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Carl Ewing

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  1. Came across a 10% coupon code "NERDS" for the official iZotope site, which also applies to the "loyalty" prices in your account. Doing a quick check, that extra 10% on top of loyalty prices is cheaper than 3rd party sellers. I think this sale ends tomorrow.
  2. It's a mostly useless survey. A couple of these companies don't have entry level interfaces, which make up the majority of marketshare for companies like Focusrite, UAD, Audient, etc. Although it is a credit to RME that they have large representation despite having no entry level hardware, zero marketing toward hobbyists and no purchase incentives (eg. plugin bundles, subscription discounts, etc.) unlike their entry level competitors.
  3. Exactly. Melodyne is extraordinarily powerful. Can do everything from basic pitch correcting a solo vocal to completely altering the chords in a polyphonic piano performance, or reducing / amplifying vibrato in any material, or pitch correcting toms / kick drums in a full kit performance and can accomplish some wild experimental / sound design tasks. I think some people don't realize you can alter pitch, sibilants, vibrato, volume, length / timing and fomants of every note - both in mono and polyphonic material on any instrument. And once you learn the program well it can be very transparent even with fairly extreme tweaks, like changing the entire key of a song (have done this a couple times with remix work when changing all the stems from major to minor or vice versa), or changing the intonation of individual lyrics...something that's also used in post-production for tv / movie dialogue. It's been a "can't live without" plugin for over 10 years for me.
  4. They want you on subscription and not debating $25 purchases every 6 months.
  5. This is kind of a no-brainer statement. Basically "UAD plugins are great. Other plugins are also great. Use whatever." Of course. However - "believes that somehow plugins, that emulate hardware that was used to record smashing hits...". This implies that all emulations are created equal. When they are absolutely not. If you're looking specifically for a hardware emulation, then there are indeed objective measurements to determine which is best. And there are some emulations that are absolutely terrible - not even in a "sounds different but still good" kind of way, like Neolds U2A, just in a straight "not good sounding" kinda way. I ran into this problem a while back. I was doing a restoration / restoration project on a track from 2010. Unfortunately the stems all had a terrible sounding reverb baked in, so I was going back to the original Cubase project file and reconstructing the mix. This project had a lot of UAD plugins, but at the time I was on a mobile rig and UAD hadn't released Native versions. So most of the plugins had to be replaced with different versions from Softube, Plugin Alliance, Waves, IK, etc. No problem for 99% of the replacements. But - there was a problem with one specific instrument that was heavily distorted in the stem. According to the "missing plugins" list for that track, the distortion was coming from UADs LA-2A emulation (LA-2As can have amazing distortion when pushed), which I assumed to be the generic version, not the silver / gray, etc. version. So, I started going through Waves CLA-2A, IK White 2A, Softube / NIs VC 2A, even Brainworx BX_Opto, and any possible similar compressor I could find. Could not replicate the sound of that stem. Tried everything. Literally everything - hours and hours of A/B switching, different gain staging, putting one on top of another, etc., etc. Could not get even close to what the stem sounded like....and in fact the alternatives sounded bad! Closest was maybe the Waves CLA-2A, but it was still off by a mile, but at least the saturation didn't sound horrible. Was travelling in a big city, so was able to get into a studio with hardware LA-2A units. Patched everything in, twiddled some knobs and boom, exact same sound as the stem. I didn't realize how close the plugin versions were to those units. But this is a good example of how accurate emulations need to be tested in ALL scenarios where the hardware unit is used. With the LA-2A, most of the competing emulations are excellent at basic compression / limiting, but they all fail at high gain saturation. Which is interesting, because I think UAD often fails in this department (eg. Thermionic Culture Vulture) but nailed it on the LA-2A.
  6. Are you not impressed after using their plugins? You're asking what they do that others don't - but you would know this if you used their plugins, right? lol? On my mobile rig - before Native versions were released - the 3 workhorse plugins I missed were the Lexicon 224, LA-2A collection & Massive Passive EQ. I prefer these to the alternative emulations, especially the LA-2A collection which I find so far beyond the competitors that it's not comparable. EXCEPT - I really love the Neold U2A, but it's much different sound than a hardware LA-2A or the UAD versions. It has a much darker and aggressive sound - but love it still. Non-native plugins that I love and can't find replacements for on mobile rig (open to suggestions!): Cooper Time Cube, EP-34 Tape Echo (the IK tape-echo is quite nice though), Moog Multimode Filter (don't like alternatives), Dytronics Chorus & Cyclosonic Panner, Fatso Jr. Sr., Ocean Way Studios, Lexicon 480L (don't like alternatives), Capitol Mastering Compressor and love their Electra 88. Probably missing a few, but that's from memory. Quite a few I haven't tried / don't own, but UAD makes solid emulations and some very unique effects. And they really do have some of the best emulations of (in my opinion) critical studio gear, including their own hardware (6176, LA-2A, 1176, etc.). However - tons of their catalog is pulled from Softube, Brainworx so can be purchased elsewhere. For years I could do work on my mobile rig without UAD plugins and had no problems. I could definitely live without their products. But I definitely miss them when they're not around.
