Analog Summing... who, what, when, where, why?

Discussion in 'GEAR Talk Forum' started by WaveRider, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. germancomponist

    germancomponist Senior Member

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    If you have good ears, there is absolutely no need for analog summing tools. Invest in a good studio/mixing room and equipment, and all will get well .... . ;)
     
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  2. OP
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    WaveRider

    WaveRider Member

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    I guess I completely missed the point then. I thought the purpose of all the expensive Neve boxes was to get a warmer, smoother, analog sound.
     
  3. danbo

    danbo Member

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    The only D/A I've heard that is significantly an improvement is an R2R DAC. If you want it relatively cheap in two channel you can get the Soekris R2R in two channel for about $1k. I use this as my reference two channel chain, off a USB reclocker. Unfortunately don't know of any professional R2R's and not in 8 channel surround.

    *soft analog compression* is what I've heard the allure is.

    Avoiding compression all together is one of my goals.
     
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  4. Nick Batzdorf

    Nick Batzdorf Moderator

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    Dynaudio makes excellent speakers, so I'm not sure that your thinking is necessarily applicable in this case - although yes, speakers definitely make more difference to the sound than anything else, especially analog summing.
     
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  5. Nick Batzdorf

    Nick Batzdorf Moderator

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    I haven't worked with any stand-alone D/As, but I'll take your word for it.

    The Dangerous box sounded notably better than the digital mixer I had at the time *even after taking the time to unplug/replug cables* (i.e. I didn't have an A/B switch set up - it was just a demo, not a listening test).

    The digital mixer was a Panasonic DA7, not dogshit at all.
     
  6. germancomponist

    germancomponist Senior Member

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    If you want to get an analog sound, use only analog equipment. ;)
    All other mixes are fake ... . Analog is analog, from the recording till the mastering. ...
     
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  7. OP
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    WaveRider

    WaveRider Member

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    Well one thing I've learned through this whole learning experience is there's quite a few (unintentionally) comical YouTube videos of people showing off their 5059's and Portico II's and you can literally hear ZERO difference when A/B'd. I'm sure part of it is YT's crappy audio compression but seriously.... that's what everyone else hears too.

    And so I will keep my money and continue using plug-ins. I thought maybe these boxes were some sort of holy grail, but clearly they are not.
     
  8. dgburns

    dgburns splunge

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    If you really want the analog experience, I’d suggest getting a reasonable quality analog studio mixer. In my experience, lot’s of things about mixing on a console can make a difference. But it’s alot of small things adding up to a bigger result. Things like gain staging, the analog eq, inserts with compressors, fx sends and groups and of course hitting the analog bus with a bit of signal to get into the red a little bit. I’ve noticed sometimes that the console helps with sample libraries, I’m not sure why, but I think it’s just so easy to reach for the eq and, again little moves here and there add up to a big difference.

    I use a soundcraft spirit studio occasionally, it has those tlo72 chips which have a sound to them, slow slew rate, not linear but saturate in a pleasing way. I still think based on my experiences with consoles, big and small, that alot can be accomplished ITB.

    Gain staging is a big deal. On a console, you do it automatically, partly because it steers you that way. The daw allows for more gain ranges without sound considerations- you could achieve the same result with aggregate levels anywhere, so long as the end result is mastered to the same level- thanks to floating point math. (plugin internal gain staging not considered).

    The big deal about analog summing is the crosstalk. This can be modelled, and this will only get better as time goes on. The trend is ITB not OTB.

    But mixing with faders across a desk is FUN, and that counts for something ;)
     
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  9. Nick Batzdorf

    Nick Batzdorf Moderator

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    That seems very odd to me. There's always some crosstalk between stereo channels in the playback chain, but why would crosstalk in your mixer change the sound in any good way?
     
