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Studio Gear Upgrading Hardware vs Software, Mics vs Pres
Old 19th July 2016
  #1
Gear Addict
Studio Gear Upgrading Hardware vs Software, Mics vs Pres

I recently posted asking for recommendations regarding the addition of mics and pres to my studio. I have a small but high end home studio...Manley Gold Reference LDC, sE Electronics RN-17 stereo pair SDCs, Royer R-122 ribbon mic, UA LA-610 pre, Millennia HV-3C pre, RME Babyface interface, Neumann KH-120 monitors, Cockos Reaper DAW, various plugins, Windows 10.

I asked in my posts which mic I might want to add to my studio to enhance versatility. I got some very useful info on different mics. A poster recommended trying some other pre/EQ hardware, especially the highly venerated Neve 1073.

Soooo, I began to research the 1073 pre and it's various clones. While doing my research I began to wonder if plugins would provide the same level of performance as their far more expensive hardware cousins. I remembered how outstanding the Q. L. Spaces and Valhalla Vintage Verb reverb plugins I have are and wondered if a 1073 based plugin would fit my needs as well as a piece of 1073 based hardware. I began to research 1073 based plugins and decided to try the Brunley 73 plugin to the tune of about $60. I must say I'm extremely impressed! It really adds fat and body to my vocals and recordings. IMHO, it is worth well beyond the $60 price tag especially considering the starting price of many 1073 based hardware pres to be around the $1500+. I don't know how accurately it reproduces the true Neve 1073 sound and really don't care. All I know is it sounds superb on my recordings. If this is anywhere close to how an actual Neve 1073 or 1073 clone sounds I can now really appreciate it. It's a wonderful and very welcome addition to my studio. Huge kudos to Brunley for your ingenuity.

Anyway, if I have any future need to upgrade other components of my studio I will give strong thought to looking at plugins to see if they would satisfy my needs as well as their hardware counterparts. What are your thoughts on this subject?
Old 19th July 2016
  #2
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avare's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kr1012 View Post
Anyway, if I have any future need to upgrade other components of my studio I will give strong thought to looking at plugins to see if they would satisfy my needs as well as their hardware counterparts. What are your thoughts on this subject?
I am not clear on what you are referring to. The 1073 is a preamp and equalizer in one box. Software can do various implementations of equalizers. You still need physical preamps. There are boxes of 1073 preamp circuitry available, including the 1073LB by AMS-Neve. It is hard to get more original than that.

Andre
Old 19th July 2016
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
CEG85's Avatar
 

IMO The actually hardware will ALWAYS trump its plugin counterpart.
Personally, I would run those mics through a dedicated pre.

That being said, if your happy with the plugins, I see no reason to change.
At the end of the day, its always what sounds best (to you).
Old 19th July 2016
  #4
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Pred80r's Avatar
 

Plug ins versus Analog Hardware....

SO not to start a software war here but Windows 10 is your OS?!?! Really.? I mean I know that mac has been under fire recently (especially with the release of EL Crapitan) but it seems like you are behind the 8 ball to start. There are SEVERAL people here that run windows and seem to have some sort of stable environment, however I work in a lot of the biggest studios around town and they are all PT 10-12 with mac....and for a good reason.

Having said that...analog hardware will always sound better to the discerning ear than plug in's. I am sorry Mattisse, Monet and Degas but, Neo classical works by painters much less known, are much better paintings for realism. This is the same concept in the analog vs software discussion. Using plug ins, you are trying to get your zeros and ones to match a line drawn or painted by a classical artist. Now, having said that, just because I give a painter a brush and some paint, doesn't mean he is going to paint "The Trial of Contsance DeBeverly." If I give someone a digital camera they have a MUCH better chance of catching something appealing. The classical Mix Engineers (Few exception allowed, like Joe Chiccarelli) tend to always use hardware. Most of them are even buying up rare and hard to find hardware much like a painter would stock up on a rare red paint from the middle east.

You can always work around this but there are reasons for the rules and the exceptions...

