What are your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Software' started by Nick12, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. Nick12

    Nick12 Producer

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    I would like to start the thread with a question about what are exactly the differences between tube and tape plugins? And which one have your preference and why?

    What are exactly the differences between analog and digital? And which one have your preference and why?

    There are so many synthesizers that are available these days. Is there actually a synthesizer that can do and can make exactly the same sounds of a lot of synthesizers that are out there? Or maybe one that comes close and have the power to do what other synthesizers can do or are they all really different on their own?

    I also have a feeling that almost every synthesizer is the same these days. And this sounds weird probably, but do most of them not really have the same features and options? Probably a little synth with less options could still sound totally different than these big ones. What makes them all so different or how comes it that they could sound different from each other?

    And this is exactly the same feeling that I have about compressors and saturators, etc. There are so many of them out there. How comes it that most of them could sound different from each other while they all have actually the same settings like attack, threshold, release, ratio, etc.

    And yes I do notice that most of them are really giving that warmth and color, etc to the sound, but further than that I also actually feel like that there is not really a plugin that really stands out or a plugin that really adds more than others. I basically have a feeling that they are all almost the same? I have compared a few popular ones. And everytime I do think it sounds great. However, most of the time I can't really hear the differences and if I hear it it's little. For synthesizers it could be different totally, right?

    And this is where my next question comes in. Do they all really sound so much different from each other? I don't know if it's just me, but I am getting a bit worried that there is something wrong with my ears, hahaha.

    I would love to hear your thoughts about it :)

    Thank you!
     
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  3. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    Quite some time ago, I asked myself the same question. So I made a short drum loop with bd, sn, hh, toms and cyms, rendered an audio file, copied it nine times and and inserted a different eq with the same settings in each of the ten files.
    And guess what, I could distinguish six audibly different results.
    With some adjustments I may could have reduced it to five or four different results, but not less.

    After that I did the same with ten different compressors and could distinguish nine audibly different results, which I maybe could have reduced to eight or seven.

    I found three reasons for that. First, I used analoge emus aswell as pure digital ones. Analoge emus sound different from pure digital plugins because of their frequency and phase respond and in case of compressors because of their dynamic respond. Second, even pure digital plugins can sound different, because they use different algorithms. Third, what you are adjusting are displays, not necessarily the true parameters. If you for instance set the attack time to 20ms, the real attack time could be 15ms, or 25ms and that can result in different sounds. You can measure it yourself with a loudness/volume sweep and count the samples after the threshold is crossed.

    Very nice examples where you can select different analoge emus are Fabfilter's Saturn anf Izotope's Ozone ( I think it's in the exciter and/or maximizer section).

    So, yes they sound different for different reasons.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
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  4. Nick12

    Nick12 Producer

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    Thank you!

    So it's probably me I think. What did you find out of the differences? Was it big or was it little? Could you describe the differences that you have heard between them? And were there ones that really fell on for you compared to others?

    I think I only have compared analog with each other and not digital yet. I do believe that digital can sound very different than analog. For example distortion/saturation plugins like Saturn, Decapitator, SSDR, etc are all analog, right? Maybe the only subtle difference that I could find or what I could hear was that Decapitator maybe adds a bit more nasty aggressiveness and is louder? Saturn sounds great too, and it's more expanded and offers more creativity. It's hard to choose. Do you have maybe any good examples of digital ones?

    But there are also tube and tape compressors and saturations, etc right? Do you know what that is and maybe any examples of tube and tape compressors, and saturations if possible?

    Could you describe how analog and digital are working if possible whereby these differences do appear? And what kind of different algorithms are digital ones using compared to analog ones? Maybe I could understand better why they could sound different.

    I'm sorry if my questions are going into it too much at the moment, but yeah I find it very interesting actually. But if you think it's really hard or too complicated to understand in general, then never mind :)
     
  5. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    The difference is simple the sound.
    To describe it is not easy. Different anologe emus add harmonics in different ways (odd or even, flat or steep falling in level)
    Big, or not depends on the amount you dial in, although there are some emus that change the sound in a subtle way just by plugging them in.
    Yes, Saturn, Decapitator, SSDR are analoge emus.
    If you, for instance, switch through the different kinds of tape and tube emus, for instance, in Saturn, you will hear quite some difference.
    The simple built-in DAW compressors and eqs are digital, aswell as myriads of third party plugins (fabfilter plugins are very popular).
    Tube and tape compressors are the main analoge compressor emus and they always work with saturation. You can't get, for instance, the tube saturation without a compressing effect and vice versa. A bit saturation goes hand in hand with a bit compression. That's why heavy distorted guitars have an almost never ending sustain.
    You should also have a look at opto compressors. Great for vocals and sounds with soft attack.
    Just google for the different emus and you will find dozends of each type. Or search this forum, there are several threads concerning these questions with a lot of tips from experienced members.
    What kind of emu to use for which sounds depends a lot on your personal taste.
    Back in the days they used tube mics, preamps, amps and consoles (to some extend just because they hadn't anything else) and recorded on tape. So, every stage added a bit of saturation and compression.
    Drums, on the other hand, benefit from vca compressors because they're really quick and can add punch (if you do it the right way).

