Are 3rd party plugins just good marketing and pretty placebos?
Old 27th April 2012
  #1
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Are 3rd party plugins just good marketing and pretty placebos?

I'm starting to think so. To some degree anyway.

Specifically I mean the basics, like compressors and Eqs etc. Exotic FX stuff is obviously a different matter. (like ohmforce stuff)

Here's why I ask; I've been demoing just about every plugin known to man over the past few weeks. PSP, waves, IK, cytomic, sonnox, Elysia etc. iwith the plan of upgrading what i assumed were Logics inferior built in plugins.

It seems to me that there's nothing they can do that the stock logic plugins can't already do. (MS processing and saturation plugs are maybe the trickiest ones to replicate.)

I've been inserting them on individual tracks, buss mixes, whole mixes, with logics plugins set up to sound close to the same then bypassing and comparing. I haven't found one that I'd pay much money for. Including expensive compressors like elysia alpha which i've just spent an hour with and waves api eqs.

Don't get me wrong, they work great, they sound great. but i did some blind a/b testing with myself (bounced tracks, put them in itunes shuffled them around so i didnt know what i was listening to etc)...It was pretty much 50/50 as to which i preferred.

I played my wife the examples of "the glue", SSL master buss and logics comps and limiters and she could hear pretty much zero difference. shes not an audio person but she listens to a lot of music and the fact that nothing scremed 'oh wow thats much better!" seems to be of some significance.

in most cases the logic plugs need to be set differently then the 3rd party stuff and in a few cases the logic plugs need to be stacked with less aggressive settings to match the expensive 3rd party equivalent. But in the end I've always gotten things pretty damn close. Close enough that I haven't been able to justify dropping hundreds (or thousands!) of bucks anyway.

However when i KNEW which plugin i was listening to, my opinion was always swayed in favour of the expensive plugin with the fancy GUI. But after a while I had to admit the differences were negligible and I couldn't say which sounded better.

I tried the famous waves limiter vs the logic adaptive limiter. Any difference I heard was negligible and it was a toss up as to which i liked better.

Am I deaf? I don't think so. There are differences, but are they better? I'm not so sure. Are logics plugins are too sterile and harsh in the higher frequencies and the 3rd party stuff was "warmer" and softer". I thought that might be the case but I'm not convinced. Do 3rd party plugins seem to sound better with less fuss and can they be pushed a little harder? maybe. it's so hard to say. They sure do look a lot better.

But that's sort of my point, how much of this is psychosomatic? if it's so hard to say, and if he debate between software vs hardware & plugin vs similar other plugin is always raging then is there really a point to spending all sorts of money on stuff that maybe really isn't required?

I havent tried UAD stuff. Is it awesome? $1000-2000 awesome? I don't mind paying for awesome.

Any logic users out there find a plugin that is undeniably head tails above what logic's stock plugins can do? I thought the glue might be the case but after much listening I wasn't so sure.

I have a feeling that a really good mixer/mastering engineer could make a great sounding commercial mix using only logic tools and do it without feeling limited by them.

Or am i wrong?

Did you watch that "myths about audio" video going around?

I'd love to buy some new toys but that video really got me thinking twice.
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Old 27th April 2012
  #2
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Jose's Avatar
 

Many are extremely overpriced.
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Old 27th April 2012
  #3
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First of all logic's included plug ins aren't junk! Any of the plug ins that come with major DAW's are very useful. An eq for example is just adding or subtracting frequencies from the program material. So unless you have a meticulously modeled plug in of a hardware unit (like a neve or pultec) you will not notice a difference. Same with digital compressors. Unless you are using a model a vintage unit, one that models that comp's reaction and quirks then they all will sound pretty much the same. Where the value lies is when you know what a UA 1176 sounds and behaves like and you want to achieve that sound as close as possible. UAD plug ins are great at modeling that behavior.
But when it comes to your average digital eq, comp, etc. you are absolutely right and you are better off i eating your money elsewhere and learning how best to use those tools within logic.
Old 27th April 2012
  #4
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If you don't hear a difference then there is no difference!
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Old 27th April 2012
  #5
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Hey brother TrenchRun. Good post.

