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Which plugin does the best job of creating that magic 3D depth that hardware imparts?
Old 27th November 2018
  #1
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Barncore's Avatar
Which plugin does the best job of creating that magic 3D depth that hardware imparts?

I know this question is going to annoy analog purists but maybe there are some hybrid guys that have the knowledge to answer this well.

As the title says, I'm looking for some plugin that can attempt to create the magical 3D depth effect that some hardware can do.

Disclaimer: I know i know... no plugin will ever fully replace the magic of hardware. But we can at least try. And i know there is no magic pill that makes you a good mastering engineer. But lets assume we're all adequate enough in the engineering department already.

Sometimes i use Mathew Lane's DrMS plugin to create some subtle crosstalk between the M and S information, but i'm wondering if there are better ideas.
Old 27th November 2018
  #2
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Verified Member
Imho the Acustica Audio stuff is the nearest, especially when just using its "boxtone".
But its just a snapshot of course, of one single device in a random setup sampled by a random ADC. So, it has not much to do with a real analog setup and all its complex interactions. So, its still about taste (as everything) and without the direct comparison to "the real thing" it might work very well.
Old 27th November 2018
  #3
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Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barncore View Post
I know this question is going to annoy analog purists but maybe there are some hybrid guys that have the knowledge to answer this well.

As the title says, I'm looking for some plugin that can attempt to create the magical 3D depth effect that some hardware can do.

Disclaimer: I know i know... no plugin will ever fully replace the magic of hardware. But we can at least try. And i know there is no magic pill that makes you a good mastering engineer. But lets assume we're all adequate enough in the engineering department already.

Sometimes i use Mathew Lane's DrMS plugin to create some subtle crosstalk between the M and S information, but i'm wondering if there are better ideas.
...and no hardware will ever replace software!

went from fully analog to itb - and back to hardware: digital though...

some emulations are so close to hardware that one can only hear a difference when comparing side by side, some software is identical, some is an improvement over the original design while other is just a joke and only looks like the original.

use whatever sounds good to your ears and suits your working style - and forget about '3d' unless you're doing high-order ambisonic: applying dynamics to mixed tracks with reverb/room/efx almost alway has an effect on how we perceive sound; no magic in here...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 29th November 2018 at 10:04 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 27th November 2018
  #4
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i suspect it already, it will be a thread again, in which it will be argued endlessly whether analog still has an advantage today and which leaves nothing but a bad vibe.
Old 27th November 2018
  #5
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Verified Member
Please no! We have that cable thread here for those who love to join useless discussions...
Old 27th November 2018
  #6
Deleted 691ca21
Guest
I haven't found one in a decade, and I've been hoping to for that long.
Old 27th November 2018
  #7
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Barncore's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
i suspect it already, it will be a thread again, in which it will be argued endlessly whether analog still has an advantage today and which leaves nothing but a bad vibe.
I'm not trying to start an argument. Let's just agree that they both have their uses depending on your needs and focus on the original question.
Old 27th November 2018
  #8
Gear Nut
 

I second the Acustica Audio recommendation.
Old 27th November 2018
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
...
I was one of the early members to use Acustica Audio tech (Nebula), loved it for mixing despite high-cpu but for mastering the artifacts were too unexpectedly happening I never risked to use.

Haven't been using them for a long time now, is it (or can it be) still like that for mastering? cause not many members were aware of that at the time and recently read about how they fixed the "lazer" problem on the tape machine release didn't help me join the bandwagon again.
Old 27th November 2018
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barncore View Post
...
You might want to check VOS releases (all old freeware Variety Of Sound ).
Old 27th November 2018
  #11
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Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooker View Post
I was one of the early members to use Acustica Audio tech (Nebula), loved it for mixing despite high-cpu but for mastering the artifacts were too unexpectedly happening I never risked to use.

