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Summing: Inserting compresss versus direct. Turntables
Old 1st September 2007
Lives for gear
Dirty Halo's Avatar

Summing: Inserting compresss versus direct.

Not on the 2-buss (although that applies too)

When summing, do you guys run groups through various compressors, i.e. drum pair through a C2, vox through 1176, etc?

And if so, what is the difference between doing that as an "insert" versus just going direct through compressor (and summers that have "inserts")?

Pros and cons.

Just curious to different working methods.

Old 1st September 2007
Gear Guru
u b k's Avatar

i do all kinds of group compression before i sum.

as for the different approaches, many (most?) insert points are unbalanced, whereas patching into the comp first will likely be a balanced affair. i don't know enough about electronics to know if that changes resistance/loading, but it definitely seems to affect how my comps react.

otoh, if your console/summer has some magic on the input circuits, you may want to insert so you can hit that before hitting the comp. the inputs on the nicer can round things pretty nicely when hit hard, and it's a different thing to feed those transients to a comp than it is to feed it an untreated signal. this is especially true on the 2-mix, inserting a mix comp means the compressor is acting on the signals before they hit the nicerizer's output trafo, which can get *very* thick and soft when slammed. slamming the trafo essentially amounts to compression via saturation, i just have to decide whether a given mix wants to be saturated before compression, compressed before saturation, or none of the above.

just what i'm sure you needed, another set of options .

Old 1st September 2007
Gear Head

I listened to the lyn fuston summing CD and thought fundamentally it's all pretty similar. Yes i can hear a difference (In blind test my favorite was the protools ran through a Pultec.) However the differences were so slight it was the production equivalent of putting a cigarette out while your house is burning down. Of course, everything matters.
However, i decided from my perspective having a summing mixer without level controls wasn't nearly as exciting as one that does. The point being you need level controls to pull back the juice of (for example) of an 1176 set at it's sweet spot spitting out bass. I reckon getting all of our slutty outboard involved in the mix is important. After doing a summing shootout :-
My Summing Adventure (chandler, tonelux, api, neve, nicerizer)

i ended up prefering the api. Fortunately the api is designed like the skeleton of a legacy desk. It has balanced direct outs and balanced insert sends and returns. I never thought it was that important having insert sends on channel as i had got perfectly good results placing outboard between the DA and the desk/summer and adjusting the DAW output depending on how I wanted to hit the outboard.
When i came to wiring up the api properly i was pleasantly suprised to find the out board just sounding better when put in the insert chain, plus you have the bonus of putting the outboard in at the flick of a switch. I don't know why it sounded more alive when the outboard was placed in the insert loop rather than between the DAW o/p and the i/p of the api 8200. It just did, if it sounds better it is better. I don't know if there are impedance things going on, or if there are 2520's driving them. I don't actually need to know either!!
So i have 16 channels of 8200 into a 7800 controller:- a typical mix setup is this:-

channels 1&2 VOCALS go to 2 channel of an Audix MXT 1200 I mix a Klark Technik DN780 reverb in here with it's outs into the MXT1200. I use the bus compressor of the Audix for vocal compression then out of the main outs into the api.
channels 3&4 Synths and mad stuff go through a pair of helios, i like the way helios makes my synths more rock n roll and less "howard jones."
channel 5 bass -> 1176 blackface -> cranesong trakker ->one channel of a massive passive.
channel 6 main single guitar part -> distressor (normally brit mode) ->one channel of a massive passive.
channel 7 & 8 Guitars -> a pair of G268 cadac eq's (i pretend i'm Bill price on a Clash session, and then get dissapointed when i realise i'm not.)
channel 9 & 10 Drum Bus -> a pair of neve 3416 line amps and (believe it or not)manley mid freq pultecs (the 200 or 300Hz boost is great for keeping them sounding thick, without being woolly like a lot of eq's at this range.)
channel 11 & 12 Piano ->Nothing or through 2 channels of the audix and back through the direct outs.
channel 13 & 14 More Guitars/Percussion or an electronic type sample. Nothing or through 2 channels of the audix and back through the direct outs. The Trannys on the audix are real neve'y and the eq simple (non surgical) yet's a great option having the choice between Audix or pure Api line amp.
Channel 15 & 16 Reverb returns from a 12 Bit Stargate Ursa Major, great reverb, it ain't no plug in.

Of course it goes without saying that i mix it up a bit depending on the track/project.

Mix to 1/4 " and Lavry Blue A/D then decide which is best in mastering.
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