Mixing in the Box vs. Mixing out of the Box: Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Mixing in the Box:

1.) Low cost because you will simply need to purchase DAW software that can be used for both recording and mixing. It is why this become the standard for 99% of budget home recording studios.

2.) All settings can be preserved or saved digitally for future use. So when the mixing session ends, you will simply save the projects then all the plugin settings, etc. would be retained.

3.) You can take the benefits of zero digital noise unlike in analog where each outboard gear could contribute to overall noise.

4.) Effect plug-ins is mostly affordable because it can be obtained from open source and is generally cheaper than buying outboard gear/hardware effects. For example a bundle of Waves plugins that you will be using in mixing inside the box could cost around $600 (all plug-ins in that package like EQ, compressor, etc.) but this budget alone can only buy one decent piece of hardware for an analog console.

5.) Low cost in maintenance – if you have corrupted your DAW or plugin, you simply need to reinstall, no need to hire maintenance techs.

Disadvantages of Mixing in the box:

1.) Digital summing is considered inferior to analog summing because digital technology relies on approximation and computation unlike analog summing with the console where it deals purely with the complete analog signals and nothing else. This will have a profound effect in quality; it is why most pros hired by major labels use analog mixing console for a mix down.

2.) Takes time to mix; it is faster with knobs and real faders than using the software equivalent.

3.) A signal distortion in digital like clipping should be avoided at all cost, while signal distortion in analog can further add warmth in some instances.

Advantages of Mixing out of the box:

1.) Analog console summing is considered superior because of the vintage and warm sound associated with it. All professional records in the past that we love are mixed in analog consoles.

2.) You can easily adjust faders and effects without messing with a lot of settings unlike in digital.

Disadvantages of Mixing out of the box:

1.) Too expensive. It is not practical for high budget home recordings.

2.) The settings cannot be remembered as easily as in digital.

3.) The noise chain in analog can also be a problem because of the electronic circuitry involved in the console and in the outboard gears/effects.

4.) The maintenance of the console can be a problem typically if its damage. It can be difficult to find service personnel for that.

Content last updated on August 2, 2012