SSL DUENDE & WAVES SSL DEATHMATCH ROUND #1
TonyBelmont
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#1
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
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SSL DUENDE & WAVES SSL DEATHMATCH ROUND #1

Well, I've seen a lot of threads regarding the Duende and Waves SSL plugs. Some of them seem to be so heavily biased in one way or another that I had to do a comparison for myself. OK, so I am probably the most anti-DSP box guy there is. So, the SSL Duende was already at a disadvantage, because I am biased towards completely native solutions. But, I think I'm going to hang on to this box because it definitely brings something different to the table...

From one night of playing with Duende, I have to say I like the compressor more than the Waves/SSL. It has a +/-20 db threshold range as opposed to the +/-15db on the Waves... that alone makes it better to me! Also, note that the ratio's are different. The Waves gives you 2, 4, 10:1; while the Duende gives you 2, 4, 20:1. The compressors are fairly similar in sound, though. But, identical settings sound different... you have to play around a bit to get them to sound close to the same.

So let's talk about the EQ!

The EQ's sound very different from each other... I don't have a preference just yet. But, they are EXTREMELY different sounding. I'm actually quite surprised at how different, and was shocked at first. They also have totally different frequency choices on the high and low bands. 30-450hz on the Waves, and 40-600hz on the Duende. The high end differs even more: 1.5k-16k on Waves, and 1.5k to 22k on the Duende. Gain ranges differ as well.... +/- 20db on the Duende and +/- 15db on the Waves. The "E" EQ on Duende has a different character that is quite noticeable from the standard EQ. Especially in the mids. Duende seems smoother, but you push it a little harder to hear the same kind of changes. It's top end is definitely more pleasing and smooth. I ran some program material through it, and found the Waves to give me a bigger bottom end without much work. But, the highs were harsher. In comparison, the Duende low band needed a few more db of boost to get the same kind of thump. But, the highs are much smoother, and can boost up into the airy frequencies up to 22k. The Waves seems to be a more dramatic EQ, where slight changes make a bigger difference, and it's easier to over-do it. The Duende is more forgiving and while you seem to have to push it a little harder, there is also a wider boost/cut range to take advantage of.

All around I think the Duende EQ is smoother, while the Waves is a bit more dramatic. The Waves is like a sledge-hammer, while the Duende is like a boxing glove... They both will do the job in the right hands, but one is through finesse, the other is just pulverizing.

The channel compressor I haven't done much experimentation with yet.... But, it sounded pretty good to me. Maybe I'll play around with the channel compressor a bit tomorrow if I get a chance..

So, even though Duende uses a hardware DSP box, I still think it's worth it. But, I'm not getting rid of my Waves SSL plugs. The EQ's are so different to me that I can find a use for both of them. But, I'll probably never use the Waves SSL compressor again. Unless, I really need the 10:1 ratio. One thing you will never be able to do is set these plugins the same and expect them to sound similar. With the same EQ settings they vary so widely that it's not a valid comparison. The Waves will sound better with small boosts made because it's more of a jackhammer, while the Duende will sound better with bigger boosts/ cuts.

Duende is a boxer who finesses the opponent to a K.O.

The Waves SSL is a sledgehammer that knocks you out in one punch. But, it's easy to go too far and destroy things.

I'll update this after I try the channel compressors!
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#2
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
  #2
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lematrix's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post

The Waves SSL is a sledgehammer that knocks you out in one punch. But, it's easy to go too far and destroy things.
i made the same expierence with the Wave plug. Very hard sounding .... nearly useless stuff
#3
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
  #3
Lives for gear
 

I'm not advocating using someone else presets for use in mixes....but....The Chis Lord Alge presets for the Waves SSL4000 are a cool starting point for getting instruments to sound right. You don't have to use the exact presets...you should tweak them by all means....It's just cool to put the CLA preset on your bass and listen to how he would do it...you may do it a little different...but a little help never hurt anybody.
#4
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
  #4
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Ace'Lo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
Well, I've seen a lot of threads regarding the Duende and Waves SSL plugs. Some of them seem to be so heavily biased in one way or another that I had to do a comparison for myself. OK, so I am probably the most anti-DSP box guy there is. So, the SSL Duende was already at a disadvantage, because I am biased towards completely native solutions. But, I think I'm going to hang on to this box because it definitely brings something different to the table...

From one night of playing with Duende, I have to say I like the compressor more than the Waves/SSL. It has a +/-20 db threshold range as opposed to the +/-15db on the Waves... that alone makes it better to me! Also, note that the ratio's are different. The Waves gives you 2, 4, 10:1; while the Duende gives you 2, 4, 20:1. The compressors are fairly similar in sound, though. But, identical settings sound different... you have to play around a bit to get them to sound close to the same.

