Nebula 3 tips/tricks???

Discussion in 'Software Reviews and Tutorials' started by Dirty Hairy II, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. Dirty Hairy II

    Dirty Hairy II Member

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    The title of the thread says it all really, I'm looking for info on the ordering of the instances in the fx chain...I pretty much understand that you use several instances on each track, so (just for example) I wanna make a channel strip, with built-in eq's & comps...I know it's very subjective to the material regarding the "eq or comp first" thing, & I'm not going there....lol

    Again, just for example if I want a 5-band eq, I have to have a seperate instance for each band, but how do you place the 5 eq bands in the chain???? Would you start inserting the low end bands first, or start with the high end bands???

    I tried Nebula very briefly about 6 years ago, but got frustrated & abandoned it...I saw a video a couple days ago with a guy controlling Nebula with the Waves NLS plugins, & figured I'd give it a real shot/effort this time, because I really didn't give it a fair shake...A big reason is I was working 60-70 hours a week, with an hour drive each way...I no longer work (had a major heart attack a year ago today that basically disabled me), so I've got all day, every day to do whatever I want...While it sucks to be sick like this (I'm still having issues), & it's a big price to pay, it sure is nice not to have to work anymore...I was an underground coal miner for 25+ years, so in my mind, I pulled my time doing the everyday grind, & feel like I deserve everything I get now (I was awarded my SSI this past spring, & I get enough to live fairly well with, but it's only a fraction of the $$$ I made as a coal miner...Sorry for the rambling there...lol

    So any tips/tricks/pointers/whatever about Nebula are more than welcome...I have a few decent libraries for it, I just need a little push to get me going in the right way...

    Again, thanks in advance!!!
     
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  3. Bill Vkerchi?

    Bill Vkerchi? Ultrasonic

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    It really doesn't matter which frequency bands come first, for cuts you'll better use non distortion versions, so there is that. This is partially why i don't do or use eq presets with all nebula bands. For 5 band eq you'll have to have 10 nebula instances (which is a big cpu hit) and have to flip between distortion non distortion bands if you don't want it to alter frequency response too much. I recommend you to look at aqua plugins for eq, or just use separate bands when you need them. Or you may just use all bands with distortion for cuts and boosts if you are alright with what it will be doing. Btw why would you need nebula? You've got an ssl.
    P.s Coal miners don't make shit where i'm from.
     
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  4. reliefsan

    reliefsan Producer

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    im grumpy be warned!

    there are nobody who can push you - only yourelf can do it!

    it might be "fun" to challenge yourself using nebula.

    but, i couldd be very wrong, why not just practice some more with reguler compressor/eq's and do your mixdown with that.

    that way you will complete faster


    as said im in a grumpy mood so dont take it personal :)
     
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  5. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Platinum Record

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    I don't much care for the way EQ's are implemented within Nebula, but if you want "that" sound, it's what you have to work with.
    I'll normally take an algorithmic emulation, eg. The Waves MEQ-5, and make the adjustments I like with it, then add one of the Olonga Pultec Mojo presets after it to give it the subtle color. I do the same with compression as well. Sort of a best of both worlds approach as you get easy adjustment, and the color.
    Another way would be to use the emulated plug to get the settings and know which bands you're using, then bypass it, add the bands using Nebula presets, and set the same levels in the presets.
    Gain staging is particularly important with Nebula so a trim plugin eg. VUMT is particularly helpful here. I don't use the metering within VUMT, rather the metering in Nebula to get the -18dbfs that seems to hit the sweet spot in the presets I use. Then adjust the output level to make sure that the OVF light never comes on. And you have to set gain staging in each different track you use everytime. Not a step that can be skipped or looked over.
     
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  6. WillTheWeirdo

    WillTheWeirdo Platinum Record

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    Hello,
    I'm a long time Nebula user and I beta test for Acustica Audio and Tim P. First let me say Nebula is a tool that just takes some patience and an understanding, but that I use it daily with ease on large and small sessions with amazing results. Most don't take the time to properly learn or understand Nebula, everyone wants instant gratification today, but Nebula is not that type of tool.

    Nebula is very advanced dynamic IR technology using ultrasound, it allows for up to 9th order harmonics to be captured from hardware and then dynamically applied to another signal. This is the Nebula secret as standard Algorithmic plugins do not have actual harmonic content, they have a math based guess. The problem with an algorithm is that we can't use math alone to properly understand how electrons are randomly affecting the gas in a tube, or how a transformer saturates the signal in a transformer. Without those harmonics, we get a false harmonic signature that does not mimic what happens in our harmonic rich world. It's the main reason why algo's stacked up sound worse, as in the more algo plugs you use, the worse the signal gets. Algo tech is from the 1970 in audio, IMHO it's plateaued and until quantum computers are here in an affordable format, we will continue to see very slow algo improvement. I'm not knocking algo tech, just stating the real differences between them, so we are on the same page.

