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Waves SSL vs Real SSL sweet test!
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musicmatt
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17th February 2009
Old 17th February 2009
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Waves SSL vs Real SSL sweet test!


Last edited by musicmatt; 17th February 2009 at 12:27 AM.. Reason: didn't add link
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17th February 2009
Old 17th February 2009
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Yaaaaaawn...

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmatt View Post
Hey guys, have you checked this out?

Digidesign | Community | Articles & User Stories | Pro Tools vs. Analog Console Mixing

I took the little challenge tests, and I thought I would get most of them right but I didn't.. that being said I still love the sound of analog gear, but I really think its possible to create a professional mix with high quality plugins

...now let the never-ending debate/flamefest begin..
Ok, I'll KINDA bite because I'm that bored.

1. How much regular actual experience do you have on the real thing, ie. SSL 4000G & E consoles?

That is all.


-a


P.S. I notice 7 out of your only 9 posts here are regarding software. Just noting.
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17th February 2009
Old 17th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmatt View Post
I still love the sound of analog gear, but I really think its possible to create a professional mix with high quality plugins
Is there someone running around telling people that you can't do professional work with plugins? If so, who? I don't understand the shock or surprise, especially considering it is 2009 and plugins have been at the center of the recording universe for a couple of decades now. The fact that you can produce a professional record with the use of a computer and software is nothing new. This is old, old, old, old news. In fact in the context of the here and now, it is not news at all.
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17th February 2009
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who cares make a good record THEN we can talk about how it was done

there are plently of good recordings done so many different ways!

so enjoy the ssl plugs if you like em' go for it!!!!!!!!!
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17th February 2009
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yeah, I've read some snobby posts about how analog gear is and always will be superior.

I like to have a balanced opinion on everything, so this kind of discussion is good. I recognize the value of both of them, and I think that is important.

btw, yes I'm a noob here but I'd like to think I have enough knowledge to post a thread to spark some interesting views here.
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17th February 2009
Old 17th February 2009
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it is NOT the same thing i promise u that. I took a mix I did at home with SSL g comp plugin on the master bus. Printed stems without the comp on then ran it through the SSL at work with the quad bus comp on with same settings didn't do anything else and the mixes were obviously different. The real thing had more seperation and it just sounded nicer. I wish it were the same but its not...
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17th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmatt View Post
yeah, I've read some snobby posts about how analog gear is and always will be superior.

I like to have a balanced opinion on everything, so this kind of discussion is good. I recognize the value of both of them, and I think that is important.

btw, yes I'm a noob here but I'd like to think I have enough knowledge to post a thread to spark some interesting views here.
It's always been about the carpenter and not about the hammer. A great engineer will produce great results with what he has to work with. When we are in a session we don't have the luxury of stopping to cry and complain about what gear we do and don't have, we do what we have to do to get the job to the best of our abilities. Without the proper skills and talent all the gear in the world does not mean a thing. Don't wait for tomorrow, start making great records today with whatever you have!
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17th February 2009
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17th February 2009
Old 17th February 2009
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We already had a 10 page debate about this two years ago...
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17th February 2009
Old 17th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noiseflaw View Post
Yep... there it is. Looks like you posted it while I was writing my comment.
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#11
17th February 2009
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At this point I can't see anyone choosing to work on analog strictly because of the sound quality. Digital will deliver the results as much as analog as long as the operator knows what they're doing.

But is it as much fun?

In my world, no. I didn't get into this because I couldn't find any other job. I got into it cause I can combine my passion of music and recording while making a living. Analog to me is a lot more exciting. I can push the limits much more than any 1's and 0's will ever allow me to.

