By today’s digital standard, analog summing mixers may appear outdated, but the sound they can bestow on a signal makes them more important than ever. Although digital processing offers many practical and time-saving benefits for engineers, it lacks the appealing auditory characteristics that analog sound, analog routing and analog processing are known for.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best analog summing mixers for enhancing the sound quality of your digital mixes. Some of these mixers are unquestionably more expensive, but we wanted to focus on the mixers that produced the finest sound, regardless of price tag.
It’s also worth noting that, while the mixers at the top of our list are deemed better than some of the others, this list isn’t in any particular sequence from good to best. The best analog summing mixer will be determined by your specific requirements and the analog signals you want to achieve. To figure out which one is best for your studio, think about your particular preferences and pro audio mixing demands.
Table of Contents
Dangerous Music D-BOX+
- Summing and Monitoring System with 8-channel Analog Summing Mixer
- Programmable Speaker Selector
- Bluetooth Wireless Streaming
The original D-BOX is used in project and professional studios all over the world. It has received numerous awards for its practical combination of analog summing and monitoring. Thanks to an enhanced summing mixer, more speaker outputs, master output, mastering-grade D/A, Bluetooth connectivity, remote control, master fader and more, the D-BOX+ outperforms its predecessor. This important box will help you get that elusive “glued-together” sound, and you’ll hear your mixes as you’ve never heard them before – it’s one of the simplest ways to take your project studio to the next level. The D-BOX+ should be the focal point of your studio.
When most people think about Dangerous Audio, the first thing that comes to mind is analog summing. After all, with their pioneering 2-BUS in 1999, they pioneered the standalone analog summing mixer, and the first D-BOX launched this fascinating technology to project studios all over the world. The updated 8-channel summing mixer in the D-BOX+ is certain to give your mixes new levels of headroom, dimensionality, and clarity. Invest in the D-BOX+ and your panning will improve. The use of reverbs and delays will become more interesting in analog consoles. The bass will be punchier, the mids will be more detailed, and the highs will be more open. Your mixes will be elevated with the D-BOX+.
The D-BOX+ is similar to the central area of a large-format console. It allows you to route and switch your studio’s analog and digital inputs and outputs. Analog stereo, the internal 8-channel summing mixer, USB, AES/SPDIF, and a wireless stream from any Bluetooth-enabled device are all available as input sources. The D-BOX+ also comes with three stereo speaker outputs that may be set to mono or incorporate a subwoofer. You may also utilize the third output as a source for a separate sub with its own level and mute controls.
You’ll hear everything whether you’re positioning a mic, changing an EQ, or producing a final master. Advanced clock stabilization, top-of-the-line chipsets, and audiophile-grade analog circuitry combine to create a D/A that is both strong and subtle signal path. You can rely on it to offer actual mastering-grade quality. You’ll also receive a pair of top-of-the-line headphone amplifiers that deliver clean, strong, and precise sound that’s ideal for fine-grained quality control listening. You’ll enjoy crystal-clear audio fidelity and flawless performance across the entire feature set thanks to D-no-compromise BOX+’s design piece of gear.
With the D-extensive BOX+’s routing capabilities, you can maximize the possibilities of your studio. With three independent speaker outputs and a programmed speaker selection, you can take control of your monitoring. An integrated talkback mic with push-button activation is included. The free D-BOX+ software for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android gives you remote control over all of the D-primary BOX+’s functions (volume, dim, talkback, I/O select, and more). The D-BOX+ is an excellent focal point for any studio. This is the Best Analog Summing Mixer in 2023.
Radial Space Heater
- 8 x 2 Analog Summing Mixer with Tube Saturation
- Adjustable 35V/70V/140V Tube Operation
- Transfmer-coupled Outputs
The Radial Space Heater is an 8-channel stereo summing mixer featuring 12AX7 tubes for sonic excitement that may give your music remarkable depth and harmonic richness. Sweetwater’s recording professionals know that summing in the analog domain rather than in your DAW is the best way to create that big-console sound. Variable tube overdrive on the Space Heater lets you add everything from subtle transformer warmth to rich harmonic distortion. The Radial Space Heater will provide a terrific sound to your projects, from gluing different drum recordings into a coherent kit to mixing down your final stems.
