Analog summing: Dangerous Music 2bus and equivalents

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Opz
Posts: 162
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2005 11:08 pm

Re: Analog summing: Dangerous Music 2bus and equivalents

Post by Opz » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:25 am

nuxnamon wrote:
Opz wrote:So I guess everybody here keeps it itb :)
I found a small article about the subject and read a pro/con article yesterday, makes me reconsider the purchase of a analog summing box. Saves money as well lol
D-box here. What article?
I found more articles btw, but I don't have the habit of bookmarking everything and my browsers History etc gets cleared everytime I close the browser.

But one of those was on Gearslutz, the other was from The Recording Revolution blog/website and the others I simply can't even remember where I read them. I'll see if I can retrace my steps to find them and post some links.

kev herb
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Re: Analog summing: Dangerous Music 2bus and equivalents

Post by kev herb » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:40 am

just a thought and i know its not OTB but maybe try a console emulation plugin. the ones with the best reviews Slate Digital VCC, Sominus Statson and SKnote Stripbuss. unfortunately Statson and Stripbus have no demo but are very cheap ($39 and $29) and will refund if it doesn't work on your system for whatever reason. i cant recommend these personally as i dont have them but ill probably get stripbus to start but they all have great opinions about them.

however if your not interested in ITB suggestions discard my comment.
Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia- Fear of long words

Opz
Posts: 162
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Re: Analog summing: Dangerous Music 2bus and equivalents

Post by Opz » Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:00 pm

southsounder wrote:If you mix OTB you well eventually have to use one more pass of A/D somewhere, unless you're still working with cassettes or are passing a reel-to-reel mixdown directly to your mastering engineer (who will still be converting it back to digital, again assuming your final distribution format includes CD and/or MP3).

OTB really shines when you have a lot of outboard signal processors that you want to use during mixing. Depending on the summing mixer you choose, the summing box itself can also color the signal to a greater or lesser degree. Dangerous' summing boxes fall in the later camp. That can be desirable or not depending on your personal preferences.

I've always mixed OTB, but to me unless you're really into the EQ on a specific console using an actual mixer in the age of DAW based automation doesn't make any sense. On my previous consoles I always set the faders at 0 and bypassed the EQ since even halfway decent EQ plugins sound way better than anything short of stupid expensive mixers - certainly better than the EQ on my Mackie 8.bus at least.

So why have a huge desktop drawing massive power and generating heat in a cramped control room when you're really only using the mixbus portion anyway? Plus, remember you're paying for the case, the pres, the EQ, the faders, etc. If you're going to spend X, better to spend it all on exactly what you need instead of a bunch of shit you'll just bypass anyway. OK, I'll admit having 6' of mixer does look cool - I'll give it that much at least.

I picked up a Rascal Tonebuss, which is pretty colored, and couldn't be happier. I run 16 outs directly from my D/A's to the Tonebuss, and I feed the mixed signal directly to the A/D on my old DAW. So far I've been doing any mastering-ish processing directly on that computer - mostly because I know Sound Forge so well, and still prefer it to the 2 track editor (Peak Pro, yech) on my main DAW.

Know that there really is no right or wrong way to go on this kind of thing, again it all boils down to personal preference. Maybe the best way to go about it is ask yourself what it is you think you're missing from your current setup?

I will say that spending a lot of money to add converters and a clean summing mixer when you're already pretty happy with the mixes you're getting ITB might end up being a disappointment. I know that's certainly a common enough tale over on GS.
No real, big size console for me. I've considered it, but it's not for me. Costs too much money, space and no recall was also a deal breaker. Taking pictures of channel settings is a thing of the past :)
For me it was about colorration and the supposed small increase in headroom.
And about outboard processing, well that's something which I'm still considering. Was planning on building my own 1176 as it's easy to build and parts are
Readily available and trying to find some second hand gear on Ebay etc.

nuxnamon
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Re: Analog summing: Dangerous Music 2bus and equivalents

Post by nuxnamon » Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:58 pm

Opz wrote:
southsounder wrote:If you mix OTB you well eventually have to use one more pass of A/D somewhere, unless you're still working with cassettes or are passing a reel-to-reel mixdown directly to your mastering engineer (who will still be converting it back to digital, again assuming your final distribution format includes CD and/or MP3).

OTB really shines when you have a lot of outboard signal processors that you want to use during mixing. Depending on the summing mixer you choose, the summing box itself can also color the signal to a greater or lesser degree. Dangerous' summing boxes fall in the later camp. That can be desirable or not depending on your personal preferences.

