Analogue summing is the process of combining multiple audio signals into a single signal using analogue circuitry, rather than using digital summing in a DAW or other digital audio software. In the mastering process, analogue summing can offer several perceived benefits, including:

  1. Warmth and richness: Many mastering engineers believe that analogue summing can add warmth and richness to the sound of a mix, by introducing subtle distortions and harmonics that are not possible with digital summing. These distortions and harmonics can give the mix a more organic, analogue sound, which is often preferred by listeners and artists.
  2. Improved stereo imaging: Analogue summing can also improve the stereo imaging of a mix, by allowing the different audio signals to be panned and balanced in a more natural and intuitive way. With analogue summing, the panning and balance of the signals can be adjusted using physical controls, rather than using digital automation or faders, which can make the process more tactile and responsive.
  3. Increased headroom and dynamic range: Analogue summing can also increase the headroom and dynamic range of a mix, by allowing the different audio signals to be summed together without digital clipping or limiting. This can give the mix more space and air, and it can allow the mix to have a wider range of loudness and dynamics, which can be particularly important in dance music and other genres where loudness is a key factor.

Overall, while the perceived benefits of analogue summing in the mastering process are subjective and may vary from engineer to engineer, many mastering engineers believe that analogue summing can add warmth, richness, and depth to the sound of a mix, and can improve its stereo imaging and dynamic range.

At ESM we have a dynamic approach to this, delivering analogue summing on mixes only when the mix demands that very specific type of sound and glue. There’s very little that you cannot replicate in the box!

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