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Author Topic: Creative Distortion  (Read 2615 times)

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Creative Distortion
« Reply #30 on: May 22, 2021, 09:00:08 am »

Having used enough of the classic tube gear, in my opinion Midas and other current emulations are certainly "close enough for rock & roll" (or jazz...) to say they give more than a "hint" of what tube stuff sounds like.

While the "face plate" settings on analog or digital emulations often won't result in the same sound, with a little twiddling you can get near the same effect.

The classic tube/transformer coupled analog devices required the correct termination to perform "properly"- the way they sound with one console/recorder was not the same as any other with different insert or output devices (or impedance), and the series chain we hear recorded is a sum of many parts. No way to even set up an A/B test to satisfy an analog purist.

Even if the A/B test could be done, variations in tubes produced over the last 64 years (my age- tubes go back a lot further) and how they have aged, along with capacitors, and individual's hearing would still make the debate endless.

Art

I am probably repeating myself, but just being old, or just using tubes is not some magic formula for sounding good. Of course classic efx survive because they added something useful to the sound irrespective of the technology.

JR

PS: I recall Peavey's efforts in solid state emulation of tube guitar amp saturation/overload, last century. While not identical to tubes, the sound was close enough that the vast majority of punters at a NAMM show could not identify the real tube amp from the solid state emulation in a single blind listening test. If you can do this solid state , you can do the same or better in DSP.   
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Art Welter

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Re: Creative Distortion
« Reply #31 on: May 22, 2021, 03:15:40 pm »

I recall Peavey's efforts in solid state emulation of tube guitar amp saturation/overload, last century. While not identical to tubes, the sound was close enough that the vast majority of punters at a NAMM show could not identify the real tube amp from the solid state emulation in a single blind listening test. If you can do this solid state , you can do the same or better in DSP.
Absolutely.
 
Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Technology has sufficiently advanced that the "magic" of tubes and sound of pretty much any analog device, including instruments, can not only be replicated but subjectively improved using DSP emulation or creation without requiring use of loads of raw materials.

Technology still won't change what anyone believes to be "real" ;^)

Art


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Russell Ault

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Re: Creative Distortion
« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2021, 01:24:43 am »

Thanks to everyone for their posts; this has been very informative!

I have on further question: many people have recommended certain types of distortion for certain sources, but what are people using on:
  • Vocals?
  • The overall mix?

Thanks!

-Russ
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Helge A Bentsen

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Re: Creative Distortion
« Reply #33 on: May 24, 2021, 06:29:23 am »

I used to have a Waves setup, sold it along with the console last year since I ended up using plugins only for verbs and vocal distortion anyway, so I could live with longer latency.
Running Liveprofessorn on my MBP with a DN9630 soundcard.
Tried a few distortion plugins for  vocals, ended up with this one:
https://www.soundtoys.com/product/decapitator/

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Matthias McCready

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Re: Creative Distortion
« Reply #34 on: May 24, 2021, 10:11:16 am »

Thanks to everyone for their posts; this has been very informative!

I have on further question: many people have recommended certain types of distortion for certain sources, but what are people using on:
  • Vocals?
  • The overall mix?

Thanks!

-Russ

Distortion on vocals can be good, but IMO it depends. Sometimes saturation and distortion can sound very similar to over-compression (which means that hitting a comp harder or using a different and less transparent comp can sometimes get the same dirty sound). I don't usually find over compressed vocals to be pleasant, thereby a drive is not usually the first thing I am reaching for.  ;)

Working a Desser hard or having a comp with a very fast attack can dirty up a vocal.

That being said if the song has a dirty vibe overall, some drive on the vocal can help it match the overall feel. I would reach for something preamp based here, not over the top. Something subtle.

Beyond that there is going overboard for an FX (megaphone effect or guitar amp); which is very genre dependent. Even then wearing the ME hat I don't think I would go to far; unless that is the artist's reference for the mix, or they ask for it.

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Especially if a channel is getting a lot of drive/saturation/harmonic distortion added I often like to put a dynamic EQ at the end of the chain to catch some of the more unpleasant aspects.

----

As far as drive on the overall mix, you can and it sometimes feels great, I would recommend going more subtle than not.

