With another thread brought up regarding the shitty sound in pro-tools...I was left thinking today as I sat at a contol-24 - Playing with the 7k mouse, I started to dwell upon the premise of that the only sound of pro-tools (other that converters and plugs)is the summing math of the software. Basically it is understandable that the internal summing of tracks is represented in a way that can translate harshly back to analog again. Some seem to think other formats sound better - How could this be, granted the conversion can't be night and day, plus people use the "A" name converters as if they want to make their rack look like a big Barney to keep their kids busy. So how could this be? With the plugs and converters set aside, all that is left is the math of the summing - the same thing with conversion to an extent - yet this time it is in the software. Lets think about how a fixed-bit summing bus works. Even without knowledge of binary code, or word length or bit depth, just follow my basic analogy. Each track is a bunch of groups of numbers used to decribe the sound. Think of them as different issues of a comic book series in a stack. You have seperate stacks each devoted to the different characters in the storyline ( representing the instruments in the mix). Yet all of these stacks must now fit in the place of one stack ( the completed storyline, so two stacks for stereo, part 1 and 2 ). You now have to fit all of your seperate stacks into the two final stacks - now imagine the closet you are using for storage has a fixed shelf halfway up - and eventually you run out of room, requiring you to press down on the comics - sqweezing, stomping, pushing - until they can all fit. As you wipe the sweat from your forehead, you realize you succesfully acheived your goal - yet you also degraded the quality of the comics - many of them are now wrinkled, ripped, even crushed! Geez, they were all in great condition when I was collecting them, and now that I've put them all together they have turned to crap - oh shucks, my investment, down the drain - waaaaaaaaahhh! If only you could have raised the shelf in the closet a tad or put some comics on top of the shelf, everything would have fit within a reasonable about of space, and everyone would be happy. Unfortunatly you had a fixed-but summing bus for a closet, you did get everything into it, but things got kinda ^#$%ed up at the same time. This is where the whole 32-bit floating-point thing comes in... With 32-bit floating point math, you are given an extra 8-bits or word lenght. These extra 8-bits function as a headroom buffer. If you were to exceed the headroom of the original 24-bits, the extra 8 are used to describe the "over" rather than just reperesnting it with harsh digital distortion. This translates to a huge amount of virtual headroom. As In our comic book / closet storage analogy, the extra 8-bits would be a box in the closet sitting above the top shelf - storing the comics that were a bit too tight to fit in. Now set aside to be called upon when needed - rather than having them crammed in (distortion). This increase in summing-bus headroom means no more harsh or distorted summing bus. It is a method that maintains accuracy at lower levels, and has excess headroom to handle higher ones. Now when it comes to the headroom of an analog desk - I can't get all teckie with you, but I do know that It can overload at a certain point - yet of course sound is reliant upon circuty. The point of this post was to shed some light on why some DAWs don't sound great for mixing - and also that there are others using different math that sounds better, as in don't give up on digital mixing so fast. anyone else care to touch upon floating point - or the headroom of the bus they sum with?