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UAD Ampex ATR-102
Old 12th September 2011
  #31
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grooveminister's Avatar
Thanks for the nice compliments!

Please keep in mind that this is just zapping through presets, most of which where created for mixing and not for mastering and have not been finetuned to suit this actual mix.
Only the very first setting "Default +3dB" was edited to fit the music - the other settings are just to show off, in what directions the emulation could change your music.

As for the "pumping" - I don´t really hear that, maybe I´m deaf ;-)
Can you give me a hint on what´s pumping?
The Bass? Might also be a heavy compressor setting before the ATR that get´s more pronounced with these "brightening" settings but not if you set it up suited to the mix.
Old 12th September 2011
  #32
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UnderTow's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I have to agree with others: Great drumming, very nicely put together video, not too impressed by the tape effect.

It could be partly due to the YouTube encoding but I always preferred the sound without the tape effect.

Alistair
Old 12th September 2011
  #33
SEB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grooveminister View Post
Thanks for the nice compliments!



As for the "pumping" - I don´t really hear that, maybe I´m deaf ;-)
Can you give me a hint on what´s pumping?
The Bass? Might also be a heavy compressor setting before the ATR that get´s more pronounced with these "brightening" settings but not if you set it up suited to the mix.
Not a all "buttons in" pumping more like "suck out the transients pumping but in a little weird too slow manner" pumping
Don`t think it`s the YT-encoding cause it sounds very nice in bypass. You`ve made a great demo, only wish UA could make one themselves a/b-ing with the machine they modeled.
But again maybe not, thinking of the 240 a/b-ing they did. Did someone say metallic ringing?...
Old 13th September 2011
  #34
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Dbas's Avatar
It's good to hear the effect of the plugin but you could have just used a loop for a better comparison. And yes the pumping sounds **** but perfect for French house or the like I suppose.
Old 13th September 2011
  #35
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Chris Bauer's Avatar
Great playing, excellent drum sound, cool video comparison of different snares (at least one of which I own myself). Whether the Ampex makes the sound any better is a matter of taste. It certainly creates an interesting variety of flavours. Many thanks for that.
Old 14th September 2011
  #36
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MattGray's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
The repro on a properly setup ATR-102 is extremely close to the input.


DC
Of course there are some caveats... the formula of tape, tape speed and how hard it's being driven. When running tones they can be extremely flat, yes. Running program through it interacts differently with the tape. There is always a head bump in the LF and depending on how the machine is biased a gradual rise in HF response. The harmonic distortion & tape compression "effect" which people find desirable & usually associate with the "sound" of analog tape can be achieved by pushing level harder to tape.

The ARIA electronics don't add anything colourful to the ATR, they are very clean/transparent but I can still get the sound of "tape" as described above through hitting ATR Magnetics half inch tape at the right level. Go too far & this tape has an obvious "compressed" sound on the low end which can even sound a little pumpy, hit it just right & there is plenty of desirable qualities.

I haven't tried the UAD ATR-102 but I'm guessing people are looking to use it as a tape "effect" so I'm sure it should sound like this if it's been used for that effect.
Old 14th September 2011
  #37
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My 2c... I'm very impressed with the UAD ATR-102 plug so far. I have a really nice ATR-102 (with glass JRF heads) and mostly use it for layback. I figure with this plug, I'll have to use the machine a lot less.
Old 14th September 2011
  #38
Gear Nut
 

Great drum sounding andreas,

what's your mike setup/chain to get that drum
sounding like that(love how it sounds) great playing man
Old 14th September 2011
  #39
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Trakworx's Avatar
Today I finally demoed the plug-in. I gotta say that I can't get it to sound like it does in that drum video. In the video there is a pumping effect that doesn't sound like tape, and it's not doing that for me, which is good! The plug sounds much better here in my studio than it does in that demo. I suspect that the audio in that video underwent some kind of compression after the ATR plug was applied and the head bump in the bottom end made it pump...

'Did a quick, unscientific listening comparison against my hardware ATR 102 and it's pretty similar, but with a more exaggerated effect. The bottom and top sound more hyped with the plug than with the machine. The imaging is nicely enhanced, with a 3D effect. Impressive. I didn't think they'd nail that part, but they did. The main difference I hear so far is that the "texture" of the tape can't be heard as much with the plug-in, if you know what I mean. Still, a very nice emulation. And the delay effects are cool! I'll probably end up buying it for those if nothing else.

