-   Q+A with Jonathan Little & Alan Smart (
-   -   Modeling (

mdbeh 1st February 2003 11:12 PM

Jules touched on this in the Sintefex thread, but I though I'd make it a new topic: As analog designers, how do you guys feel about plugins and digital effects that model analog boxes? How good are they now, and where to do think they're headed in the future?

I know this has been discussed ad nauseum among users, but I'm curious to hear from the experts.

Jules 2nd February 2003 01:59 PM

Al, for the record at an AES show 3 years ago, I nagged at Bomb Factory Erik & I think Colin at McDSP that there was a HUGE gap in the PT compresssion plug in market for an SSL/Smart style compressor plug in for Pro Tools.

When the Sony Oxford design team (4 of em) swung by my studio for a beta test afternoon) I also cited the action of your devices as something lacking and to be desired in a compression plug in.

Also are you aware of the guy "produceher" on the Digidesign Users Group who has been emailing people kindly his tweaked pre set of the Metric Halo "channel Strip' plug in that he feels emulates an SSL/Smart compressor? (He's a very cool guy BTW)


mdbeh 2nd February 2003 03:40 PM

Yeah, now that you mention it, I can't really think of an "SSL Squash" style plugin. Maybe in the Sony Dynamics--I haven't heard them yet.

(BTW, I'm not trying to start Analog vs. Digital Wars Part XXXXVIIII here. I just think it's fun to hear the technical guys talk about the nuts and bolts.)

At least from the posts I've seen, Produceher seems to know his stuff, so I'd love to hear his tweek. Unfortunately, I'm on a PC-based 001 system, so I don't think I can use Metric Halo.

alphajerk 2nd February 2003 05:37 PM

the only "modelling" that should be going on is taking great analog gear and LISTENING to what it does well and tweak future plugins to have the same qualities... not necessarily put out a plugin with graphics that look like some hardware gear trying to fool people into thinking it functions the same.

littlelabs 2nd February 2003 11:16 PM

Modeling is just that... modeling. I can make two circuits that measure with my Prism D scope III identical . Same slew rate as well bandwidth phase response etc.. They will sound different. Or better yet two identical circuits one with my lab supply one with the super audiophile niagra falls supply. They will measure identical in every way but putem up on the B&Ws and boy you hear a difference. So the dweebs in the lab modeling on the computer all the parameters miss the point.There still be voo doo involved that no one can model. But modeling is a good attempt and great for the Home recordist. If you want to record a B3, that new Korg is amazing in every way, but come on Jimmy Smith might use it on the road but only an idiot would record Jimmy on it in the Studio.


mdbeh 2nd February 2003 11:36 PM

Right. That's what drives me nuts about guys who are always quoting specs as the final word--they assume that the specs cover everything relevant to the sound. We've all heard otherwise. Some of the modeled stuff is still pretty cool, though, provided you know the limitations.

chrisso 3rd February 2003 02:02 AM

I'll always go for hardware......
but I guess that means I'll never use a Fairchild.
On to the Jimmy Smith comment;
was I the only one sad to see (and hear) Herbie Hancock playing the Rhodes emulator in Logic Audio instead of the real thing on his last tour and album?

mdbeh 3rd February 2003 02:20 AM

That is sad. I'll take the real thing, instrument or outboard, whenever I can. For stuff like a Fairchild (that I can't afford), the models are fun to play with, though.

preben 3rd February 2003 02:58 PM

Hi all,

I'm new to this forum - came via the EQ-forum route... Nice to be here and thanks for having me...

I completely second the need for a high quality SSL/C1/C2 plug... Although I also agree with the fact that the hardware version almost always outperforms anything modeled (I have yet to hear anything that is anywhere near to what my '62 AC30 sounds like even with worn out valves) there are other very appealing aspects of a modelled version. I do a lot of different stuff more or less all at once (I suppose I get easily bored heh) and total recall is one of the main reasons I decided to go 'all-in-the-box' and relying on virtual outboard equipment.

I am a TC-Powercore and UAD-1 user and can honestly say as an example that if anyone came up with a GOOD virtual SSL/C1/C2 I would happily add another of those cards (or something similar from another supplier) just to run a really good stereo bus-compressor. I've tried the 'Produceher' settings and the setup sounds really nice, but I have a feeling that there's still more to be had in this department. Now... I've said it - it's out in the open... and I want i NOW..!!! jummpp

Dailydb 4th February 2003 06:56 AM


Originally posted by Jules
Al, for the record at an AES show 3 years ago........
thanks jules...on all points..

I feel very much in agreement with jonathon on this point, though perhaps with a little less emphasis on voodoo. If you're looking for a good simulation, a lifetime of mind numbing obsession with analogue audio, connected in systems, can define a lot of those immeasureable gaps. The trick is to find anyone active in the field of DSP with the right mindset and this experience as well, and, there are few just working in the analogue domain.

No matter, I think there is scope for complementary, similar, and excellent plugins, but at the moment my first toe in this pool will be with a 'soft' controlled but inexpensive hardware box, hopefully available residing within ProTools. At the moment, we have a trial Mac Desktop version running.....optimistic fruition for later this year...


jazzius 5th February 2003 12:10 AM


Originally posted by chrisso
was I the only one sad to see (and hear) Herbie Hancock playing the Rhodes emulator in Logic Audio instead of the real thing on his last tour and album?
Man, when i heard the Herb's was playing that plugin rhodes live i almost had a stroke.......if there was ever proof that someone has "lost the plot" , this is it.....herbs would surely have the pick of the worlds finest rhodes' to play, yet he chooses the plugin! Have you heard it? It's laughable. that's depressing...

Bob Olhsson 9th February 2003 09:18 PM

I always hate to break this to people but there are plenty of truly great musicians who have amazingly tin ears when it comes to sound quality even though the very same person can tell you exactly which violin string is out of tune in a section of 32 fiddles.

It's really a different skill-set.

chrisso 9th February 2003 09:25 PM

I think a lot of it is down to the 'been there, done that' mentality.
Herbie doesn't want to be typecast.
Keith Emerson doesn't want to be known as the guy with the Moog modular.
Mind you, Phil Spector doesn't mind being known as 'the man with the gun'grggt

Fibes 11th February 2003 06:46 PM


Originally posted by Bob Olhsson

It's really a different skill-set.

Yeah, and the PITA factor having your roadies dropping that stuff all over the planet. On the road reliability and ease of use can take the drivers seat for artists that have been screwed by old gear. NRBQ still uses the clav but I've seen 'em have to change the damn thing out mid-set 4 times in 6 shows. Like Jonathan said...

maxim 12th February 2003 12:28 PM

having struggled for years to mike up my acoustic gtr at gigs for better tone, i finally gave up and gone with an under the bridge pickup


'coz it's ****ing convenient, and the gain in my relaxation status is far greater than the loss in sonics