Haven't been using them for a long time now, is it (or can it be) still like that for mastering? cause not many members were aware of that at the time and recently read about how they fixed the "lazer" problem on the tape machine release didn't help me join the bandwagon again.
Honestly, I dont know. It never was super easy in the past thought. Years ago I played around with NAT mostly, using my (and some very few other) impulses in mastering. I occasionally ty some of thenewer Aquas, but none of them is currently in use over here. I enjoy my hardware chain definitly more. So I stopped using their stuff some time ago. Still its the best when it comes to digital boxtone in my experiences.
Nebula is very deep and needs quite some experiences, Aqua is easy, but not on par soundwise maybe.

Last edited by JP__; 27th November 2018 at 07:10 PM..
Old 27th November 2018
  #12
Gear Guru
No golden ears here, but the Eventide 2016 reverb really has a great sound to it...... I was really surprised......... Rather than the rehashed digital/analogue arguments, maybe some emulations that you've been impressed with?
Old 27th November 2018
  #13
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Verified Member
this plugin name is.....
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........ a Mixing Engineer
Old 27th November 2018
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

no plug in OR hardware can create "magical 3d depth".... people, engineers, do that. in mastering it is always a subtle combination of different processes that equal the final sound.
Old 28th November 2018
  #15
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Barncore's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooker View Post
You might want to check VOS releases (all old freeware Variety Of Sound ).
PC only. Damn.
Old 28th November 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogoftears View Post
no plug in OR hardware can create "magical 3d depth".... people, engineers, do that. in mastering it is always a subtle combination of different processes that equal the final sound.
Truth!

I find "dimension" is enhanced by careful tweaking of a combination of several HW pieces patched in specific configurations. Mid/Side EQ, unlinked dynamics processors, analog tape, crosstalk, harmonics - all contribute to it.

If I tried I might be able to achieve similar results using plug-ins, but I highly doubt there is any single plug-in that would do it, just like no single HW piece does it all by itself.

There's no magic bullet that I'm aware of.

But if you find one, let me know!
Old 28th November 2018
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
Truth!

I find "dimension" is enhanced by careful tweaking of a combination of several HW pieces patched in specific configurations. Mid/Side EQ, unlinked dynamics processors, analog tape, crosstalk, harmonics - all contribute to it.

If I tried I might be able to achieve similar results using plug-ins, but I highly doubt there is any single plug-in that would do it, just like no single HW piece does it all by itself.

There's no magic bullet that I'm aware of.
the magic is the years of trial and error that go into crafting a chain that interacts on that high of a level. i've been through some expensive pieces that sound great on their own and are fantastic for mixing but for the life of me i couldn't get them to gel right in my chain. being able to recognize that-- that perhaps a $5000 tube compressor is bringing your chain down a notch-- that kind of careful, unbiased analysis takes a while to develop.
Old 28th November 2018
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogoftears View Post
the magic is the years of trial and error that go into crafting a chain that interacts on that high of a level. i've been through some expensive pieces that sound great on their own and are fantastic for mixing but for the life of me i couldn't get them to gel right in my chain. being able to recognize that-- that perhaps a $5000 tube compressor is bringing your chain down a notch-- that kind of careful, unbiased analysis takes a while to develop.
That is my experience EXACTLY.

When I found my current mastering chain it felt like I'd stumbled into it through dumb luck. But I can take credit for doing the years of experimenting and for recognizing the sound once I hit it. And it did involve a $2K tube EQ replacing a $5K tube EQ... not because it's a better EQ but because it works better in that chain.

If I were to try it with plug-ins then I'd be almost back to square one.
Old 29th November 2018
  #19
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A more useful discussion may be when the mix is 3d what plugins do not kill the image.

TC brickwall was always good in that way.
DMG Equilibrium on highest settings.
Old 29th November 2018
  #20
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Verified Member
[QUOTE=Trakworx;13658741]And it did involve a $2K tube EQ replacing a $5K tube EQ... not because it's a better EQ but because it works better in that chain./QUOTE]

I did the same thing, replacing a famous $5k tube EQ for a $2k tube EQ. Eliminated artifacts native to the $5k unit that I found annoying and improved the overall the chain. The manufacturer's logo doesn't make any sound last I checked.

