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Nebula VS Summing Amp? Saturation Plugins
View Poll Results: Nebula VS Summing Amp
Nebula
25 Votes - 53.19%
Summing Amp
22 Votes - 46.81%
Voters: 47. You may not vote on this poll

Old 2nd January 2011
  #1
ep1c0ne
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Nebula VS Summing Amp?

So I think my decision is to either get Nebula with appropriate programs or a summing amp such as the Dangerous D-Box. Can Nebula give me equal or better results? To anyone that has used both, what is your non biased opinion?
Old 2nd January 2011
  #2
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thedigitalgod's Avatar
 

well, for people who have the choice, i think the choice is obvious. but nebula sounds damn good.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #3
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edva's Avatar
There are some user comments on the Nebula forum along this line. Basically, those who have compared them say "slight difference, just as good or better".
I think Nebula is by far the "best" sounding digital emulations I have heard. IMHO, YMMV.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #4
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Is there a third party summing amp package for Nebula? Are we talking about the Alex B. Stuff here? Pardon my confusion.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #5
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I used to own a Dangerous 2 buss until I bought the Alex B console programs and worked out a good work flow.Once I really got into Nebula and learned to setup the gain structure correctly and commit and render tracks I sold the D2B.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redroom View Post
I used to own a Dangerous 2 buss until I bought the Alex B console programs and worked out a good work flow.Once I really got into Nebula and learned to setup the gain structure correctly and commit and render tracks I sold the D2B.

Good Move!
Old 2nd January 2011
  #7
ep1c0ne
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by redroom View Post
I used to own a Dangerous 2 buss until I bought the Alex B console programs and worked out a good work flow.Once I really got into Nebula and learned to setup the gain structure correctly and commit and render tracks I sold the D2B.
Thank you for your response!

By any chance did you try the free TFT console from AlexB before you sold the D2B? If so, how does that one compare?
Old 2nd January 2011
  #8
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Nahuel's Avatar
 

I love nebula, for the price it's a no brainer, that said, even if it can get close to hardware keep in mind it's very cpu intensive meaning you'll have to render a lot... with real hw it's faster. I have a mixer, I even sampled the eq in nebula (sounds very close) but I dont want to sell it.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ep1c0ne View Post
So I think my decision is to either get Nebula with appropriate programs or a summing amp such as the Dangerous D-Box. Can Nebula give me equal or better results? To anyone that has used both, what is your non biased opinion?
These are entirely two different things you are asking about. nebula is not doing summing so it would not be comparable to a summing box. I think you mean that you want some analog tone so you are hoping that you can use nebula instead of having to purchase quality hardware.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by work2do View Post
These are entirely two different things you are asking about. nebula is not doing summing so it would not be comparable to a summing box. I think you mean that you want some analog tone so you are hoping that you can use nebula instead of having to purchase quality hardware.
Nebula, as well as other products such as VCC are alternatives to hardware summing boxes because:
Quote:
Originally Posted by djanthonyw View Post
you get natural compression and saturation with analog vs going right to clipping with digital. It's not because there is a problem with digital, digital is neutral and non flattering, where as analog adds pleasing nonlinearities to the signal. Spreading false information about there being 'math problems' with digital isn't cool.
So no, they are not "entirely two different things" the OP is asking about. Any given piece of analog gear sums in similar fashion as any given piece of digital gear, the difference is that analog adds characteristics while summing (as any piece of analog gear does). Nebula / VCC adds these characteristics over what would be the previously neutral sum that is digital.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #11
Im asking the question - are there potentially other differences in the literal summing process due to the summing happening at full resolution in analogue whereas its happening at a defined sample rate in digital?
Also I suspect there is more interaction between the summed signals in the analogue domain than there is in the digital (which is a exact addition)...?

Anyways - in practice...I think Nebula can get very close to a summing Amp but you have a different process where you cant really mix thru it and drive it quite like you could a summing amp...you will likely have to render...

