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SPL MixDream analog DAW summing

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 ( [=""]Summing Box Shootout[/]=""]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.


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


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51 years 5 months

bigtree Wed, 02/10/2010 - 23:50

Ooo, AG, you have a nice sounding setup.

This is the desk you have here:


That looks sooooo nice! I can almost smell it.:tongue:
Is it analog though? I'd love to do an A/B comparison sometime to see how the MixDream stacks up to that for sound. However, now knowing summing produces the best results starting from scratch, how could one compare in a simple way miles away?

I do miss a consol and will be getting some sort of controller for Sequoia done the road. Oh its so much fun eh.

AG, I'd love to see some pics of your setup. Thanks for chiming in.

Attached files

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15 years 7 months

IIRs Mon, 02/22/2010 - 11:24

audiokid, post: 300459 wrote:
IIRs, are you "technically" saying, OTB analog summing is all just snake oil, trickery?

If its being sold as a cure for imperfections in the digital summing bus, then yes I'm afraid that is my opinion.

audiokid, post: 300459 wrote: It sounds like you are suggesting manufacturers and companies selling these products see this as an opportunity to take advantage of the less technical savy recordist that have no clue.

Well, sort of. I don't want to imply that anyone here is clueless. And I would certainly never accuse Remy of not being "technically savy"! I always enjoy Remys post's, and find them extremely interesting and informative. But that is precisely why I can't resist stepping in when I think she has it wrong.

I think that there are myths perpetuated about digital audio, many of which used to be true when mix buses had too little resolution, and internal processing used simple naive algorithms, but which no longer hold true in 2010. I don't think digital is cold or harsh anymore. But now we need to deliberately add some of the analog artifacts that we were previously stuck with, like it or not.

The question that I myself am genuinely curious about is: given that digital summing is 'perfect', is there any specific advantage to adding your analog flavour via a summing bus, compared to (eg:) a nice comp on the digital 2-bus? My gut feeling is: no there isn't. If you're going to spend the cash, get a good stereo comp or EQ that you can also use while tracking. But I haven't been able to try a test. I'm not even sure a proper test is possible... but if you lined up levels VERY carefully you could sum X number of channels via a summing box / desk, then sum the same stems ITB and run that mix through two channels of the same device. I was planning to try it out with a 16 channel Midas XL3 expander module that a friend offered to lend me, but unfortunately his PSU proved to be noisy as hell, and siting it outside the control room would have been too much hassle for a 6-month loaner.

Disclaimer: while I did get to record onto 2 inch tape a few times in my capacity as a guitar player back in the 90s, I have never engineered any recordings in a proper analog studio. My own modest studio has been open for only a year, is 100% ITB, and is a long way from earning me a living at the moment. But I have mixed rather a lot of live sound over the years, and the last 2 or 3 years have seen digital live consoles start to become more common than analog, at least at the higher end. There are some common models that are generally agreed to sound bad (naming no names) but I have been fortunate to be using mostly Soundcraft Vi6 desks recently: these have Studer pre-amps, bags of internal headroom, internal EQ and dynamics that sound really good, built-in lexicon FX, and 5 touch-screens to control them all. They are a joy to work with, and sound great. :biggrin:

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AudioGaff Wed, 02/17/2010 - 22:16


Ya, the DM4800 is what I have to play with these days for my home setup. It is a pure 100% digital mixer, and a MIDI control surface, a analog/digital patchbay, an audio interface, a digital audio format converter (S/PDIF, AES, ADAT or TDIF), A/D & D/A converter, and at least a few more things I'm forgetting. Extreme big bang for the bucks. One thing about this digital mixing using plugs that I have to resolve very soon is that I have to get a 2nd 30-inch monitor because of screen clutter. I really thought one 30-inch would be enough and better than two smaller ones, but one 30-inch is just not enough. And I'll have to buy some furniture and change my stereo image if I expect to use two 30-inch next to one another so I'll need to park oneoff to the side unit I figure that out.

These are the kinds of things you don't really think that much about or think all the way through until the you encounter all the work flow obstacles.

Since I am still not commited, I have things kind of hazzardly setup so I can give the desk a real workout to know if it is going to work out for me. I still have the big-O-hunking Tascam box taking up space if I need to get rid of it. I'll see if I can tidy up enough to take a few shots.

While I'm still not 100% commited to a digital mixer over an analog one, I am just about ready to pull the trigger and go from Quadcore to an I7. With two PowerCore cards, a UAD-2 QUAD and the various native plug stuff I want or need to use, I can't stand having the computer start to spit and choke right when I am the final stages of being done with a mix. The I7 may not cure all that, but it should big a help .

