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SPL MixDream analog DAW summing

Member for

21 years
Okay, I'm taking the high road. After so much reading this past year on analog summing amps, then finally listening to some samples, its definitely what I need. This unit takes that ITB closet sound (I've been going nuts trying to overcome) and opens your mix up into a warm fat sound. No wonder they call it MixDream.
Reading this shootout ( [="http://www.studioreviews.com/summing-box-shootout.htm"]Summing Box Shootout[/]="http://www.studiore…"]Summing Box Shootout[/] ) it logically makes the biggest improvement when starting any project from scratch. This could be why some don't see the value.
Plug a stereo comp into it and you have a nice package.
I'm getting the MixDream this month and will be dreaming about it until it arrives. I'll keep you posted.

I found these clips over on PSW forum.

check them out.

[[url=http://="http://www.ma-mfg.c…"]http://www.ma-mfg.c…[/]="http://www.ma-mfg.c…"]http://www.ma-mfg.c…[/]
[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.ma-mfg.c…"]http://www.ma-mfg.c…[/]="http://www.ma-mfg.c…"]http://www.ma-mfg.c…[/]

Anyone else have one? I'd love to hear what you are doing with it or how you've set it al up?

Comments

Member for

15 years 5 months

Boswell Thu, 02/18/2010 - 08:59
ouzo77, post: 300147 wrote: i'm also interested in analog summing, but can't really afford the good mixers.
what would you guys recommend for a budget 8ch mixer for summing? or would it make things worse than better?
Budget, yes, but how much? External analog summing is not worth doing over ITB digital summing unless (a) the D-A-D conversion and (b) the summation are both up to the job.

If you are thinking of external summing using conventional mixers, I have in the past got good results using a pair of Alesis HD24XRs for I/O feeding a Midas Venice for summation and sampling rate conversion. These days, the whole of that chain can be done (fixed rate) at similar quality but at a fraction of the cost by a single A+H Zed-R16 Firewire-equipped analog mixer.

If you already have good I/O, then the Audient or Dangerous Music summing units are worth looking at. There are also designs around for constructing your own resistive summing box if you are into electronic projects.

Just to repeat: external analog summing is only as good as your D-A and A-D conversion. If that's not up to scratch, you are better off staying ITB.

Member for

15 years 11 months

IIRs Tue, 02/23/2010 - 03:42
That's analog mixing however. We are talking specifically about summing.

I absolutely agree that analog and digital mixing are different, and require different approaches. I am sure that, while Remy can undoubtedly produce good mixes ITB, she can produce even better mixes using her warm cuddly Neve... but it is my opinion that the mix bus of her Neve is less of a factor than the analog EQ and dynamics she would be using, and that both of these would be much less significant than her abilities as an engineer, and her familiarity with said equipment.

If you dropped me into her studio (or any other studio full of analog gear I was unfamiliar with) I suspect the results would be reversed and (at least at first) would be inferior to my ITB mixes using the collection of plugs I have built up over years.

Member for

15 years 11 months

IIRs Tue, 02/23/2010 - 04:06
jammster, post: 300476 wrote: Perhaps they will master ITB digital mixing better someday soon so you cannot tell the difference

Can you really tell the difference? If you are listening to a commercial radio station, can you tell which songs were mixed with an SSL, and which were produced entirely in Logic or Pro-Tools?

Member for

18 years

Jeemy Thu, 02/18/2010 - 12:19
Well it also depends where its going after that. This is not my strong point but as I understand it:

I have a 16-channel mix in Cubase. I output this over 16 channels of lightpipe to the Ramsa via my Fireface 800, which has no effect on the signal chain bar clocking and Firewire --> digital conversion.

I'm therefore subject to the following signal chain:

16 x Ramsa D/A converters ---> Ramsa analog summing bus. Then onwards via Ramsa 2 x main outs back to the fireface to convert to digital once more, and record back into Cubase (or perhaps a better, simpler, stereo DAW ? I must admit I'm a little shaky on how that would work, especially if its running concurrently.

Obviously the analog format 2CH could then go onwards to tape, or back through the fireface and back to Cubase (the source of the perceived problem) or straight through the fireface and into SPDIF and on to a CD recorder.

The Venice was voted past the Mixdream in some of these shootouts noted above. I'll be able to do a similar A/B in my studio and see where that leaves me; fascinated for sure, and with the ability to use the Ramsa not as a digital MIDI controller but a genuine mixing desk with recall. Its certainly another facet.

Member for

12 years 9 months

jammster Tue, 02/23/2010 - 07:52
IIRs, with all due respect I really love the simplicity of digital mixing and the ease of which your mixes eliminate any chance for noise to enter. If I could have a digital mix that could sound the same as an analog one I would most certainly favor it, no question about it. The fact of the matter is that I tend to notice a change in overall depth of the mix. Ya know, this kind of thing is really hard to put into words, and I am sure everyone would see it differently. Its very difficult to describe, this is one reason there is so much debate and controversy over this topic. I can only tell the difference in my own mix comparisons, that is Logic Pro's internal digital mix as opposed to mixing out the firestudio individual outputs on the analog console in my little home studio. Certainly I cannot tell what's being used in radio broadcasts, nor do I really care, its far beyond the scope of my experience. But what I do know is what I like when I hear it. I like analog even if it means more noise and more work to get a final mixdown, it makes the overall depth and punch so much more dynamic to my ears, even if its way more subtle than most listeners can tell.

