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-   Gear Shoot-Outs / Sound File Comparisons / Audio Tests (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/gear-shoot-outs-sound-file-comparisons-audio-tests/)
-   -   SSL Bus Comp Shootout (SSL X-Rack, Stam SA-4000+, Duende, Slate, Waves, bx_townhouse) (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/gear-shoot-outs-sound-file-comparisons-audio-tests/1244735-ssl-bus-comp-shootout-ssl-x-rack-stam-sa-4000-duende-slate-waves-bx_townhouse.html)

JSchlomo 6th January 2019 12:23 PM

SSL Bus Comp Shootout (SSL X-Rack, Stam SA-4000+, Duende, Slate, Waves, bx_townhouse)
 
This is the followup to my original shootout which can be found here:

Another SSL Comp shootout - sorry, no SSL involved :-)

Wanted to do this again with the "real" thing involved and include the bx_townhouse plugin as well, so I took the X-Rack hardware version with me from the studio over the weekend.

Sound/Song snippet is exactly the same as in the original shootout as I reopened the original session.*

The hardware contenders:

- Stam Audio SA4000+ (this time without the Carnhill transformers engaged as this is not the original design of SSL bus comps)
- SSL X-Rack Stereo Bus Compressor (in thy Mynx rack)

The software contenders:

- Waves SSL Bus Comp
- SSL Native v6 Bus Comp (files are called Duende for better separation from the HW SSL))
- Slate FG-Grey (which emulates transformers, can't be switched off)
- Plugin Alliance bx_townhouse (which emulates the original comp from Townhouse Studios which itself was kind of a Franken-SSL with original parts)

I spent a lot of time and care to match the amount of compression and levels, I think I did pretty well.

Settings are 4:1, 30ms attack, .1 release (which is my go-to on SSLs)
Compression was calibrated so the tone read 4db of GR on all of these.
In fact they are compressing 1-3 db when the music plays.

This time I included a second set where I raised the level INTO the bus comps 3db to make them pump harder. I wouldn't go that far in real life, but it makes the different tones a little more obvious.

All WAV files are matched to the same LUFS level and are randomly numbered, so they have the exact same loudness and do not correspond to the above order! Should be fun, right?;-)

Here's the link to the files, feel free to import them in your DAW and compare.
Dropbox - SSL Shootout NEW.zip

Very curious about your opinions.
PM me for results, will post them here later.

* A short, but the busiest section of the song (from "Dueling Mixes" in December 2017, really liked the tune, sometimes they have amazing stuff). This is kind of an advanced rough mix, so only levels, panning, some basic FX, HP/LP and my "Brauerizing"-style template before the final stereo compressor.

mcanicos 6th January 2019 03:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JSchlomo (Post 13723347)
Very curious about your opinions.

I am very curious about yours, because you have the hardware and the software and can tell us in your opinion which is closer to the real team.

Thanks in advance!

JSchlomo 6th January 2019 04:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcanicos (Post 13723531)
I am very curious about yours, because you have the hardware and the software and can tell us in your opinion which is closer to the real team.

Thanks in advance!

Well, ain't the fun around here to have folks have a blind listen first, share their findings and THEN reveal which is which?kfhkh

All I can say regarding my opinion for now is this: The question rather is "Which one do YOU like best rather than which software or clone is closer to the real thing? Because that doesn't matter if you not clearly prefer the real thing in a blind test."

mcanicos 6th January 2019 06:56 PM

Yes,is another point of view!
Thanks for your work!
rockout

JSchlomo 6th January 2019 06:58 PM

My pleasure. If you wanna know the results right now feel free to PM me.

b0se 7th January 2019 12:34 AM

Will get on this tomorrow, files downloaded and loaded into A/B/X. Thanks again for your efforts.

BM Grabber 7th January 2019 04:49 AM

I like A and D the best... By listening to all in order 2 times in a loop.

More feeling than analyzing so far. Will listen some more tomorrow (now to bed, as it's 04.49 AM here mezed).

