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which is the best saturation plugin Saturation Plugins
Old 30th October 2018
  #1
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which is the best saturation plugin

Hey guys I'm having a problem deciding among these plug-ins.... wavesNLS or fabfilter Saturn or Soundtoys decapitater.... I would be great full if you would also give me some tips and tricks on saturation
Old 30th October 2018
  #2
Gear Nut
 

I use 3 different types of saturation plug-ins subtly on almost all of my tracks except vocals when I might use one or none, really nice tube preamps give great saturation for vocals

Usually go console/tape/single or multiband(I really like using Saturn here)


I don’t use decapitator as i refuse to ever support any company that requires ilok, but I hear good things about it, the key with saturation is not to over do it unless that’s what your trying to do. The digital audio work station can sound thin and weak, so I use saturation to add depth and kind of venture out of a digital sound, it kind of allows things to seem louder without necessarily getting louder.
Old 1st November 2018
  #3
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I mostly use Klanghelm's SDRR. It can go from insanely subtle to completely overboard so it can accomplish a lot in one plug and sounds good to. I don't use it for 2buss duties though. The only saturation on my 2buss is Slate VCC in SSL mode and Ferric TDS. But honestly, I could probably bypass the saturation on both and have a hard time noticing the difference as both are VERY VERY VERY subtle.
Old 1st November 2018
  #4
DAH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
I mostly use Klanghelm's SDRR. It can go from insanely subtle to completely overboard so it can accomplish a lot in one plug and sounds good to. I don't use it for 2buss duties though. The only saturation on my 2buss is Slate VCC in SSL mode and Ferric TDS. But honestly, I could probably bypass the saturation on both and have a hard time noticing the difference as both are VERY VERY VERY subtle.
Btw, Chris, what's your monitor DAC? I am asking because I have accidentally tried my cheap chinese sabre es9018 USB at 96 vs the usual 44 and the difference on the same material, be it 44 stuff upsampled at 96 or 96 stuff at 96 vs 44 stuff at 44 or 96 stuff downsampled at 44 is just mindfblowing.
Edit: to stay on topic, TubeDriver being a free tube emulation vst by NickCrow is kind of wet/fat sound, though not limiting in terms of absolute level unless cranked up.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoodie View Post
Hey guys I'm having a problem deciding among these plug-ins.... wavesNLS or fabfilter Saturn or Soundtoys decapitater.... I would be great full if you would also give me some tips and tricks on saturation
Waves NLS is a totally different plugin effect (very mild saturation/harmonic distortion to simulate analog channels), so probably discard that? (or the other two)

I own FabFilter Saturn and Soundtoys Decapitator and Soundtoys gets used 99% of the time, although both are good - you can go from pretty mild to ott saturation/distortion. Decapitator is fantastic (as are all Soundtoys) and gets used on everything.

Depends what you’re after.

Soundtoys requires an Ilock account (free) but not necessarily an ilock as far as I am aware. I don’t understand the issue some people have with ilock - I’ve used it for years without issue.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #6
Gear Nut
 

I also use uad culture vulture but don’t like it as much as Saturn, it’s the tone faders that really put Saturn over the top imo, my console is usually a 1073 channel strip and tape I use the studer

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Last edited by Bender412; 21st November 2018 at 07:12 PM.. Reason: Off Topic
Old 2nd November 2018
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

The brand new Softube Harmonics Analog is really good. Reminds me of SDRR with the EQ and compression characteristics.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #8
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open_source's Avatar
 

Saturn, SDRR, Softube Knob, IVGI2, Trash 2, MWaveShaper, SGA1566, Sausage Crapinator, Devastor 2... all have a different sound. You can never have too many saturators, imo.
Old 4th November 2018
  #9
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Thanks a lot guys this really helps
Old 7th November 2018
  #10
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atma's Avatar
 

Saturn is a more flexible distortion plugin, with several different 'types'. NLS is a very specific emulation of saturation from 3 different mixing desk consoles. Decapitator is great, but it's quite a bit more extreme than the others (though Saturn can get very extreme as well). If you're looking for more 'analog style' subtle saturation to use on every channel, I'd go with NLS, as that's what it's meant for. If you want something extreme, the other 2 would do.
Old 7th November 2018
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by atma View Post
Saturn is a more flexible distortion plugin, with several different 'types'. NLS is a very specific emulation of saturation from 3 different mixing desk consoles. Decapitator is great, but it's quite a bit more extreme than the others (though Saturn can get very extreme as well). If you're looking for more 'analog style' subtle saturation to use on every channel, I'd go with NLS, as that's what it's meant for. If you want something extreme, the other 2 would do.
Sup Atma

Have you ever tried the tone faders on Saturn to give samples that lovely hardware saturation sound? The closest thing I’ve heard on a saturation plug-in to give me that old depth, along with console and tape I feel it gets me 90% there

I’m about to buy a kronos and can’t wait to to see what type of saturation i get from the onboard sampler
Old 7th November 2018
  #12
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e-are's Avatar
 

Decapitator
SDRR 2
UBK-1
Saturation Knob
UAD Tapes
Ozone
D O N E
Old 7th November 2018
  #13
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Add HG-2 and VSM-3 to the list.
Old 9th November 2018
  #14
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atma's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artcutech View Post
Sup Atma

