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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 8th September 2007
  #1
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BradM's Avatar
A Designs Hammer vs. UAD Precision EQ

This should be a fun listening test.

Here's three clips of a full mix. The one called "MIX" is the original version of the song without any EQ processing. In general I felt the bottom end was a little boomy and the midrange was lacking some clarity. The "A" and "B" versions are processed with the either the Hammer or the UAD Precision EQ plugin. Using the Hammer to get a sound I liked I boosted +2 at 10k, +2 at 1.6k, +3 at 30, and engaged the high pass filter. I then tried to match the settings using the UAD Precision EQ. Mytek 8x192 converters were used for ADDA conversion. A few questions:

Which of the two EQ'd versions do you prefer? Can you describe the differences you hear?

Which do you think is the Hammer and which do you think is the UAD plugin?

Brad

Scroll down for results....













RESULTS: A = Hammer, B = Precision EQ
Attached Files

Cowboys and Indians-MIX.wav (3.43 MB, 3879 views)

Cowboys and Indians - A.wav (3.43 MB, 4273 views)

Cowboys and Indians - B.wav (3.43 MB, 4075 views)


Last edited by BradM; 10th September 2007 at 11:44 PM.. Reason: to post results
Old 9th September 2007
  #2
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BradM's Avatar
Anyone going to take a listen?
Old 9th September 2007
  #3
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Watersound's Avatar
 

Well let's see what I know. If I were to guess I would say "B" is the Hammer- keep in mind I've never used either EQ, but B sounds a touch bigger with more definition overall and bigger low end. "A" seems a bit flatter- still very nice though, but there is a sheen on B which to my ears sounds a touch nicer. I'll tell you what, they both sound very close so it makes me re-think my negative opinion towards plug ins.
Old 9th September 2007
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deuc647's Avatar
 

im at work but will listen tomorrow on my monitors
Old 9th September 2007
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I think A sounds better, overall I think it has a nicer fuller lows than the other.

Was it the same EQ settings? or did you try to recreate the sound of the Hammer with the UAD?
Old 9th September 2007
  #6
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I liked B. Seemed to have better clarity not as smeared.
Old 9th September 2007
  #7
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norman_nomad's Avatar
It's hard to know which is which b/c the low end and is very different ...

I think A is the hardware.

I like the EQ points on B better.

Old 9th September 2007
  #8
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bcgood's Avatar
 

They sound like two totally different eq approaches to me. I prefer A over B. B sounds really thin to me... If I had to guess I would say A is hardware.
Old 9th September 2007
  #9
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u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by norman_nomad View Post
I think A is the hardware.

I like the EQ points on B better.

i'm in a similar boat. i have no idea which is hardware, but i much prefer the eq choices for a. in particular, i don't like the q on b's hi boost. it's too wide, it's grabbing too much around 4k making the whole affair chalky.

it's a cool track, fascinating arrangement. i like the direction the mix is heading, it just sounds like a few faders need massaging and the eq is really emphasizing that. since the producer in me always trumps the engineer, i have a difficult time focusing in on tonal evaluations when other factors loom so much larger to my ears.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 9th September 2007
  #10
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiomichael View Post
I think A sounds better, overall I think it has a nicer fuller lows than the other.

Was it the same EQ settings? or did you try to recreate the sound of the Hammer with the UAD?
The settings were close, but not identical for all bands. I tried to match using the UAD as best as I could. But of course the EQ's don't have the same feature sets so it was not possible to get the EQ curves exactly the same. That may be the variation people are hearing in the low end. For my purposes, if I can get really close with a plugin then it makes no sense for me to spend that much money on a hardware EQ. Or better yet, if I can fool people into thinking a plugin sounds like hardware...

As for the high frequency Q--both the Hammer and the Precision EQ have fixed Q choices so it is what it is.

For the guys guessing that A is the hardware, what are you hearing that makes you think that? Same question for the guys that think B is the hardware.

