The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
*Why* do HW compressors outperform VSTs? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 1 week ago
  #331
Lives for gear
 
12tone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
The harm is in the time-sink.
Lay off social media or TV for an hour a day, and study...anyone can do it, you know, like "Do the loco-motion".
Old 1 week ago
  #332
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
I guess that most audio producers and audio engineers would be surprised by the level of sophistication and depth of wisdom common in anything non music. The Broadcast/Post Prod scene, the serious acoustic treatment scene (architecture/construction), the medical audio side (hearing aids, diagnosis), or any other communication field, be it navigation, telemetry, radar, defense, controls systems, or whatever wouldn't ever call someone an engineer that isn't able to fully understand his matter and field, from A to Z. From atom to product. It is not that unusual, only in music and esoterica you see this aversion. The result is massive bike-shedding (a term worth googling)..
The music engineer is the one who engineers the music. Not the one engineering the gear. You're conflating roles.

Medical doctors don't know the ins and outs of every piece of equipment they use to diagnose or perform surgery. They know how to use it for what it does, they don't know how to engineer the equipment themselves though, that's for someone else with a different set of knowledge and skill.

Fighter pilots don't know the science behind every aspect of a plane. Plane engineers do. Fighter pilots are the best at flying the planes, plane engineers are the best at designing them. They're complementary. Its not up to every person to know everything. People have roles, and focus on their role. The top performers usually have not spread themselves thin, they're usually zoomed in on doing their one role the best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
All while ignoring the most obvious technical reasons of why, for example, some digital compressors sounds the way they do, and others don't.
This matters zero to an audio engineer though. All he needs to know is which digital compressor sounds best for the job, and how to best use it. He doesn't need to know "why" at all. That doesn't actually help a single decision he'd made. If anything, it can hurt because now the engineer may be making decisions based on some intellectual theory instead of "what feels best for the song."
Old 1 week ago
  #333
Again, music. Not audio in general. Hearing aids are built by.. audio engineers! Acoustics in construction is handled by.. audio engineers! The sound of a car door closing is designed by.. audio engineers! The antenna of any broadcast service is run and operated by.. audio engineers! The gear and software you are using daily is build by.. audio engineers!

Engineers in the academic sense, not the intuitive, self entitled sense.

To each his own, really. For my part, I completely disagree with your rather comfortable point of view! Best luck playing with this philosophy in such a complex and competitive world. From what I know, both Dave Hill and George Massenburg are great music producers, just to mention two prominent examples. Basically any audio gear/software developer I know personally has rather convincing music projects running, the opposite of a bottleneck imho!

Last edited by FabienTDR; 1 week ago at 09:29 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #334
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
Again, music. Not audio in general. Hearing aids are built by.. audio engineers! Acoustics in construction is handled by.. audio engineers! The sound of a car door closing is designed by.. audio engineers! The antenna of any broadcast authority is run by.. audio engineers! The gear and software you are using daily is build by.. audio engineers!

Engineers in the academic sense, not the intuitive sense.

But to each his own. For my part, I completely disagree with your rather comfortable point of view! Good luck with that philosophy in this competitive world.
If you're talking about audio equipment engineers, then of course.

Baseball bat designers need to know the science behind building a good bat. Baseball bat swingers need to know how to perform using a good bat. There's no advantage gained by a baseball bat swinger in his ability to swing and hit a ball, by understanding how to design a bat. Major League batters spend ZERO time designing bats and learning the science behind bat design as part of their process.

Competitively in the world, it tends to be better to not spread thin. "Jack of all trades" etc. Most top performers are laser focused on their role.

If your role is designing compressors, then of course its better to understand compressor design thoroughly. You said "music producers" though. That's where the statement is off base with reality IME. As a music producer, it doesn't matter why Logic's stock compressor sounds this way and why Waves SSL sounds this way. "Which sounds best for what I'm doing?" is all that matters.
Old 1 week ago
  #335
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
Again, music. Not audio in general. Hearing aids are built by.. audio engineers! Acoustics in construction is handled by.. audio engineers! The sound of a car door closing is designed by.. audio engineers! The antenna of any broadcast authority is run by.. audio engineers! The gear and software you are using daily is build by.. audio engineers!

Engineers in the academic sense, not the intuitive, self entitled sense.

