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Peterjk
07-20-2005, 06:48 PM
Has anybody done a serious A-B test on a mix with this "thingie"...

Please post any results.

andrew haller
07-21-2005, 09:25 AM
Yes..Most people agree its an improvement. Do a search

Stukface
07-21-2005, 10:16 PM
Im trying to find out if i need an external summing device also. I found this, hope it helps.

http://www.studioreviews.com/summing-box-shootout.htm

BigBadBill
07-22-2005, 09:21 AM
we recently switched to analog summing in our PT HD rig. we use a folcrom passive summing mixer, and use a pair of neve 1272's or milennia hv-3 for makeup gain, and to us it made a HUGE difference.

wether or not it is worth the money (and extra effort) for you depends on a few things IMHO. i would say that if your mixing chops are good, and you're already able to use your protools rig to its maximum when it comes to mixing ITB - then analog summing gives you that extra 5% that is often so hard to get in a mix. if your mixing skills are not quite there yet, analog summing won't make much of a difference, and you're better off spending your time and money honing working on your chops for now.

but that's my opinion only - you really need to try it out for yourself to see wether the difference is "just what's been missing" or wether it doesn't justify the cost for you. and ultimately, in blind tests many folks pick ITB mixes over OTB mixes so it's also a matter of taste, and what kind of music you do. i'd say for rock type music you'd probably gain more with OTB summing than say R&B, but again, YMMV.

for me, i've been recording on analog consoles for close to 20 years. 18 months ago my studio sold our console and went ITB with a PT HDaccel3 rig and a C24. we've been struggling with the mixes ever since, getting them repeatedly up to the point where we felt "pretty darn good, but that extra little something is missing". hard to explain.

so we tried the dangerous 2-bus, stemmed our latest ITB mix out thru it, and voila - there it was! the sound got wider, deeper (as in more 3D), it felt like the bass got a lot more solid, and it was like you could "feel" the added headroom. a/b with the ITB mix the ITB felt a lot narrower and just not as good. the dangerous mix just had that mojo. it made it feel like "a record", and i instantly felt like i was mixing on an analog console again.

to us who had been mixing this track for a day+, the difference was enormous. for some kid listening to it on his ipod, it was probably marginal at best, if he could hear it at all. but as long as you want to make your mixes sound the best they can, it's worth a shot.

try to borrow a summing box from your local dealer and see/hear if you like it. i've tried the dangerous 2-bus and the folcrom, and they're both pretty darn good.

best of luck to you!

JimmyM
07-23-2005, 03:21 PM
A summingbox sounds really interesting.Any one an example how to hook up a Dangerous 2-bus to a PT HD2 with an 96i interface?Or do i need more ins and outs?

BigBadBill
07-23-2005, 10:48 PM
A summingbox sounds really interesting.Any one an example how to hook up a Dangerous 2-bus to a PT HD2 with an 96i interface?Or do i need more ins and outs?



if i remember correctly the 96i interface only has 2 analog outputs, which means you can't use a summing mixer, sorry

the way you would hook up a summing unit with your PT rig is to create 8 subgroups in PT, and send everything to them instead of to OUT 1-2, i.e. you would have a stereo submix for drums, one for gtrs/bass, one for vocals, one for fx etc. Then you send these 8 stereo mixes out through 16 analog outs on your interface, and then into the summing mixer.

The summing mixer then sums it all together and gives you a stereo master out, which you then patch into your 2-track recorder of choice, DAT, back into PT, 1/2" etc to record your mix.

But you will unfortunately need an interface with more analog outputs to try it out.

BBB

proxy
07-24-2005, 07:58 AM
...we use a folcrom passive summing mixer, and use a pair of neve 1272's or milennia hv-3 for makeup gain...



I was originally enthusiastic about the summing, but as I heard more peoples' A/B examples, I became more skeptical. I'm tempted to say that, for the money of more I/O + summing, people may get the same analog satisfaction by pumping a 2-channel ITB mix out through something like a Neve, API, etc. to "sweeten" (darken, color, whatever), and maybe even a great outboard compressor.

That said, I haven't tried mixing into a summing device yet, so I may eventually try and may love it. For now the post-ITB mix buss outboard back-end thing defitinely gave my digital-blues a lift.

Out of curiosity, were you running your ITB stereo out through the 1272 (line) before you went the summing-route?

- proxy

JSR
07-24-2005, 08:46 AM
...been using the Dangerous 2-Bus for a couple of years now and love it; I know the designer (Chris) and agree fully with his approach in designing this box....no complaints. Anyone who gets one of these BE SURE to follow the calibration guidelines; the 2-Bus performs optimally with your A/D and D/A converters are calibrated to -14 dBFS; which is different from what the Digi interfaces come stock at (I think they ship at -16 dBFS).

StadiumRocker
07-25-2005, 07:03 AM
I think the Dangerous 2-Bus is a waste of money. It sounds great. In fact, it sounds so great that it doesn't sound like anything at all. Exciting. For the same bread, you could buy a really cool compressor/limiter or mic pre with line inputs to run your signal through. And the Folcrom box is, IMHO, absurd -- in terms of the cost (must be some expensive resistors in that sucker), the circuit design (noisy, poor bandwidth), and the concept itself (why bang the signal down to mic level and then reamplify it when you could just go into the line level inputs of the mic pre/compressor/limiter of your choice and get essentially the same "color" and/or analog overdrive, but without the Folcrom's awful degradation of the signal you worked so hard to create?).

But it's a great box for people who like to guess what their mixes will sound like, as opposed to knowing how to make their mixes sound good.

BigBadBill
07-25-2005, 08:32 PM
I think the Dangerous 2-Bus is a waste of money. It sounds great. In fact, it sounds so great that it doesn't sound like anything at all. Exciting. For the same bread, you could buy a really cool compressor/limiter or mic pre with line inputs to run your signal through. And the Folcrom box is, IMHO, absurd -- in terms of the cost (must be some expensive resistors in that sucker), the circuit design (noisy, poor bandwidth), and the concept itself (why bang the signal down to mic level and then reamplify it when you could just go into the line level inputs of the mic pre/compressor/limiter of your choice and get essentially the same "color" and/or analog overdrive, but without the Folcrom's awful degradation of the signal you worked so hard to create?).

But it's a great box for people who like to guess what their mixes will sound like, as opposed to knowing how to make their mixes sound good.



i don't think you've understood the concept of summing properly. the point isn't primarily to color the mix, it is the relieve the PT master bus of a piece of math and performing it in the analog domain - summing the analog outputs, because it sounds different (and many would say better) than when it is summed ITB.

the coloring that different summing units add is really secondary to the actual summing.

BBB

minister
07-25-2005, 08:35 PM
i think you've missed the point of summing somewhat. the point isn't primarily to color the mix, it is the relieve the PT master bus a piece of math and performing it in the analog domain - summing the analog outputs, because it sounds different (and many would say better) than when it is summed ITB.

the coloring that different summing units add is secondary to the actual summing.

well summed up bill.! i like my d2B -- even for simple 2-3 pieces numbers.

StadiumRocker
07-26-2005, 06:07 AM
i don't think you've understood the concept of summing properly.



Right. I've only been recording and mixing records for 15 years. What would I know?

I don't think you understand the concept that putting your mix through some good outboard gear to produce a desired result is a much better way to spend your money than worrying about the relatively insignificant differences between summing in Pro Tools and summing in some arbitrary analog circuit. As I said before, the D2B sounds great - and I'd be really bummed if I laid out that much cash for something that does so little. And what little it does can hardly be considered better. Microscopically subjectively different. But those differences are obtainable without using the D2B, leaving lots of cash left over for something cool, like a new preamp/compressor/limiter/speakers/A/D/D/A converters/etc.


the point isn't primarily to color the mix, it is the relieve the PT master bus of a piece of math and performing it in the analog domain - summing the analog outputs, because it sounds different (and many would say better) than when it is summed ITB.



"Relieve the PT master bus of a piece of math"? Brilliant. Was that technical explanation in the Folcrom literature? Do you have any idea what that means? (Hint: nothing)


the coloring that different summing units add is really secondary to the actual summing.
BBB



With the Dangerous 2-Bus, I agree that "the coloring is secondary to the summing". But with the Folcrom, the "coloring" is the whole point of the product, but it's pointless to use the Folcrom to achieve the effect. Most mic preamps have line level inputs. You don't need a Folcrom to convert your mix to mic level to add the color of your preamps. Just take the +4 outputs of your convertors into your mic preamps line inputs, overdrive the signal however you please, then off to whatever other compressor limiter you own, and back into Pro Tools or CDR or whatever. Or take the signal out of Pro Tools, into a +4 to -10 transformer/pad, and into the mic level inputs of your mic preamps. Same result as the Folcrom, for about $950 less. You don't need the Folcrom. It's a silly product, and a total waste of a thousand bucks.

But like I said, spend your money however you please. Just putting some info out there for your consideration.

BigBadBill
07-27-2005, 04:43 AM
i don't think you've understood the concept of summing properly.



Right. I've only been recording and mixing records for 15 years. What would I know?

I don't think you understand the concept that putting your mix through some good outboard gear to produce a desired result is a much better way to spend your money than worrying about the relatively insignificant differences between summing in Pro Tools and summing in some arbitrary analog circuit. As I said before, the D2B sounds great - and I'd be really bummed if I laid out that much cash for something that does so little.



this is very much a matter of taste. i`ve been putting my mixes through "some good outboard gear" for 20 years now, and i still am. it still doesn't change the fact that to my ears, internal summing doesn't sound as good as analog summing does.

and i've yet to find a piece of outboard gear that can correct poor internal summing.


And what little it does can hardly be considered better. Microscopically subjectively different. But those differences are obtainable without using the D2B, leaving lots of cash left over for something cool, like a new preamp/compressor/limiter/speakers/A/D/D/A converters/etc.



we all hear sound and mixes differently. to me, the difference between digital and analog summing is not by any means "microscopically different".



the point isn't primarily to color the mix, it is the relieve the PT master bus of a piece of math and performing it in the analog domain - summing the analog outputs, because it sounds different (and many would say better) than when it is summed ITB.



"Relieve the PT master bus of a piece of math"? Brilliant. Was that technical explanation in the Folcrom literature? Do you have any idea what that means? (Hint: nothing)



before you get your knickers in a bunch, let me say that those were my words. let me also say that i am in no means technically qualified to discuss digital summing on a technical level. but i do know that summing some 40-50-60 tracks digitally is an incredibly complex piece of math, and this is where a lot of people feel that PT, in all its glory, falls a tad short.

my point was that this task is better left to analog summing devices, be it the folcrom, spl, tubetech, you name it. again IMHO.

there is a clear difference between a mix that's been summed ITB and OTB. i prefer OTB, as do many others. you clearly don't. and that's cool. can't we all just get along? sheesh..



the coloring that different summing units add is really secondary to the actual summing.
BBB



With the Dangerous 2-Bus, I agree that "the coloring is secondary to the summing". But with the Folcrom, the "coloring" is the whole point of the product,



no, the point is to passively sum 16 analog channels into 2. which it does beautifully.

the folcrom is, for all intents and purposes, similar to a Dangerous but without the gain stage. this makes the folcrom a lot more affordable, the theory being that a lot of us have got one or more pair of good pres that we've spent $$$ on over the years, and they're seldom used in the mixing process. instead of building a fixed gain stage into a folcrom (and by that making it a lot more expensive), let the user sum his mix in the analog domain, use his gain stage of choice - which he already owns. this is the concept behind the folcrom.

as i said at the beginning, analog summing isn't for everyone. if you've actually tried it, and didn't hear that much of a difference, great. keep on doing what you're doing. there is no one thing that is going to work for everyone.

again, that is why i urge everyone to try it out for themselves before investing in it.

BBB

StadiumRocker
07-27-2005, 07:25 AM
before you get your knickers in a bunch, let me say that those were my words. let me also say that i am in no means technically qualified to discuss digital summing on a technical level. but i do know that summing some 40-50-60 tracks digitally is an incredibly complex piece of math, and this is where a lot of people feel that PT, in all its glory, falls a tad short.



Actually, It's not incredibly complex. It's called addition. With fractions. It's simply, easy, and accurate. But that's not the point. I agree that people may differ over summing ITB vs OTB. My point is that these summing boxes, and in particular the Folcrom, are not getting people closer to the sound they are looking for.


my point was that this task is better left to analog summing devices, be it the folcrom, spl, tubetech, you name it. again IMHO. there is a clear difference between a mix that's been summed ITB and OTB. i prefer OTB, as do many others. you clearly don't. and that's cool. can't we all just get along? sheesh..



I agree that OTB summing is sometimes appropriate. I just don't agree that the Folcrum or D2B are anywhere near worth the money for what they accomplish, and I urge people to look elsewhere for obtaining the sound they want from their mixes.


no, the point is to passively sum 16 analog channels into 2. which it does beautifully. the folcrom is, for all intents and purposes, similar to a Dangerous but without the gain stage.



Completely incorrect. I won't educate you further because you don't seem interested in facts. But in case you are, look at the circuits in these two boxes for yourself, understand them, and then come back to this thread with a different point of view. The Folcrom is not simply lacking a gain stage. It intentionally reduces the output voltage, thereby requiring makeup gain. That's the reason that the Folcrom is such a lame idea and a waste of money. Whoever designed the Folcrom applied a solution to a problem that didn't exist.


this makes the folcrom a lot more affordable, the theory being that a lot of us have got one or more pair of good pres that we've spent $$$ on over the years, and they're seldom used in the mixing process. instead of building a fixed gain stage into a folcrom (and by that making it a lot more expensive), let the user sum his mix in the analog domain, use his gain stage of choice - which he already owns. this is the concept behind the folcrom.



eek! All I can say is, if you armed yourself with a little more technical information instead of just blindly believing in the marketing claims of these devices, you would move a lot further down the road towards understanding how to achieve the sound you want for your mixes.


...again, that is why i urge everyone to try it out for themselves before investing in it.



As do I. Read my recommendations above for achieving the same effect that the Folcrom provides for a lot less money.

Stukface
07-27-2005, 11:52 AM
StadiumRocker if you got rid of the cocky attitude, people might take you seriously.

StadiumRocker
07-27-2005, 01:36 PM
My goal in life. To be taken seriously on the DUC.

tball
07-27-2005, 02:03 PM
My point is that these summing boxes, and in particular the Folcrom, are not getting people closer to the sound they are looking for.




How do you know people arent getting the sound they are looking for? You've gone around and surveyed people on this huh? BigBadBill is liking the results and Im sure a whole slew of other people like the folcrom,dangerous 2bus,tube-tech or any other summing bus. I find it humorous that you attack other people's methods without any real knowledge yourself. You explained digital summing so well and Im definitely gonna open up a folcrom and "look at" the circuits for a long, long time and maybe I'll understand them better. People use methods that arent technically "correct" all the time and get desired results. The ITB/OTB/Summing debate has been beat to death and it is a known fact that many users are unsatisfied with digital summing or bouncing out through external pres. I've heard amazing results with ITB summing and OTB summing, whatever works for ya man! IMHO I believe that analog summing is a nice bonus to DAW users and I hear a difference and will coninue to use it and encourage others out there to explore its possibilites. Good luck to whatever methods you people use to bring the rock.


ed

StadiumRocker
07-28-2005, 02:36 AM
I find it humorous that you attack other people's methods



I haven't attacked anybody's methods. I have simply disagreed with some of the statements made here that are incorrect, and expressed my own opinion. Strange sense of humor.


...without any real knowledge yourself.



Says who? I've used both both of the boxes being discussed here. I also plan to try the SPL box at some point. I mix almost every day. What knowledge are you suggesting I lack?


You explained digital summing so well and Im definitely gonna open up a folcrom and "look at" the circuits for a long, long time and maybe I'll understand them better.



Good for you. Nothing like acquiring a little information to back up your faith.


People use methods that arent technically "correct" all the time and get desired results.



I agree. Again, for the umpteenth time...I agree that there are appropriate times for ITB vs OTB mixing. All I've been saying is that neither of the two boxes being discussed here are worth the money, for all the reasons previously mentioned. I agree with BigBadBill's original statement:


i would say that if your mixing chops are good, and you're already able to use your protools rig to its maximum when it comes to mixing ITB - then analog summing gives you that extra 5% that is often so hard to get in a mix. if your mixing skills are not quite there yet, analog summing won't make much of a difference, and you're better off spending your time and money honing working on your chops for now.



BigBadBill was the first one in this thread to make the point that your time and money are better spent elsewhere if you don't have good mixing skills. I agree. I do not agree that the Folcrom box in particular will give you that extra 5%. I think it subtracts about 20%. It's a piece of junk. I recommend not spending your money on it.

But do whatever makes you happy. Obviously you feel the need to defend your purchase if you have already shelled out for one of these boxes. Hope you feel better now that you've vented.

sirpucho
07-28-2005, 07:26 AM
I'm not sure about the whole "summing issue" with 48 bit mixing we've got the headroom, I think the main problem is a lack of understanding of digital mixing technique (it isn't analogue those clip lights on your plug ins are really bad news) and the fact we miss the harmonic distortion of a real desk. I've been getting that extra something by bussing the entire stereo mix through a nice pair of analogue channels/stereo unit even if the EQ is flat it gets that something extra. Just a thought but do you own a nice stereo high end analogue EQ or valve pre amps, channel strip etc try sending your whole stereo mix through that flat you may be surprised, get the sound you want and save some money!!!

tball
07-28-2005, 07:28 AM
My point is that these summing boxes, and in particular the Folcrom, are not getting people closer to the sound they are looking for.




You have not answered my first question. I thought this was your original point, or is it the summing busses arent worth the $$$. You seemed to have changed your tune a bit. You say people arent getting teh results above. Prove it.

minister
07-28-2005, 07:48 AM
I've been getting that extra something by bussing the entire stereo mix through a nice pair of analogue channels/stereo unit even if the EQ is flat it gets that something extra. Just a thought but do you own a nice stereo high end analogue EQ or valve pre amps, channel strip etc try sending your whole stereo mix through that flat you may be surprised, get the sound you want and save some money!!!

this is a thought. i did it before i got an analogue summing device. "finishing" my mix by running it through an avalon 747sp gave me more than a LITTLE extra something. in fact, it gave some mixes BALLS they never had. so, if you like that sound, it does help. the point of these boxes (and their designers and the ones who like them) is that the summing itself is something best done in the analogue realm and it can give you that extra 5-10%. again, i believe in ITB mixes and the headroom is pretty good, and much improved.

so, yeah, use an analogue box to "finish" a mix. but taking all the pieces and putting them together in an analogue box and then through your other unit, MAY work even better. try it. it MAY not.

sirpucho
07-28-2005, 09:48 AM
I'm always up for continously trying to better mixes, so I will be trying an Audient Sumo summing amp, but as I've moved over to ITB mixing over the last 2 years previously using SSL or similar to mix, as I get more and more into digital mixing and watching out for internal clip lights gain structure etc etc on the plugs etc I'm finding the mixes are getting better and better and better. I guess the point I'm trying to make is to people moving over as I did is that hey the odd OL led on an SSL who cared? often analogue distortion even improved the sound, but mixing ITB you've really got to reeducate yourself that its different it isn't an SSL and you cant push it in the same way. I'm also not so sure about the summing in digital issues I've done an album where most mixes were done on a trad desk, but a few were done ITB and listening back now after mastering it's really hard to hear the difference. I'm not saying that digital mixing is entirely sorted but I get the feeling there's a lot of marketing going on and people are shelling out for expensive summing boxes that may not actually make all that much difference and for some people who are short on cash if they want some analogue gear, that harmonic distortion they wan't may only be an insert away anyway.

minister
07-28-2005, 10:21 AM
good points!

for sure, we can all get better and educate and re-educate ourselves on how to use the tools better. mixing ITB IS different, as you say, to trad mixing. and we need to learn how to do that too, rather than dismiss it as inferior to the old ways. each facility can sort it out for themselves what ways work best for them.

