Here's my humble opinion on the whole plug-in situation... you've already designed some wonderful analog gear that many engineers such as myself use to make the digital environment that much more bearable... as opposed to copying those designs in plug-in format, why not use the DAW environment as a foundation for some new type of design? Why not take the boundaries of a 24/96 DAW and push it, just like analog designers have done with analog technology? I'm not a technical guy, I can't speak about microprocessors or ICs or program code, but it makes more sense to me, and would be much more valuable to me as an engineer, if there was a realm of plug-ins that were doing things incapable by analog circuitry, to be used alongside my analog gear that does things incapable by digital circuitry.
Im not exactly a veteran poster (2nd post) but I have a few thoughts on EQ/COMP Plugs
All Of Them Are Crap!
it took me £1000's to find this out and many hundreds of hours of unhappy sterile mixing to finnally realise this. Although deep down I always knew really.
So thats why I bought a distressor, and im one very happy bunny indeed. There isnt a single plugin (and I have many of them) that can even come close to the character of the Distressor and other compressors like it.
My PT HD studio will soon be filling up with a lot more outboard EQ and Comp boxes. Yep, its expensive but at least I will be able to inject a healthy and much needed amount of character in to my mixes in the future and thats whats is important to me and probably every other producer or mixer out there.
I think someday plugins could very well compete sonically with high end hardware boxes. But until that day arrives I will not purchase another plugin. I definitely feel a little conned by plugin manufacturers claims and no longer beleive a word they say.
As for the Sony Inflator..........Yep I admit I bought it out of sheer desperation really. I have yet to be able to use it in a mix, but then again I really should have known better. It has gimmick written all over it.
Still, the Sony EQ is half decent I admit, but I can get a better result far easier from A Focusrite Green Range EQ. And it would cost about £300 sh.
Waves: Overpriced, overhyped (by users/owners) awful interface for the EQ in particular.
Free Plugins: Now. theres some very good ones out there especially AU ones. They sound as good to me as any 2, 3 ,4 £500 plugins. Theres even a free impulse reverb out there that gives Altiverb a good run for its money. I know I have them both. Again I have to wonder why I paid £700 for an Altiverb when I could have easily picked one up for free. Maybe I'm just dumb?
OK gotta go now. Apologies for hijacking this thread a little.
Dave if you did do a plugin I beleive it would damage sales of your hardware units. It must be tempting at times to consider this route when many other companies are doing the same thing. But resist if you can. There are many dudes out there like me that are now seeg/hearing that plugs just dont cut it in the pro field and they will be looking at products like yours. I bought the Distressor withing 30 seconds of hearing it. Keep up the good work.
First, thank you for your comments! Besides the nice things you say about the Distressor, I tend to agree with you about the rather "characterless" quality of most plug ins. Again, i have admitted to not knowing the lastest plug ins for PT intimately, but have fiddled about with lots of them recently at shows and demos in stores. On another post I mentioned that many of the Emulations of classic gear just really didnt capture much of the magic that made them classics. It has again to do with the blanket, mathematical modeling that eventually still takes over, when creating a plug in. All the block diagrams, flow charts, and planning in the world will not overcome basic limitations of a sampled system, nor prevent the unwary DSP code writer from making possible eroneous assumptions.
Our ears are remarkably sensitive to minor deviations and tiny transient events. Even when someone attempts to model a circuit down to every transistor, diode, cap and resistor, he/she had better have a well tuned ear, and their weight in good test equipment to make sure the device behaves the same in every situation, as the device he is trying to model, before he declares success.
There's still a lot of wishful thinking going on in the world of plug ins... and I suspect it will probably be a while before Empirical Labs is willing to put their endorsement on a model of their analog products.
Thanks for your thoughts, experiences, and advice, marychain.
Hi Dave. I kinda feel all warm inside now that you have replied to me . Very nice to have the designer of the distressor talking to the users. Cool!
My Every plugin is 'Crap' may have been a little harsh. I'm sure there are a few decent ones out there, I have yet to hear them however. Some reasons I have gone off plugins.
EQ'ing with a mouse. Never have gotten used to it. It feels to detached. Better with a hardware controller, but one still has to think which button to press first. Still not natural, but certainly better than mousing.
The sonics (Eq in particular): Rarely have I been happy with an eqed sound using a plugin + it takes me a lot longer to get the desired result thus more times than not losing the moment. (This is a big problem for many I beleive) which inevetably leads one down the path of "I need more plugins" to get that desired 'sound'
Compression: Characterless pretty much says it all. I feel that Plugin comps just squash the life out of any sound source thrown at it. Yes they can control the dynamics of a signal as good as any hardware plugin. But of course there are nasty side effects + of course there is zero character. Makes sounds 'Small', and thin.
Expense: I fully realise that software companies carry out a lot of research and development But I now compare Plugins with Hardware (Like the Distressor). The choice is easy imo. A brand new distressor isnt that much more than the Sony Comp but one will get far more milage from a Distressor or any other high end box. (well maybe not as I havent tried every high end box)
I would bet a serious amount of dosh that I will still be using my Distressor in 5 years time. I cant say the same for my current range of plugins and I mean any of them. Im sure many in here have a great affection for some of their hardware gear whether it be an outboard EQ, or sampler. I have never had any affection for a plugin. Is that just me?
Plugins that are useful to me tend to be th emore esoteric range of stuff. Although for Pro Tools the esoteric range is rather limited. I think PT's 3rd party plugins are more of the bread and butter type. But there are some VST plugins that are very useable in certain circumstances, and the same goes for Logic's natives plugins. Emagic have a few standout ones like Autofilter for eg, and actually their Multiband Compressor isnt to bad at all. It actually has some character. I'm fortunate enough to be able to use native plugs because I also have the ESB TDM bridge which was definitely one of the best £250 I ever spent. It freed me from the chains of TDM plugs. In a nutshell the best plugins to my ears are the ones that have been designed to be different, or something that is difficult to achieve from hardware boxes.
One question I would like to ask (if its been answered just point me to the thread)
When you guys design something like the distressor is this because you cant find a box to do what you want thus the only course is to build it yourself?
And, what type of sound sources do you use when you are at the prototype stage to test a new piece of gear. Do you use CD's, soloed instruments, vocals, gtrs, etc. Did you try out drum machines, samplers etc. I ask the question because I find the distressor is excellent on just about any sound source I throw at it. (In particular Bass (real or synth) and Vox)
erm I think that was more than 1 question
Thanks again for a great product Dave and its great to see you here.