To each his own, really. For my part, I completely disagree with your rather comfortable point of view! Best luck playing with this philosophy in such a competitive world.
I definitely agree with this. I bill my self as a producer and mixer, not an "audio engineer." I sure as hell don't have an engineering background.
Old 1 week ago
  #336
Lives for gear
 
robert82's Avatar
It wasn't that long ago (in the grand scheme of things) that audio engineers wore lab coats and could rewire an entire console, primitive though they might have been. They had to know basic electricity/electronics. As recording engineering evolved, we're now at the point where the complexity of software and the computers that run it is beyond most mixing engineers' and producers' comprehension.

There's no real need for an in-house lab coat guy . . . just reboot, or upgrade.
Old 1 week ago
  #337
Quote:
Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
As recording engineering evolved, we're now at the point where the complexity of software and the computers that run it is beyond most mixing engineers' and producers' comprehension.
I don't expect an audio engineer to mess with fundamentals like Fourier and the sampling theorem on a daily basis. But he can and should be aware of them, just to understand and properly handle causes and effects he'll have to mess with regularly.

What I expect from a "music engineer" (someone building music), is a deep understanding of his own product, and the underlying media he uses, be it analogue media or digital media. In short, the properties of his canvas, all without falling prey to stair step fallacies and similar. No lab coat of course.

Back to the OP, my initial point was that intuitive naivety won't help at understanding why compressors sound different. When asking such complex questions, it's worth stepping back, listen to, and consider what science has to say. At least a few minutes before starting the next round of tube/tape/silver-cable/stair-step bullsh!t bingo.

Last edited by FabienTDR; 1 week ago at 10:04 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #338
Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
You said "music producers" though. That's where the statement is off base with reality IME. As a music producer, it doesn't matter why Logic's stock compressor sounds this way and why Waves SSL sounds this way. "Which sounds best for what I'm doing?" is all that matters.
The product is produced and delivered on and with a specific medium in mind. You can't outsource this responsibility, it's your job to use it in a maximally favorable manner!

Digital audio has been so well designed that it got easy to forget it's there. Yet, it has rather strict limitations worth to be aware of, as they directly affect your workflow, efficiency and end results. This is true both for analogue and digital, both have heavily contradicting drawbacks and advantages, and often contradicting best practices. Intuition won't help at understanding these, not in 80 years.
Old 1 week ago
  #339
Gear Guru
I don't think there's anything wrong being informed about your craft. Most audio engineers I know, are very well versed in how the equipment works, and the theory behind it. Just like I'd expect a cameraman to know about light and physics, I'd expect an audio engineer to know about how sound is made. If that equipment is increasingly digital, that comes with the territory. I don't get why anyone would think otherwise. It's one thing to do it as a hobby but a professional needs to be well versed technically. Being able to talk about your craft in an educated way is important. That's just common sense......

Most professional musicians I've run across know their craft also. If you do something 8 hours a day, every day, you tend to pick up a lot of knowledge along the way. Knowing how something is made helps tremendously how you use it, and the science behind how it functions, helps truly understanding it. Most guys tour, and they either know what they are walking into or can't control it. Being a professional is always about being in control.
Old 1 week ago
  #340
Lives for gear
 
IM WHO YOU THINK's Avatar
 

There's no real excuse for a lack of intellectual curiosity, especially as it relates to your chosen field.
Old 1 week ago
  #341
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
The harm is in the time-sink.

If Hendrix had spent 2 of his 4 available music hours a day learning the mathematics behind the physics of guitar strings vibrations instead of passionately feeling out the guitar with that time, he wouldn't have been as good a player.

Most of the best performers are intuitive. The "feel" and muscle memory side of the human mind is infinitely more powerful than the intellect when it comes to performance.

When it comes to design, intellect and science are essential. But not at all to performance. From the producer side, the best use of time when it comes to compressors is using compressors, exploring them in all respects to unearth what feels best out of them. Not understanding the science behind them.
OTOH Sam Snead did know how he got his long straight drives.

A reporter asked him that question and the answer was extremely technical with the swing, how the club hit the ball, angles, how he imparted backspin, yada yada.

Now this is probably the exception but still an example of where the user did know the details.
Old 1 week ago
  #342
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post

But to be fair, my comment also contained a wink toward the aversion of the music production scene at anything that looks like technical education. In no other field do I see engineers ignoring the very atoms of their craft (in our case: the sampling theorem).
There are 'engineers' and there are engineers and there are registered professional engineers.

No disrespect but audio engineer is like a sanitation engineer or domestic engineer or a train engineer when it comes to being an engineer.

