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comparing hardware to plug-ins

Discussion in 'Recording' started by BrockStapper, Sep 17, 2002.

  1. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Guest

    Has anyone out there (here?) had the pleasure of comparing the hardware counterpart to yourplug-ins Which ones and how did they stack up?
    What are the closest to the real thing? The UAD? The Powercore? How close to the real thing was it? Does it really sound like a 1176? What's the record for the most question marks in a post??
     
  2. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Guest

    I'm hearing the theme song from the good, the bad, and the ugly on this one...

    Wow! Was that a tumbleweed?!?
     
  3. I actually have an 1176 silver face in the studio right now, as well as the Bomb Factory plug-in. My take is this: the hardware wins hands down. The hardware seems to have wider frequency response and a less sharp attack on the signal. I use the 1176 plug-in frequently, but it just can't match the real deal. Doc.
     
  4. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Guest

    Thanks Doc!
    I figured as much. Can you give me an idea of how close the UAD comes? Is it in the ballpark? I have not had a chance to check one out long enough to have a good idea.
     
  5. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Guest

    Hello? I know it's awfully subjective and controversial to those that own the hardware, but just curious on a guesstimate percentage ratio kinda thing... Stephen would love that one...
     
  6. Howdy,
    I don't have the UAD plug-in, but I am going to do an absolute shoot out between the Bomb Factory and the hardware next week. I am going to run the same signal through both, with identical settings.
    I will venture this- the UAD is probably better than the BF 1176ln because of the DSP procesing. The UAD is probably better than whatever stock compressorplug-insyou have available, and probably better than most compressorplug-insin general. The UAD is probably not going to sound as good as a hardware 1176, but is cheaper and can be applied to multiple signals.
    What is your recording setup? Doc.
     
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I hung this sign on the wall to help keep me grounded.

    FACT:
    JUST REMEBER WHEN YOU BUY AUDIO EQUIPMENT,
    IF IT'S NOT ANALOG, IT'S CRAP!

    You better really need it, because it's crap moron.
    The day you buy it, it will be obsolete.
    In a year it will have no value whatsoever.
    Go ahead, try to sell it! ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ruk-ruk-ruk-chortle-snort!

    For me, these have become word to live by.
     
  8. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Guest

    well, that's why my system is so outdated. Because I wait for the technology to be worth crap before I buy it! (computer technology that is). For instance, that new system that Opus and folks have been talking about for the 2nd quarter of 2003? I am just as anxiously awaiting it... because my 533fsb 3.0 ghz computer I'll build at that time will be a smokin' deal.
    Anyways, back to the topic... I am more curious than anything. I believe that most folks with the outboard gear hanging around are not going to be purchasing a UAD-1. I can respect that and feel that is reflected in the lack of response to this topic (that, and perhaps my poorly chosen title for the post).
    Most people can't walk up and compare a UAD with its hardware counterparts, so I was curious if anyone had and what they thought. Not just for my purposes, but for the knowledge of others that do not have the luxury of doing a taste test. I've heard nothing but great things about the UAD-1 so basically I'm just a waitin' for that UAD-2 so I can pick one up! Cheap.
    TC Powercore? I like the idea of having both, but deffinately think that PCI is going to change and thus, the hardware will too. Hopefully it will be backwards compatible, but you just never know. As the technology improves there is this prevailing attitude that the previous technology has somehow gotten worse. I don't buy into that theory. Sure I would like to have the latest and greatest, but that makes about as much sense as investing in a boat. (no offense to any boat owners out there...)
    Still, I can't afford the analog counterparts. So I watch prices fall, keep my ears open and learn so that I don't make the mistakes I have made in the past when it comes to purchasing gear. Really, you can do everything you need to do in a computer these days. And for those of you who think that you can't, it IS done everyday in every possible genre you can imagine. I mean, jeeze, how good does that analog outboars pre sound on an mp3 track anyway? The average consumer just doesn't seem to care. Sooner or later the technology market is going to settle on a standard that is a cross between functionality, consumer demand, and profit margin. That will probably leave us at 24bit 96khz accross the board for a while.
    although, my friend that just took a 7 hour road trip with Rupert Neve said he had a chance to check out that 1 bit system (I forgot which big boy develped that one) and said it sounded pretty darn good.
    Said he and Rupert just talked about BMW's, though. He said 7 hours and no audio topics came up... and he enjoyed that. I guess that's what happens when those guys have been doing this as long as they have.
    But I digress...
    so, I was curious if anyone had done an AB test. Of course I know the analog is going to win everytime. Of course I know I can't afford 8 1176's for mixdown. Of course I can afford a UAD or Powercore card. Even more so when I buy one in about 6 months when something new and improved is out there. That still won't make the UAD sound any worse than it does now. However, it would be nice to hear exactly the type of shootout mentioned for the bomb factory plugs. I wouldn't expect that the UAD would sound better than the real deal, but would be interested to know how close it gets. And not an opinion like, "it sounds like a good compressor". I know it's a good sounding compressor. But how close does it get to the real deal? Pretty damn close? Not close at all, but sounds pretty damn good? Sounds ok, and pretty darn close? Certainly captures the essence and tonal characteristics, but probably loses about 15% of the character of the real deal?
    Certainly sounds analog, but not like an 1176?
    Doesn't sound analog at all?
    I wouldn't be hanging on to a 100fsb athlon 1ghz with 512megs of pc133 if I was interested in investing in what is hot on the market now. Hell, for 1000 bucks I can build a nice 533fsb 2.26ghz pIV with two 8meg cache 60 gig hard drives with all peripherals. Now that I have seen the posts for the new standard coming out next year, though, it just makes sense for me to hang with what I have (it does still sound the same as it has for the last two years...) and piece together the above mentioned system when I can pick it up for 500 bucks.