    It's a veery big subject and you'll need patience and time to work your way through all this and it will probably never end.
    One method of operation could be to choose which kind of emu you like to use for a specific sound and then compare it to the sound of the same kind of emu from different developers. If you, for instance like tape compression on vocals, just compare the sound of different tape emu plugins at the same loudness. When it comes to the sound always adjust the loudness at the same level, or you will be cheated!
     
  6. m9cao

    m9cao Producer

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    tube-warmer some noise, dirty
    tape-noisy, mid range saturated
    analog-natural sound, energy can transformed well(digital technology just destroying the nature of energy structure), balance saturated like sound you heard in daily life
    digital-non human sound, more noise, clean sound, not well saturated you must processed it with high end analog gear, any brand of digital synth sound different because of the sound engine, analog synth can have same color because of the analog character and same recording environment
    the 'sound color' are not same as 'engine color'(or coloring), you can only heard the difference in your inner mind
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
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  7. Fudsey Plange

    Fudsey Plange Audiosexual

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    What people usually mean by tube is even-harmonic distorion. What people often mean by tape is marginal peak saturation often comingled with noise, temporal inconsistencies and marginal compression.

    It's all forms of smearing clairty at the end of the day, these names are simply traditional shorthand for particular flavours.
     
  8. Nick12

    Nick12 Producer

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    Yes, that's very true. I can hear that definitely. I feel like that tape gives a bit more harmonics and then especially in the low end. My kicks for example will sound a bit more distorted. It sounds more bassy. I feel like that tube is a bit cleaner and more calmer. I also started to compare them with an analyzer based on your suggestion and the only little difference I actually could see is that tape have a slighty higher mid range than tube. It's funny, because it's basically what @m9cao has described aswell. However, if I start to compare that with other saturation/distortion plugins it starts to go back to getting harder for me to really hear the differences. Do you think trained ears are mostly coming into this, because if there are differences I feel like it's so subtle. But yeah it's indeed true what you say that this is for everyone different.

    Well, if I find something really interesting and I really want to know, then I am always getting so deep into it and actually trying to understand it all in one day. I just have to accept that's impossible, haha. But hey I quess that's fun, right? A bit of experimenting.

    Do you know how analog and digital are actually working with each other? Are audio formats not all digital for example? If you have a nice analog recording or a nice analog sound and you start to converse that to digital will it lose some of it's quality or will it sound different? Also plugins like compressors and distortion/saturation plugins are mostly analog in general, right? Do you know why they are mostly analog, while popular synthesizers, like Serum for example are mostly digital? And does it mean that something like Omnisphere is using analog signals, because of the amount of different effects and the built-in tape and tube effects?

    What do you mean with even-harmonic distortion?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
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  9. Blorg

    Blorg Producer

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    If you're talking about VST(I)s, they're all digital, regardless of what their makers call them. Due to the fact that the computers they run on are digital.
    Some try to model obsolete analog gear (old tape decks & tube (pre)amps), because reasons.
    Most distortion (and all distortion musicians think of as distortion) introduces harmonics. Even-harmonic distortion introduces even harmonics. If you have FL Studio, you can hear what even & odd harmonics sound like with Sytrus (an additive synth, the bars are harmonics -- second, fourth, sixths etc. are even, 3rd 5th 7th are odd).
     
  10. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    Yo, bro, you're messing up a lot.

    Everything in your computer is digital. Every program, DAW, eq, compressor syth, videofile, audiofile, just everything.

    If you convert anything analog (video, audio) to digital and the converters are good enough, which they are for quite some years now, you won't recognize a difference in normal use (yes, there is a difference if you for instance slow down an audiofile, or zoom into a picture/movie).

    Some software is supposed to emulate the analog counterpart, but they are still digital in your computer.
    The way the emulation works depends on the developers and so there is a difference between the different emulations of the same kind.
     
  11. powerplay

    powerplay Member

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    It's simple. Book a studio which owns tube gears and tape machines, bring your audio materials, and hear the difference.
    Once you hear the real thing, you'll never ask the same question. Don't just sit down at home and try to find out the differences with shitty plug-ins only.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
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  12. Fudsey Plange

    Fudsey Plange Audiosexual

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    It's on Wikipedia.