REAL engineers , in the right specialty to have had the topic, would understand the sampling theorem properly. Too many people today who think they know only have it half right and a vague understanding of the full impact.

To be fair those who study a correct book on the sampling theorem usually do know enough to use it for audio work although too many people still use it wrong and get unexpected results.

I can't blame them when one of the big text books on audio by a professor stated it wrong too. It was a careless error and would not make a real difference in most situations (boeing 737s excepted).

And again, I see many non engineers here who do understand it well enough for the audio work they do.
Old 1 week ago
  #343
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
The music engineer is the one who engineers the music. Not the one engineering the gear. You're conflating roles.
"
So we could replace him with artificial intelligence to create the music?

Or could we replace the artists who invent the music with AI ?

How exactly does music come into existence anyway ??
Old 1 week ago
  #344
Lives for gear
 
robert82's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
Digital audio has been so well designed that it got easy to forget it's there. Yet, it has rather strict limitations worth to be aware of, as they directly affect your workflow, efficiency and end results.
Exactly.
Old 1 week ago
  #345
Gear Addict
 

So, to go back for a moment to the modelling of "irrelevant" devices:
I think it very much depends on your goal. So, if we leave the realm of compression for a moment, and go to a different type of device, such as tape echo, for example, the importance of modelling outdated and supposedly irrelevant technology correctly becomes a lot more obvious and important if you want to get the sound right.

You can't simple produce the right length of delay times and feedback decay and sound like a tape echo. You won't be anywhere near the sound of the hardware that plugin is supposed to replace.

You'll wind up having to model the effects of friction on the tape, positions of rollers, frequency characteristics of the tape, splices in the tape, imperfections in motor speed, saturation of the tape, probably some tube or solid state device saturation, tape wear, etc. etc.

Now would you use your processing power to 100% emulate all of those things? No. You'll look to emulate their effects. However, you need to understand all the variables sufficiently to be convincing.

The same can be true of compressors if you want to actually sound like a certain device but not deal with physically owning it.
Old 1 week ago
  #346
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoepedals View Post
So, to go back for a moment to the modelling of "irrelevant" devices:


I think it very much depends on your goal. So, if we leave the realm of compression for a moment, and go to a different type of device, such as tape echo, for example, the importance of modelling outdated and supposedly irrelevant technology correctly becomes a lot more obvious and important if you want to get the sound right.

the technology is irrelevant

You can't simple produce the right length of delay times and feedback decay and sound like a tape echo. You won't be anywhere near the sound of the hardware that plugin is supposed to replace.

i agree you cant but you have no right to say that we cant

morever you cant do it with hardware at all. you might or might not come close to it but hardware has no way of duplicating how the tape echo happened unless it uses a lot of software to make it faster better easier cheaper to create that device

You'll wind up having to model the effects of friction on the tape, positions of rollers, frequency characteristics of the tape, splices in the tape, imperfections in motor speed, saturation of the tape, probably some tube or solid state device saturation, tape wear, etc. etc.

nonsense. you match the results not waste time trying to simulate the same way the original device failed

and there is no way you could do all that in hardware!

Now would you use your processing power to 100% emulate all of those things? No. You'll look to emulate their effects. However, you need to understand all the variables sufficiently to be convincing.

true!! you match the effects. but the only variables are what does the result sound like not the physics of the tape

The same can be true of compressors if you want to actually sound like a certain device but not deal with physically owning it.

once again you create the equivalent output. HOW you do it and hwo the original device did it are irrelevant if they have the same results
...............
Old 1 week ago
  #347
Lives for gear
 
DougS's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
We keep coming across this idea of attack time being a delay prior to starting the level change. It is actually a rate of change dB / time.
We keep coming across it because that's the way its defined by a lot of manufacturers in the manuals of some very popular hardware compressors.

Just a couple examples...
The Portico 5042 manual seems to follow the delay-before-level-change concept.
Quote:
From the manual: The ATTACK time is the time taken for the compression circuits to start compressing.
Also Daking.
Quote:
From the Fet II & III manuals: The Attack knob controls how fast the compressor turns on after a signal crosses the Threshold.
Old 1 week ago
  #348
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe sixpak View Post
So we could replace him with artificial intelligence to create the music?

Or could we replace the artists who invent the music with AI ?

How exactly does music come into existence anyway ??
This is another conversation entirely. . . but yes.