That said - you have multiple colours to choose from at very low cost...personally - I would not bother with a summing amp...but if I had money and space for it - I'd get a desk with nice EQs and inserts for other hardware...I think those processes combined you start to hit the money...summing on its own? Not so sure...ultimately its a question of budget - and where best to spend it...if I had unlimited budget I'd always use the hardware...
Old 2nd January 2011
  #12
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djanthonyw's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
Im asking the question - are there potentially other differences in the literal summing process due to the summing happening at full resolution in analogue whereas its happening at a defined sample rate in digital?
Also I suspect there is more interaction between the summed signals in the analogue domain than there is in the digital (which is a exact addition)...?
I'm in agreement with this, but this aside, the processes of summing at it's core, analog vs digital, aren't completely different as work2do claims. Nebula, or whichever emulation would be taking care of the additions that analog usually *adds* to the sum.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djanthonyw View Post
Nebula, as well as other products such as VCC are alternatives to hardware summing boxes because:

So no, they are not "entirely two different things" the OP is asking about. Any given piece of analog gear sums in similar fashion as any given piece of digital gear, the difference is that analog adds characteristics while summing (as any piece of analog gear does). Nebula / VCC adds these characteristics over what would be the previously neutral sum that is digital.
Plain and simple: summing is the process of getting multiple channels down to two. That is not what Nebula or any plugin does. The analog characteristics you mentioned are achievable without the summing box by just running your 2trk thru preamp or a few analog paths. The goodness comes from transformers, op amps, etc. BUT.. that's not summing. Those plugins are recreating the analog characteristics but they are not summing the audio. The VCC takes it further by recreating the crosstalk and differences in analog channels but if the summing engine in your daw sucks, it will still suck because VCC is not summing the audio.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by work2do View Post
Plain and simple: summing is the process of getting multiple channels down to two. That is not what Nebula or any plugin does. The analog characteristics you mentioned are achievable without the summing box by just running your 2trk thru preamp or a few analog paths. The goodness comes from transformers, op amps, etc. BUT.. that's not summing. Those plugins are recreating the analog characteristics but they are not summing the audio. The VCC takes it further by recreating the crosstalk and differences in analog channels but if the summing engine in your daw sucks, it will still suck because VCC is not summing the audio.
thumbsup

I agree. That's like saying the Distressors and Pultecs we have inserted on the console is summing the audio. heh
Old 2nd January 2011
  #15
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djanthonyw's Avatar
 

Ok then, I guess we're saying the same thing. Of course the plugins are not doing the math of adding tracks, but they are adding the additional characteristics that you get when using analog summing on top of the neutral sum that your sequencer gives you.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by djanthonyw View Post
I'm in agreement with this, but this aside, the processes of summing at it's core, analog vs digital, aren't completely different as work2do claims. Nebula, or whichever emulation would be taking care of the additions that analog usually *adds* to the sum.
yes its a fair point. From one point of view the literal processes are the same - simple addition.

Although as the others said above I suppose we are not talking about the literal 'summing' but more addition of part of the percieved associated benefits of analogue summing...

Another thought - individual track saturation - does this lead to a different sound to 2 track saturation? Dave Hill Cranesong seemed to think so when talking about Pro Tools 'Heat'...
Old 2nd January 2011
  #17
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by work2do View Post
Plain and simple: summing is the process of getting multiple channels down to two. That is not what Nebula or any plugin does. The analog characteristics you mentioned are achievable without the summing box by just running your 2trk thru preamp or a few analog paths. The goodness comes from transformers, op amps, etc. BUT.. that's not summing. Those plugins are recreating the analog characteristics but they are not summing the audio. The VCC takes it further by recreating the crosstalk and differences in analog channels but if the summing engine in your daw sucks, it will still suck because VCC is not summing the audio.
True but this myth VCC is recreating crosstalk is nonsense. As discussed in other threads elsehwere true crosstalk is simply not possible in DAWS.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #18
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Nebula VS Summing Amp?

Quote:
Originally Posted by redroom
I used to own a Dangerous 2 buss until I bought the Alex B console programs and worked out a good work flow.Once I really got into Nebula and learned to setup the gain structure correctly and commit and render tracks I sold the D2B.
Could you explain your process a bit more? I'm curious in learning how people use nebula having never used the consoles these emulations are based on.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jessem View Post
Could you explain your process a bit more? I'm curious in learning how people use nebula having never used the consoles these emulations are based on.
When i use Nebula heres how i work.

