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Ok, I have narrowed down my search for sum mixers to this

'Dangerous Music D-Box 8200' (last post I promise!!!!)

 

I'm told the D-Box is the best solution if I want to get rid of my mackie desk and mix inside Logic.

 

Before I buy it can someone please tell me if this is a good call??

The other contender was the Mercenary audio 8200, but from what I can see there is little difference.

 

Please help.

Cheers,

Dan.

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Having not used any analogue summing boxes like these, I can't comment directly. But I have a lot of experience of using different analogue consoles to sum digital recordings.

 

I'd say, make sure you look at the SSL X-Desk, essentially it's an analogue summing box but with faders and more routing options including analogue cue and effects sends/returns.

 

Also there was a bit of a shoot out on the digidesign forum a while back, maybe have a look there and see if you can listen to the results, there's not a MASSIVE amount of difference in any configuration, and the difference between analogue an digital summing was also very small.

 

Personally I wouldn't go there unless the summing box had faders, eq's and compressors in it, but that's a console isn't it?

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Personally I wouldn't go there unless the summing box had faders, eq's and compressors in it, but that's a console isn't it?

 

Yup. It's funny that in all the discussion about "analog" summing, no one ever compares them to taking all your outs and bridging them to a piece of copper using precision resistors, ie a totally passive approach. You could build one for less than 50 bucks, probably. OK, OK, I know, I'm a troublemaker!

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Thanks for the post David.

Ive just looked at the SSL desk online, it looks pretty tasty I must say.

Given that I use eq's and mixes inside Logic, do I really need to sum using a desk like this?

 

At the moment I go out of my MOTU 896 into my Mackie.

But I have zero'd the faders etc as I don't need them.

 

Essentially I am asking if I am paying for good SSL circuitry but also for faders and eq's I may not use.

 

Cheers,

Dan.

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To be completely honest, and as an 896HD user myself. I would rather use digital summing than going through the D/A, and A/D conversions one more time. If you're not going to use the analogue faders then in most cases you're not going to benefit from the higher headroom architecture of a good analogue desk like the SSL.

 

The X-Desk doesn't have EQ's which you might not use, but it would give you hundreds more routing options, which would be very difficult when using a Summing only box. It also gives you a top class monitor control section, which is most importantly NOT attached to a rackmounted unit but actually on the desk, where you hands are most likely to be.

 

You really should give those examples in the shootout a listen, one 90% of systems you'll be hard pushed to hear much difference at all.

 

Like F8 says, you actually could build a passive unit quite easily and cheaply. Much like the Folcrom box here:

http://www.mercenary.com/rmfo16chpasu.html

 

Which a lot of people rave about, and one which received some of the most positive comments on that digi forum shootout.

Why not go to a shop, where they stock these, and demo one. You MUST absolutely MUST A/B with digital summing, which costs you nothing at all, and in a lot of scenarios is very very convenient.

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Thanks very much David for your generous post's.

If I could ask you one more question, I have just connected my MOTU to my powered speakers (for the first time!) and it sounds totally amazing. I haven't considered doing this before.

 

I know it's beginners stuff, and probably a very stupid question, but if it sounds so good, why bother with a summing box or a desk at all?

 

Cheers,

Dan.

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I know it's beginners stuff, and probably a very stupid question, but if it sounds so good, why bother with a summing box or a desk at all?

 

Putting a load of less-than-excellent-cables from the back of your interface into a mackie desk is going to degrade your sound quality considerably in my humble opinion. I hate the sound of mackie gear (don't hate me, it's my opinion!), I wouldn't choose to do this.

If you are simply taking all your outputs and running them into a 16 desk say, not using any of the analogue eq or faers, you're mainly just getting 16 channels of noise from the line amplifiers, loads of guff from eq's you probably can't bypass, and noise/interference from faders/cabling. If you unplug them all and listen to the signal directly from your stereo outputs you should hear the same thing (as the desk isn't actually doing anything except for summing) minus all the s#!+ and noise. But don't trust my opinion, why don't you just record a mix down through your desk, then do one in the box, you could EVEN do an offline bounce!, burn a cd and listen wherever you'd normally test mixes and see what you think.

