Our research shows that the summing itself has no audible or measurable effect on the sound; it's the analogue signal path that shapes the sound. If the aim is to add colour to a mix, using an external analogue summing device or a digitally modelled representation, such as Studio One's Console Shaper, can achieve the desired effect.
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Analogue summing boxes are generally designed to produce colouration on the input and output stages - the circuits that surround the part that sums. Mixing into these boxes produces a very different effect than summing in a computer; those sonic differences come from running eight or 16 signals through analogue inputs, colouring each sound before it's summed, then sweetening the stereo mix again at the outputs.
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Attached are pictures sent from Paul all through the design process from start to end. The key is that you can use your DAW for automation, levels, panning and plug-ins and then do the final summing in the analog domain. In order to use this method you will need an interface with multiple outputs, a mixer, and a monitoring matrix such as the Dangerous Monitor, PreSonus Central Station, Grace m or the Mackie Big Knob. My setup has 16 outputs via a Digidesign , the Neve channel mixer mentioned above, and a Coleman M3 for monitoring.
First, patch DAW outputs 1 and 2 into the monitoring matrix input A. This is probably your normal 'in the box' mixing connection anyway. Then, patch DAW outputs into your mixer's first 14 inputs. Pan all channels into stereo pairs except for the last two 13 and We will use these for mono lead vocals and mono bass. Leave all track volumes at unity.
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Patch the mix output of your analog summer into input B of your monitoring matrix. Pick and rename seven stereo busses — I start at 20 which leaves me the first 20 busses for FX, headphones and whatever else I may need. Renaming the busses makes it easier to keep track of where you'll be sending each track when the time comes to assign each one for output. Depending on what your session looks like, you could name your busses as follows:. Once you've renamed your busses, create six stereo aux tracks and two mono aux tracks.
Analog Summing And Why You Shouldn't Care - Recording Revolution
Name these to match your busses and set their input to look at the corresponding bus of the same name. See Figure 1. Next, set the bus outputs to send to your interface outputs starting at output 3.
We want to leave 1 and 2 for our digital mix. So Drums are output 3 and 4, Keys are output 5 and 6, etc. Lead Vox and Bass should end up on outputs 15 and 16, respectively. Next, you'll be creating a series of master faders so that you can control the level being sent to your interface output. In addition to creating a master fader for outputs 1 and 2, which will be the master output of your digital mix, you're going to create a master fader for each of the individual buss outputs.
Name these master faders in the same way you named the busses and aux tracks but add an "M" on the front of each name to easily distinguish them from your buss track names. For example, Mdrums for drums, Mbass for bass, etc. The next big step is to reroute all your individual audio and FX tracks to the appropriate bus for summing. Go through your session and assign the master output of each track to its corresponding bus.
For example, all your drums will be outputting to the "drums" bus, and all your guitars will be outputting to the "guitars" buss, instead of outputting to the master 1 and 2 stereo outputs. Once you have reassigned the outputs of each of your individual tracks, no audio tracks or effects tracks should be going directly to an interface output.
They should all be routed to a bus within your session.