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Automation and Summing Mixers
Old 1st August 2011
  #1
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davidwilson's Avatar
 

Automation and Summing Mixers

Just wondering how people here are approaching summing alongside outboard gear and automation.

I mix ITB whilst inserting mainly outboard comps and EQ in my PT HD rig and about to purchase a new summing mixer.

This main issue I see now is do I mix stems and run them through my Summing mixer creating another DA/AD conversion.

Or

Take the outputs of my harware straight into the summing mixer sacrificing autmation or at least automate into the compressor instead.

Hope this question makes sence.
Old 1st August 2011
  #2
PTP
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A while back I had the same struggle. After testing several different routings and setups I preferred to sum 16 ch. out and insert my outboard on the summing mixer. It gives you less ad/da conversion, which is imo better. It does have the thing where your automation rides into compression but I kinda liked that because it makes your compression work less hard on the low level stuff. And if I do want that, I can use a comp plug to do it.

Now, you can sum 16 individual tracks or 8 stems. You'll have to try to find out what works best for you. I kinda like it best to sum individual tracks and set level, eq and pan stuff on the board, 'cause it feels better and I can work faster. The downside is recall time.

So for me it's individual tracks, or when a project relies heavily on recallability, I just sum stems with some stereo comps/eq strapped on it and just mix the rest ITB.

Grtz,
Koen.
Old 2nd August 2011
  #3
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You know with all the summing mixers out there there is market I guess for 16or 8 channel line input modules that can be automated I am guessing.

I know many would say were getting close to an actual console but this could be an independent unit with many other uses also.

I previously built a passive mixer which worked great but went to using Slate VCC which let me use automation as I preffered but the sound quality just isn't quite there. I am guessing despite all the sceptics there is something to be said for analog summing. But with the lack of automation on summing devices the tradeoff for quality is quite substantial.
Old 2nd August 2011
  #4
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heh... is all I will say at the moment
Old 2nd August 2011
  #5
PTP
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You could check Audient or SSL for small format mixers with automation....
Old 4th August 2011
  #6
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I am sure there are many other users here with the same setup. Even a few hi profile ones using say Mix Dream or Fulcrom alongside outboard gear.

I am just wondering how the approach the automation side of things.
Old 4th August 2011
  #7
I use the neve 8816. All tracks get run out to hardware comps and sometimes eqs and rerecorded to new tracks.

I'm using the ssl alphalink 24 channel converter. Both the alphalink and neve use dsub connectors. I use planet waves modular snakes. After I'm done with my outboard "reruns" I simply pop off the 2 dsubs from the fans that connect the alphalink to my rack gear patchbays. Then using female to female couplers I pop them onto dsub cables for the neve. basically I'm able to change 16 outs to my racks to 16 outs to my summing mixer with just 2 connectors.

All automation is computer based drawn or using my tascam us2400. I'd never use hardware inserts unless there's an easy way to make new printed tracks out of them. I need the recall. My neve 8816 also has recall but I mostly only change pan settings on it. volumes are at unity coming from the computer except the vocal usually. I find my self often pushing it harder from the increased headroom on the unit.

The only reason I could see for automating on the summer is for non physical instant recall or if you are summing directly post outboard. I always print back the outboard not just for the recall later but because:

I have many more tracks than summing channels.

I often have a few alternate processed versions of several key tracks like vocals and kick drums.

I have both high end and low end outboard but with reprinting I can use massive passive on every track if I want.

I don't mind the extra ad da trip. Though I'm an obsessive perfectionist you gotta draw the somwhere and for me its my boycott of writing down knob positions.
Old 4th August 2011
  #8
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I use mostly outboard EQ or just distort stuff for now so it's not an issue. I often automate before compressing anyway so it's not a big deal; if I really need to automate after an analog compressor I just print the compression back to Pro Tools. People tweak out about conversion too much.

The determining factor is how much you need to automate after analog compression. You might not need it as much as you think. Automating before compressing is really fruitful and underrated in my opinion, although of course automating after compressing is sometimes unarguably necessary.

You just have to set the compressor first, then automate into it.
Old 4th August 2011
  #9
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I switched to the Audient 2802 as 8 channels of automation after analog compression was enough for what I do. The other 24 inputs are set to unity and can be automated itb as they don't have analog compression on them.
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