There were some great records mixed on IC desks
That doesn't mean IC's are great.
And that doesn't mean those records couldn't have sounded better on discrete desks.
IC's ruin the performance and dynamics in the high end, as well as smear reverb tails and distort localization clues.
IC's used in mixers are mostly OP-AMPS.
An OP-AMP is short for operational amplifier.
As far as I know the OP-AMP was conceived as a predictable and stable DC amplifier for Analog computing circuits.
In other words op-amps were used to accurately sum or subtract voltages for calculations.
Why are op-amps more stable than conventional amplifiers for analog computing?..How are they more stable?
The op-amp is based on feedback.
An amplifier is designed with an open-loop (no feedback) gain that can reach a million and then reduced by feeding the output out of phase into the input to lower gain to the typical 10 or 30 times.
Anyone who has experience in audio electronics knows how high feedback ratios can kill the musical qualities of audio.
another thing about the op-amp is the low-impedance output it provides. Low impedance without need of external components.
Low impedance output+high gain means high component count.
one chip can have as many transistors as an entire signal path of a discrete desk.
Why did manufacturers begin to use the op-amp as the building block for mixers?
every op amp provides potentially high gain, low impedance output and good power supply rejection with minimal engineering, external parts count and relatively low noise without selecting components (expensive).
plus IC's are cheap. (the ones used in the big mixers are anyway..)
One other advantage is that an op-amp can easily be used to make eq's by placing capacitors in and out of the feedback path.
can you say distortion? I knew you could.
the fact that op-amps are so cheap means they can also be used to replace other components such as inductors etc. which cost many many times more.
is there anyone who is not a manufacturer out there who would like to defend the sound quality of IC's ?