Member for

21 years

audiokid Thu, 02/18/2010 - 12:57
I believe the MixDream has had some improvements since the majority of these comparisons ( at least 3 years). Keep in mind that Fletcher pointed out some discrepancieswith the levels set during that comparison.
Fletcher wrote: If you're not matched to within a tenth of a db through each and every channel of the test then it's a neat party trick... and maybe people can draw some kind of conclusion... but somehow I don't think that conclusion will be too valid.
From what I understand summing from the start of a session has the greatest impact and I'd like to hear more about this?

The Midas sure received the majority, possibly coloured which may be a good thing or not.

Member for

21 years

audiokid Thu, 02/18/2010 - 13:06
Obviously I'm old school here and combining DAW and OTB is green to me until I actually start doing this for myself.

My signal chain will be ( help me here) MixDream and hardware together with Sequoia 11 out of the ( help me here again) Either FireFace 800 again to MixDream or I have Lavry Blacks (AD 10 and DA 11 ) that I'm not sure here as I haven't used them for anything other than improving Pro Tools Mix plus), but I think they should fit into this sequence in a good way for the final mix to whatever I print to?

Member for

18 years

Jeemy Fri, 02/19/2010 - 01:05
Yeah as I understand it you'd RME to the mixdream, then take the 2 channels back through the lavry AD so you're effectively bouncing via a summing box to 2 channels. I've got the 2010 mic shootout to do first but once we've done that I should get some A/Bs sometime in March.

Member for

15 years 8 months

ouzo77 Fri, 02/19/2010 - 02:34
Boswell, post: 300163 wrote: Budget, yes, but how much? External analog summing is not worth doing over ITB digital summing unless (a) the D-A-D conversion and (b) the summation are both up to the job.

If you are thinking of external summing using conventional mixers, I have in the past got good results using a pair of Alesis HD24XRs for I/O feeding a Midas Venice for summation and sampling rate conversion. These days, the whole of that chain can be done (fixed rate) at similar quality but at a fraction of the cost by a single A+H Zed-R16 Firewire-equipped analog mixer.

If you already have good I/O, then the Audient or Dangerous Music summing units are worth looking at. There are also designs around for constructing your own resistive summing box if you are into electronic projects.

Just to repeat: external analog summing is only as good as your D-A and A-D conversion. If that's not up to scratch, you are better off staying ITB.

i was thinking about something like this:
[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.thomann…"]MACKIE 802 VLZ3 - U.K. International Cyberstore[/]="http://www.thomann…"]MACKIE 802 VLZ3 - U.K. International Cyberstore[/]

i have a focusrite saffire pro 24 dsp interface with 8 outputs, so i would send stems to the mixer (drums and bass - guitars - keyboards - vocals). would this make any sense?
the converters of the saffire are good, but not in the rme or apogee league.

audiokid, sorry if i disturbed your thread. if you want me to make a new one, let me know.

Member for

21 years

audiokid Tue, 02/23/2010 - 18:55
I think the detailed difference I/we hear is not capable with digital right now. I think ITB is much better than its been this last decade, but its not there yet, if ever 100%.

I love this:
There are many aspects why hi-end analog systems still have advantages over digital summing. The problem with many channels is that -- to put it easy -- calculating errors are getting more and more annoying. Our hearing is extremely sensitive to identify spatial aspects; we can easily detect differences in directions far below one degree (!). Spatial hearing in all its aspects may be one of the most precise "sense qualities" we have.
It could be, we hear (good or bad) these subtle changes more than others and it is why we are not satisfied they way someone else may be with 100% ITB. The more I use digital, the more I see it as an editing marvel and as a very close friend to analog recording. I'm really excited how to get the best out of of both worlds, now.
I'm refreshed and have hope for my DAW studio more now.
I don't believe total 100% ITB will replace high end analog summing in the next few years, if ever. As digital gets better, so will analog tools such as MixDream along with my over the top expectations. I'm more convinced than ever that SPL MixDream is one of those products that fits in with the needs of the people who hear those spacial differences. Its so obvious now.

I have a feeling high end analog is not even close to being over. Its just beginning. The best of both worlds involve both analog and digital. I don't think that will never change for high end audio.

"Is it organic chicken or is it industrial? One is firm and the other is spongy. If you eat it long enough, you get used to it." :cool:

Member for

18 years

Jeemy Fri, 02/19/2010 - 04:38
I can't see the Mackie & Saffires providing enough of an improvement (if any) to justify this; especially given the downsides of limited output channels that you have meaning you will end up blending ITB and OTB sums. I wouldn't purchase the Mackie just to try this out (unless you did so secondhand) but if you are gonna get it for another reason anyway, it would be a great portable live desk for a small band for example, then there's no harm in trying. This is the situation I find myself in with the Ramsa - I already have it as a routing, midi controller and monitor control desk so there's no harm in experimenting.

