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A Designs Hammer vs. UAD Precision EQ Condenser Microphones
View Poll Results: Which clip is the Hammer (hardware)?
Clip A is the hardware.
20 Votes - 55.56%
Clip B is the hardware.
16 Votes - 44.44%
Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

Old 10th September 2007
  #31
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chrispick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Here's another thought to chew on. Would the differences between these two examples be perceiveable by the average end user listening on an iPod, or on a mid-grade stereo system playing in another room? My feeling is they would not. I have to listen extremely carefully on high end converters and studio monitors in an acoustically treated environment just to maybe hear the differences. And I know what to listen for!
I agree with you. And, by that, I mean, although most listeners aren't audiophiles (some, far from it), they can often sense something they prefer in a mix, however subtle or indescribable. With your examples, though, that'd likely not occur, I think.

I always say strive for the highest quality you can, but some compromises are much easier to absorb than others. And, in this case, I'm not even sure software is a compromise.

I personally find the UAD Prec EQ to be really great-sounding. Granted though, I'm not a man with golden ears. Maybe copper? I hope not aluminum.

I've never tried the Hammer though, and am really curious. I love my two A-Design products (Pacifica and ADDY). I have a feeling I'd really dig the Hammer too (except maybe more for tracking?).

Quote:
One interesting thing I learned from trying to match the Hammer with the plugin is that I should use wider Q's on my plugins more often.
Yeah, whenever I "home master" or just apply EQ across the full mix I use the widest Q I can get away with. Smoother. Less obtrusively EQ'ed.

Again though: ears of copper.
Old 10th September 2007
  #32
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darkwater's Avatar
 

I voted for B. My monitoring is purely laptop and headphones while I'm at home here, but I'm gambling handicapped that the difference is the clarity that I hear in the vocal. Somebody else said it was less "smeary". That nails it on the head for me.

BUT,.... I have no idea what is happening in the low end because of this particular monitoring handicap. So, "disclaimer, disclaimer, disregard this opinion if unpopular," etc....

Again, amazing that it's not more obvious, or....different.

DO TELL!!!
Old 10th September 2007
  #33
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BradM's Avatar
I'm going to keep the poll going for another day and then reveal the answers. Keep 'em coming!

Brad
Old 10th September 2007
  #34
Gear Nut
 
Dyer Maker's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Yeah that's true, but my goal was to just get it close to the hardware curve and verify the match with nulling. The hardware settings were the benchmark in this case.
Did these really come close to nulling? They sound very different and both the peak and RMS levels are off by a dB or so, and It actually sounds like the center frequencies of the EQ are different.

Where did you set the HPF on the plug in?
Old 10th September 2007
  #35
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BradM's Avatar
Not as close as I would have liked. But for a quick comparison it was probably good enough.

I set the HPF on the plugin at 20Hz. That seemed to null out the Hammer the best, which is not very intuitive since the Hammer's high pass is at 84Hz according to Peter Montessi. I tried not to get hung up on it and just went with what sounded close.

Brad
Old 10th September 2007
  #36
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superburtm's Avatar
 

on my crappy comuter speakers B sounds more open and 3d
Old 10th September 2007
  #37
Gear Nut
 
Dyer Maker's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Not as close as I would have liked. But for a quick comparison it was probably good enough.

I set the HPF on the plugin at 20Hz. That seemed to null out the Hammer the best, which is not very intuitive since the Hammer's high pass is at 84Hz according to Peter Montessi. I tried not to get hung up on it and just went with what sounded close.
Not to jump on you here, but this test by which a bunch of people are going to evaluate two different EQs: the levels are different and one has the low end cut off at 84 Hz and the other has it cut off at 21 HZ. ie one has the fundemental frequency of the bass guitar and kick drum cut off and the other does not.

Are the center frequencies the same? Are they doing the same amount of boosting?

