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Warmth... what can I do to add analogue warmth to my digital setup for under $1000? Saturation Plugins
Old 1st January 2011
  #1
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yeloop's Avatar
 

Warmth... what can I do to add analogue warmth to my digital setup for under $1000?

Hey Guys,

I have a great setup that really works well for me... Logic 9 running on a Mac Pro, an RME Fireface UFX interface that sounds very clean, and various synths (Korg and Kurzweil) and acoustic instruments (upright piano, vocals)...

I'm happy with the clarity and depth of sound I get when I record vocals, and my upright piano.

But like everyone, it's just sounding too digital. Too clean and pure!

I really want to add some subtle analogue warmth to what I record. Ideally I'd like to be able to add this to virtual synths (especially drums, through BFD and Superior Drummer, which I play with V-drums).

But I want to be open to ideas... how can I make my sound warmer? Are there plugins (or plugins plus card, like the UAD2??) I should look at? Or should I look at a new Mic such as the TLM102) for vocals... (doesn't help warm up my virtual sounds though)?

OR.. should I look at a two channel pre-amp (valve?) which would help warm up vocals (mono) but could also be used to record the piano (which I record through two Rode NT1As).

I'm deliberately leaving this question fairly open... would love some suggestions! Looking to spend about $1000 (Australian) but happy to spend a bit extra on whatever will really help give my sound a more warm and analogue feel.

So... I'd love to hear people's thoughts!

Cheers and thanks,
Mike
Old 1st January 2011
  #2
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60 threads about warmth

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Old 1st January 2011
  #3
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not joking.

use the EQ. use rooms you like. pull down some hi add some low mid or high bass.
Old 1st January 2011
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

URS Saturation
Old 1st January 2011
  #5
Gear Maniac
Nebula3 Pro and ColorTone Pro
Old 1st January 2011
  #6
Gear Addict
 

Here's my take: Most virtual instruments ARE lacking what you might call warmth (compared to their "Real" ancestors). Can't say definitively what causes it, but I've found saturation plugins DO help. I use Phoenix (TDM), but have heard PSP Vintage warmer is good.

As far as warming your RECORDING process: A decent Mic pre will work wonders (especially cumulatively when dealing with multiple recorded tracks).

I have a friend who bought an analog 16 track recorder just to track THROUGH into his DAW. He swears by it when recording drums.
Old 1st January 2011
  #7
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hugol's Avatar
 

For a surprisingly effective plug-in solution check out Nomad Factory Magnetic - you can't go far wrong here especially as it's available for only $49 currently.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #8
Gear Addict
 

get a propane heater then use a space blanket to keep your tracks warm
Old 2nd January 2011
  #9
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doug hazelrigg's Avatar
Recently I have begun sending my tracks to a friend who offers a service of inputting a wav file into his Otari 1/4" (and then back out as wav). The effect is subtle but noticeable. I wouldn't exactly call it "warmth" but definitely "smoothness." I plan to buy my own 1/4" machine so I can mix directly to it. There are a number of services on the Web that will do this for you -- usually about $20 a song.

It's a continuing debate, but I still feel that the A/D conversion you use has an effect on the "warmth" of your signal. I use an old Apogee Rosetta, which is noticeably more "analog" than any of my other interfaces. Some of the newer convertors are probably better still in this regard
Old 2nd January 2011
  #10
Registered User
 

grab a pair of gap 73s and run your mix through it
Old 2nd January 2011
  #11
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phas3d's Avatar
 

UAD Studer A800.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #12
A decent mic pre and an optical compressor. Or a Uad2 card for that optical compression in the digital domain. And it will allso offer you tape saturation emulation (Studer certified).

This could give you;

PULTEC EQ
LA2A optical compression
Harrison EQ (Michael Jackson)
Studer Tape emulation

and more...
Old 2nd January 2011
  #13
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AshleySmith06's Avatar
 

Slate Digital VCC - excellent!!
Heard good things about UAD of late too - Studer A800
DIY some pre's and pop them in a lunchbox

Old 2nd January 2011
  #14
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Wow there are some pretty hilarious replies in this 3d..