A tweaked analog chain is a game of inches and it doesn't matter how you get it to where you want it, just get it there.
There are hardware boxes and assembled signal paths of devices that can generate depth and sometimes vertical imaging -if- the program material is conducive to it but it's a finesse to make happen and not damage anything in the process.
There are some really great plugs these days, I could just about do everything in the box, and sometimes do, but certain types of processing still reside outside the computer for very good sonic reasons. Imaging can be one of them.
Old 29th November 2018
  #21
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LOL.
Old 29th November 2018
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polybonk View Post
A more useful discussion may be when the mix is 3d what plugins do not kill the image.

TC brickwall was always good in that way.
DMG Equilibrium on highest settings.
Good point!
Often its not about a tool that adds something, but about a tool that you do not use.

But to me the most important question is what speakers are really able to show that in a honest way...? I did not listen to many over the years...

And even much more important: what's that mystical "3Dness" really? When I read comments about reverbs and M/S processing here Im highly sceptical we all talk the same phenomena...

Last edited by JP__; 29th November 2018 at 10:24 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 1st December 2018
  #23
Lives for gear
 

My mixes and masters are better now than
ever...and I’m still using mostly the same
plugins I bought eight years ago. I’ve even
started using plugs again that I had dismissed
as”crap sounding” and they sound good.
Why? Because in the intervening years,
I’ve gotten better at LISTENING. The plugins
havent changed.

You have more than enough plugins already.
Stop buying them if you think the next plugin
will magically transform your mixes and masters
into 3D masterpieces. ONLY YOU CAN DO
THAT. Its not the car, its the driver. Its not
the plane, its the pilot.

Here is an interesting story. Alan Parsons (yes,
“the” Alan Parsons) once told me that one of
his favorite microphones was an Audio Technica
ATM 4033. “I use them on everything..just
because its cheap doesnt mean it sounds bad”.
What he didn’t say, of course, is that he
knows how to position mics and record them,
being that he is Alan Parsons, the guy who
engineered Dark Side of the Moon.

So stop looking for the next “magic” plugin.
YOU are the magic. Figure it out, man.
Old 1st December 2018
  #24
The OP has asked a pretty clear and simple question, I can hardly say the same thing about many of the answers..

I haven’t found a plugin which can replace the 3D and deep tone I’m getting from some of my favorite hardware units, I’ve heard Acustica plugins are good for that but never used it
Old 1st December 2018
  #25
Gear Head
 

Define "magical 3D depth"
Old 1st December 2018
  #26
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I'll confirm the 3-D'ness of the Acustica Audio, ACQUA/N4 plugins. Much like the Hardware.

And why I try to avoid an 'algo' plugin Last in the chain.
Old 1st December 2018
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
01010110's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by polybonk View Post
A more useful discussion may be when the mix is 3d what plugins do not kill the image.
Absolutely! That was my first thought when readning the first post. So many popular plugins is more or less a 2D effect. (This has nothing to do with width).
Old 1st December 2018
  #28
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Zynaptiq Intensity
Old 1st December 2018
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01010110 View Post
Absolutely! That was my first thought when readning the first post. So many popular plugins is more or less a 2D effect. (This has nothing to do with width).
I'd add ... more talking about DEPTH ... which can also include a 'type' of Width, Height, and Foundation.

With the Acustica plugins, there can be something about the 'mid-range' area that might be called spherical-ess ... [very difficult to put to words].
Old 1st December 2018
  #30
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even though there's a lot of talk about the 3D effect being a mix thing and plugins being able to do that - there's a kind of "3D sound" that you can only get IMHO by a clever combination of (mostly) tubes and transformer based hardware.
that doesn't have to be the right thing for every mix, but if it fits, the difference is significant and only those who have never had the pleasure to work with really first class outboards won't be able to understand it.
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