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hardware vs plugins users of both only please
Old 3rd May 2011
  #61
Lives for gear
 

Plugins are close if you don't listen very hard..

If a hardware compressor or eq is used for the wrong task it will in many cases do more harm then a plugin.

I have never found a plugin that can get close to:

An alan smart/ssl/dynamite/1176 on parallell drums, compress 15-20 dB and mix 50/50. If the attack/release is set right all plugins sounds like a joke in comparison. The attack is impossible to get as snappy and sharp.

API/Distressor/Cl1mk2/1176/La2 12-15db's gain change on vocals (or bass). Plugins sound dull and flat in comparison.

I have not found a plugin compressor that get close to an api 2500 or an allan smart/SSL on the 2buss. But If it's not the right compressor for the job many plugin compressors will sound just as good. I don't like SSL on soft/warm dynamic songs and I don't like API on slick radio pop.

A great HW eq on vocals sounds way bigger and smoother then a plugin.I think plugin equalizers are great though- great precision. If the vocals hardly need to be eq'd I prefer plugins.

If I didn't care about the last 30% sonic wise I would stay ITB. The average listener don't care. Thank God most producers/musicians still do.
Old 9th May 2011
  #62
Gear Head
 

The TRUTH...

Hardware BLOWS AWAY the software. Those that claim they can't hear the difference are either lying to get free plugins or they clearly don't have the ears for mixing music.
Old 11th May 2011
  #63
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trashman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fess View Post
Hardware BLOWS AWAY the software. Those that claim they can't hear the difference are either lying to get free plugins or they clearly don't have the ears for mixing music.
that settles it!! sell everything!!!!

.... except for the stuff you love lol
Old 11th May 2011
  #64
Gear nut
 
adrummingdude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grin-go-go View Post
I have Tube Tech CL1B (and softube version). The real TT sounds better and is much more transparent. You can have like 14 db of GR without bad artifacts.

"Real" 1176LN vs UAD2 1176 is like this too.

The UAD still sounds amazingly like the hardware unit, and if anything is much quieter AND more aggressive than the hardware, but there's just something hard to put your finger on that it doesn't do as well...the hardware just sounds, better. Comparing side by side you can hit the hardware WAY harder before getting any little nasties in return.
Old 20th December 2011
  #65
Gear interested
 

honestly a big issue with people is that they just think that all hardware will make there music sound good good music sounds good no matter what i admit when i hear a album remastered is pro tools using "waves" like its a big deal it sounds alot more sterile to me. but this is also like how everyone things that because a plugin company cost more that its better i have used a few waves demo's and i did not like them at all hated them. they always sound way to sterile to me. my friend has a large ssl console (forgot the exact model) and we collaborate with mixes all the time and he really likes the sound of some cheep not well known plugs that sound really good maybe not exactly like it but who wants something that can only do this exact ssl like this only with this setting. personalty i work almost completely ITB and i find that with the right tools a good signal and the right ears for what sound you want you can get a really nice sound both ways maybe both are different in there own way but. they are all tools and like a master of a stick can beat a novice with a spear analogy if you take time to learn to get what you want music can sound good.
that saying i hate most digital reverbs they are all based off of the same exact algorithm maybe just a little differently done but when you look into it its the same thing just there version. that said i bought sknote verbtone and i have to say if you take your time to get the sound you want it sounds NOTHING like any digital reverbs iv heard it really smooths out and warms the sound not always but like i said everything is a tool my UAD stuff sounds nice and i notice it cant be pushed as hard but if you listen to it you can find a sweet spot lets not forget that every hardware unit sounds very different to each other and some company's that emulat there stuff off of some hardware might not have a good console. if you think about it saying its a SSL or a NEVE gets all the kiddys to wet themselves you slap a big price on it and people will think it must be off one just like mine. what if they just bought some random one and made it sound like that iv heard some NEVE pres that where way past there days of good sound and the guy was trying to still sell it to me saying i can just get new tubes for it later. maybe i could maybe i couldn't im shelving off big money for something that sounds like plastic and you say trust me i say good day sir.
Old 20th December 2011
  #66
Lives for gear
There is a joke, haven't you all heard?