JSchlomo 7th January 2019 08:41 AM

Thanx for chiming in, guys! Hopefully more will join...

mfc83 7th January 2019 09:03 AM

They're all very close... I found F does something really musical to the turnaround phrase in bar 2, but it takes a lot out of the on beat snare hits from the higher energy section. The others are so close.. I'd have to spend more time to come to a solid conclusion of a winner. But for me the shoot out tells me any of them do the job very well at these settings, hardware or software.

I also did my own comparison to Glue Compressor in Ableton, for my own curiosity. Night and day ;)

Also compared to IK Multimedia Bus Compressor (part of T-Racks 5) and it was just as close as the others. Hard to say if I prefer it or not compared to the rest.

b0se 7th January 2019 10:53 AM

Had a quick listen as I'm currently enjoy the Console 1 that arrived yesterday :¬)

2 nights only 4 hours sleep (uuuh) so I'm not at optimum critical listening levels. However, B sounds flatter than the others and doesn't inspire me. E and F sound brighter, F feeling slightly wider/open. A has a nice balance to it, as does D. B feeling more rounded (analogue?). C also good.

I'd be happy with any of them, except B perhaps. If I had to pick, D or F I think, depending on need.

Tough test!

Edit: Listened with fresh ears, F my pick. Interesting results!

SameOh 7th January 2019 03:44 PM

All very close. I would probably be happy with any. D and E being my least favorite. D narrows the image, and E is adding a bit of muddy to my ears.

My favourites are C, F and B.

Danielbest1 8th January 2019 10:53 AM

My favs are C and E.

Thanks for this.

Daniel.

mcanicos 8th January 2019 04:55 PM

my fav C & E .
Thanks

JSchlomo 8th January 2019 05:08 PM

Keep it coming guys!

denoise 8th January 2019 09:00 PM

they sound very similar to me (from my suboptimal Macbook converters on ATH m50 cans) but if I have to choose, would be C (slightly more focused mid lows and a bit more 3D)

JSchlomo 11th January 2019 10:05 AM

No one else?

To be fair, I had a lot of PM's, but given how much ongoing discussions about SSL bus compl plug vs hardware/what's the best plugin etc. there are around here, it's quite lonely in this thread.

INFO: After revealing the results I will add files of the Stam with transformers to the download folder!

b0se 11th January 2019 10:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JSchlomo (Post 13732383)
No one else?

To be fair, I had a lot of PM's, but given how much ongoing discussions about SSL bus compl plug vs hardware/what's the best plugin etc. there are around here, it's quite lonely in this thread.

INFO: After revealing the results I will add files of the Stam with transformers to the download folder!

Usually the way with hardware vs software blind tests. If the files were labelled by unit or plugin name this thread would be full of opinions on how much better the hardware is :-)

JSchlomo 11th January 2019 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by b0se (Post 13732409)
Usually the way with hardware vs software blind tests. If the files were labelled by unit or plugin name this thread would be full of opinions on how much better the hardware is :-)

Sure, that's true. :-)

lydfar 12th January 2019 03:25 PM

I like the hardware version better... :)

JSchlomo 12th January 2019 06:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lydfar (Post 13734780)
I like the hardware version better... :)

Which hardware? ;-)

lydfar 13th January 2019 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JSchlomo (Post 13735013)
Which hardware? ;-)

kfhkh

funka 14th January 2019 09:58 PM

Thank you for this very well done shootout.
Nice levels, alignement and mix!! kfhkh

I will try to guess...:cowbell:

I listened only to +3db files.

Software:
I prefer A , then E (just a little less than A), then D and C (that has too much distortion for me)

Hardware: I find the stereo image different than others
I prefer B with a little more details in the center, then F

confoosed...
jummpp

For me, all would be ok, maybe except C.

Its Mork 18th January 2019 09:10 AM

Thanks a lot, this is very interesting!

