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
hardware vs plugins users of both only please
Old 2nd April 2011
  #1
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
hardware vs plugins users of both only please

ok i know this has been a question for a while now but lets narrow it down for all who have used both ima list some peaces of gear an you guys compare.

au 1176 , hardware vs plugin ?

la2a , hardware vs plugin ?

ssl bus comp, hardware vs plugin

ahh what the hel you get the point how close do you think hardware is vs sotware ? for instan is it worth spending 2 to 5 grand for one peace pf rack gear instead a whiole bundle of plugs ?
Old 2nd April 2011
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Telefunk's Avatar
 

I dont have those plugin versions anymore cause i use only hardware nowadays but 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.
Old 2nd April 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Slikjmuzik's Avatar
 

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.

In regards to a real 1176 or La2a. The real deal is nicer, but UA did come scary close with their models of their own units. However, for me, on mixdown, I basically use 14 channels on my board to sum down to. My board has 8 busses and that's where I'm using real compressors. However, I'm not even using fancy compressors here. I basically use a 1066 for busses 1/2 which is all drums. I use an FMR RNLA for guitars/bass on 3/4, then an FMR RNC for vocals on 5/6 and lastly, all my effects, delays, verbs go to busses 7/8, but I'm not doing anything there as I've EQ'd compressed them itb. My only compressor that ran me over $1k is my buss compressor and it's all I feel I need to make mixes sound good. Yes, I want more, but I don't need them. I did it for years all itb and before I had my board and anything to use outboard.

Hope that helps.
Old 2nd April 2011
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeebangs View Post
ok i know this has been a question for a while now but lets narrow it down for all who have used both ima list some peaces of gear an you guys compare.

au 1176 , hardware vs plugin ?

la2a , hardware vs plugin ?

ssl bus comp, hardware vs plugin

ahh what the hel you get the point how close do you think hardware is vs sotware ? for instan is it worth spending 2 to 5 grand for one peace pf rack gear instead a whiole bundle of plugs ?
Let's put it like this. If you were to A/B between the hardware and plugs you would quickly realize that the plugs aren't even close to the real deal. Is it worth it to spend the thousands needed for each piece? That's up to you. You can certainly make a fine sounding mix using all plugs, but it will never sound like a mix that uses the real hardware. At the end of the day you have to make the decision as to whether it is worth it for you and your art.
Old 24th April 2011
  #5
Lives for gear
 
trashman's Avatar
 

I used the fxg384 and xrack bus comp and now I have the duende. Not the same. Similar vibe, but not as meaty.

Uad2 sounds amazing tho!! That massive passive plug is just sick!
Old 24th April 2011
  #6
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by trashman View Post
I used the fxg384 and xrack bus comp and now I have the duende. Not the same. Similar vibe, but not as meaty.

Uad2 sounds amazing tho!! That massive passive plug is just sick!
Good plugin, but when you have a real one you realise two things:

1. They don't sound similar (those reviews that say they do _ I'd challenge them direct... even the mighty AM). the liquid mix dynamic-convo model sounds closer (but still not the same).

2. The way the gain works on the UAD is wrong. Completely wrong when compared to a real one.

BUT

the plugin is a great and excellent tool in it's own right!
Old 25th April 2011
  #7
some seem pretty close to me but there is often a couple of characteristics lacking in my experience. Primarily - I dont hear plugins holding the bass freq so firmly (low mid thump). Also - for more aggressive processing - hardware shapes the sound in a much more convincing and effortless way. Transient shaping especially on drums.
But plugs are usable tools - I think the Waves CLA 1176 and LA2A are pretty good. Not keen on SSL bus plugs - dont really have the glue hardware gives IMO. Im not an expert but Ive tried a good amount and have ears.
Old 25th April 2011
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Daedalus77's Avatar
Different tools. Each valuable, but not the same. I think Kittonian pretty-much hit the nail on the head. Best of luck.
Old 25th April 2011
  #9
Registered User
 

All three that you mentioned...not even close...

