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digital summing killing my sound????
Old 22nd April 2003
  #1
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Unknown soldier's Avatar
 

digital summing killing my sound????

I've got my mix going on a DA7, and I like the sounds I'm getting through my monitor setup (event 20/20BAS). I mixdown to soundforge via the digital out, so everything is staying digital. I may apply some DSP, but most times not. I'll burn a CD via an internal burner, and it feels like I'm losing something in this process. The soundstage shrinks, the high end flattens, and other digititus things are creepin' around. My acid test is a CD walkman and cheap stereo headphones, as I can really hear these problems when I compare them to pro CD's.

Is my monitoring setup fooling me? Is soundforge killling me? Is the DA7 summing bus slaughtering me?????

bottom line - should I lose anything when staying digital all the way through? I would think not, but seems that way.....
Old 22nd April 2003
  #2
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I would recommend you go to www.3daudioinc.com and get the Awesome DAWSUM CD that just came out. It compares 29 different platforms summing the same audio, including analog desks and all popular DAWs.

You can draw your own conclusions that way, which I always recommend.


Regards,
Brian T
Old 22nd April 2003
  #3
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Mike Tholen's Avatar
 

how's your gain structure?
how hard are you hitting your converters?
what ref. level are your converters calibrated to?
proper gain structure is the key to dig. mixing.
Old 22nd April 2003
  #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Tholen
how's your gain structure?
how hard are you hitting your converters?
what ref. level are your converters calibrated to?
proper gain structure is the key to dig. mixing.
I totally agree.

What's fascinating though, is that I've discovered that what constitutes "proper gain structure" does in fact vary from DAW to DAW.

I think these two facts, and how well an individual has applied them to their particular system, explain most of what the heck is going on in digital mix land.


Regards,
Brian T
Old 22nd April 2003
  #5
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
I would recommend you go to www.3daudioinc.com and get the Awesome DAWSUM CD that just came out. It compares 29 different platforms summing the same audio, including analog desks and all popular DAWs.

You can draw your own conclusions that way, which I always recommend.


Regards,
Brian T
Hey Brian,

Was Paris one of the platforms and were you able to pick it out?

I've read some of the posts on Lynn's group and it seems to have made a confusing issue even more confusing.heh
Old 22nd April 2003
  #6
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cram's Avatar
 

Quote:
I'll burn a CD via an internal burner, and it feels like I'm losing something in this process. The soundstage shrinks, the high end flattens, and other digititus things are creepin' around.
It sounds to me like you aren't dithering.
Old 22nd April 2003
  #7
Re: digital summing killing my sound????

Quote:
Originally posted by Unknown soldier
I've got my mix going on a DA7, and I like the sounds I'm getting through my monitor setup (event 20/20BAS). I mixdown to soundforge via the digital out, so everything is staying digital. I may apply some DSP, but most times not. I'll burn a CD via an internal burner, and it feels like I'm losing something in this process. The soundstage shrinks, the high end flattens, and other digititus things are creepin' around. My acid test is a CD walkman and cheap stereo headphones, as I can really hear these problems when I compare them to pro CD's.

Is my monitoring setup fooling me? Is soundforge killling me? Is the DA7 summing bus slaughtering me?????

bottom line - should I lose anything when staying digital all the way through? I would think not, but seems that way.....
Sounds like it maybe the monitoring.

In any case my suggestion would be to copy or extract a song from a Pro CD that you like and burn that. If there are no problems, than its something else in your chain. If you hear a difference than its somewhere in the chain.

My guess its the monitoring(combination room/speaker) where you are hearing something when mixing, that is not translating when you play a CD back.
Old 22nd April 2003
  #8
Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
Hey Brian,

Was Paris one of the platforms and were you able to pick it out?

I've read some of the posts on Lynn's group and it seems to have made a confusing issue even more confusing.heh
Ok so Paris is on the list(checked it out at the 3D forumn).

So were you able to recognize it and did it sound as good to you compared to other platforms?

Old 22nd April 2003
  #9
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
I would recommend you go to www.3daudioinc.com and get the Awesome DAWSUM CD that just came out. It compares 29 different platforms summing the same audio, including analog desks and all popular DAWs.

You can draw your own conclusions that way, which I always recommend.


Regards,
Brian T

think I'll order that CD tonight when I get home ... hope they will send it overseas
Old 22nd April 2003
  #10
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by posterchild

I had about 20 instrumental tracks + plugs being played through output 1 (i.e. they were all panned hard left). I was overdubbing 9 tracks of background vocals. I had the 9 tracks being played back through output 2 (i.e. they were all panned hard right).

