revised: The NEW SumTest with NLS and VCC

with industry Pro, Nick Batzdorf

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Russell Landwehr
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Re: A Summing Test that needs your evaluation

Post by Russell Landwehr » Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:55 am

I checked, I can render 48/24 files. Does that work for you, Andy?

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Re: A Summing Test that needs your evaluation

Post by Russell Landwehr » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:41 pm

andygabrys wrote:well call me crazy, but on the summing A/B/C I think I do hear a difference between A and B/C.

Theoretically, they should sound pretty much the same right? Three digital workstations / DAW at 24 bit, digital transfers? no modeling of console or analog effects on any of the three options that aren't baked into the sound?

the bass line goes Root -root etc...... and then goes 5th octave.

On A, there is quite a bit more bass synth on that part. Sounds like one bass that is kinda of smooth, and another that has a little grain on it (like the cutoff is higher on a filter). they are both here.

On B/C its much less. Like the bass with the "grain" is missing, and you hear the kick much more clearly.

Again - still the exact same mix? I would be looking for where Bass 2 ended up on B/C.

my 2 cents
Yes, I hear it now. The synth bass is (missing? or down?) on B/C... I'll check my signal flow. :?: :?: When I get home.
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Re: A Summing Test that needs your evaluation

Post by andygabrys » Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:50 pm

Russell Landwehr wrote:I checked, I can render 48/24 files. Does that work for you, Andy?

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Sure!!!

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Re: A Summing Test that needs your evaluation

Post by Russell Landwehr » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:00 pm

OK, so...

I found out what happened to the synth bass part. Due to my 2-month lack of expertise with Ableton, I seem to be fat-fingering the mouse and changing levels on channels while zipping around the screen. There was about an 8db difference on that channel... geez! I'd click the "embarassed" smiley about now but hell, I can't even spell embarrassed.

Interestingly, while soloing channels to find out what happened to that part I discovered that the MOTU settings on my "B" box went back to internal sync and was making some really crappy sounds in my "A" box.. Geez!!! ( Mazz warned me about this http://forums.taxi.com/topic91178.html )

Not only that! but check THIS out... I came home from my day job tonight only to find that this morning I'd left my studio powered up and running... AND... UNLOCKED!!! :shock: :shock: :shock:

I really need to go back to bed and start this week over. :oops:

anyway. I've got files to upload to dropbox... gonna go figure out how to screw THAT up now.
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Re: revised Sum Test

Post by Russell Landwehr » Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:45 pm

The Summing Test using Waves NLS and Slate Digital VCC is ready.
With the help of Stuart and Andy, I've got the taste-test on this uploaded.

They summed "SumTest," a four-bar loop, and "Pools," a song I'd already created. I provided the individual stereo tracks already EQ'd and FX'd. They "mixed" the tracks at unity in their respective DAWs. Stuart utilized the plug in "Waves NLS." Andy utilized the plug in "Slate Digital VCC." The plugs were on each track and the master as suggested by the manufacturers. They rendered both songs using the SSL and Neve emulations. Stuart output an additional desk, the EMI, on "Pools." There are 2 examples of each desk on each song. One example is with the settings "flat." The other is "pushed," that is with the "drive" feature of the plug maxed. The files are in DropBox and the link is below.

Some things to note: The examples are not for a "this-is-better-than-that" comparison. It is just to see what kind of "flavor" the plugs impart to the audio. These plugs are best used in place while mixing since the "flavor" of the plug will influence the mix process. Also, with the "drive" maxed on the plugs, the result is not exactly musical in the pushed examples, although a couple are quite tasty.

I'd like to shout A REAL BIG THANK YOU to Stuart and Andy for helping out with this. And I say REAL BIG because they were patient with me while I learned dropbox, and VERY forgiving when I asked them to render "Pools" a second time with different files after I noticed I sent them FUBAR-ed files the first go-around. (it was embarrassing for me, kinda like walking out on stage with my fly open while Little Russell got some air) These guys are top-notch and took this the extra mile, way beyond what I hoped for in a summing test.

