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SSL 4000 E/G and Slate Digital VCC Summing Comparions
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Steven Slate
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#1
14th July 2012
Old 14th July 2012
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SSL 4000 E/G and Slate Digital VCC Summing Comparions

I just posted this in a thread where the discussion was about summing, but since it is a comparison, I figured it would be of interest here.

Can an ITB mix sound as good as one summed into a world class console? Well the only way to find out is to do a highly calibrated blind A/B test. Luckily I had prepared one for a video we are doing for our VCC console emulatoin, and it seems very relevant to the topic here.

We went into Paramount Recording Studios not long ago in Los Angeles with the attempt to see how close our VCC still sounded to the console it modeled, which was the G+ in their Ameryican facility. Unfortunately it was booked. But their 4000 E/G in B was available, and I realized it would be really cool to hear the similarities with the VCC's "Brit 4k" module.

First off, when you do a summing test with a real desk, the most important thing is to completely zero out the desk using accurate meters. If even one channel is .5db off, it can skew the test (imagine if it was the kick drum.. it would make one summed mix sound punchier in the lows etc). Furthermore, the SSL has a very unique 4.5db pan law, which also has to be calibrated properly.

So the following is an extremely well calibrated test between an ITB mix using console emulation and an actual desk that has mixed plenty of huge artists. The fact that it is not the same desk we modeled for this particular emulation makes this even better in my opinion, because the idea now is not to hear how similar they are... it's to hear if one CLEARLY stands out as BETTER... with more air, dimension, width...


Based on many of the comments I've seen posted here at GS... the answer should be YES and you would assume that one could pick out the hardware console from the software console emulation very easily.

Regardless of the outcome of this test, I absolutely do not want anyone to think that I am trying to promote a certain way of working, because all that matters is that you are comfortable in the way you work and that you produce good music that is rewarding to you as a human. However, my intentions are to provide a more scientific platform that will allow people to make their OWN decisions on whether analog can be emulated to a point where we no longer NEED to mix on consoles to achieve sonic superiority.

I have two pairs of audio files here. In each pair, one is summed on Paramount's SSL4000, the other in Pro Tools with Brit 4k VCC on channels and mixbuss. In each pair, can you hear which was mixed on the real desk and which was done in the software? 24bit 44.1khz stereo wav files

Mix A:
www.stevenslate.com/sumtest/MixA.wav

Mix B:
www.stevenslate.com/sumtest/MixB.wav

next pair

Mix C:
www.stevenslate.com/sumtest/MixC.wav

Mix D:
www.stevenslate.com/sumtest/MixD.wav

So what is what?
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#2
14th July 2012
Old 14th July 2012
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My guess is : Mix A/C is the desk, Mix B/D is the emulation.
I think Mixes B/D are louder than mixes A/C as well.

Fun test. It would be cool if I have them reversed as I preferred the A/C mixes! Great job!
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Baz
#3
15th July 2012
Old 15th July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gideon352 View Post
My guess is : Mix A/C is the desk, Mix B/D is the emulation.
I think Mixes B/D are louder than mixes A/C as well.

Fun test. It would be cool if I have them reversed as I preferred the A/C mixes! Great job!
My thoughts exactly ^

Don't want to be a bite in the ass, but A vs B was obviously louder and C vs D not so much.Running the stats clearly showed it. Both sound good - although pretty slammed and I got overs with trk and mstr faders at unity, but based on the inconsistencies, I'll go with "louder is better" and preferred B & D lol
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SSL 4000 E/G and Slate Digital VCC Summing Comparions-slate-test.jpg  
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#4
23rd July 2012
Old 23rd July 2012
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I'm surprised no one else has wagered a guess yet.....
#5
24th July 2012
Old 24th July 2012
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Gotta say this mix sounded great! B&D were the winners for me and I'm guessing they were VCC because I seem to always pick it over the real console in all the shootouts I hear

Pm results or post later?
#6
24th July 2012
Old 24th July 2012
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After level matching the differences are really subtle.
I could most happily live with either one.

Summing really has become a non-issue for me these days.
I'd rather spend my $$$ on mics, instruments, compressors or other gear that bears a strong sonic impact.
#7
24th July 2012
Old 24th July 2012
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Thanks Steven, I'm going to have a listen to the mixes...
#8
29th August 2012
Old 29th August 2012
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MIX A - Slate
MIX B - SSL
MIX C -SSL
MIX D - SLATE

some mixes are louder!
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#9
31st August 2012
Old 31st August 2012
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Listened to the first pair, A is obviously the SSL console, easy one
#10
11th September 2012
Old 11th September 2012
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I would say

A Slate
B SSL
C Slate
D SSL
#11
12th September 2012
Old 12th September 2012
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I liked all the mixes and the difference is hair thin but for me to be honest I liked B & D a little better, not that I know it is hardware or software but B & D won for me.
#12
13th September 2012
Old 13th September 2012
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I don´t know which is which but, A & C sound more glued and with a bit less mids (more under control). B & D sound less glued and with a bit more mids.

I guess ... I would prefer VCC to be B & D and try to "fix" it by cutting a tad in the mids and add something like a UAD-Precision-Bus-Compressor.

