Ready to try Summing, need some suggestions please, thanks!

Discussion in 'Analog Summing' started by daveski69, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. daveski69

    daveski69 Active Member

    Ok, I am ready to try summing.

    I have an SSL J at my disposal for a few hours at the end of a session next week, and just as an experiment, I'd like to try it out for summing on some tracks I have mixed.
    We have ITB mixes that sound great already, and I am planning on breaking them out into stereo stems and running through the console. We wish to simply experiment and see if we can hear a noticeably improved difference.

    Please, the SSL is all I have to use , so although you all have been very helpful with suggestions in my last post ("Is Summing Valid Or Voodoo?") please I'd appreciate not hearing about how "Neve is better", "Dangerous box is the only true summing" etc. Again, I thank everyone for their informative insights in my other aforementioned post, but I only have the SSL to try it out on.

    My main question is, how many stereo stems should I break the song, in it's current ITB mix, into? The genre is Salsa, and the instrumentation is as follows:

    Bongo and bell
    Maracas and Guiro
    2 trombones
    lead vocals
    Chorus background vocals (group of three)

    It has been suggested that I group all the percussion as one stem, do separate ones for bass, piano, bones, and lead & BG vocals together making 5 stereo stems in all.
    Obviously channels are not an issue as I'll have a 72-input console. so if there's any validity to having individual stems for each of the percussionists, please let me know, and why. Oh, yes, should I print each stem with it's effects, or go dry and have a separate FX stem for that too?

    I realize this is just one of many ways to sum, and I am not even saying this will be the ultimate method of choice. I just want to see if I can detect anything that can be construed as "improvement"..
    Thanks for any and all suggestions.

    Dave Kowalski
    David Kowalski-Engineer
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Do you have analog hardware and and the ability to do any MS as well? This is where it gets fun.

    Because you have all those tracks, I would send the entire DAW mix out to the SSL and experiment/ group from there. The idea it to bypass the DAW's two bus, use outboard processing on groups and then print back your analog 2-bus to the DAW. Thus mastering.

    Use specific hardware like EQ and comps known for their qualities in groups. Example, API 2500 for drums, Transient Designer on drums, A-design Nail on the 2-bus, STC-8 on the two bus, Passeq on MS, 1176 and LA2A on lead vox, NSEQ-2 on bass or 2-bus, Bricasti on effects etc. Follow?
    You juice up and sound design your mix with the analog hardware, use the high headroom summing system you have available and print it all back to the DAW. You can use the DAW's more surgical technology to fine tune your mix and then repeat this for mastering or bounce to taste..

    Do this an you will never return.
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Take the 24 tracks out directly from your DAW. Go to 24 line inputs on the SSL. Turn off all equalizers & dynamics. Set all faders to nominal 0 unity gain positions. Adjust pan pots for the respective placement of stuff. Flip all faders to bypass the VCA's. Take the stereo output from the SSL and mash record to the computer. I'm not into stems much nor seeds. Just mix and stir and serve hot.

    I only like the good stuff
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I agree with every up to not adding anything from the SSL. I'm confused over than one!, even if it is an SSL :) Keep your DAW fader close to 0 and use the SSL faders and hardware for gawd sake! And absolutely group your tracks and insert some comps. Then print to the DAW.

    your turn! smoke
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I agree with you Chris. But that's not pure analog summing. You are suggesting additional gobbledygook OTB other than summing. I'm not disagreeing with you at all. That's what I do with the Neve. But the OP only referred to analog summing. He didn't want to know about the Dangerous box nor AMS/Neve summing box. Those are simply naked analog summers. After that sentence, I'm ready to run to the beach and pull off my bathing suit. I would love to have some naked analog summers but mostly in South Florida. But yeah, my friend, that sturdy maple audiokid is right in what he suggested you should do. Of course that will vary from what you obtained working strictly ITB. Otherwise, you need to use my suggestion and turn that SSL into a 24 input summing box. Do you mix with stereo stems ITB? If you don't do that ITB, I wouldn't do it OTB. But then again, why not just try it with a 24 input Mackie? They should have a couple of those lying around your school also. Maybe they didn't want to spend the extra money so they just bought a single SSL 9000 J? That's supposed to be the best sounding analog SSL ever made. Simply because people got sick of listening to a crappy 5534 in back of a transformer. And especially since a Mackie sounded better than a SSL 4000.

    Of course you also asked whether any extra gobbledygook should be included in any of your stems. And what method and path to take. That belies the fact that you are asking about analog summing. What you are now asking about is analog mixing with summing only being part of the equation. So is this mixed or is this not? Are you in school for this or are you just pretending to be in school for this? You've actually learned something in school for this? Or you haven't learned anything in school for this? Please elaborate.

    I said elaborate I meant expectorate. It's nothing I ate.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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