StadiumRocker
07-28-2005, 02:06 PM
My point is that these summing boxes, and in particular the Folcrom, are not getting people closer to the sound they are looking for.



You have not answered my first question. I thought this was your original point, or is it the summing busses arent worth the $$$. You seemed to have changed your tune a bit. You say people arent getting teh results above. Prove it.



Well for starters dude, I can try to make more than one point without necessarily "changing my tune". Try to be a little less linear.

Second, I can't prove anything about how something sounds by just talking about it on the internet, as you well know. So instead, here's something you can try for yourself, so that you can prove it for yourself. If you are truly interested in gaining some knowledge then you will do this test, and report back your results honestly, and I predict that you will agree with my "original point". On the other hand, if you're just a troll talking out your butt, then you won't do this test, you'll hit me back with some witty retort, and then you'll carry on for the rest of your days blindly swallowing the marketing claims of the people who sell the D2B and similar boxes.

1) Do a mix. Preferably some reasonably clean and dynamic material worthy of a good listening test (ie - not a totally distorted hip-hop mix that looks like a solid square wave coming out of your TC Master X/L3/etc). Do the mix completely in the box. Bounce it to disk or print it to a new stereo audio track. Keep it at 24 bits, assuming your session is a 24 bit session. This will be Mix #1. IMPORTANT: You need to print/commit all of your reverbs, delays, chorus effects, and any other time based effect (pitch shifters, Auto Tune, Soundtoys, Waves, etc) to audio tracks before printing this mix, because those effects are often random and will be slightly different every time you print a mix. Also, have a click or "2 Pop" at the top of the mix that has a fast, loud transient so you can use it to line up the mixes later on with sample accuracy.

2) Now take the stereo 1/2 output of Pro Tools into your D2B, and print the mix through the D2B and back into Pro Tools. No breakout stems - just stereo L/R from Pro Tools, into the D2B, on channels 1/2, and back into Pro Tools. IMPORTANT: Make sure you carefully calibrate your 192 or Apogee before doing this. If you don't know how, search the DUC, read the manuals, and learn something useful. Make sure that tones going out of Pro Tools, through the D2B, and back into Pro Tools are accurate to within 0.1dB. This mix will be Mix #2. This mix will have the sound of passing through your convertors, into the D2B, out of the D2B, and back into Pro Tools, but all done with just two channels. In other words, this mix contains the "sound of running the mix through the D2B", but all of the summing was still done in Pro Tools.

3) Now break the mix out into stems, 4/8/12/16 channels, however many you please. Sum those stems in the D2B, and print back into Pro Tools. Again, make sure your 192 or Apogee was perfectly calibrated on all channels.

4) Line all the mixes up in Pro Tools using the click you printed at the top. Solo and play Mix #1 and Mix #2 simultaneously, with one of them flipped out of phase (put the Trim plugin on both tracks). They will cancel almost completely. If they don't, you either didn't print your effects, or your calibration was inaccurate, or you don't have them lined up precisely. Next compare Mix #1 and Mix #3 with one of them flipped out of phase. Again, they should cancel out almost completely. You should barely hear anything at all even with your monitors cranked way up. The most you should hear is a crunchy little signal that is way down in the noise floor. When you hear that, you have printed these mixes correctly.

5) Now, post Mix #2 and Mix #3 on the internet for all of us to hear after you have spent a while comparing them yourself. What are we comparing? Well, Mix #2 and Mix #3 have gone through the D2B, so they both have the sound of passing through the D2B electronics, but the summing for Mix #2 was all done in Pro Tools. So we have essentially isolated the summing variable and we now have "A Pro Tools summed mix that was then run through a D2B" vs. "a D2B summed mix" for comparison.

6) If you did this test properly, (printed your effects, calibrated precisely), and you then ask people to compare these two mixes (Mix #2 and Mix #3) and repeatedly identify them in a blind listening test, the results will be totally random. Therefore, it will be demonstrated that no one can reliably hear the difference between a "D2B summed mix" and a "Pro Tools summed mix". Therefore, the D2B summing is not doing anything particularly audible or useful for the sound of your mixes. Therefore, the only sound you are really getting from a D2B is the sound of passing your entire mix through two channels of its analog circuitry, which is hardly why you spent all that money on it in the first place.

Which finally brings us back to my original point. By doing this test, you will understand that spending your bread on a much more interesting analog circuit, like a nice new (or vintage) compressor/limiter/mic pre/etc, makes a lot more sense.

Remember, we aren't comparing Mix #1 to Mix #2/Mix #3, because obviously running an entire mix through analog equipment changes the sound. We are comparing strictly the summing issue - Pro Tools summing vs D2B. That's the so-called "problem" that these boxes claim to have a solution for, and it's BS.

Once you see the light, here are some boxes that will make you a lot happier when you run your mix through them:

EL Labs Fatso, Jr.
Chandler TG1
Manley Vari-Mu
Avalon 2044
Neve 1084

I happen to own those particular items, I love them, and they are way cooler and way more bang for the buck than a summing box like the D2B or the Folcrom.

Now, tball, you have your homework. Report back with my proof.

Stukface
07-28-2005, 03:21 PM
Now thats alot better Stadium, more answers/ideas for finding out the truth about summing. If I had a box to try it out I would, but I dont own a summing box. None of the stores around here have one in stack to try out.

Jules
07-28-2005, 05:51 PM
Mix + internal summing vs External summing

HD internal summing vs External summing

Two different test senarios?

tball
07-28-2005, 06:59 PM
My point is that these summing boxes, and in particular the Folcrom, are not getting people closer to the sound they are looking for.



HOW DO YOU KNOW PEOPLE ARENT GETTING THE SOUND THEY ARE LOOKING FOR? That is what I want you to prove. Im not interested in any of your tests or your wisdom. Im sorry you spent the time writing up your little test for me to do, but Im afraid you'll have to do it by your lonesome. You have your opinion and you can go use your Avalon and do what you do best. Once again I find humour in your attitude. You have your opinion and you like to flex it in a very condescending manner. I aint no troll, I just dont find your attitude or demeanor very appealling and I decided to call you out on it. Myself and loads of other people have used summing busses successfully. You can go do your test while I'll use what works for me. No whitty remarks. No name calling. No questioning anyones knowledge. I am just agreeing to disagree with you and I wont waste anymore time with it.

Kenny Gioia
07-28-2005, 10:50 PM
It's not just adding color. That's what adding a Neve or Chandler pre might do if you just slap it across the 2 mix, but when you use devices like the Folcrom, your mix becomes wider, with more depth and better seperation between the instruments. More like a Class A console would.

I'll give you a perfect example that happened to me last week. I was mixing a pop record. It was not the kind of thing that you would mix on a Neve or API console. It was meant for an SSL. So I tried using my Folcrom with my Neve/API but it was completely the wrong color for the mix. It didn't work. So I bussed everything back to finish completely ITB. The color was now better but the stereo image just shrunk. Alot.

If it was just adding color, than I would have lost nothing going back ITB. But I was losing something.

I was forced to choose between color and width. I actually ended up doing a combination of both. I really need to buy some clean pre's.

And old Neve consoles do use a passive summing system. Much like the Folcrom. Useless design huh?

I've been on this board for many years and every 6 months we get to see an example of someone who is so insecure about their own way of doing things, that they need to insult others for doing things differently.

I don't care if you mix without tweeters in your speakers. Just make it sound good. And enjoy yourself. Because that's all that matters.

Peace.

Touchwood Studios
07-28-2005, 11:10 PM
3) Now break the mix out into stems, 4/8/12/16 channels, however many you please. Sum those stems in the D2B, and print back into Pro Tools. Again, make sure your 192 or Apogee was perfectly calibrated on all channels.



But is this still not mixing in PT? You would need an output for every track.
I find I get a lot more mileage just using external comps/eq's and reverbs.

StadiumRocker
07-29-2005, 02:27 AM
HOW DO YOU KNOW PEOPLE ARENT GETTING THE SOUND THEY ARE LOOKING FOR?



How totally unsurprising that this is your response.

They aren't getting the sound they are looking for as a result of using the D2B. You bore me to death. Take care.

StadiumRocker
07-29-2005, 02:47 AM
It's not just adding color. That's what adding a Neve or Chandler pre might do if you just slap it across the 2 mix, but when you use devices like the Folcrom, your mix becomes wider, with more depth and better seperation between the instruments. More like a Class A console would.



Ok, then lets do the A/B test and see how often you can pick a Folcrom summed mix vs. an ITB mix that is run through the Folcrom (but summed in PT). Have you tried it?


I'll give you a perfect example that happened to me last week. I was mixing a pop record. It was not the kind of thing that you would mix on a Neve or API console. It was meant for an SSL. So I tried using my Folcrom with my Neve/API but it was completely the wrong color for the mix. It didn't work. So I bussed everything back to finish completely ITB. The color was now better but the stereo image just shrunk. Alot. If it was just adding color, than I would have lost nothing going back ITB. But I was losing something. I was forced to choose between color and width. I actually ended up doing a combination of both. I really need to buy some clean pre's.



That's a great little story. Has nothing to do with the point I am making. But it's a nice story.


And old Neve consoles do use a passive summing system. Much like the Folcrom. Useless design huh?



I never said that a passive summing design is useless. You've missed the point entirely.


I've been on this board for many years and every 6 months we get to see an example of someone who is so insecure about their own way of doing things, that they need to insult others for doing things differently.



I never insulted anybody. Quote me where I did. And I've been around quite a bit longer than you Producerher. Try the A/B test. Learn something new.

StadiumRocker
07-29-2005, 02:56 AM
3) Now break the mix out into stems, 4/8/12/16 channels, however many you please. Sum those stems in the D2B, and print back into Pro Tools. Again, make sure your 192 or Apogee was perfectly calibrated on all channels.



But is this still not mixing in PT? You would need an output for every track.
I find I get a lot more mileage just using external comps/eq's and reverbs.



Yes, I agree that it's still mixing in PT. But the people who believe in the D2B and the Folcrom believe that summing 8 stereo mix stems in one of those boxes will make all the difference, so that's the reference point for the test I suggested.

BigBadBill
07-29-2005, 02:59 AM
It's not just adding color. That's what adding a Neve or Chandler pre might do if you just slap it across the 2 mix, but when you use devices like the Folcrom, your mix becomes wider, with more depth and better seperation between the instruments. More like a Class A console would.

I'll give you a perfect example that happened to me last week. I was mixing a pop record. It was not the kind of thing that you would mix on a Neve or API console. It was meant for an SSL. So I tried using my Folcrom with my Neve/API but it was completely the wrong color for the mix. It didn't work. So I bussed everything back to finish completely ITB. The color was now better but the stereo image just shrunk. Alot.



that is the exact same experience i have when going back and forth between the folcrom and ITB. the stereo image shrinks, and there is also an added 3D depth to the mix that is just not there ITB, plus it feels like the mix glues better together. the "glue" factor could be partly due to the added harmonic dist from the gain stage, but the width and depth of the mix can not be attributed to this.


And old Neve consoles do use a passive summing system. Much like the Folcrom. Useless design huh?

I've been on this board for many years and every 6 months we get to see an example of someone who is so insecure about their own way of doing things, that they need to insult others for doing things differently.



amen.

BBB

StadiumRocker
07-29-2005, 03:09 AM
amen.



Wow, this is weird. Ok guys, your summing boxes are saving your mixes. Now drink this kool-aid. It's good for you.

StadiumRocker
07-29-2005, 03:11 AM
that is the exact same experience i have when going back and forth between the folcrom and ITB. the stereo image shrinks, and there is also an added 3D depth to the mix that is just not there ITB, plus it feels like the mix glues better together. the "glue" factor could be partly due to the added harmonic dist from the gain stage, but the width and depth of the mix can not be attributed to this.



Now just try two channels out of PT into the Folcrom vs. summing in the Folcrom. You'll get the exact same sound. Do you understand?

Kenny Gioia
07-29-2005, 07:08 AM
Have I tried the A/B test that you mentioned?

I don't need to. I have a pair of ears that are connected to my brain. My brain can hear the improvement without an A/B test. I know because I have first grade logic, that you can't improve summing by strapping something to the 2 buss.

Just because you can't hear any difference, doesn't mean I can't. I hear it. You don't. Deal with it.

And no, you haven't been doing this longer than me. You said 15 years. I got you beat dude.

minister
07-29-2005, 08:00 AM
I never insulted anybody. Quote me where I did. And I've been around quite a bit longer than you Producerher. Try the A/B test. Learn something new.



I never insulted anybody. Quote me where I did. And I've been around quite a bit longer than you Producerher. Try the A/B test. Learn something new.



But it's a great box for people who like to guess what their mixes will sound like, as opposed to knowing how to make their mixes sound good.



"Relieve the PT master bus of a piece of math"? Brilliant. Was that technical explanation in the Folcrom literature? Do you have any idea what that means? (Hint: nothing)



Good for you. Nothing like acquiring a little information to back up your faith.



Obviously you feel the need to defend your purchase if you have already shelled out for one of these boxes. Hope you feel better now that you've vented.



On the other hand, if you're just a troll talking out your butt, then you won't do this test, you'll hit me back with some witty retort, and then you'll carry on for the rest of your days blindly swallowing the marketing claims of the people who sell the D2B and similar boxes.



IMPORTANT: Make sure you carefully calibrate your 192 or Apogee before doing this. If you don't know how, search the DUC, read the manuals, and learn something useful.



Wow, this is weird. Ok guys, your summing boxes are saving your mixes. Now drink this kool-aid. It's good for you.

sirpucho
07-29-2005, 09:10 AM
Hi Jules

A couple of points for you to consider when deciding to buy a summing box.

Something else I forgot to mention when considering these boxes is that unless you have an awfull lot of DA's you are still mixing ITB to a large degree, i.e. just pipeing out lots of stems to your "summing amp" for example say you only own a single 96 i/o the max you can sum is 8 inputs or 4 stereo stems, as you've just used all your outputs you've also lost the ability to use any hardware inserts into your mix which is after all another great way to analogue colour your mix. So if you're doing say a 64 track mix actually you're mixing 64 into 4stereo stems inside the box anyway. So taking this to its logical conclusion to do this properly and to attribute all of the "wow" factor to the summing box" you'd need as many outputs as tracks i.e. 64 DA's and more than one of these summing boxes ganged together at which point you're costs are getting silly and you may as well just hire a real large fortmat desk studio with a decent Tools rig and lots of Da's and mix on the SSL.

Another point "as these issues realy do keep me awake at night" is when I mix on say an SSL and your mixing in stereo e.g. EQing the left and right overhead the same say or a pair of double tracked guitars panned left and right the EQ's will actually be subtly different (it's analogue so it aint gonna be perefectly sample accurate like the plugs) which can introduce a phase shift that can at times make the sound wider (kind of like a stereo shuffling effect when you eg the s diffent from the m) so if you normally ITB just say copy the eq settings from the left to right channel next time shift the high mid a fraction out (tiny amounts) with the left it's surprising what a little phase shift can sometimes do to a stereo width.

That's it for me personally I like analogue colour in my mix if it comes from a summing box or a pair of channels on the mix bus or simply inserting a few analogue bits of gear into the hardware inserts who cares its all just different tools. I'm equally happy to mix ITB or trad if the clients willing to pay for the "big desk"

I would try out everything some pretty good points have been made and buy whatever worked for you.

Cheers

StadiumRocker
07-29-2005, 09:28 AM
I know because I have first grade logic, that you can't improve summing by strapping something to the 2 buss. Just because you can't hear any difference, doesn't mean I can't. I hear it. You don't. Deal with it.



My God, this is maddening...

How do you know that what you are hearing is not simply the results of passing your signal through the D2B or Folcrom, as opposed to actually summing your stems within the D2B/Folcrom? If you strap an EQ or compressor across the 2 bus, without any EQ or compression being applied, the signal is affected, often in a pleasing way with vintage gear. Likewise with the D2B and Folcrom - it may sound good to you passing your signal through it, and I do not disagree with that. But that is not why you bought the box. You bought it for the summing. Are you hearing the summing, or just the result of going through the box?

You do not know the answer to that question, because you yourself just said, that you haven't done the A/B test due to your superior brain and hearing and all that...

That's only friggin' point I'm trying to make. If you would try the test, you might discover that the "summing" hardly has anything to do with what comes out of the D2B or the Folcrom/MicPreX combination. Again - you haven't done the test. You just said so. So you don't know what the hell you are talking about. Try it. Then act like you do. Add that to the list of quoted so-called insults.

I can't believe you guys won't even try this.

Mike Gee
07-29-2005, 11:20 AM
All you guys are missing the point! Those of us that are "in the know" are mixing on the 3 bus! All the pros are doing it now and it's a big Nashville secret! All the records that aren't coming out of Nashvile right now were mixed on the 3 bus. It's somewhere between a 2 bus a quad bus and a school bus. Once I got kicked off a bus for not paying.

minister
07-29-2005, 11:27 AM
dude! and now YOU don't get it. all the really PHAT mixes are done through TUBAS !

Jon_Atkinson
07-29-2005, 11:58 AM
The number 60 bus goes right past my house..... So that's, like 57 better..... isn't it?

sirpucho
07-29-2005, 12:07 PM
Actually I see a 253bus so that's like an improvement I can't even imagine......nobody can.....but on the downside it sums up in Hackney so that's really like a 62 bus so you win damn it!!

Mike Gee
07-29-2005, 12:36 PM
Riding the bus is dangerous. Its full of weird people.

minister
07-29-2005, 12:39 PM
i remember in college i drove the porcelin bus

tball
07-29-2005, 12:56 PM
I always have to ride on th Short Bus.

Kenny Gioia
07-29-2005, 05:57 PM
And I believe our Stadium (off-his) Rocker will be on the "Next" bus.

flymax
07-30-2005, 12:57 PM
okay....

i did this non scientific experiment with the Dangerous 2 Bus...

had a session with about 16 tracks all going out A1-A2...

duplicated the 16 tracks and stemmed the duplicates out A1-A16 in stereo pairs...in other words tracks 1 and 2 thru A1-A2, tracks 3 and 4 thru A3-A4, tracks 5 and 6 thru A5-A6...etc...

Then I made two groups...the first set of 16 going out thru A1-A2 was group ONE the second set of 16 going out thru A1 thru A16 was group TWO...

I could then switch which group I was listening to with a simple mute/solo click...

to my ears it was a significant difference...group TWO sounded "better"

scotsman
07-30-2005, 02:33 PM
This sounds interesting...

If I get the idea, you do stereo sub mixes: vocals, guitars, drums, keyboards etc (or whatever stereo pairs you like) then connect them through this Folcrom summing unit. Connecting the stereo output to another pre-amp to make-up the gain then into your mastering unit (or back into PTs). Is this right?

This results in a wider, fuller sound?

If someone could post a link to some music, ITB & Summing, I would love to hear the difference.

I don't care what some might say, if it works why not ? Let the ears make the choice...

Also for those of you who who do this, did you previously use submixes within PT ?
Is this just the next step (before using an external mixer)?
I normally just submix the drums but everything else is mixed onto A1&2, could this be part of the "sound"?

regards
Scotsman

Kenny Gioia
07-30-2005, 09:24 PM
I don't think that sub-mixing inside Pro Tools is really gonna matter much.

It's all about analog summing.

I personally refuse to post A/B mixes because you have to hear it on your own mixes.

Hearing the difference on my mixes should mean nothing to you.

Call up Mercenary audio and have them send you a Folcrom.

I'll bet you keep it. If not, just send it back.

Peace.

scotsman
07-31-2005, 02:08 PM
Produceher,

Thanks, in Chicago & NY in a couple of weeks so will see if I can get one.
Anyone recommend a shop ?