    Triodes (and MOSFETs) produce a monotonically decaying harmonic distortion spectrum. Even-order harmonics and odd-order harmonics are both natural number multiples of the input frequency. A psychoacoustic analysis tells us that high-order harmonics are more offensive than low.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tube_sound

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
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  13. m9cao

    m9cao Producer

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    Most of times digital lines was used to transforming digital massage(0/1) but sometimes transform energy like common cable in playback/recording line, you should know the environments first.

    of course it will lose some energy(or twisted) it was intended, its depending on the quality of your signal line($1000 above just some cables for reducing energy loss and fragmentation *analog are continuous,but digital are fragmented, to keeping 'analog digital signal(99.9999% digital signal almost with no energy lose) it must not be fragmented') *thats also says why some hi end hardware synth using digital synthesis are sounding good too(line out) comparing with same model of digital vst.

    serum is digital, omnisphere or something like this are sampled instrument colored by some analog gear, they have same quality and sampled instrument just cheating your mind you think its analog but still digital.

    i should say, the true problem is not digital or analog, people always accept and never criticize analog gear or analog colored digital sample just because its sound almost better than digital, has unique gear color, sounding natural sound in daily, even the recorded result are really worse, but digital on opposite way, thats why digital synth must colored by high end analog mastering gear at final step
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  14. Nick12

    Nick12 Producer

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    Because analog sounds better? Is there a logical reason for it, like maybe because it's hardware (analog gear is hardware, right?) Or is it just the way it is?

    Oh, my bad. By the way I actually found this interesting video from Softube on how the CL 1B compressor is made. I actually didn't know that a compressor like this is made by only a few people. I seriously thought that there is a whole team with so many people behind it.



    I actually would like to do that. Would be a nice experience I quess. Not sure if the plugins that I have used or that I am using are immediately shitty?

    That whole page is full of interesting stuff. I like it! But that page makes me want to ask even more questions, haha.

    So basically a vacuum tube is an electronic device with a filament (cathode) that's surrounded with a metal plate (anode). When the filament is heated up and the plate have an enough positive voltage, there will be an electrical flow when the circuit between them gets closed. Does that mean that the tube sound is coming from vacuum tubes and that the tape sound is coming from tape machines? And that tube compressors are made from vacuum tubes? Is that right?

    So if I am right and from what I can understand from the picture and from the video from @Blorg even and odd harmonics are basically just octaves above the original note?

    The 0/1 is the binary format that's called in the digital world, right? Actually every good sounding tracks that are digital (it is mostly all digital, right?) are colored by analog in the end? So in that case analog and digital can work great with each other and are indispensable. I thought maybe it can disturb each other. However, when you start recording with both analog and digital microphones can you not get phasing issues, because of the speed variations? And if so many plugins are emulated to analog gear, then why are computers and software not running with analog signals? Why are computers and software all digital right now?
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
  15. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    :woot:, how could it? With every octave up the frequency is doubled. So, the octaves up of 1kHz are 2k, 4k, 8k, 16k...
    Down the freqs are halved 500Hz, 250Hz, 125Hz...
     
  16. m9cao

    m9cao Producer

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  17. m9cao

    m9cao Producer

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    The 0/1 is the binary format that's called in the digital world, right?

    yes but iv said sometimes the digital transformation was used to transforms energy.



    Actually every good sounding tracks that are digital (it is mostly all digital, right?)

    no its analog simply because you were using analog output(you must, we are human)



    So in that case analog and digital can work great with each other and are indispensable. I thought maybe it can disturb each other.

    yes but not easy they often doesnt care or didnt know, and if somebody knows, its still hard to achieved.



    However, when you start recording with both analog and digital microphones can you not get phasing issues, because of the speed variations? And if so many plugins are emulated to analog gear, then why are computers and software not running with analog signals? Why are computers and software all digital right now?

    its not about music or audio. if you want know it deep, its hard to say.
    all digital(with algorithms) runnning in a platform, the platform need elements structure to storing and transforming energy. it bascally has 3 forms, in astrology:
    Gemini=binary.
    Libra=electricity.(electric must spreading evenly at PCBs or electronic related devices)
    Aquarius=data structure, matrix.(if you aleady know some programming basics)
    (google the icon if you want)
    all those 3 elements have same type(wind type), if 3 elements or house have same type, something can growing above it(formed a triangle in graph contains 3*120°, most stable). so its must running in digital, the platform itself is digital.
    (and more, 3 fire type=boiler, 3water= sea, 3earth= buildings, those are ground of everything relying on it)
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
  18. Blorg