  10. ironbut

    ironbut Active Member

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    The bottom line is, there aren't any silver bullets when it comes to getting great sound for your compositions.
    IMHO if you have a creation that you're proud of and want to do everything you can to make it stand up and be noticed, send it to a great mastering engineer. If it needs more work in the mix stage, he/she will tell you that and you can start there.
    There's no substitute for experience and a proven track record.
     
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  11. Nick Batzdorf

    Nick Batzdorf Moderator

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    With sex, absolutely - no reason to have it at home when you can hire an experienced professional.

    But when it comes to music and audio, I'm still doing my best to gain all the experience and knowledge I can.
     
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  12. wst3

    wst3 my office these days

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    Nick you slay me!
     
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  13. chimuelo

    chimuelo Star Of Stage & Screen

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    Between 120-150bpm
    I’ve got a great Mastering Engineer that I hire.
    His name is Manley Slam.
    A dynamic genius.
     
  14. dgburns

    dgburns splunge

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    I hope it's ok to quote Steven Slate, as this is what I was referring to. He posted this somewhere else but I'll just paste it here rather then link to somewhere else-

    "A lot of people incorrectly assume that the "summing" aspect of a mixing console is a major factor in its tone, but it's just not the case. What really gives a mixing console its tone is the summing amps, the channel amps, and then some other components throughout its circuit path will add bits of nonlinearities to complete the final tone. There is an argument that some of the crosstalk that can happen in the summing network can contribute to the tone, so this is why we modeled this artifact in our Mixbuss plugins.

    Ultimately what an analog console, virtual console plugin, or a little rackmount analog console do is the same concept: Add color to your audio. And then it's just up to peoples' ears to decide what color they like, which is of course subjective.

    If you check out the VCC 2.0 thread, we did a comparison of the Nicersizer mk2 rackmount mixer against the VCC, and the results were quite interesting."

    Cheers,
    Steven
     
  15. jamwerks

    jamwerks Senior Member

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    One thing is the artifacts (pleasing distortion from the amps) and another is the summing of multiple signals in the analogue (electronic) domaine. Plug-ins can't do anything there...
     
  16. Nick Batzdorf

    Nick Batzdorf Moderator

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    Well, I'm skeptical about the crosstalk part of his argument (although the rest of what he says is unassailable).

    To me crosstalk is a bad thing. But I haven't heard a pure comparison with and without it alone, so who knows.
     
  17. Jimmy Hellfire

    Jimmy Hellfire Senior Member

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    Early contender for the comment of the year.
     
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  18. Daniel James

    Daniel James Senior Member

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    The difference I think is so subtle that unless you are specifically trying to impress and audiophile no one will notice.

    When someone is showing your awesome track to their friend on their phone I doubt they will say "Oh man the analogue summing in this make its sound so much better"

    If you want to feel what summing does to a mix, try one of the Slate console plugins, it will do the same job and sound just as good. People and Steven Slate himself make a point of doing blind A B comparisons with this kind of thing so have a look around and see if you can find the virtual console collection ones. The thing you will notice is some people get it right, most get it wrong....and these are people who are actively listening for a difference.....The average consumer, who isn't actually listening for it, or know what summing is will ever notice.

    So tbh its just not worth the money, unless you have money to throw around of course....in which case put the money to something more overt, or fuck it buy a dirt bike and go ride some awesome mountain somewhere to get inspired to make the music itself better...ok we are strying into my world there so this is a good place to end.

    tl;dr not worth the money and no one will notice other than you.

    -DJ

    EDIT: Sorry I just noticed alot of what I said has already been so. And I could be less of a dick and actually give you the link rather than make you google it haha https://www.slatedigital.com/virtual-console-collection/
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  19. OP
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    WaveRider

    WaveRider Member

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    LOL! Well said.

    I'm currently using the Slate plugins and am generally happy with the sound. I almost got sucked into the "but hardware is so much better" trap.
     
  20. dgburns

    dgburns splunge

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    It’s so true that the iphone has become the reference monitor of choice. Who would have thought that the iphone would have become the new NS10M? ;)
     
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