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How does it sound? Equalisers (HW)
Old 25th August 2007
Gear Maniac
goatie's Avatar

How does it sound?


I need your thoughts on this idea:

All of us are interested in gear, that's why we are here. Unfortunately, for some of us, it's not always easy to audition certain pieces of gear.

That's why I want to launch a new website very soon.

On this website you will be able to hear what a certain piece of gear (EQ, compressor, ...) sounds like on different instruments (such as vocals, guitars, drums, ... ).

An example:
You are interested in a certain outboard EQ, and you just wonder what it can do to a vocal. On the website you search that particular EQ, select the instrument "vocal", and you get to hear processed audio files with multiple possible settings. Next to this you would off course hear the original audio file to hear what the gear really does to it. Interested in what that EQ can do to a guitar, or a snare? ... look it up, there you go!

Another example:
You are interested in buying an EQ for vocals, but don't know what to look for.
Choose the instrument "vocal", select "EQ", and you get vocals processed with different brands and types of EQ.

This would make it much easier to get an idea about what the gear can do for you.
Sometimes a simple audio file just says so much more.

I'm thinking of 20 to 30 second clips (a short vocal line, a guitar part, and so on ...). More specifics about the audio files are following.

With all our gear combined, we have all the gear in the world.
Can we make this happen? Together, I think we can!

What are your thoughts on this?
Do you have the gear, and a few minutes?
Is there any gear you always wanted to hear but never had the chance to?

**************** guidelines ****************

Audio files will be:
  • 20 to 30 seconds long
  • 16 bit
  • 44.1 Hz
  • wave
  • compressed for easy up- and download (Winrar for Windows, ??? for Mac)

The original dry sample files will be used by everyone participating.
There will be files for different instruments:
  • vocal, female
  • vocal, male
  • guitar, electric
  • guitar, acoustic
  • bass, electric
  • drum, kick
  • drum, snare
  • drum, hihat
  • drum, tom
  • ...

The processing will be:
  • DAW -> DA -> the gear -> AD -> DAW
    Just one piece of gear at a time, no other items, no plugins, ...

You will be able to download:
  • the original file
  • the processed file
  • the specs:
  • - the settings
  • - DAW used
  • - ADDA used

Old 25th August 2007
Lives for gear
miqer's Avatar

Im in.

I would love to hear how the Chandler Tone Control can make a clean drum sound, sound 'dirty' like the old days. Or a guitar for that matter.


You should also HAVE to include a sharp picture of the gear used, with the knobs in vieuw.


The samples should be wav... and not too long.

Old 25th August 2007
Gear Addict
AudioFocus's Avatar

I'm in. I'm currently rebuilding, but when I'm done, I'll contribute whatever you need. Really cool idea man.

Old 25th August 2007
Lives for gear
miqer's Avatar

I would be glad to record my Hammond with 10 different mic's and post that...
Old 25th August 2007
Lives for gear

Good idea, but there are some real problems to do this scientifically.

If a random assortment of people take part in this:

#1 - quality of D/A and A/D conversion will vary
#2 - skill level will vary (gain structure settings in particular)
#3 - personal taste will differ
#4 - monitoring and room conditions will affect choices made
#5 - comparing different gear via parameter settings is practically useless

But considering those limitations, this would still be a great idea. It would be important to have clear guidelines. For example: sample depth and rate should be agreed on, or at least documented for each sample. The dry sample should always be available for comparison, and the make of converters and software should always be documented.

Done well, this would be an extremely useful resource.
Old 25th August 2007
Lives for gear

Can we assume that the dry samples would be supplied and shared by the website? There is very little point in hearing totally different original dry samples for each piece of gear.

That's the basic problem with microphone shootouts - what you are mainly hearing is differences in takes, which we know vary enormously within the same session.

If the same dry samples were used by everyone participating, then we could hear just what the gear is doing, and no other variables (except for the ones I mentioned above - still a long list).
Old 25th August 2007
Lives for gear
miqer's Avatar

Originally Posted by Kiwiburger View Post
Can we assume that the dry samples would be supplied and shared by the website? There is very little point in hearing totally different original dry samples for each piece of gear.

You can upload a sample. And 2 or 3 people put it thru the gear. You listen to all of them. Pictures included of the SETTINGS. Description of the converters etc.


ps. I just got a T.bone ribbon mic because someone here posted a guitar recorded with it. So it could work.
Old 25th August 2007
Gear Maniac
goatie's Avatar

Thanks for the comments! Those are indeed points I was going to address in my next post, but you beat me to it heh

Some info on the audio files and processing:
  • The signal chain should be DAW -> DA -> the gear -> AD -> DAW. Just one piece of gear at a time, no other items, no plugins, ... that would give us too many variables.
  • 16 bit. We could try 24 bit, but I want to keep size and traffic in mind just a little bit :-p
  • 44.1 Hz
  • .wav files (no mp3's off course)
  • 20 to 30 seconds length
  • compressed files to upload and download (winrar for windows, which program for mac?). Both the original file and processed file will be available
  • the settings (In order of preference: clear sharp pictures, gear templates, text)
  • other info: which DAW was used, which ADDA converters where used, ...

