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Saturation plugin advice..
Old 17th June 2009
  #1
Gear Addict
 

Saturation plugin advice..

Hey Guys,

I've been experimenting with tape saturation plus ever since I watched Charles Dye's DVD..

I have psp mixsaturator 2, and massey tapehead , but I really find it hard to get a sound that I feel is an improvement on the mixes I work on..(usually place the plugz on after the normal processing has been done)

I usually start on presets (hot valve/hot tape) ,but its unclear sometimes exactly what the plugin is doing other than raising the apparent volume of tracks.

Also I'm never sure if placing the saturation plugz on individual tracks or buses (inc master bus) is the best,and whether to place the plug first or last in the chain of inserts is best..

I'd really appreciate any advice on this subject!

MC
Old 18th June 2009
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Ive actually felt the same way about the PSP Mixsaturator2. At first I thought it was making everything sound better, then I realized it was just because everything was louder. When I played things at equal volume I couldnt really hear any difference at all, unless I started playing with the Warmth and Softness knobs. I don't really want to do that though because it completely changes the eq of the track. The manual for it doesnt really explain how to use it properly which is annoying.

As far as Saturation plugins, at least in the VST world I find them very confusing and over complicated. In my opinion a saturation plugin should be, for example, a 2 inch tape preset, and then how much you want to drive it. I don't want to be deciding how much low end or high end, compression, saturation ect.. I want the plugin to decide that just like tape does. The URS Saturation plugin seemed to be the closest to this, but I didnt find it too useful so far to warrant the money. I was really hooked on Saturation plugins for awhile until I realized the sounds I was achieving with them that I liked weren't really due to the saturation.
Old 18th June 2009
  #3
Digidesign's ReelTape Saturation is the best I've found if you really want it to sound close to using actual tape.

Otherwise, McDSP's Analog Channel 2 is also really great but a bit more of a saturation compressor.
Old 18th June 2009
  #4
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IsleBeatUDown's Avatar
I'd chime in on the last and say that the saturation is one thing, but the eq pre-emphasis is another. I occasionally use Voxengo's just as an eq. Also, you can basically "target" a frequency for saturation.

And you probably just want to swear off using this stuff on the 2-bus. Put it on the individual tracks which need it. Often heavy saturation blended back in with the original signal is what you need (thinking drums now).

Cheers,
Rob
Old 18th June 2009
  #5
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rhythmtech's Avatar
 

+1 on the AC2. the studer preset is beautiful.

if you want a simple tape saturation without all the fussing you should try nebula "colour tape" just an input, drive and output.
Old 18th June 2009
  #6
Gear Addict
 

thanks guys, thats great-I should have said, im using Logic at the moment mostly, so its gotta be AU format..

the digi saturation plug looks great but I assume its PT only..

Charles Dye sure does use allot of it on that dvd, individual tracks and busses-well it sounds great with what he's doing!!

MC
Old 18th June 2009
  #7
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gussyg2007's Avatar
if you are using logic (like me) use the bit crusher 16 bit on about +3 drive it's acts like a tape drive but believe me sound much better !! try it on your drum buss after your fav comp, trust me it really does work been on my bus on every mix for the past 8 years it acts like a limiter as well stops all the overs but in a nice way heh
Old 18th June 2009
  #8
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White Falcon's Avatar
Please don't me, but the old Magneto (Vst) that was introduced in SX and removed in Cubase 5 (or 4?) is really good! If you adjust your levels there is something (good) happening to the signal, not just more volume as many tend to do.

This plug is free for download somewhere on Steinbergs page. You can search the Cubase forum for this also.

Seriously, test it!
Old 19th June 2009
  #9
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Insomniaclown's Avatar
 

I have heard that Logics tape delay is really good at simulating tape saturation. There was a discussion on this not too long ago. If you do a search, I am sure you will find something useful about it.
Old 19th June 2009
  #10
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Jamzone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by White Falcon View Post
Please don't me, but the old Magneto (Vst) that was introduced in SX and removed in Cubase 5 (or 4?) is really good! If you adjust your levels there is something (good) happening to the signal, not just more volume as many tend to do.