" a mixing engineer working in a big studio with SSL4000 and all the big racks. One day he decided to do work with all plugins only, so he mix ITB and didn't use any of these hardware. Right away he shows his friends his new work by email, then most of his friend replays : " this is it! I can hear that sweet SSL4000 tone! You also use that tube LA2A on the vocal right? It's full of that analogue tone, it's better than before! So loud and proud!"
After that , this engineer always works ITB in big studio. However, he never tell anyone about it. And he still, always , took photo in front of his Big 4000 console with a big smile.
Old 20th December 2011
  #67
Lives for gear
 

for those of you speaking about -18 db gainreduction on your hardware
comps - while it still sounds "amazing" - well - are we speaking about
trash metal / nuked drum rooms or real instruments ???

Compressing more than 2-4 db sucks every single bit of life out of a well recorded instument -
regardless of hardware and software.

I will say this - after having owned most hardware comps out there -
with plugins like the gml mdw EQ and the new vertigo I feel completely
comfortable to track "flat" and process later ITB - this way I´m avoiding
all kinds of errors / false decisions and concentrate more on the music.

P.S. I much prefer the Waves 1176/LA2A plugins over
the UA hardware re-editions through an average converter.
Old 20th December 2011
  #68
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcc449 View Post
There is a joke, haven't you all heard?

" a mixing engineer working in a big studio with SSL4000 and all the big racks. One day he decided to do work with all plugins only, so he mix ITB and didn't use any of these hardware. Right away he shows his friends his new work by email, then most of his friend replays : " this is it! I can hear that sweet SSL4000 tone! You also use that tube LA2A on the vocal right? It's full of that analogue tone, it's better than before! So loud and proud!"
After that , this engineer always works ITB in big studio. However, he never tell anyone about it. And he still, always , took photo in front of his Big 4000 console with a big smile.
this is closer to the truth than most would admit.....lol

heavy-midrange, gtr driven rock/pop bounced to mp3 and listened to on an iphone headphones, over-compressed mastered to max volume as records are today etc. one really has to wonder who can or will tell the difference...

not to mention the bands, singers, and songs all sound the same...
Old 20th December 2011
  #69
Gear Addict
 
outUVphaze's Avatar
 

I have both hardware and UAD versions of what you ask.

Apples and oranges.

Night and day.

Spend the $$$, you cannot take it with you. GO hardware.

Cheers,
Old 23rd December 2011
  #70
Gear interested
 

I own the CL 1B in both worlds - the original Tube Tech and the Softube plug-in. The original is an extra 5% compared to the plugin that I don't wanna miss when recording tracks. But in the mix I wanna keep the flexibility of instant total recall. And since I already compressed during tracking I don't need to hit the signal hard. That's where you hear the difference the most. Same for the 1176 and the FET from Softube.
Old 23rd December 2011
  #71
Nrt
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slikjmuzik View Post
For the buss at least, I used the UAD SSL 4k Buss Comp for a long time, but using a real buss compressor did make a positive difference. I only paid $1200 for my buss compressor and it has Lundahl output transformers that I can switch back and forth between them and electronically balanced output, so I have a sonic option there as well. But anyway, yes, the real deal made a pretty big difference, especially coming from a console like I now do.
Who makes this unit?
Old 23rd December 2011
  #72
Nrt
Lives for gear
 

What UBK said is all true, but the songwriting, arrangement, performance and recording determine the essence of 80% of the music. Mix and mastering is important, but the engineer determines the essence of 80%+ of the mix and mastering. If the plugin and hardware difference is 20%. The final difference between plugin and hardware would be 20%*20%*20%*=0.8%.

Yes, you can hear the difference of 0.8%, but 99.2% people do not care. LOL.

Although the difference between plugin and hardware would be more obvious when they are used for the mix bus, drum bus, vocal / bass comp, etc., most of the first class plugin emulation can sound great, if the user know what he is doing.
Old 23rd December 2011
  #73
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nrt View Post
Mix and mastering is important, but the engineer determines the essence of 80%+ of the mix and mastering. If the plugin and hardware difference is 20%. The final difference between plugin and hardware would be 20%*20%*20%*=0.8%.

Ahh, but you're neglecting the impact the tools have on the carpenter. If you're a guy who not only hears the .8% but you're so sensitive to it that it becomes the focus of 50% of your efforts, then the equations shift.

