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Analogue Summing (previously SSL Fusion)

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Re: Analogue Summing

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:07 pm

Jack Ruston wrote:
blinddrew wrote:Yep, know what you mean. Jack's obviously a fan but 1) he's doing this full time so payback is more significant and 2) he's much better at this!

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Ha! Can't tell if you're being quite rightly sarcastic or just humble! :D

To be a bit more specific about what I meant in this context...
You're a professional, recording in professional environments, using professional kit. If you're aiming for a pristinely clean mix / sound, you can achieve it from source. If you then choose to fatten/warm it up using a bit of tape saturation, that's an artistic decision made from a controlled starting point, with the capacity to genuinely add something musical to the mix.

People at my end of the food chain, lacking both good environments and experience, are much more likely to be starting with a compromised recording, a less than stellar mix, and are in danger of using tools like this to basically just throw a bucket of mud at a mix in the search for that magical something that will make it sound 'pro'.

Hopefully that makes sense out of my head as well as in it, and hopefully I've not caused offence by using you as an example. :)
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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Watchmaker » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:11 pm

ha blindrew, you nailed it.

I keep looking at OTB tools to bring back some sense of "analog magic" into my patently mediocre mixes, and droll over the latest tools, but I'm fully aware that's just BS.

Plenty of amazing mixes are done totally ITB with conversion happening immediately after the pres and on playback only, so I suspect it's really using the right tool for the right job - and there are a great many choices.

I happen to love pushing buttons and turning knobs, watching pretty lights glow, etc. but don't have any expectation that any toy will really impact the end result as much as experience and knowledge. My current approach is to use the UAD tape emulations or run the 2 buss through one of my interfaces for color and that seems to work nicely.

I guess the question comes down to wheteher this box gives you a particular sound you can't get elsewhere, but I'll wait for Softube to develop the plug-in :-)
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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Humble Bee » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:31 pm

Me to I go through periods of analog summing and mystical mixbus processing psychosis attacks... :?

But most of the time I am happy with the Glue compressor and UAD Oxide on my mixbus ITB. ;)
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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Zukan » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:48 pm

TBH, unless you have a pristine clean signal path you will not hear or even appreciate the colour summing provides.
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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:40 pm

Zukan wrote:TBH, unless you have a pristine clean signal path you will not hear or even appreciate the colour summing provides.

I'm glad you said that Eddie - I've just sent you those A/B mixes, so I hope you can hear the difference via your signal path ;)


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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Wonks » Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:47 pm

Unfortunately the audio has to battle through his tinnitus first.
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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:51 pm

Wonks wrote:Unfortunately the audio has to battle through his tinnitus first.

Sad but true :(

Go Eddie go!


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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Jack Ruston » Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:05 pm

blinddrew wrote:
Jack Ruston wrote:
blinddrew wrote:Yep, know what you mean. Jack's obviously a fan but 1) he's doing this full time so payback is more significant and 2) he's much better at this!

Generous
Ha! Can't tell if you're being quite rightly sarcastic or just humble! :D

To be a bit more specific about what I meant in this context...
You're a professional, recording in professional environments, using professional kit. If you're aiming for a pristinely clean mix / sound, you can achieve it from source. If you then choose to fatten/warm it up using a bit of tape saturation, that's an artistic decision made from a controlled starting point, with the capacity to genuinely add something musical to the mix.

People at my end of the food chain, lacking both good environments and experience, are much more likely to be starting with a compromised recording, a less than stellar mix, and are in danger of using tools like this to basically just throw a bucket of mud at a mix in the search for that magical something that will make it sound 'pro'.

Hopefully that makes sense out of my head as well as in it, and hopefully I've not caused offence by using you as an example. :)

Of course you haven't! I appreciate your kind words.

This is a cat that's skinned a number of different ways, depending on who you talk to. I know guys who very much subscribe to the idea that it's all about their chains of weird old mic amps, plucked out of ancient desks and racked up, compressors, tape delays of all ilks etc. Now FOR ME, it's rather more as you describe....