So let's talk about the EQ!

The EQ's sound very different from each other... I don't have a preference just yet. But, they are EXTREMELY different sounding. I'm actually quite surprised at how different, and was shocked at first. They also have totally different frequency choices on the high and low bands. 30-450hz on the Waves, and 40-600hz on the Duende. The high end differs even more: 1.5k-16k on Waves, and 1.5k to 22k on the Duende. Gain ranges differ as well.... +/- 20db on the Duende and +/- 15db on the Waves. The "E" EQ on Duende has a different character that is quite noticeable from the standard EQ. Especially in the mids. Duende seems smoother, but you push it a little harder to hear the same kind of changes. It's top end is definitely more pleasing and smooth. I ran some program material through it, and found the Waves to give me a bigger bottom end without much work. But, the highs were harsher. In comparison, the Duende low band needed a few more db of boost to get the same kind of thump. But, the highs are much smoother, and can boost up into the airy frequencies up to 22k. The Waves seems to be a more dramatic EQ, where slight changes make a bigger difference, and it's easier to over-do it. The Duende is more forgiving and while you seem to have to push it a little harder, there is also a wider boost/cut range to take advantage of.

All around I think the Duende EQ is smoother, while the Waves is a bit more dramatic. The Waves is like a sledge-hammer, while the Duende is like a boxing glove... They both will do the job in the right hands, but one is through finesse, the other is just pulverizing.

The channel compressor I haven't done much experimentation with yet.... But, it sounded pretty good to me. Maybe I'll play around with the channel compressor a bit tomorrow if I get a chance..

So, sign me up for the Duende fan club, but I'm not getting rid of my Waves SSL plugs. The EQ's are so different to me that I can find a use for both of them. But, I'll probably never use the Waves SSL compressor again. Unless, I really need the 10:1 ratio. One thing you will never be able to do is set these plugins the same and expect them to sound similar. With the same EQ settings they vary so widely that it's not a valid comparison. The Waves will sound better with small boosts made because it's more of a jackhammer, while the Duende will sound better with bigger boosts/ cuts.

Duende is a boxer who finesses the opponent to a K.O.

The Waves SSL is a sledgehammer that knocks you out in one punch. But, it's easy to go too far and destroy things.

I'll update this after I try the channel compressors!

Can I use the Duende in Protools HD? And if so, how?
#5
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
  #5
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And also...what about the latency on the Duende? Is it bad as I heard on the DUC forums?
#6
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace'Lo View Post
Can I use the Duende in Protools HD? And if so, how?
Duende has an FXpansion wrapper on board (no download required) and run on HD in RTAS mode (converting the Duende's VST plugs to RTAS).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace'Lo View Post
And also...what about the latency on the Duende? Is it bad as I heard on the DUC forums?
1024 samples is the sweet spot for HD with Duende, the guys next door have been using 1024 with no issues on HD. Just remember, this is a mixing tool and not a tracking tool.

War
#7
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
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good post tony!!! i've been debating about the duende for a while. i'm going to check out. thanxx
#8
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
Duende has an FXpansion wrapper on board (no download required) and run on HD in RTAS mode (converting the Duende's VST plugs to RTAS).



1024 samples is the sweet spot for HD with Duende, the guys next door have been using 1024 with no issues on HD. Just remember, this is a mixing tool and not a tracking tool.

War
Thanks. So what exactly do you mean when you say "this is a mixing tool and not a tracking tool"? Can you give me specifics? Also, I've read on the DUC forums that alot of guys are having technical difficulties with these things.
#9
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
  #9
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He is saying you mix with these plugs and don't track with them I'd imagine.

You track with hardware..like a preamp channel strip for example.

Waves SSL is harsh. I still like them on drums, but the Duende's smoothness is probably more of what I expected when I bought the Waves.
#10
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
The "E" EQ on Duende has a different character that is quite noticeable from the standard EQ. Especially in the mids. Duende seems smoother, but you push it a little harder to hear the same kind of changes.

The Duende is more forgiving and while you seem to have to push it a little harder, there is also a wider boost/cut range to take advantage of.

All around I think the Duende EQ is smoother, while the Waves is a bit more dramatic. The Waves is like a sledge-hammer, while the Duende is like a boxing glove... ..

while the Duende will sound better with bigger boosts/ cuts.

Duende is a boxer who finesses the opponent to a K.O.
These are all traits of a real SSL console that you have described here. I really, really love my Duende!