I've always mixed OTB, but to me unless you're really into the EQ on a specific console using an actual mixer in the age of DAW based automation doesn't make any sense. On my previous consoles I always set the faders at 0 and bypassed the EQ since even halfway decent EQ plugins sound way better than anything short of stupid expensive mixers - certainly better than the EQ on my Mackie 8.bus at least.

So why have a huge desktop drawing massive power and generating heat in a cramped control room when you're really only using the mixbus portion anyway? Plus, remember you're paying for the case, the pres, the EQ, the faders, etc. If you're going to spend X, better to spend it all on exactly what you need instead of a bunch of shit you'll just bypass anyway. OK, I'll admit having 6' of mixer does look cool - I'll give it that much at least.

I picked up a Rascal Tonebuss, which is pretty colored, and couldn't be happier. I run 16 outs directly from my D/A's to the Tonebuss, and I feed the mixed signal directly to the A/D on my old DAW. So far I've been doing any mastering-ish processing directly on that computer - mostly because I know Sound Forge so well, and still prefer it to the 2 track editor (Peak Pro, yech) on my main DAW.

Know that there really is no right or wrong way to go on this kind of thing, again it all boils down to personal preference. Maybe the best way to go about it is ask yourself what it is you think you're missing from your current setup?

I will say that spending a lot of money to add converters and a clean summing mixer when you're already pretty happy with the mixes you're getting ITB might end up being a disappointment. I know that's certainly a common enough tale over on GS.
No real, big size console for me. I've considered it, but it's not for me. Costs too much money, space and no recall was also a deal breaker. Taking pictures of channel settings is a thing of the past :)
For me it was about colorration and the supposed small increase in headroom.
And about outboard processing, well that's something which I'm still considering. Was planning on building my own 1176 as it's easy to build and parts are
Readily available and trying to find some second hand gear on Ebay etc.
i'm still fairly new to summing and still trying to get mixing in general, but here is my experience regarding summing and dangerous music.. hopefully it will help you with your decision..

d-box impressions in order of importance according to me.. :D
1. the DA.. this to me was not subtle at all vs monitoring on FF800..
2. monitor controller.. great to switch between monitors and with mono switch.
3. the talkback.. although limited, works great for me who has a simple mic setup in another room..
4. lastly the summing.. and because the first 3 points i made are not relevant to the 2Bus, this is probably what your interested in.. I'm assumming there is very little difference in summing between the 2BUS and the D-box. To me this was very subtle vs mixing ITB.. a little more space/depth and headroom but nothing that blew me away.. possible reasons are maybe my ears aren't experienced enough or maybe what others say is true in that you need at least 16 channels of summing to hear the difference.. I don't know..

Lastly, if what you want is color, then if the d-box is anything like the D-bus, you won't find color.. my chain is
D-box>ADL 600>UBK Fatso>API 5500>Burl B2 AD> DAW.

and what gives me the most color is the UBK FATSO.. the least is D-box..

southsounder
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Re: Analog summing: Dangerous Music 2bus and equivalents

Post by southsounder » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:39 am

I've read much debate on the "is 8 channels enough to make a summing mixer worthwhile?" question. A big reason I think folks say "no" is that they're running way more than 8 tracks and would end up doing a lot of stem mixing ITB anyway. I still hear a difference though.

The headroom benefit is debatable - really, at 24 bit if you're gainstaging your tracks right there's no headroom issues anyway. For those of us raised on 16 bit who tend to record hotter than we should, the advantage OTB gives is that it's a bit more forgiving when overdriven. Frankly I've found the harder you hit the Tonebuss the better it sounds, but again that coloration may or may not be desirable depending on your tastes.

Also note that the coloration isn't super obvious or over the top - it's noticeable, but subtle. If straight up coloration is what you want, why not mix ITB and run your master outs through a nice color box like the Fatso nuxnamon uses? You'll save money on all the extra D/A channels, and you can always bypass the external processor when you're looking for a cleaner sound - something those of us with "colored" summing mixers can't do. With a patchbay setup you can also track through it too.

One trick I want try (once I finally man up and upgrade my iLok to iLok2) is running the channel strip portion of the Slate Console plug-in along with my OTB summing mixer. I'm thinking that's really a neat alternative to running a full console, and WAY cheaper than my dream of building a 16 channel tube/transformer box to run in front of my summing mixer. Someday!

memes_33
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Re: Analog summing: Dangerous Music 2bus and equivalents

Post by memes_33 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:35 pm

i recently built a 12-channel passive summing buss- super easy build. i have to use mic preamps to step the signal back up after being summed. that way, you can always change the sound of the 'mixer' by using different preamps.

i've mixed OTB for years. sometimes its a pain, but most of the time i feel its worth it. i will use my little cheapy soundcraft mixer for summing as well- i haven't compared the new summing buss to the mixer yet though.
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