This is art, so the state of mind of the creators is massive. The right tool for the job is essential; I'm not making claims as to what tools are right, that's an individual determination. But for the guy turning the knobs, the difference between having nothing but plugins and having a complement of outboard is generally much greater than .8%, and so is the resulting impact on the work itself.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 23rd December 2011
  #74
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Magucci's Avatar
 

At first I bought the SSL Duende Mini DSP Studio pack and loved the Bus Comp. Then I purchased the hardware SSL G Bus Comp and sold it two months later. I think the hardware Comp was from 2003 or 2007. Nevertheless the hardware comp is never worth the money. Now I own an Elysia hardware comp and it is way better than the plugins I tested.
Old 23rd December 2011
  #75
Lives for gear
To me the proverbial "elephant in the room" concerning this topic is that it is 8 days from 2012 and we are still having this conversation.

This has been going on since the late 90s, and many a plugin peddler had boldly predicted there would be a large landfill of decaying hardware being sold for scrap metal by now.

There were people who bought the lies hook, line and sinker and dumped $20k into PT 5 era plugins back then. What are those plugins worth now ? Also, what would $20k of vintage hardware be worth now ? Back then you could score a blue Stripe 1176 for $1500-$2000 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There were ALOT of peeps back then who claimed the PT 5 era plugins were "just as good" as the hardware they were attempting to emulate; some were shills, and others were just half deaf dupes.

Old 23rd December 2011
  #76
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
I can't help but notice the complete lack of threads started by, and filled with, people struggling with their console and/or racks of expensive outboard. Come to think of it, I don't see an endless stream of people complaining about their hardware killing the depth or the tone of their tracks, or wondering if their summing buss is collapsing the width of their itb mix.
This is one of the best posts I have ever read on this subject, and it describes my experiences to a T !!

The ITB guys will always resort to mentioning some famous engineer (Shipley, Blake) who is able to pull it off ITB, and they somehow think that proves their point.

But hey, YOU ARE NOT TCHAD BLAKE OR MIKE SHIPLEY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Working OTB makes getting great results 1000X more effortless for me, and that is a HUGE factor in making records. If you have to sit there endlessly tweaking parameters on plugins in a futile effort to "emulate" great hardware, then you are KILLING the creative process involved in producing/mixing records.

Some of us don't want to be grey haired old men before we put out some awesome sounding records.

Old 23rd December 2011
  #77
Gear maniac
 
Bopkit's Avatar
 

i focus on using my hardware on the way into the box. i have lots of pieces i have acquired over the years, and i am usually fulfilling the role of producer/engineer, so i can make judgement calls about what kind of sound i want to print, as opposed to recording something 'neutral' and shaping it more later.

ITB i tend to use plugins judiciously to make fine tuning adjustments as tracks accumulate and the mix starts to take shape. mostly i use UAD plugins. the 140 reverb is quite good. the Neve and Helios EQs are quite good if used lightly for example.

focusing on the right arrangement for the song greatly reduces the need for plugins, in my experience.

i'll also send the track out through an analog device if i know that will get me the sound quickly or if i want to be more drastic in my treatment.

both plugins and hardware have their uses and strengths in my workflow.
Old 23rd December 2011
  #78
Not vintage? Burn it.
 
Alex Breaux's Avatar
 

Do you think an amp sim sounds like a real guitar amp? I mean, in my opinion its the same principal as this subject. I have most every plugin known other then some of the ones that just got released. I think a lot of these companies did a awesome job of emulating some of these pieces of hardware. However, if you A/B em, the software doesn't come close. Thats why I use plugins for preproduction stuff because its quick and easy and sounds decent. But for anything other then preproduction, I wont touch the software, and I'll use nothing but hardware.

If anyone would like to disagree with me, take a all original Blue Stripe, and A/B it to the plugin. Some might say its "different"... Yeah? Well its cool for what it is, but what the company says it does "sounds close to the real thing" is a load of crap. False advertisement. Either way, that doesn't mean its bad, it just means that it will not take the place of the real thing.
Old 23rd December 2011
  #79
Not vintage? Burn it.
 
Alex Breaux's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sage691 View Post
This is one of the best posts I have ever read on this subject, and it describes my experiences to a T !!

