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Rethinking emulation plugs on the mix
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #31
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zvukofor's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by GearAndGuitars ➑️
Those are insightful observations.

If one is going for a certain sound of "console" recording, why not just approach your recording the same way...

- record all tracks in mono, if you want the part in "stereo" record it twice and hard pan it (this also nuances in performance that add depth and space)

- use processing in the signal chain (eq, compression, delay, reverb) not in the box

- limit yourself to 24 MONO tracks, work into the creative limitations

- image your DAW as a tape deck, punch in/out, overdub without regard to measure markers and grid locked loop points

etc, etc... might be amazed how much more "console" and classic recordings sound when recorded this way...

FWIW - YMMV

Gear and Guitars : First Impressions from a Nashville Recording Session
well, it is not necessary to hard limit yourself technologically, but some limitations only help in getting natural sounding recordings, like real double tracks, limiting number of tracks, working without metronome and record everything live with minimal editing - i approach this way even in electronic music i record. Music should live, it is not a pure math, even if we have some math in musical theory.
But i constantly disagree that you NEED to use outboard gear nowadays - it is not necessary at all, you only should know this digital path of processing and use it accordingly, it is not a matter of tools, but of using tools right way.
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Short Tracks ➑️
All the time. For me, the closer to the sound of the raw instrument the better. Musical instruments were designed to deliver a unique and rich band of harmonics/frequencies/tonics. Why mess with them if you don't have to?

same here , i took the same approach on and off with this emulation of analogue gear in the box on every part and in the end it felt a bit like layer upon layer of gloss or dulling of the original parts.I am pretty convinced each time you ' vst ' a signal it actually degrades some of the ' vitality ' and there is a loss for each artificial gain but the resulting sound many people now relate as good .

Its like mp3 has become ' normal ' and ears adjust to this as normal and fine and slowly the senses are dulled and we accept what we hear the majority doing as the new ' good ' .

Perception can be mislead , dulled and dumbed down and then altered so far it begins to think the new standard is as good as the one you degraded from for convenience sake.

When i use uad plugs 9/10 times the track of audio i recorded just sounds more plastic with the plugs than without , same goes for many plugins and in truth i dont have the money or time now to use hardware versions so i just use less processing and go for a looser mix with more original richness from the signal , focus on a better signal...

I avoid all software reverbs for instance other than valhalla stuff and the best impulses , the rest add a sheen of digital ****e to my ears which is just to artificial alot of the time.

I even find this with for instance cubase's impulse reverb , compared to s.i.r it adds this gloss thats pleasing instantly ( for a brief period ) but then you begin to see is actually another level of glamour / fakeness / sacarine suger to modern ears.

Its all a bit like what these super glossy headphones some people sell can do to music , a sweetener that actually kills the essence of the harmonic / vitality of a sound and makes it more ' consumable ' for dull consumers who like sweetened food even when its suppose to be savoury.

Cheap plugins or many will take a nice sound and really add subtle degrees of redigitized plasticness but again many cant hear this as plastic fantastic
super squashed loud mixes using massive on every track and pre processed sample libraries have become the norm in many circles of dance music for instance and more organic and rich recordings by many producers are now seen as old fashioned and ' to loose ' and the plugin sheen is somehow the new colour .

Its like many peoples perception has now be wrapped in plastic.


Theres a point where the quest for perfection kills the thing your trying to perfect , a diamond with flaws becomes a piece of transparent glass , boring and see through = thats how i hear 99% of in the box mixes when heavy vst processing is used .The same can be said for hardware , i was sent a rock mix a few days back by a top producer using massive amounts of famous hardware and it was just to processed and utterly dead in harmonic.

Less is more and emulating anything in life will always result in a fake sense of ' unreality ' which is where people are divided as some now like this sheen and some find it less appealing than the more rich harmonic sound of less processed audio.

The art is in using as little as possible and in focusing on the original signal and its harmonic content . I feel alot of people just use to much processing as they have the power to use so much in the same way a guy with 20 synths often feels the need to write cluttered music using everyone in the mix at once .

