Mixers either swear by outboard analog summing amps or don’t see the need for them at all, but the ones that do are very passionate about them. We’re now into the second generation of summing amps, and the latest ones are incorporating a lot of features that the the first gen didn’t have. That’s one of the reasons why the new A-Designs Mix Factory is so cool; it has a lot of great features. But the other reason is more important – its concept was actually developed by a mixer.
The brainchild of producer/engineer/mixer Tony Shepperd (you can hear him talk about it on my Inner Circle Podcast #116) and electronically designed by famed engineer Paul Wolff, Mix Factory is a 16 channel outboard summing mixer with a lot of features. Each channel has a gain control, a pan pot with center detent, and a mute switch that also acts as a level indicator. What’s interesting is that the 16 channels are divided into two groups of 8, each with its own insert and master volume control. There’s also a master insert for all 16 channels that has it’s own insert as well, and each insert has it’s own mute button.
But mixers not only want control, they want sound, and Mix Factory delivers by providing either a clean signal path, or a colored one with Cinemag transformers that can be accessed from a front-panel button.
The 16 audio channels are rear panel accessed via two D-Sub input connectors, with XLRs for the main outputs (both pre and post master fader) and inserts. If you need more inputs, the Mix Factory is also linkable up to 64 channels. It also has an external switchable power supply that allows the unit to be used for both US and foreign markets.
The A-Designs Mix Factory goes for $2,990 street, which isn’t all that much considering what you get. You can find out more here.