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Best Plugin(s) to avoid Digital Sounding/Harshness Saturation Plugins
Old 30th August 2018
  #31
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RBs_Rawk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
On the other hand, nonlinear processors such as saturators or dynamics processors need a lot more attention and clever placement in the mix. They shouldn't be chained wildly, their abuse is the central source of digital harshness (given proper source material). i.e. don't chain saturators or limiters deliberately, favor parallel processing, keep the bandwidth of signals running into nonlinear processors as narrow as possible, or more generally, be nice to the audio.

So no chaining together of Nova, Kotelnikov and Limiter 6?
Old 30th August 2018
  #32
At full extent, this would mean at least 3 compressors in series, maybe also a limiter and clipper. Yes, that's way too much IMO.

More so with processors that don't take the sampling theorem all too seriously (aliasing, quantization, introduction of discontinuities).

Even the finest processors don't improve the signal. At best, they preserve it.
Old 30th August 2018
  #33
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zvukofor's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
....

Even the finest processors don't improve the signal. At best, they preserve it.
So, finally workflow is almost (almost) the same as with analog? ))) — don't do anything if it is not necessary, be careful with nonlinear.
Old 31st August 2018
  #34
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Yea, but if the limiter is of the fairly transparent variety and you're not continually slamming it, is it really that much of an issue? I mean ... I might only hit a limiter with no more than 3 dbs worth of reduction every 10 seconds of the song. And it's for no more than maybe 20 milliseconds at a time.
Old 8th September 2018
  #35
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Taurean's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
At full extent, this would mean at least 3 compressors in series, maybe also a limiter and clipper. Yes, that's way too much IMO.

More so with processors that don't take the sampling theorem all too seriously (aliasing, quantization, introduction of discontinuities).

Even the finest processors don't improve the signal. At best, they preserve it.
This is interesting. I bolded the part I'm referring to. What you notice for years now in the "audio education" realm of things, is the expert teaching the use of more than 1 non-linear processor so that no single one is doing, as they say, heavy lifting. Curious about your opinion. Is this sound advice? Or is it contextual in that IF you are going to use a lot of non-linear processing, at least do it serially with each one doing just a little?
Old 8th September 2018
  #36
Gear Guru
How about Hornet 31?
Old 8th September 2018
  #37
Taurean, imo this chaining is reasonable, given that every processor really does its own specific thing. Then, it can make a lot of sense to first compress slowly, peak limit the faster stuff and clip the fastest content (all with slowly increasing thesholds).

But 2 same nonlinearities in series act much worse (distortion wise) than a single one. Not only is distortion much higher with a series, and also provokes a dramatically larger bandwidth expansion and thus aliasing; the whole construct also far more difficult to control.

I welcome anybody to test the limits and compare 6 clippers with 1dB GR each, vs one single with 6dB GR. Or 6 limiter or compressors vs 1 single with 6 time longer timing values and 6 times stronger ratio. Experiments like that.

At extremes, it's easy to hear an annoying "busy-ness and stress" somehow lifting the noise floor, making anything sound harder, rougher and harsher. Sort of a "second hand" smell. All this also greatly depends on the input material, very harmonic material will suffer quickly, while very basic and thin material (= casio ), and techno and dubstep might even benefit from that overprocessing effect at times. This stuff not only adds up, it multiplies itself through the chain.
Old 8th September 2018
  #38
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My stuff got way better when I stopped thinking in terms of what plugins to use, and simply cut way back on how many I use altogether. If your stuff is too bright, use a low pass filter or notch out annoying frequencies in your sounds. EQ is the best plugin. Harmonic saturation plugins tend to make things sound more forward rather than less- they're not a good solution for cutting brightness IMO.
Old 8th September 2018
  #39
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Taurean's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
Taurean, imo this chaining is reasonable, given that every processor really does its own specific thing. Then, it can make a lot of sense to first compress slowly, peak limit the faster stuff and clip the fastest content (all with slowly increasing thesholds).

But 2 same nonlinearities in series act much worse (distortion wise) than a single one. Not only is distortion much higher with a series, and also provokes a dramatically larger bandwidth expansion and thus aliasing; the whole construct also far more difficult to control.

I welcome anybody to test the limits and compare 6 clippers with 1dB GR each, vs one single with 6dB GR. Or 6 limiter or compressors vs 1 single with 6 time longer timing values and 6 times stronger ratio. Experiments like that.