Now, I had both of these outputs panned center on my analog mixer, so I was hearing everything through both ears (in mono, of course).

Near the end of my session, I panned all 9 dry tracks of background vocals to the left, so everything in the mix was going out of the left output of the 001.

...AND THE HIGH HAT SOUNDED DIFFERENT!

Note I did not do anything to change the drums; All I did was pan a bunch of dry tracks over to the left channel.

The high hat suddenly sounded like it had lost some of the higher frequencies... It sounded "chunky", kinda like a sample recorded at 30 kHz. (Perhaps I was hearing some slight aliasing?) And there was an overall "chunkiness" to the mix as well. It wasn't really compression, but everything seemed very glued together and one-dimensional. I've noticed this sound before in PTLE when messing around with lots of tracks.
excuse me if I'm wrong but changing from output 2 on the digi to output 1 (Right to left) also means that you adress another input on that analog mixer. Are you sure the change in sound has in no way been influenced by the mixer. another eq setting on that channel for example or something of the kind.

Sounds to me like there's either something very very wrong with that digi of yours or the 2 channels on that mixer did not have identical settings.

20 tracks btw is WAY under the numer of instances that would cause PT to create a second mixer plugin. Remember that the effect of summing only accurs after a second dsp is adressed for that mixer. As long as the mixer is only on 1 dsp chip ... there is no summing involved. In a session with only 20 tracks that seems very unlikely unless you fill the other instances on that dsp chip with 15 stereo auxiliaries and 5 sends on every track.
Old 22nd April 2003
  #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
Ok so Paris is on the list(checked it out at the 3D forumn).

So were you able to recognize it and did it sound as good to you compared to other platforms?


Well, it's an odd thing. I'm not sure how much the room, the ears, and just taste has to do with the differing results.

Could I hear differences? Yes. But since there are 29 platforms, including about 8 or 10 analog variations, that's not surprising to me.

I don't want to spoil anything or preprejudice, so I'll chill until more people listen. But I will say I was surprised by a few things, and have come to some newer conclusions about what we do and don't understand, what the issues are and found a couple of platforms I prefered sonically.

(OK, to spill just a few beans, one of them was Paris. And IMO, there are some differences in DAWs, sonically.)

Regards,
Brian T
Old 22nd April 2003
  #12
Gear Addict
 

I have heard the DAW-SUM CD as well. You should get it...it does answer some questions , and poses some new ones. The correct question you should ask: "Is MY summing killing my mixes?"

Same here BT, I was amazed at the differences in DAW's. (Yes they are there.) And I'm going to bite my tongue for now about the mixes done on analog and digital consoles.
Old 22nd April 2003
  #13
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

damn I'm getting curious to get my hands on that CD
Old 22nd April 2003
  #14
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
Well, it's an odd thing. I'm not sure how much the room, the ears, and just taste has to do with the differing results.

Could I hear differences? Yes. But since there are 29 platforms, including about 8 or 10 analog variations, that's not surprising to me.

I don't want to spoil anything or preprejudice, so I'll chill until more people listen. But I will say I was surprised by a few things, and have come to some newer conclusions about what we do and don't understand, what the issues are and found a couple of platforms I prefered sonically.

(OK, to spill just a few beans, one of them was Paris. And IMO, there are some differences in DAWs, sonically.)

Regards,
Brian T
My question(which I couldn't find on the 3D forumn) is how many tracks are actually being summed?

On PT for example once you get to a very high track count it spills over to another DSP chip which changes the sound slightly(I've noticed this even on HD).

I think this is important. Its the same on an analog console, if I am summing 24 channels as compared to 96 channels. This is were I think the test gets a little sticky.

I admire Lynn for his efforts, but sometimes I think the tests are "semi" realistic.
Old 22nd April 2003
  #15
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dave-G's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
Well, it's an odd thing. I'm not sure how much the room, the ears, and just taste has to do with the differing results.

Could I hear differences? Yes. But since there are 29 platforms, including about 8 or 10 analog variations, that's not surprising to me.

I don't want to spoil anything or preprejudice, so I'll chill until more people listen. But I will say I was surprised by a few things, and have come to some newer conclusions about what we do and don't understand, what the issues are and found a couple of platforms I prefered sonically.

(OK, to spill just a few beans, one of them was Paris. And IMO, there are some differences in DAWs, sonically.)
Hey Brian,

Not to take this discussion away from Lynn's Forum, but did you liquor-up Lynn and get the "answers" outta him already??

I'm just listening now (just got the CDs today). It is pretty fascinating. I'm curious, though ... is your preference for Paris something that you identified while still "in the dark" as to the identity of the 30+ mixes, or did you know which was yours?