Cheers!

J~
Old 14th September 2011
  #40
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dcollins's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattGray View Post
Of course there are some caveats... the formula of tape, tape speed and how hard it's being driven. When running tones they can be extremely flat, yes. Running program through it interacts differently with the tape. There is always a head bump in the LF and depending on how the machine is biased a gradual rise in HF response. The harmonic distortion & tape compression "effect" which people find desirable & usually associate with the "sound" of analog tape can be achieved by pushing level harder to tape.
The designers of the ATR had one goal in mind: signal in = signal out. That was "it." No warmth, sheen, sparkle, vibe, or glue. And they did the best job possible with the technology of the day. It's a machine that still works and produces excellent results. A testimony to the engineering.


DC
Old 14th September 2011
  #41
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MattGray's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
The designers of the ATR had one goal in mind: signal in = signal out. That was "it." No warmth, sheen, sparkle, vibe, or glue. And they did the best job possible with the technology of the day. It's a machine that still works and produces excellent results. A testimony to the engineering.


DC
That maybe true but it doesn't matter how transparent the record/playback electronics, transport or heads are when the tape your recording to isn't a perfect medium. It can & does introduce all those aforementioned characteristics to varying degrees depending on how the signal is pushed to tape. Every tape brand and series can sound quite different too. I should know I've tried a lot of them & used to use a Studer & ATR-102 on a regular basis for "layback" mastering to get the sound of "tape". There is no doubt the LF is bigger (head bump), more even dynamically and the transients softer, more front to back depth etc. The ATR doesn't degrade the signal as much as I've heard on other machines but the "tape" effect is still quite obvious to me (and attending clients too!) & my machine is meticulously biased & aligned & measures ruler flat with the MRL tape.
Old 14th September 2011
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattGray View Post
That maybe true but it doesn't matter how transparent the record/playback electronics, transport or heads are when the tape your recording to isn't a perfect medium. It can & does introduce all those aforementioned characteristics to varying degrees depending on how the signal is pushed to tape. Every tape brand and series can sound quite different too. I should know I've tried a lot of them & used to use a Studer & ATR-102 on a regular basis for "layback" mastering to get the sound of "tape". There is no doubt the LF is bigger (head bump), more even dynamically and the transients softer, more front to back depth etc. The ATR doesn't degrade the signal as much as I've heard on other machines but the "tape" effect is still quite obvious to me (and attending clients too!) & my machine is meticulously biased & aligned & measures ruler flat with the MRL tape.
I'm not familiar with the characteristics of the different tape types (only ever used 456 on my old 80-8). What's you preference for various situations?

It sounds like you always calibrated to spec, so following that philosphy with the plug-in, all that one would need to do is hit Autocal. Then is it just a matter of how hard to hit it ?
Old 14th September 2011
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff_free69 View Post
I'm not familiar with the characteristics of the different tape types (only ever used 456 on my old 80-8). What's you preference for various situations?

It sounds like you always calibrated to spec, so following that philosphy with the plug-in, all that one would need to do is hit Autocal. Then is it just a matter of how hard to hit it ?
I've been liking 1/2" 15pis and 30ips ATR tape and noise, wow and flutter and crosstalk off, transformer on. It just provides a 'je ne sais quoi' for those projects that need it. I don't get caught up on using actual tape or not. Sure, my clients like to see the actual machine running but if it sounds good, it sounds good.
Old 14th September 2011
  #44
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clivek's Avatar
As soon as that music started playing I could't have gave 2 hoots about the plugin.

Much more insterested in listening to the funky track, great sounding drums and watching your druming skills - superb !!!! heh

Cheers
Old 14th September 2011
  #45
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Tube World's Avatar
I like the tape emulation of the Ampex, but I don't hear much of a difference that the Studer emulation plug in by UAD could do as well. It gets to a point we have too many tools to work with. But hey, I like the subtle smoothness it added on some of the settings.
Old 14th September 2011
  #46
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Trakworx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
The designers of the ATR had one goal in mind: signal in = signal out. That was "it." No warmth, sheen, sparkle, vibe, or glue. And they did the best job possible with the technology of the day. It's a machine that still works and produces excellent results. A testimony to the engineering.