Was I right with the technique ?

regards
Scotsman

Bentley Ferrari
07-31-2005, 04:32 PM
okay....

i did this non scientific experiment with the Dangerous 2 Bus...

had a session with about 16 tracks all going out A1-A2...

duplicated the 16 tracks and stemmed the duplicates out A1-A16 in stereo pairs...in other words tracks 1 and 2 thru A1-A2, tracks 3 and 4 thru A3-A4, tracks 5 and 6 thru A5-A6...etc...

Then I made two groups...the first set of 16 going out thru A1-A2 was group ONE the second set of 16 going out thru A1 thru A16 was group TWO...

I could then switch which group I was listening to with a simple mute/solo click...

to my ears it was a significant difference...group TWO sounded "better"



Ha Ha, yes...But now try your same experiment, only this time reversing it after cutting it in half and multiplying it by the inverse of its project tempo. Now run it through ProTools. Is Stadium Rocker right, or is he right? Huh? C'mon, now...he heh....Yeah. Case closed. {?}

Kenny Gioia
07-31-2005, 08:07 PM
Here is the Link.

www.Mercenary.com (http://www.Mercenary.com)

Tell Fletcher I sent ya!!!!!

minister
07-31-2005, 09:57 PM
Thanks, in Chicago & NY in a couple of weeks so will see if I can get one.
Anyone recommend a shop ?

scotsman:
if produceher's rec for mercenary doesn't pan out, and/or you want to try a dangerous unit (you'll be in nyc) contact dangerous directly dangerousmusic (http://www.dangerousmusic.com/) i know bob muller, he is one of the people behind it -- tell him i sent you (he knows my name, not my DUC nom de guerre). he'd be happy to talk to you about their ideas and let you demo a unit. they have a studio in greenwhich village but their manufacturing is in upstate.

or e-mail me, and i'll get you in touch with him.

i am not implying that dangerous is better than fulcrom. try them both and get what you like. or...stay ITB. whatever you and your clients like.

these things are meant to augment the DAW, and as such, don't make sense without them. they are not threats, just enhancements (for those who like their sound). as has been said, ad nauseum, some like 'em, some don't.

scotsman
08-01-2005, 04:53 AM
Produceher, Tom,

Thanks, didn't realise that there were 2 products, will check them both out.

Bit of a price difference, Folcrom $1k vs Dangerous $3k ($1.5k for LT version), but with street prices of $775, $2649 & $1349 resp.

Differences seem to be Dangerous are 16 in via XLRs with 2x2 XLR outs with volume attenuator and a D25 link to another unit (if you have enough DAs) and is powered. Folcrom is simply 2x8 in via D25 connectors with 1x2 XLR outs and is not powered.
Don't think the power in the Dangerous is used to amplify the signal in any way.

With my 192, the Folcrom would be simplier to connect up as it uses D25s.

regards
Scotsman

minister
08-01-2005, 07:57 AM
Don't think the power in the Dangerous is used to amplify the signal in any way.

this is correct.

the full d2b has features that i use like 6dB boost and mono - for kicks and bass, or vo's. you route the signao out one output. mono does make a better center image than a stereo bus out and panned center in PT.

i think the d2b LT uses db25's. can't hurt to demo both. you can always run a db25 to xlr or trs or whatever in your patch bay or directly into the unit. for the $$, though, maybe the fulcrom is what suits you.

fisheyemusic
08-01-2005, 09:53 AM
Which finally brings us back to my original point. By doing this test, you will understand that spending your bread on a much more interesting analog circuit, like a nice new (or vintage) compressor/limiter/mic pre/etc, makes a lot more sense.

Remember, we aren't comparing Mix #1 to Mix #2/Mix #3, because obviously running an entire mix through analog equipment changes the sound. We are comparing strictly the summing issue - Pro Tools summing vs D2B. That's the so-called "problem" that these boxes claim to have a solution for, and it's BS.

Once you see the light, here are some boxes that will make you a lot happier when you run your mix through them:

EL Labs Fatso, Jr.
Chandler TG1
Manley Vari-Mu
Avalon 2044
Neve 1084

I happen to own those particular items, I love them, and they are way cooler and way more bang for the buck than a summing box like the D2B or the Folcrom.

Now, tball, you have your homework. Report back with my proof.


Well Stadium, I agree with some of your points and disagree with others. For starters, using inserts makes one go A/D again then back to the mixing adder in the computer. This masks the beauty of all your expensive outboard gear. Why not put you stems through your outboard and have that go directly to the mixdown A/D? The 2Bus is not THAT expensive. It is actually very cost effective in time savings. I’ve found over the years that most of the people complaining about external mixers have either not tried the concept or are doing tests that do not use the equipment to its fullest potential.

The ‘A-B’ test advocated doesn’t use the dynamic range of the system properly. If one sets up a mix ITB and simply assigns it OTB through multiple pairs, one misses the opportunity to run the stems hotter using the available dynamic range better. Would you run the drums at -20 on the D/A? How about the guitars? That’s throwing away an awful amount of information that could rock the mix.

Working at Sterling Sound for many years has given me the opportunity to hear hundreds of different styles of mixes on every different format imaginable. My job was to optimize anything and everything to make the music speak as good as it can. The 2Bus’s are in daily use there and it has ‘won’ every shootout test put to it by industry legends. It has also won every shootout with the other ‘summing’ boxes in the microscope of the mastering suite.

Although I like all of the equipment you’ve listed above, I would hesitate to run an entire mix through a Fatso, or TG1, of even 1084’s. They are great for flavor on tracks or stems but hardly mastering gear, without serious mods. I wouldn’t hesitate putting my drums through the Fatso, the guitars through the TG1, BGVs through the 2044, bass through the 1084, and tickling the mix with the Vari-Mu on the way to a Prism AD-2 or ATR-102 as a mixdown device. Well, the 2Bus is right there in the middle of all of this!


Cheers,

Chris Muth, Dangerous Music

StadiumRocker
08-01-2005, 12:41 PM
For starters, using inserts makes one go A/D again then back to the mixing adder in the computer. This masks the beauty of all your expensive outboard gear.



Hi Chris,

The "mixing adder" in the computer does not "mask" anything. I'm sure that kind of talk sells a lot of D2B's, but it doesn't mean anything.


The ‘A-B’ test advocated doesn’t use the dynamic range of the system properly. If one sets up a mix ITB and simply assigns it OTB through multiple pairs, one misses the opportunity to run the stems hotter using the available dynamic range better. Would you run the drums at -20 on the D/A? How about the guitars? That’s throwing away an awful amount of information that could rock the mix.



So boost the stem outputs and blow up the D2B inputs a little. The suggested test wasn't about optimal use of the dynamic range of the D2B, it was about isolating the summing as a variable so you could listen and compare PT internal summing vs D2B or Folcrom summing.

Also, the A/B test is meaningless if you don't precisely calibrate the A/D/D/A through the summing box and then do a blind listening test (sorry flymax - take another shot at it, and share your results).


Although I like all of the equipment you’ve listed above, I would hesitate to run an entire mix through a Fatso, or TG1, of even 1084’s. They are great for flavor on tracks or stems but hardly mastering gear



The term "mastering gear" used as some sort of elite qualifier for any specific piece of a gear is rather meaningless. I've seen the world's most famous mastering guys strap dbx compressors across a mix to de-ess a vocal. The boxes I suggested were just examples of things one could buy with money not spent on a D2B or a Folcrom. The merits of each piece of gear and their best application is certainly a matter of taste.

If the D2B was $700-$1000 and had a lot more flexibility...like, 32 channels with inserts on every channel, mono/stereo option for every channel, bypassable detented passive gain knobs...then I might start to go for it, but as it is, it's way overpriced for a very limited set of features. And the "summing" feature of these boxes (the Folcrom in particular) is not what is contributing to the sound that you obtain from them, particularly when so few channels are typically being summed.

Appreciate the comments Chris.

Now flame away the rest of you kiddies. I'm fine with it.

scotsman
08-01-2005, 02:13 PM
SR,

Well thanks, no-ones called me a kiddie for a few years...

I haven't heard D2B or the Folcrom but I respect the input of others and will try it out, that's why I read the DUC to learn and share (when I can).

If someone on this DUC (for example) said that a new mic had really improved their sound wouldn't you want to check it out to see if it worked for you?
Otherwise why read the DUC?

There is still a lot of users who do some things out the box so, I will check it out.
I'm very pleased with my current PT sound but willing to experiment.

Hope your just as pleased with PT and when version 7 comes out, will you want to change, because just maybe they might have change the summing formulas!!
(I think Digi might have done this over the years, how dare they make things sound better)

regards
Scotsman

StadiumRocker
08-01-2005, 04:43 PM
If someone on this DUC (for example) said that a new mic had really improved their sound wouldn't you want to check it out to see if it worked for you?



Yes, I would. And I might even set it up next to another mic that I'm already familiar with and compare the two. And being an engineer who likes to be able to reproduce a good result, I might even try to get a little scientific about my comparison so I could isolate what I was hearing, so I might use the same singer or guitar amp or whatever, and the same mic preamp, so I could make a comparison based on the least number of variables - and that's all I've been doing here - suggesting that what you hear in a D2B or Folcrom is not so much the summing as it is the result of going through your convertors, into the box, and out of the box. So, if you pickup a D2B or Folcrom, try the test I suggested.


There is still a lot of users who do some things out the box so, I will check it out. I'm very pleased with my current PT sound but willing to experiment.



Cool. Keep an open mind.

By the way, this is a quote from mercenary.com:


Since the dawn of modern recording there have been mixers. Since people started to realize that Pro-Tools sounds like ass when you try to mix "in the box" there has been a need to sum the audio in the analog domain through either a mixer or a "summing box".



That's the kind of audio voodoo sales BS that makes me laugh. There's certainly a lot of reasons why an ITB mix might sound like ass, and one of those reasons might be that the guy who's been using a console for 20 years has no idea how to approach an ITB mix. There is no "need" to sum in the analog domain. There may be a preference on the part of the engineer/mixer to pass a signal through analog gear to obtain a specific sound, but summing or not summing in Pro Tools has little or nothing to do with obtaining that sound (IMHO). If the D2B has a "sound", probably 99% of it is the input/output section, and 1% is the summing.


Hope your just as pleased with PT and when version 7 comes out, will you want to change, because just maybe they might have change the summing formulas!! (I think Digi might have done this over the years, how dare they make things sound better)



Digidesign has had essentially the same mixer design since PT v4.0 in terms of the summing and master fader functionality. They added a dithered mixer in v5.0, and they provided a 48 bit clean path between DSPs with HD (for those concerned about artifacts that are 120dB below the noise floor of the recorded material). Digital audio summing is simple binary addition and multiplication. That won't change in PT 7, 8, 9, 10, etc. Unless they abandon PCM audio, which is unlikely.

Stukface
08-01-2005, 07:59 PM
I wish someone would actually try Stadiums test instead of atacking him for putting it up. If I had a summing box I would be all over the test.

Peterjk
08-02-2005, 02:30 AM
Seems like very many posts ago, but that was original my quest. I the meantime this thread turned into a hate/love contest 'bout summing. Come on guys. Post your a-b tests!

Peterjk

Chris Muth
08-02-2005, 11:17 AM
For starters, using inserts makes one go A/D again then back to the mixing adder in the computer. This masks the beauty of all your expensive outboard gear.



Hi Chris,

The "mixing adder" in the computer does not "mask" anything. I'm sure that kind of talk sells a lot of D2B's, but it doesn't mean anything.


The ‘A-B’ test advocated doesn’t use the dynamic range of the system properly. If one sets up a mix ITB and simply assigns it OTB through multiple pairs, one misses the opportunity to run the stems hotter using the available dynamic range better. Would you run the drums at -20 on the D/A? How about the guitars? That’s throwing away an awful amount of information that could rock the mix.



So boost the stem outputs and blow up the D2B inputs a little. The suggested test wasn't about optimal use of the dynamic range of the D2B, it was about isolating the summing as a variable so you could listen and compare PT internal summing vs D2B or Folcrom summing.

Also, the A/B test is meaningless if you don't precisely calibrate the A/D/D/A through the summing box and then do a blind listening test (sorry flymax - take another shot at it, and share your results).


Although I like all of the equipment you’ve listed above, I would hesitate to run an entire mix through a Fatso, or TG1, of even 1084’s. They are great for flavor on tracks or stems but hardly mastering gear



The term "mastering gear" used as some sort of elite qualifier for any specific piece of a gear is rather meaningless. I've seen the world's most famous mastering guys strap dbx compressors across a mix to de-ess a vocal. The boxes I suggested were just examples of things one could buy with money not spent on a D2B or a Folcrom. The merits of each piece of gear and their best application is certainly a matter of taste.

If the D2B was $700-$1000 and had a lot more flexibility...like, 32 channels with inserts on every channel, mono/stereo option for every channel, bypassable detented passive gain knobs...then I might start to go for it, but as it is, it's way overpriced for a very limited set of features. And the "summing" feature of these boxes (the Folcrom in particular) is not what is contributing to the sound that you obtain from them, particularly when so few channels are typically being summed.

Appreciate the comments Chris.

Now flame away the rest of you kiddies. I'm fine with it.



Alright, the mixing adder may not mask the signal but the A/Ds sure do. Why reconvert with a DAW insert? You think the fader down at -30dB or so and dithering after an insert doesn't cause signal degradation? Many top engineers would disagree with you on that, including myself, and I've been involved with hundreds of hit records for decades designing and running top facilities and installing many systems in the houses of mega rock stars. I'm not a sales guy, I'm an equipment designer who's gear has recorded and mastered thousands of hits over a long period for appreciative stars.

Point #2: If the suggested test isn't about optimal use of dynamic range while mixing with a 2Bus, then the test doesn't say anything about using the 2Bus properly while mixing.

Point #3: I've been the chief of maintenance for many years with the world's most famous recording and mastering engineers (Hit Factory, Masterdisk, Sterling Sound over a period of 20+ years)and have configured dBx 902's for D'essing and 160's for compressing. They can work fine. What I said is that a Fatso, while being a fine piece of equipment (and I really like Dave Durr also), is not my idea of a piece of mastering gear. That is my opinion and I'm sticking with it. The applications of any particular piece of equipment is certainly a matter of taste and scores of people like my taste in the matter, seeing as there are dozens of rooms full of my recording and mastering gear in constant use by the top masters of the industry.

Point #4: If you need inserts, use a patchbay. Adding hundreds of relays and connectors on a box that is already expensive to make isn't a great idea. We have set up systems where outboard is permanently wired to certain busses. You want the guitars to go through the APIs? Assign them to busses 7 and 8, etc.

point #5: 8 stereo stems is enough for most people. Want 16? strap 2 units together.

cheers, cm

StadiumRocker
08-02-2005, 01:46 PM
Alright, the mixing adder may not mask the signal but the A/Ds sure do. Why reconvert with a DAW insert?



??? We're talking about ITB mixing Chris. If I feed stems out to the D2B, and then go back into the Pro Tools to print my final digital 24 bit master, how am I doing any more conversion than necessary?


You think the fader down at -30dB or so and dithering after an insert doesn't cause signal degradation?



Depends on the dynamic range of the material. I wouldn't have a stem fader at -30dB, but certainly the level one of my stems might be down there, ie - a synth pad stem vs the level of the drum stem. But I have to preserve that balance. The D2B is not a mixer.

When I'm mixing ITB, my gain structure is setup so that all of my aux/stem faders are at 0.0dB (at least until near the very end of the mix, where I may tweak the stem faders and do some overall compression or automation on them to accentuate some of the dynamics of the mix). All of those stem faders feed into my master mix bus aux, which may have whatever 2bus compression/EQ/limiting I'm doing (I really like the Waves Linear Lowband EQ and the Linear Multiband Compressor), then the output of that feeds a bus so I can print the mix and/or stems to stereo audio tracks - IN THE BOX.

If you're doing it this way, and then you just assign the stem aux outputs to interface outputs, you could certainly group and boost the stem auxes uniformly to optimize the overall output level feeding into the D2B. But you can't optimize the level of every individual stem, since you need to maintain the relative balance of the stems feeding the D2B.

So, I think we're on the same page here...yes?


Many top engineers would disagree with you on that, including myself



I appreciate feedback from my peers, and I never stated a position contrary to yours. You're off on a tangent. We're talking about ITB mixing here. You have to digitize the final summed mix that is coming out of the D2B eventually, don't you agree?


Point #2: If the suggested test isn't about optimal use of dynamic range while mixing with a 2Bus, then the test doesn't say anything about using the 2Bus properly while mixing.



The test is 100% valid for an A/B comparison of D2B summing vs PT summing. Just uniformly boost the output of your stems pairs to optimize the overall average level of the stems feeding into the D2B, and that will still allow you to compare Mix #2 and Mix #3. However, you wouldn't be able to compare those mixes to Mix #1 to be sure you had printed all your stems correctly when doing the phase flop check. Not a big deal. I just included that step in case anybody doing this for the first time wants to double check that they did the test correctly. The workaround would be to do the test as I suggested, then boost the stem outputs to hit the D2B a little harder and reprint Mix #2 and Mix #3 - since those are the only mixes we are comparing anyway for the purpose of this test.


Point #3: I've been the chief of maintenance for many years with the world's most famous recording and mastering engineers....The applications of any particular piece of equipment is certainly a matter of taste and scores of people like my taste in the matter, seeing as there are dozens of rooms full of my recording and mastering gear in constant use by the top masters of the industry.



I never expressed any doubt about your expertise. I'm sure you know your stuff. And I think we agree on the point I made. The use of any piece of gear is a matter of taste. But sticking to the point of this thread, we are discussing ITB mixing and D2B/Folcrom summing, not mastering. Lets stay on topic.


Point #4: If you need inserts, use a patchbay. Adding hundreds of relays and connectors on a box that is already expensive to make isn't a great idea. We have set up systems where outboard is permanently wired to certain busses. You want the guitars to go through the APIs? Assign them to busses 7 and 8, etc.



Sure. But my suggestions would still be useful. If the D2B had some nice relay insert points on every channel, and detented gain knobs, then obviously it would start becoming more of a "mixer" and less of a "summer"...but that would be fine by me, because as a $2500 "summer"...it's too little for too much. Just my opinion.


point #5: 8 stereo stems is enough for most people. Want 16? strap 2 units together.



Enough to do what? That kind of goes back to the heart of what I'm saying. 8 stereo stems summed in a D2B or Folcrom is doing little or nothing to the sound of a mix, strictly speaking with regards to the summing. Maybe hitting the inputs of the D2B hard, as you repeatedly suggest, is what makes things sound so different going through a D2B and that's why you want people to do it that way? That's fine. Maybe the input/output stage is what it's all about (as I have been suggesting). But $5000 for 32 channels of summing? That's where it gets a little crazy from a financial point of view. Cut the price by 60%-70% and then maybe it would make more sense. The SPL box (which I haven't tried yet) is looking a little more in the ballpark in terms of cost vs. features. The market will definitely become more competitive. I know it's probably pretty expensive producing the D2B because it's such a small niche market, but as it grows, I'm sure the price will come down as manufacturing quantities go up and competition heats up. I'm in no hurry.

Thanks again for the comments Chris!

Mike Gee
08-03-2005, 11:07 PM
Last time I was working in Washington, DC I rode a metro-bus!

Kenny Gioia
08-04-2005, 08:47 PM
Personally I find 16 stems to be more than Enuff:

1. Kick
2. Snare
3. Toms L
4. Toms R
5. Overhead L - Mono Room
6. Overhead R - Mono Room
7. Bass
8. Lead Vocal
9. Guitars L
10. Guitars R
11. Keys L
12. Keys R
13. Bk Vox L
14. Bk Vox R
15. Effects L
16. Effects R

If all these groups are heard clearly, I'm a happy mixer.

And no, I don't evaluate gear with null tests.

Never have before.

Why should I start now?

I'm an audio engineer with a great pair of ears. Not a computer programmer.

