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Thread: DAW vs Physical Hardware

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farview View Post
    If you are comparing cheap digital gear to eye-wateringly expensive analog gear, the digital will lose. If you compare high quality emulation plugins to there analog counterparts, it a much more even match.

    You can make great sounding recordings on either, it's more about how you want to work. (And budget)
    Good point.

  2. #42
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    We have an Atares AutoTune Tube preamp which we use on our primary vocal mic. Even with auto tune turned off it has a warmth we don't get when we bypass it. Yet our audio interface has Midas preamps, and they really are very good.

    We have a Roland Integra-7 rather than virtual instruments because it relieves a bit of load on the computer. And a Behringer REV2496 effects unit which connects via SPDIF; so, natively 24/96 with no conversion. We've started using that in mixes, for reverb specifically. Although it's a small hassle replicating settings between sessions, that reverb has a very attractive gloss we haven't so far managed to replicate (although Valhalla is great, for different reasons).

    I guess we've become a bit of a hybrid. Most of what we do is in the box, but a few choice pieces of outboard gear can make a difference.

  3. #43
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    thats what tubes can be loved for, that little bit of "something".

    I did a bunch of mic comparisons and preamps today etc...and in the end nothing sounded that great, so once again the slathering of plugins and plugineq was done and it sounded closer to what I wanted to hear.....but then I thought, why worry about the outboard preamp that much , if its going to be polished up with plugins?

    I listened to that Grahm site and he had some track that sounded great with a Behringer B2 Pro and a Behringer MIC200 wart preamp...and most likely the plugin/polish..definitely vox fx applied.

    if it's not happening in the room, it ain't gonna happen on tape.-H.Gerst

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoolCat View Post
    thats what tubes can be loved for, that little bit of "something".

    I did a bunch of mic comparisons and preamps today etc...and in the end nothing sounded that great, so once again the slathering of plugins and plugineq was done and it sounded closer to what I wanted to hear.....but then I thought, why worry about the outboard preamp that much , if its going to be polished up with plugins?

    I listened to that Grahm site and he had some track that sounded great with a Behringer B2 Pro and a Behringer MIC200 wart preamp...and most likely the plugin/polish..definitely vox fx applied.
    Interesting, I know plug-ins can do a lot to really make things sound pretty good, but I'm really not sure about microphones. I still think you need to spend over a thousand bucks to get a super clean super silky source from a mic. I wouldn't be surprised if there are plugins that can somehow fool your ear into hearing that, but I think I can still hear a bit of murkiness/harshness in the less expensive mics.

  5. #45
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    Is this really the case?
    Does it start at a thousand bucks?

    Or does it start at, say, a 2 inch diaphragm? Or a 3 inch ribbon?

    Because I kinda like my $300 Rode. (1.5 inch diaphragm, i think) Yes, there's some lack in silk. But run through a dbx preamp and it's really great.

    Now, before someone says "well, you had to buy that preamp so you might as well spent it on a mic."
    I say, "but you would have done that TOO!" because anyone that concerned would never run it straight into a board.

    My point is that I'm thinking that really, really good mic work can be had for $500, maybe less.

    I agree that all that stuff that is styled like top gear is not. But I'm curious if mics are pretty much like all other audio gear: that technology and thus cost has caught up and there's no point shelling out those kind of clams for dubious improvement.

    Just wondering.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ponder5 View Post
    Is this really the case?
    Does it start at a thousand bucks?


    Just wondering.
    I hear ya, 1k is just a number and there are people raving about mics like the Roswell mini K47 for 299.00 new. Placing a dollar value on a mic, isn't the greatest scale really.

  7. #47
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    I went through the time travel past few days....2002...2003..... DMP3 vs everything and so many posts couldnt hear a difference in samples and blindshoots, and even the owners with numerous preamps didnt jump out a window in saying the $$$$$ pre was much better.....
    Yesterdays DMP3 seems to be the CLoudlifter today..

    so my understanding is the ADDA in DAW/interface is much less an impact than the Mic and PreAmp. agree? I dont think there is much sound difference between FruityLoops and REAPER and LOGIC...and the interfaces converter chips are all pretty topnotch, sure CRANES cost $$$$$ but can most hear it over an Apollo or Scarlett? I went through several interfaces and didnt hear any big wow thing.

    So I guess today my vote is HARDWARE... Mic and PreAmps....not really instruments and not rooms which obviously are huge if not close mic'd.

    Im thinking today (on Doughnut shop coiffee) ,,to know what the mic can really do in performance and sound (in a persons own room) doesnt the preamp have to be chosen first?

    so thinking out loud here on the keyboard, I notice like SOS very well done drum sessions in all the big name rooms....what preamp did they choose before embarking on this huge piece they did? ISA Focusrtie....as I read it the decision was they wanted a great sounding but invisible kind of preamp....lord knows they probably had access to every preamp ever made.

