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Best summing mixer for a high end DAW?
Old 28th February 2007
  #31
Gear Addict
 

The Folcrom is not bad at all. In fact, it's quite stunning. It's a fantastic box. It depends on your work flow and how much control you want from the DAW.

All of the summing boxes mentioned have their admirers. The Folcrom is no exception. If you have high end pres and conversion, the Folcrom is very nice indeed.
I happen to prefer "open" and "clean" etc. so I use the appropriate pres to achieve that.

Different tastes.....
Old 28th February 2007
  #32
Lives for gear
I used a pair of Folcroms for quite a while with a pair of Origins as preamps, and the combination sounded great, very big sound.

I subsequently went to an 8816/8804 because I found I really needed panning and faders on the individual channels at the summing unit, after outboard processing.
Old 28th February 2007
  #33
Lives for gear
 
ulysses's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muso View Post
So are there many people out there that will use a desk for the input to the DAW but still sum with a different unit? I can't think of reason to do this apart from imparting a different tonal quality or the desk itself isn't up to it (else we'd be going back into the console for the mixdown)?
The better reason would be that you want to control the mix in the DAW to keep the automation and recall. That's why summing boxes exist. And as far as that goes, most of the boxes discussed in this thread aren't really what I would call dedicated summing devices - they're just small rackmount mixers with small rotary pots instead of faders. That's great for manufacturers who want to jump on the summing bandwagon and sell a product to people who are going to buy something before they've really thought about what they need.

At the risk of beginning to sound repetitive, let me repeat what I've said too many times already. If you want faders, buy a console. If faders are going to piss you off, then you should be looking at an actual dedicated summing device: the Folcrom or the Dangerous 2-Bus. If you actually WANT a basic rackmount line mixer with rotary faders, I'd go for one of the Speck products. Their stuff might not be so flashy and exciting, but they're clean and well built.

Quote:
Originally Posted by over-man View Post
Is the Folcrom really that bad?
I don't know what that guy's problem is. I do know that we've sold a whole lot of Folcroms, and very few of them have appeared on the used market.
Old 28th February 2007
  #34
Quote:
Originally Posted by over-man View Post
That does sound harsh, though I've never heard it. Is the Folcrom really that bad? Right now I don't have two channels worth sending a mix through, but I've been looking at either the Folcrom + pre or the x.sum

It's a blank slate, capable of both mediocre or greatness. It's like calling a white wall 'bad'. It's like calling a passive DI box with quality components 'bad'. It's 100% contingent on whatever preamp you plug it into to.

Great preamp = great sound.

Crap preamp = crap sound.

Even to the point of subjectivity where two people won't agree about what they prefer on the output of the Folcrom, they will agree that it yields a quality mix (that's why I'm surprised about the insinuation, I've yet to hear one person say that with their fav preamp [after some experimentation] the Folcrom even remotely sounds bad...because it doesn't have a sound anymore than your favorite passive DI has a 'sound').
Old 28th February 2007
  #35
Gear Nut
 

The answer is a Solid State Logic Duality, or AMS Neve 88RS!

Threshold.stike
Old 28th February 2007
  #36
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
It's a blank slate, capable of both mediocre or greatness.

Perfect. Thats what I needed to hear. Until I have a couple sets of nice stereo pre-amps (my best right now is a Solo 610), I should just save up. I'm not sure how great firepods would sound across a mix. I usually rent an API 3124 to track drums, along w/ my firepods and 610, then use the 3124 or 610 for all overdubs and re-amping.

I think a summing mixer would really help my mixes though...
Old 28th February 2007
  #37
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by ulysses View Post

If you want faders, buy a console. If faders are going to piss you off, then you should be looking at an actual dedicated summing device: the Folcrom or the Dangerous 2-Bus.
With all due respect, Justin, the choice doesn't have to be one extreme or the other, period. I have found that (1) faders and (2) panning at the summing unit (after hardware processing) have made a very big improvement in my mixes.........yet there is no way I am going to buy a console for my home studio situation, and I didn't need to.

