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Analog Sum under $1500?
Old 23rd November 2009
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
the summing device is very important. using just a box with resistors on a PCB might not make any difference.
It does make a positive difference in my studio in more than one way.

1) There is more headroom for my converter outputs

2) I pick the Amp

3) It is uncompromising and passive.

4) Allows me to stem my tracks in order of the instrumentation presented and gives me a better, more effective way to use my outboard equipment for processing.

EDIT: 1) and 4) are common to analog summing no matter what.

Now let me go assemble my flame suit for nuclear fallout.
Old 23rd November 2009
  #32
Hi guys,

I guess this is turning into a debate about whether having amps in the sum box sounds better than a straight wire. I just assumed that the passive system sounds better and that it's really a question of what sounds better coming out of the DAC.

You're basically talking about the difference of anywhere from 6 to 24 dbfs (1 to 4 bits of resolution). Figure that most analog gear and rooms only really provide 96dbfs (16bit) of usable signal anyway, it seems like this really does make a sonic difference, particularly across 16 individual channels.

I don't get #1. How is it an advantage to use a lower level on a DAC? It seems like no matter what you're converting you'd want as close to full resolution as possible. Sorry if I'm just not understanding something.
Old 24th November 2009
  #33
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Still Want A Speck??

Hey Peter. I have 2 Speck x.sums and I'm selling the newer of the two. I love it but I just recently got a good deal on a Chandler Mini Mixer which is a whole different beast. I am running 22 channels out of my DAW into both the Chandler and the Speck so I have the best of both worlds. I was going to just use two Specks but the Chandler kind of appeared .

You can't go wrong with the Speck with all the options. I originally had a Dangerous which was cool but no pans. You could really hit the Speck with a lot of audio. Tons of headroom. Here's the link to the Speck I'm selling:

Wunder PAFour - Speck X.Sum 4 Sale
Old 24th November 2009
  #34
Thanks! I'm not quite ready to buy. Just added a Steinberg MR816 but hopefully soon.
Old 24th November 2009
  #35
Lives for gear
 

What type of mixer we see here :

At second 14 he is working with it also on second 45-50...

YouClubVideo - Ricardo Villalobos - Arte.24h.Berlin

Thx
Old 24th November 2009
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohmsweetohm View Post
I don't get #1. How is it an advantage to use a lower level on a DAC? It seems like no matter what you're converting you'd want as close to full resolution as possible. Sorry if I'm just not understanding something.
The word "resolution" does not apply to what you're talking about. Its only noise. The noise floor of the DAC is well below your mix's noise base so don't sweat it. If you really want to know more, take a deep breath and read this juggernaut:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-mu...ml#post4811933

BTW, I use a custom passive summer with a variety of pres for makeup gain. The way I look at it, I am not stuck with one sound and can vary it depending on the music. 1960 also here but I only use the comps on it. Avalon M5's sound great on a mix. Options and flexibility.

-bassman
Old 24th November 2009
  #37
Dude, there's 73 pages of that thing

But your point is well taken and I'm a numbskull. I already knew this but somehow lost it.

Ok so that answers my question . Also points me inexorably toward a passive model for $750.

BTW, beautiful new room. Love the sanctuary!

Old 24th November 2009
  #38
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Thanks. We like to have fun up there....

Look for a used Folcrom as they don't really wear out IYKWIM.....

-bassman
Old 24th November 2009
  #39
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Bolt Thrower's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohmsweetohm View Post
How is it an advantage to use a lower level on a DAC? It seems like no matter what you're converting you'd want as close to full resolution as possible. Sorry if I'm just not understanding something.
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohmsweetohm View Post
Dude, there's 73 pages of that thing
At the risk of this thread's equivalent of assaulting the cockpit with box cutters, here's my take on it. The end result of the entire system will be, in your judgment, either good or not (just as binary as the computer). The classic A/D/A debate argues that, on one side, we should want the hottest possible recording in order to capture the most digital data and therefore provide the best source material for digital playback. The other side argues that, as long as the source's dynamic range does not touch the noise floor, it is better to err on the quieter side in order to leave extra room for highly-dynamic spikes, as well as more room for mastering.

Personally, if I'm recording around -12db I feel good about it, give or take 6db.

Let's say you record the hottest, most blistering take from a Marshall stack, just at the edge of clipping your AD input, squeezing out every last bit and slice from the original audio. In the typical DAW environment, you'll probably end up just mixing it back down into the other elements of the track. According to the max-resolution argument, we should now be asking ourselves if the DA is, in fact, expressing such a relatively quiet element with enough resolution to be reasonably free of all conversion artifacts? Or is the data being interpolated downwards somehow, due to similar fundamental arguments that were used during the AD portion of the debate?

