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Vintage Analog Hardware vs. Apollo & Unison Plug‑Ins

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by audiokid, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Location:
    BC, Canada
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    Published on May 31, 2017
    In this video, watch multi Grammy-winning producer/engineer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones) shoot out vintage analog hardware to Apollo with Unison / UAD plug-ins. Features electronic-soul artist Jamie Lidell and an all star cast at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, TN.

    Watch how Apollo stacks up to the real thing. Then read the full article here: http://www.uaudio.com/blog/jacquire-k...

    Compare for yourself. Download the uncompressed audio files.
    http://media.uaudio.com/blog/u/n/unis... (100 MB .zip)

    Track: “Walk Right Back”
    Writer: Jamie Lidell

    https://lidellmakeswaves.com/
    https://open.spotify.com/artist/6ASGm...




    http://www.uaudio.com/blog/jacquire-king-unison
     
    pcrecord and ChrisH like this.
  2. ChrisH

    ChrisH Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Location:
    Iowa
    Good stuff. Thanks @audiokid
    Might be time to get a UAD card for the plugs.
    The vocal comparison have a significant difference in transients to my ears.
    Also curious if their "real time/zero latency" is actually real time/zero latency.
     
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    it's marketing kids! of course it's presented in the best light. can you imagine UAD gong to this guy and saying we need you to make a video that makes it look bad? of course not! bad reviews don't get published.

    second, you are talking about a piece of software that will be obsolete almost as soon as you buy it. you can't sell old software but i'm still getting top dollar for some pieces from my studio in the 90's.

    how many times already has UAD come out with new and improved versions of their digital products? do you really think they will stop at this? this is SOFTWARE you won't be able to run in a few short years without paying more for an update or to replace it vs. a piece of hardware that has been in use for 20 to 30 years already and with the right TLC will be around for another 20 or 30 year at least! how many of us are using software that's even 3 years old, let alone 5 or 10 years?

    that wouldn't matter to Jacquire King however. he most likely gets the UAD stuff for free to schill for them or he's working in a studio that pays the price and has a business plan that include such expenditures. are you billing $500 an hour? i didn't think so .........

    i wouldn't make such a critical judgment based on an internet video. no matter how great they make that crap work, the real thing will outlast it with the added benefit of being able to be used in all circumstances and not just with a compooter.
     
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    I'm away from my studio and only have my iPhone so I'm not gonna form an opinion on any of these thru the speaker of a cell phone...

    For me, it doesn't really matter if they have captured the sound of these analog pieces true to form or not ... if the particular plug I'm using sounds good for what I'm using it for, that's the bottom line for me. And, there have been a few emulations that have really impressed me; I was totally knocked out the first time I used the Waves SSL G plug ( and I'm no big fan of Waves in general, either), but it was incredible how accurate to the real thing it was, how it responded to tonal changes, the built in GR and Gate ... having cut my teeth on a real SSL G, I was jaw droppingly impressed. But I concede that not all plugs are that accurate.

    And, I totally get what Kurt (@Kurt Foster ) is saying in regard to hardware. Those old (and even some new) pieces of iron DO indeed have their magic, and there's no doubt that Kurt is right when he mentions that actual hardware holds its value ... even appreciates, and on that we agree.
    But, most of us are working in the box mixing these days. And few people can afford to have a collection of great hardware at their disposal. And, I'm not just referring to just home recordists, either. Plenty of pro places are using plug ins, too.
    Now, what I don't quite get, is why someone like JJ Puig would be using plug emulations, when he works primarily out of Ocean Way, which has a control room that has a beautiful LFC and three walls filled - ceiling to floor - with the best hardware imaginable at his disposal; the same with Andrew Scheps, whose massive wall of classic hardware makes me choke when I think about how much he's got invested in it, yet he mixes primarily ITB using plugs... even designing a few himself.
    Unless these guys are using their massive collections to front load with for recording...
    Or, LOL, they're fibbing, and they actually are using their massive wall sized collection of processing. ;)
     
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Portability, time saving and easy to recall...
    Not all customers wants to pay 3 extra hours to make a simple change to a mix...
    But I would take the time for great signal chain while tracking. that's for sure ;)
     
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

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    Dec 10, 2001
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    I own a UAD2 Quad Core. I have had it almost three years now. There are specific emulations on it I use for every mix. I have UMPTEEN choices in my plug-ins selection. I have a digital drive dedicated to the plugs only and in this library are several different iterations of the same emulation of a classic hardware piece. Every time I will choose the UAD since it is as close to the hardware as you can get. Sometimes "better" because there is NO NOISE that has always been inherent to these hardware pieces. It's funny, some of the software engineers will add a "noise knob" to enable these quirks to be added to the sound simply to make it more authentic.

    I have several pieces of the hardware to compare these to in case anyone is wondering. Like the aforementioned studios and producers with access to walls of analog fun, I also track through the hardware and then mix ITB using the software as appropriate. I have an extensive patchbay and can route anything to anywhere and can reamp through any of my hardware should I desire. But I usually see no need to do so as the software is so good, especially the UAD.