1. Attenuate signal to around -18dBFS (average) -10dBFS (peak) if its been recorded hot or its a sample
2. Insert Nebula with an Alex B Console line input (i might also use a mic input program first if its from a soft synth for example.)
3. Adjust the input gain on Nebula a little if i want to "drive" the console
4. I'll then quickly insert some sort of metering plug after this just to check the level the output is and attenuate back down using the Nebula output control if its too hot.
5. Move onto next track, use an alternate line input program for variety
6. I'll typically work with "groups of instruments" so i can hear how all the processing sums together. So for example i might do all the drums then render all those tracks before moving onto say the guitars for example. I have a dual quad so i can get away with this.

If im using R2R i'll have this before the consoles, or sometimes it might be UAD Studer. Also quite often when i am doing this i will make EQ and compresion decisions as well and have them in the chain. By the time i have rendered everything the mix is pretty much done. Its kinda like comitting to your processing during tracking, then its just a simple matter of sorting the balance and any automation. Forces you to not second guess.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshalpha View Post
When i use Nebula heres how i work.

1. Attenuate signal to around -18dBFS (average) -10dBFS (peak) if its been recorded hot or its a sample
2. Insert Nebula with an Alex B Console line input (i might also use a mic input program first if its from a soft synth for example.)
3. Adjust the input gain on Nebula a little if i want to "drive" the console
4. I'll then quickly insert some sort of metering plug after this just to check the level the output is and attenuate back down using the Nebula output control if its too hot.
5. Move onto next track, use an alternate line input program for variety
6. I'll typically work with "groups of instruments" so i can hear how all the processing sums together. So for example i might do all the drums then render all those tracks before moving onto say the guitars for example. I have a dual quad so i can get away with this.

If im using R2R i'll have this before the consoles, or sometimes it might be UAD Studer. Also quite often when i am doing this i will make EQ and compresion decisions as well and have them in the chain. By the time i have rendered everything the mix is pretty much done. Its kinda like comitting to your processing during tracking, then its just a simple matter of sorting the balance and any automation. Forces you to not second guess.
My Methods is pretty much the same as your except that I will insert the console Master input on the DAW master even when Im setting up the tracks for rendering.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshalpha View Post
When i use Nebula heres how i work.

1. Attenuate signal to around -18dBFS (average) -10dBFS (peak) if its been recorded hot or its a sample
2. Insert Nebula with an Alex B Console line input (i might also use a mic input program first if its from a soft synth for example.)
3. Adjust the input gain on Nebula a little if i want to "drive" the console
4. I'll then quickly insert some sort of metering plug after this just to check the level the output is and attenuate back down using the Nebula output control if its too hot.
5. Move onto next track, use an alternate line input program for variety
6. I'll typically work with "groups of instruments" so i can hear how all the processing sums together. So for example i might do all the drums then render all those tracks before moving onto say the guitars for example. I have a dual quad so i can get away with this.

If im using R2R i'll have this before the consoles, or sometimes it might be UAD Studer. Also quite often when i am doing this i will make EQ and compresion decisions as well and have them in the chain. By the time i have rendered everything the mix is pretty much done. Its kinda like comitting to your processing during tracking, then its just a simple matter of sorting the balance and any automation. Forces you to not second guess.
Exactly how i work too

/Jon
Old 2nd January 2011
  #22
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buddachile's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshalpha View Post
True but this myth VCC is recreating crosstalk is nonsense. As discussed in other threads elsewhere true crosstalk is simply not possible in DAWS.
It is indeed possible to recreate crosstalk in a DAW, for example ProTools could add crosstalk to their program much like they added HEAT. But I don't think that would be a good thing. Crosstalk is generally a bad thing.

A plugin providing crosstalk is tricky if at all possible. The plugin would need more than one input, one for the track being processed and one for each track it is cross talking with. And the cross talking channels would have to be running the plugin too.