It’s difficult to beat the unquestionably rich and deep sound that summing in the analog world is known for, regardless of how well you record your tracks or how you approach your mixes in your DAW. Instead of investing in a huge analog console, DAW-based studios might choose a summing mixer like the Radial Space Heater. Variable tube overdrive is ideal for adding sparkle to vocals, depth to acoustic instruments, and even full-on distortion for extreme effects, thanks to the transformer-coupled outputs. You’ll be impressed with the results if you send your stems through the Space Heater and then record the stereo mix back into your DAW.
The Radial Space Heater allows you to adjust between 35-volt, 70-volt, and 140-volt operation, as well as variable tube overdrive for each stereo input pair. Switch to 70 volts for cleaner headroom and a smoother sound, or use the 35-volt preset for maximum grit and distortion. Switch to 140 volts when you want the cleanest headroom. You may separately tune the voltage for each stereo input pair, allowing you to give rock vocals gritty overdrive while providing bass and drums plenty of clean headroom for a deep, powerful sound.
The Radial Space Heater is ready to be a studio workhorse just by looking at the back panel. Each of the eight channels can be configured as a hardware insert, allowing you to transmit individual tracks to the Space Heater for tube saturation and transformer warmth. Run your stems through the Space Heater and record the final stereo mix to your DAW once your individual tracks are flawless and you’re ready to compose your final mix. The Space Heater is a clever mixture of four excellent tube/transformer modules, as well as an analog mixer. This is the Best Analog Summing Mixers in 2023.
Cranborne Audio 500R8 USB Audio Interface and 8-slot 500 Series Chassis
- 28-in/30-out with 8 500 Series Slots
- USB Audio Interface
- ADAT MIDI I/O
The Cranborne Audio 500R8 demonstrates how the future and the past can coexist perfectly. It has a zero-latency audio interface and a high-performance A/D-D/A converter on top of a fantastic analog summing mixer. When you add in a very intelligent modular design, it’s a perfect no-brainer.
The 500R8 has a whopping 28 inputs and 30 outputs, all of which can be connected to your DAW through USB. An inbuilt studio monitor controller allows you to switch between two different sets of speakers while keeping an eye on the HD LED meter’s peak levels. The 500R8 contains two independent high-quality headphone amplifiers with enough power to drive any low-impedance headphones. Built-in A/D-D/A converters provide breathtaking sound purity as well as a flawless stereo image with no crosstalk.
But, aside from a very good studio interface, it’s time to talk about why the Cranborne Audio 500R8 is on this list in the first place. Its standalone analog summing mixer lets you send 8 distinct USB sources and combine them into a single stereo track. If 8 different buses isn’t enough, you may always increase the number to 16 with a signature C.A.S.T. that delivers an output signal via Ethernet connection. Repatching with the 500R8 is a breath of fresh air because you can forget about the tangle of cables and select the source with a simple switch of a button, whether it’s an analog, C.A.S.T., or USB input.
The true apex of this wonderful audio interface is its modular design, which allows you to connect up to eight 500-series audio modules, allowing you to take your analog summing to new heights with SSL compression and vintage equalizers. Furthermore, if desired, each of the 8 USB inputs can be routed to its own dedicated module or daisy-chained together. Instead of 500-series modules, the 500R8 modular system allows you to connect full-sized 2A or 4U rack units. To be perfectly honest, there’s no incentive to do so when vintage-style 500-series preamps and saturation modules are plentiful. So, if you’re interested in the Cranborne Audio 500R8, there’s no better time than now to start your own 500-series gear collection.
