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Author Topic: Studer 800 Plug-In  (Read 42820 times)

kats

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Re: Studer 800 Plug-In
« Reply #255 on: February 21, 2011, 01:21:28 pm »

Len I'm seriously not trying to rag on you and I hope my replies don't make you feel that way. Your impression of the article was what it was. I cannot argue with that. I can however take exception to SOS leaving it's reader's with that impression. I did not read the article (I thought I did in the earlier post, but that was just the sound samples with explanations) and Sam was not disputing your impressions.

The fact that they even post digital sound files doesn't sit well with me. That is the same thing as saying 44.1/24 sounds the same as an Mp3 - "and here's some mp3's of both formats so you can hear it yourself". Not good IMO.

What we are really comparing is tape artifacts to a plugin designed to emulate such artifacts. Things such as tape compression, machine electronics and their affect on tone etc. The point being that for people who record to tape, these peculiarities amount to a small reason for their motivation to continue with the format.

Now as far as the final playback medium is concerned, let's think about that for a minute. Who here records at 128 kbps just because that is the predominant playback medium today? It's generally accepted that recording and mixing at the highest resolution possible right through the mastering process yields the best results regardless of the final playback resolution, and this doesn't even take into account that there are still those who listen to high resolution formats in their home.

The thought that the legacy of this format being reduced to nothing more than an effect box upsets me. It does nothing to promote good audio or educate a new generation of audio engineers. To me it's nothing more than a cash grab from the unwitting who've never had the chance to hear what good analog recording is all about. For those with the experience my rant is moot. And for the record I enjoy UA's plugins and think they sound cool. I'd also use this "Studer" plugin for effect as well if I thought it sounded cool. I love effects! It's the blatant dishonesty of the sales rhetoric that leaves me disgusted.

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Tony K.
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svs95

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Re: Studer 800 Plug-In
« Reply #256 on: February 21, 2011, 01:24:38 pm »

It's funny to see people now characterize what this plug-in is able to emulate as "the negative artifacts of tape," when it is the predominant feature of analog that survives digitization (at least in a PCM distribution culture).

Certainly nobody in this forum expects a plug-in to emulate the resolution of analog tape. Give us a break!

And yes, whether Podgorny intended it seriously or not, I think it's a valid question. To what end (aside from a narrowly archival one) is the additional resolution of an analog medium without the requisite distribution format with which to appreciate it? In an alternative analog universe, it would make sense. But in the actual real world, it's superfluous to needs.

But most of all, it's superfluous to this discussion, which is not about things no plug-in is capable of achieving (which are by definition outside its design parameters), but rather about what this plug-in does achieve.

I've listened to the SOS test files, and they confirm my own experience with the plug-in. There is definitely more than just tape compression and "negative artifacts" going on. In a purely textbook sense, the process may be "destructive," but from a listener's perspective, the result has a euphonic quality that belies laboratory metrics. Not enough to be terribly useful on a stereo buss, but as presented (used on multiple tracks in a mix), it strikes me as beneficial!

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kats

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Re: Studer 800 Plug-In
« Reply #257 on: February 21, 2011, 02:01:01 pm »

svs95 wrote on Mon, 21 February 2011 12:24

It's funny to see people now characterize what this plug-in is able to emulate as "the negative artifacts of tape," when it is the predominant feature of analog that survives digitization (at least in a PCM distribution culture).



So can I take that you discount my reply to this point in my last post:

"It's generally accepted that recording and mixing at the highest resolution possible right through the mastering process yields the best results regardless of the final playback resolution, and this doesn't even take into account that there are still those who listen to high resolution formats in their home."

Quote:

Certainly nobody in this forum expects a plug-in to emulate the resolution of analog tape. Give us a break!


If they think recording to tape and using this plug is close, then yes they do. Again, I was clear in who I was addressing my concerns about.

Quote:

And yes, whether Podgorny intended it seriously or not, I think it's a valid question. To what end (aside from a narrowly archival one) is the additional resolution of an analog medium without the requisite distribution format with which to appreciate it? In an alternative analog universe, it would make sense. But in the actual real world, it's superfluous to needs.


Answered above. But further  to that (remember that I'm saying "further to that")  perhaps $30 million in new and used vinyl sales last year alone can be a reason.

Quote:

But most of all, it's superfluous to this discussion, which is not about things no plug-in is capable of achieving (which are by definition outside its design parameters), but rather about what this plug-in does achieve.

I've listened to the SOS test files, and they confirm my own experience with the plug-in. There is definitely more than just tape compression and "negative artifacts" going on. In a purely textbook sense, the process may be "destructive," but from a listener's perspective, the result has a euphonic quality that belies laboratory metrics. Not enough to be terribly useful on a stereo buss, but as presented (used on multiple tracks in a mix), it strikes me as beneficial!


They are still negative artifacts from a design aspect. But I do agree 100% that using negative artifacts of any piece of gear as an effect can not only be beneficial to a production, but has been common practice since the beginning of recording.