DC
Thankfully, a goal doesn't always equal an outcome.

J~
Old 14th September 2011
  #47
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grooveminister's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiKi View Post
Great drum sounding andreas,

what's your mike setup/chain to get that drum
sounding like that(love how it sounds) great playing man
Thank you!

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Old 14th September 2011
  #48
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I'm not impressed at all. I liked it more without the plugin running.

EDIT: I just realized how useless it is to write only that I don't like it so I'll try to add here what I don't like about it. The most noticeable thing that irritated me was how the music suddenly seemed "nervous" with the plugin on. Kind of like a compressor which has the wrong time constants selected. I also did not really care for the way the bass bump happens. Not sure how the real ampex + whatever tape they modeled works but that bump made the mix sound way too heavy and constrained. I liked the original tracks light and smooth feel so in this case I think the Ampex did more harm than good.

Anyhow, good video. Thanks for the demo!
Old 14th September 2011
  #49
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Verified Member
The only pumping I hear is during the momentary pinning of the meters when the plug-in is brought in each time. Which you wouldn't really use that way in day to day use.

I use tape and the UAD tape demos have been pretty useless for me so far. I'd like to hear an ATR uad demo with ZERO digital instruments. No samples, no sampled drums, no synths, and not a huge wall of stuff.

Just a mic and a singer, or a couple of singers with a guitar. And then a/b the plug with a good 30 seconds or so of the plug in and then out (instead of 6 seconds or whatever it is on the op youtube video. At least so I can hear if the thing actually sounds like tape. Same with the Studer plug.

Short of that, I suppose I'm gonna have to buy the uad myself to a/b with the machines here.
Old 14th September 2011
  #50
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grooveminister's Avatar
I´m not a big fan of samples - so I can understand your statement very well.
At least I can say there is no single sample-based source in the vid.
OK, the guitar part has been played live and looped, but bass and drums are live - the keyboard sounds are all virtual instruments from logic´s ES2 and EVOC.

Currently I´m mixing two latin jazz projects which are pure acoustic but of course I can´t post anything here.
When matched to the mixes the ATR-102 improves the sound a lot, but I have no comparison to a real Ampex deck.
Old 15th September 2011
  #51
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Trakworx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmanic View Post
I'm not impressed at all. I liked it more without the plugin running.

EDIT: I just realized how useless it is to write only that I don't like it so I'll try to add here what I don't like about it. The most noticeable thing that irritated me was how the music suddenly seemed "nervous" with the plugin on. Kind of like a compressor which has the wrong time constants selected. I also did not really care for the way the bass bump happens. Not sure how the real ampex + whatever tape they modeled works but that bump made the mix sound way too heavy and constrained. I liked the original tracks light and smooth feel so in this case I think the Ampex did more harm than good.

Anyhow, good video. Thanks for the demo!
I agree with you about the sound of the plug-in in the video. I think you're hearing the pumping from the finalizer that is now mentioned in an edit to the OP. Thanks for clearing that up grooveminister! The plug-in by itself doesn't pump like it does in the video. The head bump is there in the bottom end, but the constrained feeling is not. And there are a variety of settings with less or more bottom end, top end, etc. The more I delve into this plug-in the more impressed I become. 'Takes a little time to get to know it, but it's worth the trouble. When I match levels and compare to my hardware ATR 102 I am surprised at how close they can be. There are differences, but the differences are more subtle than the similarities. UAD has outdone themselves with this!

J~
Old 15th September 2011
  #52
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Trakworx's Avatar
I had a mastering session yesterday with music containing lots of intense hard-panned acoustic guitar strumming and loud drums. It was a great opportunity to compare the plug-in to the HW ATR. I ended up using the HW, but the Plug was almost as nice. The HW had more smoothness in the highs and upper mids, the plug-in was a little more brittle and slightly harsher. The depth of field was slightly better with the HW. Basically, the plug still sounds more "digital" than the real tape, but for a plug-in I think it's pretty great. I'd say it's about 90% there. If I didn't have the HW I wouldn't hesitate to use this plug-in. If I had this plug-in 10 years ago I might not have dropped the cash on the HW. Wait, who am I kidding - I still would have!