Here I would usually go for a preamp or bus emulation or a comp (some have saturation) or a tape plugin. There is often some involved color (EQ, Compression, saturation, harmonic distortion, multi band dynamic) going on in these devices, the elements going on may or may not aid your mixing goal. Potentially this might be something you don't notice that much when it is in, but you miss it when you take it out.

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It is also very important to double check post-plugin volume. I would not recommend making a large gain change towards the output of things.

I onetime inherited a show file from a gent where all of the drum mics were digitally trimmed down about -20dB; the reason being that there was an drive inserted in the drum bus he had going, that added about 20dB. It sounded cool, but if the one insert at the end of the chain was changed, all of the mics would need to be trimmed, and than all of the various dynamic elements for each mic (gate, comp, multi band, dynamic EQ etc) would all need to have their settings adjusted. Much easier to level match the insert/plugin, and trim the output of it down. Keep practicing good gain staging.

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Personally, there is so much processing capability these days per channel (Most big consoles + Waves gives you: Preamp Drive, 2+ Insert points, 2+ Dynamics (multi, Desser, Gate, Expander, Comp, side-chain Comp, Limiter), Parametric/Dynamic EQ, in addition to your 8 Waves plug racks (which can be increased with Scheps Omni Channel), and that each plugin rack is individually side-chainable in Superrack.

Considering this, I am more likely to do more heavy lifting on the channel side, than the on the bus or output side. Subtle things across many channels can add a vibe for a whole mix; while still allowing for certain properties of a channel/source that I might want to preserve. Bus and output stuff can be cool as well, but we are not limited to having just 2 channels of a nice compressor; we have essentially unlimited instances of them (for better or worse).

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My favorite way to learn and grok a new tool is to limit myself when mixing for fun.

So sit down with some tracks and pick one channel strip; or a an EQ and a dynamic unit, and make everything sound the best that you can.

Or once you a very familiar with your available options limit yourself on how many instances of each things you can have.

---

While plugins are most definitely the icing on the cake and the least important aspect in the grand-scheme of mixing they are still tools, and whenever using tools it is always good to understand what they are doing, and how they will work.
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Russell Ault

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Re: Creative Distortion
« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2021, 10:25:04 am »

{...} with a DN9630 soundcard. {...}

Fascinating! I've always been a little wary of USB audio interfaces in a live sound context. I take it you've had no trouble with this setup?

-Russ
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Helge A Bentsen

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Re: Creative Distortion
« Reply #36 on: May 25, 2021, 11:26:06 am »

Fascinating! I've always been a little wary of USB audio interfaces in a live sound context. I take it you've had no trouble with this setup?

-Russ

No, it's been rock solid so far.
Done a few multitrack sessions with this (on Pro series) and with the USB-card in my M32, no issues to report.
I use a MBP or a Lenovo X-250 deepening on the situation.
Have a DN9650 loaded with Dante if I need more channels.
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Matthias McCready

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Re: Creative Distortion
« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2021, 02:35:22 pm »

No, it's been rock solid so far.
Done a few multitrack sessions with this (on Pro series) and with the USB-card in my M32, no issues to report.
I use a MBP or a Lenovo X-250 deepening on the situation.
Have a DN9650 loaded with Dante if I need more channels.

Out of curiosity, what is the rough round trip latency (pre-plugs)?

There are some plugs outside of the Waves Ecosystem which I love  ;)
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Helge A Bentsen

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Re: Creative Distortion
« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2021, 03:09:30 pm »

Out of curiosity, what is the rough round trip latency (pre-plugs)?

There are some plugs outside of the Waves Ecosystem which I love  ;)

Sorry, I havenít measured latency with these setups since I donít use them for channel insert.
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Russell Ault

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Re: Creative Distortion
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2021, 06:22:38 pm »

Sorry, I havenít measured latency with these setups since I donít use them for channel insert.

It would be highly device- and configuration-dependent, anyway. Part of the challenge of USB audio devices is the constant trade-off between latency and stability. Devices, drivers, and platforms all performer differently in this regard, so the minimum stable round-trip latency for an RME device (which are pretty uniformly excellent) plugged into an Intel-based MBP running a recent-ish (but not too recent) OSX version would be much lower than for a Behringer device plugged into an older ThinkPad running Windows 10 (ask me how I know).

-Russ
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Re: Creative Distortion
¬ę Reply #39 on: May 26, 2021, 06:22:38 pm ¬Ľ


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