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The Dangerous 2 Bus review Digital Converters
Old 2nd June 2002
The Dangerous 2 Bus review

Dangerous 2 bus (D2B)

I have bought one of these to help me mix DAW sessions and use all my analog outboard. It sums 16 mono or 8 stereo pairs to 2 with a trim pot on the master out….
So far I have patched into it via my 16 interface outputs like so
Pair 1 = Kick (1) & Snare (2) (mono’ed)
Pair 2 = Rest of kit
Pair 3 = Bass (5) Lead Vocal (6) (mono’ed)
Pair 4 = GTR’s
Pair 5 = reverbs & FX
Pair 6 = anything individual I want to put analog processing on
Pair 7 = separate stereo compressed drum mix / or 2 x mono drum crush channels
Pair 8 = AMS RMX 16 reverb returns

Sonically I have found the kick snare & bass all have benefited greatly from this box. In fact everything sounds better, I feel I am able to get more punch & ‘ruder’ mixes when using the D2B in conjunction with outboard (just go from the interface out to the outboard you want to use and then back into the D2B) and it has been nice not to have to be concerned with DAW plug in induced delays!

For example o the mix I have just breaked from,
Kick - focurite 215 - dbx 160 - back into D2B
Snare - focurite 215 - dbx 160 - back into D2B
Bass - Neve 1073 - Distressor - back into D2B
Bass - Neve 1073 - UA1176 - back into D2B

From a vibe standpoint it is great, I am back on familiar turf, tweaking my analog outboard toys at mixdown.

The levels in to this summing gizmo are basically set (there is a useful +6 dB boost button), so one aspect of using the D2B, is that all level moves in the DAW are pre the unit and will effect outboard (like compression) but that, once known, can be worked around.

So I am happy, it represents a significant sonic leg up for me and my DAW based studio.

I capture the analog output of the D2B that in turn, feeds an SSL compressor, with a separate 44.1 24-bit converter (Cranesong Hedd) feeding via AES aback into a stereo track in Pro Tools - this is then routed to a masterlink for archive & client copies. I can import the mix and others from different tunes into a junior or 'self' master session later where final eq, maximizing & dither can be added (or simply take the AIFF files to a better qualified specialist mastering facility)

Using it DOES take SOME aditional consideration, the total total recall of PT IS disturbed, but then I am digging the hand tweaking of stuff right up to printing the mixes..

I find mixing a total smokindfegad chore / grind to be frank, I would rather be tracking... This livens up the task for me.

So it is IMHO, YET ANOTHER "go faster" ad on for the DAW studio along with: a controller with faders, good converters, a Masterlink and a FATSO..
Old 3rd June 2002
Gear Head


Thanks for pointing me here from the DUC.

As much as I like analog processing, what I want to know is this: What benifits in the way of clearer, wider, deeper whatever would be achieved by just using the 2bus to avoid the ProTools stereo bus?

In other words, if you compared your mix "all in" ProTools to one that had stuff separated out via the 2bus, say going straight from IT's stereo bus to analog tape, or even like a 24 bit DAT, WOULD the difference be startling? No outboard gear used, just the Dangerous 2bus.

That's what I'm curious about. I need to have the option to keep my mixes "total recall", but am interested in improving the sound.

Old 3rd June 2002
Thats how we first tried it.... no outboard... it sounded much better... To the two of us that have been mixing internally for the last 2-3 years

Old 3rd June 2002
Gear Addict
largeunit's Avatar

Hello Jules,

I'm a little confused.

Is the idea behind this device that the PT bus degrades your mix if you insert a master fader in your session?

Or simply that if you have many channels being summed out a certain stereo pair then they are degraded?

Is the idea that if you have, say 32 mono tracks in your session, and you have, say 8 outputs, that you should try to arrange it so that 4 tracks are coming out each output? (Thus minimizing the amount of summing?)

