain described above?

If so, that ain't summing, or rather your summing is being handled digitally by your DAW, i.e. Ableton's mix bus.
Do you know what a Burl B32 is?
Old 1 day ago
  #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synth Buddha View Post
Do you know what a Burl B32 is?
I do now.

Foot in mouth.

/resume thread
Old 1 day ago
  #95
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Synth Buddha's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
I do now.

Foot in mouth.

/resume thread
Hehehehe.
Old 20 hours ago
  #96
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Hazmatic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by markodarko View Post
You have a very good point!

You'll have to give a proper review of the Analog Heat in this thread once you acquire one.
Old 19 hours ago
  #97
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I had the Analog Heat for a week last year and loved it. It’s a great sounding device. I just couldn’t afford it at the time. Man, you’re gonna have fun with it.
Old 19 hours ago
  #98
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From Tape-Op on the Burl. This author describes the “less mixing” aspect as well:

also ran the unit through its paces on several tracking sessions and mixes with Brooklyn artist Grace Weber. It's here that I really feel I have come to understand the power of the B32 and analog summing in general. I noticed right away the openness front-to-back as well as the width left- to-right. The center image was strong and the room was more "visible." In panning instruments around the stereo field, I was amazed at how much more detail I perceived in regards to the location of instruments. Small moves were more evident and precise. Also, I tended to use less EQ overall, and the mix sounded smoother and more rich to my ear in the 3-5 kHz range than with an ITB mix; and I got to a very solid mix quickly. Everything just seemed to have its place.
Old 18 hours ago
  #99
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazmatic View Post
You'll have to give a proper review of the Analog Heat in this thread once you acquire one.
Yes, you're right. It's what I should get. It's the one that makes most sense in my mind in terms of flexibility - and price, to a lesser extent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by godlesshorror View Post
I had the Analog Heat for a week last year and loved it. It’s a great sounding device. I just couldn’t afford it at the time. Man, you’re gonna have fun with it.
Yeah, I think I've been trying to talk myself out of it by thinking I need to "spend more", but the more reviews I read and listen to, the more I really like it and see its potential.
Old 17 hours ago
  #100
Hardware vs. Software

Hey everyone,

I figured I'd throw in my two cents. To preface my statements, I'm a hobbyist that loves to write, and mix. I don't have a ton of releases to my name, but I've bought and sold a ton stuff, while chasing the hardware dragon. I'm also a big fan of recalling old work, and I'm not a fan of patch bays.

I realize this is a thread about 'summing' but I feel there's a much more important stage before dissecting 'summing' techniques. It's the handling of the source material. If the song is recorded correctly, it makes the mixing process a breeze. Often times, it becomes an exercise of just setting the faders, panning, send FX with some corrective EQ and compression. And remember, compression in series is multiplied! So that means far less reliance on the software compression, once the track is ITB.

Tracking thru a nice preamp with a high-pass filter into a hardware compressor will make all of the difference in the world. Especially, when it comes to tracking vocals, guitars, bass, or acoustic drums. On synthesizers and drum machines, you're dialing in the transients anyway (via envelope settings), so you can forget the compression, unless you're trying to achieve sucking/breathing/glue effects (which I prefer to do via side-chaining ITB).

A little bit of saturation via preamps, and filtering out the low-end muck will make mixing ITB a million times easier and faster, regardless of ITB or OTB summing.

As a musician, I tend to like stuff that's dead simple to use. IMO, the best pieces of hardware that I've used to date are the following:
  • Empirical Labs FATSO
  • Empirical Labs Derr Esser
  • Empirical Labs Mike-E
  • Shadow Hills Dual Vandergraph
  • XQP 541 Opto Compressor
  • Dramastic Audio Obsidian
  • Electrodyne Preamps
  • Great River Preamps
  • Daking/API Preamps
  • Elysia Xfilter

My reason for loving the stuff mentioned above is because they either come with manuals that teach the user how to run their devices, or they're completely brainless to operate. For example, the XQP, FATSO, and Dual Vandergraph are compressors that cover a wide palette.., but brilliantly remove the issue of dealing with time-constants. IMO, the only compressors that feel 'musical' to me are the SSL-style compressors. You set the attack and release to the beat of the music, and once the needle bounces along to the rhythm, you adjust the threshold to taste.

In terms of preamps, get some brighter stuff (API/Daking) for transient preservation, and/or darker stuff (Neve/Electrodyne) to saturate/smoothen material. If the price of 'brand-name' gear strikes fear into the heart of your significant other, then try Warm Audio, Black Lion, and/or FMR Audio.

Add an EQ to your setup if the preamp doesn't have a low-pass filter. The low frequency junk can ruin OTB compression. Then (while tracking), make sure you're hitting the converters no higher than -18dB to -12dB.

I digress.., and I apologize about being all over the place!

As for analogue summing, I'd dig more into this if I was mixing other people's work and wanted to integrate my outboard EQ and compressors. You'd be better off slapping a hardware EQ and compressor on the mix-buss than a summing unit.

As a rule of thumb, mix work should be subtle and/or corrective. Hardware tends to handle extremes much better than plugins. Tracking is when the hardware will usually be pushed, so spend your money on the upfront, critical stuff.

And lastly, guys like Andrew Scheps and Tchad Blake churn out more Grammy award winning albums than anyone, and they're fully mixing ITB. However, they're handed stuff tracked thru world-class hardware by amazing tracking engineers. Some folks (like Scheps) are convinced the 'loop-back' required for analogue processing such as summing degrades the audio.., which is a whole other can of worms.

