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Dangerous D-Box summing! Monitor Controllers
Old 7th November 2011
  #1
Dangerous D-Box summing!

hey.

i would like to get a dangerous d-box hopefully the next weeks.
my question is,... what do you guys think is the best way to use the 8 channel summing?
i am not sure but i guess its 4 stereo channels?

1/2 stereo drumbus+bass guitar
3/4 guitars
5/6 Vocals+synths etc
7/8 reverbs and effekts

would this make sense?

cheers
Old 7th November 2011
  #2
That already sounds good.

Maybe I'd put bass and guitars on 3/4 and leave 1/2 only for drums and percussions. If you have just one voice, do bass and voice together on 7/8 panned mono. Therefor guitars and synths on 3/4.
Old 7th November 2011
  #3
Gear Addict
 
Tachy's Avatar
Surethe d-b ox is a good unit, but I would not buy a summing amp with only 8 ch.....
Old 7th November 2011
  #4
i dont buy the d-box because of the summing, i wanna buy it because of its monitor control feautures.
the summing is just a goodie and if its there, why shouldnt use it.
Old 7th November 2011
  #5
Gear Nut
 

That's exactly why I got one, too. It's an amazing sounding monitor controller. I have noticed very little difference sonically with the summing. It is convenient to have, though, when I want to add some analog goodies to my stems without running into latency problems. Like compressing the drums, vocal mix, etc.
Old 7th November 2011
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
taherbert's Avatar
For me, it would change depending on the bus structure ITB and what analog gear I wanted to put on which tracks on a given song. If I only had 8 channels for summing, I probably wouldn't use two of those for Effects either.

In my experience, the most destructive thing about ITB summing is when you max out digital busses. It usually doesn't clip but you do some weird non-intentional limiting to things that really sucks the life out of groups of tracks. If you don't have enough OTB tracks for all your stems, I'd maybe arrange it so that you put groups of instruments together that end up with similar volumes on your output busses. That way you'd get the max benefit from the increased headroom of the analog summing.
Old 7th November 2011
  #7
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ttown23's Avatar
I have the same setup, Dangerous D-box, and I use Lynx Aurora 16/AES-16 as a front-end.

Honestly, I don't use the summing much at all. Maybe this is because of my ignorance of the pros of summing, though. My understanding is that summing is only useful on the monitoring side of things, and doesn't help in terms of recording or ITB processing? Maybe I'm way off here though!

Can someone in the know post up how to best maximize summing? I have my system fully set-up to use it, but mostly end up using the digital bus to do my monitoring through the D-Box.
Old 7th November 2011
  #8
How I usually use my dbox is vox=1-2 instruments=3-4 reverb send=5-6 drums=7-8. I put the vox through 1-2 because low latancey monitoring uses these by default in protools. I then patch my summed mix into a pair of api pre's and feed that back to the analog in on the dbox.I then mix into the api's to push it the way I like. When i'm done with my mix I patch the api out into my converters and print monitoring through the daw path. Just what works for me in my setup though and sometimes I do things differently depending on the situation.
Old 7th November 2011
  #9
I finally figured out how to use 8 channel summing to allow me to easily integrate some outboard into my mixdown without having to deal with latency from sending and returning individual tracks and all of that nonsense (which isn't well integrated in REAPER even with the dedicated plug)

set up like this:

Drums bus -> Chameleon Labs 7720 -> Summing 1&2
Guitar bus -> Summing 3&4
Synths, keys, FX, backing vox sundires bus -> Summing 5&6
Main Vox (mono) -> ART Pro VLA - Summing 7
Bass (mono) -> ART Pro VLA - Summing 8

Summed 2 track return through another Chameleon 7720 to DAW Track

Monitor the return to the DAW through a TC Electronics BMC-2

Not sure how much difference the summing makes in isolation but this way I get to use all my hardware and plug-ins side by side without hassles, in real time and record the result (which makes me happy)
Old 8th November 2011
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by tape_attack!!! View Post
hey.

i would like to get a dangerous d-box hopefully the next weeks.
my question is,... what do you guys think is the best way to use the 8 channel summing?
i am not sure but i guess its 4 stereo channels?

1/2 stereo drumbus+bass guitar
3/4 guitars
5/6 Vocals+synths etc
7/8 reverbs and effekts

would this make sense?

cheers
SPAM:

My D-Box is for sale if you're interested. It's in excellent condition and I have all of the original packaging.

If this breaks the thread rules, please delete, or ask me to remove.

