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Nebula R2R in same league as UAD Studer A800 plugin?
Old 22nd December 2010
  #1
Gear Nut
 
olivialand's Avatar
 

Nebula R2R in same league as UAD Studer A800 plugin?

The reason I am asking is that getting the UAD Studer A800 plug is going to cost me about $1,500 for a quad card (which can handle only 24 instances) plus $350 for the plugin - in other words, a total of $1,850.

Meanwhile, I could buy Nebula 2 for about $25, plus the third-party R2R tape emulation plugin for another $100, for a total of $125 (i.e., about eight percent of what the UAD purchase would cost). Of course, Nebula being as resource heavy as it is, I'm probably going to have to learn to bounce or freeze each track with R2R on it, but still, I'd be saving around $1,700.

So my question, for those of you who have tried both plugs, is the R2R in the same league as the UAD Studer in terms of sound quality?
Old 22nd December 2010
  #2
You can do freezing with UAD, so you dont need to buy Quad....
Old 22nd December 2010
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by olivialand View Post
The reason I am asking is that getting the UAD Studer A800 plug is going to cost me about $1,500 for a quad card (which can handle only 24 instances) plus $350 for the plugin - in other words, a total of $1,850.

Meanwhile, I could buy Nebula 2 for about $25, plus the third-party R2R tape emulation plugin for another $100, for a total of $125 (i.e., about eight percent of what the UAD purchase would cost). Of course, Nebula being as resource heavy as it is, I'm probably going to have to learn to bounce or freeze each track with R2R on it, but still, I'd be saving around $1,700.

So my question, for those of you who have tried both plugs, is the R2R in the same league as the UAD Studer in terms of sound quality?
For $1,850 I would rather have a hardware piece like the Portico True Tape. No plug in will give you the same sound like running a signal through
transformers. I like the UAD Studer, but I refuse to spend a lot of money on DSP cards that only allow you to run a limited amount of plug ins. Throw the UAD Massive Passive on several tracks and the amount of Studer plug ins you can add to a song will go down to only 10 tracks or less.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #4
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Nebula kills on the tape saturation, I had a mission of looking for tape saturation for my home studio, bought a Revox B77 and have a Fatso which costs £2k new but the Nebula is better than both at tape sat.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #5
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Audio Child's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbongo View Post
Nebula kills on the tape saturation, I had a mission of looking for tape saturation for my home studio, bought a Revox B77 and have a Fatso which costs £2k new but the Nebula is better than both at tape sat.
Well thats your personal opinion! Have you compared it to UA Studer which is what this thread is about ?
Old 22nd December 2010
  #6
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buddachile's Avatar
 

There are some comparison threads with clips here: UAD Forums • View forum - Universal Audio Plugin General Discussion

It's true that with bouncing or freezing you don't need a UAD quad. And with a UAD card you get access to other great plugins. I guess with Nebula you do get access to other great impulses.

I only did a demo of Nebula 2 a long time ago and absolutely hated the GUI, which was a major turn off. If they get their act together on the interface I may buy Nebula but until then no way.

If you're on a tight budget I suppose I'd go with Nebula and deal with the interface and CPU usage. The UAD card is quite a financial investment.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Animus's Avatar
 

Regardless, you will be driven crazy by the Nebula "workflow"--high cpu, high memory, high latency--unless you have the time and patience. I have the R2R tape programs; they are nice. I like the UAD A800 way better--the sound in general and the editing possibilities.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animus View Post
Regardless, you will be driven crazy by the Nebula "workflow"--high cpu, high memory, high latency--unless you have the time and patience. I have the R2R tape programs; they are nice. I like the UAD A800 way better--the sound in general and the editing possibilities.
Thats not true, nebula isn't as recourse heavy as it used to be But still I'm a happy UAD2 owner. R2R is by far the best tape i've heard itb.

/Jon
Old 22nd December 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
Also keep in mind there's difference between nebula 2 and 3 pro when it comes to cpu consumption.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #10
Gear Head
 

i was wondering this as well. R2R does come off better in tests online
Old 22nd December 2010
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Don't forget the Latency Factor

I'm thinking the UAD card might minimize(or even eliminate) the extra latency that comes with native plugins. Could be a huge upside...

I don't have a UAD card but was thinking of getting the solo or duo for adding some mix bus comps and saturation. I was thinking maybe I could even throw a sweet limiter with some analog flavor on my tracking.