There is alot to be said for having 1 software eq , 1 software reverb and just the limiting software you use in the same way some do with hardware , it creates more defined and also less over processed mentality in the user.
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #33
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by m.h ➑️
Theres a point where the quest for perfection kills the thing your trying to perfect.
Well said. 95% of my time is spent on the melodies and arrangements. Sure, I may want to sweeten things overall on the master bus but it's more like an afterthought than a concerted effort. If I don't like a particular sound, I'll get the musician back into the studio or get another one for a punch-in session rather than futz with an emulation plugin. But that's just me and my style of music.
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #34
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GearAndGuitars's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zvukofor ➑️
well, it is not necessary to hard limit yourself technologically, but some limitations only help in getting natural sounding recordings, like real double tracks, limiting number of tracks, working without metronome and record everything live with minimal editing - i approach this way even in electronic music i record. Music should live, it is not a pure math, even if we have some math in musical theory.
agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zvukofor ➑️
But i constantly disagree that you NEED to use outboard gear nowadays - it is not necessary at all, you only should know this digital path of processing and use it accordingly, it is not a matter of tools, but of using tools right way.
sure, but there is a question of whether or not you want the signal processed before or after the AD. processing in the signal chain is a choice that yields a different result than post processing ITB, different, not necessarily better or worse - but different.

courses for horses
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #35
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GearAndGuitars's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by m.h ➑️
same here , i took the same approach on and off with this emulation of analogue gear in the box on every part and in the end it felt a bit like layer upon layer of gloss or dulling of the original parts.I am pretty convinced each time you ' vst ' a signal it actually degrades some of the ' vitality ' and there is a loss for each artificial gain but the resulting sound many people now relate as good .
this is exactly the trade off between in line processing on the in bound signal chain prior to the AD, versus post processing ITB after.

I do it both ways, depending on the intention (or sometimes lack thereof!).

One thing you get actually working with tape, is tape noise!
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #36
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foldedpath ➑️
Playing Devil's Advocate here (because I mostly mix classical and acoustic folk recordings with just a little sweetening on the master bus)....

People sure thought albums like Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" were genuine acoustic recordings back in the day, in spite of the fact that it involved tracking to tape with intrinsic saturation and compression, mixed through an analog console, and then running through a whoppin' 14 transformers and 20 tubes in a Fairchild 670 ahead of the lathe cutting vinyl.

Was that not "genuine" acoustic sound?

Our musical culture has grown up accustomed to these classic recording methods and sounds, and a bare documentary recording isn't necessarily what everyone wants now. We've been trained over the years, to appreciate these sounds. I hate to use the word "euphonic" because it's so nebulous, but we've had 50 years now of recording that seems to indicate that people like a degree of "euphonic" enhancement after the bare microphone + preamp signal path. Straight-wire-with-gain in a sound reproduction system has been available for a while now, but it doesn't seem to be what tickles our ears.
Point well taken about Miles. Maybe I shouldn't have lumped real consoles and emus into the same discussion.

The question still remains, how do we, like Miles, utilize the available technology to the best end. We have a different type of fidelity now, and are listening with different ears and expectations.

I listen to Kinda Blue on vinyl all the time. It is what it is--iconic in every way. However, I'm not convinced I can get to that place with plugins, and might be better off looking at what my own toolset has to offer.

-R
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #37
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
For the record, I'm not a "straight-wire-with-gain-ist".

-R
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #38
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
When I made hamburgers, I used to add Worchestershire, celery salt, various spices, maybe a little bbq sauce, and work it into the meat thoroughly. I'd cook them on a gas grill with a box of smoking wood chips on the side. Pretty good. then I heard about how overworking the meat works against you. So now I get good meat with the right amount of fat, handle it no more than I need to to make a patty, add salt and pepper, let it come to room temperature and then grill it over coals, medium to medium rare. Way better.

-R
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #39
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
For the record, I'm not a "straight-wire-with-gain-ist".
I am. Here's a clip from Richmond Road Blues. Scott Hatton is playing the guitar. He was hooked up to our Peavey (all purpose) studio amp. We had two mics on it. He cursed us when we made him remove all his hardware effects. We recorded him 'straight-wire' (with gain). We love making music.
Old 27th September 2012
  #40
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Ok, how about this...

I like what I like because it inspires and energizes me... and music is inspiration and energy materialized. If it feels good, do it. Because it will lead to more... and more... and more...

So do whatever moves you at the time... whether that involves plug-in emulations or hardware... double-tracking or not... tracking one track at a time or getting an ensemble together to track.

It doesn't matter. All that matters is that you do SOMETHING! Instead of sitting around and reading and posting to Gearslutz posts. At the same time, if that inspires you, then do that too!

I think you get the point. heh
Old 27th September 2012 | Show parent
  #41
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zvukofor's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jroode ➑️
Ok, how about this...

I like what I like because it inspires and energizes me... and music is inspiration and energy materialized. If it feels good, do it. Because it will lead to more... and more... and more...

So do whatever moves you at the time... whether that involves plug-in emulations or hardware... double-tracking or not... tracking one track at a time or getting an ensemble together to track.

It doesn't matter. All that matters is that you do SOMETHING! Instead of sitting around and reading and posting to Gearslutz posts. At the same time, if that inspires you, then do that too!