Cheers,
Phil
Old 8th November 2011
  #11
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Faderjockey's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bristol Posse View Post
I finally figured out how to use 8 channel summing to allow me to easily integrate some outboard into my mixdown without having to deal with latency from sending and returning individual tracks and all of that nonsense (which isn't well integrated in REAPER even with the dedicated plug)

set up like this:

Drums bus -> Chameleon Labs 7720 -> Summing 1&2
Guitar bus -> Summing 3&4
Synths, keys, FX, backing vox sundires bus -> Summing 5&6
Main Vox (mono) -> ART Pro VLA - Summing 7
Bass (mono) -> ART Pro VLA - Summing 8

Summed 2 track return through another Chameleon 7720 to DAW Track

Monitor the return to the DAW through a TC Electronics BMC-2

Not sure how much difference the summing makes in isolation but this way I get to use all my hardware and plug-ins side by side without hassles, in real time and record the result (which makes me happy)
almost same as me..
I use Reaper using VCC RC on stem busses going to D-Box.
I too often use my 7720 on drums on 1/2
gtr's 3/4
and Bg vox, F/X, synth 5/6
but I do bass on 7
ld Vocal on 8
D-box output goes to Overstayer VCA (sometimes a TG2 in between when I want more color).
Back to Reaper for print.
Monitoring the whole time with the D-box D/A
Old 8th November 2011
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

There is a bunch of free videos at PUREMIX about analog summing.
Some of them talk about stem choices.
I own a d-box too.
I usually go
1/2 drums
3/4 Music (guitars, synth etc)
5/6 effects
7 bass
8 Vox
Old 8th November 2011
  #13
where are you located???
Old 8th November 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
 

I own a D-Box and I love it. I don't know what everybody else is monitoring through, but the summing is clearly noticeable. More headroom, wider imaging. Best studio investment I've made in a long while.
Old 8th November 2011
  #15
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RonT's Avatar
 

When I was into the DBox summing thingy: I found that is was easy to leave everything on 1/2, then stem out drums 3/4 music 5/6 bass 7 and lead vox 8.

Here was my typical mix using DBox

Everything Except Drums, Music, Lead Vox and Bass on 1/2---->Outboard Comp/EQ (Varied)---->DBox in 1/2 (Normal Tracking and Listening)

Drums---->API 2500---->DBox 3/4

Music---->Outboard RNC/EQ(Varied)---->DBox 5/6

Bass 7---->UA 6176----->DBox 7 Mono Straight Up

Lead Vox---->Avalon 737-----DBox 8 Mono Straight Up

Sum Out of DBox----->RNC----Supernice Mode-----Aurora Audio GTQ2---Rosetta 800 (Soft Limit)----DAW---Back Out Via Digital Out into DAW Input of DBox and monitor from there when mixing.

This way effectss, add, chorus, blah blah were already stemmed and did not need to be assigned an out becuase normal monitoring was done through the sum bus.

When mix time came, I monitored through the DAW input via AES. I would take the sum output and send it back into the DAW. Then back out via AES and the DBox did the D/A finally making it to the Monitors.

This is what made the most difference for me though, Stemming into hardware and then into the DBox and from the Sum Output into hardware before going back ITB.

Hope this helps. BTW, you will be a amazed at what a couple of RNCs will do the the Music Stem and then on the Sum Output before going back ITB in SuperNiceMode!!!
Old 8th November 2011
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
taherbert's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttown23 View Post
I have the same setup, Dangerous D-box, and I use Lynx Aurora 16/AES-16 as a front-end.

Honestly, I don't use the summing much at all. Maybe this is because of my ignorance of the pros of summing, though. My understanding is that summing is only useful on the monitoring side of things, and doesn't help in terms of recording or ITB processing? Maybe I'm way off here though!

Can someone in the know post up how to best maximize summing? I have my system fully set-up to use it, but mostly end up using the digital bus to do my monitoring through the D-Box.
Summing is the term used for combining tracks together into fewer tracks. Most of the time, when people refer to summing, they are talking about taking the all the tracks and busses on a project and mixing them down to a 2-track stereo master. This can be done within the computer (digital or ITB summing) or outside the computer (analog or OTB summing). The argument for OTB summing goes that the cumulative rounding errors that occur when the signal levels from multiple digital tracks are mathematically combined in the computer result in some kind of loss of detail that is audible and undesirable. ITB advocates say this is nonsense, OTB advocates say they can hear a difference. I am also oversimplifying the debate somethwhat, as there are issue of headroom, crosstalk, etc.

FWIW, I am a believer in analog summing, I can hear a difference in my studio on a Rolls Folcrom and it is not at all subtle. Some OTB advocates say that the more tracks you sum OTB, the bigger the difference, and that summing fewer than 16 tracks doesn't make much of a difference.