I work primarily in a domestic environment, but it's a fairly good space, solid walls, a high ceiling, and a lot of treatment. I have good equipment - some of the best conversion available, clean mic amps, good microphones and excellent instruments. I have really great monitors, so I can properly hear what's going on. Generally speaking, I'm looking for the best quality going in, and that's mostly about the source. Sometimes 'the source' means certain boxes...an Audiokitchen BigTrees, the spring in my Moog, an A Designs REDDI DI box, various other guitar pedals etc...but often it's just the right mic on the right instrument, and almost never any compression or eq. Once I'm ITB, I'm ITB. I don't come out again. I rely on my monitoring environment to give me the information I need to make the right choices, and on my experience to know what those are, obviously. I own no dedicated outboard mic amps, compressors or equalisers. IF the room is OK (not even good) 99% of it all is the source. It's kind of obvious when you think about it...otherwise we'd all sound as good X Y and Z just by buying the same gear that they use. And we all know that doesn't ever work out.

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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Still Vibrations » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:35 pm

Martin Walker wrote:Ironically, I was convinced after I've tried out the Console5 plug-in pair (http://www.airwindows.com/console5), a free download from Chris Johnson of Airwindows fame, rather than by hardware summing mixers.

It's a two stage encode/decode process – you place one instance of his Console5channel plug-in on each of your playback channels, which changes their slew rate/EQ, and then apply the reciprocal process at the mix buss with a single instance of his Console5Buss plug-in. With a single playback channel, the two processes cancel each other out exactly, but as soon as you add more channels to the mix they interact in a subtle fashion.
Martin

This is a new concept to me Martin and I am trying it out on a short electronic texture - based on an ambient recording of bells. (At least I am hearing bells, my wife says it is silence so has it occurred to me that I may be going mad?) In Ableton Live does this mean that the track volume is set to "0" and all automated track volume changes are made to the Console5channel output instead?
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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby CS70 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:58 am

Jack Ruston wrote:It's kind of obvious when you think about it...otherwise we'd all sound as good X Y and Z just by buying the same gear that they use. And we all know that doesn't ever work out. J

LOL you forget 80% of us guitarists out there!
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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Zukan » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:19 am

Jack Ruston wrote:IF the room is OK (not even good) 99% of it all is the source. It's kind of obvious when you think about it...otherwise we'd all sound as good X Y and Z just by buying the same gear that they use. And we all know that doesn't ever work out.

J

I really wish more and more people would adhere to this.
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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:11 pm

Still Vibrations wrote:
Martin Walker wrote:Ironically, I was convinced after I've tried out the Console5 plug-in pair (http://www.airwindows.com/console5), a free download from Chris Johnson of Airwindows fame, rather than by hardware summing mixers.

It's a two stage encode/decode process – you place one instance of his Console5channel plug-in on each of your playback channels, which changes their slew rate/EQ, and then apply the reciprocal process at the mix buss with a single instance of his Console5Buss plug-in. With a single playback channel, the two processes cancel each other out exactly, but as soon as you add more channels to the mix they interact in a subtle fashion.
Martin

This is a new concept to me Martin and I am trying it out on a short electronic texture - based on an ambient recording of bells. (At least I am hearing bells, my wife says it is silence so has it occurred to me that I may be going mad?) In Ableton Live does this mean that the track volume is set to "0" and all automated track volume changes are made to the Console5channel output instead?

Nearly!

Console5 IS a bit of a fiddle, because the summing action needs to take place at the mixing buss to replace the action of the 100% perfect DAW mixing.

Because of this, you ideally need to place Console5channel post-fader if your DAW allows that (Reaper doesn't for me), or (next best) set all your DAW channel faders to 0dB and place Console5channel immediately before each one (i.e. the final plug-in in any chain). In most cases, leave the Console5channel output level alone as well- it is calibrated to work best with its default setting.

Now you can use regular automation to change levels during your mix, but each and every sum at the mixing buss will now be modified by your single Console5Buss plug-in, which should be the first on your output channel.
N.B. Since this modifies the 'mixing' buss action, you won't hear any change with a single channel - only once you have at least several and preferably several dozen channels, each with their own Console5channel plug-in, will you begin to hear the subtle new mixing algorithm.