The point (for eg) is that an 1176 is a compressor. It is designed to compress. A plug in that models the distortion and perhaps the tone of it's circuitry without actually compressing, while perhaps useful, would be a little ridiculous  to market as a digital replacement for an 1176, with a GUI to match. What you would be modeling is only the negative (used positively) artifacts of the design.



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Tony K.
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svs95

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Re: Studer 800 Plug-In
« Reply #258 on: February 21, 2011, 06:41:54 pm »

kats wrote on Mon, 21 February 2011 13:01

The point (for eg) is that an 1176 is a compressor. It is designed to compress. A plug in that models the distortion and perhaps the tone of it's circuitry without actually compressing, while perhaps useful, would be a little ridiculous  to market as a digital replacement for an 1176, with a GUI to match. What you would be modeling is only the negative (used positively) artifacts of the design.


[I apologize in advance for the length of this post. I am going to excessive lengths to avoid confrontation and make super-clear what I mean. Please don't take it as an insult that I'm being this careful. Even at that, it's highly likely I'll be misunderstood, but that's just the nature of human communication and forums in particular. I have a high regard for my colleagues - both those I know personally, and those of you I've never met, and I really wish that was always clearly understood by all of us. All we can do is try.]

Interestingly enough, the UAD 1176 LN actually does compress, and even eschews the analog signal path shmutz of the hardware. So UA is not deficient in their understanding of what's important and what's not in a particular device.

I actually sympathize with the difficulty that can arise when someone prizes analog for resolving power, and views that as its chief marketable value, if they then conclude that must be what's being marketed, at least by implication, but it clearly is not!

This is not a product for the analog market. It's not being marketed as superior to, or a replacement for, analog hardware for those in an analog production environment, including people recording for vinyl. It's a plug-in for DAW environments that don't have analog tape, and aren't in the market for it.

Among those of us who get to hear analog tape, we may discuss things like superior resolution to eg 24/96 digital, but we're always assuming "all other things being equal."

While it's not insignificant, in the total spectrum of factors affecting the final sound of retail content, the resolving power of the tracking medium is not foremost. Almost any other choice performers, producers, and engineers make can have more prominent audible consequences. The choice of analog versus high-resolution digital tracking, while eminently worthy of discussion, is not the primary contributor to quality. Again - I'm not discounting it, or saying it's insignificant. I'm not even saying some people won't disagree that it's not the most important decision. I just don't think most people believe that. Otherwise, they'd set up the tape deck, go home and party, and let the B Team run the sessions!

So, in light of that, I really don't think tracking resolution is the first thing people think about when they want "the sound of tape" on their digital recording! I think they want the most easily audible characteristics, which I'm sorry to hear you describe as "negative," because clearly many people like them. You do a very good job describing how people view this plug-in - as a way to interpose certain easily identifiable characteristics of tape into a digital recording.

Feel free to say this doesn't appeal to you, or that you consider that a naive or overly romanticized view of tape, lacking real appreciation for the finer points, but it is nonetheless real.

I don't think kats is disrespecting anybody, but I think a company like UA, that has done much to preserve our analog hardware heritage by re-introducing classic hardware like the 610, 1176, and LA-2A, and who show a deep appreciation for and understanding of the analog hardware world, should not be denigrated for giving customers what they want. After all, they polled their UAD customers several times, and this was always at the top of the list of what they wanted. So they tell me, and I can't imagine why it wouldn't be true.

At least "analog tape emulation" was - not necessarily this one. But maybe it was a good idea to start "small" in terms of the audible footprint, and work up to more character-laden tape emulations, which I hope they will do. At least I hope this is not their "last word" on the subject.

But for what it is, and what it does, I would call it a very good signal processor, and a successful design. For what it cannot do, outside design criteria, it's hard to find fault, and nobody should have such expectations. It would be an insult to customers to assume they're incapable of understanding that. IMHO, YMMV...
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kats

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Re: Studer 800 Plug-In
« Reply #259 on: February 21, 2011, 10:28:00 pm »

svs95 wrote on Mon, 21 February 2011 17:41

 

It's a plug-in for DAW environments that don't have analog tape...



And I'm saying that it's just a plugin.
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Tony K.
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Entertainment is a bore, communication is where it's at! - Brian Jones 1967

zmix

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Re: Studer 800 Plug-In
« Reply #260 on: February 22, 2011, 10:23:14 am »

kats wrote on Mon, 21 February 2011 13:21

...The thought that the legacy of this format being reduced to nothing more than an effect box upsets me. It does nothing to promote good audio or educate a new generation of audio engineers. To me it's nothing more than a cash grab from the unwitting who've never had the chance to hear what good analog recording is all about. For those with the experience my rant is moot. And for the record I enjoy UA's plugins and think they sound cool. I'd also use this "Studer" plugin for effect as well if I thought it sounded cool. I love effects! It's the blatant dishonesty of the sales rhetoric that leaves me disgusted.


I understand these feelings, I expressed similar concerns to UA when they told me that they had planned to do the UAD A800 plugin.  (I possibly felt them more deeply than most since the head of R&D at Studer who was in charge of the A800 project in 1977 was a guy named Paul Zwicky, now the curator the Studer Museum in Zurich).