I hate when a couple plugins kill my latency during a slightly faster song.
I would love to track vocals with some UAD going on!
Old 22nd December 2010
  #12
Gear Guru
 
Animus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by yllet View Post
Thats not true, nebula isn't as recourse heavy as it used to be But still I'm a happy UAD2 owner. R2R is by far the best tape i've heard itb.

/Jon
Well it's a trade off, you can use less cpu at the expense of latency, and vice versa. Actually the biggest problem I found if you are on a 32 bit os is memory. Some of these programs can take 70 to 100 megs per instance.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #13
If you are looking for low latency then UAD is going to disappoint in that area. Personally, I could care less since ADC takes care of that for me during playback.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #14
Nothing raises the ASIO meter in Cubase 5 on my PC as much as a single instance of Nebula running a large program.

I know that Acustica is working on some network feature where you will be able to daisy-chain computers and use the processing power. I hope they come out with that soon because I have two extra towers sitting unused.

Also if you have an NVIDIA based graphics card on your DAW that supports CUDA then you can run the CUDA version of Nebula which will offload the processing onto your graphics card.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olivialand View Post
So my question, for those of you who have tried both plugs, is the R2R in the same league as the UAD Studer in terms of sound quality?
I have both R2R and the UAD Studer. They are both great and I use them both. I've developed certain "favorites" with Nebula and I use them in a predictable way. I always print Nebula. The UAD Studer I use in a more experimental way. Toss it on, try random things. I have a Duo card and have no problem running several instances.

If I had to choose between them..... I would take the UAD. It's just so much more convenient to use, but if you have more time than money then Nebula will certainly get you the sound.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #16
Gear Nut
 
olivialand's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sparqee View Post
I have both R2R and the UAD Studer. They are both great and I use them both. I've developed certain "favorites" with Nebula and I use them in a predictable way. I always print Nebula. The UAD Studer I use in a more experimental way. Toss it on, try random things. I have a Duo card and have no problem running several instances.

If I had to choose between them..... I would take the UAD. It's just so much more convenient to use, but if you have more time than money then Nebula will certainly get you the sound.
Thanks for the info. Since I probably do have more time than money, it's looking like it's probably going to be Nebula for me.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #17
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I have both, too. They behave surprisingly very different and can't be comparable. They only share the title, "tape emulation".

UAD sounds much more like real analog tape, but it doesn't mean Nebula is useless.

I think you may want to add VCC to your list if you don't want to spend $2000 for UAD. VCC is not a tape emulation, but R2R does not really sound like a tape anyway. And VCC sounds more analog than Nebula's console emu or R2R.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #18
Gear Maniac
Have Nebula. Demo'd UAD Studer. UAD sounded better. There's also the Magnetic Tape Plug from Nomad. Gets good reviews (on GS) and it's $49 til the end of the month. Haven't tried it yet though.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #19
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaigen View Post
And VCC sounds more analog than Nebula's console emu .
I have to kindly disagree with that. VCC and the Alex B consoles are both excellent sounding and I personally prefer Alex B's consoles for the sound.
Concerning cpu and workflow VCC wins hands down.
And I must say that I don't really like the sound of any plugin compared to analog. But somehow Nebula is about the only plug I know, that comes closer to analog without that typical digital sound.
For that price if you have a powerful computer or time to bounce it is a nobrainer.

As usual YMMV
Old 23rd December 2010
  #20
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JoeyM's Avatar
I've been one of the lucky ones to test Nebula from day one, and I have to share two observations:

1. Preamp/EQ/Tape "presets" are easy on CPU and I run typically three stacked with live vocalists and it captures the forgiveness of analog. On any recent computer it should be very easy.

2. Reverb presets, or any "emulation" of long-tailed-anything can get into the 100's of megabytes, and honest to god I preferred their Lexicon presets than the software release in the past year. It wasn't until original Lexicon users started whispering things like the hardware AD converters added "something" (I thought they were joking, serious), but to my perceptions it's true - you hear the "ghost" in the reverb more than simply a pristine reverb.

I come from the school of Lexicon though, and can't vouch for anything TC.

For my personal plans, I think: 2CAudio aether, Nebula, a hardware Bricasti Design Model 7 and 100 static convolution impulses ought to cover me for decades. Maybe Valhalla Shimmer too Wouldn't want to be caught without it. Nebula is currently finding nice GUIs, but the sound has always been as good as AD converters can capture the special hardware Nebula is re-creating.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #21
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

for the money - Nebula is a no brainer. Satisfying results....