-dave
Old 22nd April 2003
  #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
My question(which I couldn't find on the 3D forumn) is how many tracks are actually being summed?

On PT for example once you get to a very high track count it spills over to another DSP chip which changes the sound slightly(I've noticed this even on HD).

I think this is important. Its the same on an analog console, if I am summing 24 channels as compared to 96 channels. This is were I think the test gets a little sticky.

I admire Lynn for his efforts, but sometimes I think the tests are "semi" realistic.

22 tracks are being summed. No, it's not exhaustive, but it's a start, and I applaud Lynn for having the ability to follow through where so many others (like myself) have merely talked about doing it.

What I find interesting is that I believe there are some differences to be heard under these relatively benign circumstances, as far as track count and recorded levels. And I've proven to my own satisfaction that the sonic differences increase as the track counts and recorded levels get more challenging.

Get the CD. You owe it to yourself to check both your ears and your preconceptions, IMO. I found it very educational.

Kudos to Lynn.


Regards,
Brian T
Old 22nd April 2003
  #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by dave-G
Hey Brian,

Not to take this discussion away from Lynn's Forum, but did you liquor-up Lynn and get the "answers" outta him already??

I'm just listening now (just got the CDs today). It is pretty fascinating. I'm curious, though ... is your preference for Paris something that you identified while still "in the dark" as to the identity of the 30+ mixes, or did you know which was yours?

-dave
I listened blind first.

BT
Old 22nd April 2003
  #18
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
22 tracks are being summed. No, it's not exhaustive, but it's a start, and I applaud Lynn for having the ability to follow through where so many others (like myself) have merely talked about doing it.

What I find interesting is that I believe there are some differences to be heard under these relatively benign circumstances, as far as track count and recorded levels. And I've proven to my own satisfaction that the sonic differences increase as the track counts and recorded levels get more challenging.

Get the CD. You owe it to yourself to check both your ears and your preconceptions, IMO. I found it very educational.

Kudos to Lynn.


Regards,
Brian T
Hey Brian,

I am picking it up for sure.

I have access(or have used) almost all of the platforms(including analog) on the list. I have my own opinions on them based on pushing them really hard("real world" situations). I guess for me, i rarely work on a song these days that is less than 64 tracks and to me that's where the problems exist for most people. How to manage these sessions and still have something dynamic.

Hey it was the same thing when the SSL first came out.heh

But I do look forward to checking the CD out.thumbsup
Old 22nd April 2003
  #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
Hey Brian,

I am picking it up for sure.

I have access(or have used) almost all of the platforms(including analog) on the list. I have my own opinions on them based on pushing them really hard("real world" situations). I guess for me, i rarely work on a song these days that is less than 64 tracks and to me that's where the problems exist for most people. How to manage these sessions and still have something dynamic.

Hey it was the same thing when the SSL first came out.heh

But I do look forward to checking the CD out.thumbsup
You're absolutely talking my language about pushing things hard in the real world. I don't know how else to get most music to sound the way I want. When I'm mixing on Paris, most clip lights are on, levels are torqued and the more I smack it, the happier it gets. Very much the way I would treat 2" tape. I moved directly from mixing on Neves to mixing on Paris, thoroughly ignorant that I was "supposed to" completely change the way I worked. This was years ago, and there was no "common wisdom" about this stuff yet. IMO, I lucked out.

One big clue for me was that VST and DX plugins, even when used in Paris, will not even dream of tolerating remotely the same abuse as the Paris hardware based DSP, ie FX, faders, EQs, dynamics, summing bus.

I had no idea how weird this was until I tried pushing things in a similar way on other DAWs. Wow. Not so good of an idea. Boy, did I get flamed for saying so.

What's cool is that it's now OK for me to say this with much less controversy, I think. The fact that Paris is no longer made puts it in a non threatening position, it seems, and so maybe it can serve as some sort of reference point that DAWs can be made to tolerate abuse in a very musical way. It is possible. That's been the shocked response of most people who've dealt with this thing in person.

Again, it's just personal taste all around. One man's poison may well be another man's pleasure. But whatever sound one prefers, those who have maintained that "math is math" and there is no sonic difference in DAWs are likely in for a bit of a surprise, IMO.

As always, I really do recommend everyone use their own ears and make their own call. If you use gear I don't dig to make great music, I'll be genuinely happy for you, and respect you for it. No problem here. I'm just talking about what I've seen in my world. I'm not trying to sell anybody anything.

(But I might accidentally sell Lynn a couple 'o CDs in the process, eh?)


