Summing boxes ?

Discussion in 'Summing Mixers' started by Tommy osuna, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. Tommy osuna

    Tommy osuna Active Member

    There's obviously a lot to talk about I don't have one currently I've used the inward connections and what I found was the same mix had more dimension and what seemed to be fatter tracks

    Is it the box itself ?

    Is it the fact that there all summed together ?

    What I heard and I'm not sure if someone can shed some light on this that a computer can't decide what to mix first second etc so by summing your controlling the flow of how it's mixed

    Also because of the electronics in the box you get a wider frequency range added to your tracks better punchy low end clearer mids and better highs

    Now I realize these are all opinions but please pcrecord
    or anyone that's had specific experience with summing boxes ,while mixing please chime in.
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    did you use additional outboard gear?
  3. Tommy osuna

    Tommy osuna Active Member

    Yes in a few cases but others I didn't
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    "Summing Box" is a little vague... ;)

    Can you be more specific about which summing gear you are using, and what your workflow is?
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    So how are you coming out of your daw and back, DAAD?
    And is this individual tracks or the Mix summed where you hear the greatest change?

    I'd love to here a comparison between this?

    Through my hybrid tests, (no hardware added) I do not hear any increase in size or change via a direct in and out between the daw and the box ( at least until another step). IMHO, the best analog summing boxes should be transparent as the daw until hardware is added. It is my opinion that the daw has the superior size and if this isn't the case to your ears, you have a variety of problems or issues that you aren't aware of which I'd be more than thrilled to discuss this in detail throughout this thread.

    I do not believe analog processing increases size but I do believe it changes it. Which is a good thing if it isn't fooling you with transient smear like bit shifting.

    I would be interested in hearing a mono comparison between the exact two mixes. This will reveal whether you are hearing a shift in the stereo field or not.

    If you are hearing a smear after the AD returns, then your summing box is not improving your mix, it is fooling you by ways of shifting.
  6. Tommy osuna

    Tommy osuna Active Member

    Ok that makes sense I just moved to hawaii this week I don't have my gear hooked up

    A sales person at vintage king mentioned the part about the computer not being able to decide what to mix first

    Does that make a difference in quality ? He said it did

    I did notice again more 3d type dimension is that an illusion ? If it was it was a beutifull illusion

    I do more if my tracking and mixing by feel I'm not the most technical when it comes to understanding the units but my ear is what tells me what I need and desire this must be obvious by my question
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    You lucky guy, I would love the live there. A favorite place on the planet.

    Welcome to what we all hear at first.
    Until you do the mono comparisons,
    , even better, uploaded for us to hear outside your monitoring process, your quest to demystify whether this box is worth the investment or a gimmick. What I mean there, my guess is you could actually do what the summing box is doing ITB better. The key is learning what its doing ;)

    After you do mono comparisons we will learn more.
  8. Tommy osuna

    Tommy osuna Active Member

    Cool well the other thing I did was interesting also I decided to take all the audio one by one on another song just to experiment for another reason

    I put the audio through the nail by a designs as I just got it a couple months ago and this is what happened

    The tracks got better fatter and more focused and had more dimension for sure so much easier to mix

    I put totally different compression levels on rack track some 3 db or less and I got such a big difference in the over all quality now I know I track well and I also know that different electronics do effect the sound for the positive and negative

    In this case from my ear it was incredibly for the positive the separation was outstanding

    I also did not sum these through the inward connections box
  9. Reverend Lucas

    Reverend Lucas Active Member


    Summing in the digital domain is just a matter of adding bits. It's not a question of the computer not knowing which to add first, because it doesn't matter. For example, any way you add the numbers 2, 3, and 5 together you get 10. It's called the associative property to get nerdy about it.

    Anyway, I don't mean to discount analog summers, only the idea that there's something 'wrong' with digital summation. There may be something added via analog summing, but it's distortion caused by going through additional conversion processes, and circuitry of the summer. This may or may not be perceived as good. Most salespeople won't tell you that.

    I hope this helps.
  10. Tommy osuna

    Tommy osuna Active Member

    Hmmm ok well the tracks sounded better to me maybe it's the harmonic distortion the a designs and inwards connections but now that I have the nail by a designs I will keep using this method
  11. Tommy osuna

    Tommy osuna Active Member

    "Summing Box" is a little vague... ;)

    Can you be more specific about which summing gear you are using, and what your workflow is?
    From Donnie

    The inwards connections

    Built using the same proprietary op-amps as the DEQ-1, the Mix 690 Summing Mixer sounds very large and fat while still retaining clarity and detail in the high end. The mid range comes across as punchy and perceptually loud, which adds excitement to any mix. The perfect way to relieve your overworked digital mix bus and restore resolution and depth to your mixes.

    And a designs nail which I think your familiar with already

    Sometimes using outboard gear and with the a designs no out board gear used in the experiment of just running the tracks thru individually

    I just feel now the a designs nail is a multi dimensional tool for me now
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I've been where you are. This is parts of my summing system, now selling it as I "yet once again" learn a different way:

    I have done extensive testing. My studies have proven OTB hardware does little if any you can't do better, ITB.
    I've owned the Nail, Hammer, API 2500, SSL G, Crane Song, UA and a few different summing boxes including a few Bricasti's, EQ, tube and SS, BAX, Pultec etc.. and although outboards processing does change the sound and make a damn FUN TIME of mixng and summing, hardware does little to improve the sonics in comparison to an informed ITB engineer. What it does do is give us a different perspective and this may be the biggest reason to go for it. I know I would never know what I know now without this experience.
    When you are ready to listen deeper into your process, we'll be having this chat with some other guy making the same expensive dance.