All three that you mentioned...I use the plugs all the time...because they are useful and I can use many instances of them.

DO es the hardware sound better? Yes.

Do the plugs help my mixes? Yes.

I prefer Both!
Old 25th April 2011
  #10
I think, having used all the above on a daily basis, they sound different. Not better or worse just different. I think we've reached that moment in plugins where we're better off if the software engineers work on designing a great and compelling software compressor to use vs. emulating hardware. the hardware you mentioned is all great. the emulations of the hardware sound great but not like the hardware. the emulations, for that matter, don't even sound like each other.

If you need compression on a track, put it on. let the sound dictate whether it's hardware or a plug!
Old 25th April 2011
  #11
Lives for gear
 
trashman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
Good plugin, but when you have a real one you realise two things:

1. They don't sound similar (those reviews that say they do _ I'd challenge them direct... even the mighty AM). the liquid mix dynamic-convo model sounds closer (but still not the same).

2. The way the gain works on the UAD is wrong. Completely wrong when compared to a real one.

BUT

the plugin is a great and excellent tool in it's own right!
I owned a massive passive for a very short while a couple years back. It was lovely

What I did use nearly side by side was the SSL plugs and hardware. What I can say is that the audio has more "aura" using hardware. Using fine art and film as an analogy: a super high quality reproduction photo of a Rembrandt, Van Gogh or Cezanne can be wonderful. A copy can as well. It captures so much. However, photography is a wonderful and inspiring medium in itself without being used this way. Theater is wonderful and so is film. Theater has a presence. There's something magical about being right there in it! Is it better than film? Is Photography better than painting?

I agree with the post obove. It's gotten to the point where even my non-audio females are blown away by how great the plugs sound.

But I gotta tell ya, to my ears, when I slap an api 2500 on a rock, pop or dance mix bus ... it's instant yeah yeah! I didn't get this boner when I used the fairchild or ssl duende mix bus.

Although the massive passive plugin was an OMG.
Old 27th April 2011
  #12
Gear interested
 
gugiar's Avatar
 

LA2A HARDWARE vs PLUGIN UAD

Old 27th April 2011
  #13
Lives for gear
 
steveschizoid's Avatar
Gugiar, you have the Aurora Audio console, right? Nothing ITB can touch the GT4-8 - not even close!

On the other hand the UAD LA2A was one of their first emulations and perhaps an unfair one to pick on; have you ever compared the Fatso vs the emulation? I spent a couople of hours doing that one day, and I found the difference insignificant. It's really that good.
Old 27th April 2011
  #14
Gear interested
 
Zaka's Avatar
 

its all about respecting rules.if the best songs in history was made in the analogue age using hardware . why using plugin? unless the money is an issu of course.
hardware have proven himself for long year and its 100% certified good sounding.
the worst advice someone can give you is if you dont hear difference get the plugin. its not because you dont hear difference that it isnt there . i seen people here getting shootout right everytime where i fail very often. i didnt conclude that i hear no difference i rather conclude that my ear just suck.
Old 28th April 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
 
ionian's Avatar
In my opinion, hardware overall sounds better then plugs, but if you're smart you'll be able to find a few choice pieces of hardware and maximize how you use them.

For example, I own an Obisidian and a Xpressor. The Xpressor's clean and tweaky, the Obsidian has a sheen and some weight from the Jensen transformers and isn't as tweaky. They compliment each other well. If I want to add a little "oomph" to the Xpressor on something, I run the output of the Xpressor through the Obsidian. I'm also demoing the Vandergraph at the moment - same thing. It has iron transformers which are different then the ones in the Obsidian so I've been playing around with running the Xpressor through the Vander as well to get the iron sound from it.

The Vander has more of a bassy thump to the bottom, but my Obsidian has more of a 3-D image that I really like, but it's not as bassy so I've been playing around with running the Vander into the Obsidian and fooling with settings and vice-versa, running the Obsidian into the Vander. You'll find plenty of sounds and effects like that.