Buy some tutorials from people like this. Your mixes will start sounding a lot better, regardless of whether you’re using hardware or not, and your wallet will be thicker.

I'm by no means suggesting my way is correct; but, if you're an avid hobbyist that desires quality results while staying in a 'musician's' frame of mind, then I'm hoping this post helps someone.

Cheers,

Phil

Last edited by Palaver; 8 hours ago at 02:55 AM..
Old 17 hours ago
  #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palaver View Post
On synthesizers and drum machines, you're dialing in the transients anyway (via envelope settings), so you can forget the compression, unless you're trying to achieve sucking/breathing/glue effects (which I prefer to do via side-chaining ITB).
Compression certainly has a place when recording synths, particularly when playing with the controls. Most obvious is adding/lowering resonance, particularly on 24dB filters where changes in level can be quite drastic on some synths.
Old 16 hours ago
  #102
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Palaver View Post
I'm by no means suggesting my way is correct; but, if you're an avid hobbyist that desires quality results while staying in a 'musician's' frame of mind, then I'm hoping this post helps someone.
Thanks for that excellent post, Phil. It's very much appreciated.

Incidentally, the post wasn't meant to be about summing - in my initial post I did try to state that it was about picking "one box" to improve your mix, but I think that got lost in my tome.

It was wrongly titled by me. I apologise.
Old 16 hours ago
  #103
Quote:
Originally Posted by haze015 View Post
Compression certainly has a place when recording synths, particularly when playing with the controls. Most obvious is adding/lowering resonance, particularly on 24dB filters where changes in level can be quite drastic on some synths.
Absolutely. I tend to throw limiters on synths, especially bass. In my tracks, I find myself trying to maintain consistent 'synth' volume(s) via FabFilter Pro-L (after I'm ITB). I tend to compress in series on more acoustic stuff (vox/guitars). This is another excellent topic, especially when learning how to achieve punishing levels that compete with commercial stuff.

But for sure.., different strokes for different folks. I still have lots left to learn, and my post contains many generalities. Perhaps, too many?

Thanks for the tip and insight. And for everyone else, feel free to correct/criticize my post the way you see fit!

Cheers,
Phil
Old 16 hours ago
  #104
Quote:
Originally Posted by markodarko View Post
Thanks for that excellent post, Phil. It's very much appreciated.

Incidentally, the post wasn't meant to be about summing - in my initial post I did try to state that it was about picking "one box" to improve your mix, but I think that got lost in my tome.

It was wrongly titled by me. I apologise.
No worries! I really enjoyed reading through this thread and wanted to participate. It's important to note that everyone has their own path, and the journey is about finding instruments and tools that improve your workflow.

As for 1-box, I'd grab a six space API lunchbox, and stuff it with a pair of preamps, an Elysia Xfilter, and a Shadow Hills DVC. You could literally do anything with this combo; you could track mono, stereo, or toss it on the mix bus. And try to buy used where you can!

Cheers,

Phil
Old 16 hours ago
  #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palaver View Post
No worries! I really enjoyed reading through this thread and wanted to participate. It's important to note that everyone has their own path, and the journey is about finding instruments and tools that improve your workflow.

As for 1-box, I'd grab a six space API lunchbox, and stuff it with a pair of preamps, an Elysia Xfilter, and a Shadow Hills DVC. You could literally do anything with this combo; you could track mono, stereo, or toss it on the mix bus. And try to buy used where you can!

Cheers,

Phil
Great attitude and helpful posts. Nice one.
Old 11 hours ago
  #106
Here for the gear
 

This has turned out to be a great thread!

Reminds me of the old gearslutz when people shared ideas with goodwill.

Some great stuff Phil!!
Old 10 hours ago
  #107
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by godlesshorror View Post
Reminds me of the old gearslutz when people shared ideas with goodwill.
Sh*t. Has that happened?! We will have to put a stop to that IMMEDIATELY!
Old 9 hours ago
  #108
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drockfresh's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drainyoo View Post
I used to think the analog summing was BS until I tried it. It's night and day for me. I will never go back to summing in the box. But the magic is not that it gives it an analog sound, because I already start in the analog world, but the magic is that it adds depth and width to a mix that I don't get when just summing ITB.

For reference, my OTB summing chain is:

Ableton > Burl B32 > Drawmer 1978 > Elysia Xfilter > Overstayer Saturator > Ableton
That’s one sexy signal chain bro
Old 8 hours ago
  #109
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string6theory's Avatar
+1000 to the excellent post from Phil emphasizing the front end of your recording chain and prioritizing high quality tracking. This is the crux of the biscuit and can’t be overstated.
Old 7 hours ago
  #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palaver View Post
Absolutely. I tend to throw limiters on synths, especially bass. In my tracks, I find myself trying to maintain consistent 'synth' volume(s) via FabFilter Pro-L (after I'm ITB). I tend to compress in series on more acoustic stuff (vox/guitars). This is another excellent topic, especially when learning how to achieve punishing levels that compete with commercial stuff.

But for sure.., different strokes for different folks. I still have lots left to learn, and my post contains many generalities. Perhaps, too many?

Thanks for the tip and insight. And for everyone else, feel free to correct/criticize my post the way you see fit!

Cheers,
Phil
Oh it wasn't a criticism, was actually a great post.
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