I have since  had some time to cool off and just use the thing.  I've tried it on a variety of sources and I like what it does. It has even been indispensable in several instances. It's complex and well behaved ( it's apparently 8x upsampled so aliasing is minimized).  It's not going to replicate the immediacy of recording directly to tape, and any of us who have rested out hands on the A800 remote for the hours we have are going to feel a bit peeved by UA using the "Studer" name, but to be honest,  I wouldn't care if they had  called it the UAD "squashiphonic  transient cushion" and used  generic black box GUI.  Outside of the glare of industry perception and the impossibly slippery slopes of marketing, it is there,  capable of doing something that no other plugin can.

Len

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Re: Studer 800 Plug-In
« Reply #261 on: February 22, 2011, 11:08:18 am »

kats I think to be fair to Sam at SOS you need to read the article so you get the full picture.  In the same SOS there is an editorial/guest page by Elliot Mazer where he rails against both hardware and software providers which simply trade on the good name of great analog products of old. SOS may not be everyone's cup of tea but as a long time reader I know they never oversell anything, unlike some of the other audio mags which only ever give glowing reviews for everything.

Phil Mayor

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Re: Studer 800 Plug-In
« Reply #262 on: February 24, 2011, 12:07:16 pm »

Len wrote on Tue, 22 February 2011 16:08

I know they never oversell anything, unlike some of the other audio mags which only ever give glowing reviews for everything.


You mean like when they reviewed the Focusrite Liquid Channel emulator thing, said it was even better than the real thing and there was no difference between it and the Fairchild 670. In fact I don't think I've ever seen them give Focusrite a bad review even the horrible green series they thought was amazing.

I personally would never trust any magazine review.
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compasspnt

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Re: Studer 800 Plug-In
« Reply #263 on: February 24, 2011, 12:52:46 pm »

Phil Mayor wrote on Thu, 24 February 2011 12:07

...when they reviewed the Focusrite Liquid Channel emulator thing, said it was even better than the real thing...



Hey, the emulator may well be better than the real thing...
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kats

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Re: Studer 800 Plug-In
« Reply #264 on: February 24, 2011, 01:22:23 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Thu, 24 February 2011 11:52

Phil Mayor wrote on Thu, 24 February 2011 12:07

...when they reviewed the Focusrite Liquid Channel emulator thing, said it was even better than the real thing...



Hey, the emulator may well be better than the real thing...




Less expensive, low maintenance, and you don't have to pay for dinner.
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Tony K.
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Entertainment is a bore, communication is where it's at! - Brian Jones 1967

Len

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Re: Studer 800 Plug-In
« Reply #265 on: February 24, 2011, 01:51:34 pm »

Phil Mayor wrote on Thu, 24 February 2011 17:07

Len wrote on Tue, 22 February 2011 16:08

I know they never oversell anything, unlike some of the other audio mags which only ever give glowing reviews for everything.


You mean like when they reviewed the Focusrite Liquid Channel emulator thing, said it was even better than the real thing and there was no difference between it and the Fairchild 670. In fact I don't think I've ever seen them give Focusrite a bad review even the horrible green series they thought was amazing.

I personally would never trust any magazine review.


I'm not suggesting we should agree with anything the mags say but I think SOS is different re: saying everything is brilliant because they are not afraid to say something which might annoy advertisers.  Believe me I cringe at any review suggesting plug-ins sound as good as the real thing, but on a daily basis plug-ins are used by people we all respect and get the job done.  

Plus as I pointed out, last years Grammy for best non-classical engineering was won by Imogen Heap, using her TLM 103 going into Avalon 737 and Focusrite Liquid thingys.  Very Happy

Phil Mayor

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Re: Studer 800 Plug-In
« Reply #266 on: February 24, 2011, 02:35:43 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Thu, 24 February 2011 17:52

Phil Mayor wrote on Thu, 24 February 2011 12:07

...when they reviewed the Focusrite Liquid Channel emulator thing, said it was even better than the real thing...



Hey, the emulator may well be better than the real thing...




Actually I just bought an Emulator..an Emu Emulator II..and I'll tell you what the HxC 5 1/4 Floppy Emulator I purchased to go with it its definitely better than the real thing! It's amazing.
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compasspnt

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Re: Studer 800 Plug-In
« Reply #267 on: February 24, 2011, 03:16:49 pm »

Yikes!

The E2 Liveth.
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gwailoh

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Re: Studer 800 Plug-In
« Reply #268 on: February 24, 2011, 05:16:54 pm »

Phil Mayor wrote on Thu, 24 February 2011 09:07


I personally would never trust any magazine review.


A bit extreme, IMO.  Not that hard to judge over time which reviewers have integrity.

OT I suppose but an example from my own experience.  I have an engineer friend who regularly contributed equipment reviews to one of the major industry periodicals over a long period.  He worked frequently at my studio and would sometimes leave hardware there for me to interact with while he was working through his evaluation.  One time I found a quirky interface glitch connecting a processor digitally to PT at a particular sample rate.  I told him; he verified it; and pointed it out in his review, which was published unchanged by his editors.  So I know from my own experience that this review process was legit, and I know that his other reviews were equally competent and thorough.
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