I've looked at tons of tracks on my PT screen where the Bass guitar is off from the Kick drum a bit. Do I fix it? Only if it "Sounds" wrong. Not how it looks.

I'll prove why nulling doesn't matter.

Record a vocal simultaneously thru a Neve Pre and a Mackie Pre.

Invert the phase (polarity) of the Mackie track. I bet the vocal dissapears. Or what's left is a very low amount of noise or hiss. Should I sell my Neve's.

I bet I could make that same vocal dissapear using a Mackie and a Neve EQ.

Should I sell my Neve EQ's? Compressors.

Null tests mean nothing to a Mixer who counts on his ears and mix depth and width for his livelihood.

BTW - Check this link (http://www.mercenary.com/2buscom.html) for all the good summing options out there. There are many more than just Folcrom and Dangerous 2 buss.

The Folcrom is the cheapest only because it is passive with no make up gain. The others have amps in them. Add a pair of great pre's to your Folcrom (which you need) and you are in the same ball park financially.

And if Stadium Rocker would like to start producing D2Bus's with all those extra features for the same price, I'm sure I can find some takers.

And if you want a real mix test. Send me a mix that "you" did ITB and 'I'll" remix it with my Folcrom and Pre's.

I'll guarantee that those two mixes don't null.

Peace

StadiumRocker
08-05-2005, 12:34 AM
I'm an audio engineer with a great pair of ears. Not a computer programmer.



I accept your claims of greatness Produceher (despite not knowing or caring what you've done). I've had a few hits myself, and I'm a pretty confident guy, so I don't feel the need to, um...compare member length (trying not to get censored on the DUC here) when I'm having a tech chat with other engineers about a piece of gear.


I've looked at tons of tracks on my PT screen where the Bass guitar is off from the Kick drum a bit. Do I fix it? Only if it "Sounds" wrong. Not how it looks.



Cool! You're such a savvy guy! But I don't recall anyone ever saying anything about looking at the A/B mixes in Pro Tools. I said listen to them. So I guess I don't get your point. Oh yeah, you're a genius mixer. Sorry, I forgot. Member length check.


I'll prove why nulling doesn't matter. Record a vocal simultaneously thru a Neve Pre and a Mackie Pre. Invert the phase (polarity) of the Mackie track. I bet the vocal dissapears. Or what's left is a very low amount of noise or hiss.



The phase flop portion of the test I suggested was mentioned only for the purpose of helping someone who is going to try an A/B test to print the three mixes correctly. Quoting myself from earlier:


4) Line all the mixes up in Pro Tools using the click you printed at the top. Solo and play Mix #1 and Mix #2 simultaneously, with one of them flipped out of phase (put the Trim plugin on both tracks). They will cancel almost completely. If they don't, you either didn't print your effects, or your calibration was inaccurate, or you don't have them lined up precisely. Next compare Mix #1 and Mix #3 with one of them flipped out of phase. Again, they should cancel out almost completely. You should barely hear anything at all even with your monitors cranked way up. The most you should hear is a crunchy little signal that is way down in the noise floor. When you hear that, you have printed these mixes correctly.



Note that I didn't say, "When you hear that, you have just proven something about how anything sounds." If you still heard a vocal or a guitar or an effect loud and clear after flipping phase on two of the mixes, then you would know that you made a mistake when printing the different versions of the mix, and that any subsequent listening comparison would be meaningless. Most brilliant engineers such as yourself are aware of this technique. I mentioned the procedure for those who might not be aware of it.

I never said that anyone should draw any conclusions about anything based on listening only to the phase inverted sum of two of the mixes, so why you started ranting on that point is entirely beyond me. Phase inversion summing proves nothing - except, one small detail: it proves that similar signals are at nearly the same volume level, and it's a fairly precise technique, which happens to be important for listening comparisons.

So help me out Produceher. What were you trying to prove about nulling? Are those crickets I hear chirping? Well, flip 'em out of phase and they'll go away.

The important part of the test comes after the phase flop, when you listen to the two mixes in a blind A/B test and determine how much of a difference, if any, can be heard, having eliminated significant volume differences from the equation. That's where you start cutting through the foggy claims of greatness that everyone from Produceher on down to audio gear salesmen like to make when they are talking about themselves, their great ears, their extensive member length, and the expensive gear they are selling -- and you start getting down to some listening results that actually mean something.


Should I sell my Neve's.



Moving on to your pretentious rhetorical question regarding selling your Neves: Suppose you were comparing mic preamps that you hadn't heard before, say perhaps a new Neve knockoff like a Vintech or Brent Averill vs. an original Neve. Would you not want to phase invert them to make sure the output was at the exact same level before you proceeded with the comparison so as to insure that neither had the benefit of being louder than the other? Most brilliant mixers, including the select few with "great ears", know that louder can often be mistakenly perceived as better, and therefore try to eliminate volume differences during a listening test.

So the point isn't what the mixes sound like when phase is flopped and summed. The point is matching levels precisely and then listening. But thank you for your input, Produceher, as well as your second (or third?) lame attempt to deflect the legitimacy of a blind A/B listening test concerning outboard summing, and all the while reminding all of us what excellent hearing you have.


Null tests mean nothing to a Mixer who counts on his ears and mix depth and width for his livelihood. And if you want a real mix test. Send me a mix that "you" did ITB and 'I'll" remix it with my Folcrom and Pre's. I'll guarantee that those two mixes don't null.



Well, I think Produceher is on the "null bus". Member length check.

Kenny Gioia
08-05-2005, 07:36 AM
Member Length Check?

What are you on?

I have never boasted about how long I've been here or how many posts I have.

That stuff just proves that I should work more and post less.

Let's not let your inferiority complex skew the issue.

If what you are saying is true, that all of us are really hearing misaligned levels, shouldn't ITB mixes sound better 50% of the time.

Why is it that everytime I switch to my Folcrom it sounds wider and with more depth. Shouldn't my misaligned levels favor the ITB sometimes?

And by the way, when I do switch to OTB summing, my overall level drops about 3dB. So I compensate by playing it louder. It's not perfect, but I don't care. It sounds better.

And when I compare Mic Pre's I don't null them. I just bring up the fader and listen. What ever feels better, I choose.

Recording and Mixing is a feel thing. And if you don't know that, than you don't have it.

StadiumRocker
08-05-2005, 10:09 AM
What are you on?



Forget what I'm on man. Hook me up with some of your stuff.


If what you are saying is true, that all of us are really hearing misaligned levels, shouldn't ITB mixes sound better 50% of the time.



I never said that. The conclusions you draw from my posts are absolutely fascinating.


Why is it that everytime I switch to my Folcrom it sounds wider and with more depth.



Wait, you didn't just ask me a sincere question, did you?

Well just in case hell did freeze over, here's my reply: I believe you when you say that it sounds wider and has more depth. You are running your entire mix through the input and output section of the Folcrom and your mic preamps. I believe it was "sirpucho" who touched on this much earlier. Small phase and volume differences between the L/R channels of the Folcrom output section, and likely much more so with the variance in the mic preamps you are using, are causing this effect. It's cool! It sounds great! And it's achievable without the Folcrom. Furthermore, if you try the A/B test precisely as explained, you will be able to determine to what degree, if any, the summing section of the Folcrom is contributing to that effect.



[/QUOTE]Shouldn't my misaligned levels favor the ITB sometimes?

[/QUOTE]

I never, ever, said that you had misaligned levels, and I never said that misaligned levels was the reason you like your Folcrom more than an ITB mix. Really, I'm very sorry. I thought I was talking to an engineer. Forget everything I've said here. It was all a bad dream. There's no place like home. There's no place like home.


And by the way, when I do switch to OTB summing, my overall level drops about 3dB. So I compensate by playing it louder. It's not perfect, but I don't care. It sounds better. And when I compare Mic Pre's I don't null them. I just bring up the fader and listen. What ever feels better, I choose.



Cool dude. Choice! Rock! Feel! Freebird! System of a Down!


Recording and Mixing is a feel thing.



You are a gear salesman's dream come true. Check it out man, I have this bitchin' new box with a really artsy retro paint job and big purple knobs. It's called "The Feeler". It cost me $4000 bucks. When you put your mix through it, it feels great. The foreword in the manual is titled "Why Digital Sucks Ass", and it explains everything. To limit the negative effect that unnecessary components would have on the sound, while still providing that analog feel, they limited the circuit to just a couple pieces of gold wire which connect the inputs directly to the outputs. There's also some tubes in it, but they aren't in the audio path. They just light up to add some clarity. The feel of this unit is amazing. Did I mention it was only $4000.00?


And if you don't know that, than you don't have it.



Well I guess I'm thankful that I don't have "it", because "it" seems to eradicate reading comprehension and left brain function.

Never mind...best of luck to ya Produceher.

Kenny Gioia
08-05-2005, 11:49 AM
Well I guess I'm thankful that I don't have "it", because "it" seems to eradicate reading comprehension and left brain function.





I'll take that over being a sociopathic troll.

StadiumRocker
08-06-2005, 07:26 AM
Very intelligent, Produceher.

KC Kelly
08-06-2005, 09:55 AM
Hey Kenny,

I just got the API 7800 and 8200 combo for the last project I recorded.
The Artist really insisted on OTB summing.
At first I was very reluctant to spend the money as I wasn't totally convinced that external summing was the Holy Grail that some said.

Well, after the first day of tracking we got it all hooked up and then we A/B a rough mix of the first song.
I WAS FLOORED! I don't know or care how or why it sounds better it just does!
I'm sold on the API solution and I'm sure the Folcrum+ pre of your choice is a great option also.
I also know I will not be going back to Totally in the Box mixing any time soon.

I know these different solutions are not for everyone but it works for me and that all that matters TO ME.

I think it might be better if people that have not tried it reserve there comments until they have.
Otherwise they really have no clue what they are talking about.
PERIOD!

Kenny I've heard some of your work. You do a great job.
I personally don't think it's worth your time to try and defend something that works for you and maybe not for others.
Life's to sort.
And besides there loss is our gain.

Man do mixes come together faster now!

Peace

KC

Kenny Gioia
08-06-2005, 11:34 AM
I personally don't think it's worth your time to try and defend something that works for you and maybe not for others.
Life's to short.
And besides there loss is our gain.

Man do mixes come together faster now!

Peace

KC



But it is worth my time. What seems like a silly argument between two lunatics is actually watched by many more users.

I don't knock Stadium Rocker's argument because I think I can change his mind. I'm trying to make sure that other people realize he's wrong. Or at least someone can convince me that I am wrong.

I try to never forget that fact. As cocky as I am, I still have much to learn.

And people like him come on here claiming whatever they want. And they do so without any accountability. Anonymously. I want to make sure people use their ears. Don't just read stuff.

Anyway, I'm glad that you've noticed the same things I have. I actually automate so much less now because each instrument is heard so much clearer. Make the vocal as loud as you want, you'll still hear those raging guitars.

Peace

Kenny Gioia
08-06-2005, 11:35 AM
Very intelligent, Produceher.



And all with only half a brain. Last word freak.

StadiumRocker
08-06-2005, 03:31 PM
That's twice in a row you've called me names to prove how cool and tough you are. Tiny little ****. Big attitude. Rock on Produceher!

StadiumRocker
08-06-2005, 03:39 PM
I don't knock Stadium Rocker's argument because I think I can change his mind. I'm trying to make sure that other people realize he's wrong. Or at least someone can convince me that I am wrong.



Try the A/B test. I'm not telling anyone they're "wrong" about using a Folcrom or a D2B. I've been telling people to listen to an A/B test.


As cocky as I am, I still have much to learn.



No doubt about that. Finally 100% agreement on something.


And people like him come on here claiming whatever they want. And they do so without any accountability. Anonymously. I want to make sure people use their ears. Don't just read stuff.



And what have I been saying: do an A/B listening test for yourself. What you have been saying? You don't need to try listening to the A/B test, because your ears are great and you're all about feel. Yeah. Right. You're just ranting and raving that I'm wrong, backing it up with nothing, and refusing to try something that might enlighten you.

So who's talking and who's not listening?


What seems like a silly argument between two lunatics is actually watched by many more users.



True. Now call me another name Produceher. Show all those other users how smart you are. Demonstrate your brilliant point to everyone, whatever it may be, by calling me sociopath and a freak, and by refusing to listen to an A/B test.

Kenny Gioia
08-06-2005, 09:43 PM
Call you another name?

How about your real name?

You've been in the business for 15 years. Do you have a "real name".

For your information, I have done an A/B test. I do one every single time I mix.

I usually track all ITB.

Than I get a pretty good rough mix ITB.

Than I send out all my stems (16) to my Folcrom and try out my:

a) Neve 1272's
b) API 3124's
c) Chandler TG-2's

I choose which "flavor" I like the best and I keep on mixing. It works for me.

Every single time the soundstage gets bigger, deeper and each individual track gets clearer and more seperate from the others.

I don't see how strapping anything but fairy dust to the stereo mix is going to accomplish the same task.

It's illogical and I see no reason to test out something so ridiculous.

It's the same reason I don't add extra 10kHz to the snare track to bring out the low end on the kick drum. I've never actually tried it, but I'm pretty damn sure it won't work.

StadiumRocker
08-07-2005, 01:01 AM
It's the same reason I don't add extra 10kHz to the snare track to bring out the low end on the kick drum. I've never actually tried it, but I'm pretty damn sure it won't work.



You have never tried it.

But you're sure.

I couldn't have summed you up any better.

Kenny Gioia
08-07-2005, 07:48 AM
It's the same reason I don't add extra 10kHz to the snare track to bring out the low end on the kick drum. I've never actually tried it, but I'm pretty damn sure it won't work.



You have never tried it.

But you're sure.

I couldn't have summed you up any better.



Just make sure you "sum" me up in the Analog Domain. :roll:

StadiumRocker
08-08-2005, 10:24 AM
Just make sure you "sum" me up in the Analog Domain. :roll:



Good idea. Maybe that will give you a little more "depth".

Hey, I read a few other threads where you went off your rocker spouting metaphors and pounding on people who don't buy into the concept of your precious box of $1000 resistors...I mean, Folcrom. This subject definitely rubs you the wrong way. So what's up? Were you molested by an ITB mix as a child or something?

Also, did you ever read that Paul Frindle thread about intersample peaks and hot levels in DAWs? Maybe your Folcrom summed mixes sound a lot better because you're summing everything too hot when mix ITB. Taking the stems out to the Folcrom solves that problem since they are typically much lower in level at the D/A than the entire summed ITB mix. Just another thought in case you get around to trying the A/B test and experimenting with things a little.

Kenny Gioia
08-08-2005, 01:11 PM
With all due respect, you don't come off as an audio engineer to me.

You come off as a number cruncher or a Sweetwater salesman.

I rarely take advice from these people so I'll give you the same respect.

If you really want to learn how to mix a record or use proper gain staging in a digital enviroment, I would suggest you fill out an "Intern Request" form in my studio of choice these days.

I actually drink less coffee than you'd think.

StadiumRocker
08-08-2005, 07:04 PM
With all due respect, you don't come off as an audio engineer to me. You come off as a number cruncher or a Sweetwater salesman.



Yeah dude. Rock! It's doesn't take any of that nerdy number crunching crap to build a Folcrom. They just threw a bunch of resistors in there and shook it until it felt right. Then it rocked! Dude!


If you really want to learn how to mix a record or use proper gain staging in a digital enviroment,



Gain staging? Now you're gettin' all technical. I thought you just went with how it "feels" ... ?


I would suggest you fill out an "Intern Request" form in my studio of choice these days.



Looking for a little free labor to help get your career off the ground?



Face it dude - you're a troll on this thread. You will not get the last word. If there is a nuclear holocaust and nothing remains but the DUC server, running on a dusty tube mainframe that survived the electromagnetic pulse, powered by a diesel generator, housed in a little metal shack, surrounded by a bleak post-apopalyptic Road Warrior-esque landscape, guarded and maintained by little hairy Australian people who discovered the machine and reenact its stories for their children at night - even then, I will still take a few minutes out of my day to crash my armor plated H1 through the outer perimeter, crush a few dudes with mohawks (former Folcrom employees?), fight my way into the shack, and type a response to your lame troll posts. Assuming you survived. So give up.

Kenny Gioia
08-08-2005, 07:40 PM
This is quite interesting. I'm a troll? On the DUC?

Have you read my posts?

There's a really big one sitting right above us that I started.

Does that sound like something a troll would do?

You might get the last word, but you'll never change anyone's mind on this board. Which means you are only amusing yourself by typing these ridiculous posts.

But I'll keep laughing at you as long as you want to keep it up.

You will NEVER annoy me. I'm beyond that.

So keep posting under "no real name". It gives you a world of credibility.

See ya in the morning.

I love you, sweetie.

thephatboi
08-08-2005, 09:20 PM
I can definitely hear a difference when mixing using 16 analog outs from my HD to my dangerous 2bus, it sounds bigger and less "restricted". Another thing nobody has mentioned (I think) is that I sometimes get what sounds like strange resonances or distortions on certain voices or instruments when getting very hot mixes on the verge of going over digital 0 when mixing ITB. I am very careful to keep everything from overloading. When this occurs I can sometimes fix it by reducing the vol. of an instrument just at the very place I am hearing the distortion. This problem does not happen when I mix with at least 16 analog channels summed with my dangerous 2 bus. Call me crazy but it seems like sometimes the master bus in the computer cannot handle the volume and transients that sometimes occur at just below digital zero, if you reduce all volume to much lower than 0, the problem goes away. Or is it a by product of the digital summing that only certain things bring out. I have a vocalist I mix for who has a very hard boiserous voice, if you solo his vocal it sounds clean, but in a hot mix wiht lots of busy instruments his vox sounds distorted.....?? Has anyone else experienced this? I would love to hear what you think Produceher, BTW, a note to some less "mature" posters; be polite and respectful here, you never know who you might be insulting, could be the producer of your favorite band you know, or someone who has about 100 more gold records on his wall than you do:) regards, SI

thephatboi@hotmail.com

StadiumRocker
08-08-2005, 11:26 PM
This is quite interesting. I'm a troll? On the DUC?



90% of the battle is getting you to actually read and comprehend the words that I use in my posts. I wrote: "You are a troll on this thread".


So keep posting under "no real name". It gives you a world of credibility.



I don't lack credibility because I'm not asking anyone to believe what I've been saying. I described a specific listening test people can try for themselves, so they can decide for themselves if a Folcrom or a D2B is worth the money. I can't debate the finer points of the issue with you intelligently, because on this thread - you're a troll. You aren't seeking new information here. You're not open to a different point of view. You just keep typing idiotic knee jerk responses to everything I say. A little Googling, and I found several other threads where the summing topic was being debated and you behaved the same way, injecting yourself into the thread and attacking people who basically have the same position I have, but backing it up with nothing more than your subjective and proudly uninformed opinion. If you wanna sign your name to that kind of stuff, well, rock on Garth.


I love you, sweetie.



Honey, if you really, really love me, then you'll try the A/B test. And don't cheat.

StadiumRocker
08-08-2005, 11:41 PM
I can definitely hear a difference when mixing using 16 analog outs from my HD to my dangerous 2bus, it sounds bigger and less "restricted". Another thing nobody has mentioned (I think) is that I sometimes get what sounds like strange resonances or distortions on certain voices or instruments when getting very hot mixes on the verge of going over digital 0 when mixing ITB. I am very careful to keep everything from overloading. When this occurs I can sometimes fix it by reducing the vol. of an instrument just at the very place I am hearing the distortion. This problem does not happen when I mix with at least 16 analog channels summed with my dangerous 2 bus. Call me crazy but it seems like sometimes the master bus in the computer cannot handle the volume and transients that sometimes occur at just below digital zero, if you reduce all volume to much lower than 0, the problem goes away.



Read this thread. (http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/m/65447/1022/?SQ=ea3bc3aa572ca5a488d27f50016570a1#msg_65447)


Or is it a by product of the digital summing that only certain things bring out.