    I bet once you actually mono the sum and compare both, the OTB will sound duller, flabbier and smear(ier).
    If you don't have stellar ADDA as well, you are degrading your path even more. You interface is also paramount!

    Now, all this being said! This doesn't mean your OTB experience isn't beneficial or improving your mixing skills!!
    After a few years of constant comparing and improving my monitoring process, I found I was actually adding too much EQ ITB . OTB helped tame my mistakes and open my ears . Now that I "hear" better, I also have learned I can emulate almost everything better ITB when I mix into a master via a capture system.

    Without going on, there are key steps and a few products that I feel are essential to allow me to hear my DAW better which is where hybrid gets very interesting and a lot more affordable. But it doesn't include a transformer based summing box or console!
    Q: Is it the summing box, a console or simply hearing a mix OTB that gives us the edge to "mix, sum or master" better?
  13. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I haven't use any summing box, but I'm very intrigue by them.
    What Chris has experience makes a lot of sense.

    But Tommy, I'd like to hear the difference between your same mix mixdown by the DAW and through the summing box.
    You could do a demonstration for us, showing differences on spectrum analyser and how the mixes can cancel themself once the polarity on one is inverted. Just a thought ;)
  14. Tommy osuna

    Tommy osuna Active Member

    Cool again I just moved and when I get all my stuff here in hawaii I'll try and do that time permitting but I know my ears did not fail me in the test I did

    But probably to many things changed in the process as I was doing this process so to give an exact true demonstration may not be possible sorry

    Now I'm tracking successfully through the nail so I don't go through the process of having to re run everything thru it

    Also the tracks sounded better to me when I re ran them thru the nail with the same monitoring system so it couldn't be my mixing skills getting better as I did not even start the mixing yet I was preparing them to be mixed so that's a mystery ??

    That's what's cool about audio there are so many different possibilities that getting where you want is a great journey

    Love talking about gear :)
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    That box looks really cool too.

    Enjoy ;)
  16. Tommy osuna

    Tommy osuna Active Member

    I'm also adding sorry again as I don't write as well as I speak :) i don't own the inwards connections box. I mix with tom weir at studio city sound in the la area ,he's done countless records from Grammys to the regular guy :) and his statement to me was when he got his summing box he's already been mixing in la for 30 some years and when he went digital he preferred the summing box for the reasons I mentioned . Also, when I brought in the music and showed him my mix that I did with the a designs nail he was blown away by the separation and just overall great quality

    Sorry I did not post this before
  17. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I'm not at all doubting you or your ears, Tommy. I'm not trying to get a proof of what you are saying either.
    My interest in asking comparaisons is to try to figure out how different the files are and what are the differences.

    Hawai.. mmm.. What brought you there Tommy ? Work, Love.. ? ;)
  18. Tommy osuna

    Tommy osuna Active Member

    Hawaii lifestyle :) work is where i end up living so this will be another cool journey
    pcrecord likes this.
  19. Tommy osuna

    Tommy osuna Active Member

    Go look at studio city sounds list and tell me if he has all the right gear so in your opinion you can see if the studio equipment is making the mixes smeaier as you put it from my knowledge scs studios has the highest quality adda conversation that would match up to the worlds finest engineers opinion then tell me if that equipment or his capabilities are inferior or that he would would need work on his mixing after listening to his work

    I say this because your referring to my opinion that I like the approach and that from your studies of engineering that I would have have the issue either equipment or lack of experience neither apply here

    After you look and hear what he's done tom weir I'll post what I've done in the last couple years And I don't think you would make those particular statements

    Cool again it's nice to converse about audio
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Again, my comments are directed only towards hybrid mixing or mastering, not tracking. Which is addressing the claims outboard compressors, EQ's, including consoles and summing boxes sonically improves the overall sonics in a hybrid mix or mastering process. I say its naive, G.A.S. marketing hype and could prove it under a favorable challenge.

    When you say your buddy has the best gear and Grammy credits! I don't doubt it. (y) . Now lets get this out of the way. No one has used better gear to prove this than I for these particular studies. We all use different gear here or there but nothing that will be substantially different in gear level quality for big boys to rethink their future on this one.
    The gear card is simply showing us we understand we're not mixing with toys and loops.

    The Hybrid benefits I hear come from a process which has very little to do about gear today and it most certainly is about knowing. No disrespect to you, your friend or the wonderful manufacturers making all this pristine gear, but the Nail is a noisy smeary compressor that is only good for tracking or round trip insertion via mono sends when hybrid mixing or mastering. It smears a 2-bus.
    I did those tests like you, here two years ago and we liked the sound, but better without once I realized why people are believing round trip is an inprovment.

    If there was any money left in the business for me, something to gain for my efforts in a public shoot out, the process I describe will rival the best studios on the planet. That's how sure I am about all this hybrid nonsense (G.A.S. hype) being feed to people on these forums.
    To add, the theory any console in the mixing path improves hybrid mixing today is also total nonsense spread by people like me in the first place, followed by the blind leading the blind.

    Like I say, do the mono null test. It will prove the best hardware, consoles, boxes etc etc etc... is not doing what they think its doing.


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