J~
Old 15th September 2011
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
I agree with you about the sound of the plug-in in the video. I think you're hearing the pumping from the finalizer that is now mentioned in an edit to the OP. Thanks for clearing that up grooveminister! The plug-in by itself doesn't pump like it does in the video. The head bump is there in the bottom end, but the constrained feeling is not. And there are a variety of settings with less or more bottom end, top end, etc. The more I delve into this plug-in the more impressed I become. 'Takes a little time to get to know it, but it's worth the trouble. When I match levels and compare to my hardware ATR 102 I am surprised at how close they can be. There are differences, but the differences are more subtle than the similarities. UAD has outdone themselves with this!

J~
That's got to be it! Thanks for the heads up!

Cheers!
bManic
Old 15th September 2011
  #54
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Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
I ended up using the HW, but the Plug was almost as nice. The HW had more smoothness in the highs and upper mids, the plug-in was a little more brittle and slightly harsher. The depth of field was slightly better with the HW. Basically, the plug still sounds more "digital" than the real tape, but for a plug-in I think it's pretty great. I'd say it's about 90% there.
That's cool to know. I'll wait until the technology has moved another 10% before worrying about scrapping the machines and moving to the plugs.
Old 20th September 2011
  #55
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tomasrangel's Avatar
 

Has someone compared UAD ATR 102 with Anamod ATR 102 card?
I only have the Anamod Studer emulation card. Comparing the Anamod Studer emulation with the UAD Ampex emulation the UAD sounded better for me.
I am in doubt now if i get the Anamod ATR card or the UAD ATR emulation.
Thanks any help.
Old 22nd September 2011
  #56
Gear Head
 

I'm still demo-ing the ATR plugin (3 days left), but tried it yesterday for the first time on a new mix I started from scratch. Using the default settings, except for turning off the noise and crosstalk (456, +6, 1/2") I was again surprised, as I had been in previous, more informal trials of it, that it sounded quite hyped in both top and bottom. The LF could certainly be explained by head-bump emulation, but not the top. So I did what I'd do with any tape machine: I calibrated it with tones. (I should add that I'm a long time analog guy, and used ATR 102s many times back in the day - it was my absolute favorite mixing deck.)

In PT I set up a 'signal generator' plugin to feed the stereo aux that had the ATR plug on it, and was not too surprised to see that it was up about a db at 10K. So first I checked bias (cool that they give you complete alignment controls!) and it was, also unsurprisingly, set too low (if we assume the usual 3 db over @ 10K @15 ips thing). So I fixed that, then checked 1K for level, then 10K again, and it was still a bit up. So I adjusted the HF EQ cal pots to fix it and - voila. No more HF peakiness (or at least only a little). LF-wise, it was flat at 100 Hz, which is where I'd generally cal it, so I left that alone. It was up a bit at 50, which wasn't too surprising. Perhaps a bit of finessing of the frequency choice there will yield even better results. We'll see...

But what I'm, wondering is - well...what were they thinking with the default "calibration"? Was it an oversight? Intentional HF hype for the 'sonic-maximizer' (remember those?) effect? Seems very odd given UAD's presumably savvy development team...

I have yet to try calibrating the other tape formulations/speeds/tape widths, so maybe some are done right...

Otherwise, I do like what it does to the tone: some widening, deepening etc., and the head bump effect is ok as long as you start a mix with the plug active. Adding it later will alter what you've already done with the LF, so that would be a problem...

I do agree though with the others who have commented that the HW ATR's mission in life was transparency (input=output), and that's what made it the legend that it is - not some groovy coloration that it added (see Studer A80 for that, but usually...not so groovy). So while it seems slightly amusing that the plugin decidedly does alter the tone quite noticeably, even after recalibration, it does nonetheless do so in a pretty cool way. A way that I'd call more like an analog console mixbus emulation than a real ATR 102 (at least one in good shape, and properly calibrated).

So...I like the thing, and will probably buy it. But it does have me scratching my head a bit... : )
Old 22nd September 2011
  #57
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Trakworx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Spencer View Post
I'm still demo-ing the ATR plugin (3 days left), but tried it yesterday for the first time on a new mix I started from scratch. Using the default settings, except for turning off the noise and crosstalk (456, +6, 1/2") I was again surprised, as I had been in previous, more informal trials of it, that it sounded quite hyped in both top and bottom. The LF could certainly be explained by head-bump emulation, but not the top. So I did what I'd do with any tape machine: I calibrated it with tones. (I should add that I'm a long time analog guy, and used ATR 102s many times back in the day - it was my absolute favorite mixing deck.)