Why not just match settings (you would have to guess on Q or ask Peter) and level match for indescrepencies?
Old 10th September 2007
  #38
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BradM's Avatar
Well you see I tried that and it just didn't sound as close as what you are hearing. Keep in mind that there is boosting taking place at 30 Hz for both EQ's...and the amount is slightly different. So if one EQ has a gentle low cut at 84Hz and a larger boost at 30Hz, and the other has a steeper low cut at 20Hz and less of a boost at 30Hz, they might actually be pretty close in the end result. So take it for what it is. It's not a perfect test. Like I said in an earlier post, the two EQ's don't necessarily behave the same. But I tweaked them to be as close as I could make it. I'm sure someone out there with a more versatile plugin could get them closer.

I wouldn't get hung up on the details of corner frequencies. I think there are some of us here that don't necessarily hear a big difference going on in the low end. It's all relative.

Brad
Old 10th September 2007
  #39
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

i feel this is not a test, as, as mentioned the levels are not the same.
i think it is a good bit of fun, and maybe it will encourage some of our younger engineers to keep moving forward, even if only with limited tools.
it is indeed much easier to duplicate a sound you may want if at present you have a target readily available
i have a saying.
it is sometimes much easier to improve upon a great sound, but, to generate a great sound of your own well that is much much, more difficult.
personally when i look at the cost a software and or plugins, i see a never ending money pit, one i at this point see no reason to continue filling.
at some point you will have more then paid for a nice peace gear.
i would rather have one peace of hardware that when i pass a single though it i just go wow!!!!!!!!!!
then i tweak a few things and go holly sheet
so for me the Hammer stays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

oh, and did i say, the HAMMER stays!!!!!!!
Old 10th September 2007
  #40
so which one is which?
Old 10th September 2007
  #41
and by the way, "A" sounds to me like it's gone down a "digital generation" so my guess is that "A" is the plug
Old 10th September 2007
  #42
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sad of Reds View Post
so which one is which?
wow!
i felt i made my position clear?
Old 10th September 2007
  #43
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pan60 View Post
i feel this is not a test, as, as mentioned the levels are not the same.
i think it is a good bit of fun, and maybe it will encourage some of our younger engineers to keep moving forward, even if only with limited tools.
it is indeed much easier to duplicate a sound you may want if at present you have a target readily available
i have a saying.
it is sometimes much easier to improve upon a great sound, but, to generate a great sound of your own well that is much much, more difficult.
personally when i look at the cost a software and or plugins, i see a never ending money pit, one i at this point see no reason to continue filling.
at some point you will have more then paid for a nice peace gear.
i would rather have one peace of hardware that when i pass a single though it i just go wow!!!!!!!!!!
then i tweak a few things and go holly sheet
so for me the Hammer stays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

oh, and did i say, the HAMMER stays!!!!!!!
Fellow slutz--feel free to level match if it makes it easier for you to listen to the two sound clips. I'm not offended if you feel you must do that.

I agree with you Pan60...to a certain extent. I always try to add tools to my studio that will have long-term value and not require replacement in a year or two. But I think the same argument can be made about hardware. Why would anyone need a Hammer or Massive Passive or [insert favorite EQ here] if their Pultec or 1073's is doing the job just fine? There's always new gear coming out every year. And a lot of it makes me go wow. But that doesn't necessarily mean we have to buy it.

When I run music through the shiny new Hammer I think "wow, that's mighty fine music passing through that there Hammer box". Then I run music though the old dusty plugin and I think "wow, that doesn't sound as medicore as I was leading myself to believe...maybe I need to appreciate the tools I have even though they are not shiny and new anymore". Sure--there's no smooth silver knobs to turn and no glow of vintage tubes, but the old EQ actually sounds quite good, and didn't take me too long to find a sound I liked.

Pan60--since you are familiar with the Hammer, why don't you identify which clip was processed with the hardware for everyone. heh

If someone came out with a hardware EQ with big shiny knobs, a glowing jewel lamp, and a classy faceplate, would people still feel excited about turning those knobs if they found out there were a bunch of DSP chips under the hood?