You can use plugs on a lot of stuff but if you use some hardware in the right spots, the hardware will carry the plugs. I tend to use software EQs since I most likely will change the EQ later since I screw that up the most, so I hardware compress my tracks but plug-in EQ them (I EQ after compression so it's not an issue to do this).

Or use plugs on most of your tracks but use hardware on the master bus to add some pizazz to the whole song.

Also - good hardware doesn't have to be mind-bogglingly expensive.

Something simple like the Phonenix Audio Nice Di, which has some colored transformers can be used in the path of a lot of stuff - from your synths being input into the track, between the converter and your hardware or on your final mix that you can add some transformer weight in plenty of places for 6 or 7 hundred dollars, max. I mean, record all your tracks using the Nice Di but use plugs for compression and EQ. You'll still have that transformer weight on the tracks.

Also, in the realm of cheaper, but good hardware - a lot of the newer offerings from Radial look like they're really gonna be awesome. I mean, Radial has the Komit Comp coming out which is a (slight) re-design of a well-liked comp for $400 each. And they're linkable! So for $800 you can get a stereo pair that have some transformers (hammond ones) AND a limiter that you can clip and overdrive. You should be able to get some great sounding mileage from those. Radial supposedly has some interesting looking EQ coming out as well soon so I'd look at that also.

The ART Pro VLA (I or II) are somewhat legends in their own time for great sound for under $300 in a hardware compressor.

Get creative - who cares? Just keep your eyes, ears and options open! Good sound doesn't have to cost more then one or two plugs!

Regards,
Frank
Old 28th April 2011
  #16
Gear nut
 

I use hardware all the way, except when limiting and then my first choice is the hard limiter in Adobe Audition 3 - pretty amazing how effective and invisible it is.
Old 28th April 2011
  #17
Gear maniac
 

don't you guys have anything better to do...
Old 28th April 2011
  #18
Gear maniac
 

Thank you so much for that!

I think a minute amount of eq can help the top end of plugin it sound slightly harsher.I'm a plugin man so I'd use all that hardware money on promotion of the product because they bought are world class.

Sent from my PC36100 using Gearslutz.com App
Old 28th April 2011
  #19
Lives for gear
 
jordanvoth's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmik_debris View Post
don't you guys have anything better to do...
+1! It really won't matter WHAT you have. If you haven't MASTERED tweaking compressors and fine tuning a mix it won't matter at all. Once you do master it, it won't matter much. A or B, both are different, both are great, both are ****ty. Cheap hardware won't sound better than highend software and vice versa. Get both. Use both and learn the difference for yourself.
Old 28th April 2011
  #20
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanvoth View Post
+1! It really won't matter WHAT you have. If you haven't MASTERED tweaking compressors and fine tuning a mix it won't matter at all. Once you do master it, it won't matter much. A or B, both are different, both are great, both are ****ty. Cheap hardware won't sound better than highend software and vice versa. Get both. Use both and learn the difference for yourself.
Bam! Agreed!

But but back to the YouTube a/b,the hardware la2a getting converted twice could've cut some of the top end off giving it a smoother boomers(bass) sound.

I hate thoughs test with average or below average simgers,I'd like a killer vocalist to be heard!

My point is,that vocalist will still blow me away,I'm not going around asking people was usher last album done itb.

If you have rich clients fine buy hardware but its a business and you can start all software and it will work all the same,again sorry but are the ad/dac's changing the sound? I personally don't see a need to spend 2,500 on that hardware from what I heard....
Old 28th April 2011
  #21
RiF
Lives for gear
 
RiF's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeebangs View Post
ssl bus comp, hardware vs plugin
I have a DIY Gyraf GSSL SSL mix buss compressor clone, so I can just compare that one to the Waves SSL Buss Compressor and the UAD Precision Buss Compressor.

