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Summing Mixer

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Summing Mixer

Postby twotoedsloth » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:17 pm

I have some extra budget left over this year that I will have to spend, or else I'll lose it next year.

I was thinking of buying a summing mixer. Right now our recording setup is two Focusrite Octopres, a MOTU 896HD, with Lexicon PCM91 and Eventide Eclipse effects. We also have some nice outboard analog gear, but these aren't part of my usual workflow. We also have a nice collection of standard professional mics (DPA, Neumann, Schoeps, AKG and so on).

Primarily we record classical, jazz and ethnocentric music.

Our live room and control room have been professionally treated.

If I don't get the summing mixer, I could always spend the money on something else... I'm open to suggestions.

Thanks,

Peter
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Re: Summing Mixer

Postby Jeraldo » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:25 am

Perhaps you could add a video component to your services.
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Re: Summing Mixer

Postby Mixedup » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:24 am

If you're not using your outboard, then I don't personally see the need for a summing mixer in that setup. What is it you're hoping it will add? Unless you're talking about something that you can use to add pleasing distortions — Looptrotter Satur8, Thermionic Culture Fat Bustard or some such.

What's the business - commercial studio, education? If the latter, the best money I've seen spent is usually spent on decent instruments, amps, room treatment (whether acquiring or repairing!). Or if you don't have to spend it as capital, how about paying some decent (ie professional, working, with decent credits) guest lecturers.
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Re: Summing Mixer

Postby chris... » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:13 pm

twotoedsloth wrote:I have some extra budget left over this year that I will have to spend, or else I'll lose it next year.
I get the impression one of the more likely types of person to buy a summing mixer is someone who has money he doesn't know what to do with.


Primarily we record classical, jazz and ethnocentric music.
Adding "pleasing distortion" may be wanted in rock, but probably not classical.
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Re: Summing Mixer

Postby Mixedup » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:30 pm

Primarily we record classical, jazz and ethnocentric music.
Adding "pleasing distortion" may be wanted in rock, but probably not classical. [/quote]

Perfectly permissible in some jazz styles, though. I'm not talking fuzzboxes and overdrive in this context, but subtle, warming musically pleasing harmonic distortion. Though as the OP has a bunch of outboard that's not in use, I doubt this is the direction in which he wants to go.
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Re: Summing Mixer

Postby twotoedsloth » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:39 pm

Thanks for your responses

Sorry, I should have said this before. I work in the music faculty of a large university in Canada.

You are largely correct, my workflow is almost entirely in the box. I take the digital out of my preamps and then stay in the digital domain.

To me, it seems that a summing mixer would just add an extra D-A, then A-D, but a friend of mine just acquired a Dangerous Music summing mixer, and he claims it changes everything (for the better, I assume). There must be some advantage to this technique, no?
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Re: Summing Mixer

Postby Mixedup » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:48 pm

Unlikely to help in your situation. Has your friend actually done double blind tests on this? Or run any null tests?

I have a Dangerous box here with summing on board, and while it's an excellent piece of kit (monitor controller & D:A...), the summing doesnt add an awful lot to what I can do in PT or Cubase, or to what I could do by running the stereo mix through a stereo processor or preamp of some sort.

The only real exceptions being if I want to run busses out into various compressors or other processors I can sum all those analogue signals in the analogue domain before recording the stereo file back; and if I'm tracking up to 8 tracks at once via, say, preamps in my 500 series rack, I can record straight to stereo, using the rack as a mixer — ie avoiding extra A-D, as you suggest.

Seriously, I doubt very much given your situation if you would get your money's worth out of it. If it's just about getting rid of surplus budget that you need to spend to avoid getting your budget cut next year, then spend it on something (a) useful for your students (eg guest lecturers) or (b) something that will hold value AND be useful eg mics like the KM84, C414 etc. Or invest in some better spec'ed heavy duty mic stands — something that is too often overlooked in academia! If you're doing. Just firing out ideas now...
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Re: Summing Mixer

Postby twotoedsloth » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:36 pm

Thanks for your advice.

Adding the summing mixer just might confuse students more than it will help them, but then again, it is something they might run into in the "real world".

Your suggestion of bringing in a guest lecturer or two is good, but money for guests comes from different pockets.

The problem is that we would need a lot of money to buy anything substantial, and I only have around $1500 left. I considered buying new computers, but we just did that last year, and I'm not sure that a 3.4gHz ivy bridge is significantly better than the 3.4gHz sandy bridge chips we have already.

Again, thanks for your input. I'll keep weighing my options, I have until April 30.

Cheers,

Peter
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Re: Summing Mixer

Postby zenguitar » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:58 pm

Hmmmm Canada you say... Home of Radial Engineering.

How about one of their Workhorse cases? With 8 slots for API 500 format modules and a summing mixer all in the same box, it gives you access to a summing mixer for your students, and a home for 500 format modules (including good value kits) from a host of makers. Maybe even look at some of their re-amping modules to give more options for those working in the box.

OK, you won't get much more than the workhorse out of this year's budget (if that, I don't know the Canadian pricing), but once you have it you will be able to make next year's budget go further. And there's no harm contacting Radial direct and politely asking whether they might be able to offer you an educational discount or a direct purchase option.

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Re: Summing Mixer

Postby James Perrett » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:11 am

Just a couple of thoughts...

You don't mention anything about the other end of the chain - are there any potential monitoring improvements that you could make?

Are there any teaching aids like large computer monitors that you need - I always find it easier to work with multiple computer monitors.

James.
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Re: Summing Mixer

Postby twotoedsloth » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:49 pm

Thanks for your suggestions James and Andy.

Unfortunately, our budget can't stretch to accommodate the Radial Workhorse, but it was a great idea, as it appears to have a summing mixer built into it.

We have Genelec and KRK monitors, and we also have a 27 inch video monitor with a 52 inch LCD TV that we use when teaching.

Probably the best thing I can think of is to sink the money into a ribbon microphone, as we don't have one of those.

Thanks again for your advice.
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Re: Summing Mixer

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:44 am

I record Jazz, and on my wish list is a set of compressor/limiters that I can put in front of my audio interface. Like an 8 channel compressor/limiter that will prevent clipping when the band gets really going.

I am always disappointed that when things get really cooking harder than the sound check implied, I start to get clipping on the way into digital land.

BTW I have no idea what an analog summing mixer does. Seems totally crazy to me.



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Re: Summing Mixer

Postby The Elf » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:00 am

DC-Choppah wrote:that will prevent clipping when the band gets really going.
Using compressors and limiters to set recording levels is really not the way to do things. You should be nowhere near clipping, no matter what the band do.
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