If you are monitoring via the D-boxes DAC (DAW input), you aren't going to hear the effect of summing unless you are playing back a 2-track mix that you recorded off the Summing Outputs of your D-box. If you are monitoring from the Summing inputs, but don't record that signal as your final your final mix, then you aren't really mixing OTB, you're just monitoring OTB and mixing ITB, which would be harmful because essentially you're making mixing decisions while listening to your actual mix. It would be like mixing to tape, but monitoring from the Input instead of the Repro so you're not actually listening to the signal that's on the tape and you have no idea how much tape compression/saturation you're getting.

To get the most out of your D-box summing, you need to mix your track down to 8 channels of output only, run them into the summing inputs of your D-box, then record the summing outputs of the D-box either back into a stereo input of your interface or another mixdown deck of some sort. You'll want to monitor back from wherever your mix is going while you're mixing.

Anyway, hope that clears things up.
Old 8th November 2011
  #17
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ttown23's Avatar
That is very helpful, taherbert. By your description then, I am summing ITB (what I call 'rendering' to a 2-track recording) and monitoring using the D-Box DAC circuit.

I'm not actually thinking that using the D-box summing side of things would help me much. I do mostly electronic music or solo piano jazz, so the tracks are pretty homogenous (not your standard rock vocalist, bass, guitar, drums sort of thing).

I did hook my system up to be able to use summing, and sometimes just for ****s and grins I monitor at the summing inputs to the D-box (somehow it always sounds worse to me than using the D-Box DACs?), but I do all of my ITB work using the D-box DAC circuit, as I was aware of the cardinal sin re: monitoring that you mentioned.
Old 8th November 2011
  #18
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This is just personal opinion, but to me, those summing devices are biggest lie and scam in audio industry. The differences between ITB and summed track don't justify the price you pay. I would rather save money and invest in something else.
Old 8th November 2011
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
taherbert's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttown23 View Post
That is very helpful, taherbert. By your description then, I am summing ITB (what I call 'rendering' to a 2-track recording) and monitoring using the D-Box DAC circuit.

I'm not actually thinking that using the D-box summing side of things would help me much. I do mostly electronic music or solo piano jazz, so the tracks are pretty homogenous (not your standard rock vocalist, bass, guitar, drums sort of thing).

I did hook my system up to be able to use summing, and sometimes just for ****s and grins I monitor at the summing inputs to the D-box (somehow it always sounds worse to me than using the D-Box DACs?), but I do all of my ITB work using the D-box DAC circuit, as I was aware of the cardinal sin re: monitoring that you mentioned.
Glad it was helpful. If it doesn't make a difference to you or you prefer ITB, do what makes you happy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FoxMulderFBI View Post
This is just personal opinion, but to me, those summing devices are biggest lie and scam in audio industry. The differences between ITB and summed track don't justify the price you pay. I would rather save money and invest in something else.
As always, YMMV. In the listening tests people post online about OTB vs. ITB, I notice about 40% of people strongly prefer the ITB sound, but I usually prefer the OTB mixes about 3:1. This didn't really convince me, however, until we tried out a summing bus, and then the benefits were obvious to me and the other engineers at our place.

As far as the cost, a Rolls Folcrom is $700 retail, and you can build a passive summing bus for about $300. I love being able to run my mixes through outboard preamps for different flavors as well. In my experience, OTB summing does make a difference in the final product, and more importantly, it improves the speed at which I can build a cohesive mix out of raw tracks. I don't think I could put $700 into anything else that would get as much use and make as tangible a difference in my work flow. No mic or compressor is going to get used on everything, and $700 isn't going to make your converters any better.

Even if you just think about the more expensive summing boxes (median probably $3K) as glorified tone processors, you're usually getting a pair of high quality discrete OpAmps and sometimes transformers. When you consider that some people will run tracks through compressors with the compression circuit disengaged or run tracks through vintage preamps that cost this much per channel just to get the tone color of the Opamps and transformers, I don't think it's as much of a rip off as you think.
Old 8th November 2011
  #20
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RonT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by taherbert View Post
If you are monitoring via the D-boxes DAC (DAW input), you aren't going to hear the effect of summing unless you are playing back a 2-track mix that you recorded off the Summing Outputs of your D-box. .......

To get the most out of your D-box summing, you need to mix your track down to 8 channels of output only, run them into the summing inputs of your D-box, then record the summing outputs of the D-box either back into a stereo input of your interface or another mixdown deck of some sort.......

You'll want to monitor back from wherever your mix is going while you're mixing.

Anyway, hope that clears things up.
I don't agree.

If I am "Monitoring" my Summed Mix via a return to my DAW, which is going back out to the DBox DAC on the DAW input, then I AM hearing the effects of the summing.

In other words to keep it simple. If I take 4 stereo stems, with 4 different stereo outputs in the DBox and then out of the DBox's Sum Output back into the DAW, then Monitor that channel via the DAC of the DBox using the DAW input, I am using the DBox exactly how it was designed to be used. I would hear the effects of the summing AND hear what I am recording to disk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by taherbert View Post

You'll want to monitor back from wherever your mix is going while you're mixing.
I do agree with this but you don't need mix down to stems or record anything to disc to do this hooking it up as I described in my first post. That's why you tie your default output to the DBox's Sum Input 1/2.

