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doorknocker 7th June 2007 10:08 AM

Question for Mick - Summing
Hi Mick,

in one of last year's Resolution magazines there was a great article about you and your new studio. You mentioned evaluating summing boxes and whether or not sum OTB in the digital world.

Could you tell us what your 'resolution' is now? Are you summing OTB and if yes what gear do you use? Does ITB vs. OTB summing make a 'night and day' difference to you?

Thanks for being here!

mickglossop 8th June 2007 12:36 AM

I mix both ITB and OTB, depending (usually) on the recording budget. I have a Pro Tools HD Accel 3 system in my own studio. I record mostly through the Digidesign 192 converters, but occasionally through my Apogee PSX-100. Most of the time I record (like most other people, believe it or not) at 48 kHz, although I sometimes prefer to use 96 kHz if the session is mostly acoustic.

I have mixed 9 or 10 albums completely ITB, with very good results, but....

Although I have Pro Control, it's not a lot of fun compared to working on an analogue console. This is not a criticism of Pro Tools - I had the same feeling when mixing on an SSL MT digital console, which is probably the most ergonomic digital console you'll find. To really get into the experience of mixing I need instant access to all the parameters and controls of the mix. You get most, but not all of that with ITB mixing. Several aspects, e.g. plug-in control are "one step away". Also, I find that my thinking process stays more in the vertical/logical mode when mixing in Pro Tools. On an analogue desk, with analogue outboard, my mind stays more in the horizontal/intuitive. This is because operating the analogue equipment is almost second nature - not because I've been using it for 30 years, but because the control process is much more immediate and accessible. One day, we'll have better control of Pro Tools parameters. In my opinion, it's still not there on the newer control surfaces.

Regarding summing, I feel that people are being severely led astray by several manufacturer's claims that a simple line mixer will give you the "analogue signature" of a classic analogue mixing console like a Neve, SSL, MCI, etc. This is simply not the case. You get very little sonic benefit from a simple line mixer. The sonic signature of a classic mixing console is derived mainly from the phase shift, distortion & crosstalk of the channels. This was revealed very significantly during a recent MPG event comparing an ITB Pro Tools mix with an identical OTB mix on a classic Neve console. There's a report in a recent edition on Pro Sound News for those interested.

AMIEL 23rd June 2007 11:43 PM

So mainly your definition of mixing OTB or summing would be thru a large console and not a summing box?

otherwise you will stay itb?

So no hybrid o using external outboard gear? if yes which one do u use in your studio?

I Imagine if you are summing in a large console then you may use everything including great outboard gear right?


tamasdragon 24th June 2007 12:37 PM


Originally Posted by mickglossop (Post 1315232)
IThis was revealed very significantly during a recent MPG event comparing an ITB Pro Tools mix with an identical OTB mix on a classic Neve console. There's a report in a recent edition on Pro Sound News for those interested.

I could not find it, where is it? I am very interested.

mickglossop 24th June 2007 03:27 PM

Yes - the only point for me in mixing OTB is to take advantage of the character of the console as a whole, not just its summing amps, and to be able to use the selection of analogue outboard gear available in the studio.

Moreover, when I'm mixing ITB in my own studio, I still use analogue outbaord gear where appropriate. I'm always having to decide about this on the basis of sound character vs expediency. i really appreciate the flexibility of instant recall in Pro Tools. Using anything OTB creates extra work in terms of recalls. Having said that, the bottom line is always the sound, so that takes precedence.

The outboard gear I have includes:

TLA 8 ch hybrid tube mixer & Fatman compressor
SSL X-Logic Eq & mic amps, E-Series Dynamics modules
Several guitar stomp boxes, incl. Sansamp, Lovetone, H & K, Vox, Roger Mayer
Vox AC30 tube amplifier
Sherman Filterbank
Lexicon reverbs & delays
Valley Audio Maxi-Q
UA mic amps & 1176 compressors
Allison Gain-Brains
Various A&D Scamp modules
Real Tube preamp
Peavey Valverb
Focusrite Red-1 mic amps, Voicemaster & Compounder

zak7 24th June 2007 03:54 PM

Thank Mick!!
Very clear!

Just I have this understanding that for you a summing box really does not add any important sound or character comparing to the ITB mix....
Now that I see you use sometimes at your studio outboard you insert the outboard gear straight to your interface? o do you use a summing box for that?
I was thinking actually that a summing box can be more useful and meaningful to connect outboard gear there is no latency ..because everything is now I would not be surprise some people would use a summing box mainly for that reason.

Also can you tell us which plug ins you trust and are very good for you ??

Thanks again!!

AMIEL 24th June 2007 03:57 PM

Thanks Mick!!!kfhkh kfhkh

mickglossop 25th June 2007 05:25 PM

Well, I shouldn't generalise about all summing boxes, but my observations from the study of a 1970's vintage Neve console show that the channels, rather than the summing buss contributed to the "analogue" sound of the mix. A line mixer (which is all the summing boxe are) does not contribute by virtue of the summing amplifier stage. However, some basic mixers, e.g. my TLA Tubetracker, have tubes in their channels and in the summing mixer stage which, when driven, will change the sound.

I tend to interface my analogue outboard into the ITB mix using inserts. since I have a Pro Tools HD system, there is no latency, thus no advantage in using the summing mixer for this function.

My favourite plugins include:

McDSP AC1, AC2, Filterbank
Cransesong Phoenix
Izotope Trash
Sony Oxford Dynamics, Eq, Transmod, Inflator
Waves SSL, GTR, MondoMod
EMI compressors
Bomb Factory 1176, moogerfooger LPF
Eventide 910, Omnipressor, H3000
Soundtoys Echoboy, Crystalliser, Tremolator
RND Dynamizer
Sonalksis CQ-1

AMIEL 25th June 2007 05:34 PM

Thanks Mick!!

I see you really research many plug ins!

dear Mick do you have any special considerations when you mix ITB...some kind of procedure or techniques to helps you get somehow the sound , impact o at least certain sonic definition or characteristics to make your self feel as comfortable o confident as you are when you mix on an analogue console?

mickglossop 26th June 2007 12:01 AM

Watch out for clipping....!

Get rid of any digital "hardness/harshness" by using something like AC2, Phoenix, PSP VintageWarmer.

Use subtle distortion to help the "blend".

Use your ears!

AMIEL 26th June 2007 12:30 AM

Yes Sir!!!kfhkh kfhkh kfhkh