This plug is free for download somewhere on Steinbergs page. You can search the Cubase forum for this also.

Seriously, test it!
Yeah, I loved Magneto back in the days! Possible to get an AU-version?? Anybody?
Old 19th June 2009
  #11
No saturation plugin sounds like tape and IMHO none ever will - it's far too difficult to analyze the nonlinearities of magnetic systems, let alone model them accurately.The only thing I know of that comes close to tape is the hardware tape emulator box from Rupert Neve, which uses actual magnetic elements in the circuit - and even that doesn't model the tape formulations.

If you want the sound of tape, use tape. That's not to say saturation plugins are useless - but they just don't sound like tape.
Old 19th June 2009
  #12
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

URS Saturation is cross platform and the one I like the most... You may want to also check out SPL Twin Tube.
Old 19th June 2009
  #13
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drBill's Avatar
I'm surprised no one's mentioned Massey's Tapehead or Crane Song's Phoenix. thumbsupthumbsup for both. Can't imagine mixing without them.
Old 19th June 2009
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

MAGNETO! I loved that thing, and I know so much more than I did then. I just loved how it made the track compressed and dirty. I want it now.
Old 19th June 2009
  #15
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iankaravas's Avatar
 

I feel the same way about psp mix saturation. I cant hear the difference...no matter what headphones / monitors i use.
Old 19th June 2009
  #16
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i use the URS saturator a lot and then the tape knob on the cranesong hedd over the master. it might not sound 100% the same as tape, but it sounds good
Old 19th June 2009
  #17
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Jamzone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
No saturation plugin sounds like tape and IMHO none ever will - it's far too difficult to analyze the nonlinearities of magnetic systems, let alone model them accurately.The only thing I know of that comes close to tape is the hardware tape emulator box from Rupert Neve, which uses actual magnetic elements in the circuit - and even that doesn't model the tape formulations.

If you want the sound of tape, use tape. That's not to say saturation plugins are useless - but they just don't sound like tape.
There you go again... Did the thread say 'Tape emulation pludin'?? It said saturation plugin. And the only reason you're mentioning the Rupert Neve box is probably cause it's the only one you've tested (or heard of). Did you try the El-fatso, the Anamod ATR or the Cranesong Hedd/Phoenix?? I would bet my ass you haven't. You don't have to post in every thread. You have way to much time on your hands man. Do something creative with it.

//Jamzone
Old 19th June 2009
  #18
Gear Addict
 

thanks for the input folks,

you know I have massey tapehead, and whilst I like it on bass and drum stuff, I fel it sounds too distorted forvocals and acoustics ..its more like a mild distortion plugin (I know that saturation is a kind of distortion) but this just seems harsher.

for instance, Charles Dye talks about putting the tape saturation at the end of the chain and always says it soaks up some of the top end,where as tapehead seems to do something distructive to the top end and almost make t scratchy ounding if that makes sense..on vox, that just sounds harsh.


MC
Old 19th June 2009
  #19
Gear Addict
 

this isn't to do with plugins*- so sorry for the slight OT, but I've recently been getting into running the odd track out to one of those akai m8 preamps and then back through an old four track...distorting it a bit in both.

Works wonders for that 'more present' but not just louder thing that I think you're looking for.

* but I'm not anti plugins or anything, I just haven't got a saturation one. No flaming pls
Old 19th June 2009
  #20
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boody's Avatar
 

The only one I find useful until now is the Fieldings dsp Reviver (mac only). It can give depth and focus to the sound without altering it too much, in other words it is not an equalizer. It's a bit expensive though. The free Massey tapehead is good on some stuff but not too versatile imho, I see it as a subtle distortion plug.
Old 19th June 2009
  #21
Deleted 99dc753
Guest
To help a bit I made a comparison between some of the discussed plug ins.