Even though I suggest mixes to Aux's or Stems for simplification, you don't have to in order to hear the effects of summing to the DBox which BTW, IMHO, is very, very , very little and not really worth the effort if you are not going into hardware before summing.

On a side note, you don't have to use the DAC of the DBox. You can also use any DAC and just use the Analog Input of the DBox. You can also use the DAW input or CD input for the DAC on the DBox. It is just labeled for convienence.
Old 8th November 2011
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
taherbert's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonT View Post
I don't agree.

If I am "Monitoring" my Summed Mix via a return to my DAW, which is going back out to the DBox DAC on the DAW input, then I AM hearing the effects of the summing.

In other words to keep it simple. If I take 4 stereo stems, with 4 different stereo outputs in the DBox and then out of the DBox's Sum Output back into the DAW, then Monitor that channel via the DAC of the DBox using the DAW input, I am using the DBox exactly how it was designed to be used. I would hear the effects of the summing AND hear what I am recording to disk.



I do agree with this but you don't need mix down to stems or record anything to disc to do this hooking it up as I described in my first post. That's why you tie your default output to the DBox's Sum Input 1/2.

Even though I suggest mixes to Aux's or Stems for simplification, you don't have to in order to hear the effects of summing to the DBox which BTW, IMHO, is very, very , very little and not really worth the effort if you are not going into hardware before summing.

On a side note, you don't have to use the DAC of the DBox. You can also use any DAC and just use the Analog Input of the DBox. You can also use the DAW input or CD input for the DAC on the DBox. It is just labeled for convienence.
Ron, I was not responding to your post or implying you don't know how to use your D-box. If you read the post I was responding to, he was not running his mixes back into his DAW. The description of your signal chain is exactly how I would have mine set up if I was using a D-box.

My post was a little unclear, in that when I used the term 'mix', I did not mean you had to 'render' or 'bounce' stems or 2-track mixes in order to hear the effects of summing, rather I meant that you'd have to bus your tracks to 8 channels for summing, and then be monitoring the return to DAW as you described. Sorry if I created any confusion.
Old 8th November 2011
  #22
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RonT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by taherbert View Post
Ron, I was not responding to your post or implying you don't know how to use your D-box. If you read the post I was responding to, he was not running his mixes back into his DAW. The description of your signal chain is exactly how I would have mine set up if I was using a D-box.

My post was a little unclear, in that when I used the term 'mix', I did not mean you had to 'render' or 'bounce' stems or 2-track mixes in order to hear the effects of summing, rather I meant that you'd have to bus your tracks to 8 channels for summing, and then be monitoring the return to DAW as you described. Sorry if I created any confusion.
Yeah, I knew you knew what you were talking about and I am glad you cleared things up.

For the record, I still bounce stems. Even though I do not typically sum OTB anymore. But when I need that extra ummph, I do not need to recall my outboard settings and can quickly mix/sum further OTB. If it was not for my summing days, I would have not trained myself to mix this way. So still good advice taherbert.
Old 8th November 2011
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
taherbert's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonT View Post
Yeah, I knew you knew what you were talking about and I am glad you cleared things up.

For the record, I still bounce stems. Even though I do not typically sum OTB anymore. But when I need that extra ummph, I do not need to recall my outboard settings and can quickly mix/sum further OTB. If it was not for my summing days, I would have not trained myself to mix this way. So still good advice taherbert.
Yeah, I actually bounce stems OTB through hardware processors too, precisely for recall ability. Then we just sum the stems when we've done our automation ITB. It's a killer combo, IMO.
Old 8th November 2011
  #24
can someone tell me if the d-box and the dangerous ST sound the same?
or do they have different DAC?
Old 9th November 2011
  #25
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
If you use the summing unit of it you should take care not to send to much instruments with a similar freq-range to one input!

1+2 Drums
3+4 Base+Keys
5+6 Guitars
7+8 FXs

Or use a bigger summing unit.

It also makes sense to have bus compressor for the two-bus-out before you go back to the DAW. Or some outboard gear for drum compression etc.

Just my two cents by using my hybrid setup over the past year.
Have fun- good luck
Old 10th November 2011
  #26
does anyone know if they sound different?or do they have the same converters?
Old 16th December 2011
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tape_attack!!! View Post
does anyone know if they sound different?or do they have the same converters?
The Monitor ST doesn't have a DAC stock. It's just monitor control. You have to buy the DAC-ST that pairs with it. I would assume it would be a better DAC than the Dbox's, as the DAC is nearly $1000.
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