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Shadow Hills Shootout: Hardware vs UAD Plugin (Bounced Files)
Old 21st August 2014
Gear Addict
Shadow Hills Shootout: Hardware vs UAD Plugin (Bounced Files)

What up everyone!

I recently added the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor to my inventory of gear, so of course I wanted to see how the software held up against the box. Below is the link to download the Zip file where you'll find all the sound files each labeled (i.e. Drum Kit Hardware Opto_Nickel, Piano Software Opto_VCA_Iron, etc...also included original dry sounds). All you have to do is import them (believe its 48k, 24bit), line them up, and A/B away.

Here's how I did the shootout:
1. BC Shadow Hills Compressor are all fixed positions/settings, I used the same exact settings on both the hardware/software.
2. I did not Compress to make the source "sound better" so please focus on sonic differences and not "that kick doesn't sound like this or that".
3. BC Shadown Hills Compressor has multiple compressors and output transformers, testing would've taken FOREVER to test every....single.... Opto/VCA/Tranny combo! SO, I just did randomized settings per each source material which is also labeled on each file track name.

Here's what I took away from this shootout:
1. The differences is more noticeable in some source material than it is in others
2. The HW unit imparts more weight into the source material
3. The SW plugin has a tendency to boost the high frequency's on some source material when compressed compared to the HW unit.
4. The Software Plugin settings do not perfectly match the hardware unit's. This is most clearly evident in the Opto and VCA Gain. In almost every instance the software plugin needed to be about 2 steps below the hardware units gain setting to "match". i.e. Hardware output gain is on 12, software plugin needed to be at 10. This was almost true with the Threshold too.
5. Output Transformers on the HW unit sounded fuller and weighty compared the software plugin.

Feel free to share what you hear from the shootout. Thx

SIDEBAR FOR PT USERS! Here's a Tip on how to do "Real Time" A/B comparisons with no lag/latency/delay:

1. Create 2 audio tracks
2. Place the two source materials you want to A/B on thier own track and align them.
3. Select the two regions (which should be about the same length or if not create a loop section)
4. Now select the two tracks so that they are highlighted as well.
5. Mute one of the two tracks
6. Begin playback of the highlighted region and (on a Mac) press "Shift+M" to toggle the Mute between the two tracks. Viola.
Old 9th September 2014
Lives for gear
papawise's Avatar
The levels are very different, it's very difficult to compare of this way...

An easy opinion just for fun, I guess the HW sounds quite darker than the software and also more punchier and wide...
Old 9th September 2014
Gear Addict
Originally Posted by papawise View Post
The levels are very different, it's very difficult to compare of this way...

An easy opinion just for fun, I guess the HW sounds quite darker than the software and also more punchier and wide...
I'm pretty sure all the clips were gain matched...I think what you heard is the different compression from the HW vs SW because I matched the settings exactly. Since it has stepped controls, it basically shows that the software doesn't match up perfectly with the hardware. Hope that made sense.
Old 4th October 2014
Lives for gear
i actually think the software sounds better in this shootout it will fit better in mix !I didn't heard 6700 dollars difference at all witch leads me to think that the video in youtube its not authentic as there the difference was very obvious.
Old 4th October 2014
Lives for gear

I'm about to take a listen...
Old 4th November 2014
Lives for gear
gilmanoel's Avatar

Slate Digital VBC vs UAD Shadow Hills

Hello, I would like to know how the UAD Shadow Hills sounds in the Mixbuss compared to the Slate Digital VBC Red (which I already own). Could someone post an example of the Shadow in the MixBuss, compressing about 2dB (in discrete/steel mode) and the original audio with no compression? so I can compare with the VBC. Cheers!
Old 30th January 2020
Gear Head
Seems it didn’t take long before the files expired.
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