Brad
Old 9th September 2007
  #11
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Schaap's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by IzovAge View Post
I liked B. Seemed to have better clarity not as smeared.

+1. I think B is the hardware. OTOH A seems to sound more 'even', flatter than B, maybe a more 'modern' sound.

Henk
Old 9th September 2007
  #12
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flute player's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schaap View Post
+1. I think B is the hardware. OTOH A seems to sound more 'even', flatter than B, maybe a more 'modern' sound.

Henk

Hey Henk,

Jij ook hier....Hoe bevalt je nieuwe preamp..
( you too here ?..How do you like you new pre )
Old 9th September 2007
  #13
So I have not listened to the clips yet... hey it's opening Sunday I got things to do....

lol

But I do want to point out that as of when I looked at this last so far the votes are 6 for "A" and 6 for "B"..... and I also want to point out that this is before the results are released.

heh
Old 9th September 2007
  #14
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BradM's Avatar
I think you can draw some interesting conclusions about people's perception of hardware vs. software and the independent relationship of sonic preference vs. type of tool under blind circumstances.

I'd still like to hear more about what people are hearing as differences between the two EQ curves.

Brad
Old 9th September 2007
  #15
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Eigenwert's Avatar
I prefer A
Old 9th September 2007
  #16
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ImJohn's Avatar
I've only listened on computer speakers and my gaming headphones which are seriously hyped, but I couldn't even venture a guess as to which it hardware so I didn't vote.

The differences were subtle but if help at gun point I'd say I think A was slightly 'better' . . . if nothing else because the bass on B was a little too much / less defined on these bass hyped headphones! Mix A seemed a little clearer. . . . maybe . . .

FYI : I opened them up in WaveLab and checked the peak levels and they are different for all three clips!

Original : -5.715 dB
clip A : -4.180 dB
clip B : -3.739 dB

But hey, I really like the arrangement and peice in general! The contrast of the percussion, synth lines and vocals is really interesting and enjoyable! I'd like to buy a copy when it's done!
Old 9th September 2007
  #17
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I'll tell you why I like A more. The tamborine hit is a lot more defined and doesn't get run over by the rumble of the drumers like it does it B. The rumble of the drums sound like individual hits, and not a mushed up rumble like in B. All in all it seems a bit more clear to me.
Old 9th September 2007
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

They sound very close to me. I prefer A.

The only real difference I hear is at the low end, and it may only have to do with a tighter Q; I can't quite place it. They are close enough that I wouldn't fret about having to use one over the other.

I'll guess A is the hardware, but have no basis for that other than preferring it, and still can't bring myself to vote for a plugin (though I know the day is approaching when I will cave on this).

(As others have said - very interesting mix... like it!)
Old 9th September 2007
  #19
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I prefer A and vote A = hardware.

During the first second B sounds brighter, but then it becomes clear that it is due to a narrower-Q high-boost. When I listen through the whole clip I think that B is actually "smaller" than A. OTOH A is smoother without anything poking out too much.
Old 9th September 2007
  #20
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Something about the low end makes me think A is the hardware. B just seemed a bit more mid pushed and slightly less deep...but man, the difference was subtle listening through a UA192 into BM6as. "A" just seemed a bit rounder and smoother.
Old 9th September 2007
  #21
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I Think I am Blown away by the fact that a Analog EQ that is being lauded by some very talented people, could be matched that closely by a software EQ that I could buy for 100.00 dollars right now!

Am I crazy or is that amazing?

I also think the differences might be greater if you had used a less transparent convertor system.





Jazztone
Old 9th September 2007
  #22
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b sounds more "modified" in a sence of "mastered" to me. listening on beyer dt990. i prefer it over a. the vocals fit in better. they have more space, whereas a seems nearly as clouded as the original mix.
but very nice music. interesting stuff. I'd had the vocals done again, perhaps, but the arrangement is great! what are the lead synths? reminds me of an old Roland sh2000 combined with a mini...
has this band a myspace site?
Old 9th September 2007
  #23
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazztone View Post
I Think I am Blown away by the fact that a Analog EQ that is being lauded by some very talented people, could be matched that closely by a software EQ that I could buy for 100.00 dollars right now!