Probably one of the two stereo compressors from Chameleon could be a choice,
to reply the original question. Depending on your taste, the opto definitely "warmer" than the SSL style one, cleaner but punchier
Old 2nd January 2011
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Hey Mike
I will quote myself here from an older thread(I think it is relevant to your situation)

Quote:
Originally Posted by down_town View Post
I have a similar setup to yourself (logic,003). When I was looking to buy my first good set of pres I was looking at your same list. I eventually decided to go the 500 series route. I now have a lunchbox with 2x A designs P1 pres and 2x buzz tonic eqs. Really happy with the setup and I was able to build it up module by module over the pass year. I bought most of it from the classifieds section and saved myself a mint.thumbsup

I had recently changed over to producing mostly "in the box". I had started getting deep in saturation plug-ins and different "colored" plug-in compressors to try and add some mojo,weight,vibe?etc to my mixes and virtual instruments.Like yourself, I then wanted a hardware Stereo comp for mixing and tracking....

I was also looking at the api, Al smart and fatso(original model not UBK). After alot of research I went with the OG fatso. The fatso is a monster! Fantastic for tracking DI'ed guitars and bass . Also works well for running VI's though and taking a bit of the digital edge off the sound. It could be very useful for tracking reggae bass lines(when size and weight is needed).

Although not a really popular opinion around here, I have been enjoying using the fatso as a mix buss compressor. Since using the fatso on the mix buss, I find my self eqing less and quit messing around with different saturation plug-ins. I really like the "sonic footprint" it stamps and have found it helps sounds/mixes come together more quickly. Sounds though the fasto just sound "better" "wider"(the tranny can really add some guts to a thin source). When reading some posts from other users you tend to get the idea the fatso is can be to overtly colored and heavy handed. It can be it you set it up that way but it can be also very subtle.

All the best.
I had just finish tracking some female vocal this week for about 6 songs. The fatso has worked great tracking vocals. let me know if you want me to run some tracks through the fatso.
cheers from Brisbane!
Darren
Old 2nd January 2011
  #16
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hugol's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retinal View Post
Wow there are some pretty hilarious replies in this 3d
Why, because this is gearslutz and people are suggesting cheap software solutions rather than expensive hardware? (I kid)
Old 2nd January 2011
  #17
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edva's Avatar
Nebula. Way under $1000, although you can invest several hundred in libraries. Nothing "warmer" in digital that I have found.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #18
Read this article. Analogue Warmth
Old 2nd January 2011
  #19
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doug hazelrigg's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci View Post
Read this article. Analogue Warmth
Great article, Glenn, which explains concisely why many plugins don't really recapture the warmth of analog. But this might be changing -- the UAD Studer plugin incorporates some of the side-band distortions of scrape wow and flutter, as well as tape formulation, too. I'm anxious to try it out
Old 3rd January 2011
  #20
nms
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Haven't tried it yet but the UAD Studer definitely sounds interesting.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #21
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doug hazelrigg's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nms View Post
Haven't tried it yet but the UAD Studer definitely sounds interesting.
I listened to the "before and after" demo's at the UA website and all I could hear was an increase in loudness. But then, I never could listen critically very well
Old 3rd January 2011
  #22
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guavadude's Avatar
well specifically for the drum VI's, go get Massey Tapehead. It's free and I'm amazed at how much better the drums sound. Put it on the drums buss, Drive at 3, Output at -3. Works for me.