I think you get the point. heh
Yeah, nice point, but music is not about what YOU like, but about what is good and appropriate. There's very little good music and good engineered music. You get the point.
Old 27th September 2012 | Show parent
  #42
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henge's Avatar
So I'm only using emu's on tracks that have not seen an analogue path. This is after the VCC buzz died down and I realized that my mixes sounded better without every track having an instance of the plug.
So maybe about 5% of the tracks, if that, might have an emu.
VCC is a nice colour to have if you need it. Love the Neve emulation!
Old 27th September 2012 | Show parent
  #43
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RKrizman ➑️

I listen to Kinda Blue on vinyl all the time. It is what it is--iconic in every way. However, I'm not convinced I can get to that place with plugins, and might be better off looking at what my own toolset has to offer.

-R
that may not be the best comparison piece for the argument. you won't get to that place with plugins, you'll get to it without them. I am of course exaggerating, but for a point. KOB was really high fidelity at the time. And the recording techniques for that involved a great room (columbia 30th street was a HUGE room with moveable soft goods to control ambience, plus reverb chambers, etc....) and a ridiculously good sounding source. The source was miked in such a way that the whole of the mics and bleed created this great blend. You don't need console or compressor or eq emulations to get that sound, you need a great sound in a great room and great transducers in the right place to capture it. The console and eq and processing was intended for the highest fidelity and was the best they could do with what they had.
Old 28th September 2012 | Show parent
  #44
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
As I play more with the analog emulators I really feel for the most part they just make things sound better. Now if you run into a situation where they are making things sound worse by all means don't use it. But so far in general I have found they make average things sound good and good things sound great.
Old 28th September 2012 | Show parent
  #45
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
I really feel for the most part they just make things sound better
Yes, to you. For others, maybe not. It would be fairer to say these plugins make the sound subtly or dramatically 'different'. It depends who's arranging/engineering/producing the sound and on his or her idea about how it should sound. Lots of varied tastes/styles out there. Some like it raw and some like it hot. Only people who like that particular style will listen to it anyway. And that's what it's all about. You can produce music until the End Times but if no one is listening to it, what's the point?
Old 28th September 2012 | Show parent
  #46
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Short Tracks ➑️
Yes, to you. For others, maybe not. It would be fairer to say these plugins make the sound subtly or dramatically 'different'. It depends who's arranging/engineering/producing the sound and on his or her idea about how it should sound. Lots of varied tastes/styles out there. Some like it raw and some like it hot. Only people who like that particular style will listen to it anyway. And that's what it's all about. You can produce music until the End Times but if no one is listening to it, what's the point?
I stand by what I said.
Old 29th September 2012 | Show parent
  #47
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diegel ➑️
I stand by what I said.
I stand by what you said as well.
Old 29th September 2012 | Show parent
  #48
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ARIEL's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I have to agree , I try to keep things pretty simple without layers of stuff , The tape sims I have heard never really interested me at all as I did'nt like what it did to the sound . Some may laugh but when I first started recording I had an ADAT XT and a 16 trk Fostex B16 (still do). I did a test of sending a drum loop to both units . I preferred the adat as It seemed to not change the sound . This was back in the 90's and I had not really heard of the tape vs digital or tube vs transistor debates , I didnt even have internet either I was unschooled and not influenced and just used my ears for what I liked .
Old 29th September 2012 | Show parent
  #49
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ARIEL's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Short Tracks ➑️
I am. Here's a clip from Richmond Road Blues. Scott Hatton is playing the guitar. He was hooked up to our Peavey (all purpose) studio amp. We had two mics on it. He cursed us when we made him remove all his hardware effects. We recorded him 'straight-wire' (with gain). We love making music.
That is funny cool track . I had a similar situation . I was producing an artist and he brought in guess soloists and well one brought in a load of gear and effects . I let him set it up , threw up a mic quickly and captured a DI , the rest of tracks were DI with the line 6 . His tone did not mesh and was mushy . He left , I deleted the amp and threw on the plug . Now this guy was very much into gear . After he heard the cd he apparently sold a ton of his gear and got the line 6 So you sometimes have to find workarounds .
Old 29th September 2012 | Show parent
  #50
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scott petito's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've been reaquainting myself with heat lately and for most things it adds something nice but I often turn it off selectively on tracks like vocals etc...the process reminds me of the days when we cut bass and drums to tape and then
added vocal a gtrs etc on digital...a similar feeling to the tracks

The other plug that I am spending a lot of time with is the uad ampex 102 simulation...i started to really investigate alignment like I would have on a tape machine and have some really stellar patches now...i would dare say I now prefer them to the real thing mostly because of the repeatability and consistancy..