    Blorg Producer

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    No, analog doesn't sound better, because "better" is a meaningless modifier. Better for whom or for what? Are green apples better than red apples? Are red apples better than potatoes? "Analog," applied to gear, means the signal path (of that gear) does not involve digitizing the signal (translating it into 1s and 0s) to process it. When applied to sound, it's a meaningless buzzword, something like "natural" or "smooth" or "game-changing" or [any marketing-speak superlative].
    Analog gear (from Edison's recorder scratching sound into a wax disk to top-end Studer decks) had inferior fidelity to modern digital gear. Often, people liked the distortion & noise it added to the sound, because perfection is ugly. Think of it as adding blur filters & grain to pristine high-res graphics to make them look "natural" (especially when shopping a bunch of images together). Natural is in quotes because these filters are no more natural than "natural look" makeup -- they're unnatural, that's the very reason to use them -- to distort reality in a way that pleases us, to make things look better to&for us :)
    The circuit between them is never closed. A tube has at least 3 elements: a cathode, a grid, and an anode. The grid sits between cathode & anode, acting as a valve (that's why Brits cal it a valve).
    Think of the grid as a faucet: lets you control the flow of water (in a tube: electrons) with minimum effort (unlike having to press your thumb against the faucet to fight the pressure). Here's the relevant bit:
    Just like the flow of water is not linearly proportional to the number of degrees you turn a faucet, the relationship between plate current and grid voltage is also fairly complex. In electronics lingo, it's called "transfer curves," which look like this:
    [​IMG]
    When VST manufacturers say that their plugs are SPICE-modeled, they mean something like this:

    (didn't watch the vid, just the first Google hit).
    Electronics is either fun or not, but something you should dip your toe in, if you want to understand how analog gear works. Do this only if it's fun though, there's absolutely no need to understand this stuff if your goal is to make music/use VSTs. Just like understanding the inner workings of an iPhone won't make calling people any easier :)
     
  19. Fudsey Plange

    Fudsey Plange Audiosexual

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    Yes.
     
  20. Nick12

    Nick12 Producer

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    I am getting smarter. Well, hopefully :)

    These are actually some good examples. Is it something like a puzzle? To make the full puzzle complete you need to find the right pieces. In this case they are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius? And by the way does everything not starts with analog in the first place? Is digital not made and converted from analog? For example the first step to make a computer start working is to turn it on. To turn it on the power cable should be plugged into the socket. A signal from a socket is analog, right? So every first signal that comes into a computer is always analog?

    How does data processing works with digital signals in computers? How do binary numbers work? How convert a computer different types of data or signals into binary numbers. The only thing I know from binary is 1 and 0. That gives a bit confusion to me. I think digital is less accurate right now, because it only works with two numbers like 1 and 0. Is it also not more efficient to use higher values, because maybe of the extra accuracy it gives? If it's too complicated to explain, then you may skip it.

    I certainly do. It's very interesting for me. It's not directly associated to audio, but I'm also doing a study where a lot of physics, chemistry and electronic is involved for example. So that's maybe why it's so interesting and fun for me. That picture looks really complicated indeed. I'm not sure if I should go into that or into that really deeply high level technical stuff, because then this thread will likely be like 100 pages longer. But yeah it's always fun to see I think and I also still appreciate it and your and everyone else effort right here. And I think what I could understand is all greatly incorporated and for sure I already have learned so many new interesting stuff. I'm also that typical guy when he finds something interesting he goes into it and wants to know everything in and out. That's just me. I can't stop that :)

    I have going through it a lot more and this is how I will explain it. Correct me if I am wrong.

    A vacuum tube works with (+) and (-). The anode is postive and the cathode is negative. The grid is always negative I thought?

    Between these two electrodes is built-up an electronic field, because of the high voltage that will be used. The electrodes that are loosened from the heated cathode now wants to move from the cathode to the anode. That's not possible, because of the grid that's negative loaded compared to the cathode. Well at least it's more harder.

    You can adjust the amount of flow by controlling the grid with different negative variations. That's what you said with the water example. How bigger the grid will be filled with negative how less the flow will be. Because of the grid the anode will have a resistance. How big depends on how much negative the grid is. The differences between the resistances of the anode and the grid is how you get amps? So actually a vacuum tube is an amplifier?

    Tape machines are working by spinning their coils across a tape head. This takes electric or audio signals and polarize it into the tape in proporation to the audio signal. If you start to overload you get distortion? Am I right? I also was looking for a bit more in depth information, but I couldn't found that much. Any other stuff about that is always welcome.

    And that's actually really interesting aswell. How does that work with the Iphone? Haha, no let's only stick it with audio :)

    Ah, great. That makes everything already a bit clearer. Thank you!
     
  21. Fudsey Plange

    Fudsey Plange Audiosexual

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    I definitely like the shit fryer.
     
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