I am not criticizing the Folcroms in ANY way. I have already said the Folcroms are great passive summing units when accompanied by great preamps like the Origins. Huge sound. Anybody who hasn't tried the Folcrom/Origin combination should give it a listen. I don't know how anybody can criticize the Folcroms for what they do. (And BTW, Justin and Nathan helped me a bunch in sorting out processing/preamps/etc. with the Folcroms..........you couldn't get better support anywhere.)

Basically, each individual needs to think thru the advantages of panning and faders at the summing unit, instead of in the DAW. If you are doing everything ITB except summing, with no outboard processing, then not an issue............if I were doing that, I'd probably still be using the Folcroms/Origins. But, if there is outboard processing, this is a different situation. And panning/summing are available w/o buying a console...................which very few of us on this forum will ever do.

And finally, demo some units and find out what works for you.
Trying to make this decision w/o listening in your studio with your gear is a crap shoot.

Just trying to clarify the considerations.
Old 28th February 2007
  #38
Lives for gear
 
RKrizman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ulysses View Post
If faders are going to piss you off, then you should be looking at an actual dedicated summing device: the Folcrom or the Dangerous 2-Bus.
There are a lot better choices than the Dangerrous 2-bus. Can't speak for the Folcrom.

-R
Old 28th February 2007
  #39
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
Harsh...what you're implying by saying that isn't true.

Maybe RMS should build one with an active gain stage on the output, then it will be 'acceptable'.
What i am saying is that i tried it with different mic preamps and each time i prefered the ITB summed mix. And please don't get me wrong, i have no problems with ITB summing. I actually feel that a lot of the summers i tried make things sound worse than better. But after reading so many threads here about this "big sound" that you get with a Folcrom and a mic pre i was disapointed with the results. It actually sounded more narrow and distant. Maybe this sounds more"analog" to some.

Personally i prefer present and full be it analog or digital.

And yeah i got mines used and just as easily sold it to someone else who bought it used.
Old 28th February 2007
  #40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Threshold View Post
The answer is a Solid State Logic Duality, or AMS Neve 88RS!

Threshold.stike
I AGREE!!!!!

Armando Avila
www.cosmosproducciones.com
Old 28th February 2007
  #41
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
If it doesn't sound like this before it hits your summing mixer you are in for a big disappointment.
I understand what you're saying here, its not some magical box that will make a mix come alive. How would you describe the difference, and have you tried the Speck x.sum?
Old 28th February 2007
  #42
Lives for gear
 
Ken Lewis's Avatar
I have been mixing thru an SPL Mix Dream for over a year. Did a ton of ITB mixing before that, and have a ton of experience on the big boards as well. I cant speak for other summing boxes, but i LOVE the Mix Dream. With all of these boxes your looking at both straight sonic quality as well as features. The SPL has a stereo enhance section that i find at times incredibly useful. I havent seen that feature on other boxes.

However, I envy the Neve box because it has all 16 channels with Pans, whereas the SPL has only 8 pairs of stereo outs, 1-6 can be switched to center Mono. This means if i want to pan something off center, and insert a single channel outboard EQ, i cant do it. On the NEVE i could. So, because the SPL has cascade ability, i bought an API 8200A (standalone 8 mono channel summing, rotary faders and pans), and i run an extra 8 outputs into the API then into the cascade input of the SPL, giving me 24 channels of analog summing, a nice convenience. Now i can use panned mono channels if i want.

The Limiter on the SPL sounds like complete ass and i've never used it, but its got widely variable output gain, which comes in very handy. Its got a transformer switch which makes an audible difference (i usually keep it engaged). Overall, when i started mixing thru the Mixdream it sounded like being on a console again. And the thing is very quick and easy to accurately recall, which is very important for what i do.