Pick a Toyota or a Ferrari... they'll all take you reliably to your destination. However, the ride with the Ferrari will be a lot more fun
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17th February 2009
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thanks noiseflaw, didn't see that one!!

damn, my first thread ever was a rip-off!! lol..
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19th February 2009
Old 19th February 2009
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I really dig some of the software comps out there, and i've used a lot of their hardware counterparts. The thing i've noticed with plug ins is that they don't do the extreme thing very well. In those rare instances where i take the EQ or a comp to 11 i find i like using hardware more. Putting your foot to the floor with software just isn't the same for me.
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19th February 2009
Old 19th February 2009
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I got 6/7 an 86% ,but I do use an SSL daily....
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19th February 2009
Old 19th February 2009
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I actually thought that test showed off the Waves SSL plugs more than PT. I didn't score too well on my first listen, which was mainly focusing on how individual elements sounded, and what the EQ was like. Then I went and did the "continuity test", and it became a little more obvious when it came to the stereo spread and overall width.
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19th February 2009
Old 19th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahasandi View Post


who cares make a good record THEN we can talk about how it was done

there are plently of good recordings done so many different ways!

so enjoy the ssl plugs if you like em' go for it!!!!!!!!!
Dudes,

before MIXING you actually need to RECORD first. You need Mic Pres, dynamics etc. In that optic, I don't agree with that dude on the video saying he can do all of that much more flexible with an iCon... This statement is pretty faulty considering they are comparing an SSL E/G from the 1985 or so with an iCon from 2007 or so... Take an SSL Axiom or a C200 or a Duality and then we'll talk again.

My guess is you'll be able to make a good mix in the box but how long will it take you? My experience is that when I mix strictly in the box, and when I evaluate the mix on a regular stereo or in my car, I feel I need to make certain adjustments. When I mix on my SSL, the mixes are mostly better from the first attempt although adjustments are sometimes needed here too.

ANyway, it's nicer to turn knobs then to play the mouse, the computer mouse that is! An iCon costs wayy too much for a plastic bucket that doesn't contribute to your sound in any way. For the price of an iCon you can get a nice second hand SSL console. Consider the price of the SSL's digital equivalent being the complete digidesign system i.e. the core and HD cards, the 192 converters and the icon all together. For the sum of those, you could buy an even bigger used SSL console and record into Logic Pro 8 using MADI interfaces or so.

Greets
Lawrence
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#17
19th February 2009
Old 19th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noiseflaw View Post
Just a note, suppose digidesign would have found the results to be way better using OTB technology, would they post it?

My experience is that using strictly ITB technology, it's not just that. ITB compared with outboard effects like a 960L, Eventide H8000 etc is a leap forward. It's even better when inserting a nive analogue compressor like the tube tech or similar into the path.

I feel both domains have certain advantages/disadvantages and we're all free to combine them the way we want. Personally, I'm still a fan of a big fat SSL :-)
#18
19th February 2009
Old 19th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lawrence_o View Post
Dudes,

before MIXING you actually need to RECORD first. You need Mic Pres, dynamics etc. In that optic, I don't agree with that dude on the video saying he can do all of that much more flexible with an iCon... This statement is pretty faulty considering they are comparing an SSL E/G from the 1985 or so with an iCon from 2007 or so... Take an SSL Axiom or a C200 or a Duality and then we'll talk again.

My guess is you'll be able to make a good mix in the box but how long will it take you? My experience is that when I mix strictly in the box, and when I evaluate the mix on a regular stereo or in my car, I feel I need to make certain adjustments. When I mix on my SSL, the mixes are mostly better from the first attempt although adjustments are sometimes needed here too.

ANyway, it's nicer to turn knobs then to play the mouse, the computer mouse that is! An iCon costs wayy too much for a plastic bucket that doesn't contribute to your sound in any way. For the price of an iCon you can get a nice second hand SSL console. Consider the price of the SSL's digital equivalent being the complete digidesign system i.e. the core and HD cards, the 192 converters and the icon all together. For the sum of those, you could buy an even bigger used SSL console and record into Logic Pro 8 using MADI interfaces or so.