I agree that rolling some highs off makes a big difference and doesn't add distortion like most saturation or vintage plugs, although sometimes that's a good thing too.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #23
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alot of people are recommending preamps and that is a solution to what you are asking for but...

i'd suggest you look at something that can do double duty. a nice quality parametric eq, or a good compressor, or a clean bbd based delay unit.

best bet is a moderate priced parametric and a cheap bbd delay and a good compressor. spend the most on the compressor and eq, the least on the delay. the dealy should be something that adds character and grit the others should add smoothness and help round out the sound to taste while being able to go from extremely subtle/non-exsistant to full on mangling/warped sound.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #24
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Types of things I do on my tracks when I need some warmth (I generally only choose 1 or 2 at a time):
- Add a small touch of Soundtoys Decapitator
- Use Softube CL1B compressor
- A touch of Nebula EQ or any Pultec-clone plugin

For the 2-buss, the Waves API provides a beatiful coloration that makes the track warmer (I prefer Elysia Alpha, but if you are lacking warmth I would recommend to stick to API).

Using this tricks I have never felt any of my tracks were missing warmth. Still, I'm looking forward to try that Slate VCC plugin.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #25
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Although not a solution under $1000, I used to run many of my digital tracks through my UAD2-610 into a Fatso Jr.

Once I had the mix complete, I would also run that through this combo and back into the computer.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
heybub419's Avatar
As for "warm" plugins, I personally like Ferric TDS, which is free btw. I'd give it a shot if I were you: KVR: Variety Of Sound FerricTDS - Tape Dynamics Simulator - Virtual Effect

The Studer A800 sounds pretty awesome too.

But IME, 90% of the time an EQ will help more than anything. Check out the Trident A Range emulations or UA's Pultec. Waves Renaissance EQ is also very good.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #27
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloop View Post
Hey Guys,

I have a great setup that really works well for me... Logic 9 running on a Mac Pro, an RME Fireface UFX interface that sounds very clean, and various synths (Korg and Kurzweil) and acoustic instruments (upright piano, vocals)...

I'm happy with the clarity and depth of sound I get when I record vocals, and my upright piano.

But like everyone, it's just sounding too digital. Too clean and pure!

I really want to add some subtle analogue warmth to what I record. Ideally I'd like to be able to add this to virtual synths (especially drums, through BFD and Superior Drummer, which I play with V-drums).

But I want to be open to ideas... how can I make my sound warmer? Are there plugins (or plugins plus card, like the UAD2??) I should look at? Or should I look at a new Mic such as the TLM102) for vocals... (doesn't help warm up my virtual sounds though)?

OR.. should I look at a two channel pre-amp (valve?) which would help warm up vocals (mono) but could also be used to record the piano (which I record through two Rode NT1As).

I'm deliberately leaving this question fairly open... would love some suggestions! Looking to spend about $1000 (Australian) but happy to spend a bit extra on whatever will really help give my sound a more warm and analogue feel.

So... I'd love to hear people's thoughts!

Cheers and thanks,
Mike
Are you using your Low Pass Filters on your EQ's?
Old 3rd January 2011
  #28
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bugscoe's Avatar
 

Considering I brought up the Fatso Jr hardware device, UAD offers a plug in version of this. However I have not used it so can't vouch for its sound quality. It fits more with your budget.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #29
Lives for gear
 

One entirely free solution, if you're using Logic, is to set aside a couple of days to do nothing but experiment with Logic's own plug-ins.

Play around with EQ. On synths, you can roll off a lot of top-end, and boost a lot of low-end, if you're brave enough to. Make sure you take off any of the stock effects Logic brings up and adds whenever you add a stock synth plug-in.

I find Logic's Opto and FET compressors impart a degree of "tapeyness" (particularly on vocals).

Add some distortion. I like Logic's Distortion II plug, set to either "Bitey" or "Growl". Or Bitcrusher (which I'm increasingly using on all drums and synths these days...)


Oh, Tape Echo is another useful one of course.

You could spend quite a lot of time just messing around with a chain of those elements in a channel, rearranging the order of the chain (very easy to do in Logic) and tweaking levels, until you come up with your own personal 'special recipe' for warmth/analogue type sound.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

I have a fireplace next to my daw. Though in the summer months I don't use it, so you can really tell the difference!
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