 

I'm absolutely NOT saying there is nothing to be gained by analogue summing, I personally just think 90% of those units are massively overpriced and underfunctional. I desk of moderate quality (used as a console eqs and all) will be more beneficial to most people.

For that cash you could buy yourself a serious mic, or a few very very good mics, or a good preamp, or if you're not about recording audio then what about a new sample package or collection of synths etc etc.

Most of all I think you can hugely improve the sound of your work by looking at your approach to recording/mixing and working on WHAT you do, not what you do it WITH.

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Like F8 says, you actually could build a passive unit quite easily and cheaply. Much like the Folcrom box here:

http://www.mercenary.com/rmfo16chpasu.html

Well, there ya go. I've half a mind to employ my teenage children as slaves building these up. But I'll market mine as "Purist" without those "noisy" switches and charge 600 clams. Man, I'll clean up!

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Absolutely music to my ears.

Ive always disliked the Mackie as well, really middy sound.

 

I can't believe the difference in sound going straight into the speakers from the MOTU!

 

Thankyou so much for your advise.

It does come out really loud though doesn't it, I have got loads of volume but the led levels on the MOTU are hardly moving.

 

Thanks again.

Dan.

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Oh can easily and cheaply build a passive line attenuator as I did for about £30 of for a bit more you can get one of the tc electronic ones, simply a passive attenuator. It shouldn't degrade or effect the sound quality at all in an ideal world. Or for now you could turn down the amps in your speakers, or the input sensitivity whatever it's called.

 

The volume output control on the front of the Motu will also work to tide you over, but you get a worse signal/noise/bitrate ratio that way.

You'll probably have trouble listening to mastered mixes out of their at the moment, they'll be very loud.

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Best analog summing box? Tube-Tech SSA 2B, hands down.

 

Contrary to what some people are still claiming it's not actually the summing that's doing the magic. Digital summing is just fine.

 

So ignore the hyperbole, which is present even on Tube-Tech's own website.

 

It's the analog treatment, in this case high quality tube design. You will add one extra layer of DA/AD but the analog treatment could subjectively improve your sound more.

 

As David said, you really shouldn't focus on analog summing. Most of the sound quality lies elsewhere in the process.

 

Some summing boxes such as the Neve 8816 will - in my opinion - make your mixes sound worse.

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...and it sounds like crap.

 

Neve today doesn't really have anything to do with Rupert Neve, the designer.

 

Good to know as I have only thought about it (no way I am going to swing the cash for that in this economy for a hobby) now if I was seriously making money with my audio tools then I'd have a serious go at some auditions of different summing mixers.

 

Lagerfeldt, what makes them sound like crap, I'm sure compared to the current Kawai MX8r line mixers I'm using into the Tascam FW-1082, it would be quite nice. But for the money then what is your opinion? I ask because I respect your thoughts and comments on audio gear. The ads I have read all allude to the magic of Ruperts sound coming through in the 1688. I have also been told the same thing about most Focusrite fear, that it is not equal to older Focusrite gear in terms of quality.

 

Cheers.

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Lagerfeldt, what makes them sound like crap, I'm sure compared to the current Kawai MX8r line mixers I'm using into the Tascam FW-1082, it would be quite nice. But for the money then what is your opinion?

The price is irrelevant here, the Neve summing mixer sounds quite bad to me. Distorted, muffled - way beyond subjectivity. A Mackie mixer sounds better.

 

have also been told the same thing about most Focusrite fear, that it is not equal to older Focusrite gear in terms of quality.

The whole platinum range, VoiceMaster, TrackMaster, etc. Total crap IMO, yes.

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The whole platinum range, VoiceMaster, TrackMaster, etc. Total crap IMO, yes.

