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SPL Mixdream

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Greener, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Greener

    Greener Guest


    I was looking at this;
    I read all that, I searched the web and read all the stuff that didn't seem like trash.
    I couldn't find any user reviews.
    I noted that the RO price is the lowest I could find, so I thought asking here would be ok.

    What does it do? Like in the real world actual wtf is it doing. Not jargon.

    How do you use it?
    I can't be bothered with the SPL website, it gives me error pages and I can't find a picture of the back end of it to figure out what you can plug into it. I couldn't find the manual on the SPL site but I think I could elsewhere, however I doubt I will really gain all that much from seeing what I can plug into it.

    So yeah. I'm kind of interested to know many aspects of it. Like why does it exist, purpose. Why is it so damn expensive? Who uses it and to what purpose. Lets call it curiosity.

    I was bored. :p
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Prince George, BC
    Home Page:

    I definitely encourage any topic on a product we sell here.

    I've personally had my eyes on a Mixdream, and, would like to talk to anyone that has actually used one. Because I've not used one, I can't comment on it as well. Forgive my lack of hands on knowledge here.

    That being said... It sounds like a summing amp/ digital mixer/ patch bay/ ad converter all in one, that connect to a DAW somehow.

    The link you pointed to ( our store front) pretty much describes the unit in full. However, like you, I still feel confused on what it actually does.

    I would like to hear from others that have actually used a SPL Mixdream , or, seen it in action somewhere.

    Since you posted this question, I've invited SPL here to talk about it. Hopefully someone chimes in.

    Glad you like the price we have on them.
  3. Greener

    Greener Guest

    I was looking at it wondering if it was an AD converter for like an hour. I can't see anywhere where it says it is.
    It looks so shiny. :)
  4. SPL

    SPL Active Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Home Page:
    Hi there,

    Paul from SPL here, thanks for the invitation to talk about the MixDream.

    Actually it is a very simple box: an analog summing unit. All it does (primarily) is summing up to 16 channels to a stereo sum. In contrast to a mixer/console, it does not provide leveling, pan controls etc.

    The issue of analog summing came up when people compared their DAW mixes to the sound of analog consoles. Many loved the console results, especially for great imaging, localisation, depth. To offer an alternative and to integrate analog qualities into digital eonvironments, about 5-6 years ago the first summing boxes came up.
    There are good reasons to trust in (good) analog technology to get excellent results at this stage of signal processing (more or less infinite resolution, no rounding errors). Keywords are mixing "OTB" and "ITB"; out of the box and in the box. While "Box" in OTB/ITB means the DAW, mixing OTB can be done by the help of the MixDream.
    But we should mind the fact that we talk about summing, not mixing (SumDream would have been a better product name, but except me nobody liked it here :)
    Anyway, my Google reports more than 30.000 links for "ITB mixing". You may want to search for discussions about that ... and like in any analog/digital discussion you'll find dogmatic contributions. You may find about 49,99% of recording people explaining that ITB must be better (in short: because you keep things digital), and 50,01% may say nothing beats the sound of analog (summing) -- still many engineers feel better with the sound of analog consoles.
    A good part of that sound is "made" at the stage of summing. We are not talking about coloration to give things a "vintage touch" or something like that. We are talking about qualities in imaging, spatial sounds and depth/transparency. As already said above, resolution in analog processes is a main fact here. Our hearing may be restricted in some aspects, but it is extremely sensitive in spatial listening: we can "detect" changes in sound direction by about one degree.
    As a rule of thumb, the more channels you sum, the more analog summing can get advantageous because of high signal resolution and processing without rounding errors.

    More on that general discussion ... on the web. In the end our point is that we compare results by ears, and we love the results of analog summing. If anyone is interested to share our impressions, the MixDream may be a good solution to verify that.
    It allows you to connect an analog summing stage to a DAW. Therefore the actual mixing -- and automation -- is still done ITB. You just route your channels via D/A converters into the MixDream and get back with a stereo sum (so it is not a DA/AD converter, it is an entirely analog unit).
    So far a good solution to combine the best of both worlds. Now ... just another summing box was too boring. We thought at this stage it would be ideal to have a sort of central analog insert box, too. So for each channel you have additional inserts to route them through further analog processors. So you can insert a complete arsenal of analog processors to the 16 channels and the MixDream can be the key unit for the installation of a good hybrid digital/analog studio environment.

    A real benefit from analog summing requires highest quality in component selection and circuitry. We use discrete, self- and handmade 60V op-amps as central elements. The MixDream shows exemplary specs; extremely high slew rates, lowest noise, very high dynamic range -- it easily can cope with the very best consoles ever made in these aspects. That can not be cheap ... but in our ears it would not be serious to offer just another analog summing box for 500 bucks; this would not help anyone to achieve better results.
    There are further very interesting features like switchable transformer, Limiter stage, analog stereo width control rounding off the feature list.

    But ... I can not believe that our site is not working!
    We have reviews, user reports (Mark Needham is one of the most famous users: <http://www.soundperformancelab.com/index.php?id=169&L=1>), manuals, short and long descriptions ... everything it takes to paint the picture.
    Check all the pages below the tiltle, and also check the links in the right column (PDF documents = manual, connection diagrams)
    Use this link to the MixDream pages, and PLEASE: let me know if you have any troubles!

    Hope that helps, pleas also use the web infos for full information ... I can not provide everything in detail here as my time is limited, and it would be a repitition anyway ...
  5. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Cheers for the links Paul.
    I couldn't find information on your site last night although I was following Google links.
    *checks history*
    Now they work. :)

    That's some seriously good service.
    Thanks. :)

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