Sum Adjust Pro – Sound&Lite Review

We don’t discover certainly now that one of the weak points in the use of digital consoles, though very professional, is the sum of signals of channels on the master. This is becuase even though the sum of signals is wide, it is  numerically limited.

I tend to laugh, obviously with all the respect, when I think that in 2007 my crazy friend Marco invented the use of Midas XL4 like a summing amplifier for his mixer DiGiCo D5! The result was magnificent , but not the same for the practice.  Otherwise it wasn’t a proper easy model to follow, because few of phonics have the possibility to carry a XL4, in addition to the main mixer FoH, only for delight. So at this point analog summing amplifier comes out. It is an absolutely more confortable and clear tool that can help to achieve a rounder and more touching sound.

Now different models of summing amplifier are available on the international market of which some are greatly widespread and very prestigious, but decisively the italian product has nothing to envy to anyone of these ones.

Sum Adjust Pro of Teknosign is a product we have learnt to know during our outings in the most important italian concerts. The pioneer in one of these big events was Alberto “Mente” Butturini   three or four yeras ago, while recently we have seen and listened the La Spezia machine used by Andrea Corsellini in the great concert of Modena Park and in the summer tour of Vasco Rossi.

Lately still the Negritas’band  has adopted this new technology with a lot of satisfaction. Teknosign diversified the offert to respond to all needs and obviously to suit all budgets, looking at both live performancies and at the world of recording studios. Here we talk about the top model which was, among the other things, the object of recent upgrades even thanking the suggestions of users.                     

The machine is very easy to describe, it could be defined as an analog mixer with digital control in rack. What excellent is the extreme quality, able to give heat to the mixer and to add dynamics or more correctly, not to take off!

Normally it is used to send the mixed stems of phonic to its 16 channels which then can be added to leave the three bus masters to go to the PA or wherever it needs. The evolution of the product is seen as an important improvement with the supplement of the VU meter, still on masters and of a monitor to display the attenuation in dBs. Summarising, Sum Adjust Pro has three master outputs, 16 XLR inputs, 2 Tascam DB25 inputs, another supplied input to link in cascade more units, an insert on every channel and a send/return on the master A (with its relative insertion button). It has been also implemented a “Lock” function to avoid involuntary modifications in live situations. All the parameters can be memorized and recalled thanks to the 16 internal memories.

The main features are all here. So we ask to its designer, Claudio Furno, what the success of this machine is due and where it comes from.  “The idea is bornt in 1992 as an analog mixer with digital control” Claudio explains ”then it progressed in the mixer Sound Engineer with General Music brand.  Later with the help of Riccardo Angeletti, we decided to develop furtherly the project towards the street of quality. Indeed the two features of the product are the digital control and the best quality of audio performancies.

For example we use a relay switching for the purpose not to have known problems due to other electronic components as VCAs. “The mixers are by now almost all digital, the technology is fantastic but with a small problem  that when it goes in sum, the signal remains a bit strangled. For this reason the idea of mixing the buses in analogue mode had a good success still in live performances, like the last concert of Ligabue in Campovolo, thanks to Alberto Butturini.  “On the market it missed a summing amplifier at high levels provided of a total recall which could work also without plug-in; as a matter of fact our summing amplifier is controllable both by plug-in and by the frontal panel.

One key of success is to have the attenuations in available inputs on the summing amplifier, in order to be possible to let the digital circuits work with the maximum possible dynamics, which then go to attenuate in analogue mode the stem levels before going to the proper summing amplifier circuit. “This makes the difference compared to other brands which instead have a fixed attenuation. Then we added on the Pro model also the VU meter, the insert for every channel and other two masters; obviously all the parameters can be memorised, even mantaining all in analogue mode. Either in live performances or in recording studios, the phonics use the Sum Adjust Pro summing amplifier to mix the stems and to give much more air to the final result.

“What does it mean ‘Quality’?” We are talking about many small elements made in details which, assembled, create the result, like a car in Formula Uno. The main aim is not to degrade the signal. So we chose relay attenuators which go to commute high quality resistors to effectuate the attenuations; lastly the sum stage is absolutely active, but handled in an obsessive manner.  For example we paid attention to completely linear power supplies, without switching components in order not to introduce non-wanted frequencies, things that happen also in renowned products, powered by a low level power supply.

In the audio power supply is fundamental, ideally it should power all with car batteries which haven’t ripple. Moreover we didn’t stretch out on the mechanical parts, it is enough to think the knobs are made at lathe!

“Surely the best quality needs to be paid” Claudio concludes “and obviously this limits our market, but we think this is the right thing.”

Therefore we give the voice to the first user: Andrea Corsellini, who used Sum Adjust Pro either in the big event of Modena Park or in the more recent summer tour of Vasco Rossi.

“This is an excellent machine for specific musical categories: if you play pop music it’s not essential, but for other genres which require big and coloured grains, is perfect” 

Between other things the Pro model have been developing even thanks to some suggestions of mine, with the addition, for example, of the VU meters and the PFL on channels.

“When you mix with this summing amplifier, it seems to have close at hand an analogue mixer and in particular in some moment it is more emotional. This is an important aspect. You obtain a different dynamics, you don’t need to be careful of levels like in the digital mix… who works as a phonic, understands what I want to say: it seems to work in analogue mode.”

“I don’t use plug-in with the Pro, I test all externally by the panel of the machine, even though in lives instead of 16 memories, it’s sufficient only one.”

“In the case of Vasco Rossi, I organise the stems for musicians; I tried also to sum the drums with the output groups individually, but in the end nothing changed. The true advantage was given by the final sum of the drums with the other stems.”

“I have for security the mix of the digital console which goes on PA and with a button I can select a master: we have always found great differences between the two sums, because on that huge PA like that of Vasco a blade of straw becomes a beam! In conclusion I don’t have personal preferences for the digital or analogue mode, but for some categories this machine gives truly big results.”

“I employ it turning in 0 the input level of every channel of the summing amplifier and then regulating the same master, so set the volume of the sum in perfect corrispondence with the level produced by the digital output; in this way I achieve a sound perfectly coherent and very transparent.”

As listeners, we must confirm the best results of this Teknosign Sum Adjust Pro and, with the italian pride, we would like to establish it at international level even more.

The unique suggestion which we allow ourselves to give to Teknosign is to curate better the communication, the website, for example updating and editing the photos, and the press office because the success of a product, how Furno said about the quality, is due to the attention of small details and of their care.