It's not the summing. Running all your levels hot and clipping things certainly causes big problems, but it's highly unlikely that the clipping is occuring in the Pro Tools "summing bus". You can certainly clip on any given track, or going into and out of a plugin, or into and out of a TDM bus, or at the output of the master fader, etc, but it's very unlikely that you're clipping the summing bus in Pro Tools, and (this is the part that Produceher can't stand) it's also very unlikely that the summing circuit in the D2B has anything to do with why you like the sound of external summing. Try the A/B test described earlier in this thread.

flymax
08-09-2005, 07:25 AM
Will somebody with a slow week please do the test and post the results!

Kenny Gioia
08-09-2005, 07:37 AM
It's not the summing. Running all your levels hot and clipping things certainly causes big problems, but it's highly unlikely that the clipping is occuring in the Pro Tools "summing bus". You can certainly clip on any given track, or going into and out of a plugin, or into and out of a TDM bus, or at the output of the master fader, etc, but it's very unlikely that you're clipping the summing bus in Pro Tools, and (this is the part that Produceher can't stand) it's also very unlikely that the summing circuit in the D2B has anything to do with why you like the sound of external summing. Try the A/B test described earlier in this thread.



Of course it's the summing. The Master fader is the summing buss. When you add all your tracks together they can easily overload the Stereo fader. This is probably what's happening. If it was happening on the channel or the plugin, you'd hear it on the Dangerous 2 buss too.

The Dangerous 2 buss has more headroom (to my ears) than summing in Pro Tools. That is what I believe you are hearing.

Can I be a troll (in this thread) if posters are asking for my opinion.

Love ya.

Nika
08-09-2005, 10:20 AM
Wow. I haven't the energy to read through this. Is it worth getting involved? Can someone summarize the ad hominem comments for me and let me know where we stand so far in this thread?

Nika

thephatboi
08-09-2005, 11:21 AM
Thank you Produceher and Stadiumrocker for your comments. I tend to have less faith in the infallability of the master in PT not being impervious to sub zero overload, and I have done lots of tests and I don't really care what is the exact component causing my mixes to sound better when summed through the 2bus or any high quality analog summer. I don't feel the need to learn the model number of the chip or capacitor that makes my sh*t sound better, when it sounds better I go with it, just like when a mic or pre colors the sound in a way you like, even though not flat you go with it.That said I don't feel I am losing a flat response when I sum analog, with the 2 bus and the Folcrom I don't think they color much, other summers do color, some in a very nice ways too. Produceher; how many tracks do you usually sum analog, since high quality DA converters are as much an essential part of this as the summer, I wonder what others are doing. I only have 16 quality DAs (apogee) and one 2bus summer so I have to submix stems from HD to get down to 16, just curious how many tracks others subix down to and the effects? thanks and peace, Sean

ps. Produceher, you are not a troll,
but if you were, wouldn't you have magical powers!!?:)

minister
08-09-2005, 11:24 AM
reductio ad absurdum is more like it, nika!

i was was about ready to ask that this thread be moved "off world".

we started with a request for an A/B test. ITB vs. OTB. then we descended into a lot of real world opinons (which are very useful) about whether or not it was worth having external summing. some say that they hear a difference when they first start using an external summing device, more detail, wider image: what they regard as better. some of these go on to say that it may only be 5 or 10% better., but they get the results they are looking for faster. others are claiming that this is nonsense and they don't know how to mix in the box. furthermore, these summing boxes are either only adding distortion or color, or not adding anything and the money would be better spent buying a differnt anaolg sevice to strap across the stereo busbar like a fatso or a manley slam, avalon etc.

one of the advantages, say the proponents of analog summing, is relieving the PT master buss the duties of mathmatically summing the tracks and doing it in an environment that they believe is better, the analog environment. in a well-designed device, that is. the nay sayers claim that this is nonsense and means nothing. they claim that there is enough headroom in the PT mix bus for everything to sum accurately. they go on to say these boxes are only fooling you into believing that it sounds better and you are not getting the sound you are looking for, therefore, you need to learn to mix ITB.

porpnents will say that you need to learn to mix with these OTB devices and when you do, you get greater headroom and more pleasing results. simply running a stereo mix throgh them proves nothging. mixing individual drum, guitar, vocal etc. stems into them and working on the mix from there is how to use the devices.

here is a technique proposed for an A/B test:
1) Do a mix. Preferably some reasonably clean and dynamic material worthy of a good listening test (ie - not a totally distorted hip-hop mix that looks like a solid square wave coming out of your TC Master X/L3/etc). Do the mix completely in the box. Bounce it to disk or print it to a new stereo audio track. Keep it at 24 bits, assuming your session is a 24 bit session. This will be Mix #1. IMPORTANT: You need to print/commit all of your reverbs, delays, chorus effects, and any other time based effect (pitch shifters, Auto Tune, Soundtoys, Waves, etc) to audio tracks before printing this mix, because those effects are often random and will be slightly different every time you print a mix. Also, have a click or "2 Pop" at the top of the mix that has a fast, loud transient so you can use it to line up the mixes later on with sample accuracy.

2) Now take the stereo 1/2 output of Pro Tools into your D2B, and print the mix through the D2B and back into Pro Tools. No breakout stems - just stereo L/R from Pro Tools, into the D2B, on channels 1/2, and back into Pro Tools. IMPORTANT: Make sure you carefully calibrate your 192 or Apogee before doing this. If you don't know how, search the DUC, read the manuals, and learn something useful. Make sure that tones going out of Pro Tools, through the D2B, and back into Pro Tools are accurate to within 0.1dB. This mix will be Mix #2. This mix will have the sound of passing through your convertors, into the D2B, out of the D2B, and back into Pro Tools, but all done with just two channels. In other words, this mix contains the "sound of running the mix through the D2B", but all of the summing was still done in Pro Tools.

3) Now break the mix out into stems, 4/8/12/16 channels, however many you please. Sum those stems in the D2B, and print back into Pro Tools. Again, make sure your 192 or Apogee was perfectly calibrated on all channels.

4) Line all the mixes up in Pro Tools using the click you printed at the top. Solo and play Mix #1 and Mix #2 simultaneously, with one of them flipped out of phase (put the Trim plugin on both tracks). They will cancel almost completely. If they don't, you either didn't print your effects, or your calibration was inaccurate, or you don't have them lined up precisely. Next compare Mix #1 and Mix #3 with one of them flipped out of phase. Again, they should cancel out almost completely. You should barely hear anything at all even with your monitors cranked way up. The most you should hear is a crunchy little signal that is way down in the noise floor. When you hear that, you have printed these mixes correctly.

5) Now, post Mix #2 and Mix #3 on the internet for all of us to hear after you have spent a while comparing them yourself. What are we comparing? Well, Mix #2 and Mix #3 have gone through the D2B, so they both have the sound of passing through the D2B electronics, but the summing for Mix #2 was all done in Pro Tools. So we have essentially isolated the summing variable and we now have "A Pro Tools summed mix that was then run through a D2B" vs. "a D2B summed mix" for comparison.

6) If you did this test properly, (printed your effects, calibrated precisely), and you then ask people to compare these two mixes (Mix #2 and Mix #3) and repeatedly identify them in a blind listening test, the results will be totally random. Therefore, it will be demonstrated that no one can reliably hear the difference between a "D2B summed mix" and a "Pro Tools summed mix". Therefore, the D2B summing is not doing anything particularly audible or useful for the sound of your mixes. Therefore, the only sound you are really getting from a D2B is the sound of passing your entire mix through two channels of its analog circuitry, which is hardly why you spent all that money on it in the first place.

some counter that this does not test anything.

problem for me is time. i need two or three free days to perform this and i don't have it. for me to mix a pop tune, can take close to a day and then check the results the next day to see if i am still happy or if i need to tweak. i am trying to find this time. i hope somebody else has this time.

things is, someone performing an A/B comparison may be pre-disposed to like one way and get better results in the way they like. and so, for instance, short-change the ITB box, or not use every technique to make it sound great. (of course, it they get what they want faster one way, why spend the time investigating the other way.)

now, i leave to you to decide if it is worth it.

StadiumRocker
08-09-2005, 12:11 PM
problem for me is time. i need two or three free days to perform this and i don't have it. for me to mix a pop tune, can take close to a day and then check the results the next day to see if i am still happy or if i need to tweak. i am trying to find this time. i hope somebody else has this time.



Do the test on something you've already mixed that you're really happy with. Printing the mix versions of the test will only take you about a half an hour, maybe an hour at most including calibration (the actual listening test will take as long as you want).


things is, someone performing an A/B comparison may be pre-disposed to like one way and get better results in the way they like.



Correct! That is why you must do a blind A/B listening test. That is a test where you do not know what you are listening to, and therefore your prejudice can be eliminated. The best way to do it is with a friend, doesn't have to be an engineer, just someone who can click the solo buttons in Pro Tools and toggle between the mixes randomly. Simply have the person write down which mix they were playing and your response to the mix (whether your preferred it or not). Repeat the test quite a few times, enough to see if your results are consistent or random.

All the test does is shine objective light on just how much of an audible difference there really is between the two mixes. The goal of the test is not to specifically identify or pick Mix #3 100% of the time. The goal is to pick the mix that you prefer, without knowing what you are listening to, and then discover what your ears told you.

Produceher of course will claim that the differences are blatantly obvious, and so of course would set out to pick Mix #3 every time, regardless of what he was hearing. And due to his genetically superior ears, he should in fact be able to pick any of the three mixes consistently, 100% of the time. However, it's highly doubtful that he would honestly report his results if they were not consistent with his preconceived notions. But that doesn't matter. Nobody is going to "prove" anything to anybody else on this forum anyway. Just do the test yourself, and learn for yourself.


and so, for instance, short-change the ITB box, or not use every technique to make it sound great. (of course, it they get what they want faster one way, why spend the time investigating the other way.)



I don't know why anybody would set out to do the test and cheat themselves ahead of time. Just try it with some good material that you mixed ITB, keep on open mind, and learn something new. And don't blow up the inputs to the D2B as suggested earlier in the thread (if you want to try that, that's fine, but do it as a second version of the test to see if it changes your results).

StadiumRocker
08-09-2005, 12:37 PM
Wow. I haven't the energy to read through this. Is it worth getting involved?



Well, nobody's going to pay you, if that what you're asking.


Can someone summarize the ad hominem comments for me and let me know where we stand so far in this thread?



Summary:

StadiumRocker - thinks the D2B and Folcrom are a waste of money, PT summing is not the problem, D2B/Folcrom summing is not the specific characteristic of summing externally that is making a mix sound better (rather, it is the round trip into and out of these boxes is what is making the difference, primarly the output section of the D2B, and/or the mic pres being used with the Folcrom). Thinks it can be demonstrated with a blind A/B listening test which is spelled out in the first couple pages of this thread. Prefers brunettes, and a nicely aged scotch.

Produceher: Choice, rock, feel, Freebird, dude, System of a Down, great ears, large member. Worships his Folcrom. Declared jihad on the ITB mixing infidels who doubt his mighty Folcrom, praise be to the passive summing. Hates StadiumRocker because he might be a nerdy number crunching freak who works at Sweetwater (of course, when he said that, I thought he was taking a shot at you, Nika).

Still interested?

Kenny Gioia
08-09-2005, 12:48 PM
I have done lots of tests and I don't really care what is the exact component causing my mixes to sound better when summed through the 2bus or any high quality analog summer. I don't feel the need to learn the model number of the chip or capacitor that makes my sh*t sound better, when it sounds better I go with it, just like when a mic or pre colors the sound in a way you like, even though not flat you go with it.





Exactly.




Produceher; how many tracks do you usually sum analog, since high quality DA converters are as much an essential part of this as the summer




I'm using 6 outputs of my 192 I/O and 8 outputs of an 888/24. I need the Y cable to get those last two channels with my 2nd 888/24. I don't make a huge deal about D/A's. They all sound fine to me.

For those who have the time:

By all means try this test. I won't. And it certainly makes no sense for me to have to. I'm not making any claims based on this test. I just disagree with the theory. I am allowed to. It's my opinion.

And if you would rather save some time, call your local pro audio dealer and buy a summing box. Try it. If you don't like it, send it back. I'd love to hear your findings.

And check this post if you think I'm so intolerant:

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/showthread.php3?t=37146&highlight=summing

Here was my contribution:



I don't see why it's soo important that everyone hears the same things.

If you don't hear the Folcrom's difference, that's just fine. No big deal.

I hear a huge difference when doing heavy rock. Much more Neve-like.

For Pop, it was not a big deal for me either. I still think it's wider with the Folcrom but using Vintage consoles with Pop is not the best match IMHO.

I gotta find some clean pre's.

StadiumRocker
08-09-2005, 12:49 PM
Of course it's the summing. The Master fader is the summing buss.



Wrong. The PT summing bus is the PT summing bus. The master fader is a multiplier of the summing bus. The result of is the output. You can't clip the input of the summing bus, and you can lower your individual channel levels or lower your master fader to prevent clipping at the output of the master fader.


When you add all your tracks together they can easily overload the Stereo fader.



And you will see a clip light if that occurs. Turn something down. Problem solved. Read that thread I posted a link to a few posts back.


The Dangerous 2 buss has more headroom (to my ears) than summing in Pro Tools.



100% wrong. The Pro Tools summing bus has about three times the dynamic range of your D2B.


That is what I believe you are hearing.



Believe. Not, "know", but "believe". We aren't debating religion here. We're talking about audio gear. You have to apply some engineering principles to your thought process if you want to hone in on why things sound the way they do. Choice. Rock. Feel. Dude.

StadiumRocker
08-09-2005, 01:00 PM
I'm not making any claims based on this test. I just disagree with the theory. I am allowed to. It's my opinion.



It's just that you have no basis for your opinion in this particular debate.


And if you would rather save some time,



...but spend some unnecessary money, which of course grows on trees so no big deal...


call your local pro audio dealer and buy a summing box. Try it. If you don't like it, send it back. I'd love to hear your findings.



Or, if you like it, go ahead and send it back anyway, and get more bang for your buck by buying a nice compressor, or a limiter, or a 1/2" tape machine, or a nice two channel line amp/mic pre combo box, and run your mixes through that. Same audible results. Cooler toys obtained. Less money spent. Just trying to help. (Back at square one, that's where I started on this thread.)

Kenny Gioia
08-09-2005, 01:02 PM
When you add all your tracks together they can easily overload the Stereo fader.



And you will see a clip light if that occurs. Duh. Turn something down. Problem solved.



[/QUOTE]

This is totally untrue IMHO. I hear the stereo image close up and lose some quality even before the clip lights go on. I try to stay a bit below that level.



The Dangerous 2 buss has more headroom (to my ears) than summing in Pro Tools.



100% wrong. The Pro Tools summing bus has about three times the dynamic range of your D2B.



I said to "MY" ears. Have you been using my Golden ears again?



That is what I believe you are hearing.



Believe. Not, "know", but "believe". We aren't debating religion here. We're talking about audio gear. You have to apply some engineering principles to your thought process if you want to hone in on why things sound the way they do. Choice. Rock. Feel. Dude.



No. No I don't.

Dude, my ears are not 2 calculators coming off the side of my head.

I can't quantify everything I hear. Pro Tools may be doing math but I'm making music. Music that hopefully moves people. My calculator has never achieved this lofty goal.

Kenny Gioia
08-09-2005, 01:09 PM
I'm not making any claims based on this test. I just disagree with the theory. I am allowed to. It's my opinion.



It's just that you have no basis for your opinion in this particular debate.



And what is your basis for claiming it. Have you performed these tests? Why don't you post your results?

Is it because first year interns don't get to touch the "big" room until your senior year.



And if you would rather save some time,



...but spend some unnecessary money, which of course grows on trees so no big deal...



Most retailers have a pretty good return policy.



call your local pro audio dealer and buy a summing box. Try it. If you don't like it, send it back. I'd love to hear your findings.



Or, if you like it, go ahead and send it back anyway, and get more bang for your buck by buying a nice compressor, or a limiter, or a 1/2" tape machine, or a nice two channel line amp/mic pre combo box, and run your mixes through that. Same audible results. Cooler toys obtained. Less money spent. Just trying to help. (Back at square one, that's where I started on this thread.)



[/QUOTE]

So you'd prefer that they don't even try a summing box?

I'm biased?

StadiumRocker
08-09-2005, 01:18 PM
This is totally untrue IMHO. I hear the stereo image close up and lose some quality even before the clip lights go on.



And I'll bet that you cannot pick the same mix consistently when doing a blind A/B test between a mix with the master fader lowered (and then gained back up to bring it back to 0dB) vs a mix with the master fader at 0.


I try to stay a bit below that level.



Cool. I do the same thing. So then, you're not encountering that problem. So that's not the difference. So why did you mention it?


Dude, my ears are not 2 calculators coming off the side of my head. I can't quantify everything I hear. Pro Tools may be doing math but I'm making music. Music that hopefully moves people. My calculator has never achieved this lofty goal.



Right. The point is the music. The point is the sound. The point is, what gear do you spend your money on to make things sound better. Yes? So, if a piece of gear is the reason something sounds better, then buy it and use it.

But if a piece of gear is marketed with specific claims that allegedly give you a specific result, then surely you would want to isolate that result and see if it is the cause of the "better sound"? But what if it isn't? That's why I made the joke about "The Feeler" box. I'll bet you if I built that box and came up with a more serious name and some convincing claims, backed up with an endorsement from some legendary audio salesman, someone would buy it. And I would be taking them for a ride.

I take it from your other post that you are not a millionaire. You mention you need to buy some clean mic preamps, so I gather you are not capable of buying every mic preamp you would like to own. Same here. Same for just about everybody. So all I'm trying to convey is that before you buy into the hype and spend $2500 or $1200 on a summing box, dig in to the details a little, learn that those summing boxes are not what is saving your mixes, that PT summing is not broken, and spend your money on something else that does makes a quantifiable difference.

Why does that point of view bother you so much?

minister
08-09-2005, 01:28 PM
Do the test on something you've already mixed that you're really happy with. Printing the mix versions of the test will only take you about a half an hour, maybe an hour at most including calibration (the actual listening test will take as long as you want).

actually, do to it right, you have mix ITB as best you can. and then mix OTB as best you can. because, for one reason, i run the tracks hotter when mixing OTB and that can change the mix. i have an ITB mix i am happy with and i was going to re-mix it OTB.


things is, someone performing an A/B comparison may be pre-disposed to like one way and get better results in the way they like.




Correct! That is why you must do a blind A/B listening test.

what i was talking about is if i prefer OTB, i would short-change my ITB mix, and really shine on my OTB.

but, SR, i always want to learn something new to do my work better, whether that is ITB or OTB.

StadiumRocker
08-09-2005, 01:53 PM
actually, do to it right, you have mix ITB as best you can. and then mix OTB as best you can.



Actually, that wouldn't be the right way to do it all. That would no longer be the test I have described, and the results wouldn't mean anything. This is not a test of your mixing skills ITB vs OTB. This is a test of the sound of the audio summed in PT vs summed in the Folcrom or D2B.

StadiumRocker
08-09-2005, 01:58 PM
And what is your basis for claiming it. Have you performed these tests?



This far into all of this you ask me that? Yes, of course I have I've tried it. Several people were present. All were experienced producers and engineers, the studio owner, a well known tech who builds mods for mics, all quite capable of hearing any differences. The listening results were exactly as I described earlier. Pointless to tell you this of course, since you both refuse to take what I say at face value, and refuse to try the test yourself.

If there was any bias or agenda in the room, it was to prove that the D2B and Folcrom were the greatest thing since sliced bread. Everyone heard obvious differences between Mix #1 vs Mix #2/#3 (we tried both Manley mic preamps and modded Neve 1084's for Mix #2/#3), and everyone was surprised to learn that the results of comparing Mix #2 and Mix #3 were essentially random.


Why don't you post your results?



