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 CDSoundMaster Collections: Technical Details
 Technical Details: Mastering Suite
 SUMMING BOX
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himhui
Starting Member


Hong Kong
13 Posts

Posted - 04/09/2009 :  07:38:08  Show Profile Send himhui a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Mangel!

What is your opinion about summing box? It's a hot topic 2 years ago when it came out to the market. Now it seems nobody talking about it, is it a joke or is there any benefits to use?

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clubvst
Forum Admin



USA
169 Posts

Posted - 04/09/2009 :  12:47:12  Show Profile  Visit clubvst's Homepage Send clubvst a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hey there!

The hot topics do tend to circulate and eventually make their ways around over and over again. I think that availability of info. via the internet and the yearly price-drop of good quality entry-level home recording gear makes for a huge amount of hype and opportunity for manufacturers. But, behind all of this there is a great deal of real facts about good sound.

Analog summing is not something to completely write-off, but my belief is that if someone cannot put their finger on an obvious positive difference in the final outcome of their recordings, then it comes down to what allows the person to make the best product. If someone has better options and more of them inside the computer, then analog should be used to create the best source and only for best processing where plug-ins fall short.

Summing, when it's passive or extremely clean, should not be noticeable to the degree of using a full analog mixer. But, doing the mixdown math inside a computer at 48-bit, 32-bit float, or 64-bit should not have an audible negative side effect.

I've heard a lot of the A/B tests and read threads attached to them, and they are similar to some other situations comparing real compressors with Waves and UAD-1 etc. Sometimes a vast majority can hear the difference and sometimes there is agreement that the difference is so small, that the question is whether it warrants a $3000 device.

I think that if you are using better-than-average converters, and your balanced analog chain is a quality one, you should feel safe summing or routing via analog at least 3 passes. Some may think this sounds extreme, but I've tested ins/outs on sub-par to excellent converters and usually things are still ok after 5 or 6 passes and the first negative artifacts are usually analog preamplification.

I think that the ideal analog summing device should add something pleasant to the signal that is a noticeable benefit in addition to bringing multiple tracks together. This is one of my personal analog-hardware goals! :)

I hope that makes sense and is helpful!

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himhui
Starting Member



Hong Kong
13 Posts

Posted - 04/09/2009 :  23:06:35  Show Profile Send himhui a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks Mkie, I got your point! :-)

You mentioned the comparsion between real comp and plugins, did you mean that it was a single track compressed or a seesion with multitracks and plugins?
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clubvst
Forum Admin



USA
169 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2009 :  11:40:30  Show Profile  Visit clubvst's Homepage Send clubvst a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In the above statement, I was only refering to A/B's that have been posted as blind test shoot-outs of plug-in comps vs. emu's on individual tracks- not mixes.

But, the A/B's on summing are interesting but they rarely say to me that they saved the mix.

My ideal summing box scenario would be that it is cleaner than routing a mix back outisde of the computer into a mixer, but with an additive character that warrants the analog summing. With a few passes in analog, I think you should be able to always gain something creative that you wanted, as opposed to barely noticing the benefit. To me it would be like buying a car and paying for a $3000 option that you never used, or that did little to improve performance.

That doesn't mean that I think analog summing boxes are bad or poorly made, but it does mean that I think that DAW's and items like Nebula and some other useful software handle summing very well.

I CAN say that a truly ideal summing box is on the to-do list. Hopefully it can become a reality!

