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What if we could make a huge table of descriptive colors for the sound of gear
Old 31st July 2010
  #1
What if we could make a huge table of descriptive colors for the sound of gear

yeah.. imagine a table, graphicly appropriate where you can see if a preamp is

warm (kill me) i.g. coloring or cleaner
Faster or slower

same with compressors..

then again if something cuts the lowend.. adds shimmer to the highend, bumps the mids or cuts out holes.

if we could agree on 10 parameters, we could identify the primary words of mics, preamps, compressors. would be a good start for noobies and maybe pros too`?

there are so many products out there and I have lost contact to some new stuff, because I can't test em.



just an idea..
Old 31st July 2010
  #2
this would be great. and might clear the fog on some of these terms.

problem being it's so subjective, no one would ever agree on anything. but if you took majority rules votes on it, it might be a good outline for the devices. i think that's the best you could get with it, which would be wonderful as a tool for noob's like myself.
Old 31st July 2010
  #3
There is a table out there for preamps, but I'm not sure if I agree with it 100%, maybe around 80% max.
Old 31st July 2010
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
There is a table out there for preamps, but I'm not sure if I agree with it 100%, maybe around 80% max.
it's good enough to get a general idea though right?

that's really all you would need. a general idea. everything else would come from use and experience.
Old 31st July 2010
  #5
what if we could make a fukking huuuge table of colors

Yeah, it should be a voting style thing or we could have mixerman writing it for us. He knows everything
Old 31st July 2010
  #6
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superwack's Avatar
Complimentary Colors

I was thinking about how Neve and API preamps tend to compliment one another - one silky highs/lows, one mid forward. You see this comparison all the time and I thought it would be interesting to hear others thoughts on the subject. Note, i am NOT saying something like (GML is clean and 610 is colored) more PREAMP A is bright in the opposite/complimentary way PREAMP B is dark. Kind of like a color wheel where colors on the opposite side compliment that color.

So Neve + API any others?
Attached Thumbnails
What if we could make a huge table of descriptive colors for the sound of gear-color_wheel.gif  
Old 31st July 2010
  #7
why not get all the preamps possible. even relatively crappy ones, for comparisons between devices. right down to preamps on boards.

then again, there are some preamps that do really nothing good. i think we could skip those.

it'd help in purchase as well. seeing what you have on the table, knowing your requirements and then using that information to see what model preamp might be a good purchase for you.
Old 1st August 2010
  #8
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Eloheim's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
yeah.. imagine a table, graphicly appropriate where you can see if a preamp is

warm (kill me) i.g. coloring or cleaner
Faster or slower

same with compressors..

then again if something cuts the lowend.. adds shimmer to the highend, bumps the mids or cuts out holes.

if we could agree on 10 parameters, ..
I really like of the idea of a more scientific approach to these sorts of things. As others have probably said, what we need first and foremost is a set of different characteristics that the pieces are to be graded upon (e.g. color).

There are two ways you could go form here. The first is to figure out objective standards to measure these qualities. IMHO this is usually the best way to do things, but it's also much more difficult and contentious.

The other is merely to poll people on how they feel about the gear, and use that as the data for your chart. I think in some cases here this may actually turn out better, because then people don't have to spend forever arguing about what these definitions should be in order to continue the process. The downside, though, is that you might personally disagree with others' assessments, and also you'd have to make sure the individual participants we experienced with the gear in question and that they didn't have alternate agendas (like selling gear) or biases.
Old 1st August 2010
  #9
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ButchP's Avatar
 

even though waterfalls graphs take a bit to digest maybe it could be something along those lines where there are at least 3 visual dimensions...

BP
Old 1st August 2010
  #10
Gear Head
 
samorost's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
There is a table out there for preamps, but I'm not sure if I agree with it 100%, maybe around 80% max.
Is this the table you're referring to?

The Listening Sessions - Microphone Preamplifier Graph



Besides from stating whether they're colored or not, it would be good to see what kind of "color" you hear. Not in a synaesthetic way, I was thinking more along the lines of contrast: "bright", "dark", etc.
Old 1st August 2010
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by samorost View Post
Is this the table you're referring to?


