Recording - June 2016 - 32

B Y PA U L V N U K J R .

Dangerous Music Dangerous 2-BUS+
Dangerous Music is a New York company founded by Bob Muller and gear
designer Chris Muth; they may well be
considered the godfathers of analog summing. Their first widely-released product
was 1999's Dangerous 2-BUS, arguably
the world's first analog summing unit. The
original 2-BUS was a 16 x 2 device in a
2-space rack enclosure with simple controls for mono/stereo channel choice, +6
dB channel boosting, and a stepped output attenuation switch.
Since then, Dangerous Music has
expanded its line to other summing
devices, monitor controllers, D/A converters, routers, and signal processors.
Dangerous Music has now come full circle with a complete redesign of the
product that started it all, dubbed the
Dangerous 2-BUS+. While not everyone
agrees on what analog summing brings
to "in the box" mixes, many believe it's
the only way to get the sound and feel
of an analog mix from a digital system,
and the 2-BUS+ brings the analog summing concept into the world of 2016.
On the plus side
What's new on the 2-BUS+? Aside
from still being a 2U rack unit with 16 x
2 configuration and -4 dB to +6 dB
stepped output level switch on the far
right, darn near everything! The rest of
the unit is new, inside and out, and the
real "plus" of the 2-BUS+ is that it manages to be both cleaner and more colored than the original.
The faceplate is a sleek semigloss
brushed black, and all of the push buttons are small and round with bright
backlit color LEDs. The pots are tight,
smooth, and nicely resistant, making
minute adjustments easy and accurate.
The front panel boasts bright green signalpresent LEDs for all 16 input channels.
While said channel lights are new, the original unit's pushbutton options and +6 dB
boost for every channel are gone. On the 2BUS+, Inputs 1/2 and 9/10 can be toggled dual mono or stereo, but all other
inputs are hardwired as stereo pairs. While
some may lament the loss of mono/stereo
choice on every channel, this new design
allows for a cleaner and less complicated
circuit path, resulting in improved sonics.
32

RECORDING JUNE 2016

Analog summing for the thoroughly modern DAW studio

Next to the input LEDs are three unique
controls intended to add analog weight,
punch, and even sparkle. I'll get to those
later. The front panel finishes out with
effects and bus routing buttons, and a
hard-bypass switch for another new feature-a stereo insert for your favorite EQ
or bus compressor.
The rear panel's 16 inputs have the original XLR plus new DB-25 connections, there
are balanced XLR I/O jacks for the stereo
insert, and matching stereo XLR outputs for
the main and monitor outputs. Multiple 2BUS+ units can be linked together through
stereo XLR I/O Expansion Inputs. The 2BUS+ has an internal power transformer
and IEC power cable jack, unlike the original's external power supply.
Inside the color palette
The 2-BUS+ has three analog signal
processes called Harmonics, Paralimit,
and X-Former. They flow into each other
in that order on the main stereo output,
with a button to flip the order of
Harmonics and Paralimit. The Harmonics
and Paralimit circuits can be taken off
the main outs and assigned to stereo
pairs 13/14 or 15/16. X-Former is
available on the main outs only.
The Harmonics control, labeled
Stimulate, is what Dangerous Music
refers to as a "perfect blend" of odd
and even harmonic distortion. This is not
like a fuzz pedal or even a mixer channel being overdriven; it's a tailored
blend of harmonic excitement that adds

a forward sheen to cymbals, shakers,
guitar strings, and the like. It highlights
these elements in the mix without making
them louder or more forceful.
Of the three color processes, this one is
the most subtle. Even when turned up all
the way, depending on the content it is a
sonic signature that is often only noticeable
when you bypass it. I wasn't always sure
what it was doing! Overall I liked it better
on individual stereo pairs-like drum overheads and acoustic guitars-than on the
whole mix, where I could push into it making it a touch more obvious.
Paralimit is a single-knob FET-style parallel compression circuit, based on the sound
of a UREI 1176 with all of the buttons
jammed in. Like its inspiration it is extreme,
fast, aggressive, punchy, and quite uppermid forward. It's quite grabby, but also has
a cool squishiness to its release.
Unlike the Harmonics circuit, Paralimit
is anything but subtle. On a full mix I
rarely found myself pushing past a
20-30% Blend. It was a different story,
however, on individual instruments; on
drum overheads it yields an aggressive,
modern indie-rock sound even at full
throttle. It's similarly nice and aggressive
on the electric guitar bus, which is a
place where FET compressors have
always excelled.
As its name suggests, X-Former adds
transformer weight and color to the sound.
It's not an emulation-inside the box are
two large custom-wound Cinemag transformers. While many companies include



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - June 2016

Contents
Recording - June 2016 - Cover1
Recording - June 2016 - Cover2
Recording - June 2016 - 1
Recording - June 2016 - 2
Recording - June 2016 - 3
Recording - June 2016 - 4
Recording - June 2016 - 5
Recording - June 2016 - Contents
Recording - June 2016 - 7
Recording - June 2016 - 8
Recording - June 2016 - 9
Recording - June 2016 - 10
Recording - June 2016 - 11
Recording - June 2016 - 12
Recording - June 2016 - 13
Recording - June 2016 - 14
Recording - June 2016 - 15
Recording - June 2016 - 16
Recording - June 2016 - 17
Recording - June 2016 - 18
Recording - June 2016 - 19
Recording - June 2016 - 20
Recording - June 2016 - 21
Recording - June 2016 - 22
Recording - June 2016 - 23
Recording - June 2016 - 24
Recording - June 2016 - 25
Recording - June 2016 - 26
Recording - June 2016 - 27
Recording - June 2016 - 28
Recording - June 2016 - 29
Recording - June 2016 - 30
Recording - June 2016 - 31
Recording - June 2016 - 32
Recording - June 2016 - 33
Recording - June 2016 - 34
Recording - June 2016 - 35
Recording - June 2016 - 36
Recording - June 2016 - 37
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Recording - June 2016 - Cover3
Recording - June 2016 - Cover4
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