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Analog gear vs. Digital emulation
Old 29th January 2019
  #1
Deleted dc62858 
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Analog gear vs. Digital emulation

I was wondering how close digital emulations of analog gear has gotten today. Is analog gear really that much better in 2019, or is it placebo?
Old 29th January 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted dc62858 View Post
I was wondering how close digital emulations of analog gear has gotten today. Is analog gear really that much better in 2019, or is it placebo?
Digital emulations get closer every year, analog gear still sounds better (to me)...Beyond that, you'll have years of discussion deciding on a %....It depends on what you hear personally whether you think the additional cost is worth it....No one can tell you what you perceive......moon
Old 29th January 2019
  #3
Gear Addict
 

I think if you closely examined 5 separate pieces of the same analogue equipment - you would probably find 5 very close but slight variations on the same theme. In digital they emulate/model one maybe more and compromise those differences. You get a relatively static emulation. It may be very good. But, part of the magic maybe that everytime you power up and maybe slightly change something - or a component drifts a bit - or it warms up- or whatever it may change slightly. I know that I have never powered up a guitar amp rig and had the same sound ever. Analogue synths are the same. Why wouldn't a pre-amp or compressor or EQ exhibit the same slight drift - or difference from one unit to the next.
Old 29th January 2019
  #4
Gear Addict
 

I think that is the most debated thing ever.
Personally I like to use both, I don't think that picking a side would be a smart idea
Old 29th January 2019
  #5
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted dc62858 View Post
I was wondering how close digital emulations of analog gear has gotten today. Is analog gear really that much better in 2019,
Compared to the last time they faced off, way back in 2018, a month ago? I think a lot of people will express a feeling that software just keeps getting better. But maybe some of that feeling is because people are getting better at using it. Is that that same thing? I think maybe it is.

And I think a lot of people will still go to the wall for their analog gear. How close is it? Close enough that some people say: "close enough". And other people won't. But how close is that, you ask? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

If you are curious, and you have the dough, get some hardware and use it see what you hear. If you are worried about placebo, you can blindfold ABX yourself. If you don't have the dough, don't let it make you crazy.
Old 29th January 2019
  #6
Deleted 9537e4f 
Guest
what do you mean with "better" ?
there are at least two perspectives: the creator and the recipient.
wich side are you on?
Do you think michelangelo had made the same pictures if he had just a computer, a mouse and software?
i dont think so! Do his pictures look better on a canvas or a samsung oled display? i am not so sure.
Old 29th January 2019
  #7
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Bstapper's Avatar
 

Yes - analog sounds better. It's also noisier, more expensive, uses more electricity, doesn't typically come with recall capability, takes up space, runs up the cost of cabling, etc.

But it still sounds better...

Cheers,
Brock
Old 29th January 2019
  #8
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kennybro's Avatar
It depends...
If it's someone who never uses or owns rack gear, digi sounds better.
If it's someone who has thousands $$$ invested in rack gear, analog sounds better.
If it's a famous engineer/producer endorsing in an advertisement, they sound the same.
Old 29th January 2019
  #9
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instrument vs emulation of an instrument

(fxck link to perfect meme didn‘t work)

anyway... most people don‘t care and don‘t hear a difference. plugs will be there in the next 10 years. i personally like to play a real physical instrument. and i don‘t care paying more.
Old 30th January 2019
  #10
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TurboJets's Avatar
Plug your Strat into a '77 Vibro Champ, then plug it in to Helix or Amplitube and hear for yourself there is no comparison. Not even close enough to allow an argument.
Old 30th January 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
Plug your Strat into a '77 Vibro Champ, then plug it in to Helix or Amplitube and hear for yourself there is no comparison. Not even
close enough to allow an argument.
If you can play (and you can set the units, not using presets), you can record interesting tracks using all of them and using both digital and analog. It depends on the guitarist and his tones.

You are also omitting good old Kemper and of course the new Axe FX III. They are definitely good for recording.
Old 30th January 2019
  #12
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimi777 View Post
If you can play (and you can set the units, not using presets), you can record interesting tracks using all of them and using both digital and analog. It depends on the guitarist and his tones.

You are also omitting good old Kemper and of course the new Axe FX III. They are definitely good for recording.
And margarine is interesting but butter blows it out of the water in so many ways.