I think most people like gear for as much as the way it sounds as the way it makes them feel about themselves when they are using it. Let's face it, it's hard to get excited about mousing over a virtual knob.

Brad
Old 10th September 2007
  #44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan

If someone came out with a hardware EQ with big shiny knobs, a glowing jewel lamp, and a classy faceplate, would people still feel excited about turning those knobs if they found out there were a bunch of DSP chips under the hood?
You mean like this?

LOL

thumbsup
Old 10th September 2007
  #45
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bcgood's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new View Post
You mean like this?

LOL

thumbsup
Well... Not exactly vintage or shiny. : )
Old 10th September 2007
  #46
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
Is it me? LOL!!!!
I know this is not going to come out right, (I just know it)... but, are these actual mixes?

To me, it sounds like two separate mixes playing back at the same time.

I have been using the Hammer for the past 8 weeks. And because I mix ITB I use plugins ALL the time.
I don't know of a plugin that has the sound quality of the Hammer.

And yet, it's kind of hard to tell you how the Hammer adds something to the mix.

I can only describe it like this: the Hammer adds a color and tone to the mix that has the air of analog, but it leaves the punch of digital.
Old 10th September 2007
  #47
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BradM's Avatar
Tony,

Yeah those are actually mixes. The arrangement has a lot going on--I think that's what you are referring to. It's okay if you dislike the mix. I'm not going to tell you it's the best thing I've ever done. heh

I totally agree with you--I'm not sure I know of anything hardware or software that does what the Hammer does. As soon as I reveal the answers tomorrow I'll try to point this out. The Hammer adds some serious mojo that is very refined, hi-fi, and exciting. Like a lot of A Designs gear it somehow manages to enhance and enrich the musicality of whatever is passing through it.

Brad
Old 10th September 2007
  #48
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new View Post
You mean like this?

LOL

thumbsup
Exactly. Although something that actually looked more like a Pultec (big knobs, simple controls) was more what I had in mind.

How cool would it be if Funk Logic made rack panels that looked great and did something useful like control plugins? heh

Brad
Old 10th September 2007
  #49
Gear Maniac
 
Firefox's Avatar
 

This is the most unbelievably dumb thread EVER

The levels are not matched, the EQ settings are not matched, and the original poster wants us to compare the sound of the two clips, and vote on them?

What a complete and utter stupid exercise in futility.

Brad said:.....” I set the HPF on the plugin at 20Hz. That seemed to null out the Hammer the best, which is not very intuitive since the Hammer's high pass is at 84Hz according to Peter Montessi....”

And you call yourself an engineer? Come on Brad.... the difference between a 20 Hz roll-off and 84 Hz roll-off is HUGE.

And as many people have pointed out - the levels are different too. I checked, and the peak levels are 2 db different between the loudest and the quietest clip.... TWO Db!

Brad said: “...feel free to level match if it makes it easier for you to listen to the two sound clips....”

What the heck? Why wouldn’t YOU level match before posting ...... ideally during your test? Ever heard of Fletcher Munson? I’ll give you a cue - it is Engineering 101. Here is a link to help you learn a basic thing about engineering, perception, and hearing.

Fletcher–Munson curves - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Why bother with this unless you are going to do it properly? What a waste of your time, and everyone else’s time.....

You can’t be serious about this at all, can you? tutt
Old 10th September 2007
  #50
Lives for gear
 
bcgood's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefox View Post
This is the most unbelievably dumb thread EVER

The levels are not matched, the EQ settings are not matched, and the original poster wants us to compare the sound of the two clips, and vote on them?

What a complete and utter stupid exercise in futility.

Brad said:.....” I set the HPF on the plugin at 20Hz. That seemed to null out the Hammer the best, which is not very intuitive since the Hammer's high pass is at 84Hz according to Peter Montessi....”

And you call yourself an engineer? Come on Brad.... the difference between a 20 Hz roll-off and 84 Hz roll-off is HUGE.