Most other 'console' plug-in suites provide an obvious channel strip plug-in with EQ, compression and so on, sometimes with subtle' hardware variations per instance so they all sound a tiny bit different, but for me the beauty of Airwindows Console5 is that it only emulates the action of the analogue mixing buss itself, leaving you free to add whatever EQ, compression you prefer, or not, as the case may be ;)

Hope this helps!


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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Still Vibrations » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:39 pm

Many thanks for your explanation Martin and taking the time to go into detail. At the moment I am trying it out to see if the change suits the music I produce, but it may not be that necessary as I take the finished tracks to a specialist studio to finish which has an excellent analogue desk.
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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:54 pm

I'm currently having a bit of a play myself and rueing the absence of a manual, fortunately we have Martin for that ! :bouncy:
So, sorry Martin, but just to be clear. If I have a Reaper project with a bunch of audio tracks feeding 7 bus tracks (Vox bus, bass bus, drum bus etc), which in turn feed a dummy master track... I could then place the Console Channel plug-in as the last thing on each of those bus strips, set to post-fader/post-pan, and then put the Console buss plugin first thing on the dummy master channel?
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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby The Elf » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:40 pm

I've not made a study of this summing thing. I do know that, like Hugh, I can find something I like by occasionally passing the main mix bus through valves or transformers - not summing, but simply picking up the action of moving electrons. With this in mind it's not really the summing that interests me, but simply the journey from and back to the DAW.

I have a choice selection of such magic wands (and I very much liked what I heard when Jack was kind enough to pass a mix through his tape-head emulator a few years ago), but my favourites lie under the SSL and Focusrite badges.

These days I'm finding myself choosing a bit of transformer saturation over valves 80% of the time.
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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:44 pm

blinddrew wrote:I'm currently having a bit of a play myself and rueing the absence of a manual, fortunately we have Martin for that ! :bouncy:
So, sorry Martin, but just to be clear. If I have a Reaper project with a bunch of audio tracks feeding 7 bus tracks (Vox bus, bass bus, drum bus etc), which in turn feed a dummy master track... I could then place the Console Channel plug-in as the last thing on each of those bus strips, set to post-fader/post-pan, and then put the Console buss plugin first thing on the dummy master channel?

Yes, with bus tracks, you place a Console5channel plug-in last thing on each of the tracks feeding that bus, and then on the bus tracks you place Console5buss as first plug-in, and then Console5channel as final plug-in where the output of each bus feeds the master channel (which once again has a COnsole4buss as 1st plug-in.

Hang on, I'll take a screenshot of a current project to show this in more detail.


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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:46 pm

OK - here you go:

TwitchyConsole.jpg


1. Each of the channels ends with Console5channel

2. Each of the stem busses (DRUMS, GUITARS in capital letters), starts with Console5buss and ends with Console5channel

3. The MASTER starts with Console5buss.

Basically at every mixing stage (whether channel to master or channel to buss) ends up with a channel/buss plug-in pair.


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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Watchmaker » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:03 pm

That must have a very low resource consumption footprint. How many instances can you run before it starts to get buggy?
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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Forum Admin » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:08 pm

Still Vibrations wrote: (At least I am hearing bells, my wife says it is silence so has it occurred to me that I may be going mad?)

:) It's like when you listen to White Noise (no, not the David Vorhaus album!) it contains every frequency so in there is every known sound. It's akin to staring at an open fire... after a while you can see anything in the flames.

Or am I going mad too? :headbang:
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Re: Analogue Summing

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:15 pm

Watchmaker wrote:That must have a very low resource consumption footprint. How many instances can you run before it starts to get buggy?

Yes, Console5 does have a tiny footprint - on my 4.4GHz overclocked Ivy Bridge quad-core CPU each instance measures 0.04%

That project is typically only consuming about 10% of my overall CPU, so I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to run hundreds of channels of them.


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