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himhui
Starting Member



Hong Kong
13 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2009 :  00:03:22  Show Profile Send himhui a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I ageed ! I had experience with Neve 8816, honestly it didn't impress me much. Nebula is obviously a better soltuion and it has been changing the way people mixing in the box...while some people still arguing about which is better bewteen uad and duende....:-)
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enriquesilveti
Starting Member



Spain
6 Posts

Posted - 04/13/2009 :  10:31:23  Show Profile  Visit enriquesilveti's Homepage Send enriquesilveti a Private Message  Reply with Quote
PT HD + Neve 8816 is a quit cammon setup nowadays but I prefer more open solution due if you use always PT HD + Neve 8816 your mixes will sound a PT HD + Neve 8816, always! On the artistic production side of a mixing you might try to print a flavor into every mix. Physical Modeling products like Duende, UAD or Waves can help you, specially if they are based DSPs, but in my opinion Nebula is a more open solution, plus cheaper than buy a 16 IO ADA box + 16 IO summing box

Saludos Enrique

NEBULA | The first FX sampler | V.V.K.T. inside | You must be logged in to see this link.
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Entrainer
Starting Member



11 Posts

Posted - 04/21/2009 :  17:30:10  Show Profile Send Entrainer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A summing box would be hard to sample. A portion of the sound is the bleed thru from the 16 tracks. A test-tone would only pass thru 1 or 2 channels, possibly be amplified, then attenuated, amplified, and then out.
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clubvst
Forum Admin



USA
169 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2009 :  09:02:59  Show Profile  Visit clubvst's Homepage Send clubvst a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Entrainer! It's awesome to have you here!
We were actually talking about the use of the hardware.

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Entrainer
Starting Member



11 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2009 :  16:08:23  Show Profile Send Entrainer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Glad to be here!

Sorry if it seemed I was drifting off topic. As I read the complete thread, my mind drifted to the last couple of posts, including yours. Those referenced the quality of digital summing and the prospects of Nebula.
"I think that DAW's and items like Nebula and some other useful software handle summing very well."
"I had experience with Neve 8816, honestly it didn't impress me much. Nebula is obviously a better soltuion... "

So I was considering if the quality of analog summing could be captured by Nebula. I do agree with the idea that every analog pass should give some noticeable results. Perhaps if money was no issue you could sum before the mixbus compressor and knock out 2 colors with one pass.

As things get better and better inside the box with sampling and emulation, people's focus will be narrowing on the last %5 of difference, like channel bleed in summing and tape. It's truly a blessing to consider that we can get that close for such a reduced price point. Talk about diminishing returns for that last %5 : ) Maybe the future will be prototyping a unique analog unit just for the sake of sampling and emulation, given the cheaper manufacturing, direct sales, and distribution of digital.
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clubvst
Forum Admin



USA
169 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2009 :  02:05:27  Show Profile  Visit clubvst's Homepage Send clubvst a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think that with enough cpu the current DAW can be set up with a few instances of Nebula in several configurations to provide a very convincing, idealized analog summing set-up. I think the trick is about mindset. By getting levels set so that you think of your sub-group levels not as digital up to a max of zero, but like an analog sub-group to master 2 track, you can definitely make use of the same type of chain.

I am very focused on continuing this trend and making programs that help users work in this manner.

By using a combination of programs from Nebula's preamp and/or tape categories, with harmonically enhanced eq's, followed by your choice of good quality brickwall limiting, the effect not just of analog summing, but analog mixing, is almost indistinguishable. The 'almost' part is a combination of things that are definitely possible, but then we start dealing with the fact that we have SO many options in the box, and when we are dedicating cpu, we want to hear results. So, it's difficult not to overdo the subtle things when taking a memory hit. This is why I like taking the time to do ridiculous amounts of test mixes with different song genres, because if the theory is the subtle things in analog adding up to magic in the end, then it has to work that way when really being processed.

I like the point you made about channel bleed. I think that if we look at the trade-off of things we want to sample accurately and things we want improved, we are going to end up with some truly super-improved versions of compressing hardware in the near future. Taking the building block elements of things in a chain has become a passion of mine since getting some of these things to work in "Retro". The complex additive effect of summing is doable in Nebula, but the question is how many elements need to be organized separately in multiple instances to get the full effect. It can potentially be done inside single instances but not with all parameters at this time. I actually think it is better to have the options of placing different things in the chain for the most desired results. I do think the future brings at least a prototype if not a full line. It is hoped for! :)

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