    I had the ISA One and then the TWO for rack ergonmics, and in hindsight, I could agree that theres just a full preamp without a lot of character, some might say very little character, but full...the confidence it is a good piece is conffirmed by articles and projects like the SOS huge drum room piece/article.

    Ill even assume a great mic and pre match (no comp and eq in the chain) to the DAW is a larger role in sound. ..er...until the DAW PlugINs get opened and applied. ...

    ISA is cool because it can do ribbons, SM7, and LDC's and has ability to stay in the background a bit and not put its "color" on the sound.

    I wonder if the OP meant PLUGINS vs HARDWARE?

    if it's not happening in the room, it ain't gonna happen on tape.-H.Gerst

  8. #48
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    How many great things did you hit?
    Several, for sure.
    But there's an elephant in the room, certainly.

    Remember when the ADAT came out? First thing they (the reviewers) did was compare it Pro Tools. Sure enough, a bit-level identical copy. So suck it, PT boys, this is just as good (this was in Mix Magazine years ago.)

    So whatever the DAW, it's a wash at nearly the bit level, all else being equal.

    There is no "this DAW sounds..." without someone tasting some distortion they like.

    Which always brings out the cork-sniffers.

    If you notice, preamps were once judged on cleanliness and transparency and subjective terms no solid-state could abide, but only valves. Once hooked to very expensive analysis equipment, the King was found naked - and pretty drunk -- and allah duh sudden, preamps have gone back to touting warm, open, full-bodied, and wine-tasting terms.

    Technically speaking, these are all distortions of some sort, like it or not. It's now just as a matter of choosing the distortion one prefers. Big Muff? DS-1? And just like there's no guitarist that actually plays a straight, unaltered signal, there's an increasing number of recordists -- that should know better, IMO -- that also tailor the sound as they go.

    If it's truly about clean and pure, this has been achieved for many years and is available quite affordably these days at fidelity that passes technical muster. Yes, it takes all the fun and games out, but the waveforms, numbers, and summations do not lie. It's all there.

    Choosing a preamp is a show. It's a dance. It's about choosing the 'sound' - an added effect - over an exact copy of the original. If it's a matter of warm or lustrous, this is a matter of what artifacts and distortions, complex as they may be, the recordist selects.

    And hey, i got no problem with that. But I ain't buying a bridge, either. Done bought too many, already.

  9. #49
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    this morning re-listened to MXL BCD to the Shure SM7b, same genre mic.....one was <$100...the other $400....fresh ears.
    differences noted, both through a clean setting UA 610, which is very nice and easy to turn the large knobs.

    ..neither track was good enough without help...imo.

    Does a person use PULTEC EQ's and LA2A hardware and reverbs going in... or go ITB... PlugIns to polish the dry-tracking?
    Money comes to mind... lol DAW wins in cost for sure.


    the cork sniffing.. AmericanGreed true crime had a Wine Scammer, who was making vintage labels and he also was skilled criminally to get into the posh auctions and upper class circles and made himself one of them, the rich...as they paid huge money for his fake wine labels on cheap wine bottles. how embarrassing that would be, without the emotions of being ripped off, but to be sipping it thinking it was some $48,000 bottle of wine and bragging to friends about it and the wine partys... lol...

    I still enjoy comparing mics and preamps/outboard....but for plugins there isnt the interest to compare as much. ...my DAW compressors for example are Klanghelm and I bought the $39 full version which has 3 genres and are so easy to use and its like owning 500qty of them and were voted Top Plug etc. Does the PlugIn sound a lot different than the LA2A opto cell of my 1qty unit? Can I buy unlimited quantites of LA610's? no....

    so my point is...I forgot what the point is.

    if it's not happening in the room, it ain't gonna happen on tape.-H.Gerst

  10. #50
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    most recent comparison of hardware shows even the MAudio DMP3 with EQ can get within 99% of any hardware I have in my closet HR studio.
    or even a Cloudlifter etc... preamp

    for compression... plugins can be stored and slapped on 20- tracks with ease and call back etc..

    for reverbs... obvious plugins

    EQ Im afraid of, EQ gong in, has ruined more tracks due to tweaks with closed bass heavy tracking phones on...better to go in flat, clean, no EQ...do all that ITB.

    Hardware is for me more placebo then it seems? maybe a little ergonomics, in having the mic go into a metal box with a knob on it and some selectors to and jacks to plug into.

    if it's not happening in the room, it ain't gonna happen on tape.-H.Gerst

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