Have you ever tried the tone faders on Saturn to give samples that lovely hardware saturation sound? The closest thing I’ve heard on a saturation plug-in to give me that old depth, along with console and tape I feel it gets me 90% there

I’m about to buy a kronos and can’t wait to to see what type of saturation i get from the onboard sampler
Honestly, I haven't spent enough time with Saturn. Regarding the Kronos; the onboard sampler isn't going to give you any kind of 'sound' or character. Any modern sampler is going to reproduce nearly perfectly, whatever you put into it.
Old 9th November 2018
  #15
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by atma View Post
Honestly, I haven't spent enough time with Saturn. Regarding the Kronos; the onboard sampler isn't going to give you any kind of 'sound' or character. Any modern sampler is going to reproduce nearly perfectly, whatever you put into it.
I’ve spoken with people who tell me the Kronos sampler sounds amazing, I would assume it’s as good as the original motif which was released in 2001-2003 and that thing has character and sound I’ve been trying to recreate and can’t do so ITB, I can get about 90% of the way there with heavy plug-in treatment. Korg also has tons of samplers that are used everywhere and give off an amazing sound, saturation and character as well, I would assume their flagship workstation has a great sampler that adds depth and saturation, I would consider the motif to be modern and have a modern sampler, are you saying that it produces exactly what I put into it nearly perfectly? cause its sounds so much warmer fuller and rich after sampling into it and I would assume the Kronos is not to far off of that.

obviously I'm not talking about loading samples but actually sampling/recording them into the unit
Old 9th November 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artcutech View Post
I’ve spoken with people who tell me the Kronos sampler sounds amazing, I would assume it’s as good as the original motif which was released in 2001-2003 and that thing has character and sound I’ve been trying to recreate and can’t do so ITB, I can get about 90% of the way there with heavy plug-in treatment. Korg also has tons of samplers that are used everywhere and give off an amazing sound, saturation and character as well, I would assume their flagship workstation has a great sampler that adds depth and saturation, I would consider the motif to be modern and have a modern sampler, are you saying that it produces exactly what I put into it nearly perfectly? cause its sounds so much warmer fuller and rich after sampling into it and I would assume the Kronos is not to far off of that.

obviously I'm not talking about loading samples but actually sampling/recording them into the unit
Yeah, technically speaking, any modern sampler like that utilizes contemporary AD/DA converters, as well as extremely clean preamps, as well as fairly advanced sample interpolation, so anything you sample into it will sound essentially identical to the source.

The reason vintage samplers have so much character is actually mainly because of the flaws of early digital technology, which in retrospect add a great deal of color and distortion to the signal. Any modern sampler is generally capable of reproducing the original sample nearly flawlessly.

This is the reason Akai S950s, Emu SP1200s, etc., are so expensive nowadays—it's nearly impossible to recreate their exact character ITB.

That isn't to say a Kronos can't do great things with samples (I've never used one, so I have no idea), but you're not going to get any kind of discernable character just by sampling into it.

There are a number of relatively cheap vintage samplers out there that will give you a great deal of character if you know what to look for, though all of them require a great deal of time/effort to actually use. It really depends upon how dedicated you are to get a specific sound, but I can guarantee you that a Kronos isn't going to make a difference.
Old 9th November 2018
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by atma View Post
Yeah, technically speaking, any modern sampler like that utilizes contemporary AD/DA converters, as well as extremely clean preamps, as well as fairly advanced sample interpolation, so anything you sample into it will sound essentially identical to the source.

The reason vintage samplers have so much character is actually mainly because of the flaws of early digital technology, which in retrospect add a great deal of color and distortion to the signal. Any modern sampler is generally capable of reproducing the original sample nearly flawlessly.

This is the reason Akai S950s, Emu SP1200s, etc., are so expensive nowadays—it's nearly impossible to recreate their exact character ITB.

That isn't to say a Kronos can't do great things with samples (I've never used one, so I have no idea), but you're not going to get any kind of discernable character just by sampling into it.
So what about the original motif? would that be considered a modern or vintage sampler in your eyes? cause that thing definitely adds a great deal of character by just sampling into it
Old 9th November 2018
  #18
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atma's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artcutech View Post
So what about the original motif? would that be considered a modern or vintage sampler in your eyes? cause that thing definitely adds a great deal of character by just sampling into it
To be honest, I've never used one, so I can't comment. Being that it was made in 2001, I'd consider it a fairly modern instrument, and AD/DA converters/interpolation algorithms at that time were still pretty advanced, so it likely did impart some color to samples but honestly, I doubt it was very much at all.

If you want 'color' from samplers you need to go back to the 80s/early 90s.
Old 9th November 2018
  #19
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by atma View Post
To be honest, I've never used one, so I can't comment. Being that it was made in 2001, I'd consider it a fairly modern instrument, and AD/DA converters/interpolation algorithms at that time were still pretty advanced, so it likely did impart some color to samples but honestly, I doubt it was very much at all.