There are many variables in your auditioning process so this reply only covers one idea.

If you can't yet hear the difference for your type of production then you will be fine with stock plugins. In my experience, price/value/improvement is not linear with audio equipment/plugins. This means you will often pay 10x the price for higher-end gear but receive only 10-15% improvement. At some point, that 10-15% is what your ears have developed to as a standard and there just is no going back, honestly.

I wouldn't use your wife's ears as a benchmark of any kind, I would continue to develop your own as an engineer. The magic is in the subtleties and soon enough you will begin to hear and need/want those subtleties in your audio plugins.

As for UAD. I honestly find them to be the best plugins available as a consistent go-to sound for the average engineer. Worth every penny to me. Also, there are many great FREE plugins and many mediocre expensive plugins. Keep listening. You will no doubt hear a difference in your time at your pace.

Best to you!~
Old 27th April 2012
  #6
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Logic plugins are more than adequate depending on what you are mixing. Check out the Nomad stuff though. They do many things I can't do with the Logic stuff. Some great analog emulations.
Old 27th April 2012
  #7
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I have found that with some care I can often duplicate with free or Cakewalk plug-ins what many third party plug-ins are doing. But arriving at the formula is not always easy and can be time consuming.

But there are a few special plug-ins that seem to add depth and other musically pleasing things.

Nebula is pretty cool that way.
Old 27th April 2012
  #8
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Thread Starter
To be clear, I'm not saying I don't hear a difference. I do. It's the superiority of expensive plugins that I'm unconvinced of.

examples:

$100 the glue vs "free" logic comp and adaptive limiter.

The glue sounded great. It glued. It was easy to use.

But in the end it seemed that I could get the same results by using the logic compressor and limiter. I had to use the compressor and the limiter to get the same result. I'm not saying they were mathematically identical, I'm just saying the sounded equally "glued" to my reasonably well tuned ears.

So it seems that I would buy the glue to simplify the process. $100 to make it sound glue slightly faster and easier than using logic.

I came to pretty much the same conclusion with the SSL buss comp and waves limiter as well.

They did all sound slightly different, but I honestly couldn't say which sounded "better". And I suspect that if i posted a poll with those 4 examples of those peak limiters i would get all manner of opinions as to which sounded better.

IK Black 76 comp, White 2A, PSP Old Timer Comp & vintage warmer, Elysia Alpha

I really liked the the IK plugs. I sounded "analog". I came close to buying them. Then again I thought hmm..can i do it in logic. Yep, pretty much.

$300 saved already.

The elysia alpha sounded good. I've been playing with it all day. I liked the MS processing.

But to save $300 I could emulate it's effect in logic. (As far as i can guess Mid-Side processing uses similar algorithims that the direction mixer in logic used to widen or collapse things. So on a send buss set the direction mixer to full wide, compress it as needed and mix it in...or collapse it to the center....either way it ended up sounded about the same as what the elysia was doing)

Or i could spend $300 and have the elysia doing is faster and easier.

Maybe oversampling makes a difference. I've never heard it.

API EQ plugs. they worked great. I had to push the logic deqs harder to get the same effect. maybe the API sounded "tighter"?

maybe...but $500 tighter? I really don't think so.

I get what you're saying about the magic being in the details. I totally get that. And I understand about diminishing returns...those last inch cost a fortune.

I get the feeling that it might make a difference to have a whole bunch of super high quality plugins and use them from the start on a full mix. maybe then i'd notice the quality increase. Perhaps it would make things sound better faster. And there's something to be said about buying new gear (virtual or physical) just for the hell of it. Just for a change of scenery and for inspiration.