    The secret to Nebula is stacking. Think of it like this..... in a real world studio you want to track a guitar. You take the guitar, plug it into a pedal, then into an amp. We mic that amp, into a preamp, then an EQ, to a compressor and then maybe into a console to tape or a DAW. Maybe you skip the console or tape, just depends where your are tracking at. The point is that in the past, this would be the signal chain, there are 5-8 different hardware devices that all added to the tone of the guitar, all provided their own tone and harmonics. We Engineers spent decades learning the tools to know which mic, preamp, eq, compressor to use to achieve a particular sound. It's why at your house you cut a guitar through a guitar amp sim and it does not sound like a real guitar, we've all been there. So what we do with Nebula is chain Nebula's together just like you would do in hardware..... the results are amazing, a flat 2D digital signal becomes alive and 3D full of rich harmonic tone.

    With that stacking, you have to be aware of building up to a problem. So let's say you are using a Nebula EQ, in that library the developer will have different harmonic presets. Understanding those presets is important if you want the EQ to sound like the hardware. You start with a preamp preset, if there is one, then load up the non harmonic presets. If an EQ does not have a preamp, just load the first Nebula with a normal harmonic preset, the rest of the EQ presets use the harmonic-less preset, easy. We've been using Agent to build full Nebula EQ strips, search here or an Gearslutz if you want to know more.

    Gain staging is IMPORTANT! In digital we normally work at 0 dbfs, as in absolute digital zero, but that is actually plus 24 dbu, or 24 db over analogue 0. In the analogue world everything is voltage (electricity), 0dbu and we want our Nebula signal at 0dbu or around -16 to -18 dbfs digital.... this is a pro mixer secret to why our digital mixes sound better, we do not overload the DAW stereo buss, as is a common mistake most untrained mixers do not understand. So because Nebula is IR's taken from hardware, you MUST keep the signal at 0dbs analogue, or -18 dbfs digital. If you do not adhere to this you will get a terrible nasty sound from Nebula, because you are not using the tool properly, because you do not understand proper gain staging. If you have questions, google gain staging, there is a lot of good info on it.

    If you plan on getting serious with Nebula, I suggest you purchase the cheap Nebula Setups program and download the free Henry O "All You Can Eat" library. Nebula setups allows you to make custom VST's for each library that pull up instantly in a session with any tweaks you want, and HO's free AYCE library is huge with the BEST preamps and mics made today in any form. Henry's Titan (Helios) and Neve 1073 have to be heard to understand why nobody competes..... and they are free. Henry used to sell many libraries, but several years back when the EU changed the small busisness laws, he could not afford to stay in busisness, as a positive gesture, he offered his "All You Can Eat" for free to all Nebula users. It's a massive library he spent 5 years developing. I've been using his large Nebula mics with my Slate VMS with fantastic results.

    Nebula is hard on CPU's, it because some of these libraries use hundreds to thousands of tiny IR's per preset. The lifelike reverbs can bring an i7 to it's knees, lol. I do almost all my Nebula work in Reaper for an efficient workflow, but I still freeze 10-15 tracks at a time. Cubase is another DAW that Nebula works well in. Studio one 3.31 just improved it's Nebula workflow too. DAW coders are starting to take notice that they must improve their DAW core loading efficiency. In a normal session in Reaper I can pull 50-100 Nebula instances on my i7 5820k rig.

    Today, Nebula's only weak area is distortion, but they are working on it. Each developer is know for specializing in different libraries. Tim P makes the best compressors, with Tim Cupwise 2nd. Tim P's Vari-Level comp (Sta Level) is in final beta and is great, his Surge EQ is one of the finest EQ's you can have inside a computer and must be heard to appreciate. Alex B and CDSM make killer consoles, Alex's EQ are great also. Visit the AA site forum or Gearslutz where thousands of Nebula users post.

    AA started making Acqua's, they are just multi Nebula libraries in a standard plugin form. Sand is out and it is an aggressive tool, Coral is in beta and is a mastering strip with the finest buss compressor I've heard in software, it must be heard to understand. AA technology is moving forward, they are working hard to bring us the tool options to algo plugins, only you can decide for yourself if as a tool they work for you. I love to have the choice of tools for my work, as always, to each their own.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016
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  7. WillTheWeirdo

    WillTheWeirdo Platinum Record

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    Sometimes seeing is easier to understand.