The future will be "Siri, make my guitar sound like this" and you'll have the sound. "Siri, mix my record down in the style of 2019 Serban, in the style of 1967 Beatles, and in style of 1978 Pink Floyd" and you'll be able to compare them all, give more detailed instruction from there, etc. "Siri, can you blend the mix 80% Pink Floyd to 20% 2019 Serban?" On into the depths of anything you can think of. The "how" will be taken care of.

The more time goes on, the better and more dialed in it'll all get.
Old 1 week ago
  #349
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe sixpak View Post
So we wont need people?
And with nobody working they can't afford to buy a siri or music or food or anything.

But not to worry the government will give everything to everybody and we will have nirvana all spending our time listening to music.
Depends on how far into the future we're talking about. If progress continues unheeded, the eventual destination is AI and automation doing most all the work on earth. Who knows what people will do then. . .will they step up and use the freed up brainpower and AI workforce to push creativity to currently unimaginable heights? Or will everyone get dumb and lazy? Or some of each? Or will the machines take over and enslave people and a guy named Neo won't actually save anything in the end?

Who knows. Not really related to the topic
Old 1 week ago
  #350
Lives for gear
 
chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Digital can emulate a lot of things to the point of indistinguishability without being the actual thing. Literally 1000s of examples that extend well outside sound.
Indistinguishable to you perhaps
Old 1 week ago
  #351
Lives for gear
 
jwh1192's Avatar
SkyNet !! oh ****e
Old 1 week ago
  #352
Lives for gear
 
robert82's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe sixpak View Post
But not to worry the government will give everything to everybody and we will have nirvana all spending our time listening to music.
Hey Joe,
We all by now know your political leanings. Please keep it to yourself.
Old 1 week ago
  #353
Quote:
Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
Hey Joe,
We all by now know your political leanings. Please keep it to yourself.
+1000!
Old 1 week ago
  #354
Post reported for attempting to spread political hate.
We citizens have had enough of that tripe.
Old 1 week ago
  #355
Lives for gear
 
DeadPoet's Avatar
And we're well into page 12 with no definitive answer to the original question.


I've spent the entire day mixing and had 2 observations:

1) I had this mixing job to mix demo's for my school's student bands (9 bands all recording between 2 and 4 songs in a 2-hour session) so speed was essential. I have over 60 channels of hardware outboard ready to insert but for recall and speed reasons I try to do this stuff completely ITB. Yet after 2-3 hours I can't help but reach for at least a nice 2bus comp and EQ and have a better sound dialed in exactly 5 seconds as opposed to endless fiddling with plugins. Less plugins used in the mixes AFTER I started using the hardware 2bus chain.
Might be the tactile thing (ears over eyes) but I'd like to think it's the toobs and trannies .

2) On the last song I inserted about everything I had on the mix and while it was playing back I had this moment of incredible awe for the technology: the realisation of the immensly complex task that my DAW has in playing back all these tracks, maticulously calculating all of the discrepancies in micro-timing between all tracks, plugins, outboard roundtrips (several busses, several parallel things going on) and playing all of that back while maintaining perfect phase. During which mix I also had a multitude of analog-emulating plugins of different sorts (plates and chamber modelling, different saturation and tape emulating plugins, ...). All of that within a buffer size of 128 samples AND having CPU power left.

I really sat there in awe for a few moments while I realised that.

Off course it quickly came to mind that my snare sound still sucks


Herwig
Old 1 week ago
  #356
Lives for gear
 
IM WHO YOU THINK's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Yeah I wasn't talking subjective opinion at all. Just that the "analog/gear comparison standard" only holds true for sounds that were born in the analog era. There's a whole new set of digital standards pioneered over the last 20 years that are driving the more modern "future thinking" music, that have zero to do with replication or emulation of traditional gear.
So, which emulations would you go to if you wanted to achieve the sounds on the vids I posted? Honestly, I consider these sounds to be modern sounds pioneered over the last 20 years. They encompass a mix of the past and its methods, with a low end that wouldn't work on vinyl. Perhaps it's totally doable itb. It's been some years since Russell Elevado was a guess mod, perhaps he's found a way to do it itb. I haven't heard it done yet.
Old 1 week ago
  #357
Lives for gear
 

No idea, I don't try to emulate old stuff with new stuff. My personal philosophy towards making music is in line with the 2nd sentence in that quote: onward towards the future, pushing ITB to do what it does best.
Old 1 week ago
  #358
Lives for gear
 
nyandres's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadPoet View Post
And we're well into page 12 with no definitive answer to the original question.


