Hardware vs. Software Round ! ....Ding!

Discussion in 'Mixing & Editing' started by Adrenaline, Dec 1, 2001.

  1. Adrenaline

    Adrenaline Guest

    Hey. As i look through my most recent catalogue of equipment in this magazine i can't help but notice the various types of hardware such as equilizers, crossovers,filters, effects, reverbs, and enhancers. What the hell? Is this hardware necessary? I'm sure it is but how much better will the sound quality be coming from these units then using plug-in software that's much cheeper and seemingly easier to use? Who buys these things? Just talk to me like i'm 4, please explain.
    Thanx.
     
  2. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2001
    Plug-ins have come a long way, and there are a lot of folks out there who are relying entirely on them with no outboard gear. And certainly the economics of instantiating a focusrite red plug-in (for instance) on a dozen tracks beats the hell out of buying all those boxes. But while manyplug-insclaim to model a particular piece of hardware, the modelling is not yet so perfect that the actual hardware piece still doesn't sound perceivably better (or at least different).

    In addition, with hardware, you can affect the audio before it gets to your converters, which can have many benefits. For instance, a compressor in the audio path before A/D conversion means you can record "hotter" with less worry about digital overs.

    Also,plug-insuse up CPU power or DSP availability. Unless you have a monstrous system, you can quickly run out of gas. No such problem with outboard gear. And, every insertion of a plug-in adds to the latency on that track.

    Like anything else, it's a matter of continually upgrading the weakest link. There are a lot of things you can throw money at. Maybe spending on good mics, mic pres, room acoustics, wiring, monitors, converters, master clock, etc. might all give you more bang for the buck than a good outboard eq in your particular situation. Ultimately, only you can be the judge. I find that when I really need to upgrade something, my own equipment (including ears) finds a way of telling me! :cool:
     
  3. coldsnow

    coldsnow Active Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Location:
    Mogadore, OH
    Also, good pieces of analog gear will retain their worth for ever. Digital devices drop to next to nothing when new bit lengths etc come out.
     
  4. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2001
    I think the main issues for me are workflow and latency (or lack thereof). The Renaissance EQ, for example, is a really good sounding EQ, and I don't have a problem using it on a number of things in a mix.

    However, I'd rather have a couple of EQ's in analog hardware, even if they sounded *exactly the same*, given the choice and the budget. I just prefer it. So, if I've got a decent analog board and a handful of compressors and EQ's, I am probably going to mix better, probably faster.

    Of course, if I have one great analog EQ, I can't put it on seventeen channels like I can with plugins. But hey, if you *need* that much processing, you're ^#$%ed already anyway.
     
  5. Uncle E

    Uncle E Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2001
    Originally posted by Jon Best:
    But hey, if you *need* that much processing, you're ^#$%ed already anyway.

    hehehe

    Nobody ever mentions latency, finding the sweet spot with nativeplug-insis *murder* (obviously not a problem w/ PT or DSP cards).
     
  6. Adrenaline

    Adrenaline Guest

    but them shits is so expensive. I guess that's just the price you pay huh? And i feel you on the latency thing. It be a muther sometimes getting it to sound just right. Well, okay. So what would be a good piece to start off with. Just to let me hear and feel a difference. I do personally like to physically touch things with my hands then with a mouse pad anyways. Should i dig into my pops old stereo system for parts or what?
     
  7. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2001
    Speck ASC is probably the cheapest general purpose EQ (new) I'd use for *tracking*, when I don't want to screw up the sound too much. The older urei stuff can be had cheap sometimes.

    Originally posted by AdrenalineBoy:
    but them shits is so expensive. I guess that's just the price you pay huh? And i feel you on the latency thing. It be a muther sometimes getting it to sound just right. Well, okay. So what would be a good piece to start off with. Just to let me hear and feel a difference. I do personally like to physically touch things with my hands then with a mouse pad anyways. Should i dig into my pops old stereo system for parts or what?
     
  8. Adrenaline

    Adrenaline Guest

    hey,
    i'm from the beach and i'll be home during the entire christmas holidays before i have to come back to school. Why don't you let me hang around with you in your studio. I'll work for free. I know you need some help around. I'm willing to learn everything.
     
  9. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2001
    Location:
    Bloomington, IL
    Originally posted by AdrenalineBoy:
    Hey. As i look through my most recent catalogue of equipment in this magazine i can't help but notice the various types of hardware such as equilizers, crossovers,filters, effects, reverbs, and enhancers. What the hell? Is this hardware necessary? I'm sure it is but how much better will the sound quality be coming from these units then using plug-in software that's much cheeper and seemingly easier to use? Who buys these things? Just talk to me like i'm 4, please explain.
    Thanx.


    Some of us actually use a console and tape machines and outboard and don't even have a computer in the studio. :eek:
     
  10. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2001
    Originally posted by drumsound:


    Some of us actually use a console and tape machines and outboard and don't even have a computer in the studio. ;)
     
  11. Marc Edwards

    Marc Edwards Guest

    AdrenalineBoy, just take some time out and listen to some of the analog outboard mentioned on this web site... then you'll understand why some people choose not to useplug-ins.. but I warn you that you WILL be changed forever, and you'll spend the rest of your life as a gear head.

    :D
     

Share This Page