What do you want me to do, post a couple mixes? What will that prove? As you said, you'll learn a lot more trying it for yourself on your own mixes. Why don't you just try it?


So you'd prefer that they don't even try a summing box? I'm biased?



No, I'd prefer that you try it, understand what aspect of using a summing box is changing the sound, and then make your own informed decision.

minister
08-09-2005, 02:19 PM
actually, do to it right, you have mix ITB as best you can. and then mix OTB as best you can.



Actually, that wouldn't be the right way to do it all. That would no longer be the test I have described, and the results wouldn't mean anything. This is not a test of your mixing skills ITB vs OTB. This is a test of the sound of the audio summed in PT vs summed in the Folcrom or D2B.

i am not sure that this is correct. you need to use the ITB features to their full capacity and then use the D2B (in my case) to its full capacity. otherwise, you are hampering the analog summing device by the restrictions of the the ITB routing. aren't you?

Kenny Gioia
08-09-2005, 02:24 PM
I have already made an informed decision. You just don't agree with it.




actually, do to it right, you have mix ITB as best you can. and then mix OTB as best you can.



Actually, that wouldn't be the right way to do it all. That would no longer be the test I have described, and the results wouldn't mean anything. This is not a test of your mixing skills ITB vs OTB. This is a test of the sound of the audio summed in PT vs summed in the Folcrom or D2B.




Wrong. It would mean everything.

This is the main reason why I never posted files of my mixes. It must work the way "you" work.

It's not the test you described, but it is the better test for "each of us" to do.

You will either not buy the summing box and mix the best you can ITB,

or

You will buy the summing box and mix the best you can OTB.

That's all that matters.

For example:

If I'm trying to decide between buying a Saab or a BMW, I should not build a robot that will drive them exactly the same way.

I should just drive both of them myself and change and adjust to the way the car drives. You are a team working together. When I find the car that feels the most comfortable and I can mold to the best, I buy that car. I don't steer the same on each car, and see which one actually makes the turn.

Ya see!!!!!!!!

Stukface
08-09-2005, 02:40 PM
Its amazing 5 pages into this thread, and not one person has tried the test. hahaha Dont tell me everyone here is just that busy that they cant make the time to try the test. If I had a summing box I would be doing the test right now. I have a full studio in Oakland, CA if any of you are in the area, bring over your summing box and lets do the damn test.

Jamison Valerio

StadiumRocker
08-09-2005, 04:04 PM
i am not sure that this is correct. you need to use the ITB features to their full capacity and then use the D2B (in my case) to its full capacity. otherwise, you are hampering the analog summing device by the restrictions of the the ITB routing. aren't you?



No, you're not hampering anything, and you're not understanding the purpose of the test. I'm not disputing that it is possible for a mix to sound better through a D2B or a Folcrom. I am disputing why it sounds better. To get to the why, you have to get a little more specific. The purpose of the test is to limit the number of variables between the two mixes so you can draw a meaningful conclusion about the results. The test compares the summing of PT vs the summing of the D2B, which is what this thread is about.

If you do a mix ITB, and then do a completely separate mix with the D2B, what are you comparing? You're comparing everything. Ok, so what can you conclude from that? Lets say you conclude that your D2B mix sounds better. Fine. Why does it sound better? Well, you don't know exactly. So what was the point of your test? No point. It was just an exercise.

Forget the D2B for a moment. Suppose you mix a song ITB on Tuesday. Print it. On Wednesday, mix the same song again from scratch, also ITB. Now compare them. Will the mixes be different? Almost certainly. Will you prefer one over the other? Quite likely. So what will that prove? That you mix better on Tuesday than on Wednesday? No. It proves absolutely nothing.

Suppose we had Produceher do a mix through a D2B, and not surprisingly, it sounded like crap, and then I mixed the same song ITB and it sounded amazing. Does that prove that the D2B is no good? No. Does it prove that ITB mixing is better? No. The most you could derive from that test is that Produceher's mixes suck. Big shocker. It that what we were trying to prove? No. So again, the test is pointless.



Just try the test the way I explained it.

StadiumRocker
08-09-2005, 04:44 PM
You will either not buy the summing box and mix the best you can ITB, or
You will buy the summing box and mix the best you can OTB.
That's all that matters.



Using your logic, I can buy a lava lamp that puts me in a vibey mood and makes me mix better, and from that, you would conclude that it is reasonable to market a lava lamp as a product that will help improve the sound of your ITB mixes.

How about $1500 "interconnects"? And $400 "amplifier resonance isolation mounts"? Using your logic, any piece of gear that makes any sort of ludicrous marketing claim is unworthy of criticism because if it makes you feel better and "believe" that you are producing a better sounding mix then it's valid. In essence, what you are saying is that you are incapable of producing a good sounding mix without your Folcrom.

What happened to having knowledge of your craft?

Kenny Gioia
08-09-2005, 05:33 PM
i am not sure that this is correct. you need to use the ITB features to their full capacity and then use the D2B (in my case) to its full capacity. otherwise, you are hampering the analog summing device by the restrictions of the the ITB routing. aren't you?



Absolutely.

Let's say that you did Stadiums test and noticed that the ITB had much less Bass.

Would that be bad? Not really. You could always add more Bass to the ITB mix and "IT" might sound better.

Another example: (Believe me, I'm as sick of these as you)

I used to work at a studio that had a vintage U47 mic. I use to A/B it all the time against a AKG414 and the bands always picked the 414. It had a hyped up top end.

So one time I tried this A/B again but this time I put a Pultec EQ on the U47 and cranked 5Khz to match the 414. This time it blew away the 414. A different planet. So much more depth. Really amazing.

This is why clinical tests don't matter.

StadiumRocker
08-10-2005, 02:57 AM
I used to work at a studio that had a vintage U47 mic. I use to A/B it all the time against a AKG414 and the bands always picked the 414. It had a hyped up top end. So one time I tried this A/B again but this time I put a Pultec EQ on the U47 and cranked 5Khz to match the 414. This time it blew away the 414. A different planet. So much more depth. Really amazing.

This is why clinical tests don't matter.



What an odd conclusion to derive from that experience. Do you grasp the concept that louder is often perceived as better? If you had just turned the 414 down a bit, then by doing so it would have sounded "thinner" and "smaller" compared to the U47, and you could have achieved the same result, and without adding the Pultec. I can hype the top end (or some other relevant frequency depending on the instrument I'm micing) on just about any mic to make it sound "better" than any other mic.

What does the prove? Nothing. It certainly doesn't prove that all clinical tests don't matter.

So Produceher, what have you mixed with your Folcrom? Anything commercially available? Since your stated goal here is to convince the masses of the quality of this device, why don't you put a little money where your mouth is? Please, give us an example of a record you mixed that sounds so fantastic after it has been rammed into a Folcrom and shat out the other end.

Nika
08-10-2005, 06:11 AM
StadiumRocker - thinks the D2B and Folcrom are a waste of money, PT summing is not the problem, D2B/Folcrom summing is not the specific characteristic of summing externally that is making a mix sound better (rather, it is the round trip into and out of these boxes is what is making the difference, primarly the output section of the D2B, and/or the mic pres being used with the Folcrom). Thinks it can be demonstrated with a blind A/B listening test which is spelled out in the first couple pages of this thread. Prefers brunettes, and a nicely aged scotch.



So I'm just trying to figure out if there is any way/reason that analog summing could sound different than digital summing + trip in and out to the analog summing box. I think there are reasons it could, though all of those reasons involve additional distortion or noise. For example, if you run your final mix in and out of a Folcrom (for example) then you add noise and distortion to the two channels of completed mix. If you run all of your independent channels out and into independent channels on the Folcrom then you add distortion on each individual channel. In theory, this should produce the same results as distortion on the summed result unless something is really screwy (channel 6 has more distortion than channel 2). But the noise I see as a potential issue. In analog mixers it is common to have correlated noise on all channels to some degree. This noise comes from the power supply, EMI, RFI, etc. and therefore gets to all channels. When all of the channels are then summed together the noise adds together at a faster rate than if you sum the channels in the digital world and then pass them through the analog box, because in this case the noise on each of the channels is uncorrelated if the digital mixer does it properly.

If you have 8 channels of correlated noise on them and you run signals through them the noise adds up at up to 6dB per doubling of the number of tracks. 2 tracks increases the noise 6dB, 4 tracks: 12dB, 8 tracks: 18dB. Meanwhile, the signals only add up at roughly 3dB per track. The difference between the noise and the signal decreases subsequently. For eight tracks the noise can raise in relation to the signal by as much as 9dB.

Meanwhile, with a digital mixer the noise can be maintained as unique on all tracks (I'm not saying that Protools does it this way or doesn't) but the noise adds up at the same rate as the tracks (3dB per doubling) so the dynamic range stays in check. I covered this in my book on pages 53-57 for anyone that has it and wants to see the pretty pictures of why this works.

Anyway, I'm just brainstorming on why they could sound different. Once we isolate that they could sound different I leave preference up to individual users.


might be a nerdy number crunching freak who works at Sweetwater



Yeah, I did catch that one.

Nika

Kenny Gioia
08-10-2005, 07:21 AM
I'm sorry. What was "your" name again.


Stadium Rocker please come to aisle 7. There's a customer looking for ART mic pre's.

Kenny Gioia
08-10-2005, 07:37 AM
Just to be clear:

My last post was not meant towards NIKA.

While I do have little to no respect for Sweetwater salesman, I didn't know that NIKA even worked there until 2 days ago. I could have easily used my Banjo Center or Sams Ass reference. No harm intended.

I have nothing but respect for someone who has taken this much of his time to help others. While I haven't read half of your posts, I respect that you do post under your own name.

Thanks.

Nika
08-10-2005, 08:18 AM
Ken,

'Tis allright. I engioia good, heated, passionate discussion as much as the next person and know that some comments can accidentally fly with disregard.

I did work as a salesperson at Sweetwater for seven years and continue to work with them now in a different capacity.

Nika

(Nicholas Fremont Aldrich, Jr.)

StadiumRocker
08-10-2005, 02:18 PM
I'm sorry. What was "your" name again.


Stadium Rocker please come to aisle 7. There's a customer looking for ART mic pre's.






Haven't actually mixed any records with that Folcrom, eh Produceher? Well then maybe you can post the demos you tracked for the neighborhood kids garage band? U47 on the Crate 4x12 stack to capture all the tone? Folcrom for depth?

Kenny Gioia
08-10-2005, 07:06 PM
I've done a few records that will be released late this month.

For obvious reasons, I can't post these audio files.

I'm in the middle of finishing 2 more which will be out early next year.

Lucky for you, guys like me keep making money.

If we stop buying gear, you lose your job cleaning toilets at Banjo Center.

How's that Schwinn treating ya? Jingle Jingle.

Kenny Gioia
08-10-2005, 08:11 PM
After a quick search of your few other posts, I realize that you have nothing to contribute to the DUC. You have attacked other veterans of this forum and even called them trolls as well. It seems that even I don't deserve any originality from your insults.

Keep in mind that the DUC is quick to the ban button. I'll give you another month. Enjoy it.

So you win. You may have this thread.

A few quotes before I leave:

"Never argue with a fool. Someone watching may not be able to tell the difference."

"The fewer clear facts you have in support of an opinion, the stronger your emotional attachment to that opinion."

"A man is known by the company he avoids."

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."

"Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity."

"Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege."

Peace

StadiumRocker
08-10-2005, 10:04 PM
A few quotes before I leave:



No, thanks, really - just leave. Your bumper sticker wisdom, combined and contrasted with one last round of holier-than-thou insults as you depart this thread (we hope), topped off with "Peace" as your signature, pretty much says it all. Wonderful contributions to a debate about a piece of gear Kenny boy! Rock on!

Steve@ZooWest
08-11-2005, 07:23 AM
Gentlemen, say it ain't so! Surely we have not mined all the nuggets on this subject. This has become my favorite soap opera, if only for 2 minutes each day...SR, I find you especially charming. Oh well, back to work...

roberts
08-11-2005, 09:11 AM
This debate has been going on for 5 years with no end in site. I think if were truly a definitive difference everyone would do it without question. At the last AES there were no crowds that I saw swarming the Folcrum or D2B booths. I still think IMO there are better things to spend your money on like using outboard compressors or EQ's. But if you take 10 people you'll come with 10 ways to use a DAW and that's a given.

Kenny Gioia
08-11-2005, 09:42 AM
At the last AES there were no crowds that I saw swarming the Folcrum or D2B booths.



Well in their defense, their not the most appealing devices to sit and stare at a public convention. Are patchbays and XLR cables unimportant. No swarms looking at that stuff either. People hang at the Pro Tools booths because there is something visually stunning to see.

I'll bet if they had a listening booth where you could A/B "In The Box" mixes against Analog Summing mixes, there would be a line out the door to get in.



But if you take 10 people, you'll come up with 10 ways to use a DAW and that's a given.



And that's the way it should be.

thephatboi
08-11-2005, 11:03 AM
I too am entertained by the veritable smorgasbord of comments on this subject. It has taken me from bleary-eyed tears to fist clenching anger and the back to a peaceful bliss. I think a reality tv show on this could be in order. Picture this exciting scene:

.....fade in;

a slouching, burned out looking musician guy staring at a computer screen. A large big gulp cup of coffee is close to his track ball. The sounds of a lame pop tune with a young bimbo singer's voice rising and falling like the waves of the ocean on a deserted tropical island beach, stopping and starting, over and over, fill the room. The phone rings, ignored by the engrossed technician. The answering machine starts to record: "Jimmy, this is your mother, I haven't heard from you in weeks, is everything ok? Call me dear we're worried about you, you're not doing drugs are you?' Click. The engineer continues his work. The camera zooms slowly in on the computer screen and the audience is reeled in as you see the engineer making tweaks to auto-tune and sliding individual syllables of her vocal track around on the screen. Mesmerized, the audience patiently awaits and is jolted to a new height of interest as the curser stops moving, "Son of a b*tch, fr*kn piece of sh*t computer, I am going to throw this piece of garbage out the Fr##kin window." The computer has frozen and the man in maniacal anger reaches over to restart. Cut to same engineer sitting on a couch talking to the camera: "At this point I am wondering if I am going to meet the deadline and am super stressed out, I hate the track I am working on and have not slept in a few days" Back to the studio: A surly unshaven man enters the room, sees the engineer waiting for the computer to reboot, says;

"what the hell are you doing you lazy ass, we've got to get this damn project out the door yesterday and now the label is calling and threatening to give the gig to another production team."

"The computer crashed"

"What are you working on?"

"Tweaker Boy"

"What?!?!?! I told you that one is not so important as the other one"

Cut to the surly guy sitting on couch, talking to camera: "I was really having trouble understanding why Jim was taking so long comping the vocal, I mean I know the girl can't sing but this guy was really pissing me off and I was thinking of firing him right then and there"

back to the studio:

"Are you at 192k and summing ITB or analog?"

"all the tracks are imported in MP3 format from my ipod and I am summing it all analog with the Peavey PA mixer"

"Good, that's the best way even though they won't here the difference"

" I used that new plugin, "songreplacer" and it worked like a charm, you just select the song you want to replace, tell it where to find the new song you like the sound of, and hit 'replace', works like a charm"

"That's good, listen I have to go have sex with that overweight A&R lady again to make sure we keep getting gigs from them, try to have that [bleep] done when I get back"

" I might need more time than that"

the surly man leaves shaking his head and the engineer looks back at the screen, he accidentally deletes the complete vocal track, "Son of a F#$&kin b*tch, you g*dam piece of dog crap", goes back to tweaking,.....the air conditioner hums, somewhere in the distance a dog barks......:)

MMazurek
08-11-2005, 01:13 PM
I've run the test the opposite way before.

Took my mix (done with the Dangerous 2-buss LT), and compared it to a 'all stems to just two channels in the D2B' version, and an ITB version.

Liked the D2B best (16 into 2).
Just 2 channels of the D2B actually sounded more similar to the ITB mix than the other. ('Flat' sounding)

(Also (typically) using an STC-8 and a Massive Passive on the mix buss, but all three had that.)

norman_nomad
08-11-2005, 01:45 PM
Man! First off, this has been a great/heated thread.. enjoyable read for sure.

The whole summing issue is so over-played. Here's the real world breakdown for anyone who wants to know.

Summing ITB: The "funny math" issues are mostly fallacy. Keep levels below -6dbfs wherever possible before mastering. In PT there is more headroom than most analog devices which only translates to more convenience when mixing (pulling the master fader down vs. pulling track faders will achieve the same thing). A digital sum is less noisy and more accurate than an analog sum. Don't confuse "accurate" for "better sounding". Quantization distortion, b/c it is unrelated to the source signal sounds unpleasing and can be obtrusive even at low levels. For better or worse a PT mix will never "sound" like the same mix summed through a console or summing device.

Summing OTB: Primary difference include small doses of correlated noise, harmonic distortion and phase shift (aka "wider stereo image"), transient smoothing, slight compression, and slight spectrum changes. Like Stadium has mentioned, most of these sonic difference can be attributed firstly and primarily to the "sound" of the output audio transformers, then maybe opamps, caps, layout of signal path, etc.

I haven't performed Stadium's test, but I'm intrigued by his proposed results. 16 channels summed sounds no different than 2 when going through the same box? (or not different ENOUGH to bother with?)

Nika has me thinking too... Summing 16 channels vs. 2 surely must reveal some sonic differences. In the 16 chan sum there is more D/A conversion happening. The signal must be run through more physical interconnects, which would inevitably lead to slightly more intermodulation distortion. I don't imagine you'd see the correlated noise build up (which Nika mentioned) in a passive device like the Folcrom. .... Oh, but I guess you might see that contribution happen at D/A converters....Could be wrong...

And Stadium, I still don't understand your claim about the Folcrom lacking bandwidth. I understand the Folcrom to be essentially a 16 channel impedance transformer... to me; it seems the Folcrom would preserve as much bandwidth as bussing your 2 channel mix to the line level inputs of your choice pre, per your suggestion.

Kenny Gioia
08-12-2005, 10:51 AM
Just wanted add a correction:

I feel I've been a little too harsh on critisizing Sweetwater and it's employees so I'd like to apologize.

I've actually never had any bad experiences at Sweetwater or even seen one single sign of inexperienced salesmanship.

I actually have done most of my business with them this year. And I have been 100% satisfied.

I kind of got caught up in the whole "hate the big company mentality".

I have had these experiences (in person) with Banjo Center and Sam's Ass and I lumped Sweetwater in the same column.

That was wrong of me and unfair to my Sweetwater Rep.

I apologize. It's easy to get caught up in Internet Shtickk and forget that their are real people behind alot of my rants.

Thanks You.

Peace.

StadiumRocker
08-12-2005, 05:14 PM
I haven't performed Stadium's test, but I'm intrigued by his proposed results. 16 channels summed sounds no different than 2 when going through the same box? (or not different ENOUGH to bother with?)



Hi Norman. All of your points are on the mark. I never really got to debate the nuance because certain people seemed incapable of even entertaining the concept of trying a listening test. Couldn't get past that. But yes, I meant not different enough to bother with.

So why are all you guys with rational minds so late to the party?


Nika has me thinking too... Summing 16 channels vs. 2 surely must reveal some sonic differences.



Sure, there are differences. But audible? Try the blind A/B listening test.


In the 16 chan sum there is more D/A conversion happening. The signal must be run through more physical interconnects, which would inevitably lead to slightly more intermodulation distortion. I don't imagine you'd see the correlated noise build up (which Nika mentioned) in a passive device like the Folcrom. .... Oh, but I guess you might see that contribution happen at D/A converters....Could be wrong...



You're right, and Nika's point were also correct. There will be minor differences in terms of 16 channels of cabling and conversion vs 2 channels. You could go further with my test and A/B a 16 channel sum against any of the pairs of channels, ie, 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8 of your D2B and see if any particular 2 channels sounded better. We could go deeper, and say that there will also be differences depending on the cables you use to try the test. There is lots of minutia we could delve into further, and it's all relevant in a discussion between engineers. But will these things transform the sound of your mixes? Not in my opinion.