In PT I set up a 'signal generator' plugin to feed the stereo aux that had the ATR plug on it, and was not too surprised to see that it was up about a db at 10K. So first I checked bias (cool that they give you complete alignment controls!) and it was, also unsurprisingly, set too low (if we assume the usual 3 db over @ 10K @15 ips thing). So I fixed that, then checked 1K for level, then 10K again, and it was still a bit up. So I adjusted the HF EQ cal pots to fix it and - voila. No more HF peakiness (or at least only a little). LF-wise, it was flat at 100 Hz, which is where I'd generally cal it, so I left that alone. It was up a bit at 50, which wasn't too surprising. Perhaps a bit of finessing of the frequency choice there will yield even better results. We'll see...

But what I'm, wondering is - well...what were they thinking with the default "calibration"? Was it an oversight? Intentional HF hype for the 'sonic-maximizer' (remember those?) effect? Seems very odd given UAD's presumably savvy development team...

I have yet to try calibrating the other tape formulations/speeds/tape widths, so maybe some are done right...

Otherwise, I do like what it does to the tone: some widening, deepening etc., and the head bump effect is ok as long as you start a mix with the plug active. Adding it later will alter what you've already done with the LF, so that would be a problem...

I do agree though with the others who have commented that the HW ATR's mission in life was transparency (input=output), and that's what made it the legend that it is - not some groovy coloration that it added (see Studer A80 for that, but usually...not so groovy). So while it seems slightly amusing that the plugin decidedly does alter the tone quite noticeably, even after recalibration, it does nonetheless do so in a pretty cool way. A way that I'd call more like an analog console mixbus emulation than a real ATR 102 (at least one in good shape, and properly calibrated).

So...I like the thing, and will probably buy it. But it does have me scratching my head a bit... : )
Try the "ultralinear" presets. Starting from those and doing a little tweaking similar to what you did, I am able to get the plug to sound pretty similar to my HW ATR 102. About 90% similar.

I think UAD intentionally hypes some of (most of) the presets to give the user a "wow" moment when engaging the plug-in. Even the overall level (1k) is higher with many of the presets. Funny thing is, the plug is good enough that they really didn't need to resort to that kind of tactic. I guess enough people fall for it that it helps with sales. Plenty of other plug-ins by UAD and other companies do the same. Many of them are still great-sounding even after levels are matched.

J~
Old 22nd September 2011
  #58
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oceantracks's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
The designers of the ATR had one goal in mind: signal in = signal out. That was "it." No warmth, sheen, sparkle, vibe, or glue.


DC
Then why use it?

TH
Old 22nd September 2011
  #59
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
Try the "ultralinear" presets. Starting from those and doing a little tweaking similar to what you did, I am able to get the plug to sound pretty similar to my HW ATR 102. About 90% similar.

I think UAD intentionally hypes some of (most of) the presets to give the user a "wow" moment when engaging the plug-in. Even the overall level (1k) is higher with many of the presets. Funny thing is, the plug is good enough that they really didn't need to resort to that kind of tactic. I guess enough people fall for it that it helps with sales. Plenty of other plug-ins by UAD and other companies do the same. Many of them are still great-sounding even after levels are matched.

J~
Now that you mention it, is there something wonky about the Autocal feature ? Whenever you change tape types it seems to go to full on LF, no matter which tape you pick. Not that I have any experience, but wouldn't you expect it to be a little different for each?

I'd be interested to see how your cal settings compare to the ULTRA LINEAR presets. I think ATR / 30 IPS was fairly innocuous ( my demo just expired unfortunately, so far i haven't broken down) .
Old 23rd September 2011
  #60
Gear Addict
bypass the eq?

Hey all.... I finally demoed the plugin yesterday, and all i gotta say is "Wow"....It has a really nice sound to "my" mixes.... but the thing that really did it for me was the "crosstalk" feature.... Adjusting that gave alot of cool results... But, one thing though, is there anyway to just bypass the eq section of the plugin and just be able to use all the other elements on it?

Some of my mixes i very comfortable with the overall eq frequency's and stuff, so i would at least like the option of bypass the ATR's eq....

is this possible?
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