TUTORIAL: OTB Summing, how to?!?

Since Cubase offers many routing options and there is no standard way of intergrating things. I though I share the way how I did it with my NEVE 8816. But the principle works for any analogue summing device

What do you want to get out of summing:

  • It’s workflow needs to work transparent
  • summing needs to happen OTB (sounds obvious but routing mistakes are made easily in Cubase)
  • everything needs to end up in 1 main mix (so that mixdown functionality remains)

So the way to do this is the following

1- Define external FX:
In cubase define as many stereo External FX as you have stereo IN pairs on your summing box
Make sure that fo each FX you ONLY patch the OUTPUT (leave all inputs to NONE)
Now define an additional External instrument called “SUM” and ONLY connect the return here, which should be the main mix out from your summing device.

2- Setup the Cubase mixer:
Setup a many SUBGROUPS as you have created External Instrument outs
make sure the these subgroups are routed to NONE in the mixer (not to main mix)
Put external FX 1 in Subgroup 1 Bottom slot (slot 2 post) 2 in 2, 3 in 3 etc.
Now create an FX channel and put the External FX called “SUM” in the top slot and route it’s output to MAIN MIX (Enter your external FX delay compensation only here nowhere else!)
Next we go back to the subgroups, select the “sends” view on the left side of the mixer and put a send to “SUM” in each subgroup. DON’T change the GAIN slider, just turn it on.

you can now route each of your instrument or audio channels to one of the subgroups or directly to the main mix.

You’ve just defined:
8 (or how many your summer has) external sub-outs to your summing device
still controllable with the Cubase subgroup faders (as all external FX are POST)
still being able to mix with plugs on subgroups
automatically mute/solo correctly on when you solo instrument channels (because of using FX channel and sends configuration on “SUM”)
still maintaining all Instrument Freeze and mixdown functionality (no need for external inputs to record your mix return manually)
no need for ext IN monitoring in control room
no feedback-loops
and delay compensated

NOW save this as a template!!!

Don’t fear if you do not fully comprehend how to do this after 1 read, just follow the instructions step by step or ask me for help if you need more input.

Above is the ONLY way that external summing FULLY works, without giving up full ITB comfort.

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Helpful for you?

Well, I found this interesting as I am spending some time with the Ext Efx Bus of late. I easily agree that converting the software routing to physical routing is amazingly complex. On my Mackie product I have 16 outs, firewire in/out, so your post is fascinating to me. Do I understand that your board is receiving some kind of DA/AD signal? What are you using for this?

I think the other poster’s response was more like, ‘OMG! :open_mouth: Look at all the trouble this guy is going to! I thought I was on top of Cubase but this guy has gone to the another planet!’ Which is kind of my reaction, too. You must’ve spent days on this? Kudos to you then and thank you for posting this, I appreciate your effort.

Of all the things you wrote/described, I have to say I am immediately interested in the idea of using an EEB but only engaging the return path, and leaving the send path not connected. This had not occurred to me. Since I can initiate the 16 channels via a push botton at the channel for external mixdown, using the return path on the EEB would allow for simultaneous DAW mixdown. On this subject, you didn’t say if you are more concerned with the DAW mixdown or the physical mixdown or both. ??

Have not tried it yet but seems very logical and correct. excellent tutorial!

Thanks a MILLION! :slight_smile:

Can you master stereo tracks as a full time work? I am thinking of going that route. Musical education or selftaught?
Do u use cubase and waveláb?

Just curirous!

It took me some time to get my head around to make all connections, connecting only sends or returns is not clearly documented by steinberg to work, neither is patching a send to an FX channel to have these channel follow the correct solo and mute behaviour.

I’m nearly able to finish my other job, based upon mixing and mastering jobs. Though that would be quite a monthly financial reduction. So keeping both ATM. Cubase and WL work fine for mastering. I can do all that I want to do based on project requirements.

Im interested to know more about what you are talking about, specifically because I also use a Neve 8816. On first reading I was essentially thinking ‘WTF! It seems overly complex for what can be achieved fairly easily with external routing’.

I have i suppose the typical setup in my template. In VST connections I have an In/Out preset that has 8 stereo pairs corresponding to the physical outs on my card, and a stereo return in the input list that takes the summed mix from the 8816 (via an Apogee PSX100 A/D converter along the way).

The 8 stereo outs show up of course in the mixer - can be muted & solo’ed, have plugins inserted, adjusted etc. I have an audio track labelled Neve Sum in the template - its input is set to the appropriate physical In on the card being fed by the Neve sum. Now of course if the output is set to go to the default out 1-2 it will create a feedback loop so I simply set the outpit to no bus (or you can also simply turn the fader down). Now I dont need to think about this track at all until actual stereo mixdown stage whereby I record the summed mix onto it (still with the output set to no bus). Here on this track I can do any delay compensation that might be required. Then I just set the output to 1-2 for the track and export. Done.

I should qualify this by saying that I dont adjust faders on the outputs in Cubase nor do use plugins on them so I dont have to worry about re-effecting the mix with plugins or fader moves a second time upon export of the summed mix.

