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Can I connect a summing amp directly to my RME UCX Summing Mixers
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Can I connect a summing amp directly to my RME UCX

Was good GS fam,

Someone made me a bargain for a dangerous 2 bus LT summing mixer for $600. I really want to hop on top of this and purchase it.

I'm aware that this summer camp has 16 channels , and my rme ucx only has about 10 . I'm not worried about trying to run all the channels do the Box simultaneously , if I can even run just 2 channels at a time I will do that.

Why do I need to purchase a digital to audio converter ? which I don't have the money for it at the moment.

If any outboard experts can give me some Vital Information I would appreciate it !
Thanks in advance!
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DontaBlack View Post
I'm aware that this summer camp has 16 channels , and my rme ucx only has about 10 . I'm not worried about trying to run all the channels do the Box simultaneously , if I can even run just 2 channels at a time I will do that.
But at that point - if you only run 2 channels to the device - you really should stop and ask yourself why you're spending $600 on it.

It's a summer, it's purpose is to sum multiple signals. If you feed it 2 channels at a time, how much summing is it going to be doing? So you'd either sum just two channels, or you'll have to do a pass for every two channels you want to sum, which will take the duration of the song multiplied by all the tracks you want to sum divided by two. 4 minute song times 40 tracks summed two at a time in realtime = 80 minutes. Is it worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DontaBlack View Post
Why do I need to purchase a digital to audio converter ? which I don't have the money for it at the moment.
I see 6 line outputs on the UCX (unless I'm looking at the wrong device):



Say you have two channels (1/2) for monitoring, that leaves four channels for summing. So it's a bit better than the worst-case scenario of two that you mentioned.

But still, I have to ask: What goal are you trying to achieve here? To me a summer makes far more sense when either a) it's really dirty and gives a ton of character to what's being summed, or b) it's being fed many channels so the subtle difference add up.

Don't get me wrong, the price is right, but I'd ask myself if it'd be worth it. Say for example that you are recording your own vocals and you have acoustics down in your studio so that's no issue. Would you perhaps benefit more from selling a pretty decent mic and taking that money plus the $600 and buying a better one? Or doing that to your main mic pre? Or adding a mic pre? Or an analog compressor with a lot of character?....

Then again: If you do a lot of mixing and feel like something is missing and that you want whatever this device can give you could maybe argue that even if you can't use it optimally now you could in the future - or at the least resell it at at least the same price and get your money back.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
But at that point - if you only run 2 channels to the device - you really should stop and ask yourself why you're spending $600 on it.

It's a summer, it's purpose is to sum multiple signals. If you feed it 2 channels at a time, how much summing is it going to be doing? So you'd either sum just two channels, or you'll have to do a pass for every two channels you want to sum, which will take the duration of the song multiplied by all the tracks you want to sum divided by two. 4 minute song times 40 tracks summed two at a time in realtime = 80 minutes. Is it worth it?



I see 6 line outputs on the UCX (unless I'm looking at the wrong device):



Say you have two channels (1/2) for monitoring, that leaves four channels for summing. So it's a bit better than the worst-case scenario of two that you mentioned.

But still, I have to ask: What goal are you trying to achieve here? To me a summer makes far more sense when either a) it's really dirty and gives a ton of character to what's being summed, or b) it's being fed many channels so the subtle difference add up.

Don't get me wrong, the price is right, but I'd ask myself if it'd be worth it. Say for example that you are recording your own vocals and you have acoustics down in your studio so that's no issue. Would you perhaps benefit more from selling a pretty decent mic and taking that money plus the $600 and buying a better one? Or doing that to your main mic pre? Or adding a mic pre? Or an analog compressor with a lot of character?....

Then again: If you do a lot of mixing and feel like something is missing and that you want whatever this device can give you could maybe argue that even if you can't use it optimally now you could in the future - or at the least resell it at at least the same price and get your money back.

Honestly, I do not understand how summing works from the gist of what you have explained. It your points makes a lot of sense. I am just anxious for the deal or I could sit on it, until I get he other required hardware to make it happen.