    what was I talking about, again?
     
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Brock, :w:
    Part of the problem with a plugins vs. hardware comparison is with the hardware there are differences between individual pieces. That is to say that each 1176 or LA 2a will exhibit its own distinct sonic signature. I imagine (at least hope) that the software modelers probably took measurements of several different units and then averaged the results. As far as the UAD card the only problem I'm having with them is the latency question. I have a rack of "Legacy" comps and I'm going to keep them but I still would like to have their counterparts in 1's and 0's land. I'll wait however until the latency issue is dealt with. As far as the T.C Powercore, I don't see anything there that interests me but I have a rack of "Legacy' reverbs also. Your issue with ever changing technology is valid and it is one I have sniveled about for a long time. Unfortunately, I don't think that 24 /96 is the end. I am hoping the SCAD / DSD 1 bit system may become a stable de facto standard for at least 5 or 10 years. Until at least then, I'm staying at 24 /48 just for data / file size reasons. SCAD / DSD viability in the near future may be related to that too. Better sound, ability for data steaming, no system latency, no buffers, no Nyquist filtering and analog like frequency response. Being an old fart I am spoiled by the experience of living through 20 years when audio technology was reasonably stable. 2"- 24 track was it and nothing usurped it until digital came along. Some great points Brock......Fats
     
  10. This thread reaches to the very core debates onplug-ins Are they as good as the real thing? Should they try to be like the real thing (should they try to simulate hardware)? What are they good for.
    I will try some blind testing next week and report back. I will also formulate a major statement onplug-ins I'm talkin' a line in the sand. I just drank a milkshake and boy am I feeling PUMPED. Doc
     
  11. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Guest

    Latency with the UAD, Powercore, and "native"plug-insare no longer an issue. Samplitude 7.0, Nuendo 2.0, and others have all conquered this little gem of a eff up in vst. Direct x has had delay compensation in programs such as Sonar for a while. Now that this hurdle is behind, and system power vs price have reached a point where they can actually perform as advertised we have a brave new world in front of us. What happens now? Suddenly mic pres become affordable for the average bear, because they haven't spent all of their dough on verbs and compressors.
    Real time convolution. what a trip. Someone would kick some major booty if they came out with a DSP card that just did this. As many instances as technologically possible. With a huge library of high quality impulse responses included...

    what was I talking about again...
     
  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Brock,
    Do you know if Cubase has worked out the latency issues with the UAD card (or vice versa)? Cubase is what I'm currently set up with although I am thinking of switching to Nuendo...it
    seems to be more compatible with other products out like the baby HUI (I love that name!) and now as you mentioned the UAD. It also seems to be a more professional program....I just hate the expense. I guess I should just bite the bullet though and do it! My philosophy has been to get the best cheap thing I can find because it's just a throw away in a year or two at best. I don't really consider sound quality any more when purchasing digital technology because I have come to the conclusion that even at its best, most digital gear sounds like crap when compared to analog. (See my post "Why 24/96 digital still sucks!", in Producers, Engineers, and Hardware). Thanks, Fats
     
  13. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Cubase has not dealt with the "latency issue" as you call it (It is actually called "delay compensation" in UAD land! :) )

    It is really not *that* bad, but it would be nice not to have to worry about it...I am anxiously awaiting the next release of Cubase that deals with it once and for all!!!
     
