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Summing or a cheaper mixer?
Old 21st September 2012
  #1
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Optical Lens's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Summing or a cheaper mixer?

I basically want to mix analog OTB around the 1500$ range. ( I read summing on a crappy mixer ) but there might be different solutions today?

Right now I have a Delta 66 soundcard with all the IOs maxed.

I run all the synths through a cheap behringer mixer, solo recording every synth (I am basically using the mixer as a hub for all the synths for solo recording). (input from sub out, output into 1 stero channel)

Then I have direct I/O to analog and spdif to external effect (1 spdif + 2 ins and outs analog).

---

I wonder if I should get a big IO interface from RME (I run PC) to then run it to a 16 channel or 24 channel mixer, or if I should run it to an analog summing device + a mixer controller.

Also, when processing effects OTB , would it be best to have it directly to the IO so it can be used with plugins directly on channels there, or through the mixer? I usually have 1 track I want to apply an effect on at a time and bounce that.

I have searched for a shootout between ITB mixes and summing, but I haven't found one.

Any thoughts? Thanks!
Old 21st September 2012
  #2
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mike vee's Avatar
 
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get a dangerous 2 bus LT

ditch the mixer

full recall in DAW

eventually but a nice bus processor after the 2 bus, like fatso, API 2500, etc
Old 21st September 2012
  #3
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Thanks! Sounds nice, any ideas for a sound card? Synths have analog I/O. Effects (orville) have analog and digital IO which means a lot of analog input and output. Because the synths like G2 and virus have inputs as well to serve as effect boxes. and multitimbral. I'd like to have it all hooked up.

It seems to lack compare buttons for with and without analog summing as the D-BOX has

What makes the neve 8816 summer so much more expensive?

Thanks again
Old 21st September 2012 | Show parent
  #4
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golden beers's Avatar
 
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🎧 10 years
personally, i'm convinced that there is a real difference in the sound of summing ITB and OTB. it's subtle but it's there. something that perhaps one doesn't hear unless you're working on your own mix that you know very well.

however, for you OP I would stay ITB simply because your soundcard is not the best in the world. it's a waste of time summing OTB with cheap converters. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with your card, i'm saying there's allot of outlay for diminishing returns. you'll pay $1500 for a 2% upgrade in sound quality. i don't think it's worth it for a budget studio

i would put some of that money into a console emulation, i hear airwindows is good. and i would save up the rest. i think you'll need more serious A/D if you're serious about mixing OTB
Old 21st September 2012
  #5
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Thanks! Yes I am very certain of replacing my sound card. But there are a TON of options.
I have also read about those USB/Firewire integrated mixers which have a built in DAC and mixes analogue on there.

I need lots of I/O either way, for summing and synths, or mixer. But I just can't decide on a sound card. I see the RME ones. They have ADAT, but that means that I have to invest in a super expensive DA converter ?
Old 21st September 2012
  #6
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It all depends on how much you want to spend. RME at a minimum, but, even better would be to go Lynx Aurora 8 or 16.

get a piece of paper and map out your system...this is a must in my opinion.

then see how much IO you want and get the best you can for your needs.

2 bus LT is clean (not a bad thing) so following up the stereo outs with a nice character compressor is recommended.

Also, check out the D-box - summing plus lots of other excellent features you may be able to work into your plan. I'll die with mine!

may be over your budget but I have an SSL ALpha Link for sale with the matching PCIe card, let me know if you are interested. 24 ins and outs.
Old 21st September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
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edit: sorry didnt read it all..

1) RME will improve matters
2) arwindows is mac only
3) do not sum on your berhinger
4) shoot outs between ITB and OTB are of little value because of gain matching. the only way is to hear for yourself on your own track, that you know well.