Member for

15 years 8 months

ouzo77 Fri, 02/19/2010 - 06:44
Jeemy, post: 300221 wrote: I can't see the Mackie & Saffires providing enough of an improvement (if any) to justify this; especially given the downsides of limited output channels that you have meaning you will end up blending ITB and OTB sums. I wouldn't purchase the Mackie just to try this out (unless you did so secondhand) but if you are gonna get it for another reason anyway, it would be a great portable live desk for a small band for example, then there's no harm in trying. This is the situation I find myself in with the Ramsa - I already have it as a routing, midi controller and monitor control desk so there's no harm in experimenting.

thanks Jeemy.

i'm thinking about analog summing for quite awhile now, but it seems i'd have to spend more money to get what i want...
that spl mixdream seems to be really nice, though. german craftmanship! ;-)

Member for

15 years 5 months

Boswell Fri, 02/19/2010 - 09:01
ouzo77, post: 300214 wrote: i was thinking about something like this:
[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.thomann…"]MACKIE 802 VLZ3 - U.K. International Cyberstore[/]="http://www.thomann…"]MACKIE 802 VLZ3 - U.K. International Cyberstore[/]

i have a focusrite saffire pro 24 dsp interface with 8 outputs, so i would send stems to the mixer (drums and bass - guitars - keyboards - vocals). would this make any sense?
the converters of the saffire are good, but not in the rme or apogee league.
Jeemy's right - you could get some practice in using the Mackie and the Saffire, but don't expect it to sound better than your ITB mix. One of the major requirements for an external summing unit is large headroom (passive summers have infinite headroom), and the 802 VLZ3 does not quite get there. So, don't buy the Mackie if all you would want it for is analog summing.

Member for

15 years 11 months

IIRs Wed, 02/24/2010 - 00:19
The problem with many channels is that -- to put it easy -- calculating errors are getting more and more annoying

What calculating errors? And why would many channels make a difference? Would your calculator start to produce randomly erroneous results once your shopping list passed a certain length? You can't just assert that there are errors without providing evidence for that assertion. Every test I have ever conducted myself, or that I am aware of others conducting, indicates that digital summing is absolutely 100% perfect. Indeed, I think it would make more sense to go out of the box for compression and EQ, then back in for digital summing!

audiokid, post: 300578 wrote:
It could be, we hear (good or bad) these subtle changes more than others and it is why we are not satisfied they way someone else may be with 100% ITB. :

Or it could be entirely placebo. Can you reliably tell between analog and digitally summed mixes in blind testing?

Member for

21 years

audiokid Wed, 02/24/2010 - 01:12
I think the more ITB channels, the more we detect unnatural calculations. You may be missing this sense of direction, precision with your hand, eye and ear coordination .
Maybe its the same as a gut feeling and it becomes a thing I try and find in a mix.
Maybe its only something I hear and no one else. In the end, a burden. Maybe its what makes golden ears mastering engineers.
Even though the math works, I don't believe music is just one type of measurement.
I think there are colours that are missed and others that are over defined with digital audio. Maybe its the sound of unreal or too perfect a picture in an acoustic setting that I am picking up on.
I'll know soon enough.

What I do believe. it has nothing to do with making great music, only great sound.

Member for

15 years 11 months

IIRs Wed, 02/24/2010 - 01:20
The problem with many channels is that -- to put it easy -- calculating errors are getting more and more annoying

Here's a test you can try: pull some audio into your DAW (doesn't matter what it is) then duplicate it onto another track, and flip the phase. You should get a 100% perfect null between them, correct? Now paste in another two copies, and again flip the phase on one of them. Still a perfect null, right? Keep going, and tell me how many tracks you need to be running before these "calculating errors" start to creep in and you no longer get a perfect null.

I got bored and stopped with 102 stereo tracks still perfectly nulling another 102 phase reversed copies...

actually the 204 summed tracks (each peaking individually at about -6dBFS) read approx -133dBFS on the master rather than -infinity as when they are all muted. Thats good enough for me...

Member for

15 years 8 months

ouzo77 Fri, 02/19/2010 - 10:42
Boswell, post: 300230 wrote: Jeemy's right - you could get some practice in using the Mackie and the Saffire, but don't expect it to sound better than your ITB mix. One of the major requirements for an external summing unit is large headroom (passive summers have infinite headroom), and the 802 VLZ3 does not quite get there. So, don't buy the Mackie if all you would want it for is analog summing.

ok. thanks again. i guess i'll just leave it at that.

Member for

15 years 11 months

IIRs Wed, 02/24/2010 - 01:39
And another test in case you still aren't convinced: create a mix ITB, then pull your rendered file back into the project and flip the phase. Perfect null?

You need to be a bit careful with this test of course, as any modulation type effects (including modulated reverb tails) will not be identical on subsequent passes. You would need to print these effects first.
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