If I could afford it, I would love to have 24+ channels of analog summing capability. If you go high end about it and add it all up, I think it quickly gets close to what a good and decent analog console costs. Of course you also have to have the space/room for decent console with 24+ channels and I can see where that can be deal breaker for some. This is another area where the digital mixer shines. Many channels, small foot print.

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jammster Mon, 02/22/2010 - 12:57

Hello everyone,

I've been enjoying reading this thread as well. Perhaps none of you really know me well, I also have a small home studio that I have used for my own creative reasons throughout the years.

My background reflects as a recording artist since the late eighties. When I started my creative venture I was a teenager in my parents basement. At that time all I had was an Ensoniq EPS sampler, ESQ-m module that I had worked a couple years to buy, SM58 and a cassette tape deck. I had little money and lots of support from my parents who were artists as well. They did not fund my venture, but were supportive. I had done some work with recording my own music but really lacked the budget to get a pro sounding studio at home. At times I would save a few hundred and record in a small midi studio in Minneapolis called Film in the Cities. They actually offered a few classes in recording there, which I did take. I never really had the passion or the wit to become a professional recording engineer, I have always been into recording for my own enjoyment as a recording artist.

Anyway, I just can't help but want to give my opinion on this subject as well. I had in 2007 decided to update my ancient digital recording system to a more robust DAW. First I had to decide which platform and software to buy, which was a bit of a headache. I had been very absorbed trying to learn and develop an understanding of the software and interface that I had decided to buy. This tends to be a somewhat difficult task, depending on how much time you devote to using and learning it. For me catching up to the modern software has proven to be a bit painstaking.

To make a long story short, after using my DAW for a few years I can certainly notice a difference between mixing ITB and sending the outputs to the Analog realm and dealing with it accordingly. I especially notice when listening to a CD of mixes done ITB compared to ones done on my mixer, to me its shocking. Of course many will comment on the importance of having a decent signal chain, AD conversion and Monitors for listening critically and mixing. Certainly, for me at least, owning a decent professional analog mixer (Soundcraft, Allen+Heath,ect...) has always been a major goal of mine as well, one that has always been put off since I have rarely had the money to really afford one. I had to settle with less for now. My opinion is this, in many ways the analog mixer is really the most critical link to your sound, that is if that is what you prefer and what you enjoy hearing. I must say that overall the analog gear has always had more of an appeal to my ears even though digital has made so many amazing advances in recent years. Perhaps they will master ITB digital mixing better someday soon so you cannot tell the difference, but for now my vote is strongly in favor of the analog realm!

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Jeemy Thu, 02/11/2010 - 05:29

I have a Ramsa DA7 and you've certainly got me interested in the possibility of using it to sum out of the box; even just to see how that sounds.

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IIRs Fri, 02/26/2010 - 09:46

Boswell, post: 300784 wrote:
I would agree with your noise figures if we were talking about white noise, but D-A converter noise has other content such as code-dependent conversion errors and components from the power supply. I don't think it is possible to state accurate figures for this effect, simply to note that the mix noise floor will rise in the order of 3dB per input channel.

So: at least 3dB per channel, but possibly more...

Boswell, post: 300784 wrote: By the way, no-one in this topic so far has mentioned one common reason for performing external analog summing: sample-rate conversion.

Of course that is perfectly valid. But I suspect a really good SRC like iZotope 64 bit or r8brain pro would do better: [[url=http://[/URL]=""]SRC Comparisons[/]=""]SRC Comparisons[/]

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Boswell Wed, 03/17/2010 - 05:25

audiokid, post: 344088 wrote: And this thread over at mixerman's crib pretty much "sums" it up!

[[url=http://[/URL]=""]Analog summing - The Womb[/]=""]Analog summing - The Womb[/]

After reading that thread, I've immediately taken their suggestion and set to work on writing an analog summing plug-in. I think it should be a killer.

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ouzo77 Thu, 02/18/2010 - 06:42

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?

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BobRogers Wed, 03/17/2010 - 08:55

Boswell, post: 344098 wrote: After reading that thread, I've immediately taken their suggestion and set to work on writing an analog summing plug-in. I think it should be a killer.

I like the joke a lot, but in fact I think the challenge posed by analog summing may force the digital world to take a harder look at the human/computer interface issues that usually take a back seat. Plugins may be a joke, but a better digital control surface isn't.

Edit: This comment is more in reaction to the Womb thread where there seemed to be a consistent implication that different summing methods implied different mixes. People here have been more careful about separating the two issues.

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