5) i would still say stay ITB, it's just not worth it if you're only going out to sum.
Old 22nd September 2012
  #8
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🎧 5 years
How about the Zed R16?
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djd_oz ➑️
How about the Zed R16?
I think this is a great mixer. If you have some hardware, its a good choise . However if you're all ITB and you just want to bounce out to sum, it's not ideal. Better to get a dedicated summing unit. And even so, it's a large out-lay for a small benefit.
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
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kraku's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike vee ➑️
get a dangerous 2 bus LT

ditch the mixer

full recall in DAW

eventually but a nice bus processor after the 2 bus, like fatso, API 2500, etc
+1

Summing mixers won't really add anything special to the sound. You'd need all the EQ's per channel + extra bells and whistles before mixing OTB starts making sense.
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers ➑️
However if you're all ITB and you just want to bounce out to sum, it's not ideal.
Why do you think its not ideal?
Old 22nd September 2012
  #12
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Optical Lens's Avatar
 
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That ZED mixer looks cool But wonder how the DAC is. If it had motorized faders and total recall then it would be awesome. But then it probably would cost tons more.

There are a lot of options. It all decides what soundcard I will buy. THE RME seems to have ADAT out, so I would need to have some sort of a converter to connect everything ... That costs heaps.

Having a firewire mixer is great, but having all the gear connected to it does not leave a lot of channels for OTB mixing! Maybe I should get a purely analog mixer to have the synths on that and route that to one channel on the fw mixer? :D I fear noise issues and an empty wallet.

Maybe it would help iif I showed my setup visually? I attached something I drew in paint. Is there any studio cabling layout designer for Windows? Doing it in paint was horrible, and it looks horrible



As you can see, there is a lot of IO on the synths that are not used because of soundcard limitations. The Phaser on the virus is AMAZING, so I would love to use that, which involves 2 x 2 analog IO. It is NOT a requirement to have all the synths playing at once.
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Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #13
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golden beers's Avatar
 
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonkite ➑️
Why do you think its not ideal?
in a nutshell because you're paying for a bunch of functionality you don't need for summing.
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #14
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golden beers's Avatar
 
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Optical Lens ➑️
That ZED mixer looks cool But wonder how the DAC is. If it had motorized faders and total recall then it would be awesome. But then it probably would cost tons more.

There are a lot of options. It all decides what soundcard I will buy. THE RME seems to have ADAT out, so I would need to have some sort of a converter to connect everything ... That costs heaps.

Having a firewire mixer is great, but having all the gear connected to it does not leave a lot of channels for OTB mixing! Maybe I should get a purely analog mixer to have the synths on that and route that to one channel on the fw mixer? :D I fear noise issues and an empty wallet.

Maybe it would help iif I showed my setup visually? I attached something I drew in paint. Is there any studio cabling layout designer for Windows? Doing it in paint was horrible, and it looks horrible



As you can see, there is a lot of IO on the synths that are not used because of soundcard limitations. The Phaser on the virus is AMAZING, so I would love to use that, which involves 2 x 2 analog IO. It is NOT a requirement to have all the synths playing at once.
looking at your set up i would say that you would benefit from a mixer and better IO. i had no idea you had such nice outboard units like that.

just a thought: could you not use your eventide as AD in the interim? thats what i would do, its converters will piss on the m-audio. i would record the nord, DE and sh101 through the eventide (bypass FX) into the SPDIF, the virus i would record through SPDIF. and then bounce audio through the eventide for FX.. a patch bay would seem like a good cheap idea to improve your workflow
Old 22nd September 2012
  #15
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I could, but it would introduce latency, I would always have to have it switched on when doing anything, and last but not least, I would have to sacrifice one IO and possible block one DSP slot!

I am still really torn on what to do... Maybe the best would be to get a RME + a mixer with digital ins that has a good DAC?
Old 22nd September 2012
  #16
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MrTechno's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Optical Lens ➑️
I basically want to mix analog OTB around the 1500$ range. ( I read summing on a crappy mixer ) but there might be different solutions today?

Right now I have a Delta 66 soundcard with all the IOs maxed.