Greets
Lawrence

The only problem with your logic about costs is that you're only considering the starting price.
No matter what a seller says, you're more than likely going to have to get the console maintenance once you buy. Electricity, routine maintenance thereafter, replacement parts, etc is going to cost you quite a lot more than owning an Icon system. If we're talking second hand SSL's then why not second hand Icons too?
Problem with a D Control? Pay a flat fee and more often than not Digidesign will replace the whole damn thing (few hundred bucks).
It's just economically and functionally more viable for a lot of studios these days, particularly in mixing/post rooms.
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19th February 2009
Old 19th February 2009
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The problem with the digi test that while it shows it may be technically possible to get similar results, it isn't practical. They did the test as best as is humanly possible.

But you're comparing SSL mixes done in less than 2 hours (thrown up as quickly as possible and not by any means what the mixers consider finished) and then had the mixes recreated in Pro Tools using null tests and things of that nature. In other words the pro tools mixes aren't mixes, they are attempts to copy analog mixes. When you go to mix, you don't start with copies of tracks from an analog mix and try to match them for days at a time.

So again, you're comparing a quick rough mix to a mix that was copying that rough mix over a period of weeks. I don't think there is any other way they could have done it, short of giving the mixers more time to mix. But that doesn't mean its an accurate comparison.

Yes the race car driver is the biggest factor. But the race car driver doesn't just use whateever and eel that the car being driven plays no role. That race car drivers performance is still going to be effected by the variables of the car driven. He may be able to still win a race with a pinto, but it doesn't mean he will be winning it by as much as he could with a different car.

Oh yeah, and the mixers weren't allowed to use any outboard gear either.
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19th February 2009
Old 19th February 2009
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I spoke with Digi about this test when they did it and the response I got was that they were simply trying to point out that summing ITB vs. summing OTB was pretty darn close.

I of course stated that while it might be close things still seem to sit better on a console vs. ITB, but you can certainly make great mixes on either platform. I also stated that doing a serious mix on an SSL 4000 might take you one day to perfect whereas doing the same in PT|HD, starting from scratch with the same point of reference as you began on the SSL with, would take you much longer to get anywhere close to the sonic quality of the SSL mix.

Believe it or not, they agreed.

It's all a marketing setup, but we all know that anyway. But, this is the same reason why I tell people that summing boxes (with no inserts, pans, faders, etc.) really are just color boxes and aren't going to massively change the sound of your mixes. PT|HD summing is pretty darn good but it's never going to sound like an SSL which is never going to sound like a Neve which is never going to sound like an API. Each platform presents its own sonic footprint and you really have to know what you're doing in order to get the most out of any of them.
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#21
20th February 2009
Old 20th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian View Post
I spoke with Digi about this test when they did it and the response I got was that they were simply trying to point out that summing ITB vs. summing OTB was pretty darn close.

I of course stated that while it might be close things still seem to sit better on a console vs. ITB, but you can certainly make great mixes on either platform. I also stated that doing a serious mix on an SSL 4000 might take you one day to perfect whereas doing the same in PT|HD, starting from scratch with the same point of reference as you began on the SSL with, would take you much longer to get anywhere close to the sonic quality of the SSL mix.

Believe it or not, they agreed.

It's all a marketing setup, but we all know that anyway. But, this is the same reason why I tell people that summing boxes (with no inserts, pans, faders, etc.) really are just color boxes and aren't going to massively change the sound of your mixes. PT|HD summing is pretty darn good but it's never going to sound like an SSL which is never going to sound like a Neve which is never going to sound like an API. Each platform presents its own sonic footprint and you really have to know what you're doing in order to get the most out of any of them.
I agree with you 100%. The Waves plug ins don't give you the same exact sound as the hardware, but they are close enough, and both will help you get great mixes. The most important thing to many of us is being able to get the SSL sound ( Neve, or API) with plug ins which cost so much less that the hardware. When I did the review for EQ magazine on the Waves SSL plug ins, I also found the plug ins' very close to the real SSL. The difference between the two is hard to justify for many of us. Same thing can be said with Waves V Series or API plug ins. That video of Eddie Kramer doing quick A/B with Waves vrs the Neve, and they sound the same...well close enough.