The ITB guys will always resort to mentioning some famous engineer (Shipley, Blake) who is able to pull it off ITB, and they somehow think that proves their point.

But hey, YOU ARE NOT TCHAD BLAKE OR MIKE SHIPLEY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Working OTB makes getting great results 1000X more effortless for me, and that is a HUGE factor in making records. If you have to sit there endlessly tweaking parameters on plugins in a futile effort to "emulate" great hardware, then you are KILLING the creative process involved in producing/mixing records.

Some of us don't want to be grey haired old men before we put out some awesome sounding records.

+1 : )
Old 23rd December 2011
  #80
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jimmyboy7's Avatar
Ok, I find using my hardware much more effortless because of the tactile nature of it and I seem to get great sound quicker. Then again, I have a lot more experience and time invested with hardware. It has just been the last 5-7 years I have become more hybrid. I really love PT HD. I love the automation and editing and I have a **** load of plugs that give me a lot of fun when looking for
coloration. But when I need quick pro results my hardware gives me what I need faster, better, and ultimately sounds....more lush. I guess from a sonic perspective, I like using plugs as an addition to my hardware, but I would never work with just plug ins, but I have and could easily work with hardware only it still has better
coloration
Old 23rd December 2011
  #81
Lives for gear
 

They are just different sounding as others have said. For little or no money the OP can rent / borrow some hardware for a day and use his own ears. The trick is to use each to it's strengths. The computer is a great tape recorder and editor. Using plugs can be the right choice if there is no budget or if the client will ship the project around or MANY recalls will be done. Use hardware for its sonics and workflow. Just explain and demonstrate to a client the different sounds / options and your prefered workflow. There is no perfect option as time / money /sonics are factors. This subject has been covered a couple times in the past around here I think LOL. Probably the better question to ask this group is: For those members who have used both digital plugs and hardware, where are your buying dollars going to? With me it's hardware.
Old 24th December 2011
  #82
Trp
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telefunk View Post
the difference depends on the quality of your source material.

If it's great playing, recorded in a beautiful room with superb mics and high-end pres, then yes, hardware makes all the difference while plugins sound dull and lifeless. Generally with hardware you dont need to use so much processing.
For me quite the opposite is true. The tracks I work on fit your description well and for that matter don´t need so much tweaking. And when applying 2 dB GR to a signal the Softube CL-1b works just as fine as the Tube Tech that sits in my rack. And dipping one frequency 2 dB works on a digital EQ just as well as on an analog for me. And a well played and recorded Steinway D in a great room (like Brauner VM-1s close plus ambient mics through Neve pres) just doesn´t need much treatment during mix time.

So I guess it comes down to what your source material is, maybe what the genre is and how you treat that source material.

The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra gets recorded and mixed on a digital console (Stagetec Aurus). The end results sound like the highest sonic excellence to me. I don´t think anyone will miss analog circuitry there.

It just makes sense to keep an open mind. Depending on asthetics, taste and workflow there are many ways to achieve great results. And those results are the only thing that matters, not the way someone gets to that point.
Old 24th December 2011
  #83
Trp
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Breaux View Post
Do you think an amp sim sounds like a real guitar amp? I mean, in my opinion its the same principal as this subject.
Apples and oranges. As soon as air is moved (especially instruments) it´s a totally different story to me.
Old 24th December 2011
  #84
Lives for gear
 

Just did a test mix using plugins only. Sounds good to me, but the thing is, once I mix it through the console with outboard the difference in depth, definition, bass energy, high end sparkle, midrange stress-free-ness gets rather obvious.
Old 24th December 2011
  #85
Not vintage? Burn it.
 
Alex Breaux's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trp View Post
Apples and oranges. As soon as air is moved (especially instruments) it´s a totally different story to me.
That's true, but with most amp sims, they let you choose the cab, the mic, the mic placement, and sometimes the room.

My point is that the companies that make the amp sims, and the companies that make plugins, are making the same BOLD statement. They say that it sounds like the real thing. It doesn't, because it sounds different.

As I stated in my previous post, can anyone honestly take a real piece of analogue gear, A/B it to a plugin that is supposed to sound like it, and say that its the same?? The answer is no. Hopes and dreams, or justification of investments.
Old 24th December 2011
  #86
Gear maniac
 

Many times for me, a software EQ is the right tool for cutting freqs. If i wanna boost i 'open my lunchbox'.