Cheers
SP
Old 29th September 2012 | Show parent
  #51
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Now this guy was very much into gear
We have a 'Musicians Wanted' sign in the window of our studio. We get about 5 or 6 musicians a week dropping in to show us what they can do. This young lad from a heavy metal band built his own bass guitar including all the electronic pick-ups. He had 10 pots on it and a few pedals. We plug him into the studio amp and tell him to set the controls to zero and that if he stepped on a pedal, we'd pedal him out the door. He starts playing and we're trimming the inputs when all of a sudden we're getting intermittant dropouts and hi-pitched harmonics even at -18 dB. Almost blew our gear. Needless to say, we ejected him through the airlock. No more home made instruments for us. As a side note, we never roll off the lower bass frequencies. They deliver a pleasing low end buzz. Some of the emulation plugs I've heard put the buzz back in after most engineers have EQ'd them out. Go figure.
Old 29th September 2012 | Show parent
  #52
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Sonic meditations, created entirely on Bass Guitar, that conjure up otherworldly sounds and harmonies ...
Great sounds, Scott. Impressive. If ever there was a case for emulation plugs, your music is it. It would be nice if you offered a slightly longer preview.
Old 30th September 2012 | Show parent
  #53
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DistortingJack's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nnajar ➑️
well the RCA 44 is one of the most real and accurate sounding transducers you could have....
I don't think that really is the case. Ribbon microphones do have their share of distortion. However I agree that clean or not, it's one of the best-sounding microphones out there. They're just, well, euphonic.
Old 30th September 2012 | Show parent
  #54
Deleted 1846071
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by bing81 ➑️
Anyone who thinks that we're somehow approaching things differently now that we have Pro Tools and Phoenix or VCC, should go back and listen to the Beatles (to cite just one example ...). They never stopped slamming things through whatever was available, often to excess. "Tomorrow Never Knows" sums up for me why I'm "in" recording and what I love about it, and the day I get even close to something like that as a piece of recorded work, I'll stop.
Amen. F***ing up the sound is part of the creative process. I love the sound of 1966-1967 Geoff Emerick era Beatles - big, tubey, surreal Technicolor brightness. Nothing natural about it at all, and it's great. Penny Lane? Get out of town! Listen to that last piercing, crystal glass note!

Meanwhile, what is 'natural,' 'objective,' 'true' sound? Every decision in the recording process, including instrument and amp settings, drum tunings, preamp and microphone choices - to say nothing of mic placement - betrays a sort of editorial bias on the part of the engineer/producer.

In filming the new Hobbit movie, Peter Jackson decided to shoot at 48 frames per second, instead of the longtime industry standard 24 fps. This is how people reacted:

Quote:
At an industry event screening in April 2012, the new 48 fps format was described as receiving "an underwhelming reaction at best". While Variety stated that the footage "looked distinctively sharper and more immediate than everything shown before it, giving the 3D smoother movement and crisp sharpness", it also reported that it lost "the cinematic glow of the industry-standard 24 fps" and that "human actors seemed overlit and amplified in a way that many compared to modern sports broadcasts [...] and daytime television". One projectionist complained that "it looked like a made-for-TV movie".
I don't want to see the high definition reality of pimples, makeup lines, and blemishes when I watch TV. And I don't want to hear super high resolution digital sound, because it can often be unpleasant. Who wants real life, when art and imagination can be so much better?

That said, I agree that digital emulations can be overcooked, such that the material comes out sounding mushy, like it was recorded through low-end 1980s Tascam gear. What I strive for in using emulations is depth and character and color, not mere saturation/distortion. Like garlic and salt, a little goes a long way.
Old 1st October 2012 | Show parent
  #55
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ARIEL's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Re above quote and movie definition . I got a flat screen LED tv a year ago , dumbed down the quality to the lowest setting as any show I had watched seemed to look really fake , like a sports cast . I was far to revealing and lost any of the smoothed film look . For visuals we need a bit of that smearing effect .
Old 2nd October 2012 | Show parent
  #56
Gear Addict
 
Mr. Light's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RKrizman ➑️
When I made hamburgers, I used to add Worchestershire, celery salt, various spices, maybe a little bbq sauce, and work it into the meat thoroughly. I'd cook them on a gas grill with a box of smoking wood chips on the side. Pretty good. then I heard about how overworking the meat works against you. So now I get good meat with the right amount of fat, handle it no more than I need to to make a patty, add salt and pepper, let it come to room temperature and then grill it over coals, medium to medium rare. Way better.

-R

Remind me to invite you to my next session.....I'LL supply the patties!
πŸ“ Reply

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