Could you explain a little more?
Old 3rd June 2002
"Is the idea that if you have, say 32 mono tracks in your session, and you have, say 8 outputs, that you should try to arrange it so that 4 tracks are coming out each output? (Thus minimizing the amount of summing?"

8 out = 4 pairs

So perhaps

1 Kick
2 Snare
3 Bass
4 Vox
7&8 = everything else

More later sleep
Old 3rd June 2002
Gear Head

Thanks, Jules, that's what I needed to know.

It looks like a really cool and inexpensive solution, and if I wanted, an invisible "set it and leave it" device.

Cool forum.
Old 4th June 2002
Gear Addict
largeunit's Avatar

So, sorry to harp on this, but ...

If the problem with the mix bus is in the summing of multiple tracks, does that mean if you are "bouncing to disk" just one track that the problem does not occur?
Old 4th June 2002
Some people belive the PT "gonzo user folklore" that as the track count increases the summing gets more 'jammed up' or 'thin'..
So in answer.... yes.

Old 4th June 2002
Gear Addict
largeunit's Avatar

Thanks Jules.
Old 4th June 2002
Lives for gear
davemc's Avatar

Nika could explain all this when he gets here.
If I remember each mixer plugin in Pro Tools dithers back to 24bit after you go past around 32 tracks. So a large mix will cause dither on the mixer plugin where a smaller mix would still be on one chip and hence no dither. Of course they have fixed this for HD.
I do not think the simple dithering across 2 mixer type chips is what people believe is the problem with PT MIX Buss. I think a lot of it comes from a build up of plugins,
To many are processing the sound it changes it. I know since I cut back on plugins my mixes are more open, could also be I am not ****ing them up so much.
I have not personally A/B’d a mix from PT direct out through a board and PT mix buss itself. I know this has come up many times.
I did notice a difference in the dithered mixer plugin. I did not know what the difference was but I liked it better. So I have been using the dithered mixer since.

All I know is I setup my HD system yesterday and the tracks I played back already recorded via the mix system did sound more open. Probably just the better converters going from 882/20 to a 192k.

If I do build up my outboard past a Fatso/1969 and ISA430, I might look at it.
Um just a mental note I have been send my guitars and vocals out to separate stereo busses since I got the 1969 and Fatso. They come back into PT before the mix buss. I wonder if that has made the mixes better lately also apart from the cool analogue gear.
Old 4th June 2002
Interesting... On that GTR & VOX analog treatment, Do you do anything to compensate for time lag due to the trip out and back in from your converters?

Old 4th June 2002
Lives for gear
davemc's Avatar

As I buss the whole lot thru each stereo buss I have not been time adjusting them. I calculated around 79 samples round trip, which is just a couple of plugs really. Although I adjust the Vocal verb so it is not to early, thru reverb one.
Will have to do my calcs again with the HD setup with the 192k.
I have played with sending a snare track thru the ISA for mixdown, it gets a little hairy with Phase and moving the track as you well know. Also the ISA is my main vox pre and of course vox are last and most of the mix is up by then. I have used teh ISA a bit to clean up some vox track not tracked by me.

My three latest analouge toys has been great.
Fatso used for the second kick and snare track multed off the buzz on the way down. So I only EQ and adjust both on way out,
1969 on m160 mic on way down to clean it up more.
That and the 57 into 9098 guitar track go thru the Fatso for mixdown
ISA430 I split the direct out and eq/comped/Dessed track to two tracks to blend later. Then re compress more thru 1969 for mixdown.

I used to Mult and do the clean and comp/eq trick for a lot of tracks now I just do it on the way down instead and use another track.