And as many people have pointed out - the levels are different too. I checked, and the peak levels are 2 db different between the loudest and the quietest clip.... TWO Db!

Brad said: “...feel free to level match if it makes it easier for you to listen to the two sound clips....”

What the heck? Why wouldn’t YOU level match before posting ...... ideally during your test? Ever heard of Fletcher Munson? I’ll give you a cue - it is Engineering 101. Here is a link to help you learn a basic thing about engineering, perception, and hearing.

Fletcher–Munson curves - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Why bother with this unless you are going to do it properly? What a waste of your time, and everyone else’s time.....

You can’t be serious about this at all, can you? tutt
Old 10th September 2007
  #51
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Watersound's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefox View Post
This is the most unbelievably dumb thread EVER

The levels are not matched, the EQ settings are not matched, and the original poster wants us to compare the sound of the two clips, and vote on them?

What a complete and utter stupid exercise in futility.

Brad said:.....” I set the HPF on the plugin at 20Hz. That seemed to null out the Hammer the best, which is not very intuitive since the Hammer's high pass is at 84Hz according to Peter Montessi....”

And you call yourself an engineer? Come on Brad.... the difference between a 20 Hz roll-off and 84 Hz roll-off is HUGE.

And as many people have pointed out - the levels are different too. I checked, and the peak levels are 2 db different between the loudest and the quietest clip.... TWO Db!

Brad said: “...feel free to level match if it makes it easier for you to listen to the two sound clips....”

What the heck? Why wouldn’t YOU level match before posting ...... ideally during your test? Ever heard of Fletcher Munson? I’ll give you a cue - it is Engineering 101. Here is a link to help you learn a basic thing about engineering, perception, and hearing.

Fletcher–Munson curves - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Why bother with this unless you are going to do it properly? What a waste of your time, and everyone else’s time.....

You can’t be serious about this at all, can you? tutt
Well you don't have to be such a prick about it...take it with a grain of salt- I do.
Old 10th September 2007
  #52
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chrispick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefox View Post
And you call yourself (Brad) an engineer?
Does he?

Quote:
Why bother with this unless you are going to do it properly? What a waste of your time, and everyone else’s time.....
Oh. The Timewaste Police. That's a useful authority on an internet bulletin board.
Old 10th September 2007
  #53
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norman_nomad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefox View Post
This is the most unbelievably dumb thread EVER

The levels are not matched, the EQ settings are not matched, and the original poster wants us to compare the sound of the two clips, and vote on them?

What a complete and utter stupid exercise in futility.

Brad said:.....” I set the HPF on the plugin at 20Hz. That seemed to null out the Hammer the best, which is not very intuitive since the Hammer's high pass is at 84Hz according to Peter Montessi....”

And you call yourself an engineer? Come on Brad.... the difference between a 20 Hz roll-off and 84 Hz roll-off is HUGE.

And as many people have pointed out - the levels are different too. I checked, and the peak levels are 2 db different between the loudest and the quietest clip.... TWO Db!

Brad said: “...feel free to level match if it makes it easier for you to listen to the two sound clips....”

What the heck? Why wouldn’t YOU level match before posting ...... ideally during your test? Ever heard of Fletcher Munson? I’ll give you a cue - it is Engineering 101. Here is a link to help you learn a basic thing about engineering, perception, and hearing.

Fletcher–Munson curves - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Why bother with this unless you are going to do it properly? What a waste of your time, and everyone else’s time.....

You can’t be serious about this at all, can you? tutt
Simmer down there you crazy firefox guy. Brad is very knowledgeable engineer and I'm sure he understands the Fletcher Munson curve and all that good stuff. I'm also sure he understands that no test like this can be too scientific because there are just too many variables which can not be controlled. The lack of Q control alone is enough to put this test in the domain of "just for fun".