For me C and D share the crown, depending of what mood I am in and of course what the given material calls for. But if I would have to rank them it would be:
C, D, B, E, F, A.
It's basically from most to least mojo and size. The differences in size really surprised me. F and A had significantly less low mids and a "pointier" feel. But I can also see where C and D would just be too much and something more subtle would be appropriate. I once heard a rumor that not everything is rock'n'roll rockout:cowbell:gooof

OH WOW: I just saw that the +3 files are smashed but only compared those (that explains a lot). I thought they where just level raised because someone complained about wrong LUFS, so that according to his/her meter this comparison is useless and the worst ever. :cop:
I will give the non-squeezed files a listen later and edit in my findings (liking E a lot now). Again work disrupts one of the most important things in life: compressor comparisons :)

Cheers
Mork

Edit1: Okay, they are a lot closer when not pushed to the limits. Except for C, which does a good amount of punishment. It really has to fit the music and thereof is usable in the least occasions. But when it fits it rocks. The others definitely have different tones, but it's a little bit like deciding the color of your shirt. It depends on the mood you're in and I don't think that either of them is unusable. I only listened on headphones today, so I want to check on speakers tomorrow. I think there are some differences in spaciousness, which are better revealed on speakers. After that I will add my "non-spanked" ranking an a wild guess which ones are hardware.

Edit2: I listened on speakers today. Of course there are differences but I think none of the compressors is unusable. And I think that is remarkable considering the price range of 29$ to something like 2900$. So here are my wild guesses in order of like-o-meter:

E - SSL hardware - Nice glue and most width, tight (never used it)
F - STAM hardware - Fatter bottom than E, loose (never used it)
B - Slate - nice low end to low mids and still nice glue but cleaner than E (used to own but didn't use much)
D - SSL Native - Less low end and a little less glue than B (never used it)
A - Waves - The thinnest and cleanest of the bunch but still very usable (own it but don't use much)
-------------
C - Townhouse - in it's own category (own it, use it occasionaly)

Since I didn't ever use half of the comps these are basically just marketing influenced wild guesses :P
The best thing about that is that I have to be wrong and my Waves G Bus comp is better than I thought!

Progmatic-Studios 20th January 2019 01:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcanicos (Post 13723531)
I am very curious about yours, because you have the hardware and the software and can tell us in your opinion which is closer to the real team.

Thanks in advance!

Curious about this too. Gonna check the files tomorrow

Morbo 22nd January 2019 01:48 AM

I like C the best.

My guess is its either Native v6 or x rack. V6 when I demoed it kept the low end and highs the most out of my own comps and has a cool motion in its ocean. I expect X rack to sound pretty similar so maybe C is analog.

I liked the +3 files best which surprised me because I don't normally compress a lot on the master and don't like that sound much on my own material. The C file brought the most out of the mix though. I preferred the raw file to most of the other mixes.

D was my second favorite.

Mosaico 5th February 2019 04:24 AM

Thanks for the test! I liked A, B is the one I least liked. Can you share in PM the results ?

blayz2002 5th February 2019 07:56 PM

When are the results to be shared? I tried opening the Dropbox files but couldn't for some reason. So haven't listened.

b0se 5th February 2019 08:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blayz2002 (Post 13792372)
When are the results to be shared? I tried opening the Dropbox files but couldn't for some reason. So haven't listened.

Sharing results would 'ruin' the blind test, you can request them privately of course.

The link works. Don't click the 'SSL Shootout Blind' folder, click the Download button top right of the page, then select Direct Download.

JSchlomo 5th February 2019 09:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mosaico (Post 13791073)
Thanks for the test! I liked A, B is the one I least liked. Can you share in PM the results ?

PM'ed you.

Quote:

Originally Posted by blayz2002 (Post 13792372)
When are the results to be shared? I tried opening the Dropbox files but couldn't for some reason. So haven't listened.

Link should work, have you tried again? I initially wanted to share the results here by now, but for the moment I enjoy leaving it blind.kfhkh I will PM the results to everyone interested.

funka 5th February 2019 11:18 PM

Please let it blind unless you're flooded under PMs...