Today studio environments have more a hybrid touch than in the past. Of course there are still many engineers who believe in one single concept which helps them to focus and bring the best out of their own creativity, but this has naturally shifted towards an integration of software and hardware solutions. Staying fully in the box and doing all the work on the computer is truly reasonable and it does a fantastic job. With lots of CPU power, we can now deal with more complex and intensive algorithms than we could 20 years ago. It is truly unbelievable and so remarkable what programmers all over the world have achieved over the years.
Will the day come where everything is computed and so perfectly mimicked that even the engineers who built the actual analog gear can’t hear the difference? Let’s see because we’re getting closer with each year and it is still a very adventurous journey.
For now, many of the world’s leading producers agree that analogue summing brings the music together in a special way that no emulation plug-in can match, despite the drastic improvements.
What lots of summing mixers do and especially the Sigma Delta does perfectly is to extend the low-end frequencies and give you that 3D depth which is hard to achieve in the computer.
When you listen to your DAW render you might think “that sounds pretty good and balanced to me”. If you would take exactly that mix split it into individual tracks or stereo stems and run it through the Sigma Delta, you would say “Wow, I didn’t realise my music could sound so much better”, or maybe, so much worse! Suddenly you can hear things in more detail due to the clarity and better stereo imaging.
The reason for that is a result of pleasant distortions that start to come out when you start pushing your signals into the summing buss. With tons of headroom you can drive your material even more creatively and explore various sonic nuances which all can sound great and different.
All these techniques were common back in the day and responsible for the music that inspired us to do what we’re doing today. Somewhere during the digital evolution we wanted to move on and thought we can live without any analog processing but recorded music comes alive in a different way when run through a mix buss and then back to tape or to any DAW with great converters.
The SSL Sigma Delta translates exactly that. Analog mixing/summing in a modern computerised environment. Once you hear the difference it is hard to go back fully in the box. So be aware of that because you might end up spending lot of money… but it’s worth it.