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Waves CLA 1176 vs Real 1176 Clones
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Ermz
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#1
18th February 2010
Old 18th February 2010
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Waves CLA 1176 vs Real 1176 Clones

Hey guys,

The clones finally got in! First order of the day was to do a 1:1 shoot-out with the Waves CLA pack on the same source material. I'll get straight to the details:

I've provided 6 files. 2 of each compressor working on bass only. 2 of each compressor working on vocals only. 2 of each compressor working on both bass AND vocals in the mix with drums.

Waves CLA 1176 Bluey was used on lead vox. Rev A 1176 clone was used to match.

Waves CLA 1176 Blacky was used on bass. Rev D 1176 clone was used to match.

Here are the settings:



Here are the files:

Bass

Rev D Clone

Blacky

Vox

Rev A Clone

Bluey

Mix

Clones

Waves

Enjoy and let us know what you think!
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#2
18th February 2010
Old 18th February 2010
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Talking

clones have more punch & more bass.
what converters & clock were used?

was a digital loop? external insert?
hows the signal chain?
#3
18th February 2010
Old 18th February 2010
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Yeah, the clones (which by the way?) have more punch, bass, and liveliness. The CLA vocal is a bit more mid-forward, which helps it cut a bit better, but overall the clones are distinctly better.

Thanks for posting.
#4
18th February 2010
Old 18th February 2010
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Attack of the clones!
The plugs sorta dull the sound.

Cheers!
#5
19th February 2010
Old 19th February 2010
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Blind

Could you post a few more files and not indicate which is which? I'm really interested in these Waves plugs, but, speaking for myself, know I have too many preconceived notions to trust a non-blind test.

Thanks!
#6
19th February 2010
Old 19th February 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanhall View Post
Could you post a few more files and not indicate which is which? I'm really interested in these Waves plugs, but, speaking for myself, know I have too many preconceived notions to trust a non-blind test.

Thanks!
But seriously, can you not hear the differences?
If your monitoring solution isn't the best, you could use a good pair of headphones if you have one at hand.

I am not in any way a hardware's advocate, more of a plugin man myself.

Cheers!
#7
20th February 2010
Old 20th February 2010
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I don't care who's name you put on it. It is still 00000s, 111111s,

Nothing against plug ins because they have there uses and conveniences.

But nothing like the real thing baby!!!!
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#8
20th February 2010
Old 20th February 2010
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I like the clones better.

Which brand are they?
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20th February 2010
Old 20th February 2010
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The clones were made from Mnats' PCBs and the Hairball Audio transformers, as well as some misc parts. The rest was all sourced from Mouser and various electronics outlets.

Converters were stock RME Multiface. Nothing stellar, but not terrible either. Mogami cables with Neutrik Gold plugs.

All things considered I think the clones do really well, but I'm quite amazed at how well the plug-ins match up. They've definitely come a fair way in these last years. Mixing entirely ITB shouldn't be a compromise in the near future at all methinks.
#10
21st February 2010
Old 21st February 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graal View Post
But seriously, can you not hear the differences?
If your monitoring solution isn't the best, you could use a good pair of headphones if you have one at hand.

I am not in any way a hardware's advocate, more of a plugin man myself.

Cheers!
Yes, I can hear differences. I just find tests like this to be much more useful in a blind state, and my own perceptions more trustworthy. I can't tell you how many times I've tweaked a band on a bypassed EQ and thought I made something sound better.

I'm certain I'm not stating anything here that people don't already know, but there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that, in any comparison test, people are much more likely to choose the thing they are most familiar with unless the identities of the compared things are concealed (in addition to the mountain of other individual bias possibilities here.)

My recent experience, although I tragically don't currently own one, is much more with the hardware 1176, hence my desire for the blind test (and inability to conduct one myself.)
#11
22nd February 2010
Old 22nd February 2010
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Thanks for this Ermz! Any chance you can throw the softube fet in this shootout since it's been rumored the softube comes closer to a hardware 1176 more so than the waves plugz
#12
22nd February 2010
Old 22nd February 2010
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With high end converters and maybe the "real units" this test would surely be more authentic. I compared my LA2A with the CLA through a Mytek and the hardware sounded better.
Just my 2 ct
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22nd February 2010
Old 22nd February 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ermz View Post
I'm quite amazed at how well the plug-ins match up. They've definitely come a fair way in these last years.
Exactly.
#14
22nd February 2010
Old 22nd February 2010
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The plug-in samples sound more compressed. I wonder if they could be matched closer to each other.
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22nd February 2010
Old 22nd February 2010
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The needles were moving as similar as I could get them. What you are hearing is that the hardware is more transparent under heavy gain reduction than the plug-ins. That is one point where the plug-ins still need work. The vocals were getting up to 15dB reduction, so there was a fair work-out going on here.

Listen toward the end of the vocal line. Hear how when he steps the intensity up a notch the hardware retains the high-end and forwardness, whereas the plug-in sucks the vocal back.

Honestly I don't find much lacking with the Multiface converters. Some of my mixes have made a fair few round trips through them without adverse effect. Many great records were done on worse converters in prior years. Dwelling on these things is too reflective of that gearslutz box that I have no desire to be a part of.
#16
9th March 2010
Old 9th March 2010
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Thanks for the Test, Ermz.