I run all the synths through a cheap behringer mixer, solo recording every synth (I am basically using the mixer as a hub for all the synths for solo recording). (input from sub out, output into 1 stero channel)

Then I have direct I/O to analog and spdif to external effect (1 spdif + 2 ins and outs analog).

---

I wonder if I should get a big IO interface from RME (I run PC) to then run it to a 16 channel or 24 channel mixer, or if I should run it to an analog summing device + a mixer controller.

Also, when processing effects OTB , would it be best to have it directly to the IO so it can be used with plugins directly on channels there, or through the mixer? I usually have 1 track I want to apply an effect on at a time and bounce that.

I have searched for a shootout between ITB mixes and summing, but I haven't found one.

Any thoughts? Thanks!
It is a highly debated subject. You have those that say it makes no difference at all and then you have the other side who swear that the difference is enough to justify the money time and effort.

I dont own a summing mixer I use a desk and it is 100% analog and I can hear the difference even on low track counts.

For a summing mixer I hear the Dangerous box is awesome, I also think the SSL X Desk would make a great summing mixer especially if you plan on using inserts.
Old 22nd September 2012
  #17
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Optical Lens's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I need a new sound card that's for sure They will probably cut driver support, I was surprised that it worked in Win8.

But deciding what interface I want next heavily relies on what mixing option I choose. I could just order a card with more IO, but I still need at least 10x10 analog IO.

I doubt there are any cheap DACs that are OK? The D-Box has nice DACs doesn't it ?

STILL confused on what to do
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTechno ➑️
I dont own a summing mixer I use a desk and it is 100% analog and I can hear the difference even on low track counts.
what mixer do you use?
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
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muziksculp's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike vee ➑️
get a dangerous 2 bus LT

ditch the mixer

full recall in DAW

eventually but a nice bus processor after the 2 bus, like fatso, API 2500, etc
+1

That's one great option for OTB summing.

I highly Recommend the Dangerous 2-bus LT.

Cheers,
Muziksculp
Old 22nd September 2012
  #20
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An analog summer sounds interesting again, but what about my outboard effects and synths? It needs analog I/O. Any PCI / firewire recommendations that can do at least 10x10 with a good DAC?
I take it the Dangerous has it's own DAC, and that it takes ADAT or something?
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Optical Lens ➑️
An analog summer sounds interesting again, but what about my outboard effects and synths? It needs analog I/O. Any PCI / firewire recommendations that can do at least 10x10 with a good DAC?
I take it the Dangerous has it's own DAC, and that it takes ADAT or something?
The Dangerous 2 Bus LT is a pure ANALOG summing unit. (total of 16 mono or combination of Stereo and Mono as needed) analog signals, and outputs a stereo Analog Summed signal.

It does not offer any DAC functionality.

More details about the Dangerous 2 Bus LT I/O here :

Dangerous 2-BUS
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ Reynolds ➑️
what mixer do you use?
I use an SSL AWS.
Old 23rd September 2012
  #23
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Maybe the reason the SSL alters the sound is that it has it's EQ on? (but in neutral position) AFAIK SSL is well known for its transparent sound until you start tweaking the knobs.

Do you bypass the preamps when running the signal in the console?

(by the way, I'd LOVE to have AWS)
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraku ➑️
Maybe the reason the SSL alters the sound is that it has it's EQ on? (but in neutral position) AFAIK SSL is well known for its transparent sound until you start tweaking the knobs.

Do you bypass the preamps when running the signal in the console?

(by the way, I'd LOVE to have AWS)
i think its more than that. i can hear a difference with just 2 buses summed on my mixer compared with ITB. but like i said earlier, it's something you're more likely to notice when mixing your own music, that you know intimately. i fully buy into the idea that analogue summing gives a different result to ITB summing. also not all desks are created equal and i remember the first time i went from a low end desk to high end, it was a major ear opener, just a stereo track on 2 channels with no eq sounded huge, a real difference, just on an open channel...