Yep
Old 1st August 2010
  #12
Let me draw it.. And finish the idea for presentetation and discussion.

I want something simple: x-axis shows clean/coloring, Y-axis shows slow/fast..
Old 1st August 2010
  #13
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@ George Necola - best layout I've seen in this thread. Great concept
Old 1st August 2010
  #14
Btw. The idea is not new. I just recently looked at a graph from cyldjian cymbals and the hats were sorted on a graph (longer/shorter sustain, dark/clear)
Old 1st August 2010
  #15
Gear Head
 
samorost's Avatar
 

What are you exactly referring to when you say "slow/fast"?
Old 1st August 2010
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by samorost View Post
What are you exactly referring to when you say "slow/fast"?
Turning the knobs :-)

I am talking about transient reproduction.

Slower= less transients (usually goes hand in hand with more color'adding something to the signal'.
Old 1st August 2010
  #17
Gear Head
 
samorost's Avatar
 

This "coloring" concept is something I haven't finished understanding, but I think I see where you're going. Would a faster transient response be associated with brighter sound, and a slower one with warmer sound?
Old 1st August 2010
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
yeah.. imagine a table, graphicly appropriate where you can see if a preamp is

warm (kill me) i.g. coloring or cleaner
Faster or slower

same with compressors..

then again if something cuts the lowend.. adds shimmer to the highend, bumps the mids or cuts out holes.

if we could agree on 10 parameters, we could identify the primary words of mics, preamps, compressors. would be a good start for noobies and maybe pros too`?

there are so many products out there and I have lost contact to some new stuff, because I can't test em.

just an idea..
Hmm, interesting. I'm trying to figure out will it be practical. I'm selecting gear based on emotions I get when I try that gear, the actual color of the frequencies is not really what I base my decisions on when I mix. The actual mixing process is more simple than that for me, I add or cut something and then I pay attention to my feelings. If it feels better I add all I can add, if that feels even better I let it be there. So in this way I can easily end up with a lot of color in certain parts of the register, but I don't really care about that, because when it feels right I know I've succeeded. I also really like unregular settings when I mix because I know I have not mixed with my eyes if I end up with very unique settings.

So a table color is a good and creative idea, but for practical reasons I think I would not be able to draw much advantage of this color table simply because my eyes don't have anything to do with how I approach music. Actually I find myself closing my eyes pretty often these days when I'm paying attention to music. Basically I try to mix like a child when it sits and creates something with the brush and silently enjoys the crap out of that. A young child really doesn't see colors the way we do and it's the same with frequencies in music. A child starts crying when it hears someone else crying, that's the kind of authenticity and natural state I need to be in during the mixing process, to be able to produce something very rich, 100% emotional. As soon as I intensively involve my eyes in this process I typically no longer have contact with that, which in turn makes me produce undesired frequencies, which also typically feels like crap.

Thanks! thumbsup
Old 1st August 2010
  #19
there is a ton of new "good" gear each month coming out.

I just want an overview map, that's it. I wonder why there is nothing (well actually there is some) presentation/overview?

let's do it!

we need to define the parameters, the table we want to make and define a "reference" for super megal coloring/very punchy/mellow/or clean sounding.. (tbc) stuff.

I think this thing will be a success

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainbowStorm View Post
Hmm, interesting. I'm trying to figure out will it be practical. I'm selecting gear based on emotions I get when I try that gear, the actual color of the frequencies is not really what I base my decisions on when I mix. The actual mixing process is more simple than that for me, I add or cut something and then I pay attention to my feelings. If it feels better I add all I can add, if that feels even better I let it be there. So in this way I can easily end up with a lot of color in certain parts of the register, but I don't really care about that, because when it feels right I know I've succeeded. I also really like unregular settings when I mix because I know I have not mixed with my eyes if I end up with very unique settings.