Kemper and Axe FX? Out of range for the majority of guitarists and still falls short.
Old 30th January 2019
  #13
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zvukofor's Avatar
Blasphemy: any good digital EQ and versatile enough compressor sounds not worse than SSL 4000 console EQs and comps. A lot of people (me included) demonstrated this a lot of times. Why? Well, Paul Frindle, the Man that designed/engineered 4k easily explains: it was designed for versatility and transparency, as much as analog technologies of that era could give. Go figure.

Emulating nonlinearities is a damned job, no one succeed at 100%. Yet, we can have (almost) the same compressors behavior, and somehow resembling nonlinearities/harmonics sets. Close enough to use? - yeap. Look at the AxeFX or Kemper Amp, and the guitar guys has a finely tuned ear for a particular distortions recognition...
Old 30th January 2019
  #14
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zvukofor's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
Plug your Strat into a '77 Vibro Champ, then plug it in to Helix or Amplitube and hear for yourself there is no comparison. Not even close enough to allow an argument.
Cant say about Amplitube or Helix, but playing through S-Gear, bluesy amp overdrive plugged to the same cab (but with a clean amp) definitely not worse.

Yet i must admit no one modelled good sounding nonlinearities of a speaker in breakup mode with a coil going almost on fire.
Old 30th January 2019
  #15
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zvukofor's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
And margarine is interesting but butter blows it out of the water in so many ways..
Damn i agree!
But you missing the point: “butter” here is live, acoustic sound, and “margarine” is anything we trying to do with it with a help of electricity. So, which margarine is better compared to butter?....)
Old 30th January 2019
  #16
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zvukofor View Post
Damn i agree!
But you missing the point: “butter” here is live, acoustic sound, and “margarine” is anything we trying to do with it with a help of electricity. So, which margarine is better compared to butter?....)
exactly

the "removal" from Reality happens when you put up a mic and turn the sound into a waveform. The difference between storing and interpreting that waveform as a voltage or as numbers is just a quibble.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Head
 

As a 12 year recording artist, with a SUPERB ear, i can honestly tell you, i absolutely hate songs and mixes that are produced and mixed exclusively in software without any hardware or analog touch. It sounds like f**kin garbage to me and somewhat uninspiring. Beats made in hardware, or made in software but processed through actual gear is significantly more inspiring and easier to perform on than software based tracks. As a long time recording artist, i can honestly say the difference is painfully obvious. It's like comparing smartphone photos with a $5,000 Nikon photo.. Sure, smartphone camera software has dramatically improved but only in sharpness and clarity, but lack severely in other aspects, such as: Dynamic range, saturation, micro-contrast.. It' always a trade-off with software. It's a bit scammish the way they market software in the music industry and other industries such as smartphones. Half of what the consumer hears or sees is psychological.. And uhh, let's not start with replies that will begin a convo about how, "everything is psychological when you think about it", i'm trying to be down to earth here.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
Deleted e999d8e 
Guest
Yawn. The fellow who works down the street from me does location recording with symphony orchestras, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and he does everything digitally, including mastering on Sequoia. His customers couldn't care less about whether he wanks around with analog gear or not. He'd probably laugh if anyone brought up the subject.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
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robert82's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by court131 View Post
As a 12 year recording artist, with a SUPERB ear . . . . As a recording artist with a razor sharp ear . . . . . i'm trying to be down to earth here.
First post, June 23, 2019. Welcome to Gearslutz. You'll fit right in.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
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RedBaaron's Avatar
No...No...Noooohhhh! Not Again! Not. Againnnn!!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
Deleted e999d8e 
Guest
Superb.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
Deleted e999d8e 
Guest
Maybe he did work for 'Foreigner'.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by court131 View Post
As a 12 year-old recording artist, with a SUPERB ear, i can honestly tell you, i absolutely hate songs and mixes that are produced and mixed exclusively in software without any hardware or analog touch. It sounds like f**kin garbage to me and somewhat uninspiring.
I could be wrong, but I think I fixed it for you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by court131 View Post
And uhh, let's not start with replies that will begin a convo about how, "everything is psychological when you think about it", i'm trying to be down to earth here.
Try harder.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
Deleted e999d8e 
Guest
If you really want the analog experience, try recording through an acoustic horn. Tell me you love analog then (this is where the dominatrix steps on your face to make you say it, btw).
Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by court131 View Post
As a 12 year recording artist, with a SUPERB ear, i can honestly tell you, i absolutely hate songs and mixes that are produced and mixed exclusively in software without any hardware or analog touch. It sounds like f**kin garbage to me and somewhat uninspiring. Beats made in hardware, or made in software but processed through actual gear is significantly more inspiring and easier to perform on than software based tracks. As a recording artist with a razor sharp ear, i can honestly say the difference is painfully obvious. It's like comparing smartphone photos with a $5,000 Nikon photo.. Sure, smartphone camera software has dramatically improved but only in sharpness and clarity, but lack severely in other aspects, such as: Dynamic range, saturation, micro-contrast.. It' always a trade-off with software. It's a bit scammish the way they market software in the music industry and other industries such as smartphones. Half of what the consumer hears or sees is psychological.. And uhh, let's not start with replies that will begin a convo about how, "everything is psychological when you think about it", i'm trying to be down to earth here.
That's really impressive.