Only probs are when I am getting up tracking mix I do not have these conected as I am tracking thru them.
Old 11th June 2002
Lives for gear
RKrizman's Avatar

Re: The Dangerous 2 Bus review

Originally posted by Jules
Dangerous 2 bus (D2B)

So far I have patched into it via my 16 interface outputs like so
Pair 1 = Kick (1) & Snare (2) (mono’ed)
Pair 2 = Rest of kit
Pair 3 = Bass (5) Lead Vocal (6) (mono’ed)
Pair 4 = GTR’s
Pair 5 = reverbs & FX
Pair 6 = anything individual I want to put analog processing on
Pair 7 = separate stereo compressed drum mix / or 2 x mono drum crush channels
Pair 8 = AMS RMX 16 reverb returns

Hi Jules. I've read this numerous times now, but I still can't figure out where you patch the rest of your tracks that aren't covered by this list.

Old 11th June 2002
Sorry if that was unclear...

Mix I just completed

Pair 1 = Kick (1) & Snare (2) (mono’ed)
Pair 2 = Rest of kit
Pair 3 = Bass (5) Lead Vocal (6) (mono’ed)
Pair 4 = GTR’s
Pair 5 = B vox
Pair 6 = THE REST OF THE MUSIC (& the answer to your question)
Pair 7 = Analog out from PT of all PT FX & ext AES reverbs / FX
Pair 8 = AMS RMX 16 reverb returns

I juggle it's configuration around my needs..

Old 12th June 2002
Gear Head

Dangerous has sent me a 2Bus for evaluation, so I'm going to listen to it on Monday. I just finished a mix, so it will be a great time to have a shoot-out.

I'm also trying to get an SBM-2 Stereo Bus Mixer from INWARD CONNECTIONS. They are distributed by Boutique Audio

Has anyone heard their unit? It is a discreet Class A mixer. Basically the same thing, except that it has 16 individual and pannable inputs. It looks a lot more retro.

They also make a cool looking Master Section which is all Class A discreet as well, with talkback, alternate monitors etc etc. Again this unit looks like it came off an old console.

Ian there seems like a cool guy. Let me know if anybody has heard this stuff.
Old 12th June 2002
Great news! Cant wait to hear your reviews!

Old 13th June 2002
Lives for gear
e-cue's Avatar

Stupid question: Is this thing MAC compatible?
Old 13th June 2002
Itz analog dude!

Its a 16 into 2 mixer in a 2U rackmount.

Hello! Are you lying in wait for the paper boy again? BB gun in hand?


Old 14th June 2002
Lives for gear
e-cue's Avatar

Sorry Sorry, I guess I got a little confused. I was thinking you'd get an D/A conversion delay, but if all of your program material is going though this box, I guess they'd all be delayed intime with themselves. (eailier you stated that you don't have to worry about plug in delays - I think this is where I brainfarted)
Old 15th June 2002
Gear Head

What i am wondering though is what real life board does this summing bus sound like. Every console has its sound which is it flavored like. The roundness and meat of a neve? The sterileness of a SSL? The warmth an d dirt of a sony/mci. The chalk crap of a mackie????? Lets hear some comparisons.
Old 16th June 2002
Err steady on now..

- On an analog desk the trip via Mic pre, EQ, routing via busses to the recorder, back from the recorder, line amps, eq again, sub groups and finaly - the mix bus (2bus in USA) will no doubt 'stamp' some "flavor" on recorded material. And that is quite some 'round trip' for the signal to take, often one via a GREAT MANY electronic components.

But on the D2B analog suming is the desired task to be fulfilled.. not subtle sound 'color' or flavor addition. It is a minimalist box. Think of it as performing the last few yards of journey, not the whole journey.
Old 16th June 2002
Capitol Studios Paris
jon's Avatar

Cannon Fo So, just curious which Neve, SSL and MCI consoles you are referring to?

A Neve 8058, 8068, 8078, V1, V3, VR, 88R, Melbourne, Capricorn or Libra are very different animals.

An SSL E, G, J, K, MT, MT Plus, Avant or Aysis are also very different from each other.

