Analog summing is a technique used in audio mixing where the individual tracks of a digital recording are routed through an analog summing device before being recorded back into a digital format. The aim is to achieve a warmer, more natural sound that can be difficult to achieve with digital mixing alone.
While analog summing has its advantages, it also comes with some drawbacks. In this blog article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using analog summing for audio mixing.
Pros of Analog Summing:
Warm and Natural Sound: the analog way can give a more natural and organic sound to a mix. This is because analog circuits introduce subtle harmonic distortions and add character to the sound that can be difficult to replicate with digital tools. This can result in a more pleasing and musical mix, especially for genres such as rock, folk, and jazz that tend to benefit from a more organic sound.
Greater Depth and Clarity: Analog summing can also provide a greater sense of depth and clarity to a mix. The individual tracks are combined in the analog domain, which can result in a more cohesive and unified sound. This is especially beneficial for larger, more complex mixes with lots of instruments and tracks.
Less CPU Load: Mixing in the box can put a significant strain on your computer’s CPU. With the analog way, the majority of the mixing is done in the analog domain, which can reduce the CPU load and allow for more efficient processing of other digital plugins.
Expensive Equipment: Analog summing requires specialized hardware such as a summing mixer, which can be expensive. This can be a significant investment for home studio owners or smaller studios who may not have the budget for this type of equipment.
Limited Flexibility: Once the mix has been sent through the analog summing device, there is limited opportunity to make changes to the mix. Any further adjustments would have to be made in the digital domain, which may compromise the sound quality achieved through analog summing.
Inconsistent Results: Analog summing can be unpredictable and can produce varying results depending on the quality of the equipment and the individual components used. This can make it difficult to achieve consistent results and can lead to frustration for engineers who are looking for a particular sound.
Analog summing can be a valuable tool in music recording studios for achieving a warmer, more natural sound in mixing. However, it requires specialized equipment and can be expensive, limiting its accessibility for some. Additionally, analog summing may not be suitable for all genres or mixing scenarios and may result in limited flexibility and inconsistent results. Ultimately, whether or not to use analog summing will depend on individual preferences, budget, and the specific needs of a particular project.