Nobody will use a piece of gear in the same way, so multiple audio files and settings would be great. One setting just not covers the possibilities.
And let's not forget to have some fun too, and push some pieces to extreme settings to hear the results and see how far we can go.

A question about the source files. We have 2 possibilities here:
1) We work with several audio files used be everyone participating.
For example a sample of an electric guitar, which can then be processed by everybody with their gear and different settings. The same goes for a female vocal sample, a male vocal sample, a kick, a snare, ... .
This way we can have some way of comparing gear.
(But it's not my intention to make this about "this gear is better then ...")

2) Everybody works with their own files.
If we let everybody use their own files, we get more variety, and perhaps learn more about in which situation the gear works best. But then we have less ways of comparing the gear.
More thoughts needed on this question.

This isn't at all ment to be a scientific shootout between the different pieces of gear. The most important thing is to hear what it does to the source material.
On the other hand, I don't want all files to differ too much in level. How can we decide on some kind of standard level here to keep this an enjoyable listening experience?

Thanks again for your thoughts, I'm really excited about getting this thing going
Old 25th August 2007
Lives for gear
miqer's Avatar

Why not also VST + RTAS effects?
Old 25th August 2007
Gear Maniac
goatie's Avatar

We could certainly consider doing that in the future, but I'm more aiming at the outboard gear.

Plugin demos can most of the time be downloaded from the manufacturer's website, so you can test them for a few days in your own studio. Hardware outboard gear on the other hand is harder to get in your studio.

But I will certainly consider it, it's always nice to see how other people are using gear, including plugins
Old 25th August 2007
Lives for gear
miqer's Avatar

I agree, gear only!

Will it be a lot of work to maintain a site like that? Is the traffic (large RAR files) expensive?
Old 25th August 2007
Gear Maniac
goatie's Avatar

It will take some work, and it will certainly take some traffic. Where there's a will there's a way, don't worry about it

But in order for this to happen I really do need the help of you guys here, my fellow gearslutz
  1. The first thing we need to do is decide on the original 20 to 30 second clips.

    I was thinking of the following categories to start with:

    vocal, female
    vocal, male
    guitar, electric
    guitar, acoustic
    bass, electric
    drum, kick
    drum, snare
    drum, hihat
    drum, tom
    ... other ideas?

    I'm sure a lot of you have a short clip in these categories you could share. You would do us all a great favor And you would get to hear your file processed by some gear you never heard before

    If you would like to participate, post a link to the file here so we can all decide on the most appropriate files.

  2. The second thing is the processing itself.

    Let's start with EQ and compression.

    For example:
    EQ: Chandler Germanium Tone Control, A-designs Audio EM-PEQ, Empirical Labs Lil Freq, API 550a, ...
    Compressors: Chandler Germanium Compressor, Purple MC77, ...
    ... other ideas? Which EQ or compressor do you want to hear?

    Which gear do you have? Do you want to participate?

Credit where credit's due, the website will obviously mention who provided the files and processing.
This will be a long term project, who knows what comes out of it
Old 26th August 2007
Lives for gear
miqer's Avatar

Let's not have standard samples... but original once. This way if you upload something, you can have some fun, like the thread about the new Neumann mic... the guy sining the old folk song. It's an mp3, at 128kpbs, so you can't really tell... but if more people would upload WAV's of singing true the same mic, you could get a little better idea of what the mic is about.
Old 26th August 2007

it's a great idea.

and, yes, the major problems are:

organizing general concensus priorities
contributor set-up consistency
data-base management

it's a tough one w/ mics, but for assorted comp / eq / pre, etc.
it could be good.

maybe pre-recorded .wavs ARE the way to go

but, great idea.

could be great for summing tests, tube amps, etc., as well...

obviously it's hairy, but it would be fun.

don't kid yourself though - it's definitely a challange..

Old 26th August 2007
Gear Maniac
goatie's Avatar

It's definitely a challenge, but do-able.

Taking ADDA and levels into consideration, it would still be a very great opportunity.
Off course, we can't avoid people using different converters, and who am I to say which one is allowed for this test and which not. If each audio file mentions which DAW, ADDA, ... was used, that's enough, just so the listener can take it into account.

I'm aware of the fact that mic shootouts are difficult because of the different performances. But let's start simple, with for example EQ and compressors, and we'll see how that goes. We can always add other "processing" in the future.
Old 29th August 2007
Jai guru deva om
warhead's Avatar

At Studio Auditions "Jam Room Sessions" we have already begun early testing for compressor comparisons (just haven't figured out exactly what's fair to compare other compressors against these files down the road) to add to our mic comparisons. This is actually coming pretty soon...! One manufacturer has already sent me multiple models to begin the process with, once we figure out the parameters we will be able to roll along pretty easily with any compressor we can get our hands on.

EQ is planned afterwards.

I'm not trying to steal anybody's thunder, but just stating that this resource already exists except the idea isn't to have it done by tons of different people around the world. Another future plan of mine was to possibly figure out the parameters for hardware boxes that are hard to get our hands on, but only let ProTools HD users participate so that the conversion and levels match (the Jam Room has HD and thus far all of the mic clips are converted using it). This is assuming another set of converters doesn't get chosen for these hardware tests! Whatever we choose it will be consistent.

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