Good review, man. You should do review articles for the magazines.
#11
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
  #11
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Funny that this thread came up b/c i was just thinking about getting the Waves Native De-esser. i'm not sure if you've experimented w/ it, but if u have - does duende offer a better one for the same price ($150)?

i had a trial version from waves 2 months ago & the de-esser blew me away when i compared it to "spitfish" from fishfillets.
TonyBelmont
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#12
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluency View Post
Funny that this thread came up b/c i was just thinking about getting the Waves Native De-esser. i'm not sure if you've experimented w/ it, but if u have - does duende offer a better one for the same price ($150)?

i had a trial version from waves 2 months ago & the de-esser blew me away when i compared it to "spitfish" from fishfillets.
No De-Esser. These are the two plugins you get with Duende:



(although, I guess you could use the channel strip as a de-esser)
#13
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
  #13
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anyone here using Duende with protools HD without any problems ??? Does ADC still work when u use the VST-RTAS wrapper ????
I also read somewhere that you can only use duende on 1 system..is this true ??? i have an PT HD at the studio and PT m-powered on my Mackbook pro. Can i use it on both machine ??? Thanks
#14
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vudoo View Post
I also read somewhere that you can only use duende on 1 system..is this true ??? i have an PT HD at the studio and PT m-powered on my Mackbook pro. Can i use it on both machine ??? Thanks
You can use it on as many systems as you like. There's no registration required or anything like that. Just have the drivers on hand.
TonyBelmont
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#15
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vudoo View Post
I also read somewhere that you can only use duende on 1 system..is this true ??? i have an PT HD at the studio and PT m-powered on my Mackbook pro. Can i use it on both machine ??? Thanks
Are you trying to run it on both computers at the same time? You could use it on as many computers as you want, but I think you will run into some issues if you tried to run it on more than one at the same time through a firewire hub.
#16
27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
  #16
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OK great, thanks guys. Good to know that i can use it on 2 different system. I don't need to use it at the same time.
My other question was its integration with PT HD...i know that is posible on paper BUT has anyone actually use it with a PT HD rig ??? and what happen with ADC when u sue the VST wrapper. Thanks again.
#17
28th December 2006
Old 28th December 2006
  #17
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Thanx Tony for bringing this kind of thread. Have you compared it to the Sony Oxford plugins also ? I know it's not the same brand... But kinda similar high end plugin stuff.
#18
28th December 2006
Old 28th December 2006
  #18
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used to read the countless other threads on this issue and listen to those blind tests. Didnt help me any. went and listened at a friends for myslef. I like the duende. real smooth sounding. But for mixing music i found the waves tdm ssl to be more gritier like an ssl 4000 for lack of a better term. the 4000 is harsh in highs too. dont really push highs too much for hip hop myself. I never liked any ssl on vocals (always used outboard on vocal channels) and dont like duende and waves on vocals either. never like the way the ssl compressor on channel strip grabs vocals. If ssl adds some other plugins to the duende box I'd run and get it in 2 seconds
TonyBelmont
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#19
28th December 2006
Old 28th December 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zacchino View Post
Thanx Tony for bringing this kind of thread. Have you compared it to the Sony Oxford plugins also ? I know it's not the same brand... But kinda similar high end plugin stuff.
Not yet... I haven't had the Oxford plugs since I dumped my HD system. I'll get them when they come out with the AU versions.
#20
28th December 2006
Old 28th December 2006
  #20
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...

So Tony...

You think the Duende is sounding good enough to change your opinion on DSP boxes..

From what i've read, this must be good for you to say this..

So in your opinion, if you were mixing using Duende as your virtual SSL, plus other additional plugs i guess... but Duende for basic channel strip duties, could you get a better mix than using just native plugs... waves, urs etc?

I was thinking about this box, but the Native argument was winning me over, but you've made me re-open my dillema, i will go and test it somewhere i guess.. but your opinion is most welcome considering your previous stance.

Thanks for review so far.... any more thoughts?

Zz.
TonyBelmont
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#21
28th December 2006
Old 28th December 2006
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agzilla View Post
So Tony...

You think the Duende is sounding good enough to change your opinion on DSP boxes..

From what i've read, this must be good for you to say this..

So in your opinion, if you were mixing using Duende as your virtual SSL, plus other additional plugs i guess... but Duende for basic channel strip duties, could you get a better mix than using just native plugs... waves, urs etc?

I was thinking about this box, but the Native argument was winning me over, but you've made me re-open my dillema, i will go and test it somewhere i guess.. but your opinion is most welcome considering your previous stance.