I do also have to say that i spent a full day on the SSL AWS 900 (COMPLETELY different price range), and was seriously impressed especially with the integration to DAW. felt like they thought of everything, and you can control all of your plug in parameters easily from the AWS. Gotta say dialing in plugins while using console style rotary knobs and NOT having to look at a screen actually made the plugins "sound" more analog to me. It was weird. I might have bought an AWS had the Mix Dream not sounded so good. Sorry SSL.
Old 28th February 2007
  #43
Quote:
Originally Posted by over-man View Post
I understand what you're saying here, its not some magical box that will make a mix come alive. How would you describe the difference, and have you tried the Speck x.sum?
Hi.

My opinion is just that an opinion. Before i get slammed around here for my sentiments(or lack their off) towards the Folcrom. I just felt that the whole use a different mic pre for a different sound thing didn't work for me. It always came across as smaller and distant. And i can tell you that i pushed the thing to see if it made a difference and it never got better(actually sounded worse).

And sorry i haven't tried the Xsum. I just feel for me its counterproductive to use tools that have a "clean" sound especially for a mixing topology. My thought process is if am going clean i might as well stay in the box and avoid the extra conversion.

I know.

How non slutty of me.
Old 28th February 2007
  #44
Solid State Logic
 
Jim@SSL's Avatar
 

The great thing about using a "hybrid" setup is that you can tailor it to the way YOU want to work.

Me personally? I think that analogue volume control makes a massive difference when using a summing mixer. I always take the principal elements of my mix out with the fader at 0 in Logic and control their volume with my XRack. Why? This way I use the full bit depth of the signal. To me, a fader at -18dB in Logic sounds rubbish. Recall? No problem - it's just 16 volume pots and 16 pan pots. Takes 2 minutes using the TR in the rack.

However, many others will say that they use their summing mixer for "vibe" and integration with other outboard, and want to do all the volume control in their DAW. A "straight" summer is the best thing for them

We make modules for the XRack to work in both ways. Roll your own, but the sonic footprint is SSL either way.

There are many ways to skin a cat... heh It's all about finding the cat-skinning technique you prefer.
Old 28th February 2007
  #45
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
This is the kind of stuff that pisses me off... are you REALLY going to lead people to believe that it's the "same" as a 9000?

So, there's no difference between 16 channels going through each module of a 9000 into the center section and the XRack?

"...same circuit design..." Come on man, you're better than that, better than slight of hand, slight of words.



-a
I didn't find Jim's comment to be misleading; thought he was just stating that the circuits that are there in the XRack are designed the same as in a 9000 rather than a G. Would be dumb to imply a summer sounds the same as their 500grand console!
Old 28th February 2007
  #46
Lives for gear
 
Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

The real question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by divingduck View Post
I didn't find Jim's comment to be misleading; thought he was just stating that the circuits that are there in the XRack are designed the same as in a 9000 rather than a G. Would be dumb to imply a summer sounds the same as their 500grand console!
Then the real question is: What makes the "SSL sound?" If you think an Xrack gives you that SSL console sound since they "use the same circuits," then it IS misleading.

Ask anyone with an SSL console, anyone who works on one or even anyone who builds them, if they'll be straight with you... what makes "the sound?"

It's the collective path of everything in line in each module in addition to the center section, etc.

You know those new cheap Honda priced Mercedes? Do you think you're really getting a Mercedes? Or just the hood ornament?

-a
Old 28th February 2007
  #47
Gear Maniac
 

Does anyone use a console AND a summing box? Surely that's overkill (unless you're after a different sound on mixdown from the DAW)? (or the console doesn't sound that great)?
Old 28th February 2007
  #48
Solid State Logic
 
Jim@SSL's Avatar
 

This is moving away somewhat from the original thread a little.

I see no need to argue about either personal preferences in the way we work, or about "what makes the SSL sound?"

As a curveball - a Mackie 1604 has much better audio performance than an 8Bus - shorter signal path, less in the circuit etc. Consider this when we all get our knickers in a twist about the "SSL Sound". Different products sound different (shock), and there have been a LOT of SSL consoles out there. Do all of them sound the same? No.