The main point I've been trying to stay on is that if those things contribute to the sound, you certainly don't need to buy a $1200 Folcrom to obtain them. A few flaming trolls have gotten way off the point as if the basis of my argument is that there is no difference between ITB/OTB mixing, but I know plenty of fair minded people got my point. (By the way, I thought you were leaving Produceher? You're like a drunk who won't leave the party). Certainly, OTB mixing sounds different, but OTB "summing"...that's not exactly what you're spending your money on for a different sound.

Perhaps my argument is just one of terminology. "Passive summing", per se, isn't the key to the sound of an OTB mix. Anybody who wants the sound of D/A/A/D conversion, varying wire capacitance and intermodulation distortion, etc, just patch all 16 channels of your convertors into a patch bay and then back into the convertors. Or just patch straight out of your convertors and right back into them with 6 inch XLR or DB25 cables. Whatever. But no need for a $1200 Folcrom.

And if the Folcrom does expand slightly on those slight distortions, +/-1% (depending on the tolerance of the resistors), well...do you want to spend $1200 for that? Can you really hear it? If you can, is it better? Is it saving the mix? My hypothetical box, "The Feeler", will change the sound. Audible? Likely not. Measurable. Sure. You can measure the background microwave radiation of the universe. Will that affect the sound of your mixes? No. Is "The Feeler" worth $4000? Well, I guess it could be if I market it correctly. I've certainly gained insight into the mindset of the consumer of these devices by listening to Produceher's furious and infantile defense of the Folcrom.

What's perplexing to me is that people who advocate using the Folcrom or D2B are generally advocates of the inherent distortion of analog mixing and the pleasing sound that it contributes to your mixes (which I generally agree with), but then they go and buy a box with the lowest possible distortion specs. Why? You can buy many very cool 8 or 16 channel mixers for $1200 - $2500, and they will add analog characteristics to your sound that will be equal to or better than a Folcrom or D2B, still be of very high quality, plus give you mixing/panning/insert/aux/metering capability. Why buy a box that claims almost zero distortion (when it was the distortion you were looking for in the first place), costs $1200, and has almost zero features? Kinda like going to the store to buy an HD rig, and coming home with an M-Box for the same money.

If the Folcrom and D2B cost $250-$300, I probably never would have posted on this thread. But these boxes are such a rip off, and becoming such a fad, I felt the need to share my view. If the latest thing was $800 "iridium interconnects", I'd have something to say about that too. But Produceher, he'd just buy them, say they add depth to his mixes, and refuse to do an A/B test. Poor kid.


And Stadium, I still don't understand your claim about the Folcrom lacking bandwidth. I understand the Folcrom to be essentially a 16 channel impedance transformer... to me; it seems the Folcrom would preserve as much bandwidth as bussing your 2 channel mix to the line level inputs of your choice pre, per your suggestion.



I used that term loosely. What I meant was that because the Folcrom is just a passive, direct coupled resistance summing device, it's frequency response is dependent on the input and output impedance of your convertors and mic preamps, as well as the cable lengths you are using, and therefore the frequency response can be good, or it can be not so good. I certainly wouldn't use a Folcrom through a patchbay that had long lines.

Try the listening test!

And would somebody please call a cab for Produceher before he pukes on my floor.

Dan Pinder
08-12-2005, 05:44 PM
I'm always amused when record-biz types express the notion that digital summing is broken; On film dubbing stages, where I spend a good deal of my time, we routinely mix quantities of inputs on digital consoles that would dwarf the largest Mariah Carey pop mix, with excellent sounding results. I think an entire industry would have discovered a fatal flaw with digital summing years ago in the very critical environments in which we mix, so I think people are digging in the wrong place. Not all movie music is orchestral, so I don't think we're comparing different animals.

StadiumRocker
08-12-2005, 05:59 PM
I think an entire industry would have discovered a fatal flaw with digital summing years ago in the very critical environments in which we mix, so I think people are digging in the wrong place. Not all movie music is orchestral, so I don't think we're comparing different animals.



If anything, film scores and orchestral music would reveal the problem more clearly if it existed due to the much greater dynamic range of the material.

Kenny Gioia
08-13-2005, 07:12 AM
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost (1874 - 1963),

P.S. I tried the previous mentioned test on Friday and my results were as I expected.

I did this with a Rock mix.

Believe it or not Heavy Rock music is the hardest on a mixing console and it's headroom or point where it collapses. While orchestras have a lot of content and complicated parts, the instruments were designed to fit nicely together by the instrument builders. That's why you can record it all with 2 mics (if you want). Try that with a Loud Rock Band. Rock Guitars came more from evolution and talented engineers have somehow made it all fit. I've heard alot more badly mixed Rock records than Badly Mixed Orchestras. YMMV.

The results:

The ITB mix sounded really good but a little two dimensional. It was all there and very punchy and clear but it didn't move front and back. Just side to side.

The OTB 16 Channel summed into my Neve 1272's sounded not quite as bright but had even more punch and definitely felt more like a rock record. In the tradition of the music I grew up on. The mix was now 3D and the seperation between the instruments was much bigger. In the places where vocals needed to be rided to overcome the loud guitars, it became unimportant. The vocal was loud enuff at almost every level. And no matter how loud I made the vocal, I could still hear the guitars raging. It wasn't all fighting each other.

Than I did the ITB thru 2 channels of my Folcrom and patched my Neve 1272's again. I left the other channels patched in but no signal was going there to keep the make up gain the same as the summed mix. This mix sounded pretty close to the ITB mix. It did impart a certain Neve color which I loved, but it did nothing to the width, depth or seperation. It sounded exactly like I thought it would. More like a mastering procedure than mixing on a different analog console.

If some of you considered this difference to be unnoticable, than by all means, don't buy a summing box. We don't all need to work the same way. I don't care. I'm just sharing my opinions. Yours may vary and I value each and almost everyone's experiences.

As far as leaving this thread, I admitted defeat on this thread to SR. He won. He can control this thread. And I had no interest in having a 2 way conversation with him on this subject any further. As long as others chime in, I am happy to add my opinions and thoughts to them.

Peace

Justin Ulysses Morse
08-15-2005, 04:43 AM
This thread has been quite the fascinating train wreck. I wanted to jump in a week ago and correct some of the more glaring innacuracies but there were too many of them and I got overwhelmed.

My name is Justin. I am the designer and manufacturer of the Folcrom. I'm not hear to convince anybody that external summing is necessary for them. I designed the thing at the request of a specific client, and when word got out that I had built it I got a lot of interest from other engineers. The interest was strong enough that it became a commercial product and has sold surprisingly well, despite a negligible marketing effort or budget. We demonstrated the box, with carefully constructed level-matched comparisons, at the AES show in San Francisco last fall. It was not an ideal listening environment, but it went very well and generated even stronger interest in the box. We started out selling the thing directly off of our website, and we had a very liberal return policy because we never thought it would be good business to stick a customer with a product they didn't like. We've had exactly two units returned on the grounds that the user just didn't think the sound was worth the money. Two. Overwhelmingly, the user response has been very positive. Since we've started selling through dealers, we may not be aware of additional returns but we keep shipping units to Mercenary, Atlas, and the other dealers who also have very liberal return policies and the users appear to be keeping and using their Folcrii. That's enough to convince me to keep building them.

What I would like to do here is answer any questions and correct any innacuracies reported about the Folcrom, well-designed summing devices in general, and their application.


The Folcrom is not simply lacking a gain stage. It intentionally reduces the output voltage, thereby requiring makeup gain.



Stadiumrocker, you're simultaneously correct and incorrect about the Folcrom. You're right that it does intentionally reduce the signal voltage and thereby require makeup gain. You're wrong about that being any more or less than simply lacking a gain stage. You see, EVERY mixer ANYWHERE uses series resistance on each channel to feed the summing amps, whether it be a passive design like the Folcrom (and like a lot of other highly-regarded old designs) or a virtual-ground design more typical of modern analog consoles. Every other analog mixer ever built has an insertion loss in the summing just like the Folcrom does. The only difference is that most mixers have the makeup gain built in. We left out the amplifier so you can choose your flavor of makeup gain. Yes, this tonal variety is one of the major selling points of the Folcrom and is what differentiates it from other outboard summing solutions. So the idea that the Folcrom requires an attenuation that other solutions don't require is simply not true. You are made aware of it more when you use the Folcrom, because the signal actually comes out of one box and goes into another box at that attenuated level. This offers some serious advantages as have been discussed extensively.

In a way, you could say that digital mixers exhibit an insertion loss too, because you can't mix 24 tracks of full-scale audio into stereo without attenuating something someplace (like turning down your channels or your master fader). It's not the same as a resistive attenuator, but it's there and you have to deal with it.


And the Folcrom box is, IMHO, absurd -- in terms of the cost (must be some expensive resistors in that sucker), the circuit design (noisy, poor bandwidth), and the concept itself (why bang the signal down to mic level and then reamplify it when you could just go into the line level inputs of the mic pre/compressor/limiter of your choice and get essentially the same "color" and/or analog overdrive, but without the Folcrom's awful degradation of the signal you worked so hard to create?).



I don't know where you might have gotten the idea that the Folcrom is noisy or has poor bandwidth. I would love to hear about another piece of gear that is quieter or has wider bandwidth than this box. If you don't see the need to use an analog summing device, that's fine. It's not for you. If you'd like to encourage others to follow your example, I don't have a problem with that either. But you'll make a more convincing argument if you keep the details straight.

The Folcrom does not cost $1200 as asserted in this thread. It sells for under $800 through our dealers. I've had to answer just as many questions from dealers about why we've got the price so low as I have from skeptical engineers about why a passive box costs $800. Hint: It's not the transistors that make a mixer expensive. It's the switches. And the distribution, the chassis, the design, the assembly labor, the circuitboards, etc. and so on. Avergaing out all of the comments I've gotten about the price, I think it'll stay where it is. I'm not sleeping on a pile of money, but I'm keeping up with the bills for now. The ratio of parts cost to street price of the Folcrom is very typical of pro audio gear in general.

A direct and accurate comparison between an ITB mix, a Folcrom-summed mix, and an ITB-fed-through-the-Folcrom-chain mix is a rather difficult undertaking because there are a lot more variables than immediately apparent. It pretty well requires printing your effects, and you have to consider the pan law in effect inside the DAW on the ITB mix. There are a few other things I'd be more willing to discuss in a separate, less cluttered, less antagonistic thread. But it has been done several times, by us and by other users. There are probably still some samples floating around for those who are interested. Most Folcrom (and D2B) users agree that listening to a direct comparison is helpful in showing some of the potential but only tells half the story. As users keep saying on these forums, external summing has a way of transforming the way in which they approach a mix. That's not something that can be shown in a chart or demonstrated on a test disk. It's something you try and you either like it or you don't. Either way, it's up to the user. We didn't invent the concept of analog DAW summing, and we don't go out of our way to promote it as a concept. We don't need to. There's no shortage of engineers who are already decided on the matter of summing OTB, so I see no reason to waste our meager resources trying to convince skeptics. You're either into it or you're not, and that's fine. You don't have to teach people about gravity to sell an umbrella.


If the D2B was $700-$1000 and had a lot more flexibility...like, 32 channels with inserts on every channel



What exactly would be the point of having inserts on the D2B? It's got line-level inputs, and no signal processing. The point of inserts is that they allow you to INSERT another device between two points in the mixer's signal path - such as between the preamp and the equalizer, or between the equalizer and the fader. What two points on the D2B's signal path would you want to insert between? The input connectors and the mute switch? I think you need to reconsider your understanding of signal flow. A patchbay between the DAW and the summing box functions exactly the same as an insert. There would be NO advantage of any kind. Not even convenience. I'm laboring a tangent here, but I think it serves to illustrate that our knowledge base isn't always as durable and widely relevant as we would like to believe.

For those keeping score at home, I don't have a definitive geometric proof to spell out for you here on the subject of why some people prefer one method over the other. Is digital summing broken? Of course not, lots of good recordings have been made already. But is it perfect? Is anything? I don't know how useful that question is. What we do know is that a lot of people don't like the way it sounds, and have been much happier with their results since moving out of the box for mixdown. Not everybody, but a lot of people. And yes, an objective test will show that there's a tangible difference between analog and digital summing that goes beyond what happens in the amplifiers. Whether the difference is due to an increase or decrease in precision is rather beside the point. It sounds different, and if you like it better then it is better. For you.

If you have access to an outboard summing box, try the tests this anonymous StadiumRocker has suggested. I would think most users should do it first thing when they get one. My experience with carefully-conducted comparison tests have been conclusive, positive, and not at all subtle. But then, take a shot at building your mix around the OTB method. It's different, and once you get your head around it you quickly see what Produceher is talking about when he says the results of an OTB mix are incomparable to an ITB mix converted to OTB.

A lot of people have complained about the sound they've gotten mixing inside of various DAW platforms. That's doesn't change the fact that the DAW is an incredibly powerful production tool that is here to stay. Some people are completely satisfied with their ITB mixes, some aren't. There's nothing I can say that will convince anybody one way or the other. If you have the chance, give it a try. If you don't see any need for it, don't worry about it.

thephatboi
08-15-2005, 11:19 AM
Hallelujah! thank you Justin for clearing up alot of misinformation. I think we can put this one to rest. The lesson; let's keep an open mind and agree it is ok to agree to disgree sometimes (something my ex-wife never got). I know I have learned MOST of what I know about engineering from experimenting with all kinds of stuff: ok this procedure/piece of gear is [bleep]-not for my purposes; ok this one works, etc. So I encourage people to try stuff and if it isn't for them, then so be it. But you might stumble on something that changes the way you work or opens your ears to something you were missing. Kinda like religion, (uh oh!) Many believe there is only one right way. Well sorry there's an infinite number of paths to the same point, and he who believes he has ALL the answers and is 100% right all the time, is just advertising his ignorance. Enough said, over and out. SI

Steve@ZooWest
08-15-2005, 05:22 PM
Kinda like religion, (uh oh!) Many believe there is only one right way. Well sorry there's an infinite number of paths to the same point,



It would not become us to end this with an irrational, unproven statement. Let's leave the logic applicable to music production - we can debate that.

To summarily dismiss the western concept of rational thought - ie 'A is not non A' etc. may be fashionable in some circles, but is not something to be factually asserted, even if it is PC! Incidentally, your statement breaks it's own rule...

StadiumRocker
08-15-2005, 05:23 PM
The Folcrom is not simply lacking a gain stage. It intentionally reduces the output voltage, thereby requiring makeup gain.



Stadiumrocker, you're simultaneously correct and incorrect about the Folcrom. You're right that it does intentionally reduce the signal voltage and thereby require makeup gain. You're wrong about that being any more or less than simply lacking a gain stage. You see, EVERY mixer ANYWHERE uses series resistance on each channel to feed the summing amps, whether it be a passive design like the Folcrom (and like a lot of other highly-regarded old designs) or a virtual-ground design more typical of modern analog consoles.



[/QUOTE]

Hi Justin. What you've done is quote me out of context a few times and then responded only to the narrow context in which you are quoting me. Very Produceher-like. I don't need a lesson about how summing circuits work. Thank you. The comment you quoted was made in the overall context of the Folcrom's minimalist design. There are better ways, just as sonically transparent, to sum 16 channels without reducing the final summed signal voltage so drastically. The D2B is one example (my criticisms of the technical aspects of the Folcrom and D2B are different, if you read my first post on this thread.) In that context, I stand by my statement. Now that people are responding to this thread who are actually interested in debating the details, I'd be happy to expand upon the more generalized statements I have made in this thread, so long as it is a dialog and not a gotcha game of attacking back and forth.


I don't know where you might have gotten the idea that the Folcrom is noisy or has poor bandwidth. I would love to hear about another piece of gear that is quieter or has wider bandwidth than this box.



There is a noise floor. The noise floor is the reference point. If the summed signal voltage in the Folcrom is reduced by 40dB, and if that signal must subsequently be reamplified, then you are in essence adding a significant amount of noise. Second, frequency response is affected by source and output impedance in a direct coupled circuit, and as I already said above, that means the Folcrom's response can be good, or not so good, depending upon the convertors and mic preamps being used with it. Tell me where I'm going wrong. The overall context of my comments is that the Folcrom's excessively minimalist approach to summing 16 channels with direct coupling to unknown (to the Folcrom designer) convertors and preamps with no intermediate makeup gain is a poor design. JMHO.


A direct and accurate comparison between an ITB mix, a Folcrom-summed mix, and an ITB-fed-through-the-Folcrom-chain mix is a rather difficult undertaking because there are a lot more variables than immediately apparent. It pretty well requires printing your effects, and you have to consider the pan law in effect inside the DAW on the ITB mix.



I agree that it can get a little complicated doing this test accurately. I mentioned printing all the effects. Re pan law, that would not complicate the test so long as all of your tracks are submixed to stereo auxes (panned hard L/R) to the master bus in PT, which you then assign to I/O outputs in stereo pairs. If you are going to convert a mix from ITB to OTB, and send individual mono channels out to the Folcrom or D2B as well, then for example, if the kick was previously assigned to Output 1-2 and panned dead center, you would assign it to only Output 1, and lower the volume by -2.5dB (or put a trim plugin on it and lower it there if your channel fader is automated, and also make sure you use delay compensation in HD when you do this).



If the D2B was $700-$1000 and had a lot more flexibility...like, 32 channels with inserts on every channel



What exactly would be the point of having inserts on the D2B? It's got line-level inputs, and no signal processing. The point of inserts is that they allow you to INSERT another device between two points in the mixer's signal path - such as between the preamp and the equalizer, or between the equalizer and the fader. What two points on the D2B's signal path would you want to insert between? The input connectors and the mute switch? I think you need to reconsider your understanding of signal flow.



Way to go playing the "gotcha" game again Justin. You quoted me out of context quite unfairly here. The ENTIRE quote was:


If the D2B was $700-$1000 and had a lot more flexibility...like, 32 channels with inserts on every channel, mono/stereo option for every channel, bypassable detented passive gain knobs...then I might start to go for it,



When I typed that, I was just thinking out loud about how to make the D2B more of a bargain and add more functionality by making it more like a very simple mixer, with the ability to tweak the volume on each channel, and I was thinking to myself it might be nice to have switched relay insert points directly on the D2B so I could 1) optimize gain structure by getting a hot signal into the D2B, 2) pull the level of a channel down at the D2B if necessary, 3) optionally switch in an insert on the D2B so I could have various gear permanently hard patched directly into it so as to 3a) minimize use of a patchbay which I personally consider to be a bad thing when you're sending stems representing a significant portions of your mix through way more wire and connection points than is necessary, and 3b) Have a convenient "true bypass" solution for switching gear in and out of the signal chain at the touch of a button. It was just a statement about adding hypothetical features to the D2B for convenience and functionality. Didn't have a damn thing to do with signal flow. So thank you very much Justin for going off on a tangent and taking a shot at me, straight from the Produceher handbook, but my signal flow skills are very much intact, and I was only thinking out loud about how to add a little more functionality to these boxes relative to their exorbitant cost, and in the context of how a typical DAW user would incorporate them into their setup.


For those keeping score at home, I don't have a definitive geometric proof to spell out for you here on the subject of why some people prefer one method over the other. Is digital summing broken? Of course not, lots of good recordings have been made already. But is it perfect? Is anything? I don't know how useful that question is.



And what I said earlier was that the way these boxes are marketed is to imply that digital mixing is in fact broken, which is false. Again, a quote from the mercenary.com web site:


Since the dawn of modern recording there have been mixers. Since people started to realize that Pro-Tools sounds like ass when you try to mix "in the box" there has been a need to sum the audio in the analog domain through either a mixer or a "summing box".



