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API 550b Waves vs Hardware
Old 24th May 2011
  #1
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Peter Stengaard's Avatar
 

API 550b Waves vs Hardware

- don't know why it took me so long to actually compare these as I've had them both as hardware and software for a while...but today I did. HOLY CRAPBALLZ !
The software is like totally off compared to the real deal. I set up the hardware to where it should be on a guitar track and copied the setting on to the software and then soloed that channel instead - OUCH - cutting my ear. Yuck. It's like the db's are way off and when you take them down to where the software sounds within the range of where it should have been and then switch back to the hardware it's still night and day.

Didn't know it was that far off...anyone have the same feeling about the ssl soft/hardware ? I don't have any ssl eq's here but I do use the software ssl waves quite a bit actually...am I missing out like crazy like with the api ???
Old 24th May 2011
  #2
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amost's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Stengaard View Post
Didn't know it was that far off...anyone have the same feeling about the ssl soft/hardware ? I don't have any ssl eq's here but I do use the software ssl waves quite a bit actually...am I missing out like crazy like with the api ???

I've been borrowing a SSL G384 Comp for a few days and comparing it to the Waves SSL Comp Plug. I admit, I've never used the Hardware before so it's all new to me. I found at pretty moderate settings they sound & behave pretty similar but once you crank up the Make Up Gain and hit the Threshold they sound & feel different(to me). Let's just say I'm getting spoiled by it. It could be a case as people say of just going through the circuitry. It also feels & sounds better getting Make Up Gain analog style than Digital...even though I know there's those that don't care for the Make Up Gain. It ain't bothering me.
Old 24th May 2011 | Show parent
  #3
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AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

lol, I am gonna vote hardware cause I'm sure not buying any plugs, have not found any that come close that I have heard....
Old 24th May 2011 | Show parent
  #4
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AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by amost View Post
I've been borrowing a SSL G384 Comp for a few days and comparing it to the Waves SSL Comp Plug. I admit, I've never used the Hardware before so it's all new to me. I found at pretty moderate settings they sound & behave pretty similar but once you crank up the Make Up Gain and hit the Threshold they sound & feel different(to me). Let's just say I'm getting spoiled by it. It could be a case as people say of just going through the circuitry. It also feels & sounds better getting Make Up Gain analog style than Digital...even though I know there's those that don't care for the Make Up Gain. It ain't bothering me.
Make up gain in a 2500 is magic harmonics. Also makeup gain on the 2044 Avalon is a different compressor ran on +10
Old 24th May 2011
  #5
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Marando's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Stengaard View Post
- don't know why it took me so long to actually compare these as I've had them both as hardware and software for a while...but today I did. HOLY CRAPBALLZ !
The software is like totally off compared to the real deal. I set up the hardware to where it should be on a guitar track and copied the setting on to the software and then soloed that channel instead - OUCH - cutting my ear. Yuck. It's like the db's are way off and when you take them down to where the software sounds within the range of where it should have been and then switch back to the hardware it's still night and day.

Didn't know it was that far off...anyone have the same feeling about the ssl soft/hardware ? I don't have any ssl eq's here but I do use the software ssl waves quite a bit actually...am I missing out like crazy like with the api ???
So, if I understand correctly, you had no problem in using the API plugins untill you realised they do not sound the same as the hardware? I don't have any API hardware, and I enjoy using the Waves API 550a and 550b in allmost all of my projects. I'm not going to stop using them suddenly when I find out they do not sound like a real API unit at all, they are usefull to me, and for me, that's the most important factor.

The same goes for the Waves SSL plugins. As long as I like the results I get with these plugins (I'm only using the E channel), I keep using them. I don't mind it's not sounding like the hardware counterpart. I use the tools that sound good to my ears.
Old 24th May 2011 | Show parent
  #6
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Analogue Mastering's Avatar
True their good plugins in their own right, but yeah no comparisson to the hardware units (own 2500 + 5500 myself)
Old 24th May 2011 | Show parent
  #7
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Peter Stengaard's Avatar
 

It's not like I'm not gonna use plugins just because they don't sound as good as hardware but I will put more of my money in hardware for sure. Also, when I go back and listen to the best mixers from like 10 years ago that were all using hardware I think it sounds better than most of what comes out today. Maybe software is one of the reasons. For some time I thought at least the EQ's we're sort of ok software - software compression is not very exciting, that i know - but I was surprised how much the 550 eq was different in a not good way.
Old 23rd August 2012
  #8
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jrod9900's Avatar
 

API 550B from Waves is pretty close to hardware at light to moderate settings. The bottom end definitely behaves a little differently with analog. I think for someone on a tight budge the plug does a pretty good job. The difference is slight on one insance versus one hardware unit. As you stack up, the differences become more apparent.

I still love hardware.