Regards,
Brian T
Old 23rd April 2003
  #20
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
You're absolutely talking my language about pushing things hard in the real world. I don't know how else to get most music to sound the way I want. When I'm mixing on Paris, most clip lights are on, levels are torqued and the more I smack it, the happier it gets. Very much the way I would treat 2" tape. I moved directly from mixing on Neves to mixing on Paris, thoroughly ignorant that I was "supposed to" completely change the way I worked. This was years ago, and there was no "common wisdom" about this stuff yet. IMO, I lucked out.

One big clue for me was that VST and DX plugins, even when used in Paris, will not even dream of tolerating remotely the same abuse as the Paris hardware based DSP, ie FX, faders, EQs, dynamics, summing bus.

I had no idea how weird this was until I tried pushing things in a similar way on other DAWs. Wow. Not so good of an idea. Boy, did I get flamed for saying so.

What's cool is that it's now OK for me to say this with much less controversy, I think. The fact that Paris is no longer made puts it in a non threatening position, it seems, and so maybe it can serve as some sort of reference point that DAWs can be made to tolerate abuse in a very musical way. It is possible. That's been the shocked response of most people who've dealt with this thing in person.

Again, it's just personal taste all around. One man's poison may well be another man's pleasure. But whatever sound one prefers, those who have maintained that "math is math" and there is no sonic difference in DAWs are likely in for a bit of a surprise, IMO.

As always, I really do recommend everyone use their own ears and make their own call. If you use gear I don't dig to make great music, I'll be genuinely happy for you, and respect you for it. No problem here. I'm just talking about what I've seen in my world. I'm not trying to sell anybody anything.

(But I might accidentally sell Lynn a couple 'o CDs in the process, eh?)


Regards,
Brian T
You know what's funny Brian, being forced to hold back in PT actually helps when mixing on SSL9000J. It just doesn't "cream" like the older boards(older Harrisons for eg. It forces you to maximize the headroom(especially when you are hitting it with over 200 inputs).

I noticed this on a lot of the more modern consoles.

I haven't hit digital this hard since i worked on the digital Neve's. Even on the new Soundtrac consoles(DPC's) you can't cream it. The big Oxford took it up to a point.

I guess it goes back to finding the quirks of each format.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #21
Moderator emeritus
 

Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
It forces you to maximize the headroom(especially when you are hitting it with over 200 inputs).
200 inputs???? On a MIX???

The record I'm mixing now has 16 tracks. Except for the intrumental tunes, which have 14.

But Toms are only used on one song of the 13, so most of the instrumentals are 12 tracks. Oh well - I guess I shouldn't whine...
Old 23rd April 2003
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor

I haven't hit digital this hard since i worked on the digital Neve's.
Again, bingo. Man, could you smack the Capricorn around or what? Cool sounding desk. You really could not blow it up. Freaky layout and interface, IMO, but how did such an early digital console manage to sound like that and why do later digital consoles tend to sound as vibeless as they do?

Sounds like we're of a mind, Mr Factor.

Personally, I'm still trying to figure out why somebody would want a console or a DAW to sound "perfect". I don't. I want it to react to me in some subjectively interesting way. I want it to be inherently capable of different moods, depending on how I address it. I want it to be an instrument, not a tool. For instance, a Gibson J45 is an instrument. It "talks" back to you. It reacts and resonates in response to your input. That's what I want in a mixing console. I don't want to hear "Quack!" when I get an over and cringe, never wanting to hear that again, I want to hear some 2" type "Smack!!" on an over and decide if that's the sound I want on that channel.

What I don't want is a box, digital or analog, that discourages me from approaching things aggressively. For me, that is "mixus interruptus".

I suppose I'm getting a little worked up, but indulge me a second. I can completely see where a really talented person might want a precise, predictable and utterly linear approach to sonics. I can appreciate that. I just don't like it for me. Lacking true talent, I just want to be able to screw around and try different tonalities until I like it, without getting bit in the ear.

It's like the difference between a cat and a dog. The cat is cool, but don't mess with it too much, because it will either split or else scratch you if you start getting rough with it. It's a chilled out, spectator sport. Not my bag.

Gimme a lab or a border collie who wants to play so hard you get winded just staying with it. I'm thinking Frisbee. I want the big slobbery tongue hanging out, with that goofy doggy smile saying, "Come on dude, hit me harder. Let's PLAY!"