Ive found this a pretty straightforward way of doing things and the sum happens OTB. I setup a session with the way you described but I was left wondering a couple of things. And I apologize if these are really dumb questions as I probably just misread a step but:

A) how on earth do you then export a summed mix from cubase? and

B) I was left confused as to what you mean by the ‘Main Mix’. I might have a totally different setup and requirement to you )I dont use Control Room). So you have all 8 stereo channels of the sum routed out but also a stereo main mix that is separate? Where is this main mix going physically - it would have to go thru the 8816 would it not? Yeah, Im confused :slight_smile:

I guess that understanding the answer to B will probably answer A :slight_smile:

Perhaps you could post your template for us to have a look. Im curious about this way of working but dont quite get it.


1 - you can’t export with multiple outs
2- you wil have feedback loops with multiple outs
3- you’ll need to record on a new input track with multiple outs

If you setup as described above, Cubase remains to work exactly the same as fully ITB
instrument channels roll up in sub groups subgroupd roll pu in “Main mix” (or whatever you first stereo out is called)
because you still only have 1 stereo-out the mixdown function still works (mixdown is something else than record your audio via an input on a new track)

Interesting concept.

How do you monitor your pre and post summing?

I don’t need to monitor pre or post summing
in this scenario there is no “pre summing” as such
the summer is fully integrated in the Cubase mixer
you can assign a channel directly to the main mix, instead of through the subgroups
this bypasses the summer and would be the “no OTB summing” option

the purpose is really to integrate OTB summing as transparent as possible and make it an integral part of the Cubase mixer.

You dont need to monitor post summing? Are you saying you dont need to hear what the summed mix sounds like?! You cannot bypass the Neve as Im assuming your monitors are being fed my whatever stereo channel you use on it for ‘Main mix’. Whether your’e using a stereo channel or multiple channels on the Neve its all OTB. Could you post your template for us to have a look at?


Thanks for your answer.

I’m not sure how there is no inside Cubase summing in your setup, or why you wouldn’t want to hear an itb sum. Could you elaborate?

Secondly, what if you want to put a hardware Api 2500 and a UBK clariphonic on the Neve’s summed output, and want to hear the the pre and post signal processing on the Neve’s summed output? How exactly would you do this within your setup inside Cubase?

Thank you!

I don t understand why you have to go though that many hoops and loops…

The problematic is simple too me. You can have as many summing outputs as you have D/A converters, MINUS one for monitoring…

Maybe there is something that I do not get in the explanation above.

I have a d-box with a fireface and followed the exact same instruction as these 2 tutorials… and it works…

Analog Summing integration
2-Bus Analog summing

Ok, if you’re happy with how you did it, good for you.
but this is NOT about DA’s and AD’s it’s about Cubase (mixer) behavior when integrating outboard summing

  • maintaining EXPORT menu full functionality
  • maintaining Mixer MUTE functionality
  • avoid having to create input channels for recording (as you can still use export)
  • correct muting behavior from subgroups
  • avoid feedback loops

ofcourse one can just define 4 or 8 stereo Output pairs and create an audio input, which you need to monitor as external in or order to avoid feedback loops, but that’s scarifying all of Cubase core functionality and workflow.

if you implement above, things will work as transparent as ITB, without giving on up all those things.
simple example in your setup you can’t mix and just solo a channel that’s routed through the Dbox without by punching in/out the solo button, as you get no sound while your daw is on INT rather than EXT IN.

Since I am thinking about buying a Summing Mixer, I am wondering why it would limit my export menu functionality,
limit my Mixer muting, and prevent me from doing correct muting behavior from subgroups? How does outputting to a Summing Mixer and then inputting the summed signal back into Cubase change these things?

I can see that I would have to do some routing adjustments to avoid feedback loops, but that seems very simple to me. As for monitoring, on the Dangerous D Box I’m looking at, you can switch between the DAW and the Sum mix by pushing a button on the unit.

I don’t get what you mean by “scarifying all of Cubase core functionality and workflow.” Perhaps by clarifying the questions in the first paragraph I’ll understand. I have talked to numerous dealers about summing boxes and nobody has told me that it will mess with Cubase’s functionality.

Everything is explained in the first post in detail, if you do not understand that functionallity of Cubase (hich really should be basic knowledge) you’re up for a steep learningcurve :wink:

I would suggest the following, if you’re sold on the principle of summing, buy the box you fancy and do it “your way” then just work with it and find out if any of the stuff mentioned above is affecting your workflow

Cubase allows for VERY flexible setup, what i explain in the opening post sorts annoyances you will find once your start configuring your summing mixer, But then again, if you rather work in a different way and give up basic Cubase functionality, that’s fine as well. and i wasn’t “scarifying” but “sacrifycing” :smiley:

Well, you didn’t answer my questions, going for the snarky reply instead.

I’ll call my dealer. I suspect what I want to do with my Summing Mixer will not impact the functionality of Cubase in any way.

I’m not answering your question because it’s not a question as such, your making assumptions based on lack of “hands on” so do the hands on first and you’ll get your answers. for starters I don’t know your workflow
do you expect me to write 5 paragraphs on all misconfiguration concequences for potential options in your setup?

Much quicker it is to experience if all your assumptions work. Not trying to be assy here, there is just not much i can add to your statement.