So a table color is a good and creative idea, but for practical reasons I think I would not be able to draw much advantage of this color table simply because my eyes don't have anything to do with how I approach music. Actually I find myself closing my eyes pretty often these days when I'm paying attention to music. Basically I try to mix like a child when it sits and creates something with the brush. A young child really doesn't see colors the way we do and it's the same with frequencies in music. A child starts crying when it hears someone else crying, that's the kind of responsiveness I want to take my mixes down to. 100% emotional.

Thanks! thumbsup
Attached Thumbnails
What if we could make a huge table of descriptive colors for the sound of gear-gearslutz.jpg  
Old 1st August 2010
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
there is a ton of new "good" gear each month coming out.

I just want an overview map, that's it. I wonder why there is nothing (well actually there is some) presentation/overview?

let's do it!

we need to define the parameters, the table we want to make and define a "reference" for super megal coloring/very punchy/mellow/or clean sounding.. (tbc) stuff.

I think this thing will be a success
Hmm... In case such a map would be made I would actually enjoy HD demonstration clips of the gear more than colors on a map, because then I can use my own emotions to decide about whether I need that gear or not, but both would be of value, you could for instance use color as filter criteria and videos as determinator. If those demos are made they also must be running through the same very transparent tracking setup played by the same musician, so that the evaluated frequencies derive from the demonstrated gear. However, the concept as a whole would really solve some practical issues.

I think there is a great business opportunity within this field, you could actually create a business and all it does is to perfectly demonstrate the power of gear. You could add a purchase button on every demonstration, very simple: Someone likes the emotions of a piece of gear and purchases that gear by clicking the purchase button. No additional things needed, just one mouse click, money flows from customer's pocket to manufacturer's pocket and from manufacturer's pocket to the pocket of the business, a very simple and powerful cashflow. As a business system it would also work great because you could actually scale it to everything that can be purchased for money and take it globally. No reviews, no ratings, no such things at all, just pure demonstration of value. And besides that, you have an already established customer base from day 1: "Gear slutz". And if you play this game well you might turn some of that demonstration gear into assets, because some manufacturer's might give away that gear or sell it to a fraction of what it's worth, since it is no longer in new condition, besides that you get tax advantages since you could purchase those assets before tax. Besides this you have an advertisement opportunity which is quite lucrative because people will spend a lot of time visiting this service whether or not they actually buy anything. And since both your customer base and product base will gradually grow from day one you can scale according to business needs, you don't need enormous bandwidths from day one. And since gear typically does not require a lot of space (well, this kind of depends on things) you could actually start this business right from your apartment. Possibly you could use YouTube, Google, eBay or Facebook as the interface/infrastructure, all you need to do then is to purchase the tracking equipment and start establishing business contacts to manufacturers, to promote their products through your service. The cashflow is so simple that you could even do the bookkeeping yourself. Best of all, you could go this route: business owner -> small scale business -> large scale business -> business seller. This would be a cash cow. And to fuel this business, all you need to do is to create a poll thread on Gearslutz. heh

Oops, I think I just defined a multi-million dollar business within a post on a GS thread, left totally exploitable for free, cool.
Old 1st August 2010
  #21
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emrr's Avatar
The biggest problem with the existing comparison tables is they ignore the sounds of hundreds of vintage preamps that are frequently used, commented on, and sold for increasingly high values. When you put those on the chart, the entire things shifts, and almost everything looks clean. If the chart is going to be for currently manufactured and popular items, it needs to somehow acknowledge the limited world view.
Old 1st August 2010
  #22
what if we could make a fukking huuuge table of colors

I dont want HD videos.

I want simple charts with known gear as reference, 10 parameters to identify the quality of the gear and 2axis (we will have different charts..).

That's it.

Let's define pairs of parameters (preamps)
Clean
Coloring

Fast
Slow

Dark
Bright

Punchy
Mellow

...(your input here)


Now we need a xls sheet with a lot of products (all..).

If the products are set, we need to define the steps/judgement (if we have a row-parameter coloring, 1 would be super-clean, 5 super coloring.). Then we will make a voting here, and combine the results.