GSSL Hardware:
The hardware gives the mix more boldness, authority and adds something round and shiny to the high end. So the mix really sounds "better" and "larger" and "more exciting" with the hardware.

Waves SSL Buss Comp:
Using the Waves, the mix sounds just more compressed. No "better", "larger" or "more exciting". Even more, it sounds a bit less exciting.
Besides that, all of the controls behave very differently, where little adjustments on the hardware really change the sound, while (at least in comparision), changing anything (atk, rel, thres, ratio) on the Waves has less effect to my ears.

UAD 4K Buss Compressor:
A short demo of the UAD 4K Buss Compressor did not reveal anything too different from the Waves , IMHO.

UAD Precision Buss Compressor:
The UAD Precision Buss Compressor is somewhere in between those two, it adds more boldness to the mix but does not give as much "excitement" as the hardware does. But it is my favorite ITB buss compressor, that I feel to be closest to a hardware (as far as I can tell).

But if I just want to compress stuff pretty heavily (like on a drum buss, with up to 3-6 dB of GR sometimes), the Waves seems to handle this better while the GSSL starts to crap out earlier. But that said, it's a bit hard to tell, because the meters on the GSSL show very different readings than the plugin (GSSL: the needle does not move at all when I hear it working nicely. Waves: The needle shows at least 2-3 dB of GR before I hear anything that I start to like).
Old 28th April 2011
  #22
Lives for gear
 
zvukofor's Avatar
I prefer real, not emulated digital gear, designed by truly inspired people who understands properties of effect as an instrument. Paul Frindle really did the best things here, as we're speaking on plugins, Sonnox are just perfect as an istrument as hardware analog stuff. And there're more good digital processing besides Sonnox.
I'm just beware of everything that pretends to be something it is not, all those pesky looking "emulations"... not saying all of them are no good, but we cannot underestimate the power of money greed and low level education of a mass consumer.
Old 28th April 2011
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigGreen View Post
For me,...

The SSL thing has moved into the box with Glue, I sold the grey faced 384.
First off, Glue just sounds better, it does way less damage to the low end, and provides additional features that make it considerably more usable in modern production. The SSL is a one(maybe two if you are one that can tolerate it on the master buss) trick pony, Glue is not. Glue gives you the flexibility to see what the SSL flavor sounds like on many sources, unlike the real one. For instance Bass guitar.

I still go to hardware for other flavors of compression.
BUT! I look forward to the day I can keep it all ITB!

Good luck!

D
thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
Old 28th April 2011
  #24
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.

I also have "high-end" SSL clone and I prefer The Glue (in oversampling mode) on my mix bus. Sometimes I put SSl after the Glue if I need this nice high freq roll off.

I use my Chilton console for summing purpose but I also love Slate VCC. Usually I combine Slate summing and Analog summing.

Hardware EQ are better for boosting. I love my A-design Hammer (always on my mix bus) and Chandler Germanium Tone Control (Bass, Kick Drum, Guitars).

Plug-ins I love are: Soundtoys (I use Decapitator all the time), Abbey Road TG Limiter, The Glue, Fg-X, Waves API, Softube.

I'm sure that one day I'll be 100% ITB.
Great Front end and Converters are essential.

Cheers !
Old 28th April 2011
  #25
Lives for gear
 
trashman's Avatar
 

I'm telling ya, I own the duende now, I owned the ssl fxg384 and the xrack comp and I still have my api 2500, drawmer 68, rnc and portico 5043 (will be soon be up for sale when the new portico II comes out).

The software compressor plugs (uad, waves, ssl) just don't sound as lively as high end hardware comps.

RiF said it: The hardware gives the mix more boldness, authority and adds something round and shiny to the high end. So the mix really sounds "better" and "larger" and "more exciting" with the hardware.