Which leads me to another question:

If you had to pick, say, a half dozen high quality plugins to supplement logic stock ones...which would you choose?
Old 27th April 2012
  #9
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by omtayslick View Post
I have found that with some care I can often duplicate with free or Cakewalk plug-ins what many third party plug-ins are doing. But arriving at the formula is not always easy and can be time consuming.


Nebula is pretty cool that way.
i think thats exactly what im finding.

ill check out nebula.
Old 27th April 2012
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrenchRun View Post
Specifically I mean the basics, like compressors and Eqs etc.
One perspective you're missing, is that of how quickly certain tools facilitate the journey from A to B - B being exactly where you want to get to sonically.

It's one thing to spend (for example) 15 minutes stacking Logic's comp multiple times, playing with all the individual controls while AB comparing to a 3rd party comp, or feathering multiple peak filters to achieve a certain sound, or re-adjusting q-settings every time you adjust filter gain ... it's another thing entirely being able to just get "there" straight away.

If a 3rd party plug facilitates that while stock ones don't, then you have to answer the question - what's more precious, time or money? It's a personal choice and there's no right answer really. And there are a lot of excellent low-cost plug-ins out there as well - Klanghelm, DDMF, Sknote come to mind on the eq/comp front

edit - seems it's been mentioned since I started typing
Old 28th April 2012
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timlloyd View Post
One perspective you're missing, is that of how quickly certain tools facilitate the journey from A to B - B being exactly where you want to get to sonically.

It's one thing to spend (for example) 15 minutes stacking Logic's comp multiple times, playing with all the individual controls while AB comparing to a 3rd party comp, or feathering multiple peak filters to achieve a certain sound, or re-adjusting q-settings every time you adjust filter gain ... it's another thing entirely being able to just get "there" straight away.

If a 3rd party plug facilitates that while stock ones don't, then you have to answer the question - what's more precious, time or money? It's a personal choice and there's no right answer really. And there are a lot of excellent low-cost plug-ins out there as well - Klanghelm, DDMF, Sknote come to mind on the eq/comp front

edit - seems it's been mentioned since I started typing
No, I'm with you. That's exactly what I'm starting to find out. Good 3rd party plugins seems to get you there faster (if not necessarily better..thought perhaps slightly better in some cases).

"It's a personal choice and there's no right answer really. "

I think this is also what I'm starting to see!

Honestly I think what I'm doing is trying to justify spending dough even if I don't need to.

I want to buy some new plugs but not feel like a sucker for doing it.

Some sort of Plugged in The Matrix Need To Consume thing.

Actually you know what it is for real?

Too much time on audio and gear boards, too many copies of Sound on Sound and Recording magazine lying around my house (and bathroom).

MUUUSSSTTT CONSSUUUUUMMMEEEE!..

MUUUSSSTTT BUUUYYY BEEETTTEEERRR COOMPREEESSOOORRRR EEEVVENNN IIIFFF IIITTSSSS NOOOTTTT RRREEAALLLYY BEEETTTEERRRRR!!!!!!!

I need sleep.
Old 28th April 2012
  #12
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Aaron Miller's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrenchRun View Post
I'm starting to think so. To some degree anyway.

Specifically I mean the basics, like compressors and Eqs etc. Exotic FX stuff is obviously a different matter. (like ohmforce stuff)

Here's why I ask; I've been demoing just about every plugin known to man over the past few weeks. PSP, waves, IK, cytomic, sonnox, Elysia etc. iwith the plan of upgrading what i assumed were Logics inferior built in plugins.

It seems to me that there's nothing they can do that the stock logic plugins can't already do. (MS processing and saturation plugs are maybe the trickiest ones to replicate.)

I've been inserting them on individual tracks, buss mixes, whole mixes, with logics plugins set up to sound close to the same then bypassing and comparing. I haven't found one that I'd pay much money for. Including expensive compressors like elysia alpha which i've just spent an hour with and waves api eqs.