So ... which is which????
#13
15th September 2012
Old 15th September 2012
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My Guess is
1) VCC
B) Desk
C) Vcc
D) Desk

VCC sounded good Desk sounded Great
But who has the money for a desk these days?
VCC a great product for a lifeless ITB mix
#14
15th September 2012
Old 15th September 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiezzy View Post
My Guess is
1) VCC
B) Desk
C) Vcc
D) Desk

VCC sounded good Desk sounded Great
But who has the money for a desk these days?
VCC a great product for a lifeless ITB mix
^^^My big point exactly on why I think VCC is a product that EVERYONE should own even if you have a desk, all the mixes sounded great...Incredible job Steven/Fabrice!
#15
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
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We are still awaiting the confirmation of which is which ... zzzz
#16
19th September 2012
Old 19th September 2012
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steven, did you set the pan law to 4.5 in the Session dialogue? because A VCC has a tighter stereo spread than B, SSL. could you adjust for that and bounce again, please? otherwise the test isnt accurate. cheers.
#17
19th September 2012
Old 19th September 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickelironsteel View Post
steven, did you set the pan law to 4.5 in the Session dialogue? because A VCC has a tighter stereo spread than B, SSL. could you adjust for that and bounce again, please? otherwise the test isnt accurate. cheers.
I don't think Steven has stated which is which yet, did I miss the reveal?
#18
20th September 2012
Old 20th September 2012
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zzzz ... we're getting bored waiting.
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20th September 2012
Old 20th September 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiezzy View Post
My Guess is
1) VCC
B) Desk
C) Vcc
D) Desk

VCC sounded good Desk sounded Great
But who has the money for a desk these days?
VCC a great product for a lifeless ITB mix
My guess as well, but who would use such a desk just for summing????
I mean would you use Waves SSL 4k plugins when you had that desk?
As soon as you switch the desk comps on each of the drum tracks you get and immediate subtle punch... if you never had the chance to mix with one, have a look at Joe Barresi's DVD and you'll know what I mean...
Anyway VCC seems to be a great plugin
#20
21st September 2012
Old 21st September 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cherrymusic View Post
I don't think Steven has stated which is which yet, did I miss the reveal?
pro tools standard session pan law is 3db. the ssl have 4.5 db and if you wanna compare a ssl mix with a protools-whatever the emulation mix you might wanna compensate for that
#21
24th September 2012
Old 24th September 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Spot View Post
My guess as well, but who would use such a desk just for summing????
I mean would you use Waves SSL 4k plugins when you had that desk?
As soon as you switch the desk comps on each of the drum tracks you get and immediate subtle punch... if you never had the chance to mix with one, have a look at Joe Barresi's DVD and you'll know what I mean...
Anyway VCC seems to be a great plugin

For Real
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#22
16th October 2012
Old 16th October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Spot View Post
My guess as well, but who would use such a desk just for summing????
I mean would you use Waves SSL 4k plugins when you had that desk?
As soon as you switch the desk comps on each of the drum tracks you get and immediate subtle punch... if you never had the chance to mix with one, have a look at Joe Barresi's DVD and you'll know what I mean...
Anyway VCC seems to be a great plugin

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17th October 2012
Old 17th October 2012
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He gave the answers in another thread here. I don't have the link but the answer is near the last page currently. I too would like to know if the pan law was set to -4.5 in Pro Tools, cause I can tell a distinct difference between the 2.
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#24
20th October 2012
Old 20th October 2012
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A & C sound better to me for whatever reason, I dont know why. It just seams like somethings missing from B & D
#25
22nd October 2012
Old 22nd October 2012
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I'm a musician with a keen interest in engineering and production... So here's my 2c.

A & C sounded natural and old school with a nice mix. I'm guessing this is the SSL.

B & D had a more contemporary, slightly hyped sonic (imho) which leads me to believe that these are the VCC. Made certain things in the mix more pronounced, in a good way.

These are just guess' but if I am correct then I think VCC is a great product.
#26
22nd October 2012
Old 22nd October 2012
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I preferred B and D. Bigger, more airy, more sustain in the vocals. I'd say that's the desk.

A and C are alright, but they don't get me connected to the music. They're not "grooving" that nicely.
#27
23rd October 2012
Old 23rd October 2012
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ok, will you tell us or what?
Steven Slate
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#28
24th October 2012
Old 24th October 2012
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sorry folks the answers were posted in another thread and I missed this one.

A and C were desk, B and D were VCC.

In the other thread "are summing mixers dying out of fashion" I actually posted another A/B/C/D test with the ACTUAL G+ console we modeled in the VCC and 90% of people couldn't tell the difference!

Cheers,
Steven
#29
24th October 2012
Old 24th October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Slate View Post
sorry folks the answers were posted in another thread and I missed this one.

A and C were desk, B and D were VCC.

In the other thread "are summing mixers dying out of fashion" I actually posted another A/B/C/D test with the ACTUAL G+ console we modeled in the VCC and 90% of people couldn't tell the difference!

Cheers,
Steven
Nice. Thanks for posting up results.

I've just ordered (this afternoon) your iLok2 & RC version for now. Will no doubt upgrade but appreciate the opportunity to try first. Have been impressed with what I've heard here and in other shoot outs. Nice job!

Prob wont arrive til next week (I'm in New Zealand) but looking forward to putting it into some sessions.

Cheers
Rio
#30
31st October 2012
Old 31st October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLACKDORIS View Post
Nice. Thanks for posting up results.

I've just ordered (this afternoon) your iLok2 & RC version for now. Will no doubt upgrade but appreciate the opportunity to try first. Have been impressed with what I've heard here and in other shoot outs. Nice job!

Prob wont arrive til next week (I'm in New Zealand) but looking forward to putting it into some sessions.

Cheers
Rio
Arrived yesterday, look forward to trying out tonight. Super speedy delivery btw.

Thanks again,
Rio
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