Software does its job and so does hardware. No need for the vs BS debate.
Old 24th December 2011
  #87
Gear Maniac
 
Moatl's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROCKER STUDIOS View Post
I have both of most your list and I can say their is a big diff. to Me
Hardware SMOKES the plugs
But I still use both
I also own hardware urei 1176s, LA2A and SSL buss comp after using the plugs for some years...

and especially with the first two I found the difference to be huge!!
The plugs really sounded like a bad joke compared to the hardware.

And you don't have to spend thousands on hardware if you can build it yourself...i.e. the 1176 kit from hairball audio is like 400 bucks including all parts and if done properly in my opinion also sounds way better than the UA reissue.
Or the drip electronics stuff for tube gear like Pultecs, LA2As or even a Fairchild if you're up to it
Old 24th December 2011
  #88
Trp
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Breaux View Post
That's true, but with most amp sims, they let you choose the cab, the mic, the mic placement, and sometimes the room.

My point is that the companies that make the amp sims, and the companies that make plugins, are making the same BOLD statement. They say that it sounds like the real thing. It doesn't, because it sounds different.
Well in my book the difference between VI and real instruments or amps and amp sims is a lot higher (something like a Steinway D has nothing in common with a VI IMO), not even comparable with the difference between plug ins and analog. Vibrating physical elements and air are a lot harder to emulate than electric current.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Breaux View Post
As I stated in my previous post, can anyone honestly take a real piece of analogue gear, A/B it to a plugin that is supposed to sound like it, and say that its the same?? The answer is no. Hopes and dreams, or justification of investments.
Again, it depends a lot on how you use your gear. If all you need from an EQ is dipping 2 dB at let´s say 2,3 kHz of a very well recorded signal, then yes, plug ins just sound as good. And I don´t have a problem using a plug in EQ for that matter even when working on a Neve VXS or alike. That´s dictated by my ears, not by any need for justification.

But since you mention it: Justification of investments also applies to some hardware proponents.

But I really don´t get the need for all the preaching around here. One should just use what works best for you, be happy and deliver great results. And let others do how they like it.
Old 30th December 2011
  #89
Nrt
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
Ahh, but you're neglecting the impact the tools have on the carpenter. If you're a guy who not only hears the .8% but you're so sensitive to it that it becomes the focus of 50% of your efforts, then the equations shift.

This is art, so the state of mind of the creators is massive. The right tool for the job is essential; I'm not making claims as to what tools are right, that's an individual determination. But for the guy turning the knobs, the difference between having nothing but plugins and having a complement of outboard is generally much greater than .8%, and so is the resulting impact on the work itself.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Hi ubk, I agree with everything you said. Sorry, my post was a half joke, but half true. My point is 1176 (or such) and its counter part will only make very little difference at the end if you look at the whole picture. The diffrence can be ignorable (=meaningless) even for the most serious and responsible artists / producers who's intention is making the best art, not the "most hardware sounding" song.

I understand that there are tons of the hardwares which can't be replaceable with plugins, but many hardwares can be without compromising sound quality and ethical issue as a serious artist. And this is my answer for the original OP's question.

I also think that using the cheap plugins creatively (while understanding its limitation) is more ethically correct as an artist than buying the most expensive hardwares (ex. blue stripe 1176 in mint condition, LOL) looking for the best sound and vibe available in the world. I personally do not look for the best drummer with the best technic and vibe in the world when I make my music, but some people do, so I think this would be just my personal taste... I don't know.
Old 30th December 2011
  #90
Lives for gear
 

So, I have both the UAD 1176 plug and an UA 1176 COMP.... they are pretty close but the hardware does have a distinct warmth about it that the plugin doesn't have. Now, they both sound good and for mixing I actually prefer the hardware but for tracking, a real 1176 in the chain serves a different purpose.

I also have a few other hardware/software pieces and I agree with the opinion that a good plug in is still a valuable tool for mixing and that some of the plugs sound closes to the real deal than others....

For example, I have both the UAD and WAVES Helios EQ and a real Helios pre/eq.... the UAD2 sounds so much more like the real deal as compared to the Waves Helios but the Waves Helios can sound good on a mix but it doesn't sound like the hardware.

Jim
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