Don't get me wrong, they work great, they sound great. but i did some blind a/b testing with myself (bounced tracks, put them in itunes shuffled them around so i didnt know what i was listening to etc)...It was pretty much 50/50 as to which i preferred.

I played my wife the examples of "the glue", SSL master buss and logics comps and limiters and she could hear pretty much zero difference. shes not an audio person but she listens to a lot of music and the fact that nothing scremed 'oh wow thats much better!" seems to be of some significance.

in most cases the logic plugs need to be set differently then the 3rd party stuff and in a few cases the logic plugs need to be stacked with less aggressive settings to match the expensive 3rd party equivalent. But in the end I've always gotten things pretty damn close. Close enough that I haven't been able to justify dropping hundreds (or thousands!) of bucks anyway.

However when i KNEW which plugin i was listening to, my opinion was always swayed in favour of the expensive plugin with the fancy GUI. But after a while I had to admit the differences were negligible and I couldn't say which sounded better.

I tried the famous waves limiter vs the logic adaptive limiter. Any difference I heard was negligible and it was a toss up as to which i liked better.

Am I deaf? I don't think so. There are differences, but are they better? I'm not so sure. Are logics plugins are too sterile and harsh in the higher frequencies and the 3rd party stuff was "warmer" and softer". I thought that might be the case but I'm not convinced. Do 3rd party plugins seem to sound better with less fuss and can they be pushed a little harder? maybe. it's so hard to say. They sure do look a lot better.

But that's sort of my point, how much of this is psychosomatic? if it's so hard to say, and if he debate between software vs hardware & plugin vs similar other plugin is always raging then is there really a point to spending all sorts of money on stuff that maybe really isn't required?

I havent tried UAD stuff. Is it awesome? $1000-2000 awesome? I don't mind paying for awesome.

Any logic users out there find a plugin that is undeniably head tails above what logic's stock plugins can do? I thought the glue might be the case but after much listening I wasn't so sure.

I have a feeling that a really good mixer/mastering engineer could make a great sounding commercial mix using only logic tools and do it without feeling limited by them.

Or am i wrong?

Did you watch that "myths about audio" video going around?

I'd love to buy some new toys but that video really got me thinking twice.
I'm a pretty big logic plugin fan but some other plugins own Logic plugins in sound quality and in getting "that sound" fast.


Of the logic plugins, I think a few of the comps can hold their own, especially the a_u and fet modes w/ soft saturation. Reverb designer is first class w/ the right impulses. Tape delay is pretty good and usually works because i keep feeback volume low. The linear EQ is okay for surgical stuff. That said:

Logic EQ can't touch PSP NobleQ for mojo, especially low end
No logic buss comp does it for me like The Glue or UBK-1
No combination of logic plugins can do what Kramer Tape or Slate VCC can do
Ozone 5 kills logic limiters sonically in every way
Old 29th April 2012
  #13
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[QUOTE
Logic EQ can't touch PSP NobleQ for mojo, especially low end
No logic buss comp does it for me like The Glue or UBK-1
No combination of logic plugins can do what Kramer Tape or Slate VCC can do
Ozone 5 kills logic limiters sonically in every way[/QUOTE]

I've been building a relatively decent arsenal of audio plugs and virtual instruments over the years and am a Logic Pro user as well.
I too am on a budget.
Besides what people are offering above, I'll say that certain plugs really are special and worth adding to Logic's well stocked arsenal.
Some examples are iZotope plugs (like Ozone or Stutter Edit,) FabFilter's Volcano & Timeless or Kush Audio's UBK-1 (which is based on the Kush Fatso hardware unit,) or Soundtoys awesome effects line.
Many of these plugs have an architecture that nothing in Logic can really duplicate per se and something like the Kush UBK-1 compresses & adds specific bands of density that might take Logic an untold number of plug-ins to 'replicate,' and I'm just not sure it would sound as good as the UBK...