Though I would love some real SSL gear, there is another thing that is attractive about the plug ins. George Massenburg said this one.....being able to save your settings from song to song. That in itself saves you so much time. On Digi's video they said people listening to 2 mixes in a car stereo most likely would not be able to tell which song was done on a SSL console and which one was done with the plug ins. However with all this being said, I still prefer high end hardware gear over the plug ins, but when you get that close with the plug ins, it's hard not to appreciate them.

Regarding summing boxes, I said something similar to what you said and got slammed by many out there. Of course Bob Katz said the same thing in his mastering book. I personally love the SPL Mixdream and the sound it inparts on a mix. But I know its not because the mixes are being summed on it, it's because it's putting it's character on your mixes. Today's DAW's do a great job working with 0's and 1's when it comes to summing.

Peace
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20th February 2009
Old 20th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci View Post
I agree with you 100%. The Waves plug ins don't give you the same exact sound as the hardware, but they are close enough, and both will help you get great mixes. The most important thing to many of us is being able to get the SSL sound ( Neve, or API) with plug ins which cost so much less that the hardware. When I did the review for EQ magazine on the Waves SSL plug ins, I also found the plug ins' very close to the real SSL. The difference between the two is hard to justify for many of us. Same thing can be said with Waves V Series or API plug ins. That video of Eddie Kramer doing quick A/B with Waves vrs the Neve, and they sound the same...well close enough.

Though I would love some real SSL gear, there is another thing that is attractive about the plug ins. George Massenburg said this one.....being able to save your settings from song to song. That in itself saves you so much time. On Digi's video they said people listening to 2 mixes in a car stereo most likely would not be able to tell which song was done on a SSL console and which one was done with the plug ins. However with all this being said, I still prefer high end hardware gear over the plug ins, but when you get that close with the plug ins, it's hard not to appreciate them.

Regarding summing boxes, I said something similar to what you said and got slammed by many out there. Of course Bob Katz said the same thing in his mastering book. I personally love the SPL Mixdream and the sound it inparts on a mix. But I know its not because the mixes are being summed on it, it's because it's putting it's character on your mixes. Today's DAW's do a great job working with 0's and 1's when it comes to summing.

Peace

I totally agree. Well said. I love hardware, but there are convenience and places to use plug ins that won't hurt the mix. And the knowledge of that is the key.
#23
20th February 2009
Old 20th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci View Post

EDITED...

George Massenburg said this one.....being able to save your settings from song to song. That in itself saves you so much time. On Digi's video they said people listening to 2 mixes in a car stereo most likely would not be able to tell which song was done on a SSL console and which one was done with the plug ins.

...EDITED
Absolutely. I could not have mixed my last album without being able to recall, for example, the acoustic bass sound from song 1 to song 2, etc.

And then, as I got a better overall picture of the album, I could go back and re-mix the first few songs with newer, and better settings. Impossible to do with all analogue gear. Well, not impossible, but extremely time consuming, and expensive, labor wise.

I love mixing ITB.

Cheers,

Nick
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20th February 2009
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I thought I would mention that the SSL Xrack hardware is fully recallable. Takes about 30 seconds.
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20th February 2009
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Quote:
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I thought I would mention that the SSL Xrack hardware is fully recallable. Takes about 30 seconds.
I just did the test at Digi's web site. I got 5 out of 7 right out of 3 tests. There is a little more openness that I hear with the hardware. By the way, I did the test on my IMac computer speakers. Both do sound great, and yes the hardware is a little better. But not thousands of dollars better. If you added 1 db more on the high end on the plug in, I might prefer it over the hardware.