If you have enough 500-series rack modules, the Cranborne Audio 500R8 is an excellent solution for someone searching for a near-perfect and incredibly capable audio interface that can also be utilized as a summing mixer. Unfortunately, the 500R8’s finest suit is also its weakest, because without those modules, using it as a summing mixer makes no sense, and purchasing a large number of modules is, to put it mildly, a costly exercise. Despite the fact that the audio interface is inexpensive. This is the best Budget Analog Summing Mixer in 2023.
Rupert Neve Designs 5057 Orbit Summing Mixer
- 16-channel Class A Summing Mixer with Silk Red Blue Saturation
- Custom Dual-tap Output Transfmers
- Stepped Switching
Rupert Neve is a name that very few audio recording fans and pros have never heard of. Neve was a famed recording equipment engineer and an audio electronics pioneer who created some of the world’s top studio consoles and preamps. As a result, the 5057 Orbit summing mixer has some difficult processes to complete.
The 5057 Orbit is a 16-channel summing mixer featuring unique audio transformers and top-of-the-line class-A circuitry. With DB25 inputs and XLR outputs, it’s a rather minimalistic and even simple gadget. Silk Red and Blue modes let you pick between a modern and relatively restricted saturation like that found on Focusrite devices and a more vintage sound, which is first and principally connected with Mister Neve’s legacy. Additionally, there’s a Texture control that allows you to dial in the ideal amount of desired saturation with plenty of headroom.
The distinctively built rotary fader can push any incoming signal beyond your wildest thoughts, producing a characteristic dual-tap output transformer that is claimed to be a Ruper Neve sound hallmark. This is a heavily modified output transformer that was designed for Rupert Neve’s favorite Shelford Channel. So you wouldn’t be incorrect if you expected a musical-sounding shine and really exquisite non-linearity. All of this brilliance is housed in a 1U rackmount unit that can be readily integrated with other Rupert Neve summing mixers to increase the capabilities of your DAW-centered workflow.
You may not need to explore any further than this very wonderful instrument in your search for the greatest summing mixer, but there is one very basic and ludicrous downside that may deter you. It simply lacks variety, despite its well tuned non-linearity and mild silky distortion. Yes, it’s wonderful in every sense, but the auditory palette it provides you with makes you want more over time. As a result, you run the risk of going bankrupt by collecting more and more Rupert Neve’s gear like a fanatic. After all, we all know how fantastic analog gear can be, and how it may lead to severe addiction.
The Rupert Neve Designs 5057 is an excellent alternative for anyone searching for a near-perfect analog summing mixer with two distinct audio palettes to choose from. Even though you only receive two settings, they’re more than enough to give your studio some style and dignity. This might easily become your distinctive sound because the sound it produces is hypnotic and leaves you wanting more. And it goes without saying that such excellence could not be cheap.
Phoenix Audio Nicerizer Junior Summing Mixer
- 16 channels of our Class A, discrete, truly balanced transformerless input stage.
- Our proven and loved Class A, discrete, custom transformer balanced output stage (DSOP-2).
- Individual pan control for each channel with detented/stepped pots for extra control (16 x Pan pots)
There are panpots on each of the 16 input channels of the Phoenix Audio Nicerizer. A master stereo function enables a wider mix. The Phoenix Audio Nicerizer features 16 input channels, each of which is separately controlled by an analog panpot, making it a true summing mixer as opposed to just an amplifier or module used for summing. A master stereo function also enables helpful mid-side processing that you can utilize to expand your summed mix.
Phoenix Audio’s Nicerizer Series summing mixers are well-known analog tone machines for the digital era because of their unique Class A circuitry and useful features. The Nicerizer Junior brings important features like circuit gain staging and panning back to the analog realm, where they easily outperform their digital emulations.
The Nicerizer has a transformerless architecture to provide the summing mixer with a broad frequency range. With the choice for between, you get beautiful saturated tones for high-fidelity sound. You can activate the 8dB boost on each channel to thicken and saturate the tones for a snappier sound similar to that produced by discrete Class A buffer amplifiers. Either a warmer, more contemporary sound or a vintage one are options.