I think it's great that you are getting quality results with Logic's plugs because I too think they are good and worthy to use. My only issue with using Logic's stock plugs exclusively is that your sound may sound 'stale' over time.
What I simply mean is that having a variety of plugs to try out (again, on a budget as I am,) has helped to broaden my own production techniques and to actually hear some differences between Logic's plugs and 3rd party ones.

I also recently picked up the DDMF EQ bundle (for around $60) and can hear a difference between Logic's Channel EQ (my old go-to) and the IIEQ-Pro. I haven't given up on the Logic EQ, I just use it on certain things now & the DDMF in other situations.
Many times for drum & bass tracks I'll go right to Logic's Silver Compressor because it's got that serious bite and snap to what ever I put it on. But Sonalkis' TBK series (now called the Creative Suite, or something) gives me similar (yet different) results with their Uber-Compressor.

Every year or so Nomad offers their entire plug-in line as a bundle for a few hundred bucks. (that's like over 50 plug-ins and to me was a no brainer to get last year.) I now use their Blue-Tubes compressors on many of my tracks as well as their analog channel strip emulators and Pultec modeled EQs because they are different to my ears than what Logic offers.
Again, variety is I think a good thing and a great learning aid for me in learning how to manipulate my sounds. And even better is that you can slowly pick up a few moderately priced options to fill in the gaps in your Logic tool-box.
Old 29th April 2012
  #14
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Good post 'TrenchRun'!

I spent years trying every plug-in out there, and some of them I was really quite fond of (MH Channel Strip, Waves Renaissance, Elemental Audio etc), but one day after a particularly messy round of 'upgrades' where everything broke yet again, I came to several profound realisations:
  1. Logic's internal plug-in suite had 'grown up' to be somewhere between useable and quite good
  2. I was spending an alarming amount of time, money and mental energy simply keeping my third-party dependent system up and running
  3. iLoks are the work of the devil
  4. My D-A-D chain (Metric Halo) was easily good enough to run tracks out and back through hardware with no detriment to the quality of the sound
So, I took a deep breath and mentally 'wrote off' the considerable $$ I had spent on third party plug-ins over the years, uninstalled anything that hadn't already broken, threw away my detestable dongles, and went further into debt buying a Drawmer 1968ME Compressor and some Speck ATC EQs.

My working method now involves sending mission-critical tracks out and back through the Comp-EQ chain, and I also use the hardware for mastering (the Drawmer 1968ME is particularly fine at adding 'glue'). For everything else, which is usually just tweaking EQ or adding light compression, I use Logic's internal plugs and I'm perfectly happy with those. Of course the hardware route takes more time but probably no more than what I used to spend chasing my tail maintaining or seeking out that elusive 'ultimate' 3rd party plug-in, and it sure sounds good to my ears. I also pay more attention to getting the sound right at source.

[Inevitably, absolutes are difficult to uphold absolutely, so there is one little exception I have maintained in my system and that is Ozone for mastering - the Limiter in Ozone is much more transparent than Logic's so I've clung on to one 3rd party-plug for this application only.]

Anyway nowadays, instead of stressing about whether I need or can afford the latest and greatest new plug-in being hyped on Gearslutz, I simply set phasers to ignore, remind myself how much I appreciate my installation/upgrade hassle free life, and spend my limited gear budget on tangibles like microphones that don't break every two years and demand yet more $$ to keep working.
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Old 30th April 2012
  #15
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Thread Starter
thanks guys this is super helpful.

going the hardware route is actually something im considering as well. though im only using a duet right now so i'd need a new interface plus the hardware.

In the meantime it seems that it might be worth while to invest in a few 3rd party plugs..just for variety and experimentation.

UKB-1 seems like good one to check out.

Ozone gets a lot of good press. Is it really a big difference between it and logics plugs? The price is right so it might be worth while too. I wonder if i can demo it.

