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Thread December 13, 2014 editorial: comments

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Mike Levine

Mike Levine

1064 posts
AFicionado
First post
1 Posted on 12/13/2014 at 10:00:11

Super Models?
No, my topic today is not related to Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum or Elle Macpherson. What I am focusing on is the slightly-less-sexy topic of software models of classic hardware. It seems like every software developer these days is putting out modeled versions of the vintage gear of yesteryear. 

The irony is that many home recordists who use modeling plug-ins, myself included, have rarely if ever had the chance to work with the original hardware. I mean, how many of us have a Fairchild 670 or an original LA-2A kicking around our home studio?

The same is true with classic guitar amps. I’ve never had the chance to play through a real ’57 Bassman or an early ‘60s Vox AC30, but I sure have played through a lot of modeled ones. For me, the reality of how those amps sound is mostly based on what I’ve heard in the modeled versions. So many of us are living in an alternate reality when it comes to these products — our knowledge of the original hardware is based mostly on a replica.

What's more, although modeling technology is amazing and does a great job of emulating many aspects of a classic processor or amp, it's only really capturing a snapshot of the gear it's replicating. It can't account for variations in performance caused by local circumstances (AC power, temperature, etc.), or the condition of the gear. And, as is true with most products, especially older analog ones, there are small manufacturing differences and other variables that make it so that if you lined up, say, 20 compressors of the same make and model, they would all sound a little bit different. So how accurate can that model really be, and more importantly, does it really matter?

My point that we shouldn’t get overly hung up about whether that 1176 or Neve 1073 modeled plug-in is exactly replicating the original, and focus more on what its sound and capabilities can bring to the song we’re producing or mixing. Even if they're not always dead ringers for the original, most modeled plug-ins still sound great, and are very powerful tools.

As always, you're thoughts on this or any other gear- or music-related subject are welcomed.

Have a great week.

Mike Levine
U.S. Editor, Audiofanzine

trickymix

trickymix

10 posts
New AFfiliate
2 Posted on 12/15/2014 at 08:09:38
It's just like how many people try and make coca-cola replications. They're all supposed to emulate the same thing, but all taste different.

Obviously the real hardware is almost obsolete at this point given how expensive and rare they are. You just have to test many plug-ins and if you find one you like, stick with it and don't give yourself a migraine looking for the better version of the same plug-in if you're already satisfied :)
Mike Levine

Mike Levine

1064 posts
AFicionado
3 Posted on 12/15/2014 at 09:08:39
Quote:
Obviously the real hardware is almost obsolete at this point given how expensive and rare they are. You just have to test many plug-ins and if you find one you like, stick with it and don't give yourself a migraine looking for the better version of the same plug-in if you're already satisfied :)

Very well put.

[ Post last edited on 12/15/2014 at 09:09:07 ]

angelie

angelie

350 posts
AFfluent Poster
4 Posted on 12/15/2014 at 12:44:43
That's why i don't like / use Plugins. Just the real thing. And if i can't afford it i buy someting i can... But it will be hardware as long as possible because i know there will be a time that plugins will take over the world and put the real thing in cages..

It's not about what you got to use ....    but how you use what you got...

Mike Levine

Mike Levine

1064 posts
AFicionado
5 Posted on 12/15/2014 at 13:48:30
Quote:
i know there will be a time that plugins will take over the world and put the real thing in cages..

That sounds like the plot for a science-fiction movie. It could be called, "The Day of the Plug-Ins" or maybe, "The Day the Earth was Compressed with a 9:1 Ratio." ;-)
angelie

angelie

350 posts
AFfluent Poster
6 Posted on 12/18/2014 at 22:14:57
:lol:
Sorry but i think the movie rights are already claimed by Mr. Spielberg ;)

It's not about what you got to use ....    but how you use what you got...

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