JROD
Old 23rd August 2012 | Show parent
  #9
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string6theory's Avatar
QFE

Quote:
Originally Posted by SCDBM View Post
True their good plugins in their own right, but yeah no comparisson to the hardware units (own 2500 + 5500 myself)
qfe
Old 23rd August 2012
  #10
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Sino's Avatar
 

Software is good.
Hardware is great.

BTW I think Waves are way overrated right now.
Old 24th August 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sino View Post

BTW I think Waves are way overrated right now.
WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY overrated.
Old 24th August 2012
  #12
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Tom Higgins's Avatar
Marando raises a good point - with which I agree.
If they sound good, there's no reason not to use them. And surely they impart some of the character of the unit they're emulating??

Another poster in another thread wrote a good post on how comparisons aren't so important and that comparing them to HW versions is just to please our gearslutty selves
Old 24th August 2012
  #13
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Tom Higgins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY overrated.
I guess some may overrate them.

I'm not expecting more than what I'm getting. I'm not expecting to get something exactly like the HW versions. I don't overrate them at all
Old 24th August 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
API 550B is my fav eq,
I have several and I'm gonna get more
until I have something like 20 of 'em

With that said, I like the Waves ok but
is simply not comparable with the hardware,
same goes for the 2500 (which I have also)

Just running audio thru API gear makes you smile, I love that sound like no other.
It doesn't happen with the plugins, and yet
they are more than usable, I mixed many projects with success using them.

Going into details I find the 2500 emulation
to be better than the eqs generally speaking,
regardless how far that still is from the real unit.

As for the SSL, I simply love the Waves Gcomp,
and I have a Gcomp clone, it became somehow
a "classic" sound for me (the plugin i mean).
I find it closer to the hardware compared to the API stuff.
The E/G Channels are probably one of the plugins I'd have hard time mixing without,
way too useful and I'm used to them, altho'
I don't like boosting too much 'cause they tend
to sound a bit harsh on the high freq; lows instead is a different story, the E channel has
pretty solid, punchy lows even when boosting.
I use the saturation on the channels all the time.

From Waves, I highly advice the HLS, is such a great sounding plugin, both as eq and a saturator,
(actually is one of the few plugins that does the
"just run the audio thru it and enjoy the mojo" thing)
but I have no idea how this one compares to the hw since I've never had the chance to try that.
Old 24th August 2012
  #15
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superwack's Avatar
I like the Waves API Stuff but the hardware is better and so is the TriTone CT560 plugin - looking forward to the UAD versions. I will say though, I got rid of my API plugs NOT because of the sound but because the dual concentric knob on screen thing drove me absolutely nuts... they are the ONLY plugs I've ever gotten rid of for GUI reasons.
Old 24th August 2012
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
GaryWeinrib's Avatar
 

550 is an aggressive eq, Part of the mojo is from the 2520s and the transformer. I don't know how a plugin can possibly sound anything like a real one. It's just not possible.
Old 24th August 2012 | Show parent
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryWeinrib View Post
550 is an aggressive eq, Part of the mojo is from the 2520s and the transformer. I don't know how a plugin can possibly sound anything like a real one. It's just not possible.
Sure it is. It's called Nebula.
Old 24th August 2012 | Show parent
  #18
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GaryWeinrib's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoSueMe View Post
Sure it is. It's called Nebula.

Nebula has a 2503? I thought nebula was a plugin?
Old 24th August 2012 | Show parent
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryWeinrib View Post
Nebula has a 2503? I thought nebula was a plugin?
Nebula can emulate transformers, tubes, and other types of gear to the point of no perceivable difference. It can even separate the color/distortion components of an emulation, mute them, to present it as a "clean" version.
Old 24th August 2012 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoSueMe View Post
Nebula can emulate transformers, tubes, and other types of gear to the point of no perceivable difference.

You really think so? I reckon you must have wool in your ears

It's capable of some decent results, sure, particularly with some of the third-party bundles. But to do anything approaching an accurate emulation, it takes up a huge amount of computing resource -- such that you can only use one or two instances on a decent spec machine. And the sampler is a pain in the arse to use and takes forever. Quite easy to get a basically pleasing sonic character of a bit of gear (which is more impressive than many plug-in models) but 'no perceivable difference'?!?!
Old 24th August 2012 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryWeinrib View Post
550 is an aggressive eq, Part of the mojo is from the 2520s and the transformer. I don't know how a plugin can possibly sound anything like a real one. It's just not possible.
just because you don't understand something doesn't mean that it's impossible.
Old 24th August 2012 | Show parent
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedup View Post
You really think so? I reckon you must have wool in your ears
No, I know so from quite a bit of experience in many areas of audio. Go ahead and show me you can hear a difference by taking this test and then PMing me your answers: AlexB Black Master Nebula EQ Vs Hardware Scientific Comparison And, If you don't trust me, I'll post an encrypted file containing the answers before you reveal your answers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedup View Post
It's capable of some decent results, sure, particularly with some of the third-party bundles. But to do anything approaching an accurate emulation, it takes up a huge amount of computing resource -- such that you can only use one or two instances on a decent spec machine.
I was able to run over twenty [20] instances of the emulation mentioned above on a laptop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedup View Post
And the sampler is a pain in the arse to use and takes forever.
Yeah, I agree with you there, but that's not what we're talking about here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedup View Post
... 'no perceivable difference'?!?!
Again, take the test. But read the first post thoroughly to ensure you're doing the test correctly.
Old 24th August 2012
  #23
nebula is the real deal.
Old 24th August 2012 | Show parent
  #24
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A Fak's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryWeinrib View Post
I don't know how a plugin can possibly sound anything like a real one. It's just not possible.
Everything can be emulated maybe we're not there yet (maybe we are?) but you can't deny the dramatic improvement in plugins in just the last 3-4yrs. As CPU's keep increasing, the complexity of the code also increases. The question is no longer if but when.