I do find i have to push logics eqs to get where i need to go. is there a better alternative?
Old 30th April 2012
  #16
I find my hardware to have sonic differences that are easily heard. They won't have zero value down the road either.
Old 30th April 2012
  #17
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
I find my hardware to have sonic differences that are easily heard. They won't have zero value down the road either.
very good point too.

what kind of hardware do you use? what kind of converters? do they need to of high quality to make the back and forth I/O worth while?

Ideally I'd love to have a reasonably priced mulit-channel audio interface (as opposed to the 2 in 2 out i have now) and a few pieces of good quality, versatile hardware. (I have 1 pbc-6a but i have to real way of integrating in mixing, only recording, i wonder if it's worth getting another to use on busses if and when i get a new interface?)

any recommendations?
Old 30th April 2012
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrenchRun View Post
Ozone gets a lot of good press. Is it really a big difference between it and logics plugs?
Like a lot of people I suspect, I literally only use the Limiter section of Ozone. When I tested it I found it more transparent that the Logic Adaptive Limiter (which definitely does something to the sound and seems not reliably brickwall), to the point where I felt I couldn't be without it. Ozone's Type 2 dithering also sound good to my ears, although Logic's dithering is also fine - being quite honest, I suspect I wouldn't be able to reliably tell types of dither apart in a blind test anyway.
Old 30th April 2012
  #19
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My 2 cents (logic owner, then upgraded to waves gold and one or two carefully chosen others)

Logic's plugins are mostly excellent - even for bus compression, especially when you have pros on these boards offering presets for the logic compressor that mimic some of the most expensive comp plugs out there.

Also, once your plugs are above a certain bar (I think someone above said 'useable to quite good' for logic's), learning how to use them - basic skills you can transfer to all most plugins - this is free, fun, and as valuable if not more than getting the next level up of plugs.

That said, "trust your ears" etc., where there are weaknesses (the logic limiter is a prime example in my case - I now use the sony oxford) you can demo, A/B and then upgrade.

My 2 cents.
Old 1st May 2012
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrenchRun View Post
I do find i have to push logics eqs to get where i need to go. is there a better alternative?
I prefer DMG Audio's "Equality" over Logic's channel EQ for some reason. It subjectively sounds a lot better to me for some reason, although I've never done a rigorous A/B. Third-party EQ's have been very helpful to me, although perhaps you could get the same sound if one worked hard enough or really understood Logic's stock plugins well enough.
Old 1st May 2012
  #21
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Quote:
Good 3rd party plugins seems to get you there faster
I would argue that ALL high quality gear is about the last 10% of sound...and how quickly/easily you get into the last 25%.

It becomes about a lot of things...purists, for example...a nice mic will capture the sound so it needs very little processing. Sounds great w/ less work and closer to the actual source (rather than a subjectively "good" sound). I know someone who did a major label album with a 4033. On everything. And almost every track, there were crazy EQ curves and multiband compressors stacked together to reduce the "suck" the 4033 adds and make up for what it misses. End of the day, the album sounds fine. Good, even. But, he did CRAZY amounts of work, and ended up with something that sounded less like the source.

I think there's an illusion/myth/belief that "pro" gear, soft or hardware, does some magic adding mojo fairy dust TO the sound...IME, it just allows you to more quickly throw a mic up and capture the moment with great fidelity. All recordings are a compromise from reality. How good the gear and ear just determine how much is lost.

And, as someone for whom time I spend on a mix is directly related to profit margin...I'll take the stuff that will do what I need it to quickly and easily.

If you don't hear a difference...you don't need them. Though, you might need ME...
Old 1st May 2012
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post

If you don't hear a difference...you don't need them. Though, you might need ME...
Great studio ad slogan!
Old 1st May 2012
  #23
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There are some free plugz that rival anything you can buy. It's all in the quality of the product and the ability of the end user.
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Old 1st May 2012
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrenchRun View Post
examples:

$100 the glue vs "free" logic comp and adaptive limiter.