Jack
Old 19th July 2016
  #5
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I think the hw vs software has a lot to do with if your just tracking yourself vs tracking multiple people one at a time then mixing. [I'm assuming your not tracking entire bands in a single session]

If your just tracking yourself it's just so nice to have the hw, you basically don't have to mix and when your done tracking your pretty much done. Having the hw also aids in proper mic placement and helps a lot if your monitoring through headphones when your play/singing. If people are coming in, and then your mixing them together, I think the flexability of the software is better since the "mix" is what really makes the song and often you need the plugins to get everything to sit.
Old 19th July 2016
  #6
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
I am not clear on what you are referring to. The 1073 is a preamp and equalizer in one box. Software can do various implementations of equalizers. You still need physical preamps. There are boxes of 1073 preamp circuitry available, including the 1073LB by AMS-Neve. It is hard to get more original than that.

Andre

Thank you, Andre and all for putting me straight on that. As you can see, I have a lot to learn.
Old 19th July 2016
  #7
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pred80r View Post
SO not to start a software war here but Windows 10 is your OS?!?! Really.? I mean I know that mac has been under fire recently (especially with the release of EL Crapitan) but it seems like you are behind the 8 ball to start. There are SEVERAL people here that run windows and seem to have some sort of stable environment, however I work in a lot of the biggest studios around town and they are all PT 10-12 with mac....and for a good reason.
If you spend time in the Remote Possibilities forum, you'd discover that there's a lot less consensus on this issue than merely surveying local recording studios suggests. Pyramix, Samplitude/Sequoia, and Sadie all run exclusively on Windows.

I know, this is Los Angeles, and our work is dominated by PT/Mac, but that kind of hegemony doesn't necessarily exist elsewhere in the country, or for that matter, the world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pred80r View Post
Having said that...analog hardware will always sound better to the discerning ear than plug in's. I am sorry Mattisse, Monet and Degas but, Neo classical works by painters much less known, are much better paintings for realism.
Okay, as a lapsed art major, I'd take serious issue with that assertion. The two schools are asking fundamentally different questions, and responding to different contemporary epistemes and modes of perception. They can be compared, but to say that one is better at depicting reality than the other is problematic.

I'd go so far as to say you've got it exactly backwards, but this is a question of aesthetics, and therefore, subjective.

That said, I would agree that the hardware equivalent of a plug-in will be preferable, cost and convenience aside.
Old 19th July 2016
  #8
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Pred80r's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pieter k View Post
If you spend time in the Remote Possibilities forum, you'd discover that there's a lot less consensus on this issue than merely surveying local recording studios suggests. Pyramix, Samplitude/Sequoia, and Sadie all run exclusively on Windows.

I know, this is Los Angeles, and our work is dominated by PT/Mac, but that kind of hegemony doesn't necessarily exist elsewhere in the country, or for that matter, the world.



Okay, as a lapsed art major, I'd take serious issue with that assertion. The two schools are asking fundamentally different questions, and responding to different contemporary epistemes and modes of perception. They can be compared, but to say that one is better at depicting reality than the other is problematic.

I'd go so far as to say you've got it exactly backwards, but this is a question of aesthetics, and therefore, subjective.

That said, I would agree that the hardware equivalent of a plug-in will be preferable, cost and convenience aside.

Except that I have it scientifically correct...the human eye does NOT see in pixels or dots, just like the human ear does NOT hear in bit depth or bandwidth. Our minds, eyes andears are analogue, fluid and continuous. The art, just like the music is subjective and I know a lot of german industrial bands that live in the digital realm, but trying to say that impressionism is more closely reflected to reality is incorrect at best...
Old 19th July 2016
  #9
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pred80r View Post
SO not to start a software war here but Windows 10 is your OS?!?! Really.? I mean I know that mac has been under fire recently (especially with the release of EL Crapitan) but it seems like you are behind the 8 ball to start. There are SEVERAL people here that run windows and seem to have some sort of stable environment, however I work in a lot of the biggest studios around town and they are all PT 10-12 with mac....and for a good reason.

