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SSL Sigma vs Matrix? Matrix=sigma+control surface? Mixers (Analog)
Old 31st August 2013
  #1
SSL Sigma vs Matrix? Matrix=sigma+control surface?

I've been in the Matrix market, but thinking about Sigma. Biggest drawback I see is having to set up sends in the box, which will be pre outboard comp/eq. Anything else I should consider? Guess I basically just need a summing mixer--this fulcrum/P-1 combo i've been using doesnt really get me that big console sound i'm looking for. AWS would be ideal but its a stretch of the budget right now...
Old 31st August 2013
  #2
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MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
Check out the Focusrite 2802...might permit you to grow...adding outboard gear as budget permits.
Old 31st August 2013
  #3
I'm interested too.....
Old 31st August 2013
  #4
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I own the Matrix but haven't heard of the Sigma until now. It looks like (with a good patch bay), you could send out of your DAW to your outboard and then to the Sigma. Just a quick read but it appeared to me that you can use DAW automation to control the analog automation inside the Sigma so you could still automate post compression. And, of course, if you had the I/O you could use your hardware as inserts in your DAW.

Handy that it has direct outs (too bad it doesn't have inserts but easily solved by the above workflow). You can print back your tracks post outboard effects along with the mix for easier recall.

Having said all that (and I don't know what it costs) if you just need a summing mixer than there are many out there with more features and, IMO, a better sound that the SSL. The RND satellite to me has a more pleasing sonic imprint (with some control over saturation with the silk knobs) and conveniently has inserts on every channel (and also has two mix busses). No analog automation so you'd have to use your hardware as inserts to automate post ouboard comp.

Now on to the Matrix. I freakin' love that board. I do think that it sounds great in that it's big and open without a lot of coloration. If I was looking for just summing, though, as I mentioned above I might go with something with the ability to add a little more vibe.

What I love about the Matrix is the routing flexibility (3 main busses with inserts, 4 stereo FX returns, 4 mono FX sends and 1 stereo cue send), the insert matrix, the snapshot recall, the built in DAW controller and the analog automation (and all the pretty lights). Oh yeah, and the faders - so freaking nice to have faders in front of you! I also love the monitoring section and the artist headphone send that allows you to send signal from the cue buss, rec or mix buss or even external inputs and has a basic eq that can be quite useful).

To me, the Matrix is overkill as a summing box and (not having pres or eqs) is "under kill" for a console as sold. The beauty of the Matrix is when you build it into a full console with the mic pres and eqs of your choosing. Mine is front loaded with 10 Chandler TG channel strips (which give me mic pre and eq and at mix time I go out of the DAW and line in to them for a little extra flavor and the eq), 4 API mic pres and a RND channel strip. I have a variety of other Eq's to use on the insert matrix so, at this point, I have a 16 channel console with SSL flexibility but I got to choose my own mic pres and eqs.

For what I have into it, I'm getting close to the cost of an API 1608 but I have total recall, automation, 16 additional analog inputs if desired and DAW control (and a killer insert Matrix) so I think that it's a great value all said and done.

So, in summary, if you want a console and you have the dough to buy the Matrix and build upon it to bring it to it's full potential then it's the obvious way to go. If you just want summing, the Sigma looks like a good solution.

I recently built another studio around a great front end, D-Command for "console" and RND satellite for backend. If your in Pro Tools, the Avid control surfaces definitely allow a ton more control than any HUI protocol control surface like the Matrix but the Matrix does what I need it do.
Old 1st September 2013
  #5
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Looneytune's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremycox View Post
I've been in the Matrix market, but thinking about Sigma. Biggest drawback I see is having to set up sends in the box, which will be pre outboard comp/eq. Anything else I should consider? Guess I basically just need a summing mixer--this fulcrum/P-1 combo i've been using doesnt really get me that big console sound i'm looking for. AWS would be ideal but its a stretch of the budget right now...
Like you I wanted the AWS and was about to drop the cash, I only then realized I would spend another fortune on top buying more outboard because this is just what I am like. So I decided on the Matrix which would allow me to spend the $50k I saved on buying my own choice of compression and EQ.

I certainly would not buy the Matrix if I was not planning on filling those channels with EQ and compression. That would be just a waste and so many better choices for just a summing mixer.
If however you want a real console feel and sound I think the Matrix would be a good start though.
The Matrix allows for killer inserts and it allows up to 4 FX sends on each channel so this should look after you well.

I guess it all depends on cash as we all know and what one is willing to spend on such things.
If money was not a big problem I think I would have an API 1608 as well as my Matrix
Old 8th September 2013
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Sigma doesn't have sends but it seems to me that if you route the direct outs it has back to your DAW you'll have a post-outboard / post-automation signal that you can send anywhere you wish.
Old 9th September 2013
  #7
Gear Maniac
What do you think about a matrix + a sigma? Or a matrix + an expanda?
My interest here is having the inserts. Are any of you doing anything like this?

