Analog summing – what is it, is it needed, should you invest the cash into a rig? In a nutshell, analog summing offers the analog console sound in a small rack-mount format without the high cost, maintenance, or footprint of a full-size analog console. Is it needed – no. Will you fall in love with it the second you hear it – yes. Should you invest the coin to get an analog summing mixer – not if you, have low-end converters. Yes, if you have good converters and want all the benefits of analog processing across the entire production, mix, or stem mastering session.
We used a bunch of summing boxes including SSL, Dangerous, Burl, and more. We gave Paul’s (owner of Vintage Maker) Neumann summing mixer a shot to see how it sounds. This thing is a godsend for mixes! Lush and extensive, all the depth you could ask for, has an FX send/Return options, plus busses!
Paul is a down to earth guy who has a deep passion for making some of the best audio engineering tools available today. When buying analog gear, it’s nice to understand the ethos behind the company making the products.
Audio equipment made cheaply in third world countries with low-grade parts on an assembly line do serve a purpose. These products don’t cost much and can be purchased with free 2-day shipping on Amazon. For producers on a budget or learning the ropes of audio engineering, these types of products are great. As one gets more rooted in the craft of audio, our needs become a bit more acute as workflows start to adapt to our tailored needs vs. stock industry trends.
When crossing over from the home studio realm and into the project and professional levels, sonic quality is a must. Build quality is a must. Longevity and reliability is a must. Customer service and repair service is a must. There are core aspects to why we engineers justify the high costs for analog hardware. We spend the money because it’s an investment in our business and into our client base. We want to know that our investment in analog gear will be an attribute to the growth of our studio. All purchases must render fruitful gain and be free of stress when it comes to sessions running efficiently at all times.
VintageMaker checks all of these boxes. Paul is the owner of the company and as the designer of all products. Paul puts his whole heart and skill set into each “custom made to order” analog summing mixer. Paul is also intensely communicative and goes above and beyond to make sure each detail is to the liking of the buyer and is aligned with the needs and desires of the engineer. Attached are pictures sent from Paul all through the design process from start to end. Paul literally covered every base down to effective connectivity in the DAW.
The ordering and design process was not only fun but was also informative. Paul was there every step of the way to shed light on ideas, made recommendations, and added features which would complement our current workflow and existing gear setup. When the summing mixer arrived, it arrived looking identical to Paul’s photo and email updates. The pictures don’t do the unit justice, it’s a work of art and sounds breathtaking! Since installing the summing mixer in the rack it has been on every mix and most often the master. These units are so clean it doesn’t hurt to have it on no matter what stage of engineering is taking place.
The custom summing mixer designed for Continuum has 32 channels of summing which can be mono or stereo via the four bases giving us a total of 40 inputs. Paul developed a custom output section to pair with our mastering transfer console and also added the options for all four stereo/mono busses to be output separately from the master out.
The multiple passive outputs give us the ability to print stems post hardware! The Neumann transformers sound ridiculous clean, detailed, and 3d. We do mostly EDM and pop music and rely on mixes printing clean with incredible fidelity. We have a wide range of analog gear which is tube and transformed based.
We get color in the mix from multiple pieces of analog gear and don’t need the output of the summing mixer to add more color like most summing mixers on the market offer. Our unit also has a 32 channel routing matrix just like an analog console. The routing matrix allows for the ability to route instruments to a dedicated analog group which has sends and returns available for flexible hardware routing. The summing mixer is connected to our patch bay giving us endless routing options so we can utilize the full power of this fantastic unit.
For anyone considering jumping over to the analog summing world, or for upgrading into a more customizable design seriously consider Paul at VintageMaker. He offers impressive flexibility in design from 1u to 3u units with whatever your heart desires. From multiple transformer options, active/passive configurations, routing matrixes, buses, and pristine audio quality there is indeed something for everyone. After all, who doesn’t want to design their gear! If you no longer want to be at the mercy of “what’s available on the market” or “comprising cost for limited features” check out Paul’s work. Oh, ya… One more thing… Paul’s units sound as good at the top company’s and save you some serious coin in the process. Finally a solid deal in pro audio without comprising the quality of product!
All of us engineers love to have our needs met. If we could all customize our gear, mod units, and help design revisions to products, I’m sure many of us would sign up merely to own tools which genuinely empower us to be more creative and inspired. VintageMaker for the win!
Contact Paul today through his site: http://www.vintagemaker.net/