To my ears, it seems like they're not compressing by the same amounts, despite what the meters are showing (meters aren't exactly accurate anyways, not to mention what simulated ones are doing). Don't get me wrong, I like the clones better in this given test, but we don't usually dial in according to settings, do we? I'm more curious if its possible to match the sonics of the hardware strictly on sound, since the intention of buying plugins is to replace the sonic characteristics of the hardware.
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9th March 2010
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I compared the CLA LA2A with my original Teletronix through Mytek 8x192 at same settings and the HW sounds better. The difference between the RME and the Mytek is bigger than the difference between the plugin and the hw.
As usual YMMV
#18
1st December 2010
Old 1st December 2010
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I think that the plug in sounds great but my heart started pumping more when I heard the hardware. More of an aggressive in your face sound and shine to it. Can't wait to get mine
#19
1st December 2010
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I'm happy I can get a sound that comes close to the hardware for only €299,= (Waves CLA bundle Native) and I love working ITB (or Hybrid).. it's cheaper, it's faster.. and as long as I enjoy doing what I'm doing, and the results make people satisfied/happy/smiling. It's a great time working ITB now with all those great plugin developers!! (Softube, Waves, Uaudio, Soundtoys, Cytomic, etc...etc..)

Thanks for this test!
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2nd December 2010
Old 2nd December 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdtrbn View Post
The plug-in samples sound more compressed. I wonder if they could be matched closer to each other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ermz View Post
The needles were moving as similar as I could get them. What you are hearing is that the hardware is more transparent under heavy gain reduction than the plug-ins. That is one point where the plug-ins still need work. The vocals were getting up to 15dB reduction, so there was a fair work-out going on here.

I think a more fair test would be if you try to match the plug ins by ear that they come as close as possible to the hardware.

I am saying this because I tried to match the SSL waves G EQ against a real one and to my surprise it was not possible by numbers but by ear I came very very close to the real deal.

I think the waves plug ins react different as the clones and they have ben modeled form a different unit. So matching by ear- listening how much reduction is going on seems more logical to me.

just my 2 cents because I think the test is unfair at it is now.

PS:
If you have the dry files of the base I will try to match it with UAD blackface.
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#21
2nd December 2010
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With a steady sinewave you could line up both plugs and hardware to have the same amount of GR..
And then hope that the attack and release are the same by numbers..
#22
4th December 2010
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On the bass track I didn't hear much of a difference.

But the other two for sure. I'd pick Waves for sure.

On the vox track it's much more controlled on smooth. I can tell the difference for sure.

And I like the Waves for the vox...bass didn't seem much different...maybe 1-2 percent.

Vox 15-20 percent better for me.
#23
4th December 2010
Old 4th December 2010
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I haven't listen yet but i can say this... The bad thing with ITB compression is that it usually leaves ugly attack artifacts when pushed really hard. When you discovered this it will give you major headache.

No ITB compressor i've tried and i tried about all of the big ones (waves,softube etc) can emulate the attack properly!!!
#24
5th December 2010
Old 5th December 2010
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Phase

Not that it really matters - but I brought the complete mix files into my DAW - when you switch the phase on one channel, the bass is the only thing left - when the phase is normal, you hear virtually no bass.

So the bass is out of phase b/t the two files, but the drums and vocals are in phase. Wonder why that is?
#25
13th December 2010
Old 13th December 2010
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After a blind test I preferred the clips from the plugin version. I like they are more hi-fi, more open, more stereo... and they have 1176 chatacter at the same time.
This said, I still prefer real hardware compressors for strong settings. In that case software emulation appears as fake.
#26
28th December 2010
Old 28th December 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post
I think a more fair test would be if you try to match the plug ins by ear that they come as close as possible to the hardware.

I am saying this because I tried to match the SSL waves G EQ against a real one and to my surprise it was not possible by numbers but by ear I came very very close to the real deal.

I think the waves plug ins react different as the clones and they have ben modeled form a different unit. So matching by ear- listening how much reduction is going on seems more logical to me.

just my 2 cents because I think the test is unfair at it is now.

PS:
If you have the dry files of the base I will try to match it with UAD blackface.
I agree...
I am hearing a difference in level....plugins seem lower in level...

Most tests like this should be conducted first with, lets say, a 1khz sine wave to match levels for sure...
But then that also comes down to how each one handles frequency...

The plugin version sounds more dull..not as open..or lively...I am not in front of my workdesk, so I can't do other analysis on the differences..
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30th December 2010
Old 30th December 2010
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I think these tests ought to be blind tests initially to avoid the inevitable bias...
#28
2nd January 2011
Old 2nd January 2011
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To me, the bass tracks were nearly identical. The waves holds up perfectly compared to the hardware.

On the vocal track, the hardware sounds noticeably better.

I think that when it comes to a track thats really agressive, like the vocal one, hardware warms up and reacts in a natural, harmonically pleasing way, whereas plugins fall a little flat. When the track isn't agressive, like the bass, it totally doesn't matter - might as well go with plugins for ease of use. I don't think plugins have the whole overdrive thing down at all yet. That quality still only belongs to analog gear.
#29
10th January 2011
Old 10th January 2011
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I preferred the clones in blind test in vox. More natural grab and smoother sound. Very close though, as expected.
Is the hardware worth the much more extra money? It depends I guess.
The plugins have serious advantages like ease and speed of use and instant digital recall while the hardware offers the hands on experience.

By the way, the cla rms is almost 1 db lower than the clone rms. And you probably didn't properly match the attack/release-gr settings. Which means the plugin could have been damnified.
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22nd January 2011
Old 22nd January 2011
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.


HERE'S THE THING....

Go to a blind test thread and then read one like this where the comparisons are labeled.

What you see is astonishing. You see clearly confident and bold statements made in the labeled comparisons and mainly meekish and guarded remarks when its a blind test.

proving one thing..labeled tests are complete and utter bullcrap and reveal absolutely nothing but biased expectations in all but a few comments..
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