SM Pro has released a “passive summing mixer” that mixes eight analog audio channels to two. The idea is that digital summing, as performed in software, will cancel certain sound components and result in a less detailed mix after mixdown. The PM8 passive summing mixer does this for you in the analog domain, theoretically resulting in a better mix.

Here’s an excerpt from the marketing materials: “The summing and mixing features built into the PM8 allow users to avoid unnecessary A/D & D/A conversions commonly found in digital studios and thus attain extremely detailed mixes with superb stereo imaging and punch.”

PR is actually mixing metaphors here. Summing in software has nothing to do with A/D or D/A conversions. What I think they mean is that, by connecting analog inputs directly to this mixer instead of routing through your software, you won’t have to go through additional conversions; that much is true.

The manufacturer also claims that the mixer “Achieves better stereo imaging” and “Creates exceptionally detailed mixes with clarity and punch.”

PM8 Product Page [SM Pro Audio]

I’d sure like to hear an A/B test of digital summing in music software with analog summing, with all other variables minimized as much as possible. Mostly what I hear is people arguing over this based on these issues based on hearsay or theory. Certainly, a good passive mixer will have uses in studios, for those who can afford / actually need them. But my question is, does digital summing really deserve all the flak it gets? (My mixes aside; I don’t think you need fancy equipment to hear more detail in my mixdown as I’m no engineer!)

Maybe Bob Dylan will want one?