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Shaping Sound in the Studio and Beyond: Audio Aesthetics and Technology by Gary Gottlieb

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Summing Networks

You may be wondering by now how the console manages to combine all these signals. Simply jamming them together in an ever-increasing manner would result in a tremendous amount of level, which would soon exceed the tolerances of the equipment, causing distortion. Consoles use summing networks, or combining amps, to combine separate signals into one composite signal. There are summing networks in every bus on the console. Every time two signals need to combine in a bus, each individual signal is reduced by 3 dB, and then combined. Because 3 dB represents an approximate halving of the signal, when they are combined the end result is an output level consistent with each of the two input levels. Consoles have numerous summing networks, ...

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