(sorry I was talking off memory when mentioned the Channels on my RME, I just threw a number out there.)

When you sum all of your channels? How exactly does that work? I was mixing a 16 track instrumental. I thought the point was to sum the individual tracks to give it the color from the box then you mix, or it use after you mix?

Other than that what do you think would be the best method (hardware) or D/A converter would suggest?
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DontaBlack View Post
Honestly, I do not understand how summing works from the gist of what you have explained. It your points makes a lot of sense. I am just anxious for the deal or I could sit on it, until I get he other required hardware to make it happen.

(sorry I was talking off memory when mentioned the Channels on my RME, I just threw a number out there.)

When you sum all of your channels? How exactly does that work? I was mixing a 16 track instrumental. I thought the point was to sum the individual tracks to give it the color from the box then you mix, or it use after you mix?
So "mixing" is basically "summing". If you have 16 tracks and you then mix that like you always do, you probably end up with a stereo file, right? So you've summed the 16 tracks to just a stereo channel. Those 16 tracks, if I'm taking you literally, could of course be stereo tracks in which case you're combining/mixing/summing 16x2 channels down to only two (left / right master output.... or mixbus or whatever you want to call it).

In other words; it doesn't entirely make sense to say that you "sum the individual tracks", you just "sum the tracks" (or channels). And you wouldn't use it "after you mix", because the summing is the mixing of signals.

Just imagine a mixer in real life, or the one in your DAW, and just take out everything useful from it except summing. So subtract EQ, compression, inserts etc, and what you're left with is the summing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DontaBlack View Post
Other than that what do you think would be the best method (hardware) or D/A converter would suggest?
If you really do want to sum signals in the analog domain then I would say get an interface with at least 16 outputs and map them 1-to-1 with the Dangerous. Then when you mix in your DAW you should group things according to what makes sense and send those grouped signals to the 16 outputs. Sum in the Dangerous and then return that left/right output back into your DAW.

If you want to add some dirt in general though you could do that by using plugins of high quality, or by getting a device that provides more color and just run the finished mix through it. As far as I know there are several summing boxes out there that are very minimalist. I believe that all you really need to properly sum signals in the analog domain is to take the inputs and run them through one summing amplifier, and that's it. So the "sound" of the summing is really that amp.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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I'll just add one more thing though: Again, it makes sense to look at your entire process, what your goals are and what style of music you're making. If you have a pretty "vanilla" production style - and I'm not saying that as a value judgement - then you could possibly get more sonic return on your investment getting something else. To my ears there's really nothing wrong with summing in your DAW, so any improvement is going to be pretty small relative to other changes you can make during processing your music.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
I'll just add one more thing though: Again, it makes sense to look at your entire process, what your goals are and what style of music you're making. If you have a pretty "vanilla" production style - and I'm not saying that as a value judgement - then you could possibly get more sonic return on your investment getting something else. To my ears there's really nothing wrong with summing in your DAW, so any improvement is going to be pretty small relative to other changes you can make during processing your music.
So to sum what you explained up (no pun intended). Its just not making sense to me, I apologize. Your summing all of the audio before you treat any of the tracks with sub-eq, comp., etc, but your returning the whole signal back in stereo? How do you treat it afterwards then. I hate that outboard knowledge to me is so low.

As far my process, you could call it "vanilla". I have a plethora of hi end plugins. My process is normally:

Sub-EQ
Comp. (If needed)
Additive EQ
Parallel compression on my drum buss
Mix buss processing
For the most part.

I am just anxious to attain my first piece of outboard gear. The reason I thought Analog Summing would be a good choice was because it would give a subtle edge to color in my sound oppose to the competition without. Give my low end a little more definition.

I've watched videos on the Waves NLS & it works better than nothing, I was just trying to get a one up with some copper ciurcutry.

If not a summing amp, I would think outboard eq to be the next best idea.

If you were me, what would you invest in?

Last edited by DontaBlack; 1 week ago at 01:12 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DontaBlack View Post
So to sum what you explained up (no pun intended). Its just not making sense to me, I apologize. Your summing all of the audio before you treat any of the tracks with sub-eq, comp., etc, but your returning the whole signal back in stereo? How do you treat it afterwards then. I hate that outboard knowledge to me is so low.

