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550B Compared to Plug-in EQ's
Old 10th November 2010
  #1
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
550B Compared to Plug-in EQ's

Hey guy's I have been going along with the theory that plug-ins could handle EQ pretty well. I'm happy with the results that i'm getting. Lets take a Kick drum, I'm using a D112 through an API 512c through AVID converters, then in the box I assign lets say a mcdsp G channel compact for EQ'ing. I really want to know before I go out and buy a full analog EQ that I am going to be impressed. I have used plenty of nice boards but have not been able to compare them with some of the newer plug-ins. Would having a API 550B improve my sound instead of the mcdsp EQ? I have heard great things from both but want some input from other users.

Thanks,
Surf Street
www.surfstreetstudios.com
Old 10th November 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
skybluerental's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
an analog API EQ is going to have a sound to it that no plug in can emulate and miles of headroom...........

they sound GREAT when used thoughtfully.
it is amazing how much you can boost highs and mids and not have them sound harsh.......

only you can decide if you will be impressed.

i love my API eq's.
Old 10th November 2010 | Show parent
  #3
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Maybe someone can post examples of real hardware eq's and it's emulations by using same settings. That way we could all compare and hear if there are any differences in sound.
Old 10th November 2010 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Addict
That's funny that this post came up. At AES this weekend, I was trying out the new API Channel Strip with the 550 EQ built in. I'll tell you what man, I got a great sound that I was happy with after 30 second of twisting that EQ. Much better than spending 5 minutes with a software EQ. The compressor was just apples to oranges. You can't get that kind of punch from software.

Justin
Old 10th November 2010 | Show parent
  #5
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Nice Awesome replies guy's. So I take it that the channel strip is using the 550B, that's pretty cool alright I just don't have that much cash!!

Surf Street
Old 10th November 2010 | Show parent
  #6
Registered User
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I've put time in on Waves API eq plug-in emulations, and also regularly use actual API hardware eqs.

I'm impressed by how well the Waves plugs do emulate the overall character and behavior of the originals, but indeed there's no comparison. The hardware considerably surpasses the software. The software does not give you the very fine distortion / harmonics of the hardware, plus, there is indeed a headroom thing going on. And in general, for whatever reason, it always seems much more difficult to dial in an eq setting with the software verses the hardware. Not sure why. It's a bit puzzling to me. But, I dread having to do critical work with plug-ins, it's always a struggle by comparison.

And regarding cheaper plug-in eqs, like the ones that come stock in assorted DAW packages... they're total garbage. I'm not going to single out any products specifically, but on several big name DAWs I've used, the stock plug-ins that you get for free with the DAW, I cannot and will not use them at all. If you think you can do good work with them, try strapping in some good hardware eqs instead, it'll blow your mind... you'll never go back.

In sum, if you can get your hands on some real hardware API eqs, do so... you won't regret it. Well worth it for sure.

Side note... while I feel the Waves API software emulates the hardware fairly well, I noted that the the 550A emulation was perhaps the least accurate. I'm used to my handwired 550As (same as the Saul Walker versions and vintage versions), these have a serious color... the software doesn't come close to emulating this... it's like maybe halfway there at best, and very watered down, not nearly as thick and creamy sounding. But the 550B emulation is more accurate. 2500 emulation not too bad either, but again, somehow I can dial up a kick ass sound way easier and faster with the hardware 2500 than I can with the software... it's weird. They're definitely not the same for sure.

I don't think digital emulations will EVER truly clone the sound and performance of hardware. I don't think it's possible. As technology improves, they'll get closer and closer, but it will never be the same. And the hardware will always have a thing about it that highly critical and scrutinous engineers will need to have. I don't think hardware will ever go away. It's worth it even just for the direct, tactile, authentic interface if anything.
Old 10th November 2010 | Show parent
  #7
Registered User
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I compared the API 560 (graphic EQ) to the Wave's plugin a couple days ago and it was a big difference. The track that went to the hardware 560 sounded fatter, the bottom end had depth and the top end was smooth. On the plug in the bottom end was boosted but it was flat and the top end was raspy.
Old 10th November 2010 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
World Studios's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Not API, but I compared the (very nice for a software eq) Waves V series 3 band EQ to my Vintage Design Neve clone EQ. Applying massive mid boosts the difference was massive. The plugin sounded unbearable, the hardware sounded over the top, for sure, but still nice. I guess the difference is not as easy to tell with a .5 dB boost or cut... :-) I agree with the above posts to the fullest. Real gear rules. The future is real gear with plugin functionality, like recall and presets. Or better plugins ;-)

