Summing Box Hardware or Plugin

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Jeax
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Summing Box Hardware or Plugin

Postby Jeax » Wed May 30, 2018 12:35 pm

I recently read from Mixerman book about a debate over the use of a summing box or plugin. Have you ever considered either to improve your mix-downs - i.e. The Dangerous 2-Bus and Slate Digital plugins?
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Re: Summing Box Hardware or Plugin

Postby mixandmastermysong » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:27 pm

I owned the SSL Sigma. It's a great unit, it did give me some more width and a bit of the SSL sound. But then I got a Burl B2 Bomber, and it still gave me the width I was getting with the SSL but without the hassle of mapping so many outputs. I think we are at a point that summing isn't as necessary as it was a few years ago. The DAW's have gotten much better, as well as the plugins. Bob Katz said in his book you can achieve the same "effect" going in and out of a stereo unit as you would summing. I found those results to be true when I sold my SSL for the Burl.
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Re: Summing Box Hardware or Plugin

Postby bluebell » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:12 am

Can you explain what "summing" is? I though it is simply mixing the channels together and that can be done with a hardware mixer or internally in a DAW or a modular setup "in the box".

How could that improve the sound or the width?

EDIT: after some thinking about I came to the conclusion that the idea is to use some external hardware to get the wanted coloring (in other words: linear and nonlinear distortion). So using saturation plugins will do basically the same.

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Re: Summing Box Hardware or Plugin

Postby Jeax » Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:56 pm

mixandmastermysong wrote:SSL Sigma [...] then I got a Burl B2 Bomber, and it still gave me the width I was getting with the SSL but without the hassle of mapping so many outputs. [...]Bob Katz said in his book you can achieve the same "effect" going in and out of a stereo unit as you would summing.


Thanks for this info. I'd never heard of the Burl B2 Bomber before. For $2k it's gotta do something great.

From my understanding, summing is directing individual outputs to an external device for a better 2-bus without losing any frequencies in the process.
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Re: Summing Box Hardware or Plugin

Postby bluebell » Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:02 pm

Jeax wrote:
mixandmastermysong wrote:SSL Sigma [...] then I got a Burl B2 Bomber, and it still gave me the width I was getting with the SSL but without the hassle of mapping so many outputs. [...]Bob Katz said in his book you can achieve the same "effect" going in and out of a stereo unit as you would summing.


Thanks for this info. I'd never heard of the Burl B2 Bomber before. For $2k it's gotta do something great.

From my understanding, summing is directing individual outputs to an external device for a better 2-bus without losing any frequencies in the process.


From a technical point of view the sound can only get worse when feeding through an external hardware chain.

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Re: Summing Box Hardware or Plugin

Postby Jeax » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:38 pm

bluebell wrote:From a technical point of view the sound can only get worse when feeding through an external hardware chain.


Can you explain your opinion on summing along with any articles or studies for support?
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Re: Summing Box Hardware or Plugin

Postby bluebell » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:19 pm

Jeax wrote:
bluebell wrote:From a technical point of view the sound can only get worse when feeding through an external hardware chain.


Can you explain your opinion on summing along with any articles or studies for support?


Technically, the sound has to be converted from digital to analog, processed (note that some "analog" devices use DSPs and convert once more forth/back), then converted from analog to digital. So noise and distortion increase. I don't think that this has to be discussed.

I think you don't talk about simply summing up the signal. There is no cleaner way to do that than in the box. I think you talk about the coloring that a real world summing with external hardware adds. That's a matter of taste. But this coloring is understood and can be simulated by plugins, too.

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Re: Summing Box Hardware or Plugin

Postby Jeax » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:08 pm

bluebell wrote:
Jeax wrote:
bluebell wrote:From a technical point of view the sound can only get worse when feeding through an external hardware chain.

Can you explain your opinion on summing along with any articles or studies for support?

[...] That's a matter of taste. But this coloring is understood and can be simulated by plugins, too.


Is this your answer to the original question as well or just my question above? The purpose of this thread is to learn about summing hardware and software.
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Re: Summing Box Hardware or Plugin

Postby bluebell » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:49 am

Jeax wrote:
bluebell wrote:
Jeax wrote:Can you explain your opinion on summing along with any articles or studies for support?

[...] That's a matter of taste. But this coloring is understood and can be simulated by plugins, too.


Is this your answer to the original question as well or just my question above? The purpose of this thread is to learn about summing hardware and software.


Then you should describe what you expect from summing stuff. I understand that it's not about simply summing up the signal but improving it. If it's about simply summing up there's no need at all for it. It can be done in the DAW with the best possible quality.

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Re: Summing Box Hardware or Plugin

Postby tavasti » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:10 am

bluebell wrote:Then you should describe what you expect from summing stuff. I understand that it's not about simply summing up the signal but improving it. If it's about simply summing up there's no need at all for it. It can be done in the DAW with the best possible quality.

What about Harrison Mixbus marketing stuff about analog summing and how it sounds better?
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Re: Summing Box Hardware or Plugin

Postby bluebell » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:10 am

tavasti wrote:
bluebell wrote:Then you should describe what you expect from summing stuff. I understand that it's not about simply summing up the signal but improving it. If it's about simply summing up there's no need at all for it. It can be done in the DAW with the best possible quality.

What about Harrison Mixbus marketing stuff about analog summing and how it sounds better?


Those channel strips plugins named after famous mixing consoles mimick distortion and satuaration effects of analogue hardware. They claim to improve the sound. But it's always a matter of taste. Many people like the saturation effects of tubes, old amplifiers/EQs and tape.

With summing hardware and plugins it's the same. They try to introduce slight distortion and saturation/compression effects that we are used to and like it.

I use such effects as well. In my master bus you'll find not only EQ, compressor and limiter but CALF saturator, too, doing some tape-like saturation.

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Re: Summing Box Hardware or Plugin

Postby Jeax » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:26 pm

Are there other reputable summing boxes and articles discussing the debate between their usage in today's music studio?
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