 

The ISA range is pretty good, more authentic Focusrite. I still find the noise level on the ISA pre amps to be a little bit too much a lot of the time. Nice EQ's and usable compressors though.

Red Pre's are good, but they don't seems to have that SOMETHING that an old Neve or an API has though.

I have never used anything else by Focusrite that I've liked that much, not a massive fan. Their platinum stuff is best left in Bypass mode or out of the chain for me.

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The whole platinum range, VoiceMaster, TrackMaster, etc. Total crap IMO, yes.

 

The ISA range is pretty good, more authentic Focusrite. I still find the noise level on the ISA pre amps to be a little bit too much a lot of the time. Nice EQ's and usable compressors though.

Red Pre's are good, but they don't seems to have that SOMETHING that an old Neve or an API has though.

I have never used anything else by Focusrite that I've liked that much, not a massive fan. Their platinum stuff is best left in Bypass mode or out of the chain for me.

 

Yep the ISA was what I was referring to in my comment, the ISA line has super EQ sound to me, the noise level I don't remember as this was back in a studio in the mid 1980's when I was using them all analog so we always had a touch of noise, mostly recording heavy metal bands and a lot of radio commercials back then. I always found the ISA line to really be warm sounding and great to get a good EQ on a guitar mic.

 

I have not tried any Focusrite products since then, but was warned they are not the same company as far as the newer DAW world goes.

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A really good summing mixer if you're going to pony it up is the fat bustard my thermionic culture. I like it because its flexible and sounds great. I've tried out almost all the summing boxes out there and that one seems to have the most positive effect. The Neve, to 2nd some opinions, is garbage. Dangerous is really good as well for a little less $.
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Yep the ISA was what I was referring to in my comment, the ISA line has super EQ sound to me, the noise level I don't remember as this was back in a studio in the mid 1980's when I was using them all analog so we always had a touch of noise, mostly recording heavy metal bands and a lot of radio commercials back then.

 

The ISA I'm thinking of was a 430MKII, the preamp for which I believe is a 110. A studio I work in has one and the owner has sent it back to the factory in the past over the level of noise, he was told it was normal. It's not massive in anyway, it's just not super clean and gainy like an API, if you're recording an acoustic guitar with a less than loud mic, you'll probably hear it.

That was all. Not a big deal, and yes a nice sounding amp. For me it doesn't stand up to an API though.

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Yeah, i've been digging about these boxes and can't seem to make decision. I wish i couldtry all of those, but in Finland i don't a single place i could test them. Tubetech and Thermionic are the interesting ones.

 

Anyone got user experiences with Innertube Sumthang ?. I found some test from PSW -forums.

 

VintageKing

 

GS PSW (used JCF 8DAV on OTB XD)

 

This unit is pretty cheap, so i have my suspections.

 

EDIT:

 

and What a f*%@ is This

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm not sure whether you will still be getting this post. But I have one more question if anyone can help.

 

I have now ditched my Mackie mixer :)

 

But although I am enjoying beautifully rounded digital sounds I am finding it annoying having no metering. I used to use the MOTU led's to optimize the levels.

Now, however because it is all digital, I just have a stereo level of whole song.

 

Am I missing something??

 

Thank you in advance for any help on this.

Dan.

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Thanks for the posts.

I want to meter the signals to get a healthy signal before I put FX on the sounds.

Is that not good practice?

 

The metering in Logic always seems to be in the red, even if I tuen down the volume - You mentioned David pre and post metering but I cant see how to change that.

 

As you can tell I'm a Logic novice.

 

Thanks in advance for any help with this.

Dan.

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Thanks for the posts.

I want to meter the signals to get a healthy signal before I put FX on the sounds.

Is that not good practice?

Healthy? Try to stay below -3 dBFS when the fader is set to unity and no inserts are active.

 

The metering in Logic always seems to be in the red, even if I tuen down the volume -

Seems you're overloading your channels massively then.

 

Are you talking about the individual channels or the master?

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