One reason it is easier to dial in hardware is that you make bigger shifts and you can move two knobs at the same time, imho.
Old 10th November 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 
superwack's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Surf Street Rec. ➡️
Hey guy's I have been going along with the theory that plug-ins could handle EQ pretty well. I'm happy with the results that i'm getting. Lets take a Kick drum, I'm using a D112 through an API 512c through AVID converters, then in the box I assign lets say a mcdsp G channel compact for EQ'ing. I really want to know before I go out and buy a full analog EQ that I am going to be impressed. I have used plenty of nice boards but have not been able to compare them with some of the newer plug-ins. Would having a API 550B improve my sound instead of the mcdsp EQ? I have heard great things from both but want some input from other users.

Thanks,
Surf Street
www.surfstreetstudios.com
I think (and I'm sure many will agree) that EQ (at least boosting frequencies) is actually one of the areas that plug-ins are the worst at! As a friend who just bought his first analog eq (EQ-1NV) "wow, I can get the sounds in my head in seconds" he never could do that with plug ins. Plus it's much more satisfying to twist some knobs! Good luck
Old 10th November 2010 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Hardware EQs cut better in general. (and I mean through a mix- not attenuation)

Softies are crazy usefull but for more for subtle or softer effects IMHO.

But as everyone says, side by side, its no comparison in the context of a great EQ like the API.

I always use hardware EQs on vox. The voice is the telltale of audio.
Old 10th November 2010 | Show parent
  #11
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Well reading through the above posts really made that point clear. I have used the Waves API series and I strongly think that they are missing something. Anyway it looks like i'm going with my first analog EQ for my 10 space Lunchbox.

Thanks,
Surf Street
Old 10th November 2010
  #12
Deleted User
Guest
I don't have many plug ins but I do have some Altec Passive, purple ODD, GR EQ32 and Portico EQ's.. I think they sound great even going in and out (2 more conversions) during a mix ..

buying hardware is a no brainer.. good gear is always worth good money... but there is no vintage plug in market.

get some outboard EQ's and see how it fits your workflow if you don't like them better or just can't deal with the OTB-ness sell 'em ...
Old 10th November 2010 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Guru
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Surf Street Rec.
I have used the Waves API series and I strongly think that they are missing something.
They are probably closer to the hardware than any other plugin emulation I have found so far...
Old 10th November 2010 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
G-Spot's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I said this more than once: Even if the plug-ins would be a 100% copy in sound, I would always get better and faster results with the hardware. I tend to tweak and fool around too much with plugins to a point that I´m no longer so sure of what setting is better. With the hardware it takes me 1 minute max to take a decision. Often I come back to make minor/little adjusments, but that´s it.

EQ plug-ins, as soon as you start abusing them they sound bad... I mean really bad, and strange. When you abuse (good) harware eq, you can say "wow that´s really too much" but it does not sounds "bad"... I´m not sure if this makes any sence to you
Old 11th November 2010 | Show parent
  #15
D K
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D K's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Since I just got my 1st pair of Hardware EQs (Five Fish PEQ-503s) I can finally attest that hardware eq sounds very different then software..

I have some pretty decent soft eqs (Pultec, Harrison, Neve - all from UAD...Waves SSL, Stillwell, few others) The Low end on the hardware is much fatter and cleaner to me but where I think soft eqs get killed is in the "air" bands - to my ears this is where the most dramatic separation comes and it is not even close..

Loving the hardware..and the 500 series thumbsup
Old 11th November 2010 | Show parent
  #16
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Go hardware. I would use a hardware API eq over any emulation plug in.
Old 11th November 2010 | Show parent
  #17
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Nice and yes I completely understand what your saying. I'm sure that i'm going to go with several 550B's.

