Noise Ash vs Waves et al., a small Pultec comparison (updated)

Discussion in 'Mixing and Mastering' started by No Avenger, Sep 26, 2021.

  1. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    As the title says, due to a recent release at sister's, I made a small comparison between their Pultec emus.

    For this I used what I call My EQP1A standard setting, which looks like this (to avoid a page-long post I put all the pics into a spoiler)
    [​IMG]

    To match these I adjusted the Noise Ash like this
    [​IMG]

    and Rare like this
    [​IMG]
    As you can see, they differ quite a lot.

    At this point neither of their outputs are matched.

    The according PluginDoctor curves are:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Rare seems to have some trouble with the phase because I found these with OS off
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    and these with OS on
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Very interresting differences. I assume at least one of them is wrong.

    Last pic (tracks are not in the order of the pics above)
    [​IMG]
    As you can see, I also added Plugin Alliance's bx_2098 (with saturation, of course).

    Before I forget, Rule Tec's EQ1A Analog switch is on principle doing nothing. It produces a small and fast moving spike in the freq and harmonics analysis and a niltest resulted in a difference of ~ -80dB for peak and -inf for RMS so, not audible at all.

    Last not least, here's a small audio file in 44,1/16 with the above settings and peak adjusted.
    It's a two bars drum loop in the order as shown in the performance pic


    If someone finds a mistake, feel free to keep it. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021
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  3. BaSsDuDe

    BaSsDuDe Rock Star

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    SO YOUR SUMMARY IS KIND SIR? (professional opinion i.e.)

    Might be my ears but Bars 3+4 I heard it and bars 7+8 seemed more transparent.
    Just call me Beethoven if I'm wrong :rofl:
     
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  4. hackerz4life

    hackerz4life Platinum Record

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    Noise Ash is all around a better plugin.
     
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  5. Jeff*

    Jeff* Ultrasonic

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    Same, I've also tested Noise Ash's take on Pultec but I don't like to use analysers and other tools, just my ears and feeling !
    So my quick conclusions is that :

    Noise Ash is cool, the bottom end is fluffy and gooey, the high band is disappointing , saturation is cool.
    The Puigtec is just cool, not much to say, works good !
    Acustica's Purple is very analogy. you can feel the sound very nicely. BUT, and for me this is huge, in a mix the track just.. dissaparead and the highs were all smudgey ?! The more I go on, the more I find Acustica very disturbing
    IK's take was just horrible for me :)
    Apogee is sounding very nice ! Very close to Purple and also Noise Ash
    But my favourite is def the Bettermaker from PA. so clean ! so punchy and direct, love all the bands.

    That's just me, never owned a clone or the real deal and never tried UAD.

    There are all good when the right context needs it. Just Acustica is really annoying me (oh and let's not talk about cpu, latency etc etc...)
     
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  6. mild pump milk

    mild pump milk Russian Milk Drunkard

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    As I remember, Analog switch just removes/adds noise hiss (on the Rule Tec pligins). Thst's why NoiseAsh are noisier
     
  7. hackerz4life

    hackerz4life Platinum Record

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    Many pultec plugins fail to deliver the principal idea of what hardware pultec does.
    Cleans up the mud, tightens the bass and adds sparkly natural non volatile highs.
    None of the plugins can add the nice natural highs the way hardware does, only acustica White ( solid state ) and the old acustica cooltec come close.
    Apogee, is not tight enough in the bass region, its curve is too broad.
    Softube is very static, disappointed in this one.

    Hardware can clean up, tighten and and add sparkle without the midrange pultec, but in the plugin world many times the trick is to couple the passive tube pultec with the midrange pultec, because even if you cut 10db at 60hz its not enough so cutting a few db at 500hz ( example) is needed.

    Acustica could be better, they are still too muddy and the highs could be nicer and less harsh.

    Where all emulations fail, except of NoiseAsh, is the weight and color the tubes give you, not even Acustica or Apogee could replicate that.
    NoiseAsh emulated that a lot better than the others.