They use to say flying wasn't possible, they use to say space travel wasn't possible. Hell we're grown organic human hearts in labs with stem cell's and you think copying the sound of a piece of HW is impossible??

A wise man once said, never believe in anything to much because there will always be a day when it's not true.
Old 24th August 2012
  #25
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
haven't tried the nebula api ..have some the their reverbs..pretty good.
the 550s on my console add character to the signal by just passing through them.I don't hear that with the waves api's which also sound a little grainy/hard by comparison when you really crank em.
Old 24th August 2012
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Stengaard View Post
- don't know why it took me so long to actually compare these as I've had them both as hardware and software for a while...but today I did. HOLY CRAPBALLZ !
The software is like totally off compared to the real deal. I set up the hardware to where it should be on a guitar track and copied the setting on to the software and then soloed that channel instead - OUCH - cutting my ear. Yuck. It's like the db's are way off and when you take them down to where the software sounds within the range of where it should have been and then switch back to the hardware it's still night and day.

Didn't know it was that far off...anyone have the same feeling about the ssl soft/hardware ? I don't have any ssl eq's here but I do use the software ssl waves quite a bit actually...am I missing out like crazy like with the api ???
Curious because in this shoot-out I wouldn't call the difference night and day... talking about the Waves API stuff in general.
A quick API2500 Plugin VS Hardware clip.
A.
PS: gain calibration is often a bit off on emulations IMO, so just matching settings doesn't work, in my case working by ear usually leads to better results.

Last edited by Andy_bt; 24th August 2012 at 10:15 PM.. Reason: PS
Old 24th August 2012
  #27
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Maybe they should make hardware with slots on front of the computer so that a few 2520s can be plugged in.
Maybe you could get closer to sound of hardware.
Old 24th August 2012 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
GaryWeinrib's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by A Fak View Post
emulated
The not so magic word. I like the real thing. Plugins are not hardware, therefore plugins do not sound like hardware.

That being said, hardware units are not plugins. There are some plugins that are better than hardware, although in the context of this thread; the 550 plugin is not one of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A Fak View Post
They use to say flying wasn't possible
So running FlightSim.exe on your pc is the same flying in a real plane?

So by your logic, playing the video game grand theft auto is the 'same' as physically going to south central and stealing cars? And emulating a hw EQ will give you the same results as an plugin eq? and stealing a car in a virtual world is the same as stealing cars in reality? since that is the implication of your analogy.
Old 25th August 2012 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
GaryWeinrib's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axelrod View Post
just because you don't understand something doesn't mean that it's impossible.


agreed, if people understood how analog hardware works and how digital hardware/software work, there would be no confusion here.

good point

The point here is, a hardware EQ like 550 simply cannot be made to work on a PC based on its classic design. It's different technology, different paradigm all together, a different domain, a different dimension of physics and engineering. It would be like trying to make your PC make dinner for you. Sure a CPU can fry an egg, but it can't bake an apple pie from start to finish.

Certainly some outboard EQs could be made into an accurate emulation via plugin , just not a 550, not a 1073, not a pultec not even a cheap MXR eq pedal. PCs do not work in that manner.

The word here is "emulation", emulation is not real.
Old 25th August 2012
  #30
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryWeinrib View Post


agreed, if people understood how analog hardware works and how digital hardware/software work, there would be no confusion here.

good point

The point here is, a hardware EQ like 550 simply cannot be made to work on a PC based on its classic design. It's different technology, different paradigm all together, a different domain, a different dimension of physics and engineering. It would be like trying to make your PC make dinner for you. Sure a CPU can fry an egg, but it can't bake an apple pie from start to finish.

Certainly some outboard EQs could be made into a plugin , just not a 550, not a 1073, not a pultec not even a cheap MXR eq pedal. PCs do not work in that manner.

Except that they do, and its a scenario completely unlike your analogy. in hardware units audio gets processed through various components, the result of this is a change in the final sound. Plugins can emulate the effect of these components, regardless of how old the hardware is, there's no magic in a 550b. the emulations might not be at an acceptable level yet, but to assert that its impossible is absurd.
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