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Question about analog summing.
Old 17th September 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
Question about analog summing.

So I am interested in the vintage maker little one 8. I like the idea of having an passive analog summing and using my different pres for different colors. Now my question is before I buy it is this: say I have 12 stereo busses but only 8 outs so 4 stereo outs, is it okay to send multiple busses through each out (IE three busses per each of the 4 outs) will it sound correct or weird?

thanks in advance
Old 18th September 2019
  #2
If you only have 4 stereo busses to work with, you gotta figure out how to use 4 stereo busses.

Maybe put the bass in with the drums or with the guitars. Maybe put the keys in with the guitars. Etc

This is why most analog summing mixers are 16 ch
Old 18th September 2019
  #3
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dustinkay View Post
So I am interested in the vintage maker little one 8. I like the idea of having an passive analog summing and using my different pres for different colors. Now my question is before I buy it is this: say I have 12 stereo busses...
You have pairs of 12 different-sounding preamps? I can barely wrap my head around the differences in two or three.

And how many total tracks do you have going, that they have to be "managed" into 12 stereo buses?
Old 18th September 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
I have, I think, much the same reaction as Brent. You really need an interface with more outs. Your “workaround” will not do anything horrible, but it won’t make very effective use of your summing mixer. I mixed a couple of albums through a passive summing mixer with a variety of preamps. Then I sold most of the preamps and the summing mixer. The results were good enough. But the setup was a b***h. And no matter what notes I took, I could not come back and remix anything because the number of variable gain knobs involved prevented an exact copy (pain in the rear) set up.
I also realized that I just liked the ISA pres on most everything, so I didn’t need a bunch of different preamps. And good interface pres were as good as most of my collection of outboard pres.
You’ve got to really enjoy complicating your life to go this route.
Old 18th September 2019
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
I have, I think, much the same reaction as Brent. You really need an interface with more outs. Your “workaround” will not do anything horrible, but it won’t make very effective use of your summing mixer.
If I was headed somewhere, that wasn't exactly it.

My take on summing is that the important thing is having left and right mix channels that aren't identical. With a digital mix bus printing to a file, the left and right paths are so identical that the center information will be very very very mono. But a stereo signal sent though, let's say, two zeroed-out Pultecs, will have left and right paths with quite a few differences. And if your left and right paths have some old transformers in them, from back when tolerances weren't so tight, your supposedly-mono middle isn't mono at all anymore. You don't need a zillion-channel summing mixer to do that.
Old 18th September 2019
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by dustinkay View Post
So I am interested in the vintage maker little one 8. I like the idea of having an passive analog summing and using my different pres for different colors. Now my question is before I buy it is this: say I have 12 stereo busses but only 8 outs so 4 stereo outs, is it okay to send multiple busses through each out (IE three busses per each of the 4 outs) will it sound correct or weird?

thanks in advance
Hi dustinkay. Welcome to Gearslutz

The answer to your question is: Yes.

I have 16-channels out from my DAW into the digital-to-analogue converter; this is arranged as 8 stereo channels and these go into a DAV passive mixbus.
Sometimes I need to combine tracks on the output busses, and as Patrick mentions above, I can, for example, send out the guitars and keys on the same stereo channel by sub-mixing them in the DAW first.

I started with just 8 channels out: 4 stereo stems. I had to be a lot more selective, so e.g. bass in with the drums, guitars with keys, and vocals with instrument solos. That kind of limitation can be a wonderful thing...so simple, and also easy to get nice clean sub-mix in the DAW before sending to mixbus.

The big downer of just 8 channels is no room for fx returns or fancy stuff but 8 is a good start point.
Old 18th September 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
If I was headed somewhere, that wasn't exactly it.

My take on summing is that the important thing is having left and right mix channels that aren't identical. With a digital mix bus printing to a file, the left and right paths are so identical that the center information will be very very very mono. But a stereo signal sent though, let's say, two zeroed-out Pultecs, will have left and right paths with quite a few differences. And if your left and right paths have some old transformers in them, from back when tolerances weren't so tight, your supposedly-mono middle isn't mono at all anymore. You don't need a zillion-channel summing mixer to do that.
I’m glad my misunderstanding provoked your response. I have never thought analog summing through in that way.
Instead of the absolutely perfect digital sum, we get more sloppy analog difference. Our ear usually does get tickled by even a little more difference signal.
Old 18th September 2019
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
I’m glad my misunderstanding provoked your response. I have never thought analog summing through in that way.
Instead of the absolutely perfect digital sum, we get more sloppy analog difference. Our ear usually does get tickled by even a little more difference signal.
There will be people jumping in with "but analog summing is way more than that," and I don't doubt that it is, in tiny increments. But my guess is that most of those people will have spent money on it, maybe a lot.
Old 18th September 2019
  #9
Isn't it the imperfections in a diamond that make it exceptional? Discrepancies will sure add something to the mix.
Old 18th September 2019
  #10
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imo analog summing is highly overrated although it seems to be very popular right now (for some time actually) - once a signal is in the digital domain, there is no reason for leaving it anymore, i do not want to mess with my mix and 'add' or 'colour' anything by converting twice and going through transformers etc.