I adjusted the saturation by ear and tried to set them up at the same RMS level.

As everything it is taste and sense of listening thing.

I just named the files for you A B C ...

Take the Pepsi challenge one is HW can you find it?

Have fun!!!

Andreas
Attached Files
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Old 19th June 2009
  #22
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Dusty Angel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post
To help a bit I made a comparison between some of the discussed plug ins.

I adjusted the saturation by ear and tried to set them up at the same RMS level.

As everything it is taste and sense of listening thing.

I just named the files for you A B C ...

Take the Pepsi challenge one is HW can you find it?

Have fun!!!

Andreas
F
Old 19th June 2009
  #23
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SOLOIST101 View Post
thanks for the input folks,

you know I have massey tapehead, and whilst I like it on bass and drum stuff, I fel it sounds too distorted forvocals and acoustics ..its more like a mild distortion plugin (I know that saturation is a kind of distortion) but this just seems harsher.

for instance, Charles Dye talks about putting the tape saturation at the end of the chain and always says it soaks up some of the top end,where as tapehead seems to do something distructive to the top end and almost make t scratchy ounding if that makes sense..on vox, that just sounds harsh.


MC
I would highly suggest Phoenix for you then. Combined with Tapehead, it's the best of both worlds for me.
Old 19th June 2009
  #24
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miro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post
To help a bit I made a comparison between some of the discussed plug ins.

I adjusted the saturation by ear and tried to set them up at the same RMS level.

As everything it is taste and sense of listening thing.

I just named the files for you A B C ...

Take the Pepsi challenge one is HW can you find it?

Have fun!!!

Andreas

i'd say the G or H!
Old 19th June 2009
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
URS Saturation is cross platform and the one I like the most...
++thumbsup
Old 19th June 2009
  #26
Lives for gear
I did alot of experimenting as well after watching MILAR. I was amazed that he used it on almost every channel.

I have Voxengo Varisaturator and Virsyn Tape. IME you have to know what frequency you want to zone in on and target it so only that slight distortion comes thru, rather than making the entire bandwidth saturated. Slapping it on (kinda like he seemed to do, because he was quick) did not work. It produced mud and unfocused elements. With Voxengo, there is a X-over that is the entire key to the software. I also personally only use either valve or digital, never both unless I want an effect. With Virsyn, the EQ section and the in/out balance seems to be important.

But, yeah Voxengo can take some time to wrap around. You really have to understand how the gain and FX knobs interact (FX adds sat and subdues the transients, so adding too much might add blur), and I think the distortion frequency is important to zone in on with the crossover knob and the gain going into the 'valves'.
Old 19th June 2009
  #27
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doug hazelrigg's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post
To help a bit I made a comparison between some of the discussed plug ins.

I adjusted the saturation by ear and tried to set them up at the same RMS level.

As everything it is taste and sense of listening thing.

I just named the files for you A B C ...

Take the Pepsi challenge one is HW can you find it?

Have fun!!!

Andreas
Again, I must be deaf. I can't hear any difference between those files
Old 19th June 2009
  #28
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doug hazelrigg's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I would highly suggest Phoenix for you then. Combined with Tapehead, it's the best of both worlds for me.
Hi DR Bill

Could you elaborate a bit on Phoenix? I've seriously considered ditching my Apogee>Cubase>UAD-1 setup in favor of PTHD simply so I could use Phoenix
Old 19th June 2009
  #29
Deleted 99dc753
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by doug hazelrigg View Post
Again, I must be deaf. I can't hear any difference between those files
I can hear clearly different harmonics and I guess others can too.

I guess you listen to much to the voice itself you have to listen to the frequency changes. Saturation is something subtle not like a distortion pedal. You get a higher RMS to Peak average level.
Old 19th June 2009
  #30
Deleted 99dc753
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by miro View Post
i'd say the G or H!
MH there is only ABCDE so no G or H is not the HW unit.
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