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VBC 'Grey' and 'Red' Vs SSL & Focusrite Hardware Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 15th July 2013
Slate Pro Audio / Slate Digital
Steven Slate's Avatar

Thread Starter
VBC 'Grey' and 'Red' Vs SSL & Focusrite Hardware

Ok... so now that we have the FG-GREY bug sorted (this was a random bug that made the dynamics of the low mids a bit off when the bug was apparent, some users will not notice any difference), I'm gonna post some hardware and software comparisons.

I'd love to just post them and tell you which is which, but that can't fly here because without posting them blind at first, the inevitable "hardware is sooo obviously better" thing is gonna happen and that will annoy me so....

Here is a mix I did for George Lynch which I'm using with his permission called Go It Alone. I've chopped up the song into a few sections, where one section is going through the FG-GREY and the other, an SSL 4000 buss compressor. The first two sets use the classic 4:1, attack 10, autorelease with GR peaking at 4db.

All files 24bit 96khz. SSL hardware went through Ross Martin D/A/D

Section 1:

Section 2:

next, we took off auto release to get a little pump going from manual release:

Section 1:


So my point in posting these is simple: I think it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the GREY and the SSL are practically indistinguishable... even with the subtle transformer modeling! Those who are worried about the "color" of the GREY should hopefully understand through these tests that the color is very very slight. It is more noticeable upon heavy compression, but I think in a very positive way.

Now, the RED. So for this one... I'm sorry but we're showing off here . I can say with full confidence that these are so close, that in a blind test they are indistinguishable. Each of these files is either FG-RED or a real Focusrite RED3:

Section 1:

Section 2:

I'm hoping that the response to this post is not a bunch of guesses as to which is which but rather, "Listened to the files. Too close to call. You nailed it".

We'll see...

Old 19th July 2013
Lives for gear
Only listen on some expensive earbuds so far,... but yeah the Red is impressive on first listen.

The Grey examples sound substantially different to each other.
Going to re-listen in the studio to see which I prefer, but on these earbuds I'll go:
2, 4, 6, and 7 as my preferred.

Maybe it is the earbuds, but the top on the others sounds "cheap" and "spitty" to me.

I'll post an update when I listen in the studio.

Thanks for posting these.

Old 19th July 2013
Gear Head
egor's Avatar

I like 1, 4, 5, 7..
Red 1 and 3.
I definitely hear the difference but it is more about sonics than dynamics..
I picked tracks with more definition.
Can u pm me the key please?
Old 20th July 2013
Lives for gear
Nick Morris's Avatar

Ill take all the odd tracks please.

I think you nailed the punch in these examples. The differences are so slight.
Old 10th August 2013
Lives for gear
M2E's Avatar

I finally had a chance to sit and listen.
I'm in the middle of a mix and when I'm mixing my ears are super sensitive.
I hear difference but they are ever so slight.
I picked the same as egor.

1/4/5/7 - 1/3

I really don't care which is which as they both sound pretty close.
I do wonder if I picked the software though...hahaha

PM me when you get a chance.

Thanks as always.

Old 10th August 2013
Lives for gear
BillSimpkins's Avatar
Thank you for putting up this shootout!

The even numbered files appear about 200 samples delayed at 96k, which would lead me to guess that the even numbered files may be the hardware without the insert delay compensation set?

When I do line them up, the odds and evens do not phase out.

I mute one track, press play then close my eyes, hitting the mute but simultaneously on the DAW controller to switch between tracks without knowing which one I am listening to.

For the RED, it sounds like a slight midrange boost on the evens OR a low end boost on the odds (on the sides?). Hard to tell, but it sounds to me like a small difference.

For the SSL, the snares sound a little less congested on the odd numbered files and there seems like a little more dimension on the sides.
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