Lessening devices in your signal chain are required due to compatibility with unbalanced inputs. The Nicerizer allows you to connect musical instruments directly, eliminating the need for a DI box to bridge them. The Transformerless design for the Nicerizer also alters the playing field. Your mixes are processed as-is since you get a larger frequency range with less colorization at the input.
Transformers have a propensity to slow things down a bit, which could be acceptable in some situations. Slew rates, on the other hand, suffer, leading to slow transients and a constrained tonal range. The innovative transformerless input stage of the Nicerizer broadcasts the whole frequency spectrum with unparalleled power and clarity.
The output stage of the Nicerizer can be adjusted up to create gloriously rich tones, down to create a cleaner high-fidelity sound, or any combination of the three.
Both can be accepted by the Nicerizer Junior’s 16 inputs without any of the gain loss that is all too common with many mixer inputs. Several chores that are swiftly evolving into best practices, such looping through guitar pedals or real-time mixing while recording MIDI-driven synths, are made simple by this immensely beneficial function.
SSL SiX Desktop Mixer
- A fully professional condensed console for use in the studio, in post-production, on stage, and for podcasting
- Benchmark SuperAnalogue audio performance: Ultra low noise : ultra-low distortion : pristine sound
- Stunning Record Path: Two SSL console grade SuperAnalogue mic pre's
A desktop mixer called the Solid State Logic SiX can be utilized in the studio for content recording or post-production. The SiX may at first glance seem like just another small mixer, but closer examination of its capabilities reveals that it is actually based on a large-format SSL console with adaptable features that fit well into any creative process.
The SuperAnalogue mic preamp with +72dB of gain on the SiX’s first two mono channels, which supports passive ribbon mics, phantom power, and a 75Hz hi-pass filter, makes for an excellent recording front end. It is possible to convert an additional line-level input to instrument level.
Available across the SiX’s principal outputs, the potent G Series Master Bus Compressor is already valuable on its own. The preset ratio, attack, and release parameters of the conventional SSL console circuit have been updated in the quad-VCA chip. Also, the straightforward settings make it simple to add that renowned SSL punch and glue to your mixes or anything else you’re routing through the master bus.
The SiX contains a two-band SSL equalization that can switch between bell and shelf curves on channels 1 and 2, and each kind has a unique center frequency. For integrating with external signal processors, a balanced insert point is also offered. Also, in keeping with SSL tradition, you can send the recording back to your computer using the SiX’s active insert send feature.
Two mix cue buses are available on the SiX. The mono check, dim, and cut controls, as well as the main and alternate monitor outputs with the proper monitor source matrix, are all found on the console’s master component.
Many customers claim that the SiX’s SuperAnalogue microphone preamps are transparent, which makes them perfect for using for recording acoustic instruments. It’s also an excellent routing input if you intend to capture utilizing IR loaders like the Torpedo Captor X and record outside with an amp or amp modelers.
The SiX is also noteworthy for its absolute devotion to SSL. In a smaller compact, you receive the same consistency found on larger SSL consoles. Therefore the SiX is the place to go if you’re seeking for that SSL profile in a smaller compact.
The desktop format of the SiX is one appealing feature. You don’t need a rack shelf to mount it, so you may keep it close to you for convenience. Also, it is portable if you require a summing mixer in another studio. The SiX can also handle up to 12 line inputs for mixdown, despite its size.
Anyone who won’t have many tracks to combine in a mix can benefit from the SiX. The SiX will work as a summing mixer for home producers or solo artists who are solely recording for their own projects.
Buying Guide for Analog Summing Mixers
Determine how many channels you need for your specific application. The channel count of the summing mixer should correspond with the number of tracks you typically work with in your mixes. If you generally work with dense arrangements that have many individual tracks, you should consider a summing mixer with a higher channel count.
Consider whether you want a summing mixer that adds a specific tonal character to your mixes or one that aims to be transparent and neutral. Some summing mixers are designed to impart a certain coloration or “warmth” to the sound, reminiscent of vintage analog gear. Others aim to be as transparent as possible, leaving the sound uncolored.