I think it's good to be thoughtful about what types of conclusions you can draw in a hardware vs. software thread like this. The quality and rigor of the test is of paramount importance if it is to provide valuable information to the end listener. When we listen to sound comparisons, we are also listening to the choices and interpretations of the experiment's conductor and thus the old advice of "try it in your own studio" is probably still the best.

What’s important to remember is that Brad chose, in this test, to show how close the two units can sound, but not to show how different they can sound. So rather than listening to these examples and concluding that ‘the hardware and the software are nearly the same’, it might be more accurate to conclude that, ‘the way in which Brad chose to test the hardware and the software show how similar they can sound’.
Old 10th September 2007
  #54
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audiomichael's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by norman_nomad View Post
‘the way in which Brad chose to test the hardware and the software show how similar they can sound’.
Did they sound similar AT ALL to you? or anyone else?
Old 10th September 2007
  #55
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gm5k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefox View Post
This is the most unbelievably dumb thread EVER

The levels are not matched, the EQ settings are not matched, and the original poster wants us to compare the sound of the two clips, and vote on them?

What a complete and utter stupid exercise in futility.

Brad said:.....” I set the HPF on the plugin at 20Hz. That seemed to null out the Hammer the best, which is not very intuitive since the Hammer's high pass is at 84Hz according to Peter Montessi....”

And you call yourself an engineer? Come on Brad.... the difference between a 20 Hz roll-off and 84 Hz roll-off is HUGE.

And as many people have pointed out - the levels are different too. I checked, and the peak levels are 2 db different between the loudest and the quietest clip.... TWO Db!

Brad said: “...feel free to level match if it makes it easier for you to listen to the two sound clips....”

What the heck? Why wouldn’t YOU level match before posting ...... ideally during your test? Ever heard of Fletcher Munson? I’ll give you a cue - it is Engineering 101. Here is a link to help you learn a basic thing about engineering, perception, and hearing.

Fletcher–Munson curves - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Why bother with this unless you are going to do it properly? What a waste of your time, and everyone else’s time.....

You can’t be serious about this at all, can you? tutt
Old 10th September 2007
  #56
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

you can level match 'em until the cows come home, they're never gonna sound similar, and the differences are obvious no matter which one is louder.

it's funny people hear the differences in the bottom, when to me the top is much more glaring.

as for our brave hall monitor firefox, i got one word for ya: qualuuds.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 10th September 2007
  #57
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norman_nomad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
you can level match 'em until the cows come home, they're never gonna sound similar, and the differences are obvious no matter which one is louder.

it's funny people hear the differences in the bottom, when to me the top is much more glaring.

as for our brave hall monitor firefox, i got one word for ya: qualuuds.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Yeah. I listened back again, this time just listening to the tambourine and snare and you're right about B reaching a bit more into the upper mid-range region. Knowing the Q of the Hammer is pretty wide ( A-Designs Audio: The MP-1 All Tube Microphone Preamplifier (mic pre) )I'm starting to think I might change my vote to B = hardware. hmmmm

I still like the B mix better.
Old 10th September 2007
  #58
Gear Addict
 
aryschien's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
you can level match 'em until the cows come home, they're never gonna sound similar, and the differences are obvious no matter which one is louder.

it's funny people hear the differences in the bottom, when to me the top is much more glaring.
+1 here. I really don't know which is hardware and which is plug-in; I just prefer A. It's more "transparently processed", something we want from a mastering session, as if the song WERE mixed that well originally.

Now with Tony's description on the Hammer EQ, I really believe that A is Hammer and B is Precision EQ. Unless the eqing was that different that the result strayed away from both eq's nature.
Old 10th September 2007
  #59
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heathen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
you can level match 'em until the cows come home, they're never gonna sound similar, and the differences are obvious no matter which one is louder.

it's funny people hear the differences in the bottom, when to me the top is much more glaring.




gregoire
del
ubk
.
I agree. Though actually prefer B
Old 10th September 2007
  #60
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrispick View Post
The Timewaste Police. That's a useful authority on an internet bulletin board.
+1

someone just has a case of the Mondays
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