    The compressors in the UAD are as close to reality as you can get without having the hardware. I have an LA2A. I have an LA2A clone. I have a couple of 1176 clones and a couple of 500 series comps built to be 1176 in nature. I have a lot of hours using a Neve 33609. My Retro Double Wide is based on the Gates Sta-level. The point being, the UAD comps are no joke and no marketing hype. They are the real deal for todays production and styles and work flow. I use the LA2A in my UAD card as much as anything else. I have a complete collection of the versions of the 1176. I have all the Neve comps. And the API's. And then theres the EQ's..........The Harrison 32C is based on Swedien's desk. There are many others. And they work as advertised. Sure, I use up a card space in my tower for the card...and this limits my ProTools to HD2....but I don't need anything more.

    Until you have spent some hours with this hardware/software you can't really know just how good it really is.

    And YES....no latency. It has it's own engine.
     
    ChrisH likes this.
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    Not to derail this too far, but I didn't know you could do this. You have your pluggins installed on a drive other than than the OS drive? this is fascinating to me.
     
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

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    Yes. And No. The plug-ins which do not produce sound themselves are always on the System Drive. All the sample libraries, drum programs, VST's are on a separate drive. The UAD stuff has its own hardware, of course, since it's not exactly "software" in the sense that most software is. ie: You can't download the emulations without the UAD hardware.
     
  9. bob

    bob Active Member

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    Jul 20, 2017
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    uk

    Everything i ever thought right here, bang on.
    the preamp war get me, when you went into a studio years ago, you never asked what preamp have you got.
    its almost as if some people have just dismissed everything that was recorded pre 80's as rubbish compaired to new software.
    On saying all that i understand there is a massive price difference in getting that sound,
    some of the people i know can talk me under the table reg software and have all the new gizmos, bang upto date this and that, but i say to them ... great, play me something you have done with it, amazing how many say "ow i just dabble" ! !
     
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    "we never asked what preamp you got"
    Sure we did. Asking about the console being used in a studio you hadn't been to before was usually the very first question asked, and in doing so, you were asking about preamps. Finding out which mics were available was also another common question.
    Clients returned to studios they liked for one reason - because they liked the end result. That result was a culmination of the equipment and the engineering talent.
    Kurt is our resident analog purist, so of course he's going to prefer hardware over plugs. But there are those of us who have used - and continue to use - digital tools with great success.
    I'm not sure what your own experience is, or who you've talked to, but there are PLENTY of us who use digital recording platforms and software plugs that do a lot more than just"dabble". And Many of us who do use software remain very serious about the craft, and most of us came up in the analog age of LFC's and Tape Machines.
    More than just a few of us have plenty of projects under our belts using both.

    FWIW
     
  11. bob

    bob Active Member

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    Jul 20, 2017
    Location:
    uk
    Hi donny, fair comment,
    i do use digi myself and find it very easy to use, a blessing no doubt.
    i was mainly saying im not uptodate with all the the new stuff that is ever changing, as i dont think i need to be,
    im more interested in getting my ideas down the most easy way poss with out getting too bogged down with all the tec stuff.
    al change the "you" for i
    i never really asked what pre amps were being used, or any of my friends we just booked a studio that we could get in.
    and what ever mics were there were used.

    But yea as said i do know people (as im sure we all do) who know alot about uptodate gear
    (obviously not suggesting anyone here) but when it comes to getting tracks down they have not alot to show for it.
     
  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    as i recall, the whole "pre amp thing" came to being in the mid 80's because a lot of folks were building home studios based around low cost mixers like Fostex, Tascam and Soundcraft (just to name a few) where there was a LOT of room for improvement in s/n, headroom and dimension. i think the first stand alone preamps i became aware of were from Demeter and John Hardy. i can remember seeing ads in MIX magazine for them in the early 80's.

    Donny is right when he says the first thing clients would ask was what kind of console you had.
    when i interviewed to join National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), the first thing i was asked was what kind of console my studio had. at that time there was plethora of semi pro and home studios and i guess that was one way they weeded out the amateurs from the pros. i doubt they even consider those things now days.

    as far as digital vs analog .... (sigh) i think digital is ok. i have a preference for analog processing but digital recorders were actually a step that i welcomed with open arms (due to the issues Donny brought up). i went nuts when Alesis came out with the ADAT. it's just too bad they weren't very robust in action and there were so many problems getting 2 or 3 machines to play nice with each other without the error lights lighting up. sad to say i never had enough dough to spring for a Sony or Mitsubishi digital tape machine, which was the what the major studios went with. a lot of the records that came out of Nashville in the 80's & 90's (that a lot of people assume were analog) were actually recorded on digital machines.