As far as i believe, (and this is conjecture as i'm no expert) it has nothing to do with EQ or preamps and more about crosstalk and phase. read this, which is one person's way to try and quantify these subtleties and make software to emulate them. it sounds like i'm pluggin airwindows again, lols, anyway read this, i found it interesteting
Airwindows Audio Unit Plugins
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #25
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Optical Lens's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by muziksculp ➑️
The Dangerous 2 Bus LT is a pure ANALOG summing unit. (total of 16 mono or combination of Stereo and Mono as needed) analog signals, and outputs a stereo Analog Summed signal.

It does not offer any DAC functionality.

More details about the Dangerous 2 Bus LT I/O here :

Dangerous 2-BUS
Thanks! So I need something that has full analog IO. Which means I need at least 20 outs and almost as much ins! What would be a fitting sound device with this?

And if it is just a pure analog summer, I mean why not just get a normal mixer then? Is it THAT much better than a Mackie mixer?

And most cards that claim they offer 36x36 etc, have mostly ADAT, I mean look at RME Multiace II. Just 8x8 analog, and the rest you have to fix yourself with an expensive converter.
What about 2 of http://www.presonus.com/products/FireStudio-Project ?
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraku ➑️
Maybe the reason the SSL alters the sound is that it has it's EQ on? (but in neutral position) AFAIK SSL is well known for its transparent sound until you start tweaking the knobs.

Do you bypass the preamps when running the signal in the console?

(by the way, I'd LOVE to have AWS)
Of course it is transparent however you are still summing and performing your mixdown out of the box and even without EQ I can hear the difference.

Yeah the AWS is very nice. I am an SSL fan always have loved the SSL quality.
Old 23rd September 2012
  #27
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MOTU 24I/O Core PCI-e System | Sweetwater.com

This certainly looks interesting That will cover all my I/O needs, and it's basically ready for a 16 channel analog summer. I heard that black lion could make it even better
Old 24th September 2012 | Show parent
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers ➑️
i think its more than that. i can hear a difference with just 2 buses summed on my mixer compared with ITB. but like i said earlier, it's something you're more likely to notice when mixing your own music, that you know intimately. i fully buy into the idea that analogue summing gives a different result to ITB summing. also not all desks are created equal and i remember the first time i went from a low end desk to high end, it was a major ear opener, just a stereo track on 2 channels with no eq sounded huge, a real difference, just on an open channel...

As far as i believe, (and this is conjecture as i'm no expert) it has nothing to do with EQ or preamps and more about crosstalk and phase. read this, which is one person's way to try and quantify these subtleties and make software to emulate them. it sounds like i'm pluggin airwindows again, lols, anyway read this, i found it interesteting
Airwindows Audio Unit Plugins
This is the point I am trying to make, the other guy says the difference has to do with EQ on the SSL. However this is not summing, eq has nothing to do with summing and summing audio has nothing to do with EQ.

So yes I can hear the difference when I am simply summing audio with out the use of any outboard compression on the inset points or any use of EQ on the channel.
Old 24th September 2012
  #29
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🎧 10 years
i really need to try some analogue summing. would something like the mackie onyx 1640I make much difference from ITB?
Old 24th September 2012
  #30
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I don't know how much you use plug-ins , but Mackie products get a very bad wrap on this board and it's rarely justified.
I have a 1604vlz which I purchased new about ten years ago. Since then I've purchased a larger console but I still use the Mackie for summing sinths.
It has a lot of flexibility - 6 aux outs, somewhat boring but functional EQ, direct outs, inserts, four busses, just a good solid performer.
I had mine serviced including replacement of one of the ribbon cables. Other than that, it's been an exceptionally clean sounding mixer with very little trouble.

For the prices they go for nowadays it could be a good solution to your patching/recording/summing challenges.

Sent from my GT-I9300T
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