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A quick SSL console vs waves plugin test
Old 4th May 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 

A quick SSL console vs waves plugin test

So before we decommissioned our old J9080 console, I decided to test the EQ's out vs our waves plugin version. I did a quick test with a snare track and figured I'd share the results. My take on most modeled plug-ins is that they are a great tool, and if anything don't sound worse, just different...there are so many variables in a piece of analog gear vs another of the same model.

Anyway, i took a small snare track, and matched the waves E-channel vs our J9000's channel, with E button pressed in, and matched them like this, no dynamics used..just EQ



so on the MP3 you'll hear about 6 snare hits with the actual SSL eq, then after the waves plugin with the exact same settings. And then another test explained below.

You'll notice that they in fact don't sound close at all really. Though to my ears, I prefer what the plugin is doing to the snare....a bit more bottom and mid range punch...the console definitely has a bit more dirt in it which is cool too.

After, i decided to see if I could move the plugin to closer match the sound i was getting out of the console itself. With about 5 minutes I was able to get pretty darn close. Notice how different i had to set the filters/eq's to match it. You can still hear a slight difference in the hi-hat bleed/kick but the actual punch of the snare is awfully close to my ears.

On the MP3 after the first demonstration, you'll hear the SSL vs Waves (after i tried to sonically match it) alternate, EVERY snare hit, back and forth starting with the SSL, waves, ssl, waves, etc

Here's the changes I made


My conclusion is, you can make software do what you want, and you can make modeled plugins sound pretty darn close, but its a tool just like an analog eq is...if you know and learn how to manipulate the tool,and you'll get good results.

http://www.taintedblue.com/archive/a.../snaretest.mp3
Old 4th May 2010
  #2
Myr
Gear Addict
 
Myr's Avatar
 

That snare sounds really punchy, so if this is without any compression at all, you did a good job recording it.

Can't say much regarding the test you did, because maching settings will almost never give you the same sound. They did a similar test between the Duende and a real SSL at Livingroom studios in Oslo, and they could never get it to sound like the desk with the same settings. After spending time tweaking it, they got to a point where they couldn't tell them apart, but the settings were pretty different.

They had pictures of the different settings as well, I'll see if I can dig them up thumbsup
Old 7th May 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 
RaySoul's Avatar
 

Wow. Now this really was interesting, and positive on all levels. Makes sense that the software would NOT match the console with the same settings. I would expect that in most cases. But very cool once you dialed by ear, they sound practically identical. Also interesting at the same settings that the software seems to sound markedly better! Lol. So much for the many that say the Waves SSL doesn't sound like the desk(I've always felt it does). It is probably my favorite of my software eq's. The one I use most, especially when mixing...

thumbsup
Old 10th May 2010
  #4
Gear Nut
 

correct me if im wrong,, but these plug-ins arnt modeled after the 9k.. they shouldnt sound alike.. right?
Old 11th May 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 
RaySoul's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by enochjensen View Post
correct me if im wrong,, but these plug-ins arnt modeled after the 9k..
You're right. They're modeled after the 4k. But the 'J" console had an "E" button which was there to give the eq characteristics of the 4k...
Old 13th May 2010
  #6
Gear Addict
 

I asked our studio tech about this and he said that this is 100% due to teh fact that over time, the pots get very unmatched from the frequency markings. For instance, on our SSL 4000 we measured what reads out on the console as a 5db boost at 2khz. But we measured it to be a 1.2khz boost.

So I assume Waves modeled there's using a really tweaked out channel that was 100% accurate, maybe with replaced pots.

Either way, I've compared the Waves version to the real console and the Waves sounds like a more clean version of the real thing. Its still really good though. For attitude on guitars and bass the hardware is definitely better.

Junk
Old 13th June 2010
  #7
What compressor?

Hi everybody.

@ Tainted Blue

Like it was said before, nice snare sound.
Would you please tell us what compressor was used? Sounds like a GBus to me, but I never heard the real thing, just the plugin.
Just curious..

thanks
J.
Old 23rd August 2010
  #8
Here for the gear
 
TANK's Avatar
 

Thanks for the tests Tainted Blue. cool
Old 23rd August 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
It would be interesting to have the same test with guitar and or bass.
Old 23rd August 2010
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
Mr B.'s Avatar
 

I recently did the same kind of test.
I had the UAD neve series and a nice neve VR console to do some A/B.

First I took some sample run them thru the neve and matched with the UAD frequency and level.
There was something missing in the low end and the smoothness in the highs.

Then did the same test bypassing line input and only passing thru the eq.
Almost no difference at all same response when I pushed a little on the Eq.

Just to say that if you went thru line inputs that is a first mistake.
Passing thru the routing matrix and the main bus adds more and more to the signal even the quality or neutrality of your ad/da.

Just to say it is hard to do this kind of test especially on consoles which are not a simple piece of hardware.

I never been amazed by this plugin maybe a little when it came out but was really disapointed by the dynamics.

Just my 2c
Old 26th November 2012
  #11
Here for the gear
 

Trying to make the affordable plugs as good as the for example xrack eqs....
Its a hiuge difference thats all I want to say after comparing them, a enormous
difference in favour of the Xrack module. Sorry, but cool stuff on plugs will sound
cooler than not-so-cool stuff on analogue, thats all. (How or why do experts really
say the difference is small)
Old 16th May 2019
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RaySoul View Post
Wow. Now this really was interesting, and positive on all levels. Makes sense that the software would NOT match the console with the same settings. I would expect that in most cases. But very cool once you dialed by ear, they sound practically identical. Also interesting at the same settings that the software seems to sound markedly better! Lol. So much for the many that say the Waves SSL doesn't sound like the desk(I've always felt it does). It is probably my favorite of my software eq's. The one I use most, especially when mixing...

thumbsup
Is this still relevant since brainworx release the SSL4000 E console plugin?
Because almost every people here at gearslutz think that the brainworx version blows waves out of water.
Old 18th May 2019
  #13
Lives for gear
 

This is without compressor right? So easy to match a SSL EQ curve with almost any modern software EQ. Compression is another story, the biggest differences lays here. My findings is also like others mentioned, going line and only modeling the EQ is really not that hard, I wonder how come, they don't model the hole signal chain, from input, to mix bus output, maybe VSA's too... I guess it's just too complicated... Anyway, I personally would prefer if someone could model the channel compressor and do it right. None of them has it, Waves, Brainworx, UAD (close) IMO
Old 14th July 2019
  #14
Gear Addict
 
djrustycans's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lydfar View Post
This is without compressor right? So easy to match a SSL EQ curve with almost any modern software EQ. Compression is another story, the biggest differences lays here. My findings is also like others mentioned, going line and only modeling the EQ is really not that hard, I wonder how come, they don't model the hole signal chain, from input, to mix bus output, maybe VSA's too... I guess it's just too complicated... Anyway, I personally would prefer if someone could model the channel compressor and do it right. None of them has it, Waves, Brainworx, UAD (close) IMO
Tim Cupwise (Nebula) has a great channel comp with Slick 9K. The fast attack setting doesn’t kill the transient and it has great weight and punch. Haven’t tried his 4K version... The 9K is leagues ahead of all the other algo versions - I have almost all of them!
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