I think it's fair to say that recreating crosstalk with plugins is not possible with today's DAWs, but DAWs could add cross talk, but I don't think it would be worth the effort. Like I can do without wow and flutter tape emulations.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #23
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by redroom View Post
My Methods is pretty much the same as your except that I will insert the console Master input on the DAW master even when Im setting up the tracks for rendering.

yep me too. I forgot to mention this as well. However for me it might be just the Alex B master out and R2R.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #24
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by buddachile View Post
It is indeed possible to recreate crosstalk in a DAW, for example ProTools could add crosstalk to their program much like they added HEAT. But I don't think that would be a good thing. Crosstalk is generally a bad thing.

A plugin providing crosstalk is tricky if at all possible. The plugin would need more than one input, one for the track being processed and one for each track it is cross talking with. And the cross talking channels would have to be running the plugin too.

I think it's fair to say that recreating crosstalk with plugins is not possible with today's DAWs, but DAWs could add cross talk, but I don't think it would be worth the effort. Like I can do without wow and flutter tape emulations.
thats what i am saying. In 99% of todays day emulating real cross talk is not possible and therefore anyone saying VCC does it is spreaing misinformation
Old 3rd January 2011
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshalpha View Post
True but this myth VCC is recreating crosstalk is nonsense. As discussed in other threads elsehwere true crosstalk is simply not possible in DAWS.
So you are basically saying that Slate Digital are liars and not telling the truth for being able to "simulate" crosstalk thru corresponding VCC channel inserts? Is there proof that they are liars in regards to this aspect? If so, please bring this forward.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #26
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janjaal's Avatar
get both
Old 3rd January 2011
  #27
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djanthonyw's Avatar
 

Something else that I've been considering with analog vs digital, could it also be that in analog, multi tracks have timing differences of fractions of milliseconds from each other and various processing paths vs a more precise / exact processing time with digital?
Old 3rd January 2011
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshalpha View Post
When i use Nebula heres how i work.

1. Attenuate signal to around -18dBFS (average) -10dBFS (peak) if its been recorded hot or its a sample
2. Insert Nebula with an Alex B Console line input (i might also use a mic input program first if its from a soft synth for example.)
3. Adjust the input gain on Nebula a little if i want to "drive" the console
4. I'll then quickly insert some sort of metering plug after this just to check the level the output is and attenuate back down using the Nebula output control if its too hot.
5. Move onto next track, use an alternate line input program for variety
6. I'll typically work with "groups of instruments" so i can hear how all the processing sums together. So for example i might do all the drums then render all those tracks before moving onto say the guitars for example. I have a dual quad so i can get away with this.

If im using R2R i'll have this before the consoles, or sometimes it might be UAD Studer. Also quite often when i am doing this i will make EQ and compresion decisions as well and have them in the chain. By the time i have rendered everything the mix is pretty much done. Its kinda like comitting to your processing during tracking, then its just a simple matter of sorting the balance and any automation. Forces you to not second guess.
Thanks for your detailed instructions! One thing that has somewhat confused me is the -18dBFS you mentioned. I've seen this mentioned in various places and plugins used (which no longer seem to be available for osx). I use logic pro, so would this be as simple as putting the channel fader down to -18 or would I need a separate gain plugin on the channel before nebula?
Old 3rd January 2011
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ep1c0ne View Post
So I think my decision is to either get Nebula with appropriate programs or a summing amp such as the Dangerous D-Box. Can Nebula give me equal or better results? To anyone that has used both, what is your non biased opinion?
tried nebula but i think it dont sound like having the real thing.i didn t buy nebula cause it make me want the real gears even more but for the price it s nice.(but don t know about summing amp , some are subbtle a chanel strip with transformers or a console may give you more for the money)
Old 3rd January 2011
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djanthonyw View Post
Something else that I've been considering with analog vs digital, could it also be that in analog, multi tracks have timing differences of fractions of milliseconds from each other and various processing paths vs a more precise / exact processing time with digital?
maybe yes but transients ,depth,weight is where i hear more the difference when there is some. transients are robotic itb ,with some gears they are more musical , it s like itb have a hard time to deal with transients.
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