When it comes to achieving that warm, expansive, and enormous sound for your mixes, consider using the hardware mixing consoles in your mixing process for a truly professional sound.
The concept of summing mixing is deceptively simple. In the world of recording and mixing, especially when dealing with numerous tracks, whether on a physical console or a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), you eventually need to mix them all down to a single stereo channel. This process of funneling all those tracks together is called summing. Just like in mathematics, when you add things up, you get the sum of those parts.
Originally, this all took place in the analog domain, within a mixing console. However, as digital recording and mixing were becoming a reality, people began to complain about the sound of digital summing happening within the DAW. The argument was that when you take tracks that are inherently digital and sum them digitally, you end up with a completely digital final mix. It’s said that digital summing sounds colder, harsher, and more brittle.
So, the solution to this digital predicament was to take individual tracks (or groups of tracks) out of the digital realm and sum them up through an analog console. This way, you retain the advantages of digital recording and mixing in a DAW but benefit from the “warm, expansive, and enormous” sound of analog summing. At least, that’s the idea.
However, it’s important to note that analog summing alone won’t magically transform poorly mixed tracks into sonic masterpieces. It requires skill and experience. Remember, there’s no magic bullet in recording or mixing. If there were, everyone would simply buy the necessary equipment, and instantly, we’d all be producing professional-grade mixes.
The key takeaway here is that analog summing can be a valuable tool in the hands of an experienced engineer. It adds a certain character and warmth to the final mix that many find appealing. Analog summing can impart subtle harmonic distortion and natural compression. It can make mixes sound more organic and lifelike.
When working with analog consoles as we have in our studio, you’re tapping into a legacy of audio engineering excellence. These consoles are renowned for their sonic qualities and have been used on countless hit records. They provide the kind of summing that many engineers and producers swear by to achieve that elusive “analog magic.”
Keep in mind that while analog summing and saturation can be powerful tools, they are just one part of the mastering process. It’s a piece of the puzzle that, when used skillfully, can elevate your music to the next level. So, whether you’re working in the digital realm or blending the best of both analog and digital worlds, remember that the art of mixing is a journey of constant learning and refinement.