Some people, DirtyHalo included, find that for them the "SSL Sound" can only be found in older products like the 4000, or the 1999 grey-face FX384. Great. Engineering is all about finding the sound you want. Some of us are even lucky enough to be able to afford it!!! (you lucky bugger DHheh)

Others find our newer products like AWS900 and Duality to be dripping in "SSL Sound".

Products and sonic characters evolve and change over time, with different components and different designs.

Does an X-Rack have the "SuperAnalogue Sound"?

Well, sonically it is very similar to an AWS900 and a J or K. Let your own ears decide which of the many products available in the market have the "right" sound for you...

The bottom line is "does using a summing device make my mixes sound better to me and/or my customers?"
Old 28th February 2007
  #49
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
The bottom line is "does using a summing device make my mixes sound better to me and/or my customers?"

You're right. I just need to order a unit, try it out, and see what my ears tell me. Thanks guys.
Old 28th February 2007
  #50
Lives for gear
 
crypticglobe's Avatar
I have tried most of these on this list, and I have to say I still prefer a pair of folcroms and a pair of cool pre's to everything except the chandler line mixer.

Right now I am mixing some stuff through the folcroms and found the germaniums are incredible for the make up gain on these! I thought they would be too heavy handed, but rather they are just right!

Anyway... the folcroms get my vote because they sound amazing (with amazing pre's), re-call is very easy, and you can change the character easily by just using a different pre.
Old 28th February 2007
  #51
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
What i am saying is that i tried it with different mic preamps and each time i prefered the ITB summed mix. And please don't get me wrong, i have no problems with ITB summing. I actually feel that a lot of the summers i tried make things sound worse than better. But after reading so many threads here about this "big sound" that you get with a Folcrom and a mic pre i was disapointed with the results. It actually sounded more narrow and distant. Maybe this sounds more"analog" to some.

Personally i prefer present and full be it analog or digital.

And yeah i got mines used and just as easily sold it to someone else who bought it used.

So you're a big proponent of mixing OTB, which leads me to ask, you use a console for convenience, not sonics? And what pre(s) did you try?
Old 28th February 2007
  #52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
Then the real question is: What makes the "SSL sound?"
No, this is just the question that you keep bringing up everytime anyone utters the word XRack. And for what reason nobody knows.

I've always believed that the new SSLs are designed to be clear, detailed and neutral. If thats not the 'sound' you're looking for, too bad, buy something else. The XRack has inserts on every channel and the master output, thats where the flavours are concocted.
Old 28th February 2007
  #53
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
So you're a big proponent of mixing OTB, which leads me to ask, you use a console for convenience, not sonics?
No i never said that. To me the ideal console is a combination of the right features and sonics. The summing section of a console is one small proponent which i rarely ever notice only when summing a large number of inputs. Then it becomes more of a headroom issue than anything.

ITB summing is fine to me especially considering the fact that alot of times you are summing so many tracks and inputs that most consoles couldn't handle. Also the features/routing options are there and you have the benefit of the recall. My one caveat is the sound or lack their of on DAW mixers. They are very much on the sterile side which when mixing can make your job much harder because you have to use more processing than necessary to give it a vibe. In the end your sound can start to suffer...there is a processing breaking point or point of negative returns.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
And what pre(s) did you try?
Neves,API,GML,SSL FX G383/XL Logic channel,Trident B range and S20,Focusrite Reds,Avalons,Ameks basically whatever was around.
Old 1st March 2007
  #54
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
Ask anyone with an SSL console, anyone who works on one or even anyone who builds them, if they'll be straight with you... what makes "the sound?"