How many Grammy's do you have?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
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robert82's Avatar
I have a distinct feeling we have been profoundly trolled.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #27
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Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
You also have to ask if the emulations are emulating stock analog gear, or modded gear, as most gear gets some kind of treatment. I first learned this in a thread maybe 8 to 10 years ago. Names like Bob Olson and John Hardy were commenting. They were defending the idea that classic gear was being modded before it ever hit the rack. All my gear is modded in some form or fashion. So what are they emulating?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
Deleted 99dc753 
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted dc62858 View Post
I was wondering how close digital emulations of analog gear has gotten today. Is analog gear really that much better in 2019, or is it placebo?
I drifted myself a long time to find a good answer. To me there are styles of music when all ITB producing just works fine.

But many styles, special if we talk homerecording without hardware in tracking, still require hardware to get that record sound. With hardware in tracking mixing ITB can work too, having it also in mix mode does not hurt either.

Are plug ins bad by default?

No, but there is still no way that they capture all possible reactions of their hardware brothers and sisters.

In many styles hardware just ads something magical to the sound picture. One of the best examples is hardware compression on the leadvocal. There is that magical 3d picture/ribbon from the left to the right speaker - which I yet have not found in a plug in.

On the other hand some plugs give you things which you can't find in the analog world.

The big exception is reverb and delay to me. It has been digital for ages and plug ins just work great to my ear.

No one will die if more and more hobby producers work hybrid.....
Old 3 weeks ago
  #29
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Bstapper's Avatar
 

On a unrelated but somewhat related topic -

Saturation still isn't anywhere close. There has been a trend over the last five years or so for major releases to have some kind of extreme saturation, ala John Lennon, on vocals and it always sounds fake and horrible to me. To a lesser extent I can get fatigued when too much harmonic content from saturation is introduced by multiple digital processes on recordings, but the obvious saturation plug abuse attempting to mimic classic overdrive is so dated sounding that in the future it is going to be equivalent of the 80's cheesy DX7 digital piano, or late 90's/2000's vocoder/autotune, of the 2010's.

It is really a shame, as to get that lofi sound if you run through a small tube combo the limited bandwidth and natural saturation sounds soooo much better. So it doesn't take a lot of money to get it right if you are after that effect.

/rant

back on topic - digital reverbs with and without modulation and delays, yes. I completely agree. Rooms and plates? Nowhere close in my opinion. Still some generations away from the processing power to do those efficiently and realistically.

Cheers,
Brock
Old 3 weeks ago
  #30
Lives for gear
 

i'm waiting for some analog gear to emulate digital gear of the past...

seriously: i can't see much of a need for analog gear these days (at least for myself); getting a studio equipped with all analog gear would (still) be very expensive while digital gear/software is much more affordable. plus it has not only been catching up, it outperforms analog in most ways, in the studio and in live sound, plus it rules in broadcasting. it keeps getting even more affordable, emulations keep getting even better, for a fraction of the price of analog gear.

digital transformed the way we're working today in our business and made recording/mixing/mastering accessible to way more folks than ever.

digital/emulations=power to the people!
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