Here is the link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/vowpod8ekzgtufb/9R827ct-Fd
(I hope that doesn't take you into my personal pictures folder... :o :shock: :o )

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Re: revised: The NEW SumTest with NLS and VCC

Post by Len911 » Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:36 pm

Hmmm. interesting. I played with a few files in wavelab. I did a file comparison between the original wav and console wav. That creates a delta file of the difference in the two. I did a spectrum analysis on the delta file and it appeared that apparently the difference is the added level of the frequencies between 44hz and 170 hz. The harder the consoles were 'driven', the more distortion there was. You could really hear it in the delta file. :? :? Nothing scientific, I didn't do but a very few files. I'm scratching my head,lol, I suppose that yes it is distortion, but I'm curious about the bass difference and only within that range and nothing outside of that range. :?: :?:
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Re: revised: The NEW SumTest with NLS and VCC

Post by Len911 » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:05 pm

Furthermore, if I take the original file and apply an oxford eq, classic hard preset at 80hz center frequency +2.5 db and adjust the Q so I obtain the 44hz and 177hz, in the subsequent file comparison between the original, I can replicate the frequency curve. The delta file is much softer and no distortion. If I add the limiter, I can get distortion, and maintain the same signal level, I'm just not sure I can find a preset in the limiter that can get as close to the console file sound. Again scratching my head,lol!
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Re: revised: The NEW SumTest with NLS and VCC

Post by Russell Landwehr » Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:18 pm

I'm glad the link took you to the audio and not the pictures. ;)

There are 8 stereo files summed in the "SumTest" and 11 stereo files summed in "Pools." Each of the 8 and 11 tracks respectively have the plugs used on them individually as well as the master channel when summing. From the way I understand the emulations, it includes channel cross-talk and stereo imaging as well as the EQ response. (I just now put the pdf manuals for the plugs in the folder) When I tested these files for differences I went by ear. I loaded these rendered tracks in my DAW on separate channels (running everything dry) and soloed during playback to see what the differences were. I used headphones as well as studio monitors to listen. To me the desk-modeled files (flat versions) sound smoother, more robust, more open, greater depth of field, more present... depending on the desk. I could see how in the right hands they could be a useful tool for building some nice sounding mixes.
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Re: revised: The NEW SumTest with NLS and VCC

Post by andygabrys » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:05 pm

intersting what I found on the Pro-tools-expert site:

http://dsp.sonimus.com/products/satson/

$39 - basically the same animal as the VCC. sure different controls, no claim to model any specific console, but interesting.

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Re: revised: The NEW SumTest with NLS and VCC

Post by Russell Landwehr » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:18 am

I read the reviews on Sonimus Statson. They gave this plugin the thumbs up as a "subtle" and very useful plugin. For the price, apparently well worth it. Still not as versatile as NLS and VCC. Sonimus Sweetone (EQ) looks pretty good too at $25.

I still had questions about actual analog summing and whether or not these plugins emulate that. So I headded down that WWW Rabbit Hole.

Everything I've read shows that NLS and VCC (and Statson) emulate just the channel characteristics. The master buss part of the plugin only emulates the desk's circuitry for the master channel, not the actual summing. Since the plugin is used on the insert, the DAW linearly summs, then passes the product through the emulation on the insert. In other forums, people have mistakenly thought that the VCA function in NLS summs the signals. This from the NLS manual: "Please note: VCA Group Consoles do not process your signal in any way; rather, they serve as remote control surfaces for groups of NLS instances."

So for "analog summing," analog OTB gear is still the only option. For the ability to have the high-end desk channels in your DAW, the plugins are great. I think that using the desk emulators WITH an analog summing box would be the next-best thing to having the actual desks.

I'm riding the fence on NLS vs VCC. Maybe Statson could be my entry-level SSL 4000 emulation "gateway drug."
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