  7. Note: this includes EVO driver / firmware updates as well. Still impressed by the EVO 16. Have an RME UFX II on main system, but have an EVO 16 on secondary system, and it's held up very well. Excellent preamps considering the price, great sounding converters for the price, stable and decent mix / routing software, sturdy build. Had a few bugs when I first got it about 2 years ago, but they've been worked out with subsequent updates. To be honest - considering the almost $2000 price difference (EVO 16 goes for $579 and a new UFX II goes for $2799...the III is even higher), I would have no problems with the EVO 16 as main interface. I honestly forget if I was using the RME or the EVO for some tracks. And I prefer the preamps on the EVO over the UFX in some cases. Only downside is that UFX has more detail / control on the front panel, Total Mix blows the Audient software out of the water (irrelevant depending on setup) and, of course, nothing beats the RME drivers on Windows. They are absolutely rock solid on low latency. Not sure what magical elves they have making their drivers but they are incredible. I'm sure I could get really nitpicky with noise and converter quality between the two units, but we're talking very minute degrees of improvement with the UFX. (EDIT: I have an Audient ID MKII unit for mobile and it definitely is more comparable to the RME for build quality and noise...but I'm specifically talking about quality vs. price with the EVO 16 and UFX). But really - an excellent quality rackable interface with 8 preamps and solid converters is insane for less than $600. Great example of how far digital audio has come the last 30 years.
  8. Use the MTMs a lot. I have a pair of Focal Twin6 as mains, but the MTMs are pretty spectacular for their price / size and I often prefer to mix on them. Prior to the MTMs I had a set of Genelec 8020Ds as desktop speakers but sold them once I tried the MTMs for a week. I was very concerned about the artificial low end in the MTMs but this has not been an issue with translation, even working without a sub. (Although I do reference with the Focal's and a set of HD600 frequently...but I'm used to them enough now that it's not really necessary.) Absolutely amazing speakers for the price. I'm very attempted to check their Precision line against the Focals, but they haven't become available in my area yet. IK is a weird company - they have a Hosa-cable type vibe sometimes, but have been making some incredible products recently.
  9. Just wanted to add one important point, especially when comparing passive vs. active EQs. A passive EQ, like the Massive Passive or Pultec, don't actually "boost" frequencies. What actually happens is that when you "boost" a frequency by 2db it will drop other frequencies by 2db (*), giving the perception that the target frequency is being boosted. Depending on the unit (or emulation) 2db of makeup gain is then added to the entire signal. (**) Because of this process, technically, a passive EQ does not require a power supply except for the purpose of a providing a kind of "auto gain" to compensate for lost signal. And of course the gain amp in many passive EQ units gives each unit a very signature sound. * = the frequency curve of this process wildly differs between models. Some do steeper cuts to frequencies closest to the target frequency, others have a more uniform curve across the whole spectrum. ** = again, how this is done differs wildly between models. For example, you get quite a different sound if the fixed-gain amp is before or after the EQ circuit. A proper emulation of these units would have to take this circuitry into account. I noticed that a lot of these "all these EQ plugins sound the same" claims often mix match entirely different types of EQs without understanding the circuitry / physics and how it would be literally impossible for them to sound the same. If they are getting a "they sound identical", then there is either something wrong with the emulation (quite possible), or something very wrong with the test. Not sure if I explained that correctly - but here's a Sweetwater site explanation:
  10. I don't think it's so much sounding good - what we think sounds good is product of 100 years of recorded music made on very specific pieces of equipment, by a relatively small group of people, who essentially hammered the sound of "good" into our brains. In a parallel universe, where entirely other engineers made entirely different pieces of gear, it's likely our idea of "good" would be entirely different. That universe may have had colder sounding 70s rock, or more washed out sounding funk, or whatever. Maybe the 32C was never made and disco never sounded the way it did. Let's take the 32C. A console with a very unique EQ. It is unmistakable. You'll notice that sound across all of ABBAs work, Michael Jackson's Thriller, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation, tons of R&B and disco. That EQ is a huge part of the sound of disco, early Chicago house, and 90s r&b. What do these all have in common? A total and complete - absolutely complete - lack of harshness. It's a gorgeous sounding EQ for music that will eventually be played in clubs - of a certain era. What is special about it? Why can't you just reproduce what