DAW summing?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by TomMaag, Mar 12, 2004.

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  1. TomMaag

    TomMaag Guest

    This seems to be a strange topic in that it has many varying opinions amongst professionals. Anyone here have any specific experience with mixing on a DAW compared to mixing on a DAW using an external summing bus? Like Dangerous 2-Bus or Folcrum?
  2. Bill Park

    Bill Park Guest

    Go to 3daudio.com and buy the DAW summing CD.

  3. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Oct 5, 2000
    My experence? Snake oil.
  4. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    Jul 21, 2002
    Whether an summing device is used or not, there still is a substantial amount of DAW mising going on.

    Take a 30 track project...somehow these have to squeezed down to the 8 or 16 inputs offered by said summing boxes...this requires some sort of DAW summing, whether using track output assignments or submix...

    There is something (I think) to running a submix through some sort of processing without the signal going through another AD step...
  5. Bill Park

    Bill Park Guest

    "Whether an summing device is used or not, there still is a substantial amount of DAW mising going on."

    Of course there is eventually some sort of summing that has to occur. Look at your meters! Every track is full, scale, yet the end result cannot be the sum of 30 full scale tracks. It can still only be full-scale.

    The question..... is computer summing somehow inferior to analog summing, can be answered by a somewhat scientifinc and repeatable blind listening test. Such a test was conducted under the supervision of Lynn Fuston at 3daudioinc.com, using 30 different common setups, about 1/3 of them analog, the rest were various DAWs.

  6. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    I don't want to buy the CD. Do you have a summary of the results, just for the curious?
  7. Bill Park

    Bill Park Guest

    Why not go to lynns web site, hit the newsgroup, and read the opinions of a whole bunch of people? More valuable to you than just taking my word or point of view.

  8. moles

    moles Active Member

    Jan 5, 2004
    Winnipeg, MB
    Bill, do you have a link to that site? I went ot 3daudio.com, and all there was was a slideshow of some whack stereo mic in action.....

    I am very interested in this subject, I have never done double blind tests, but to be perfectly honest I have always approached any new audio system I've worked on with an open mind (and ears). I do believe I can hear some big differences in the sound quality of my mixes depending on what DAW or board was used.
    In fact when I was deciding which DAW to get into, I did alot of experimenting with recording similar tracks to all the available apps I had, to see if there were any discernable differences. Well, there were - big time. I guess the jury is still out as to the reasons, though.
  9. Bill Park

    Bill Park Guest

  10. Bill Park

    Bill Park Guest

    I should also mention that, given the cost of and the amount of time that you are going to spend in front of a recording system, the $50 cost of the CD is a small price to pay to become an informed consumer.

  11. teleharmonic

    teleharmonic Guest

    Reader Digest Version of discussion on the 3dAudio BBS:

    The only thing that was universally agreed upon in the aftermath of those tests was that mixing talent was the defining factor of a good mix... everything else came down to extremely minute differences interpreted in the light of personal taste.

    Some engineers preferred analog to digital, some preferred digital to analog, some preferred only the highest end analog but digital summing was the next best thing (over other analog).

    Everybody had preferences but none of them were consistant.

    Basically... it is a myth that analog summing is inherently and consistantly considered superior to DAW or digital mixer summing... It was also concluded that it is a myth that certain DAWs are inherently and consistantly considered superior to other DAWs in regards to summing. Which is not to say that there are not subtle differences... but the value of those differences are not at all agreed upon. A few people stated that they were suprized that they heard no differences that they felt were worth commenting on... between ALL the samples.

    So it would really be a personal decision whether to spend money on an analog summing device... and that decision would be based on getting a certain sound... an artistic decision... as opposed to an 'upgrade' in sound quality. Even then, a few suggested that the same analog sound could be achieved by running tracks through analog outboard processing, which many professionals are doing anyway, and that an analog sum bus was not a requirement.

    I do not own the comparison myself, nor do i own a monitoring chain that would make such a comparison worthwhile... i am merely making a synopsis of the comments i have read on the site. In addition, this was all sonic comparison and included no comments about how people prefer to work.

  12. Bill Park

    Bill Park Guest


    " this was all sonic comparison and included no comments about how people prefer to work."

    That was the point. In fact, for my portion of the test, I didn't even HEAR what I was doing. I did it totally by the meters. How we work was immaterial to the event. How the various platforms summed was the issue.

  13. Bill Park

    Bill Park Guest

    Oh, and I -do- have a monitoring systemt hat would reveal the differences. In fact, it is my belief that a lot of the comments on the board are more applicable to the quality of the monitoring systems in play than the summing. This would account for the inconsitency in the responses.

    I also felt that there was not enough or a difference to make it a reason to pick one over the other. The differences were that subtle. So if you like Sonar, or Samplitude, or whatever, keep on truckin'. Your preference is fine.

  14. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    Considering the amount of time I'm not going to spend in front of a recording system, I don't want to spend the $50.

    I'm here for the knowledge and learning, not because I'm a big recordist, but because I'm a musician expanding his knowledge.
  15. themidiroom

    themidiroom Active Member

    Apr 20, 2002
    St Louis
    For someone that may have analog processing to do on the back end, summing can be a good thing and worth the extra D/A-A/D step. I do it all the time and get great results.
  16. teleharmonic

    teleharmonic Guest

    Thanks Bill, i understand that the exersize was specifically intended to isolate the summing bus from all other variables to confirm or deny the considerable mythology that was forming around this issue. I am quite happy to know that if my mixes suck that i have one less thing to blame it on (or try to fix by throwing cash at it).

    I only mentioned that to clarify that there may be many other personal workflow reasons for someone to pick an analog mixdown/summing solution to do their work with... even if the summing bus issue was removed from consideration.

    I found the discussion to be very honest and helpful so I appreciate the time you took to participate.


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