Thanks,
Surf Street
Old 11th November 2010 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont ➡️
They are probably closer to the hardware than any other plugin emulation I have found so far...
And latex dummies are the closest thing Ive found to sex with a woman...

Closest can still be OH SO FAR AWAY!
Old 11th November 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Guru
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by McDingus ➡️
And latex dummies are the closest thing Ive found to sex with a woman...
Old 11th November 2010 | Show parent
  #20
11413
Guest
API 550B remains my favorite plug-in EQ... softtube Trident A-Ranges is pretty cool too, but more of a DSP hog
Old 11th November 2010 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
When I got my first 500 series EQ's a few months ago, just for fun I patched an audio book voiceover that was a little nasal on top and lean on the bottom through one of my Electrodyne 511's. One click on each dial and the voice took on a magically sweeter quality. But since the sucker was over nine hours long, I didn't want to commit the time to run the whole thing through the 511 in realtime. I was, however, determined to match that sound using my many plugin EQ's. After lots of tweaking using several plugin EQ's in series, I got "in the ballpark." Not only did it not match the instant magic of the 511, but by the time I was finished with all the fiddling, I probably could have been halfway through the re-tracking. Won't happen again.

Plugins have gotten and are still getting better all the time—but there ain't nothin' like the real thing!
Old 11th November 2010 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
ionian's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmccoy ➡️
When I got my first 500 series EQ's a few months ago, just for fun I patched an audio book voiceover that was a little nasal on top and lean on the bottom through one of my Electrodyne 511's. One click on each dial and the voice took on a magically sweeter quality. But since the sucker was over nine hours long, I didn't want to commit the time to run the whole thing through the 511 in realtime. I was, however, determined to match that sound using my many plugin EQ's. After lots of tweaking using several plugin EQ's in series, I got "in the ballpark." Not only did it not match the instant magic of the 511, but by the time I was finished with all the fiddling, I probably could have been halfway through the re-tracking. Won't happen again.

Plugins have gotten and are still getting better all the time—but there ain't nothin' like the real thing!
I wonder if Waves Q-Clone could have helped you in that instance.

Frank
Old 11th November 2010 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont ➡️
You're just mad you don't sell latex dummies too...
Old 11th November 2010 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian ➡️
I wonder if Waves Q-Clone could have helped you in that instance.

Frank
Good question. Though at this point I'm much more likely to put that 500 bucks toward another 500 series EQ.
Old 11th November 2010 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
ionian's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmccoy ➡️
Good question. Though at this point I'm much more likely to put that 500 bucks toward another 500 series EQ.
Oh, I would agree! Especially since I'm not a fan of waves in general. I just threw that out there in case you had some more 9 hour projects to finish!heh


Enjoy the EQs!


Frank
Old 11th November 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Guru
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by McDingus ➡️
You're just mad you don't sell latex dummies too...
No, but I would rather sell someone a hardware API unit than a plugin.
Old 12th November 2010 | Show parent
  #27
Registered User
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Really? After the 1000's of threads about these kinda of comparisons, this is even still a question? Plugins are usefull, we all use them, some sound ok, but rarely, alright- never correctly emulate the complex xfer functions of a well designed piece of analogue gear....such as a 550.

No free lunch alas...
Old 12th November 2010 | Show parent
  #28
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
I A/B'd the URS A series with my Hardware 550b the other night on a vocal. Sounded close. I obviously ended up using the hardware EQ, but I only own a pair, so the plugin isn't too bad if you need say 4 more counts of 550b's.

Unless you own the 1608 or have a bunch of outboard, you will need to rely on some plugs whether you like it or not.
Old 12th November 2010 | Show parent
  #29
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
I was going to say all this waves talk.... what about URS or UAD ? I also had good luck with Tritone Digital when I could use them on my OLD system...
Old 12th November 2010 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
Bopkit's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
my experience ITB is that Eq is best used judiciously, avoiding extremes. especially on critical tracks, tracking sounds as close as possible to how they need to be for the mix is pretty crucial to having a big sound in the end.

the UAD Eq plugins i have sound pretty good to me, but i still find they fall down when pushed hard; where a great hardware Eq will bloom, a plugin will fold. but small boosts and cuts can go a long way at mix time when the sound is already pretty much there.
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