    Any hardware clone will give you the weight and nice color of tube saturation, the track will sound more dynamic, alive and 3D.
     
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  8. cliquid

    cliquid Member

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    I have used a piece of hardware extensively, however, none of the plugins I have used are modeled on this particular piece of hardware, so it would be unfair to compare to the actual hardware. I own the UAD versions, Noise Ash, AA, Waves and IK versions and the Bettermaker although it is unfair to include that really. Personally, for me, I use the UAD version. It behaves like the hardware I have used over the years. The Waves version is very good, AA is good, IK is good and the Noise Ash is good. Least favorite is the IK. There is nothing wrong with it so to speak, I just don't like its curves in the low end. The Noise Ash is a little overhyped in my opinion. I think a lot of people see the GUI and think YAY. It's a bit meh for me. Surprisingly though, on a blind test, I preferred the Waves Puig overall. But I still use the UAD for most purposes just because it feels familiar and I like the low end curve. All just in my opinion obviously.
     
  9. georgedalaras4

    georgedalaras4 Newbie

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    What's your opinion about Softube's pultec?
     
  10. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    My summary would be, I like the Rule Tec's OS saturation and the PuigTec's low end better. But most of all, I prefer to use a clean digital EQ together with a saturation plugin of choice. This gives me the most and best sound options.
     
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  11. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    No surprise, I could match the Pultec part with a clean digital EQ. They didn't cancel out eachother completely, but were indistinguishable in a blind test.
     
  12. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    Right, but that's hardly audible, see niltest comment above.
     
  13. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    I too found its high end pretty pleasing.
     
  14. BEAT16

    BEAT16 Audiosexual

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  15. Arabian_jesus

    Arabian_jesus Platinum Record

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    That's basically it. It probably looks like a fast moving spike up and down (at 50Hz) on the linear analysis because it is emulating 50Hz mains hum. It also creates very minor non-linearities throughout the whole spectrum, but the difference is negligible.
     
  16. WizzDome71

    WizzDome71 Producer

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    I've read somewhere (here) that the closest emulation of this EQ is the Black Rooster's one, but personnaly i prefer the Analog Obsession version (based on my Beethoven ears). Could you do the same thing with these two plugins please (comparing the 4)

    As far as your test is concerned I prefer the Noise Ash, the Waves sounds tiny and muddy
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021
  17. mild pump milk

    mild pump milk Russian Milk Drunkard

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    As I also see, Waves Puigtec also adds even harmonics and odd harmonics. RuleTecs by NoiseAsh do only odd harmonics
     
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  18. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep, that's what surprised me most.
     
  19. BEAT16

    BEAT16 Audiosexual

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  20. Arabian_jesus

    Arabian_jesus Platinum Record

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    I agree about the low end curve. Otherwise, I actually think that IK EQP-1A (not the older EQ-PA/PB/PG - they are crap) has the most pleasing high end! I think that the DC correction HP-filter messes with the low end curve a bit in IK EQP-1A because the Black Rooster Pultec has the same problem (both are DC corrected). NoiseAsh Rule-Tec and Analog Obsession Rare has no DC correction and their curves look better.
    [​IMG] Rule-Tec = Purple
    Rare = Orange


    I have never had the pleasure of using a hardware Pultec so I can't say which one of all the Pultec emu's out there are closest to the real deal, unfortunately.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021
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  21. hackerz4life

    hackerz4life Platinum Record

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    One thing about plugins is they have a narrow sweet spot.
    On my klark teknik clone i can cut/boost 20/30/60hz and the bass/kick would be tight, its so fast and easy a toddler could do it, while with plugins its a lot more time consuming and fiddling with the mouse, its harder to hit the sweet spot.
    Also you can make bigger cuts and boosts while still sounding natural.
    I still believe noise ash is the closest capturing the tube behavior, its tight, clean and dynamic.

    With clean i mean its not muddy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021
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