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To sum or not to sum

Member for

21 years
Hi guys...I have a very basic question.
What would be the difference between
*sending all my digital outputs into 1 stereo output- to a high quality preamp and sending it back to the A/D converter


*sending all my digital outputs into a summing mixer and then into a stereo preamp and sending it back to the A/D converter



Member for

15 years 11 months

RemyRAD Thu, 11/22/2007 - 20:59
noamlev5, this question is sort of like, what's better? VHS or Beta? Blended or single malt? Budweiser or Miller? Male or Female? Steak or Sushi? Ampex or Studer? Digital or analog?

I've heard some incredible stuff that was pure digital on ProTools. From recording through mixing. The only thing analog was the microphone preamps.

Conversely, plenty of folks believe that analog summation provides a superior character? Tracked on a Neve and/or API. Mixed on an SSL. Bob Clearmountain even likes tracking with those mediocre SSL 4000E microphone preamps. Which isn't much better than a Dean Jensen microphone transformer and a couple of Signetics 5534AN's and a couple of output swing transistors for greater current output. Yeah, so they can make it to +24dbm (that's loaded into 600 ohms).

Both techniques are being used extensively throughout the professional recording industry. That's why folks like Neve of England (not to be confused with Rupert Neve of Texas) and API, along with others, are offering basic line level mixers to stereo output.

In a sense, I have been using the latter since 1993 when I converted from analog 2 inch 24 track to TASCAM DA88 X 3 and sometimes 4. 24/32 track digital recording with 24/32 channel analog summation, through old consoles. I certainly like the results. I've also obtained adequate results by just doing everything ITB. Which do I like better? I really can't say? I'm still rather old-fashioned and fairly often I get product that was tracked through a mediocre PA Board to a HD 24. When those come in, I mix in analog through the old Neve. Just for that flavor. If I track through the Neve, I might mix ITB, since it already possesses that flavor. If I track through the API's, it's twice as much fun mixing in analog on the Neve. Unless corrections need to be done only possible within the computer? Then all bets are off. I'll dump to the computer for the corrections and then dump back to the DA88's/HD 24/MOTU2408, to play out in analog. It can get fairly involved and confusing. Look at me. I'm already confused.

Doing what comes naturally confusing.
Ms. Remy Ann David