It's true man. Because of my job, I have to be on the road a lot, so I bought the UAD and Duende suites. I sold some hardware to finance it (can anyone really get ahead in NYC and have savings? haha) I thought, well, I can use these uad plugs instead of xrack comps and the duende mix bus comp instead of the g384. Didn't happen. I got the UAD fairchild compressor too. I've thought about buying the uad neve and ssl, but I'm waiting to see what I get out of the plugs that I did buy. I'm not in much, maybe $1400. But still .....
I always wait to bring the tracks back into the studio for a mixdown through my hardware to make it sound sweeter.

By the by, the fxg384 never damaged my low end. Sorry. I never pushed it harder than 2db on the mix bus, so maybe this is why. It's added an awesome mid range crunch that just sounds so amazing on anything with percussion and beats.

I sold the fxg384 not because I didn't like it, but because a) it was a a late edition fxg384 with aTHAT chip and thus I can replace it easily. b) I sold it for TWICE what I paid for it, which helped finance the uad and duende. c) I thought I could get close enough with the plugs
Old 28th April 2011
  #26
Lives for gear
 
trashman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeebangs View Post
ahh what the hel you get the point how close do you think hardware is vs sotware ? for instan is it worth spending 2 to 5 grand for one peace pf rack gear instead a whiole bundle of plugs ?
Maybe. Depends. Is $2k or $5k? What is it? And how will you use it in your set-up.

I spent 500 bucks on a patchbay that helped me out far more than another $3k eq would have. haha
Old 28th April 2011
  #27
Gear interested
 
Zaka's Avatar
 

as a proof the 2000 decade coincide a lot with the digital . and everyone will tell you that is the worst decade ever and the 2011 is announcing to be worst. digital still didnt proven himself yet. just remember your favorite song from your childhood and be sur its 100% analog.and compare with latest song. you will feel like if something is missing.its really not the same thing.is the digital the cause? maybe. will you take the risk and use that? not me.
Old 28th April 2011
  #28
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaka View Post
as a proof the 2000 decade coincide a lot with the digital . and everyone will tell you that is the worst decade ever and the 2011 is announcing to be worst. digital still didnt proven himself yet. just remember your favorite song from your childhood and be sur its 100% analog.and compare with latest song. you will feel like if something is missing.its really not the same thing.is the digital the cause? maybe. will you take the risk and use that? not me.
Have you heard Kelly price song from Tyler Perry new movie?

Done in protools sounds beAutiful....if the talent is there it will sound great. Shhhh listen....take these golden wings and learn to fly them!

Remember that song?how many rock singers today have a voice like that?...not a one zip zero.none.the talent is lacking across the board,maybe even with engineering aswell?I'm just saying if someone need that old equipment to shine, maybe you should start a new career

Ps run that new singer through all that expensive hardware and still no cookie.
Old 28th April 2011
  #29
hardware has a farther reach especially headroom wise. I use that to my advantage by using my limited outboard for the things I want to stand out and let the plugs cover the rest. this works great for highlighting the important elements. That said i always prefer the real gear style gui and feel its good for beginners to learn there way around the hardware alla reason with its wiring setup as apposed to fruityloops.
Old 28th April 2011
  #30
Gear interested
 
Zaka's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingworld View Post
Have you heard Kelly price song from Tyler Perry new movie?

Done in protools sounds beAutiful....if the talent is there it will sound great. Shhhh listen....take these golden wings and learn to fly them!

Remember that song?how many rock singers today have a voice like that?...not a one zip zero.none.the talent is lacking across the board,maybe even with engineering aswell?I'm just saying if someone need that old equipment to shine, maybe you should start a new career

Ps run that new singer through all that expensive hardware and still no cookie.
yeah but its not equitable to put a bad performer with hardware and a good one with plugin. for the song no i didnt hear it what was the song name? its sur we still get some good song lately but not as often as before.
Loading mentioned products ...
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+  Submit Thread to Reddit Reddit 
 
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
weiss2496 / So much gear, so little time!
63
bannerj / Music Computers
34
Amadeuz / So much gear, so little time!
18
craigmorris74 / So much gear, so little time!
2
bassmac / So much gear, so little time!
1

Forum Jump