The Dangerous Music S&M mid-side processing matrix has been reissued for a 20th anniversary limited production run, years after it disappeared from the market. Just 100 of the analogue hardware units have been produced under the watchful eye of creator, Chris Muth, with each bearing his signature and an official numbered, metal, credit card-style certificate of authenticity.

Dangerous Music S&MThe product name, S&M or Sum and Minus, is a riff on the traditional M-S or mid-side microphone recording technique invented in the 1930s by legendary British electronics engineer Alan Blumlein. The technique separates everything that is common in the left and right channels of a stereo signal, summing it into a single channel (L+R), from all that is different between the two channels, summed into another channel (LR), a process also referred to by the term sum and difference.

In Dangerous Music’s implementation of the sum and difference electronic matrix, the balance between the two signals can be adjusted to widen or narrow a stereo image using a rotary control labeled Width — the sole variable control on the unit’s front panel. The stepped attenuator adjusts in 0.5dB increments, engineered to 0.02dB tolerances for repeatability and precision, across a scale of -4dB to +6dB. The other front panel control is a switch to engage the matrix and the sum and minus send and return connections; otherwise, the circuitry is fully bypassed.

The two pairs of rear panel XLR connections enable either channel to be looped through outboard processing, offering an almost endless variety of creative and error-correcting possibilities, from widening the stereo image to taming excessive dynamics or re-balancing elements within a stereo track.

For instance, if a vocal is too sibilant yet panned instruments are too dull, insert a limiter to de-ess the voice in the sum channel and introduce an EQ into the minus (difference) channel to brighten things up to left and right. Similarly, if the bass is presenting problems but instruments on the left and right need some low-end boost, loop through an EQ to surgically clean up the bass while also adding heft or sparkle to the other instruments. Maybe the stereo drum overhead mic image is perfect except for the snare, which is just too loud. Send those two tracks through the unit, insert a limiter on the sum channel and balance can be restored.

The Dangerous Music S&M is shipping now at a street price of US$1999.


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