    Analogue - Digital scale.JPG
     
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  8. Dirty Hairy II

    Dirty Hairy II Member

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    Thanks a bunch everyone!!!! I meant to say I'm not a complete newbie, I've been recording at home for about 7-8 years now, but obviously I still have a lot to learn...

    Thanks for the explanations & thoughts, I really appreciate it!!!

    Since I have all day, every day now, I plan on jumping in head-first, & trying my very best to learn how to use all this stuff...

    releifsan: You're exactly right, nobody can push anyone to learn/improve on anything, you have to have the desire yourself, & that's exactly what I'm planning on doing...Thanks!!!

    Bill Vkerchi?: Not sure where you're from, but when I was a coal miner, I made pretty decent money for the area I live in. The last 15 years or so, I was a continuous miner operator (minerman is what most coal miners say), & didn't make less than $25/hour...I'm sure that amount it peanuts for a lot of people, but again, around here it equaled out to around $250 a day, & I usually worked 10 hours a day (sometimes more), 6 days a week...

    digitaldragon: Great info man, that may be the way I choose to go, use an emulation vst, then use Nebula to enhace it...Thanks!!!

    Will: I've read a few of your posts about Nebula here, but the searches I did here didn't really turn up what I was looking for...Thank you so much for your explanation & the gain stage/metering pic!!!
     
  9. Dirty Hairy II

    Dirty Hairy II Member

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    Ok guys, I've had a few days of playing around with Nebula, & it's definitely a different way of working than what I've been used to all this time...I'm still learning, but I've got a couple/few things ironed out, & so far I like it...

    The Nebula Setups program is a must, seriously makes things a lot easier, & I can organize everything much better...

    I've mainly been using AlexB's console emulation(s), but I've also been using the VNXT 140 plate reverb...Nebula is definitely a CPU killer, which I already knew before I took the leap again, but I didn't expect it to be that heavy...I have a pretty new pc, just got it back in May with an i7 4790, 16GB RAM, & it still cripples it with just a few instances...But, rendering/freezing/bouncing takes care of that, & the NebulaMan program takes care of that...

    Thanks again for the help, but as always any tips/comments/help are more than welcome...
     
  10. Satai

    Satai Ultrasonic

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    If you think that's heavy, just wait until you go Nebula-crazy and decide to switch your verbs into full TIMED calculation mode in the KERN page.

    I thought I was going to be frying morning pancakes on my CPU when I wake up, but nope it got done in just under 8.5hrs. Processing one stereo mixdown track...

    However, according to some (i.e. yours truly) the results were worth it.
     
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  11. Jaymz

    Jaymz Platinum Record

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    Not really much i can say that Will didnt cover.... Nebula is not a lazy mans work flow and neither is the Analogue world that ive worked in for many years. It takes time to setup just like real Analogue gear without having to get out of your chair :winker: ,but if you want "THAT SOUND" an dont own any Gear or even if you do>>> Nebula is the way to get it :wink: so keep at it learn it an the payoff is this :)
     
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  12. Dirty Hairy II

    Dirty Hairy II Member

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    I'm assuming you're talking about the KERN page, & the CLEAN/EVEV/ODD settings, right??? I have been playing with that a bit, some of the libraries only go to 0.4 ms (just as an example), while others go up to 100...

    If you (or anyone else) has any tips for certain libraries please do share the info....

    Someone here in the forum told me that you're (and I quote him) an "expert" with Nebula...Again, if you or anyone has any tips for tweaking in the master page, kern page or whatever, please do share...

    I ran across a video of a guy using 3rd party plugins (he was using Waves NLS to control a console in Nebula) to control Reaper with Bidule, & I also found a few about doing the same with Agent...Again, any help is more than welcome....

    I'm probably taking a pretty big bite with Nebula, Bidule & Agent, but I like what I hear so far, so I'm gonna keep after it full-time...
     
  13. Satai

    Satai Ultrasonic

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    Everyone has their own gear favorites, some of mine are (little less known than the usual suspects):

    - The transformer-driven Urei filter that Cupwise made, it can be glassy smooth and earthy or very "acidic" when driven, which is exactly the dirty kind of shit I like

    - Mavec Preamp / EQ by CDSM, it's like sex clouds of velvety analog, kills those nasty digital high frequencies dead on anything you run through it, plus really has "its own" sound that you'll be able to pick out your mixes with if you wanna impress some friends. I use it because of the unique flavour, which is what Nebula is best at doing

    - Vintage Transformer programs by STN (U10,U21,U22), they don't break the bank for you and they sound really really cool on almost anything. Another very quick anti-digital remedy.