I think DA is equally important as AD in terms of impact on subjective quality -- even though I've read many a post arguing that AD is more important. I certainly agree that in the world of real, rack-mounted products, AD poses a much bigger problem. However, in terms of the low-level act of writing and reading binary values, they (AD and DA) are equivalent because both "encoding" and "decoding", as it were, are functionally linked before any digital playback can occur. Once digital values are being error-corrected, read and written, all such values must and do conform to an absolute, programmatic, standard.

Therefore, if it is OK to play back at less than full output, then it is also OK to record at less than full input.
Old 24th November 2009
  #40
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Be careful what words you use because the number of bits does not make the recording have any greater fidelity at all. It simply has less or more noise to it, period.

• More bits, less noise.
• Less bits, more noise.

The recording or sound is the same regardless of bit depth. It is not a jpeg image we are talking about and "resolution" does not imply anything about the sound. There are not more "dots" to the picture making it "clearer". Its the noise floor, that's all.

Since we start out at 24bits with 144dB of dynamic range, you've got plenty of room to play without getting anywhere near the noise floor of the digital system.

OK, blast shields up....

-bassman
Old 24th November 2009
  #41
Wait, this isn't that complicated. Don't let my brain fart make it more than it is. It's all just good old-fashioned S/N ratio, right?

If you have a noise floor that's higher than your converter's, then it's all moot. If you can get more signal without raising the noise floor, then more power to you. But typical noise floors I've seen in great analog gear, even in quiet rooms don't exceed -100dbfs, and even you can squeeze -110 you're still miles from 24bit. And God forbid you should add even the slightest compression....then your DAC levels are even less important than your ADC because the S/N ratio is naturally worse (addressing that question - I think most of us are probably sending a noisier signal OUT of our DAWs than what went in).

The only reservation I have, is that it might be helpful to send a decently hot level (not insanely hot) through the associated analog gear after the DAC to maintain the best S/N in the analog domain. Helps if you have gear that can handle it though.
Old 24th November 2009
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohmsweetohm View Post
Wait, this isn't that complicated. Don't let my brain fart make it more than it is. It's all just good old-fashioned S/N ratio, right?

.....

The only reservation I have, is that it might be helpful to send a decently hot level (not insanely hot) through the associated analog gear after the DAC to maintain the best S/N in the analog domain. Helps if you have gear that can handle it though.
Bingo. But the thing most often overlooked is the actual voltage level coming out of your DA can be TOO hot if levels are pushed. That's why there are standards for analog levels. "Decently hot" and "insanely hot" are defined and you can calibrate them.

-20dBFS should be 0VU=+4dBu in the analog world. That's nominal operating level in professional gear. So if you average level coming out of the DAC is up at -10dBFS, then you are way to hot for most outboard analog gear, its +10 over 0VU! Ouch!

Now you need to check the spec on your converters. Most likely their max output level will be less than +24dBu standard. Cheaper gear has lower max output level and you would then have to re-cal to a new ref to be right in the analog world.

For example:

RME analog tops out at +19dBu. Not very loud. So, to get a +4dBu tone, it would have to be set at -15dBFS in the DAW instead of -20dBFS. 5dB less headroom for the analog world. Still sounds good, just less voltage coming out of the box for the same digital level ITB.

Use tones. They don't lie... I'm sitting here doing it right now, checking the summer and makeup gain for 1kHz at -20dBFS.

-bassman
Old 24th November 2009
  #43
Cool thanks!

This hasn't been an issue for me since I always watch the VUs on the analog gear and it's probably been even less of an issue for me because I have been using RME so I was getting away with hotter levels regardless.

Still it's great to have the refresher.

One thing I have to constantly remind myself to do is on the 1969, check the VU in bypass. I do use tones to calibrate the L/R gain make up and then I leave them alone and so as soon as the comp is engaged I'm seeing the output level in the VU and not the input level (only in bypass).
Old 25th November 2009
  #44
Hey guys,

I was just thinking....considering that the consensus seems to be that you want as little color in the actual summing stage as possible....it strikes me that what this whole process is really all about is the color from the pres and not at all about actual summing.

Anyone ever A/B'd the difference between a passive summing box and just summing in the DAW and then passing the signal out -40db down and boosting it back with a pre?

Just curious, I'm not coming out for or against either one, just wondering why I'm spending $775 for transparency when I kind of already have it.

Anyone? Bueller? Can I infer from the deafening silence that this box really isn't necessary after all? I mean, if you have a lot of analog gear that you want to put on individual channels....then I can see it, but then the analog summing is really just a means of avoiding an extra conversion, not because the summing itself is so great. Right? And if you don't have all that gear and you were just going for the pres and maybe some 2-mix processing (like my Drawmer).....then maybe it doesn't make sense?
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