At extremes, it's easy to hear an annoying "busy-ness and stress" somehow lifting the noise floor, making anything sound harder, rougher and harsher. Sort of a "second hand" smell. All this also greatly depends on the input material, very harmonic material will suffer quickly, while very basic and thin material (= casio ), and techno and dubstep might even benefit from that overprocessing effect at times. This stuff not only adds up, it multiplies itself through the chain.
Definitely agree with that, those experiments are ear openers!
Old 8th October 2018
  #40
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From you reference track it seems like what you are looking for is plugs that can give you the sound of analog drive and dirt. Only solutions ITB I've found to give you that sort of sound are SPICE based circuit models. A bit heavy on the CPU, but sonicly well worth the trouble of having to render now and then.
If you like SDRR I'd highly recommend The Drop and The Scream by Cytomic. Like SDRR they can give you some a bit of grit and girth without the hissy harsh mess many plug in "saturators" cause. Also the free Black Rooster VHL-3C Vintage High/Low Pass Filter has been giving me great results for band limiting signals before non-linear processes.

Also got to look at your sound generation sources for potential culprits. Many soft synths still aren't oversampling internally, causing all sorts of Nyquist related filter and modulation solving issues.

A classification of digital equalizers (draft) | vladg/sound

But a lot of free or cheap alternatives abound. U-he Tyrell is excellent. If you're after more modern wavetable based sounds Serum is the way to go and there's a very generous rent-to-own program available through Splice. Splice also does rent-to-own with D16 group, who have a lot of quality plugs that I think would also be to your taste.
Old 9th October 2018
  #41
Gear Guru
For Hi/Lo pass I really like Sweetone. Has a lot of options and lives up to its name
Old 8th December 2018
  #42
Check out airwindows plugins. It's a one click, one download, one install batch file over a hundred and seventy free plug-ins. Many of them have the goal in mind of imitating the types of sounds that can be generated from analog Hardware. However, it is essential to note, that they are doing it in a way that is not actually emulating the processes that the analog Hardware does. They are doing something much better.
Emulations of analog Hardware have tons of math and processing that happens in order to recreate the complex behavior if analog stuff... to digitally recreate what we would get from analog... What the problem is, the more processing and math that is involved, the more BITs are lost during processing... Which ends up meaning that you lose quality of sound. Many of the plugins that Chris J from airwindows designs have one or two extremely simple but clever algorithms which do things that are not emulating but are instead doing something completely different in order to achieve the goal of a similar sound, in the most pure way. In my opinion, many of his plugins completely blow away industry leading plugins that cost over a hundred bucks. Back in the day, when there was shootouts, some of them were laughable when the results came out. Unfortunately, not a lot of people know about him, and most people assume free equals crap. I used to assume the same. Chris J changed my mind. Furthermore, many of the airwindows plugins are also open source and so other developers can use the code that he came up with. This results in the rate of the rate of improvement of our vsts increasing, whereas companies which hide their algorithms and processing, or get copyright patent on their ideas, algorithms and processing, are instead of putting a big read signal of stop... No more improving our technology! Then they end up putting out half-assed plugins with a lack of updating, and crappy customer support. Another essential note is that most of airwindows plugins use 0% CPU.
Old 8th December 2018
  #43
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by H-Rezz View Post
The problem lies in the modern sound libraries that have excessive top end and are mostly mastered and normalised for maximum impact a psychological effect of getting you to buy them in the first place, I notice this also with sound libraries that come bundled in with software samples/instruments, so it is not just bought sound libraries. When you know what is creating the problem it is easy to fix and in my opinion adding extra harmonic distortion with saturation plug-ins doesn't really resolve the issue but starts to smear your mix and makes it sound less defined. Learn to use your eq to sculpt the sound into submission, more than just lo cut, do hi cut on instruments that have excessive top end, cut the top end until it sounds good in context of all the other sounds surrounding your target. Lo cut also gets overused, so listen carefully to the interaction of your instruments that have frequencies below 150hz, you will find some synths have a nice warming effect as frequencies below 150hz tailor off and join the sub regions, you want to keep a degree of that and not filter it out as that is creating warmth in your bottom end. So don't go into preset mixing mode but listen carefully to how elements interact with each other before making any judgements.

Of course saturation plug-ins can be used to glue busses together but even there listen to things in context and don't over-do a specific element/buss it is the accumulative effect you want here, little increments adding up to the whole..
This.
You start your production and add some samples and you realize they are so bright and punchy so you try to adjust your production to that and it gets messy. Best way is try to tame the over processed sounds back to normal levels and frequency spectrum with a little low pass and reduction around hi mids depending on the sound.
Almost all new sample libraries come mastered to death which is very stupid. Not just samples but most of the vsti sounds are like this. that is why some old akai libraries and most hardware synths sound much better in context.
Old 8th December 2018
  #44
Gear Maniac
Use an EQ like Logics EQ.
By setting one of the 4 sweepable bands Q to its finest value (100) and then the gain to +24dB, and with the analyser on, sweep across the spectrum till you create a big spike.
Then cut that frequency to taste.

If you feel a sound has nasty harsh qualities,
repeating the process above till you are happy will work almost all the time.

Learning to cut unwanted frequencies is one of the most important parts of mixing.
Old 8th December 2018
  #45
Gear Maniac
Slate Digital's VTM is amazing on the main stereo bus for widening and giving a lovely warm character.
It goes on every mix I do.
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