    In general with Nebula you don't have to worry too much about putting something on in the "wrong" order or with the wrong gainstage even, the experimentation with colors is about getting something you love hearing, instead of something that's correct. I overload and underload the thing routinely and still dig the results most of the time. When you go too far, you'll know, it sounds like nasty metal bongos on all your peaks. Pretty soon even when you're just getting close to that point driving some Nebula program, you go "uh oh, here come the bongos", and back it off until they calm down.

    My other tip about Nebula programs is to leave the "Drive" and "Liquidity" control alone most of the time, or at least make it a habit to adjust it last after you tried out everything else. Drive the programs by increasing the input gain with the main knob, ease off the output gain to compensate. Not every program in Nebula is unity-gain, so if you're hearing something's weird it's not just you, it is weird and needs to be adjusted back to sanity (nothing fancy just with the output gain knob). The output gain knob in Nebula is just a basic gain after all the processing, it doesn't have any saturations or anything like that associated with it, it's just strictly for trimming those levels to where you want them to be after your Nebula processing. But if you have several Nebulas working in series, then that simple output gain is important, it will drive the next processor you have in your Nebula chain and so on. Once you get this part (alien for digital, second nature to analog people), it's pretty simple. Core concept: the input level makes a big difference in how your Nebula program will sound, and they're mostly calibrated to have a sweet spot around an average level of -18dbFS, with approximately -6dbFS Peaks. It's up to you if you want to use that sweet spot or how, though.

    The "Drive" is more like "artificially boost whatever harmonic effects the current program is bringing with it" type control. It is not distortion and it is not really saturation, and it sure as hell isn't drive as you would logically understand it (doesn't involve program gain at all).

    A lot of developers started adding a control called "Gdrive" which pushes up the input gain and backs off the output gain for you with one knob, this one is what you wanna adjust if you have it.

    Liquidity is some super obscure internal Nebula factor that nobody understands what it is. I know the technical definition of it but still don't understand. You're supposed to play with it only if you're super adventurous and have nothing better to do. Sometimes it helps on programs you are automating, like a filter opening/closing. If the filter sounds steppy as it's moving around or there's some click or something, you can tweak this and make it go away with it. Normally it's a no-touch zone, can safely ignore it on most programs.

    The TIMED /EVF17 thing is slightly more advanced Nebula hacking that involves editing the XML files, changing your programs under the hood and such, if you want to get into it, you can read up on the "TIMED Technique" via the Nebula forums. If it makes no sense then let me know I can commiserate, and then triumphantly deliver. It gives results that are more "deep" and "creamy" sometimes, and I like how it sounds but takes forever to render and can't even preview in realtime. Some people try it and feel like "meh!", it's not that big of a difference - but if you ask me it's a significant difference. The question is whether you really need it, and what for, because yeah it'll take forever.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
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  14. Dirty Hairy II

    Dirty Hairy II Member

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    Thanks man, I've read a little in the Neb forum about adjusting "LTIMED" on the master page, & raising the values of clean, even, & odd on the kern page...

    Something I don't understand you may know is on the kern page, the max setting (for kernels)....Should I leave it at "0", or will raising it give me more out of the program that I wouldn't get otherwise???
     
  15. Satai

    Satai Ultrasonic

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    Yeah I think the 0 means "the max the program allows", always left that alone.

    The basic idea for the TIMED mode is that you need to edit the XML file correctly to make it so you can freely adjust those ms valuses on the kern page without limits. Then, you flip the little arrows, so that all your CLEAN /EVEN/ODDS are being processed with TIMED mode. Take care with the arrows, they are confusing at first, and don't do what you'd think they're doing. Also check up above to see that it says SPLITH, which in Nebula means the opposite of what it says - you're actually in its CLASSC mode when it says that. You want to be in this CLASSC mode for trying out the TIMED hack and seeing how it can sound.

    Let's say it's your VNXT reverb program... you dial up the ms values for TIMED so that they match or exceed what the developer set for FREQD on the opposite side. Then save the preset with a new name like "whatever verb HQ". Be warned if it's a long reverb, longer TIMED mode ms values will be BRUTAL on cpu, and if you shorten them then you kinda lose half of the tails in the verb or get other artifacts. It will immediatelly put your CPU on its knees, permanently, so it's something you'd do just before the big masochistic render.

    You have the option of only doing the CLEAN part with TIMED (to save cpu/rendertime), or doing CLEAN + EVEN, or going full-on with all three TIMED mode. The CLEAN part makes the vast majority of difference to the sound, followed by EVEN, and then the ODD parts are a small (but argueably important) cherry on top.