As far my process, you could call it "vanilla". I have a plethora of hi end plugins. My process is normally:

Sub-EQ
Comp. (If needed)
Additive EQ
Parallel compression on my drum buss
Mix buss processing
For the most part.
Yeah, I think you misunderstood me and maybe I was just too wordy or expressed myself poorly.

The way people tend to work as far as I know is to go through your process above, but before the "mix buss processing" stage and after your "drum buss" you actually go further and add more busses.

So you basically mix as you normally would, but in addition to your drum buss you would (could) have a buss for your rhythm guitars, a bus for your bass, a buss for your lead/melody instruments, a buss for lead vocals, a buss for backup vocals etc. The total channels of all of those busses would be equal to how many inputs you have on the analog summer, and there's where all of them would be routed to.

So in other words you really do all your mixing as usual in your DAW, and you just sum everything after EQ, compression, automation etc into busses, and then send those busses to the analog summer. Then you take the stereo output of the summer and bring that back into your DAW and 'continue' your process with your "mix buss processing".

Make more sense now?

So in other words, you're either stuck with doing more passes since you only have four outputs available on your interface (the other two presumably to your monitors), or you do 'less summing' in that Dangerous box (meaning summing only four channels from your four available outputs, instead of using all 16 available inputs on the Dangerous).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DontaBlack View Post
I am just anxious to attain my first piece of outboard gear. The reason I thought Analog Summing would be a good choice was because it would give a subtle edge to color in my sound oppose to the competition without. Give my low end a little more definition.

I've watched videos on the Waves NLS & it works better than nothing, I was just trying to get a one up with some copper ciurcutry.
I just watched that as well. I think you can break its functionality down into two parts: Actual processing, and convenient control.

By having that master buss plugin you get some nice control over the various "groups" it offered, which seems quite convenient. And then there's the actual processing on each individual channel, and then the processing on the master.

Intuitively this seems like a fairly useful plugin. I think you could ask people here or in the computer section or whatever and see if anyone is using it and see what they think. Or do a search.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DontaBlack View Post
If not a summing amp, I would think outboard eq to be the next best idea.

If you were me, what would you invest in?
So I'm pretty pragmatic about all these sorts of things. To me the question would be what would change my sound the most in the direction I want for the least amount of money. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be analog summing (though again, at that price you're probably not "losing" much).

I think you can get very far using plugins these days, as long as one uses good plugins in a good way. Maybe I'd look at something that is unique and useful and is a bit "harder" to get in the digital domain.

What style of music are you producing? Who are your influences as far as sound goes? What are you aiming for?

I mean, you might get further with anything from a real vintage crappy two-track tape, or a very dirty compressor or EQ, or a reverb unit, or a better or different mic.... perhaps a combo of a good mic and a speaker and then acoustic processing for your sounds.... It all depends.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post

What style of music are you producing? Who are your influences as far as sound goes? What are you aiming for?[/B]

I mean, you might get further with anything from a real vintage crappy two-track tape, or a very dirty compressor or EQ, or a reverb unit, or a better or different mic.... perhaps a combo of a good mic and a speaker and then acoustic processing for your sounds.... It all depends.
You have been extremely helpful! I finally understand confidently how the process works!

I produce mainly hip hop & i've been venturing into the world of video games compositions.

My influences, sadly I have not took the time to do my research on some of my favorite mixes to know the engineer behind them. But recently I have been inspired by MixedByAli, engineer of Kendrick Lamar.

When you say "dirty" you mean something with unique harmonics right? See, my problem is that I only know the top brands, and I'm afraid to step out on a limb and try smaller party equipment like warm audio and others. Which probably actually is really worth it.

Have you ever picked up a cheap piece of gear that you just said "eh. . ill give this a shot"?

I think you hit it on the dot for me, maybe I'll give a revenge unit as you put. I've heard that can add a great depth to the mix.

Or the Warm Audio*EQP-WA Tube Equalizer.
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