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Hardware comp vs software comp?

SO what are the Pros and Cons on using hardware vs software processors and f/x ?

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Profile picture for user bouldersound
Member for
11 years 4 months

bouldersound Fri, 04/23/2010 - 21:29

Tracking with effects can't be undone, only redone. Software plugins can be used on as many channels as desired.

On the other hand, a good tube compressor has a sound hard to duplicate with software. I am fortunate to work where there's a couple channels of Drawmer compression, which I use for tracking. It did take years to get to the point where I usually didn't screw up the take with the comp. You have to have a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve to track successfully with compression.

In some cases, like recording a guitar, the effects are part of the performance, so it's obligatory to track with them.

Profile picture for user sturoc
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15 years 5 months

sturoc Fri, 04/23/2010 - 22:01

thanks for the reply and nice to hear from someone in the same town.
Of course understood bout recording with f/x as part of ' the sound'.
also the undo redo aspects of software plugs etc.
Basically was seeing if there were any advantages with outboard compressor limiters as opposed to software.
Point being I have a couple of DBX units -1046 et al. and was wondering if they are now outdated, due to software advancements.

Profile picture for user bouldersound
Member for
11 years 4 months

bouldersound Fri, 04/23/2010 - 22:32

sturoc, post: 346877 wrote: thanks for the reply and nice to hear from someone in the same town.
Of course understood bout recording with f/x as part of ' the sound'.
also the undo redo aspects of software plugs etc.
Basically was seeing if there were any advantages with outboard compressor limiters as opposed to software.
Point being I have a couple of DBX units -1046 et al. and was wondering if they are now outdated, due to software advancements.

There's nothing a 1046 can do for you that can't be done better ITB, IMO, assuming you're recording in 24 bit. A proper tube compressor may impart some mojo that is harder to come by with plugins.

Member for
51 years 5 months

Scott Griffin Sat, 04/24/2010 - 12:42

bouldersound, post: 346881 wrote: There's nothing a 1046 can do for you that can't be done better ITB, IMO, assuming you're recording in 24 bit. A proper tube compressor may impart some mojo that is harder to come by with plugins.

Agreed. You have to get very, very spendy in the outboard FX department before you can exceed what good plugs are capable of.

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51 years 5 months

bigtree Sat, 04/24/2010 - 13:29

Excellent beginning to an interesting topic.

At what point does it become bottle necked were all this ITB becomes clutter though? This is where I'm sitting and why I'm noticing this topic and questioning my DAW setup, or plugins like sturoc .
The way I hear it, a few tracks with plugins, ya... no problem. Things sound great, however, add more and more tracks, more plugins and eventually I need to lower the levels, then what happens? Its starts to sound different to me. not as open and kind of messy. Am I confused?

Member for
51 years 5 months

Scott Griffin Sat, 04/24/2010 - 15:16

No, you're figuring something out that a lot of us have known since the analog days - too many effects, whether analog or digital, will kill a mix. There's just no reason to ram everything through reverbs, delays, comps, etc. Track it properly on the way in, do as little as possible to make it gel, and get it off to the M.E. That's the way to make magic happen.

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15 years 5 months

sturoc Wed, 04/28/2010 - 11:20

Yes recording in 24 bit. And keeping the tracks as clean as possible. I've done mixes years ago when just starting in the scene, that were f/x laden to the point of "wish I could fix that" in the aftermath of the recording process.

So aside from the signature guitar f/x sound or using a generic outbd comp say to keep keyboard/mic/bass levels smooth or is even that necessary while just keeping the levels/gains in order?
The days of outboard compression -at least on the pro-sumer level are done?

Member for
51 years 5 months

bigtree Wed, 04/28/2010 - 20:19

Scott Griffin, post: 346943 wrote: No, you're figuring something out that a lot of us have known since the analog days - too many effects, whether analog or digital, will kill a mix. There's just no reason to ram everything through reverbs, delays, comps, etc. Track it properly on the way in, do as little as possible to make it gel, and get it off to the M.E. That's the way to make magic happen.

Exactly, however, I've known this for 10 years at least and we all talked about this since the coin "Alsihad".. I discovered this with my first PT TDM mix ++ pile of garbage in 98 when I started having to move the faders down as tracks increased and effects and all started effecting the sound. . Its why I'm so jacked up on analog / hybrid summing even more than ever and why I simply don't believe in just the one way anymore. Its all related to this topic, yes, no? Personally, I don't think anything has changed. DAW's and converters are much better quality than before but... hey... will it ever really change

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