Where would be the best place to bring something like an expanda back in.
I'm trying to squeeze an extra bus into existence.
Old 9th September 2013
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by jglover View Post
What do you think about a matrix + a sigma? Or a matrix + an expanda?
My interest here is having the inserts. Are any of you doing anything like this?

Where would be the best place to bring something like an expanda back in.
I'm trying to squeeze an extra bus into existence.
You could use an xrack, x-desk, x-panda, or sigma as another bus and just return onto a pair of the 32 mono inputs on the matrix. The x-desk, x-panda, x-rack (4ch input module) all have insert points.
Old 9th September 2013
  #9
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Theoretically the Sigma has the exact summing from an AWS, so in theory... in theory it could sound better. It's supposed to be a step up from the X-Desk and X-Rack summing, at least.
Old 9th September 2013
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Beatsmith View Post
Theoretically the Sigma has the exact summing from an AWS, so in theory... in theory it could sound better. It's supposed to be a step up from the X-Desk and X-Rack summing, at least.
Are you saying that the super analogue summing in the Matrix is not the same, or not on par with AWS and Sigma?
Old 9th September 2013
  #11
Gear Maniac
I was thinking about bringing it back to the center section. If it comes back on a pair of the 32 mono channels it would end up getting routed through the cue or the rec mix... Right???

I would like for it to bypass those and go straight to the main bus.

Ex:two stereo buses with bus compressors coming out of the the sigma going straight to the main bus

The matrix gets here today. I haven't put my hands on it yet. But I'm pretty stoked about it!
Old 9th September 2013
  #12
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I'm led to believe the MDACS do make a slight difference and offer superior quality...
Old 9th September 2013
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Beatsmith View Post
I'm led to believe the MDACS do make a slight difference and offer superior quality...
Yes i've heard the same thing.
Old 9th September 2013
  #14
Solid State Logic
 
Jim@SSL's Avatar
 

We've used MDACs for ages, but it seems to be the way that we use them on the AWS948 just comes out sounding a bit different. It's something to do with having the channels switchable from mono to stereo that has done something pleasing in the way the MDAC controls the gain. Sigma works in the same way.

FWIW AWS900, AWS900+, AWS900SE, AWS 924, Duality, Matrix and the stereo channels of the X-Panda all have their channel levels controlled by MDAC. However, none of these have an analogue architecture that is switchable mono/stereo.
Old 9th September 2013
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
We've used MDACs for ages, but it seems to be the way that we use them on the AWS948 just comes out sounding a bit different. It's something to do with having the channels switchable from mono to stereo that has done something pleasing in the way the MDAC controls the gain. Sigma works in the same way.

FWIW AWS900, AWS900+, AWS900SE, AWS 924, Duality, Matrix and the stereo channels of the X-Panda all have their channel levels controlled by MDAC. However, none of these have an analogue architecture that is switchable mono/stereo.
Thanks for your response. I'm excited to get my sigma and x-patch running. If it gives me the sound i'm looking for I might need 3, lol.
Old 9th September 2013
  #16
Gear Maniac
I thought the xpatch was being discontinued...
Maybe it's the input modules...
Old 19th April 2015
  #17
Rea
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Rea's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
We've used MDACs for ages, but it seems to be the way that we use them on the AWS948 just comes out sounding a bit different. It's something to do with having the channels switchable from mono to stereo that has done something pleasing in the way the MDAC controls the gain. Sigma works in the same way.

FWIW AWS900, AWS900+, AWS900SE, AWS 924, Duality, Matrix and the stereo channels of the X-Panda all have their channel levels controlled by MDAC. However, none of these have an analogue architecture that is switchable mono/stereo.

Are the sonic benefits you've found in the switchable Stereo/mono channels come into play in one of the 2 modes(ST/Mon)? or either?
Old 22nd April 2015
  #18
Gear Head
 
zione's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rea View Post
Are the sonic benefits you've found in the switchable Stereo/mono channels come into play in one of the 2 modes(ST/Mon)? or either?
[email protected] this is a very interesting question!
Old 22nd April 2015
  #19
Solid State Logic
 
Jim@SSL's Avatar
 

In both, but more so in the stereo.
At least to my ears...
Old 7th May 2015
  #20
Rea
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So other then the Stereo MDAC channels thing, is there any other difference between the Matrix, AWS and Sigma as far as the summing architecture (or anything else that affect the sonics)?
Should one expect an identical results from plain summing out of these 3 units?
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