Am I crazy or is that amazing?

I also think the differences might be greater if you had used a less transparent convertor system.
Jazztone
Yeah me too! I think the differences are extremely subtle. And if I had spent another 15 minutes I might have been able to get them even closer. Or maybe if I had used a more flexible plugin I would matched what was going on in the low end better.

I must be crazy too, because I find it really hard to justify spending so much money on a piece of hardware that I can only use on one instrument during a real-time mixdown when software tools I own will do the job with just as much finesse IMHO.

It's really easy to get caught up in a new piece of gear. I ran audio through the Hammer and I thought "wow this sounds amazing". Which it totally does. However, I then took a step back and ran the same audio through some not so new software, and realized that it too sounded pretty amazing. I think my own mental biases against software (hardware has to be soooo much better right?) keep me from appreciating it sometimes as a very useful, powerful, and good sounding tool.

All the synths you hear in the song were done with Reason. There might be some samples in there too that the band collected and triggered with Reason as well. Other than that there is drums, bass, vocals, and trombone. The band is called Pants Pants Pants and their CD which I mixed is available through their website. They are from San Francisco.

Brad

Last edited by BradM; 9th September 2007 at 11:09 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 9th September 2007
  #24
I like the definition of "B" but I'm not sure if it is hardware or software.
Old 9th September 2007
  #25
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BradM's Avatar
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!

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.

Brad
Old 9th September 2007
  #26
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Quote:
I Think I am Blown away by the fact that a Analog EQ that is being lauded by some very talented people, could be matched that closely by a software EQ that I could buy for 100.00 dollars right now!

Am I crazy or is that amazing?
How was this recorded in the first place? What was used? I haven't really listened yet...

...but I think that gear is very much an accumulative deal, especially at the mastering stage.
Old 9th September 2007
  #27
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Hard to tell, but usually the louder I turn things up the worse plugins sound so I think B is the hardware, I've been wrong before.
A) seemed to fizz a bit at a higher volume. These are 2 very very different eq sounds so near impossible to tell as I've never heard either.

Thing is with these eq tests, it is easy to make software sound better than hardware if you are biased towards wanting to make your software sound better or vice versa.

Also I've been in many situations where an analog eq does'nt suit the sound I'm working on anyway and have chosen software over hardware.
Old 9th September 2007
  #28
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Here's how it was recorded (since I did it):

All conversion was Mytek 8x192.

Drums:
SF12 --> Eisen Audio pres with API 2520 opamps, Cinemag iron -- FATSO
Snare --> Heil PR20 --> API 3124+
Kick --> Sennheiser e602 --> API 3124+
Toms --> CAD M179 --> API 3124+ --> Transient Designer

Bass DI --> A Designs REDDI --> CL7602
Bass Amp --> Ampeg SVT3Pro --> Schroeder 1x12" cab --> Heil PR40 --> P1

Vocals --> U99 --> Pacifica (or Karma K35 --> A Designs MP2)

All the Reason tracks were mixed through the FATSO. I used Transient Designer on kick and snare. Bass got mixed through a Distressor and UAD Pultec Pro. I can't remember what was on the kick and snare for compression...probably some Vintage Warmer. The whole mix went through my GSSL stereo bus compressor.

So yeah...I just used whatever random gear was lying around. I will admit that I botched up the mix due to time constraints and poor acoustics in the monitoring environment.

Brad
Old 9th September 2007
  #29
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by heathen View Post
Thing is with these eq tests, it is easy to make software sound better than hardware if you are biased towards wanting to make your software sound better or vice versa.
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.

Brad
Old 10th September 2007
  #30
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heathen's Avatar
 

heh no worries, was just stating the obvious.

Cheers
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