The benchmark references will be gear which is a lot used and extreme (gml/buzz comes to mind for clean, bae/chandler for coloring, api for coloring/punch.... And so on).

If we can agree on this, I can start the sheet, but we need people find a way to find all the products available.
Old 1st August 2010
  #23
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ButchP's Avatar
 

A pre amp is just part of a system of the input chain.Without the other parts it's full value isn't realized

1.instrument
2.mic
3.pre amp
4.compressor
5.eq

a few the typical questions that get asked when purchasing a bit of kit for vox.
1.male or female vox
2.range
3.timbre
4.style of music

until the full chain is known how can you predict what it could sound like.Those with experience may know but a noobie or the nominally experienced are guessing on their purchase.

BP
Old 1st August 2010
  #24
what if we could make a fukking huuuge table of colors

I am not questioning sales men. People still have to test gear, and ask your favourite dealer about it.

This whole project arose from my time as a geardealer. People have asked me this question over and over..

I completly agree with you, it's the chain, but in my small world the preamp was something that was the most significant in my career. When i upgraded from mackie to high-end preamps I made the biggest step up.

This should be a list from slutz for slutz, without questioning the reason to test drive the equipment or use your ears. It's advanced gear porn.. :-)
Old 7th August 2010
  #25
i'd like to see the urei pre's hit this list. they seem to have a hype about them in the forums, and some have said they stand up well against higher end stuff. i'd like to see them in a comparison chart.

i like them, but i have limited experience to really give an accurate opinion.

maybe those roberts/akai's as well. some of the more obscure pre's. i got 'em and like them, but i can't really say much and be of any use.

maybe some older altec units.
Old 7th August 2010
  #26
Gear Addict
 

Great idea!

Great idea! I think this will be useful.

But, I'm a little confused about the terms color, slow, fast, punchy....

Doesn't it all boil down to frequency response and distortion? Seems that an objective approach (as previously proposed) could be used to make the charts. I've never really understood what people are hearing when they say, for example, that a pre-amp sounds warm, other than to imagine that it might have a slight bump in the low mids or a bit of saturation from tubes. Can't these terms be objectified?

Also, what does punch/slow/fast sound like. I think of punch as something to do with dynamics - something a compressor might be used to obtain. I'm not even sure what fast or slow sounds like - is it frequency response?

I also realize that the various objective measurements don't easily translate to our subjective experience. Seems that almost all frequency specs are essentially flat from 20 Hz to 20kHz with only a slight 0.5 dB variation, so why do two equally speced pre-amp sound different. Is 0.5 dB a large enough variation to color the pre-amp? I've never fully understood any of this, but I really want to know.

Old 7th August 2010
  #27
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emrr's Avatar
It'd be nice if it were that simple. I measure many things; many times what they contribute sonically is not at all represented by measurement, either single measurement or a group. Many times the measurements look nearly the opposite of what the ear hears.
Old 7th August 2010
  #28
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This is a great idea. I'm not sure how detailed you want to make this or how much input from others you want, but if you made a graph w/letters and numbers you could have people (hopefully w/real life experience) post where they would place the pre/comp/etc on the map. Like A1, or b35 or something along those lines. And then from there you could narrow it down to a general location on the grid.
Old 7th August 2010
  #29
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dysenterygary's Avatar
 

Or to add to that idea, instead of trying to average it out and pinpoint each piece of gear to one particular point, you could post an image of how large the posts were. Say everyone agrees one piece of gear goes in a very tight location whereas another unit could be much more subjective and go in a much broader area on the map.
Old 7th August 2010
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by dysenterygary View Post
This is a great idea. I'm not sure how detailed you want to make this or how much input from others you want, but if you made a graph w/letters and numbers you could have people (hopefully w/real life experience) post where they would place the pre/comp/etc on the map. Like A1, or b35 or something along those lines. And then from there you could narrow it down to a general location on the grid.
I want all the input.

My words/terms were only an example.

I think the best possible way to describe the words. Most people would agree that API is punchy and not mellow... Tbc..
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