Thanks for review so far.... any more thoughts?

Zz.
I guess I look at this box attached to my CPU as the way to get these plugins. The extra DSP is a plus and some will benefit from it, but doesn't really matter much to me. I wish that manufacturer's would embrace native, but it looks like for copy protection, we are going to have to buy hardware from a lot of manufacturer's in order to use their plugins.

But unlike other DSP boxes, with the Duende you get 32 channels of super-intensive plugins. I think the power inside of it is equal to my dual processor G5, if I compare to the plugin counts I was getting with the Waves/SSL. So, I buy this and get 32 instances of plugins.... that's pretty good for me. Any less than that, and I would have to find a way to not have these plugs as part of my system. I just wouldn't be able to justify the cost of two of them.

So, I'm putting this particular DSP box into the "worth buying regardless of external DSP dongle" category. There aren't any other members of that club.... and I'm keeping it.

Also, I don't think any one piece of gear or plugin will make my mixes sound better. But, they are tools that make the job easier. So, yes having this would make my job much easier when it comes to mixing.
#22
28th December 2006
Old 28th December 2006
  #22
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Great review Tony- keep the info coming.

One thing for people on the fence: The "grit" in the high end might be (or might not be) what you're looking for in the Waves plugins.

It had me at hello, (to steal a phrase)


XOXO

Chad
#23
28th December 2006
Old 28th December 2006
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevens119 View Post
I'm not advocating using someone else presets for use in mixes....but....The Chis Lord Alge presets for the Waves SSL4000 are a cool starting point for getting instruments to sound right. You don't have to use the exact presets...you should tweak them by all means....It's just cool to put the CLA preset on your bass and listen to how he would do it...you may do it a little different...but a little help never hurt anybody.
i have used some of the presets... but most are quite radical for my taste... i tend to use less processing... the bass preset is pretty cool though... i am a big fan of cla and tla though... some of the best rock mixes i've ever heard where made by them... i am pretty sure it works for them..
#24
28th December 2006
Old 28th December 2006
  #24
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Cool....

Tony..

Thanx... for the reply.... i'm seriously about to take the plunge i think...

Thanx again.

Zz.
#25
29th December 2006
Old 29th December 2006
  #25
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Ok I see that the Duende has the Waves SSL beat in sound. But is that better sound worth the hassles that alot of Protools HD users say they have endured? Because over at the Protools User Fourms, alot of guys have returned their Duendes.


The reason I'm asking is because I'm trying to decide between the two myself.thumbsup
TonyBelmont
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#26
29th December 2006
Old 29th December 2006
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace'Lo View Post
Ok I see that the Duende has the Waves SSL beat in sound. But is that better sound worth the hassles that alot of Protools HD users say they have endured? Because over at the Protools User Fourms, alot of guys have returned their Duendes.


The reason I'm asking is because I'm trying to decide between the two myself.thumbsup
I don't think that it has the Waves "beat" at all... it's a totally different sound and both of them have their uses. When you want the extra drive & knock (harshness if pushed) you go for the Waves. When you want the smoothness, etc... go for the Duende. But, the Duende buss compressor is just better. Everyone should have both.
#27
29th December 2006
Old 29th December 2006
  #27
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Me too, i love to hear more from the ProTools HD users...it's seems like it works fine for some and complete hell for others.
#28
29th December 2006
Old 29th December 2006
  #28
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One question:

DOES A SIGNAL SOUND DIFFERENT WHEN IT IS ROUTED THROUGH A NEUTRAL SETTED DUENDE CHANNEL OR NOT?
#29
29th December 2006
Old 29th December 2006
  #29
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Hi ,

Yes ADC does work when using a wrapped version of the plugin.

There is no functional difference to the user between a wrapped and unwrapped plugin.

The wrap doesnt introduce any extra latency.

Its an invisible process that happens during the normal installtion process.

As for people having issues on the DUC I run a Duende happily in PT HD on a 2.5 G5.

There is very well known issues with firewire performance on the G5's and I solved my problem by using a cheap (£50) Roalan FW 250 2nd pci-x firewire card.

gfx

FXpansion Audio UK Ltd
#30
29th December 2006
Old 29th December 2006
  #30
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The guys next door have been running Duende on a G5 / PT HD system with no issues at 1024 samples. The only time they ever had issues was at the beginning if they tried to switch buffer sizes mid-session the Duende was not lined up anymore as it set itself to match the latency when the session first booted up.

Seems many PT HD problems are related to MAC users with the wacky on board firewire card issue...but I'm not a MAC guy it just seems to come up in a fair amount of Duende / HD threads.

War
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