That is how the OTB summing boxes are generally being marketed: DAW summing is broken. Buy this expensive box. Dude.


And yes, an objective test will show that there's a tangible difference between analog and digital summing that goes beyond what happens in the amplifiers.



Could you please describe a test that demonstrates this difference? Does it differ significantly from the one I suggested?


Whether the difference is due to an increase or decrease in precision is rather beside the point.



True.


It sounds different, and if you like it better then it is better. For you.



Which is quite different from saying "DAW summing suck ass" and this box fixes that imaginary problem. Why don't you put that middle of the road statement on the Mercenary web site? This thread started with a guy asking "what's the deal, anybody done an A/B test?" All I've done is respond to that original point with a test people can try.


If you have access to an outboard summing box, try the tests this anonymous StadiumRocker has suggested. I would think most users should do it first thing when they get one. My experience with carefully-conducted comparison tests have been conclusive, positive, and not at all subtle.



And it would be great if you would post full bandwidth WAV or AIF files of those tests on your web site so people could make a more informed decision for themselves. But the problem is that many people may not hear the difference, or would hear such a small difference that they would seriously question the exaggerated claims used to market the outboard summing boxes, and therefore wouldn't buy in the first place. Lets be real here for a moment. If you can increase sales by hyping the gear, that's a good thing (for you). Rock on brother. Make your money just like the rest of us. Meanwhile, in forums like this, people will share opinions about the legitimacy of those marketing claims, and their experiences with the gear in question.

When the original poster asked about OTB summing, the point of his post was, "Should I spend my money on this? Is it worth it? What's all the talk about?" So, Justin, please provide some audio files for people and help them make an informed decision.


Some people are completely satisfied with their ITB mixes, some aren't.



And if I may take this opportunity to reiterate my thesis, a Folcrom or D2B will not substantially improve the results of those who are not satisfied with their ITB mixes. That is just my opinion, it is based on a listening test that was done very carefully, and by all means try it for yourself so you can decide for yourself.


There's nothing I can say that will convince anybody one way or the other. If you have the chance, give it a try. If you don't see any need for it, don't worry about it.



Exactly.

Kenny Gioia
08-15-2005, 06:33 PM
Producer asked:


Why don't you post your results?



Stadium Rocker responded:



What do you want me to do, post a couple mixes?

What will that prove?

As you said, you'll learn a lot more trying it for yourself on your own mixes.




Than Studio Rocker tells Folcrom maker:



And it would be great if you would post full bandwidth WAV or AIF files of those tests on your web site so people could make a more informed decision for themselves.



So you agree with me that posting results proves nothing but you would like Ulysses to do it anyway.

Make up your mind!!!!!!!

thephatboi
08-15-2005, 06:35 PM
Steve,
what I said was not irrational, and I was saying that nothing is proven, so don't get down on me about my "unproven" statement. By the way I don't give a rat's ass about what is PC, I was simply saying that everybody has their own way of getting to where they want to go with mixing, and there are a million ways to get to a finished record, other things in life are the same way so why be judgemental and insist that your way is the best or only way, that is what I meant if you don't get it then I guess we can agree to disagree, at least I will. Au revoir!

StadiumRocker
08-15-2005, 06:48 PM
So you agree with me that posting results proves nothing but you would like Ulysses to do it anyway. Make up your mind!!!!!!!



Ah, Produceher! From quoting Robert Frost, right back to your regular old miserable self. I guess you really got me on that one. Golf clap all around.

I won't post mixes to prove a point TO YOU, because communcating WITH YOU is futile.

I suggested that Justin post mixes because he's the manufacturer, and to contrast the honesty of such an approach with the current marketing tactics of saying that DAW summing "sucks ass" and a Folcrom or D2B will save the day, and because it is not uncommon for manufacturers of audio gear to post examples of what their gear does to the sound.

Keep those 1st grade logic observations coming, Produceher.

Kenny Gioia
08-15-2005, 09:17 PM
I suggested that Justin post mixes because he's the manufacturer, and to contrast the honesty of such an approach with the current marketing tactics of saying that DAW summing "sucks ass" and a Folcrom or D2B will save the day,



But Justin never said anything like that. You are quoting that from here. (http://www.mercenary.com/2buscom.html)

That is Mercenary's site. Fletcher wrote that regarding all summing boxes, not just the Folcrom.

As you can see on the Folcrom website, (http://www.rollmusic.com/systems/folcrom.shtml) the customer is being asked "Are you dissatisfied with the harsh, sterile sound of your Digital Audio Workstation? "

If you are very happy with yours (as you are) no need to buy the box. Simple


and because it is not uncommon for manufacturers of audio gear to post examples of what their gear does to the sound.



Really?

Which sites would those be?

Because I visited all my favorite audio manufacturers today and didn't find "any" of them to have audio examples of what their gear does to sound?


AEA Microphones,
Alan Smart Compressors,
AMI Tab Funkenwerk,
Api,
Apogee,
Avalon Design,
Avenson Audio,
Benchmark,
Brauner,
Chandler Limited,
Coleman Audio,
Coles Microphones,
Crane Song,
Dangerous Music, Drawmer,
DWFearn,
Earthworks,
Empirical Labs,
Esoteric Audio Research,
FMR Audio,
George Massenburg Labs,
Great River,
Groove Tubes,
Horch,
iZ Technology - RADAR® ,
John Hardy Mic Pre's,
Josephson Microphones,
Langevin,
Lavry Engineering,
Little Labs,
Manley Labs,
Martech MSS-10,
Microtech Gefell,
Palmer,
Pendulum Audio,
PrismSound,
Purple Audio,
Royer Labs,
Smart Research,
Soundelux,
Speck Electronics,
SPL Electronics,
Thermionic Culture,
Toft Audio Designs,

Is there some kind of alternate universe that "you" live on?


Keep those 1st grade logic observations coming, Produceher.

StadiumRocker
08-15-2005, 11:27 PM
But Justin never said anything like that.



I didn't say he did. I said that's how these boxes are being marketed, and it's true. Call a dealer. Pretend you don't know anything about audio equipment (won't be difficult for you), and innocently inquire about the Folcrom or D2B. The salesman will proceed with the usual line of garbage he collected from the internet. "Dude, the summing in Pro Tools like totally sucks man, and like, this box will make your mixes ROCK! Dude!"


Because I visited all my favorite audio manufacturers today and didn't find "any" of them to have audio examples of what their gear does to sound?



Really? You visited all of those sites and found no audio examples? Interesting. All that reading must have taken you days, and yet you responded here within a couple hours claiming to have found none.

Stranger still, I went here:

http://www.royerlabs.com/audiosamples.html

...and whaddya know! Audio samples! First try!

And I'll bet you really did try that A/B test, cuz you're such an honest guy who's just trying to share an honest point of view in this discussion. And I'll bet the Folcrom slayed all the other mixes! Dude! Rock! Choice! System of a Down! Check out my big member with great ears!

Whatever you say, Produceher. Just keep talkin' out your *****, and proudly signing your name to it.


Is there some kind of alternate universe that "you" live on?



Yes. It's an exact replica of this universe in every respect, except for one - you don't exist in it. It's a Produceherless universe. Lovely place, really. Quite peaceful. Zen-like.

Justin Ulysses Morse
08-16-2005, 12:57 AM
Hi Justin. What you've done is quote me out of context a few times and then responded only to the narrow context in which you are quoting me. Very Produceher-like.

That's not my intention. I felt it was necessary to cull the relevant points from this rather long thread, and edit for the sake of clarity. I could have dissected your entire statement, but nitpicking your other statements is not my objective here. If you feel some nuance of your point was lost in the process, I apologize. This thread is being read by more than just you and me, and I'm trying to keep my posts concise. I'm not entirely successful, as my last post was a bit verbose.


I don't need a lesson about how summing circuits work. Thank you.

Apparently you do. I'm not trying to be rude when I say that -- it's based on your initial comments as well as your clarification. The main point I was trying to make in my previous post is that this insertion loss in the Folcrom is present in every other mixer available, including the D2B, or any traditional recording console. I honestly can't tell if you understand this or not, but you seem to be denying it here. ALL MIXERS attenuate the input signals by an amount comparable to what the Folcrom does, and they all require makeup gain which is traditionally done internally. If you're trying to say that the concept of an analog mixer is flawed, or that it's counterproductive to use an analog mixer in this application, then your statement about the attenuation makes sense. But if you're asserting that the insertion loss in the Folcrom makes it different and inferior to other mixers then you're wrong. Factually incorrect. Think about it until you understand, then let's move on.



Second, frequency response is affected by source and output impedance in a direct coupled circuit, and as I already said above, that means the Folcrom's response can be good, or not so good, depending upon the convertors and mic preamps being used with it. Tell me where I'm going wrong. The overall context of my comments is that the Folcrom's excessively minimalist approach to summing 16 channels with direct coupling to unknown (to the Folcrom designer) convertors and preamps with no intermediate makeup gain is a poor design. JMHO.

Okay then. Where you're going wrong is in your assertion that interfacing issues between the DAW and the Folcrom or between the Folcrom and the preamp will be significant and detrimental, or that the relevant electrical characteristics of the source and load are unknown. The output impedance of high quality DACs does not vary significantly, and the input impedance of typical studio-grade mike preamps is widely known to vary across a fairly well-defined range. People don't bother coming out of the DAW just hit prosumer junk analog gear, so the assumption of professional quality source and load is valid. You're welcome to use the Folcrom with crappy converters and preamps if you want to, but that's not how it was intended. How do I know I got it right? Because I did a careful job of designing it, and because many, many Folcrom users have reported pleasing results from using it. Corroboration.


Way to go playing the "gotcha" game again Justin. You quoted me out of context quite unfairly here. The ENTIRE quote was:
If the D2B was $700-$1000 and had a lot more flexibility...like, 32 channels with inserts on every channel, mono/stereo option for every channel, bypassable detented passive gain knobs...then I might start to go for it,



The only reason I edited that quote is that I didn't want to distract from the focus of the thread by taking time to point out what's wrong with the remainder of your suggestion. But since you brought it up again, the D2B already has mono/stereo switching and there's a very good and specific reason for not having gain knobs on it (same applies to the Folcrom). What you're describing is a mixing console, and people who want to move faders for their OTB mixes should buy a mixing console and use it. That appears to be your point, and as far as I can tell the reason you're making it is that you think my company and/or Dangerous are trying to discourage people from mixing on a traditional console. Such is not the case. There are specific reasons why a traditional console doesn't work for some people in conjunction with the DAW (it's a matter of repeatability in addition to signal path). The lack of features on the Folcrom is only a rip-off if you need those features. For those whose application makes certain features (like faders) a liability, leaving them out improves the value for them. Please don't assume we're trying to push this solution on people who need something else. And you definitely shouldn't assume that our *dealers* would try to sell someone an $800 Folcrom when what they really need is a $10k console. Many of our dealers also sell consoles.



And what I said earlier was that the way these boxes are marketed is to imply that digital mixing is in fact broken, which is false. Again, a quote from the mercenary.com web site:


Since the dawn of modern recording there have been mixers. Since people started to realize that Pro-Tools sounds like ass when you try to mix "in the box" there has been a need to sum the audio in the analog domain through either a mixer or a "summing box".


That is how the OTB summing boxes are generally being marketed: DAW summing is broken. Buy this expensive box. Dude.


So are you saying that DAW users have NOT complained about how their ITB mixes sound? We can debate the causes if you want to, but if you're here to say that engineers didn't know their ITB mixes sucked until Mercenary told them so, then we can stop right now. My own approach has been to say that IF you have a problem with the ITB sound, here's one solution. You've announced quite loudly here that I have some kind of sinister marketing campaign in place when in reality my marketing campaign is practically non-existent.



And yes, an objective test will show that there's a tangible difference between analog and digital summing that goes beyond what happens in the amplifiers.


Could you please describe a test that demonstrates this difference? Does it differ significantly from the one I suggested?



The test you described is reasonable as long as you pay close attention to detail in the set-up. As I said in my previous post, I think everybody should give it a try.




It sounds different, and if you like it better then it is better. For you.


Which is quite different from saying "DAW summing suck ass" and this box fixes that imaginary problem. Why don't you put that middle of the road statement on the Mercenary web site?


Because I don't run the Mercenary web site. The people at Mercenary are experienced engineers who use lots of different gear and they're well known and widely respected for their blunt assessments of gear. The fact that they're willing to carry the Folcrom is, to me, a very high compliment and I trust them to say exactly what they mean in their online descriptions. You'll notice that the marketing language at rollmusic.com differs significantly.


This thread started with a guy asking "what's the deal, anybody done an A/B test?" All I've done is respond to that original point with a test people can try.

There's nothing wrong with that. If you'd stop telling people what to hear when they conduct this test, then we'll live in beautiful harmony.



When the original poster asked about OTB summing, the point of his post was, "Should I spend my money on this? Is it worth it? What's all the talk about?" So, Justin, please provide some audio files for people and help them make an informed decision.



For one thing, since I have a financial stake in the outcome, nobody should trust the test if I'm the one who performed it. Do it yourself. Lots of people already have, and the consensus seems to strongly disagree with your stated results. I'm not saying you did it wrong or that you're tone deaf. Nobody could make that kind of judgement about you because nobody knows who you are. Of course nobody can take your claims too seriously either. There have been quite a few discussions on other forums where people we've all heard of have used their real names and discussed results quite different from yours. I'm sorry this particular thread hasn't been as inclusive as we'd all like. Maybe if the tone were less acerbic there would be wider participation.

StadiumRocker
08-16-2005, 06:23 AM
if you're asserting that the insertion loss in the Folcrom makes it different and inferior to other mixers then you're wrong.



No, I wasn't trying to assert any such thing. My assertion is a broader point: passively summing 16 channels and incurring a net 40dB loss of the entire summed signal at the input of the makeup gain stage is a poor solution to the original problem you set out to solve (ITB summing).


Where you're going wrong is in your assertion that interfacing issues between the DAW and the Folcrom or between the Folcrom and the preamp will be significant and detrimental, or that the relevant electrical characteristics of the source and load are unknown. The output impedance of high quality DACs does not vary significantly, and the input impedance of typical studio-grade mike preamps is widely known to vary across a fairly well-defined range.



Point taken. How do you measure "significant and detrimental"? How much variation is there in the Folcrom frequency response when feeding a mic preamp with an input impedance of 300 ohms vs 2500 ohms?


the D2B already has mono/stereo switching and there's a very good and specific reason for not having gain knobs on it (same applies to the Folcrom). What you're describing is a mixing console, and people who want to move faders for their OTB mixes should buy a mixing console and use it. That appears to be your point



My point was that for $2500, the D2B could bridge the gap between summing box and full featured mixer by offering some basic mixing and outboard gear integration features to supplement its primary purpose.


, and as far as I can tell the reason you're making it is that you think my company and/or Dangerous are trying to discourage people from mixing on a traditional console.



I don't think you're trying to discourage it. I just think that buying a box that does only one thing (summing) is a silly thing to buy based on what I have heard so far, and I would prefer a product that bridges the gap between a full featured mixer and a one-trick summing box.


There are specific reasons why a traditional console doesn't work for some people in conjunction with the DAW



I wasn't talking about a traditional console. I was talking about adding just a couple of "console features" to improve the value of an otherwise overpriced summing box.


(it's a matter of repeatability



Detented knobs.


in addition to signal path).



High quality relays.


So are you saying that DAW users have NOT complained about how their ITB mixes sound? We can debate the causes if you want to,



Yes! Lets do that, because it happens to be at the heart of the entire matter. Lets talk about how to demonstrate conclusively what the difference is between ITB summing vs OTB summing - while very carefully excluding all other variables. That happens to be the only thing I have been trying to talk about this entire time. The summing. Nothing else.


but if you're here to say that engineers didn't know their ITB mixes sucked until Mercenary told them so, then we can stop right now.



I'm saying that an ITB mix can suck all day long and on into the night, and that suck factor has absolutely nothing to do with the summing bus in Pro Tools. Then take the same sucky mix, and sum 16 sucky channels in a Folcrom with the most wonderful and sonically transparent mic preamp on the planet, and the mix will still suck, but it will now have analog characteristics that mask some of the suckiness in a pleasing way which has nothing to do with where the mix was summed. I'm positive I have said this before: A D2B or Folcrom mix may sound better, but it has little or nothing to do with ITB vs OTB summing, and a lot to do with makeup gain, A/D/D/A conversion, cables, mic preamps, etc.


My own approach has been to say that IF you have a problem with the ITB sound, here's one solution. You've announced quite loudly here that I have some kind of sinister marketing campaign in place when in reality my marketing campaign is practically non-existent.



The marketing seems to be mostly internet word of mouth. I do think there is a certain reliance on "digital ignorance" to sell a Folcrom or D2B, and I think the Folcrom and D2B and others are cropping up to capitalize on the opportunity. Many, many, many threads on the DUC, Prosoundweb/Marsh, etc, predate the birth of these summing boxes, and in almost every thread or review where these boxes are discussed, someone mentions phrases like "bad math", "poor ITB summing", "strain on the PT mix bus", etc. The concept behind these boxes is that digital summing is flawed. Nothing sinister about it, and I didn't mean to imply that you are somehow the source of it. It's just a notion that some people seem to latch onto, and I think it's worth dispelling if possible.


The people at Mercenary are experienced engineers who use lots of different gear and they're well known and widely respected for their blunt assessments of gear. You'll notice that the marketing language at rollmusic.com differs significantly.



Duly noted.


If you'd stop telling people what to hear when they conduct this test, then we'll live in beautiful harmony.



For the record, I am not the guy on this thread who is telling people what to hear. You are confusing me with Produceher. Dude. Rock. Choice. Feel. I'm the guy who said, "This is what I heard", and when people started crying, I said "Don't take my word for it, try the same test I tried so you can hear it for yourself." I haven't seen anybody else on this thread (besides you - thanks for that mention of pan law) kicking in ideas for how to quantify the difference between ITB and OTB summing.


since I have a financial stake in the outcome, nobody should trust the test if I'm the one who performed it. Do it yourself.



I did. Take my word for it, or not.


Lots of people already have, and the consensus seems to strongly disagree with your stated results.



Consensus? A majority have reached consensus on this topic? Well, I didn't get that memo, but I do appreciate your point of view, and I sincerely wish you the best of luck in selling as many Folcrom's as possible.


I'm not saying you did it wrong or that you're tone deaf. Nobody could make that kind of judgement about you because nobody knows who you are. Of course nobody can take your claims too seriously either.



Don't take my claims seriously. That's the problem. Half the people who believe ITB summing is flawed believe all the crap they read on the internet. I encourage everybody to disregard all of the claims on this thread from the named and anonymous alike, and just try an objective blind A/B listening test.


There have been quite a few discussions on other forums where people we've all heard of have used their real names and discussed results quite different from yours.



Share a link to the thread so I can read what they had to say.


Maybe if the tone were less acerbic there would be wider participation.



Don't particpate. Just buy a Folcrom from Justin and try the listening test.

Kenny Gioia
08-16-2005, 07:43 AM
Yes. It's an exact replica of this universe in every respect, except for one - you don't exist in it. It's a Produceherless universe. Lovely place, really. Quite peaceful. Zen-like.



So I'm the source of all your problems?

Awesome.

We should hang out more.

Something tells me that you have these problems wherever you go.

So a universe without me won't change much for you.

But a DUC without you, that sounds like Zen.

And BTW - I do know who you are. And I believe you have been banned from here before. All in due time. All in due time.


Maybe if the tone were less acerbic there would be wider participation.



Don't particpate. Just buy a Folcrom from Justin and try the listening test.

[/QUOTE]

Absolutely. I agree with you there.

AvidCS
08-16-2005, 08:12 AM
I'll tell you what guys, I think this thread has about worn itself out here on the DUC. Well, it's worn me out anyway.

Please take this to a more general audio/engineering forum or the Fulcrom users conference.

Thanks.

DigiCS