BUT - don't be under any illusions that it sounds like "tape". Decent tape (I have a couple of high end options) is not the mushy squashy thing that just about all of the plugins do. Now, that's not to say that R2R isn't creatively useful - it is. It also gives some very lovely sonic effects. However - my ATR102 or MCI 16 track make that, UAD, Massey etc sound distinctly NONE tape like! Same for Portico and Fatso (although both, again, are excellent sonic units). The only thing I've heard that comes close to "tape" without being tape - Anamod. Even then - I'd give it 6/10...

Conclusion? Lots of nice sonic effects from the plugins and the hardware - but tape is different {not necessarily better - but different}.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #22
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JoeyM's Avatar
Speaking of which, the Holy Grail of Nebula tape sims (in my mind anyway), would be EMI tape on a Studor.

Powers That Be, I beg you
Old 23rd December 2010
  #23
I think UAD and Nebula have different strengths...

UAD in general is easier to use and get instant results that sound relatively pleasing from my experience...I know they work for a lot of people but personally Ive never been convinced with the saturation on any plugin...and on hearing UAD Studer I felt the same as always...however Nebula is a different process and does not seem to choke or degrade the signal...anyways - it can be heard in all the tests that were done by Plec in the UAD forums...the results speak for themselves...

However Nebula has limitations and clunky workflow if you are used to slick algorithmic plugins - because the computational process going on under the hood is very powerful. I definitely advise Nebula 3 Pro - much better on the CPU and smaller programs like EQs barely dent my quad core CPU...just remember to use the Nebula Reverb instead of the normal Nebula. Yes it has lots of latency so you either only use it whilst mixing - or print it as you go.

Nebula R2R is good for the sound of tape - but you can not really use it like tape...its like a bunch of 'snapshots' of tape...that you can drape over your mix...but IMO its very good at giving this effect, and you can layer it to create more tape colour especially the TapeBooster + saturation programs which are very important - they are purely the saturation element of tape in separate boost programs...and sound very analogue...

+ 1 on Nomad Factory Magnetic - not so bad as you might think! And a handy addition for $50 to Nebula R2R....
Old 23rd December 2010
  #24
Those Plecs test are not done properly. The application of A800 must be done more carefully. REmember that it is emulation of real thing not some kind of hype that works like "plug and play". I think Plec didnt even learn to use A800 properly in such a short time. That tests are just not right. I advice for everyone to test A800 personally instead of hearing crappy tests.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #25
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Old 23rd December 2010
  #26
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Levi's Avatar
 

Forgive me for hijacking... I'm on the "tape quest" as well. "Listening" to the UAD Studer plug (I have no UAD card), it's pretty nice. I've tried the demo of R2R on Nebula Free and it's pretty great! BUT, has anyone messed with this or know anything about it?....

Sound Skulptor - STS : Analog Stereo Tape Simulator, Professional Audio Kits

The pricepoint is low, the demo is convincing (although I'd like more demos to see varying levels of saturation/ harmonics), etc.

Again, sorry for the hijack... I guess we'll ALWAYS be looking for the next "Holy Grail!" heh
Old 23rd December 2010
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by icecubeman View Post
Those Plecs test are not done properly. The application of A800 must be done more carefully. REmember that it is emulation of real thing not some kind of hype that works like "plug and play". I think Plec didnt even learn to use A800 properly in such a short time. That tests are just not right. I advice for everyone to test A800 personally instead of hearing crappy tests.
fair point - but the conditions are the same for Nebula...
Old 23rd December 2010
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
fair point - but the conditions are the same for Nebula...
But Nebula R2R is here about year longer, so Plec can learn how to use it. And this is true for all his tests, Nebula simply sounds better. But not because of better quality. All I want to say, just try it!!!
Old 23rd December 2010
  #29
Gear Nut
 
olivialand's Avatar
 

Something I'm hearing from the responses so far is that if I'm going to go with Nebula, I should get the Nebula Pro 3. If I were to do that, and combine it with R2R, my cost savings over the UAD Studer plug would diminish. Getting the UAD plug alone without investing in another card, and then just bouncing or freezing the processed tracks, would cost only $100 more than the Neb Pro 3 + R2R option. And with UAD's convenience factor, it looks like that might be the way to go.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #30
to be honest - the best option is to try both and see what works for you...if you have a UAD card you can do that...You can also start with Nebula 2 and try some cheap 3rd party programs to see if you like to use it...try the EQs - they are amazing...

see here analoginthebox.com - Index

If you like Nebula you can upgrade from 2 I think and loose no money...
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