it dose with a surgical EQ like Pro-Q 3. Try it. Take a harsh sounding mix (annoying crash cymbals or ringing snare or brittle metallic bass) and try to tame it with any other EQ. Then, after a day of experimenting, switch to the 32C emulation (which is pretty good). You'll solve many of those problems in seconds. BUT. There's a tradeoff. It will have a very specific sound. I personally don't like the sound for my own music. That EQ is exceptional, but not for me personally. It might be because I recognize the sound of that EQ on bass and it reminds me of 90s r&b. But this goes back to my first point - why do I think it's "removing harshness". It's likely because it's removing things that were also removed in 1000 other albums in the past, and I've learned to consider these harsh. It's also why so many emulations are made of literally every EQ ever built - because many people like the sound of certain EQs, and don't want any other options. It's not that the sound couldn't be replicated with a complex EQ like Pro-Q 3, it's that people want that sound. They want those bands, and that HP / LP filter slope, because it simply / easily replicates a sound we've all grown to love. To go on a tangent. For me personally - I was using the Amek 9099 emulation for about a year almost exclusively. I started to get a lot of comments about a change in the tone of my tracks. Something about the mids / mid-highs. "I like your old mixes better." What is going on? I love the sound of that EQ. And I'm using essentially the same bands and Qs as on other EQs before? At least I think? And I particularly like the high end air (more than the Clariphonic, Abbey Road stuff and Maag 4), and I love it for taming midrange harshness. It became essentially my only EQ for 12 months. But with all these comments I threw it into plugin doctor. It's the "Sheen" button on the high frequency band. I thought I loved it. But what it was actually doing is smearing the high end. It does a beautiful thing with the stereo imaging of stuff above 10K, and I got so used to it I didn't notice that it was totally *****ing with the higher midrange and giving it a kind of phasey sound. But...although it's not a big deal on a single track / group bus, when that phasey smearing sound is across all tracks the final mix sounds "off". I didn't realize how off till I started checking older mixes in other studios. It was clear as day - I just got used to it on my monitors and thought it sounded great. That's one button, on one EQ that can have an enormous impact on the final mix. So imagine how using a Pultec emulation vs. a Harrison 32C emulation will alter a sound. There are features very specific to the Pultec (and passive EQs in general...other than the tonal difference), but for the Pultec that's the ability to boost and cut the same band at the same time. This results in a fairly complex frequency curve that cannot be replicated with something like a 32C or a parametric EQ. However, something like the Plugin Alliance Kirchoff EQ has an option to replicate this behavior in parametric form. However - many people won't use this because they specifically want the limitations of the Pultec, again...going back to history...it's the unmistakable sound of so many classic mixes...precisely because it has so few options with very unique-to-that-device curves. Anyway - all this to say. There are many ways to draw an EQ curve. Almost every EQ approaches this differently. It would be absurd to "null test", say, a Pultec vs a 32C vs. a Api 5500, because they have totally different features. Sure, you might match a certain frequency boost curve on one band, but you're likely also pulling out a 32C for additional band control or its incredible LP / HP filter, or pulling out a Pultec for the attenuation curves to get a specific kick sound. Neither of these EQs can do what the other one does - it's literally impossible. A more fair test would be to compare 2 EQs with the same features - say multiple 4 band parametric EQs with no additional unique features. For example, even the Harrison 32C LP / HP filter isn't available on other EQs of the same type, so it's never going to "null" with comparable EQs without that feature, when that feature is being used. (duh). And as has been said 100 times, you can probably replicate it with Pro-Q, but why would you do that if you want the 32C sound and the plugin is sitting right in front of you? I have 7 default EQs installed. Pro-Q 3 gets used most of the time. But I use the rest for different reasons. 4 of them are hardware emulations (Pultec, Amek 200, API 5500 emulation, and Massive Passive), each used for different purposes, and the remaining 2 are specialized (eg. Soothe 2). If it was back in the day and everything was still hardware, I would own hardware units of each of these. And 7+ EQ types in a studio has been common for decades - it's not unique to the digital age or "hoarding" or "we have it so good". It's fairly standard to have a lot of options (comps, reverbs, delays, EQs, etc.) in any studio since the beginning of recorded music. Literally nothing has changed, except poorer people have access to more options today. Which is a good thing if you can control the GAS and learn what it is you're using or actually need vs. think you need.