The glue sounded great. It glued. It was easy to use.

But in the end it seemed that I could get the same results by using the logic compressor and limiter. I had to use the compressor and the limiter to get the same result. I'm not saying they were mathematically identical, I'm just saying the sounded equally "glued" to my reasonably well tuned ears.
Lately I've started a personal policy when demoing plugins. I spend the beginning of the demo period getting to know the plugin and see if I like it. If I do like it, before I buy it, I spend the last part of the demo period seeing if I can recreate what I like about it with the plugins I already have. If I can hit it dead on or even come close, then no purchase is made.

It's funny you mention the Glue, because that was a recent one I tried out. I really did love how quickly and easily I could get the results from it. But when I sat down for a few minutes, I found I could use the stock EQ/Limiter in Studio One to come really really close to what the Glue was doing. It wasn't exactly the same, but I felt it was equally as good and effective.

If I have $99 laying around one of these days, I might pick up the Glue, because I really did like it, but I've been pinching my plugin pennies lately and liking the results.
Old 1st May 2012
  #25
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Tone Grown's Avatar
 

First off, I didn't see any discussion of monitors. I think the detail in monitors plays a huge role in how we interpret our plugin tests.

my go to digital (not emulations) plugins are Flux Solera and Flux epure. give these demos a shot and see what you think. So many plugins sound the same to me, but these 2 I feel are better than most. I would argue that I can hear a very "logic" sound to their plugins... (don't interpret this to mean DAW sound which i think is transparent.) I'm not sure how to explain it other than loosing a little clarity.

epure vs logic EQ: try turning up the highend on both plugs and listen for one being smoother, or create a peak boost of 8db or so and sweep that up and down the frequency spectrum. you should find you have the feeling that you hear more of the EQ/plugin with the logic processor and more of the original source boosted with Epure.

I did a mix recently where i was having an issue with my computer and couldn't use epure. I mixed with one of my other favorite EQs instead and found that my mix never got to where i expected it to. Yesterday I completed a mix back with epure again the results were great. Obviously different mixes and material, but I am thinking there is something to the accumulation of distortions in some plugins that makes a difference between plugins.

if you are still having problems hearing the difference, go buy some grado headphones! they will lift the blanket off your ears.

Overall I think we all spend too much time analyzing and buying plugins. about 6 months ago, I cleaned house and reduced my plugin set to my favorites and I couldn't be happier! I still try out new plugs when I hear a buzz about them, but there are so few I end up wanting. My ears and mixing skills have so much room to improve with my current set of tools, so that is what I'm working on!
Old 3rd May 2012
  #26
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Years ago when I was a Logic user I did a mix shootout over on the Sonik forum. The mix was done with Waves, Logic Stock and Freebies. It was meticulous to detial. <---- unlike my spelling lol!

Waves won, Logic second and freebies 3rd.

I must add, Waves only just won by a handful of votes and a certain engineer close to my heart with goldern ears picked Logic stock.

This was done using Logic 5.5.1 way before the improvements.

I use Cubase these days and the Limiter is incredible!
Old 1 Week Ago
  #27
Gear interested
 

