High-end stand-alone summing bus

9 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined: 02/12/2009

A few years back I was championing the idea of a high-end stand-alone summing bus for use with DAWs (Pro Tools, etc.). The idea was to have a "straight-wire" super-high-end box with multichannel input and two-channel output. Basically, 32 (or whatever #) input XLRs, and two output XLRs. Maybe a master fader. You could then set individual tracks (+ aux returns, busses etc) on your DAW to go out of a channel on your interface, and into a channel on this box.

This would offer a better sounding summing bus a la classic Neve, pristine SSL, GML etc. It would also take a bit of the load off of the computer- so much math! Automation could be handled by the DAW except the master fade in/out. The best of both worlds: digital editing and playback with analog mixing.

Of course, it was just speculative talk. Until now: Finally someone has built it:

http://dangerousmusic.com/2buslt.html
http://dangerousmusic.com/2bus.html

Could be cool. Who knows how it sounds, though, and if it's worth the price tag...

n/a
Offline
Joined: 01/12/2004

This Dangerous box seems great, but only has two outs. A friend of mine
has designed and built a high-end monitoring box like this, but with
two sets of 8 inputs, and one set of 8 outputs, so that you could do
surround mixing. He is just looking for a audio company which will
build the product.

Beto

Offline
Joined: 02/12/2009

Yeah, that would be key. That same company makes another unit that almost does that,
http://dangerousmusic.com/monitor.html

But it lacks any surround monitoring and yeouch it lists at $4,999! Seems overpriced compared to the unique role their two summing bus boxes fill (@ $1499 & $2999)...

argg, and all these units use stepped attenuators on the main output. Sure, sure, that's a better quality signal path. And yeah yeah, you can recreate an exact setting easily. But sheez man, they are annoying to use.

As for the panning, I guess their method is OK, but an actual pan knob would be nice. I'm sure that would comprimise the ultimate fidelity too. Damn, because I want my cake and I want to eat it too.

n/a
Offline
Joined: 01/12/2004

This buddy's box is designed to sell at $1,500, with surround mixing capabilities.

beto

Offline
Joined: 01/12/2004

I agree with both of you, there is a crying need for a balanced summing buss. Since you are both more technical than me, forgive one simple question. Why does the thing need a power supply?

Gordon B

Offline
Joined: 01/12/2004

visitor wrote: Why does the thing need a power supply?

gb

Same reason a mixer (like an Amek Einstein, etc...) has to. It has a bunch
of internal electronics that need powering. I'm not an Electronic Engineer,
but I suppose you could simply have wires that sum into two, but that would
probably be super noisy and not give you any features.

The box I've used has a ton of features, like soloing, dimming, or muting
individual inputs; allowing for setting the level of each input individually
from the remote control (without having to fudge with screws), and saving
different setups (of volume, gain, etc...) so that you could toggle between
them at the push of a button (to, for instance, go from listening to full
surround, to listening to just LR, to listening just to the Surround
Channels). All that muting, gaining and all, takes a dedicated chip that
needs to be powered just for it to do its job, plus an EPROM (electronic
programable ROM, or something like that) that saves all those feature sets,
plus the LEDs, and character display.

beto

Offline
Joined: 01/12/2004

I keep thinking of those old passive line mixers, I used to have in High
School. Unbalanced, 1/4 to 1/4, four-in one-out, with a volume pot on each
channel. My recollection was that they worked fine once you had a line
level signal. Back then we were always trying to plug three Gtrs into one
amp (uhggg!)

I think that if you want any real set of features your definatly going
to need a power supply, but if you simply want summing maybe not.

gb

Offline
Joined: 01/12/2004

That is fine. But I think if you have 10,000 dollars or more invested in a
DAW, you are going to want more than a passive summing mixer as your front
end. Think of what that might do to the sound. You are going to want
features and little blinking lights. :wink:

beto

Offline
Joined: 02/12/2009

Yeah, really. brightness of lights=sound quality! Everyone knows that! :wink:

It would need a catchier In-Your-Face name to appeal to the "buy it based on name recognition without listening to it" crowd. How about The Sum Enforcer, King Kong Sum, Mother of All Summing Busses, My Bus Can Beat Up Your Bus, etc.

n/a
Offline
Joined: 05/30/2004

That is fine. But I think if you have 10,000 dollars or more invested in a
DAW, you are going to want more than a passive summing mixer as your front end. Think of what that might do to the sound.

That's hilarious........what it's gonna do to the sound is NOTHING. The finest recording consoles ever constructed (early 70's 80xx series Neves) all utilize passive summing.

The problem with passive summing is that it works great for a limited number of inputs, but becomes problematic as the number of inputs increases. For an 8x2 mixer, passive is the only way to go, for 16 or 24 inputs, it's still do-able, but you need some skilled engineers and some costly components. Unfortunately, the audio industry got crazy in the mid to late 70's and folks started beliieving that they needed 48 or more tracks to make a record (fools!). That required the move to active summing and all the crappy audio that goes along with it. For a wonderful discussion (not too technical) of the two types of summing, go to http://www.forsselltech.com/summing%20buss.htm

steve
eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%6c%65%78%31%32%35%40%70%61%63%62%65%6c%6c%2e%6e%65%74%22%3e%6c%65%78%31%32%35%40%70%61%63%62%65%6c%6c%2e%6e%65%74%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b'))

Share this