    One thing I was noticing about TIMED programs I was experimenting with, is you can drive them a little bit more than the default type, and still sound good. No idea why that would be, just what it sounds like to me. Btw if you aren't already monitoring Nebula on some good headphones it can be a big help hearing the more subtle stuff it's doing as you adjust.
     
  16. Dirty Hairy II

    Dirty Hairy II Member

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    Ok, thanks man, I'd been cranking the kernels all the way up...I feel like an idiot, but I already knew about the SPLITH & ECONO things on that page, they're backwards, so I should've known about the kernels, so now I'll have to go change 'em...lol...Live & learn....hahaha

    I've been tweaking the TIMED values, along with reversing the arrows from where they are initially...I'll have to play around with some of the settings again...In the AlexB consoles, he recommends AHEAD set to 6.0ms & RATE CNV set to 4500ms, but I'm sure some experimenting will help me find what I'm after...

    Thanks again man, I really appreciate it!!!
     
  17. erminardi

    erminardi Member

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    According with their newsletter, at the end of November, Nebula v.4 with a dramatically improved volterra kernel engine will be released.
    Some random new features:
    • Multi program (so finally you will have i.e. a 4 bands eq)
    • Compressors now will work properly
    • Same for the reverbs
    • CPU usage lowered
    • Core Engine 9, taken form the last Coral and Sand Acqua plugs
    • skinnable (no more needed Nebula Setups, I guess.
    • etc
     
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  18. WillTheWeirdo

    WillTheWeirdo Platinum Record

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    As an AA beta tester I will offer my limited insight FWIW, lol.
    Nebula 4 has been in process for years, as every Acqua we use today is really running Nebula 4 technology, just without the official N4 GUI framework and set N4 features. Nebula is updated weekly, just not to the general public as it's trial and error with new features, lol. Every Acqua is running a Nebula dll. You can load Acqua's into N3 right now, in beta some test certain Acqua features in N3. So Coral is actually a N4 plugin, AA have just not released an official N4 because they are building up to it. The routing in Sand and the separate Acqua sections were needed for N4 and the planned features. N4 at some point will allow us to build our own presets using any combination of Acqua or Nebula library, and save it as a preset, possibly share the preset with other N4 users.

    We have not heard an official word about N4 for testing but it is coming, only G knows when. He has plans and works to a strict schedule. Lime is the next Acqua and I believe Titanium 2 should be coming soon, then Nebula 4...... but that is only a guess taken from bits and pieces of info and not official, we are still beta testing Coral.

    As to N3 vs N4.
    N3 is a useful tool, but the new advancements up to core 9 are not in N3. Currently 3rd party developers are using Core 5 in their libraries development. The fact Tim P has compressors working in N3 is amazing and should not be overlooked....... but they can NOT do what Sand and Coral are doing compressor wise. With that said, I've got Tim P's new Veri-Level (Retro Sta Level) beta, I'm testing it and for vocals it's great, but it's missing the current Nebula advancements that Coral and Sand give us. N4 will allow the 3rd party developers to bring us much better compressor action and multi band EQ's tools to market for us.

    Hold on as 2017 is gonna be a great year for Acustica Audio and their tools. As always, to each their own.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
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  19. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Platinum Record

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    That kind of reinforces my workflow especially with compressors, using algorithmic plugs with Nebula "Mojo" added on.
    I really like the sound of the TAN compressor. I wish they would do an 1176 as well. It'd be nice to see AA's take on that piece of hardware.
     
  20. Dirty Hairy II

    Dirty Hairy II Member

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    Thanks guys, I'm learning a little more everyday, at first it was a little overwhelming because of the gui/layout of the programs/libraries, but I've gotten used to it & I really like it so far...It's very different from the way I used a daw for the last 7-8 years, but that's ok, I'm improving (or I hope so anyway....hahaha)...

    Can't wait to see what the future brings!!!

    BTW, what libraries do you guys like the most???
     
  21. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Platinum Record

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    I like most that I've heard. Primarily I use Henry Olonga's stuff especially the Mojo presets. Also he's got some nice pre-amps, strips and busses. The Girthy stuff is good. He's got some good amp/cab samplings too. I like the GK Bass Amps, the Fender Amps, etc. I also use his microphone presets. The NT1 gives a nice sparkle to my vocal tracks, and the U87 has some nice tone to it as well. So much stuff in the All You Can Eat bundle that it takes awhile to get through it.
    I also use the Kalthallen and AE Cabs. I think Nebula Cab emulations hands down kill impulse responses in terms of depth and dimension.
    I can't believe the Olonga stuff is free now. I pony'd up the dough to get them before they were free.
     
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