I've spent the entire day mixing and had 2 observations:

1) I had this mixing job to mix demo's for my school's student bands (9 bands all recording between 2 and 4 songs in a 2-hour session) so speed was essential. I have over 60 channels of hardware outboard ready to insert but for recall and speed reasons I try to do this stuff completely ITB. Yet after 2-3 hours I can't help but reach for at least a nice 2bus comp and EQ and have a better sound dialed in exactly 5 seconds as opposed to endless fiddling with plugins. Less plugins used in the mixes AFTER I started using the hardware 2bus chain.
Might be the tactile thing (ears over eyes) but I'd like to think it's the toobs and trannies .

2) On the last song I inserted about everything I had on the mix and while it was playing back I had this moment of incredible awe for the technology: the realisation of the immensly complex task that my DAW has in playing back all these tracks, maticulously calculating all of the discrepancies in micro-timing between all tracks, plugins, outboard roundtrips (several busses, several parallel things going on) and playing all of that back while maintaining perfect phase. During which mix I also had a multitude of analog-emulating plugins of different sorts (plates and chamber modelling, different saturation and tape emulating plugins, ...). All of that within a buffer size of 128 samples AND having CPU power left.

I really sat there in awe for a few moments while I realised that.

Off course it quickly came to mind that my snare sound still sucks


Herwig
Dont blame the tech... Blame the skill. Andrew Schepps, and Serban Guenea are two big names who are all in the box making hits, with "a great snare sound".
If you can do it with hardware, you can do it with software... if you can only do it with one of the two, you got lucky one of the two times, or you dont have the right tool.
Old 1 week ago
  #359
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nyandres View Post
Dont blame the tech... Blame the skill. Andrew Schepps, and Serban Guenea are two big names who are all in the box making hits, with "a great snare sound".
If you can do it with hardware, you can do it with software... if you can only do it with one of the two, you got lucky one of the two times, or you dont have the right tool.
Yeah.

To flip his example, I have dialed in DAW channel strips I use to start a lot of my bread and butter sounds ITB. I could mess around in a studio full of hardware for 2-3 hours and not get there, and then load up my channel strip and be done in 5 seconds.

I agree with the fact that good sounds are harder to find ITB. The scope is so huge that the sweet spots are harder to find. You can do literally anything, so its a lot more natural to make mistakes, go in dumb directions, or end up in the middle somewhere where it feels like its falling flat.

Once you're dialed in though, you're dialed in. The guys you mention and many others are proof of that. Good sound is good sound. To me, the most practical move in 2019 is to be one of the ITB guys who are killing it with their own "expensive," as in "takes a lot of effort to find and dial in," sound.

I mean. . I use a few nice mics, through a Neve pre, sometimes a light touch of a dbx compressor, use a les Paul, Marshall amp, acoustic guitars, classical guitars, etc. A lot has to be OTB. I see that as sound design/performance, and then the mix and everything else is all ITB. Synths are all ITB now. Anything that can be ITB, is ITB for me.

Serban records often do have a lot that has originated OTB. But yeah, its ITB processing for everything mixdown related.
Old 1 week ago
  #360
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
Obviously no one needs or uses 1500+ dB of dynamic range in the real world but the point I am making is that it is possible with digital, not with analogue.
Once again the point is that you CAN'T do that in digital in practice. Resolving two simultaneous signals will be limited by the mantissa.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
One can't bring up the limitations of digital and then proceed to ignore the limitations of analogue when comparing the two.
Analog and digital both have theoretical and practical limits. You are the only one continually conflating the two, you even do it within this post. I've specifically argued for an apples to apples practical comparison.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
And yes, the mantissa is the limiting factor but even with 32 bit float (25 bit mantissa), it already is more than can be achieved with analogue equipment
So now you agree it is limited by the mantissa? That implies 150 dB, so why continue to bring up the 1500+ dB and conflate the two? Stick with one line of reasoning or the other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
and if the signals are lower level (for instance due to a gain trim pre processor), no accuracy is lost. In analogue (and fixed point systems), the signal approaches the noise floor when reduced in level.
I've already stated this in a reply to you. So why bother to paraphrase what I've already said in a rebuttal? There is no dispute here.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Music Bird / Electronic Music Instruments and Electronic Music Production
1
HaveItAll / Electronic Music Instruments and Electronic Music Production
29
rossta1 / Music Computers
6
gainreduction / Music Computers
16

Forum Jump
Forum Jump