Yes I would love a SSL XRack of EQ's and compressors. But usually at the mixing stage is when you need a heavier hand on EQ's and compressors. Going in and out of A/D, D/A is going to cause a little loss of quality, so the plug in might sound better at that point. Yes the recallable feature is a great idea and is helpful. I like using EQ and compressors during the tracking stage, but generally I am very gentle with both as you can undo it later.
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20th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noeqplease View Post
Absolutely. I could not have mixed my last album without being able to recall, for example, the acoustic bass sound from song 1 to song 2, etc.

And then, as I got a better overall picture of the album, I could go back and re-mix the first few songs with newer, and better settings. Impossible to do with all analogue gear. Well, not impossible, but extremely time consuming, and expensive, labor wise.

I love mixing ITB.

Cheers,

Nick
Not for me, I do that on almost every project and with analog gear. Doesn't take very long at all.
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20th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci View Post
Going in and out of A/D, D/A is going to cause a little loss of quality, so the plug in might sound better at that point.
I assure you that this is not the case. Anyone who has done a direct A/B comparison between the real deal hardware and its plug-in counterpart can attest to the fact that there is a big difference between a plug-in and hardware. That doesn't mean you can't make a great mix all ITB with plug-ins, but to say the plug-in might sound better than its hardware counterpart is just simply not the case.

I can give you a specific example where I compared a couple of the 1073 plug-ins to the BAE 1073 using only the EQ because that's all the plug-ins did. I matched the settings identically and immediately heard a massive difference. So, I brought in a few people that have nothing to do with audio (just listeners) and asked them to pick which one they liked best. It was no contest, they all picked the hardware over the plug-in. Btw, this was on an already recorded piece of audio and the real 1073 went through a conversion stage. Seriously, it wasn't even close.

A long as you use a high-end converter you really don't have to worry about one stage of conversion in order to use the hardware. With low end conversion you would absolutely worry about that, however I don't think there are too many people using $500 converters that have $50k worth of high end outboard gear.

There's a big reason so many of us spend so much money on hardware. Most all of us use some sort of DAW, whether its PT|HD or something else, and if plug-ins even sounded 95% as good as the actual hardware, I think you'd see a drastic drop in hardware sales. Most everyone I know uses a hybrid of plug-ins and outboard gear (some even use a console, which, depending on the console can be an even greater benefit).
#28
20th February 2009
Old 20th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian View Post
can give you a specific example where I compared a couple of the 1073 plug-ins to the BAE 1073 using only the EQ because that's all the plug-ins did. I matched the settings identically and immediately heard a massive difference. So, I brought in a few people that have nothing to do with audio (just listeners) and asked them to pick which one they liked best. It was no contest, they all picked the hardware over the plug-in. Btw, this was on an already recorded piece of audio and the real 1073 went through a conversion stage. Seriously, it wasn't even close.
we did the same thing with the waves V vs. our vintage neve 1084s and when we matched the settings, i agree, big difference. but when i tweaked the plug or hardware to match by ear, i myself couldn't tell a real difference. the same isn't true of the waves ssl comp and our FX384. we got them fairly close but the hardware won handily... less mush.

so i guess it depends on the plug, and the context of the material. i think plugs still have a ways to go, specially in the compressor and verb departments (though i'm digging the puigchild plug), but they're getting pretty dang good these days. if you know what you're doing, a total ITB mix can sound great. but since i don't know what i'm doing i still prefer using alot of analog stuff. plus, as has been already said here it's alot more fun.
#29
26th November 2012
Old 26th November 2012
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To say they sound the same is a downright lie. It could be true if you just cut some
frequenceise or even boost a little, since they find the same frequencys. But try
to boost bass on aplug and on the xrack module, how can anyone sink so low to say theyre the same. Mybe to nbe nice to owners who cant afford the Xracks, but istead
Ill say: good music on plugs will sound better tha crap on any gear.
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