    in the box processing works. the only problem i have with it is, it's disposable yet still expensive. i'm still paying property taxes with funds i can raise by selling off a piece of analog gear i bought and used 20+ years ago while software i bought 2 years ago is worthless. imo, the whole high end thing with digital is a huge waste of money and is getting more and more just plain silly every day. if i were doing this thing all over, i would probably stay as cheap as i could with perhaps the exception of converters outboard, mics and pres. expensive software is a waste imo. i mean it's just fine as long as it's understood the shelf life is relatively short. no one recoups a software investment unless they are doing a lot of business.

    all of that said, i am constantly surprised to hear how a lot of successful up and coming artists are recording with stuff most of us "pros" would turn our noses up at. things like porta studios, Boss 8 trackers, recording with limited amount of tracks, doing reduction mixes to CDs and then back to the multi track and tracking through inexpensive reverbs like the Alesis IV. to me that shows that it's the passion and drive to record / get the message out that determines how successful one will be.

    i was reading in the latest issue of TapeOp (the only decent recording mag left) Mac Demarco runs ALL of his mixes through an Alesis micro limiter. :eek: Richard Swift is printing into a TASCAM cassette four tracker for final 2 mixes. he actually sends the cassettes to the mastering house!!!!:eek::eek:

    Tame Impala's first 3 records were done on Boss 8 and 16 trackers. these guys are making and selling real records! in the end, isn't that what really matters?

    in my pov, if you like how it sounds, do it.
     
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  13. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Absolutely agreed. I'm not a gear snob. I remember getting a killer bass tone for a particular song once using a $59 Art MP1 preamp ... and I had other very nice pres available to me. For whatever reason, that pre sounded best for that instrument on that song.
    If you like what you are getting, don't worry about whether it's a budget piece or a pro piece. In the end, no one listening will care. All they'll hear is if it's a good song (or not) and if it sounds good. Very few people care about how the sausage is made. I've come to realize over time that I'm not mixing for audio
    Professionals, I'm mixing for music lovers. Sometimes I think we can get lost in the technical side of the craft and ignore the musical side of things.
    That's not to say that I don't like using nice gear, because of course I do, or that I don't strive for the best fidelity I can get... but having big dollar gear is not always necessary. If I had to make a choice between recording with budget gear or not recording at all, I'd find a way to get the best results out of the gear I was using. The alternative isn't an alternative for me, because I enjoy doing it.
    Besides, I've heard more than just a few terrible sounding records mixed through some very high dollar equipment, and I've heard music recorded on "cheap" stuff that's knocked my socks off. ;)
    FWIW
    -d
     
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  14. bob

    bob Active Member

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    Location:
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    horses for courses no doubt, what is important is the end result, how we get there is based on how we interpret and mold the tools we have to hand.
    I am releasing songs at mo using a combination of tape and digi.
    old software plug ins and out board gear for eg, i know others hate it but i much pref the old 1U rack Drawmer DL221 than my software comp
    only cus im use to it and i think it sounds "Fat", cheap as chips and does the job i like.
    its just what we get use to.
     
  15. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

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    Hardware these days has become gear used in tracking. I know I know....there's a lot of guys reamping through their hardware in order to "condition" the tracks done digitally...But if taken side by side with a very good computer and a very good software set-up, no one can tell what's what and what it was recorded on.
    If you have an up-to-date machine and a high-end daw, nothing becomes obsolete. ALL of my software is several years old and gets used every time I mix or record. And I don't need to update it. It works perfectly and is stable.

    So, hardware to track....software for ITB mixing. What could be easier? The biggest change a person can make in their system that makes the MOST difference is conversion. Next is sound control in the room. This would include playback of all sorts. Next is capture devices. Pres/mics/outboard all are about the same level in the scheme of things.

    I used to think that if only I had that one piece it would put these recordings over the top.

    What I discovered was repetition creates better quality no matter whether its some self-contained bedroom studio device or the best signal chain money can buy. I have a project currently in production that have elements of tracks recorded on a Roland 1680 ....these tracks were bounced as wav files to my rig and then recorded around with my room and my outboard and quality-wise there is no difference. And I kept some of the performances AND the sounds as-is simply because they were the right thing for the song.
     
    audiokid likes this.
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Couldn't agree more.
     
  17. Cedric

    Cedric Active Member

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    Is there a way to use the UAD plugs without the hardware? I have the Apollo Solo, but, I'm usually using a Yamaha CL5 with Dante Virtual Soundcard to mix at work.
     
  18. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    I don't believe you can use UAD plugs without the UAD hardware.
    There are other plug manufacturers where separate hardware isn't required (Slate, Waves, Acustica, etc.) But UAD requires its own DSP engine, that is resident in their cards and interfaces.
    That's not to say you couldn't possibly connect your Solo in order to just Access its plugs, but I'm not sure how your DAW would react to seeing 2 different I/O's. I suppose the best way to know is to try it, connect the UA Solo to your TB, but still use your CL5 as your primary audio interface and See how your DAW reacts...
     
  19. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

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    Pacific NW
    No. Simple.
     

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