i do have both fully analog (or 'hybrid') and digitally equipped studios and actually prefer the digital summing of my digital desk (which can sum hundrets of channels without clipping).

maybe worth mentioning that i'm not referring to summing itb but with a high profile digital broadcast desk.

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 18th September 2019 at 06:56 PM.. Reason: last sentence added
Old 18th September 2019
  #11
I'm using iZ RADAR Classic 96 conversion out and capturing the 2-mix with a Sound Devices 702. For me, that sounds better than ITB. I prefer the soundstage, separation, resolution, dynamics, and timbre with OTB summing. I especially enjoy tracking using a hybrid system. I do have good gear and I'm sure summing OTB with lesser gear might not be as good as ITB; in fact, I know that from experience.

I don't have huge track counts though (usually 16 max) and can easily sub-mix more inside the DAW. No issues with clipping on e.g. 32 tracks.
Old 18th September 2019
  #12
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In my experience analog summing in the way you’re describing it can be a worthwhile experience. I would suggest you buy one of the DIYRE.com passive summing mixers. There’s a guy who sells them assembled on Reverb.com for about $100. That should answer all of your summing questions for only $100. Only you will be able to decide if it is better or just different.
Old 18th September 2019
  #13
Great point above OP. I should add that once the summing OTB system is set-up...it's only the start. Really, you will need/want some extra 2-bus gear too. It's taken me quite a few years to assemble enough outboard gear and experience to make it worth it, although the DAW pre-mixes can help to start.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
Here for the gear
Thank you all for the responses. My hypothetical 12 busses is based upon the fact that I mix in Harrison mixbus 32c where the are a total of 12 special stereo mix busses.

The info I wanted was just to see if I'm sending several busses to the same output if there would be any issues which, from some responses seems there will not be. I pretty much never use all 12 unless I'm doing something real crazy. Normally I'm around 6 -8 which I can easily combine to stems to make my four stereo outs work.

Mixbus has sort of analog sounding summing but it's not quite as tasty as real analog sum.

And no I dont have 12 different styles pres it's just a stereo out on the summing box I'm looking at so two pres and I have a few different api neve midas and RME. Its gunna be cool to have some different flavors. Thanks all again!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
Harrison Mixbus is perfect for that job. I used it for a long time to pre-mix my stems for OTB summing. Enjoy
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
My take on summing is that the important thing is having left and right mix channels that aren't identical. With a digital mix bus printing to a file, the left and right paths are so identical that the center information will be very very very mono. But a stereo signal sent though, let's say, two zeroed-out Pultecs, will have left and right paths with quite a few differences. And if your left and right paths have some old transformers in them, from back when tolerances weren't so tight, your supposedly-mono middle isn't mono at all anymore. You don't need a zillion-channel summing mixer to do that.
This is pretty much my thinking as well and I was always wondering if these little (and sometimes slightly shifting) differences in the channels is the cause for the perception of "more depth" that people describe when they sum analog.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by dustinkay View Post
Thank you all for the responses. My hypothetical 12 busses is based upon the fact that I mix in Harrison mixbus 32c where the are a total of 12 special stereo mix busses.

The info I wanted was just to see if I'm sending several busses to the same output if there would be any issues which, from some responses seems there will not be. I pretty much never use all 12 unless I'm doing something real crazy. Normally I'm around 6 -8 which I can easily combine to stems to make my four stereo outs work.

Mixbus has sort of analog sounding summing but it's not quite as tasty as real analog sum.

And no I dont have 12 different styles pres it's just a stereo out on the summing box I'm looking at so two pres and I have a few different api neve midas and RME. Its gunna be cool to have some different flavors. Thanks all again!
You're submixing to those busses. you just now have to submix those busses.
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