Do you need additional features like pan controls, level controls, or auxiliary sends and returns? While these features can provide more flexibility and control, they can also add to the complexity and cost of the unit. If you primarily want the tonal benefits of analog summing and don’t need additional routing options, a simpler summing mixer without these features could be a suitable choice.
Evaluate the build quality and reliability of the summing mixer. A well-built, sturdy summing mixer can provide better longevity, especially in a busy studio environment. Check user reviews and ratings to get an idea of the mixer’s durability and performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Analog Summing?
Engineers can route several DAW outputs into a specialized hardware unit using analog summing, and they can then combine those outputs to create a stereo file. Along the way, the summing mixer adds some analog sweetness to the signal that you might not be able to recreate digitally. Some will merely route your digital audio through transformers and other ear-pleasing electronic trinkets, while others have extra capabilities like extended monitoring choices and more effects.
Because it brings part of the sound of working on a console to the final stage of a mix, some mixers swear on analog summing. Generally speaking, it’s a rather simple process to hybridize a digital recording and mixing setup. Here are some of the best summing mixers you can find if you think that’s for you!
Do you need a summing mixer?
A summing mixer can be advantageous in some situations, though it is not necessary. For instance, if you wish to record multiple songs at once and mix them together later, you can use a summing mixer.
If you want to combine numerous tracks to create a “larger than life” sound, a summing mixer can be helpful. By using a summing mixer, it provides your sound depth and width. If you are just beginning to record, you might not require a summing mixer. But, as you acquire experience, you could find that a summing mixer is a useful tool to have in your studio.
What are the benefits of using summing mixers?
Using summing mixers can give your stereo image a wider field of view and give your mix additional depth and dimension. Summing mixers also give the sound more definition and clarity. Moreover, they can assist the sound have more punch and force as well as more warmth and richness.
Use of summing mixers has some disadvantages, such as cost, complexity of setup, increased noise, and distortion noises. Moreover, improperly configured summing mixers can result in phase problems.
How Does an Analog Summing Mixer Work?
An analog summing mixer works by taking multiple input signals, adjusting their volume levels, and then combining them into one or more output signals. The summing process occurs in the analog domain, which some engineers believe offers a different, often preferred, tonal quality compared to digital summing.
What’s the Difference Between an Analog Mixer and an Analog Summing Mixer?
The main difference between an analog mixer and an analog summing mixer is in their complexity and functionality. An analog mixer typically has multiple inputs and outputs, EQ and dynamics controls, auxiliary sends and returns, and other features for live sound or multi-track recording. An analog summing mixer, on the other hand, is a simpler device primarily used to combine multiple audio tracks into a stereo pair.
Do I Need an Analog Summing Mixer?
Whether you need an analog summing mixer depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a way to add some analog warmth and depth to your mixes, or if you often work with many tracks and want to reduce the load on your computer’s CPU, an analog summing mixer could be a great addition to your setup.
Can I Use an Analog Summing Mixer with a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)?
Yes, you can use an analog summing mixer with a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). You would typically send individual tracks or subgroups from your DAW to the inputs of the summing mixer, then return the stereo output of the summing mixer back into your DAW for further processing or recording.
What is the Benefit of Using an Analog Summing Mixer?
The main benefit of using an analog summing mixer is the unique audio quality it can bring to your mixes. Many audio engineers believe that analog summing provides a warmer, wider, and more cohesive sound compared to digital summing. This is often attributed to the subtle distortions and harmonic coloration introduced by the analog circuitry.
How Do I Connect My Analog Summing Mixer to My Audio Interface?
To connect an analog summing mixer to your audio interface, you generally need an interface with multiple outputs. You would assign each track or group in your DAW to a separate output on your interface, then connect each output to an input on your summing mixer using appropriate audio cables (usually 1/4″ TRS or XLR cables). The stereo output of the summing mixer would then be connected to two inputs on your audio interface to return the summed signal back into your DAW.