  14. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Guest

    Your right on about digital vs analog (except for the stuff that costs so much you might as well go analog anyway). The trade off, though, doesn't justify 150.00 bucks a reel for 15 minutes at best quality.
    About Cubase, I think delay compensation will be in the next, or the next after update. Not there yet. But now that Nuendo 2.0 is out Cubase will be getting the attention. You should wait until Nuendo 2.0 is out and see what kind of crossgrade they offer from cubase. do you have SX or VST? either one of those is system link compatible, so by crossgrading you will have a couple of programs that you can link together if you are into that sort of thing. The cool thing about delay compensation in these latest releases is that it is universal to all the plugs. What a concept. I still have a hard thime believing that they didn't figure this out from the start. The coolest thing is this convolution stuff that is happening. You can find all kinds of impulse responses out there (some have done a much better job than others of recording them...it's a pretty tricky process). I have even found several that were done for surround reverbs and the Samplitude convolution lets you use those. The version 7.0 that is coming out will allow you to use as many as 10 instances in real time (that's how many they estimate that a 2.4ghz pIV can handle, anyway). Even two or three on aux sends finally gets a reverb that rivals a hardware counterpart. I have started a collection of impulse responses that are available on the web right now. I figure that there will be a lot more available in the future, but right now people are putting out all kinds of environments and even recording impulses through high dollar reverb units. Samplitude's website has every factory preset that comes with the TC M3000 verb. I have found impulse responses from cathedrals in Havana, Cuba as well as ancient cathedrals form all over Europe. It is pretty amazing. I haven't completely gone through and gotten rid of the ones that are just too poorly recorded to use. I also want to try and weed out all of the ones that are lower sample,bit rates. Some of them are just horrible. A suprising amount of them are pretty darn good, though.
    With cubase, though, you can use the UAD delay compensation plug-in on a group and just route everything that doesn't have a UAD plug through that group. This will delay all of the other tracks so that everything is as it should be. Doesn't cure the natural delay that exists even with VST and direct-x plugs. For things like verbs I find that it really doesn't add up to much that you can't fix with shorter pre-delay settings. Things like compression, however, are much more vitally important in this respect.
    That baby Hui is the ticket for me. I don't expect much out of life, and certainly do not want a control surface that costs over a grand and still gives you limited functionality. I will take limited functionality for 600 bucks Alex... Talk about something that is going to be absolutely worthless in the future... (hey! that means that someday I will be able to afford one!).
    I'm trying to figure out if Samplitude is going to still support the Logic control. If so I am hoping I can score one pretty cheap from a disgruntled Logic PC user.
     
  15. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    DH,
    Thanks for the info...it helps a lot to have something to look forward to. I have been hoping I wouldn't have to buy Nuendo….

    _________________________________________________________________
    Brock sez;

    I was running an MCI JH 24 at 15 ips. Sounded great and I was getting 2" reels for $120 each new, so while the cost is substantially larger, it was do-able. I also found a place in LA where they close out used once reels for $60

    Brock also sez;
    Yeah it's where I would like to go. I have a place right next to my SR 24 that will accommodate it perfectly. It's going to look like it was made for it.....drool
     
  16. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Guest

    man, I wish we had a place like that here in Austin. No used reels, though. I would do 60 bucks...
    Nuendo is really worth owning. I've thought about it a bunch and ended up going with Samplitude Producer 2496. I am very familiar with it so it seemed like a logical choice when they offered their crossgrade offer. 200 bucks is a deal. Another 250 for the upgrade to 7.0, but that's still a hell of a bargain. For mastering that program is excellent. I dig it for tracking, as well. It's seems more set-up for an analog guy than a lot of the software that is out there. Logic for instance...
    Nuendo is really nice, though, and I really enjoy using it when I have the opportunity. They have a really well behaved, knowledgable forum as well. I sometimes feel guilty for posting there not being a registered user...
     
  17. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    If you or anyone else wants the info on the once used reels or the place where they were $120 ea new I'd be glad to look up the names and post them.... let me know. Thje used reels are advertised in Pro Audo Marketplace and the new ones are in San Mateo CA. They can ship UPS....Fats
     
  18. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Guest

    absolutely. I would most deffinately like that.
     
  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    ONE PASS 2" ANALOG TAPE $65 A REEL @TapeTape.com - 888/909-6775 http://www.tapetape.com (CA)
    I would pick up the whole blurb out of Pro Audio Marketplace but I don't know if that's cool to do , so here's the # and the email address....Fats
     
  20. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Brock said:
    Actually the tape cost isn't what made me want to move into DAW, it was the maintenance costs on the console and tape machines. I spent $10K in 5 years on maintenance for an MCI 600 console and JH 24 2" machine. Unless you're a tech it's just a stupid waste of money. Your end product is CeeDee at best, usually mastered by some moron who ruins what you did anyway and a lot of times your stuff gets transferred to Blow Tools to be able to time stretch, pitch correct, edit. It became very difficult to compete with studios that were running DAW so why fight it. It is the wave of the future and it now appears that the native power is getting to the point that you really can do it all in one box. It just seems to be the right time to give up the "old ways" for the new, to get ahead of the curve before it buries me in the past.....Fats
     

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