OK, enough analogies. Sorry if this became a rant. I just need gear that helps me to stay excited about music, not gear that talks me out of it


Regards,
Brian T.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #23
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dave-G's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
Gimme a lab or a border collie who wants to play so hard you get winded just staying with it. I'm thinking Frisbee. I want the big slobbery tongue hanging out, with that goofy doggy smile saying, "Come on dude, hit me harder. Let's PLAY!"
here you go:

(that green thing in the foreground is the frisbee, caked in slobber and dirt.. and that look on her face is directly translated in your quote above)
Attached Thumbnails
digital summing killing my sound????-koverfrisbee11-9-02.jpg  
Old 23rd April 2003
  #24
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EXACTLY. That's what I'm talking about. That's the the face, the attitude, I want on my mixing console!

Great picture. Thanks for the visual aids.


Regards,
Brian T
Old 23rd April 2003
  #25
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dave-G's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
EXACTLY. That's what I'm talking about. That's the the face, the attitude, I want on my mixing console!
At least I can say that's the face and attitude I have under my mixing console. heh (I just have to be careful not to run over her tail with the chair)

-dave
Old 23rd April 2003
  #26
Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Martin
200 inputs???? On a MIX???

The record I'm mixing now has 16 tracks. Except for the intrumental tunes, which have 14.

But Toms are only used on one song of the 13, so most of the instrumentals are 12 tracks. Oh well - I guess I shouldn't whine...
Yeah Dave,

96-128 tracks of audio+all of the effect returns and mults and splits can easily take up 200 inputs.

If I were mixing in surround than it will go up.

Want to see a million dollar console collapse into a $4K digital board, hit it with the maximum inputs you can.heh

Welcome to the world of modern pop productions.

Its funny cause when you listen to the records they sound so simple(or I guess the arrangements sound simplistic). But the tracks involved are humongous!!!
Old 23rd April 2003
  #27
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
Again, bingo. Man, could you smack the Capricorn around or what? Cool sounding desk. You really could not blow it up. Freaky layout and interface, IMO, but how did such an early digital console manage to sound like that and why do later digital consoles tend to sound as vibeless as they do?

Sounds like we're of a mind, Mr Factor.

Regards,
Brian T.
The first record I mixed on the Capricorn i creamed it so hard by accident(it didn't help that I couldn't understand the interface). I hit it with everything in the studio plus the kitchen sink!!heh

But it totally just stood through and said "is that all you got"?thumbsup

I remember thinking years after that the guys that designed it were thinking of how they could get it as close to analog as the real thing.

I think the mindset that goes in designing consoles now, is the same mentality you use when you are a chef at a top restaurant(which I was for a time).

You never taste the food when you are cooking, but you prepare it with all of your other senses; Sight(very important because if the food looks good your brain tells you it is good),smell and touch!!!

No seasoning at all, you let the customer decide for themselves!!

Same idea with the modern digital console designs, let the customer season it themselves, we will just give them a bland canvas.

I guess Brian we are cut out from the same cloth!!
Old 23rd April 2003
  #28
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Yeah, I'm clearing 100 tracks on pop mixes way too often myself. One of the things that makes mixing country records fun is the track counts stay between 32-48 and the players tend to self arrange tastefully. It's just so much easier to make 30-40 tracks sound good than it is 100 tracks. Hmmm, is there a lesson here, maybe?

I will say this, thrillfactor. I am consistently impressed by how open Paris stays on high track count songs. I don't know how it does it.


Regards,
Brian T
Old 23rd April 2003
  #29
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
It's just so much easier to make 30-40 tracks sound good than it is 100 tracks.

on any kind of mixing medium that is if I may add to that. Wether you mix digitally or analog.
Old 23rd April 2003
  #30
Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
I admire Lynn for his efforts, but sometimes I think the tests are "semi" realistic.
I have to disagree. I don't think the DAWSUM test is "semi" realistic. I think it is totally unrealistic.

Who mixes a record from stereo stems? Nobody.
Movies maybe.

And who mixes in a DAW with no plugins? Nobody.

I'm aware that it's a completely unrealistic and simlistic exercise. But, like I said to BT on the phone the other day, sometimes you have to boil it all the way down to the simplest ingredients to find out if you can hear differences. We'll start by finding out if A+B=C. If so, then we move on the algebra. If not, then we go back to the drawing board and try to find out why.

The analogy that I've used before is that we're trying to do a simple math problem with lots of 24-bit numbers. In front of us we have 30 different pads of paper of all colors and sizes. What this project tried to determine was whether we could add up all the numbers on the yellow legal pad and the purple legal pad and come up with the same answer. If not, then why not?

Even though it's not a real world test, I still think the results and opinions are going to be meaningful. I know I've learned a lot already. Then, once we get past the summing bus ("if" we get past it), we can move on to plugins, emulators, etc.
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