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Thread: in the box, out of the box, jack in the box

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Lakewood, CA
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    in the box, out of the box, jack in the box

    alright, I have heard the basics of this controversy but have never experienced it myself. Why would it make a difference where summing takes place? And the thing about moving the master fader causing distortion? Isn't distortion inherent to any digital system? Could someone clarify?
    James

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    You gotta a can of worms on your hands there!

    Summing in the analog domain can have certain advantages, the most obvious when you want to apply analog processing to the mix. Also, many of the summing boxes are passive and need make up gain, so the choice of preamp used makes a contribution to the final sound. So, there can be asthetic to summing outside the DAW that is appealing.

    The business about the master fader is mostly crap, at least in modern workstation implementations -- don't believe it. Both analog and digital systems have distortion.
    Jim Dugger
    Poorhouse Productions

    At 20 bits, you are on the verge of dynamic range covering fly-farts-at-20-feet to untolerable pain. Really, what more could we need?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdugger View Post
    Also, many of the summing boxes are passive and need make up gain, so the choice of preamp used makes a contribution to the final sound.
    This is an important point! And a way to integrate those expensive mic pres that you have into your mix.

    I'm about to experiment with this myself. Intuition suggests that combining sonic elements in the analog domain will sound different, and hopefully better than mixing in the box with all of those mathematical algorithms. That said, both methods can sound great in the right hands, and with the right tools.

    This topic generates so many opinions and debates, that the best test is to borrow or rent some gear and experiment in your own studio!

    Jon

  4. #4
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    I found when you get your 2 track signal out of the box into good hardware EQ and compressors , it can give you this bigger fuller sound, and a special top end that plug ins do not. Many plug ins while they may sound great appear to be layered on top of the signal while hardware gear sounds like part of the original sound. From several reviews of summing boxes, several reviews mentioned getting a very similar sound if they put a 2 bus mix in a summing box or used 8 separate tracks into the same summing box.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Software doesn't have transformers, or valves, or electricity. When I think the song needs a little pleasing distortion I sum through the "iron". If it doesn't, I stay in the box. This is on the most basic level, but I'm generally speaking. There are other benefits to either or. It's like film photography vs. digital, the noise is more pleasing in film (to many)....the digital is more accurate academically (to many)...which is which is up to you. Use your ears and gauge your needs relevant to your workflow and sound needs, forget the hype. I'm not too into emulating something if I can just do it with the real thing. So, instead of putting "vintage warmer" on my mix or whatever, I rather just send it through actual hardware.....unless of course I don't want it to sound like hardware, but instead want it to sound like a emu-plug (which can happen). Use the summing method that sounds best to your ears. The song will tell you if it needs analog or soft summing, Neve or SSL, digital or tape, McDsp or UAD or Waves or the hardware they emulate. Just my two cents. Generally we humanoids like distortion, subtle or verbose, it makes things come alive....but sometimes we like things to be immaculate or transparent.

    I do agree with Glenn Bucci, and others though.

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