Please let us know which desks you are really talking about.
Old 16th June 2002
Gear Head

I realise all those boards sound diffrent but lets be honest from one model to another in most cases 80 series neves sound mor elike neves then ssls do if you follow me. It has to impart something on it sonically just as when you mix on a SSL with all the faders at zero running pt thru it it still sounds SSL ish IT has to have some comparable flavor i think the only way im gonna answer this is by demoing it myself.
Old 16th June 2002
I think you're banging your head against a wall a little here.

Running signal through a mere handful of components wont add up to a classic console 'signature sound'

The guy that designed it also builds minimal component - mastering consoles where 'no sound' is the design criteria.

Jay Kahrs has lifted the lid on the thing and says there is little in it. That would be in stark contrast to say an SSL board which are famous for having a sh!tload of components in the signal path, or a vintage Neve, with all its old electronics...

The D2B is a minimalist box and nowhere does it state that it acts as a famous desk 'simulator'...

That's not what you buy the thing for!

Does this make any sense?
Old 17th June 2002
Lives for gear
imacgreg's Avatar
If the Dangerous 2-buss doesn't add much sonic "flavor" to the sound, do you think that people may want to see a summing box that does use, say Neve-style or SSL-style circuitry? Just a thought...

Old 17th June 2002
Gear Head

I get the purpose and the intent but nearly everything imparts a character and iam wonderin g what the character is akin to? I am not thinking its gonna give me some magic console sound. This thing is just the same as having faders always set to unity on a console and sending it to a 2 mix buss so it is a comparable analogy.
Old 17th June 2002
Gear Nut
DrC:Drive's Avatar

Just as a matter of interest I have just completed a blues band project this weekend. Using Alsihad HD2 I patched the Bass drum out through my Apogee SE 8000 to a Trakker in 1176 emulation mode and the Bass though my Avalon 737sp with some EQ boost at 700Hz and a little sub bass at 60Hz.The stereo mix went out of the Apogee analog to Pendulum Audio ES8 Vari-Mu back into Crane Song HEDD 192 for a little phatness and then into a Waves L2 limiter back into PT. I used no time adjuster plugs, it didnt seem to make much difference. The result is absolutely awesome. The new mix bus is fantastic. I pulled the master level down until the Vari-Mu was working around 0Vu the level boost was done by the ultra transparent L2. This sounds like a record, and the analog toys patched in made a huge difference, particularly the Var-Mu. It fattened and enhanced the sound hugely. Will the D2B actually improve the mix even without the patching in of compressors etc? Perhaps the new mix buss has solved the problem of mixing in PT. I would like to hear the experience of any one with HD and D2b to see if it improves the sound.

James Cullen
Nimrod Audio
Old 17th June 2002
"This thing is just the same as having faders always set to unity on a console and sending it to a 2 mix buss so it is a comparable analogy."

Not really!


Give it up!

It's the action of analog summing that you want to be listening for to decide if you like it or not.

If you insist on using your ears to detecting the sound a handfull of components imparts to your audio... go ahead!

"do you think that people may want to see a summing box that does use, say Neve-style or SSL-style circuitry? Just a thought..."

McDSP already make Analog channel - a plug in which emulates Neve & SSL..

Some cat in Japan made a summing bus up up from SSL parts, it's pretty jammed with components...

Heres another Japanese one!
Old 18th June 2002
Gear Addict
largeunit's Avatar

Has anybody tried out the new pro tools mixer that just came out? It's in the just released 5.3.1 version of their software and it's supposed to be an improvement.
Old 18th June 2002
no ssl yet
Jules, Do you think It would be advantageous to spread 16 outs to a Mackie 8bus?? I know some folk are gonna kill me for mentioning the Mackie, but there is sound reasoning for my question. I knowtice on the mackie, the EQ's have problems, and the Pre amps are no good (Don't think I have to explain this here).
However, I'd only be using the line amps and the summing. Does anyone have an opinion on this board without EQ inserted, and using only the line amps???

Also does anyone know of someone who does upgrades to the mackie line amps and monitor section>>
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