Can you guess the plugin vs. hardware?

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digitaldrummer
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Can you guess the plugin vs. hardware?

Post by digitaldrummer » Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:20 pm

I had recently used the UAD DBX 160 plugin on kick and snare when trying to get a particular drum sound.

Then I was playing around with a DBX 118 compressor that I fixed up (new caps, replaced the old RCAs with more reliable 1/4" jacks, etc.). I tried to see if I could get a similar sound with outboard hardware (or I guess really seeing if the plugin sounded like the hardware). I know the plugin is modeling the 160VU and not the 118 but I don't have a 160VU. It still sounds like a DBX compressor to me...

So here's a couple files (256K mp3's) to listen to. See if you can guess which one is the plugin? One hint, mix1 and snare1 are the same except the snare is isolated vs in the mix. nothing is scientific here. I'm sure the levels are not 100% matched, etc. conversion is through a UA Apollo 16. sm57 on a Ludwig supra 5x14 through an A-designs EM-blue.

mix1

snare1

mix2

snare2
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Post by RoyMatthews » Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:29 pm

Well, I only listened to the mixes. I liked the snare in mix 1 better than 2. It had a little more body and shorter decay. If I had to guess I'd assume the UAD160 is on the snare on mix 1. It feels more 160, to me anyway.

Keep in mind this was listening on Apple earbubs.
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Post by vvv » Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:48 pm

I also like #1 better, but it's cool how close they are, whether pug-in or hardware.

Did you feel the plug was as easy to "dial in"?
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Post by digitaldrummer » Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:15 pm

absolutely
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Post by digitaldrummer » Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:54 am

hmmm. kinda dead around here...

anyway, yeah, mix1/snare1 is the UAD160 plugin. it was my favorite too but then again that was the sound I initially found and used for the track, whereas when I tried the DBX118 hardware I was just trying to see if I could match the sound I got with the plugin. had I done it in the other order, the results might be different...

the UAD160 plugin did the trick for this particular track (where I used it on kick and snare) and took me about 30 seconds to insert and find the sound I wanted, so it was a little easier than patching in the 118 and trying to dial in a similar sound. and recall is much easier... 8)

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Last edited by digitaldrummer on Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by vvv » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:06 pm

Somethin', ain't it.

I suspect on blind tests I'd as often like my results using plugs as hardware.

But you know what?

Hardware is, IMNSFHO, much more fun!
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Post by casey campbell » Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:39 am

hardware is way more fun, but if you are using hardware in the mix stage, then you have extra d/a - a/d conversions...

now, what real effect it has on the overall sound, im not for sure, but my guess is that it wouldn't be positive (even with really great converters).

this is of course assuming you are mixing in the digital realm and not all tape with an analog console... im making this assumption because the o.p. is speaking about plugins.

we've progressed far enough with technology, that reputable plugins sound pretty darn good.

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Post by digitaldrummer » Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:55 am

and I have only one piece of hardware... but I could use a lot of plugins with the quad UAD-2 that is in the Apollo 16!
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Post by vvv » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:13 pm

FWIW, I track with hardware, not mix with it.

So, I find myself doing stuff like my last vocals track: M-Audio Luna to Eureka+comp (padded) to RNLA.

In mixdown then, I used a touch of native (quick FET) compressor patch in CEP 2.1 into a native plate reverb patch.

No other way I could get that cool reverb with the smoothing compressor effect, me, but the hardware going in is also unique, at least with my equipment and software limitations.

I think of that like:

tone --> effect
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