Having said that...analog hardware will always sound better to the discerning ear than plug in's. I am sorry Mattisse, Monet and Degas but, Neo classical works by painters much less known, are much better paintings for realism. This is the same concept in the analog vs software discussion. Using plug ins, you are trying to get your zeros and ones to match a line drawn or painted by a classical artist. Now, having said that, just because I give a painter a brush and some paint, doesn't mean he is going to paint "The Trial of Contsance DeBeverly." If I give someone a digital camera they have a MUCH better chance of catching something appealing. The classical Mix Engineers (Few exception allowed, like Joe Chiccarelli) tend to always use hardware. Most of them are even buying up rare and hard to find hardware much like a painter would stock up on a rare red paint from the middle east.

You can always work around this but there are reasons for the rules and the exceptions...

Jack

Jack, I certainly appreciate what you're saying. But when I read posts by people that say they can't tell the difference between a software plugin and its hardware counterpart, who do you believe? For all I know these are experienced people and some are pro sound engineers.

Actually I had been using PT for about 10 years when PT came out with a new version and my dedicated dual PowerMac G5 was not going to be compatible with it. So I was going to have to buy a new Mac computer. My PowerMac was only about 3 years old at the time, so I was rather pissed that I was having to invest in another computer. As you know, a Mac computer set up for recording is a sizeable investment. I had been reading that PCs running software other than PT were functioning quite well. Sooooooo, I went with Windows and Reaper and it's functioned flawlessly.

Keep in mind I'm just a serious home recordist with a small, but high end, studio. I'm a bluegrass musician and will never have any hit records. So if my Brunley 73 plugin is close to an actual Neve 1073 in sonic quality, but not quite there, it will likely be "good enough".
Old 19th July 2016
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pred80r View Post
Except that I have it scientifically correct...the human eye does NOT see in pixels or dots, just like the human ear does NOT hear in bit depth or bandwidth. Our minds, eyes andears are analogue, fluid and continuous. The art, just like the music is subjective and I know a lot of german industrial bands that live in the digital realm, but trying to say that impressionism is more closely reflected to reality is incorrect at best...
Dude....what?
Old 19th July 2016
  #11
Gear Addict
Bet I can name as many big studio running Windows as Mac nowadays that debate should be a dead subject by now
As far as the software thing I can't name one piece of software that nails the hardware close maybe but not the same
Lately I tried the new Kush A an. Kush N and for quick and fast they are really good and cheap
But they are not ApI or Neve but very useable
Old 20th July 2016
  #12
Gear Addict
 
ManMulcahy's Avatar
I've now built two PCs for recording, the most recent running Windows 7 Professional and damn near zero issues with the latest Cubase and PT12. All conversion is via SSL Alpha Link, which is also rock solid. PC vs Mac debate is absurd at best.
Old 20th July 2016
  #13
Gear Addict
 
Pred80r's Avatar
 

Bet Accepted

Quote:
Originally Posted by kmade View Post
Bet I can name as many big studio running Windows as Mac nowadays that debate should be a dead subject by now

I will accept that bet, what is the wager? Studios running dual platforms to capture more clients are excluded...as i also have windows systems that i RARELY touch, just so I can work with a prospective clients files.
Old 21st July 2016
  #14
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Brian Campbell's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pred80r View Post
SO not to start a software war here but Windows 10 is your OS?!?! Really.? I mean I know that mac has been under fire recently (especially with the release of EL Crapitan) but it seems like you are behind the 8 ball to start. There are SEVERAL people here that run windows and seem to have some sort of stable environment, however I work in a lot of the biggest studios around town and they are all PT 10-12 with mac....and for a good reason.


Jack
ha
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Old 21st July 2016
  #15
JAT
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Turning Hardware/Software into an OS war?

For a commercial, to-rent studio PT/Mac is standard but plenty of home studio/project studios use Win with no problems.

Software is great, but if you are doing any acoustical recording having a good, if not premium, front end makes recording a lot smoother and easier - that and the room. Transformers and other pricey components help round out the sound that helps with the discreteness and unforgiving nature of digital recordings. Plus, certain tones we've all heard on most commercial releases (la2a, 1176 in compressors, for example) become part of the recording performance and that is almost impossible to replicate after the fact, no matter how close software gets.

The closer to the tone you want/need going in, the less need to "find" the tone in the mix - good recordings practically mix themselves. Level, pan, automation, etc. still need to be done, but the sound is mostly there. So mixing is fun and easier, like the difference between programming a mini-moog and DX-7.
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