Logic effects vs. high-end

Funny, I've been thinking along the same lines as OP. First of all, trying to get record input levels right and watch gain staging to minimize compression and eq. Secondly, Logic plugs seem more ' Character-less" ( aka transparent ) than high end ones, but once you have one plug in place to kill that digital sterility, that transparency can be a good thing. Too many warm inserts in series can leave you with mush.
Also, I just learned to watch for tracks in same frequency band ( drums/bass, voice/guitar), then use eq frequency analyzer to find key freq.'s and gently ( 2-3 db) boost the more important and cut the less important track with a medium wide Q. Also each track and the output should be gently limited. Logic plugs are great for this, because they don't change the sound of the track.Making a habit of this can really improve the clarity of projects.
I think I read this in Mike Senior's Mixing Secrets. He's done the Mix Rescue column in Sound On Sound for years, and he knows some stuff.
I apologize in advance if this is old news to everyone but me.
One 3rd party plug I couldn't do without is Valhalla Vintage Verb. It's my go to over Lexicon and Phoenix. ( Both of which are excellent, and by no means placebos.)
but VVV is only $ 50, so that's doable.
Sounds great, right ? But I just spent the last week trying to find the least exorbitant way to use UAD Ocean Way Studio! Guess I don't practice what I preach.
Sorry about the long post, especially if it all went without saying to all but me.
Regards

Last edited by gwalker134; 1 Week Ago at 12:54 AM.. Reason: not same ones as preceding post.
Old 1 Week Ago
  #28
Gear maniac
I think logics stock plugs can do most of what all the boutique plugs can do but you definitely gotta work harder that way. I agree as someone also said that logics plugs sound transparent. Most of the plugs that I buy are either really great emulations to its hardware (and I try to buy ones of hardware that I worked with) OR plugs that make my workflow a lot faster when needed for quick mixing in front of a client. To me, logic doesn't give you the same feel as the emulation plugs no matter how hard you try... but it does a very good job at capturing whats needed for a good digital mix. A nice controlled system & room plays a major roll also when A/Bing your mixes or plugs.

If I had to choose only a handful of plugs I could use...

- Logic Channel EQ
- Waves Rchannel
- Waves RComp
- Waves Rverb
- Waves Hdelay
- Waves Hcomp
- Waves SSLComp
- PSP 608MD
- PSP 42
- T-Racks CSR
- & any emulation of CL1B & EQP1A

You leave me mixing with only those and I'm good for sure!
Old 1 Week Ago
  #29
You need to put all plugins through their paces. That exposes differences a lot more obviously than trying to compare plugins used more subtlety as you generally would in a mix. Like Logic's comp is fine up to a point, but quite ugly when pushed beyond that I personally found. The Glue for some reason catches and compresses all transients really well, which can mean the option of an extra dB or two of gain over other options.

Other thing to do is try doing entire mixes using different plugins and see what you end up liking.

But yeah, buying 3rd party stuff is not necessarily this night & day difference and generally best to hold off getting anything unless its on sale.
Old 1 Week Ago
  #30
Gear maniac
 
rogernotroger's Avatar
 

The other day I got all my EQ plugins, ran some pink noise through them, (mda test tone) and put Voxengo SPAN at the end of the chain.

I was specifically looking at HPF & LPF on each EQ, but I looked at the behaviour of every band also.

The interesting thing I found out was that there were quite large differences in how each EQ behaved. I wasn't necessarily discerning differences in 'vibe' or 'character', but I did notice certain character EQs giving visibly different results.

Couple of examples:

Kuassa EVE AT-1, which I believe nods towards a Neve EQ, has the most aggressive/effective LPF of all my EQs, and the HPF is pretty good, too; so that has become my go-to for roll-offs.

PSP preqursor has that 25k hi shelf, which some newbs poo-poo as inaudible, but the lower edges of the shelf show up below 20k, in the audible range, and have a lovely effect on your hi end; that was visible in my tests, and I reach for preqursor for that job in particular now.

I also did something similar with some compressors, including the glue, and in many cases, if I remember right, the character comps just added a blanket of noise to the signal that other cleaner comps didn't have.

SKNote C165a trialled a mod a while ago that completely removed that 'vintage' noise, and I much prefer the cleaner version; if I want to add that vibe back in, I'll just dial in some saturation from something like Saturn etc.

So, my conclusion is, YES, there are discernable differences in plugins, but you need to spend a little time working out what your criteria are, and do some tests of your own, so you can organise your toolbox into something that meets your needs a little more accurately.

YMMV...
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