If you want 'color' from samplers you need to go back to the 80s/early 90s.
and so this is my point, when sampling into the motif the playback immediately was just so juicy and when spreading the range just wow all up and down the keybed, with absolutely no effects or anything added, I can't recreate that sound, sampling into an Apollo unison Neve preamp and with all types of heavy saturation it gets close with a UA 1073 channel strip as console, studer and then Saturn or thermionic culture,but literally no comparison what so ever honestly and without those saturation plug-ins it's laughable

I've been looking for one in decent condition used at a decent price just to use for sampling but haven't really went ahead and made the jump, but might have too soon. I'm getting the Kronos regardless and would like to have the same feeling I once did sampling into the motif
Old 10th November 2018
  #20
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I've tried them all. Personally, in my opinion nothings beats nebula and their brand, but a huge cpu monster. I stopped using for more algo alternatives. From all i tested I'd say the best 2 that sound like real saturation and does something special to transients is waves factory spectre is hands down the best of what i tested. I had a client who always sends real harsh tracks in the upper ranges and i can eq it out, but splatting spectre on there just smooths all that.

2nd favorite is Mango. Very excellent as well, however you need to over sample it if working at 44k. Most saturators imo just distort the sound and makes things more muffled. I come from tape days and really do hate digital, so I am always after that elusive sound in the digital realm.

all of this is subjective of course.
Old 10th November 2018
  #21
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You absolutely need to demo True Iron (think of that like a console - add it to each track) and Advanced Contemporary Color (just read the thread).

StandardCLIP is also excellent.
Old 10th November 2018
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
You absolutely need to demo True Iron (think of that like a console - add it to each track) and Advanced Contemporary Color (just read the thread).

StandardCLIP is also excellent.
forgot about true iron that stays on my kicks and snares. really try spectre on the master bus.
Old 11th November 2018
  #23
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Yeah, True Iron is absolutely incredible.
Old 12th November 2018
  #24
Omegas, Reddi, UBK-1, Decapitator on A, E and M only. The VCC is also good.
Any way for the price and sound I'd go Kush ones above.

The NLS is just weak.
Old 12th November 2018
  #25
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Don't forget the humble fielding Reviver or Echoboy w/o echo!.....
Old 12th November 2018
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlosj View Post
Omegas, Reddi, UBK-1, Decapitator on A, E and M only. The VCC is also good.
Any way for the price and sound I'd go Kush ones above.

The NLS is just weak.
You've got to kidding. NLS is one of the most EXTREME, over-the-top mixing console emulations ever made. When you start to drive the individual channels, it gets absolutely insane. The "Mike" or Abbey Road console emulations are exceptionally prone to incredibly wonderful saturation, and every single channel has a different character, which becomes more and more pronounced the harder you drive it. The Slate Digital VCC, by comparison, is exactly what I'd consider "weak" in comparison. Not to say it's not a great plug, but it doesn't have anywhere near the level of character and saturation you get with NLS. It's not even in the same ballpark.
Old 13th November 2018
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trevon View Post
forgot about true iron that stays on my kicks and snares. really try spectre on the master bus.
Big fan of Spectre also! Great on the mixbus as you say.
Old 13th November 2018
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by atma View Post
You've got to kidding. NLS is one of the most EXTREME, over-the-top mixing console emulations ever made. When you start to drive the individual channels, it gets absolutely insane. The "Mike" or Abbey Road console emulations are exceptionally prone to incredibly wonderful saturation, and every single channel has a different character, which becomes more and more pronounced the harder you drive it. The Slate Digital VCC, by comparison, is exactly what I'd consider "weak" in comparison. Not to say it's not a great plug, but it doesn't have anywhere near the level of character and saturation you get with NLS. It's not even in the same ballpark.
I am not kidding when talking bout audio stuff, may be the word "weak" I chose was too much, but I just find it with not as much character as other tools. Any way I do not own the NLS, but worked with it on several occasions and it just did not work for me.

I really like the UBK and the VCC Mixbuss on the main bus with just a touch of them and some touch of hardware Vulture ... it sounds great this way.

Also, tastes are by the thousands. If you find it as useful .. well good for you then.
Old 13th November 2018
  #29
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No, it's just surprising because I've used nearly all of the mixing console emulations out there, and the waves NLS is by leaps and bounds the most extreme and colorful of any of them. You can push that thing into full-blown, psychotic distortion. The Slate VCC, on the other hand, is extremely subtle, even when pushed to its limit, and you only really start to get a little bit of signal alteration when you run instances of it on every single channel. You ought to really re-try the NLS, and run it in the Abbey Road (Mike) emulation, and just push the drive on it. The harder you push the drive, the more the specific characteristics of each of the individual 32 (i think?) channel models become really apparent (frequency response differences, phase, crosstalk, stereo width, etc.).
Old 13th November 2018
  #30
f33
Gear Addict
 

some plugs that havent been mentioned

boz little clipper/big clipper - i have little clipper and it sounds great but i got it for 1$, at 49$ seems a bit much

d16 decimort - more of bit crusher but you can get distortion/saturation from the preamp

tritik krush - its free

unfiltered audio indent (2) - i have 1, there is a 2 now, heavy saturation and modular routing options
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