[Ardour-Users] analog summing

Ralf Mardorf ralf.mardorf at alice-dsl.net
Sun Dec 17 12:02:02 PST 2017

On Sun, 17 Dec 2017 13:54:36 -0600, Brent Busby wrote:
>Matt Keys <matt at mattkeys.net> writes:
>> I'm not really trying to do anything at the moment other than
>> understand when and why you'd want to use something like the 2-bus
>> (http://dangerousmusic.com/product/2-bus-plus/), or how it is
>> different than for example the stereo main outs of a 16 channel
>> analog mixer? Is the extra 'color' claim completely bullshit?  
>I don't think it's bullshit in principle.  I have an Allen & Heath
>console which I've proved to my own satisfaction provides color and
>thickness that isn't there naturally by A/B comparison, to the point
>that when it's not there, instruments that I normally think I know the
>sound of, sound anemic and thin when I plug them directly into my
>interface.  And it's not a Neve or anything remotely that classy at
>all. So yes, I can say from my own observation that going through a
>mixer can sound way better than direct hookup.
>The thing I never understood about summing though is that usually it
>seems like the boxes that provide it are built to make the signal path
>as clean and minimal as possible.  If one just admits that what you're
>wanting is mild doses distortion, it makes no sense.  When guitarists
>want distortion, they just put a nice wild germanium transistor in a
>battery powered pedal with unbalanced i/o and let it go.  All this posh
>exquisitely crafted audiophile hardware to get your sound dirty...why?
>Also, it misses out on the opportunity for more functionality from the
>same unit.  A summing box _just_ sums.  You could have a mixer console,
>granted, maybe not a Neve, but it doesn't take a Neve to get that job
>done.  A mixer is way more useful than a box that takes stuff in and
>passes the same stuff back out again (with some magic pixie noise added
>in that you couldn't have gotten any other way presumably).  I'd rather
>have an actual mixer.
>Then again, I've long had exactly the same feeling about dedicated Midi
>controller keyboards, that they needlessly avoid added functionality.
>Why go through all this trouble to get a Midi keyboard that can't do
>anything when you could get a Midi keyboard that's actually a
>synthesizer or sampler workstation as well?  Are people really that
>committed to working "in-the-box" and not having any real instruments
>at all that they need a special kind of keyboard whose main claim to
>fame is that aside from outputting bytes, it can't do anything?  Is
>that an advantage?  How am I benefiting from this handicap that it
>can't do anything on its own?  Even if I start out from the premise
>that I'm trying to avoid the complexity of a hardware-based studio
>(which I'm not, but let's say I was), and I want to stick with virtual
>instruments as much as possible, even then, I have to admit that I
>need at least one real keyboard, or else the music will never get
>played.  Why should that keyboard be deliberately handicapped in an
>effort to be as "in-the-box" as possible?  If it's because you want
>more controllers (sliders, knobs, etc.) to map to Midi events, they
>make devices just for that like the Behringer BCR2000.  Instead of
>getting a purposed-made handicapped controller, you could get a
>workstation keyboard that actually does something, and you might as
>well, since you were going to need at least one keyboard anyway
>Anyway, summing boxes just seem like more of that sort of Midi
>controllers instead of workstation keyboards thing to me.  You could
>have gotten a mixer to add that color, but that would have done more,
>and God only knows, we can't have that...

Good phrased! +1

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