  11. The Onion did this bit about an 'Ultra-realistic Modern Warfare' game. Haha.
  12. But do you understand the differences? For example, if I gave you an API 5500 emulation and a Massive Passive emulation, would you understand why they will sound radically different? And that applies to both the hardware and - if they're modelled correctly - the plugin emulation. These two EQs are built on entirely different circuitry which results in one sounding very colored (active) and the other sounding very transparent (passive). Meaning they have entirely different objectives. If you were sitting down to mix and master, and you had a specific tone you were trying to achieve, would you know which EQ to use? And if you were missing one of them, would you know how to get that sound by other means, or know what to buy? This is important. Like really important. I'm sure you'd definitely notice if your favorite album was mixed / mastered with different EQ hardware / software. Anyone who's mixed or mastered an album would know this.
  13. He's not correct. It's a bit terrifying that this guy is a "mastering engineer". I like how he's trying to null test the EQs, hears that there's DEFINITELY a difference and thinks it's "inaudible". Lol. Then later says "well, it's almost nothing." Clearly this guy has never mixed 100 track projects, where switching out one EQ with another across 100+ tracks will completely alter the mix, even when all settings are either flat or mirrored. Because whatever differences there are between the 1st and 2nd EQ - now matter how subtle - will be compounded over and over and over again. This applies to literally everything: comps, limiters, EQs, delays, saturators and on and on - and applies to both hardware and software. It boggles my mind how many people don't understand compounding differences. When it comes to EQing a stereo mix or group bus, you are likely choosing an EQ based on features for that particular task. I have 2 EQs on my master bus - Pro Q 3 and the EQ in the Amek 200 (used to use the 9099, but now like the Amek 200 more). Why both? Because the Pro Q 3 is for surgical / precision and stereo or mid-side work, and the Amek 200 has bare bones limited options which help with consistency across all tracks in the project. This last point is extremely important and often ignored by amateurs...and it is horrifying that a mastering engineer wouldn't understand this. Now - even on a stereo bus - If I swapped out the Amek 200 for the Maag 4 or a Pultec or a Massive Passive, or even another channel strip like the 9099 or SSL 9000 J, I'm going to get radically different results. Why? Because none of these EQs have the same features, nor the same bands, nor the same cut / boost features, radically different input and output characteristics (eg. some have saturation when you drive the input while others do not), different stereo or mid-side features, often low frequency mono-ing options with radically different curves. Hell, there are many emulations of the SAME hardware - like the Massive Passive - that all sound completely different. For example UADs emulation vs. Softube / NIs. As for Q replication. Can you replicate a Maag 4 with Pro-Q 3. Sure. Mostly. Not perfectly. Would I ever do this? No. Why? Because the Maag 4 has like 8 options, it's extremely specialized, and I can insert it and be done in 2 seconds. I know exactly what it does, exactly how it sounds and I have deadlines ffs. Do you know how long it takes to match EQ curves across different plugins or hardware? This guys video is horribly naive and 100% technically inaccurate considering he's NOT getting a clean result when comparing EQs. What he should be doing - as most good comparisons do - is using something like Plugin Doctor to at least get the frequency curves matched as close as possible before comparing. Then - once he's got 2 EQs that seem to mostly zero each other out, do a full mix with one and then the other with settings matched as close as possible. Then null test that **** and have an "ohhhhhhh ****" moment when those mixes sound nothing alike.
  14. Noticed you get automatic discounts if you already own Pacific Strings Ensemble. The price in my cart is Pacific Solo Strings: $0.00 (free if you own ensemble) Fluid Shorts III: $69.00 Vista II - Solo Cello Legato: $49.00 Total: $118.00 You will need a coupon code that came with Pacific Strings Ensemble purchase email.
  15. They milk the hell out of these minor updates, as well the as advanced features. The fact that you have to pay a bunch extra for "multiband' is hilarious. And that some of these plugins are on version 11 is also hilarious. Cubase came during World War II and is only on Version 13. Pro-Q 3 has been out for over 5 years, with multiple significant improvements. Hell, an instrument as complex / sophisticated as Omnisphere has been on Version 2 for 9 YEARS with enormous improvements and entirely new major features since its release...all for free. Izotope make a few great products - it's unfortunate the company is run by the marketing department.
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