It's the collective path of everything in line in each module in addition to the center section, etc.
-a
We don't appear to be in disagreement...
Old 1st March 2007
  #55
Gear Head
 

haha

In twenty years people are gonna look back at summing boxes and laugh.
Old 1st March 2007
  #56
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuartdixon View Post
haha

In twenty years people are gonna look back at summing boxes and laugh.
Be that as it may...............

If you
(1) Use a DAW for tracking/editing/storing
(2) Process essentially 100% OTB
(3) Are in a home studio situation where you will never buy a console,
then a summer/mixer makes all the sense in the world.

I go out of the DAW with 16 basic tracks. After outboard processing, I send direct outs from the main summing unit to outboard effects. I end up summing up to 48 tracks (including effects). Then I outboard process the mix and I usually go to tape before finally going back into the DAW.

The summing units allow me to stay OTB throughout the processing until the final step.

And BTW, I happen to like the sound I get.

So, I'm not sure what a conversation 20 years from now has to do with what gear works for me today. If you don't like summing units, don't use 'em, no problem. But for some of us, they are a blessing.
Old 1st March 2007
  #57
11413
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuartdixon View Post
In twenty years people are gonna look back at summing boxes and laugh.
that's probably true of anything you buy today... computer... car.. clothes..

Old 1st March 2007
  #58
Lives for gear
 
Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

I apologize.

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
This is moving away somewhat from the original thread a little.

I see no need to argue about either personal preferences in the way we work, or about "what makes the SSL sound?"

As a curveball - a Mackie 1604 has much better audio performance than an 8Bus - shorter signal path, less in the circuit etc. Consider this when we all get our knickers in a twist about the "SSL Sound". Different products sound different (shock), and there have been a LOT of SSL consoles out there. Do all of them sound the same? No.

Some people, DirtyHalo included, find that for them the "SSL Sound" can only be found in older products like the 4000, or the 1999 grey-face FX384. Great. Engineering is all about finding the sound you want. Some of us are even lucky enough to be able to afford it!!! (you lucky bugger DHheh)

Others find our newer products like AWS900 and Duality to be dripping in "SSL Sound".

Products and sonic characters evolve and change over time, with different components and different designs.

Does an X-Rack have the "SuperAnalogue Sound"?

Well, sonically it is very similar to an AWS900 and a J or K. Let your own ears decide which of the many products available in the market have the "right" sound for you...

The bottom line is "does using a summing device make my mixes sound better to me and/or my customers?"
No, my bad. You're right and I apologize. The "SSL" sound is whatever SSL designs. I guess I associate it with the "classic" SSL sound, perhaps the same way there are a ton of Neves, but we think 1073, etc.

So, I concede, SSL is whatever it chooses to be. Or will become.

Our first album was mixed on a 9000J and that certainly was an "SSL" sound too.

I guess the one thing that has my knickers in a bunch is oddly out of defense FOR SSL... I just would hate to see the brand watered down, the same way Mercedes was a Mercedes and now they're becoming more like Hondas.

But then again, evolution... it'll be what it will be.

I do love that SSL 4000 G & E sound! I think that's what many of us think or hear consciously or otherwise. The "sound" of an Xrack is still TBD as it becomes part of music today.

So, everyone, buy an Xrack and sell me your SSL 4000E for cheap!heh

My apologies Jim, thanks for excellent work and a great brand making great gear. Truy

-a

DIRTY HALO www.dirtyhalo.com
Old 1st March 2007
  #59
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuartdixon View Post
haha

In twenty years people are gonna look back at summing boxes and laugh.
Until someone designs an affordable and fully-automatable analogue console, there really is no other option for the semi-pro-musician-engineer-producer out there if he....

a) isn't satisfied with ITB mixes and wants to intergrate outboard.

b) can't stand the thought recalling whole mixes several times a day.

c) hasn't got the space in his studio for a decent console even if he could or afford one.
Old 1st March 2007
  #60
Gear Maniac
 
JimmySX's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stuartdixon View Post
haha

In twenty years people are gonna look back at summing boxes and laugh.
Still 19 years away from laughing then I guess
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