R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Pepsi Challenge: URS N series EQ vs. Neve 1073  (Read 10905 times)

J.J. Blair

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12809
Pepsi Challenge: URS N series EQ vs. Neve 1073
« on: June 01, 2004, 10:32:12 PM »

So, since I am procrastinating a very painful vocal comp, I thought that I'd do a URS N Series EQ vs. Neve 1073 shootout. Here's a brief view of my methodology: I recorded pink noise at 48 khz / 24 bit through my Apogee AD-8000 to my Pro Tool Mix system, using version 6.2.3. I copied the audio onto another channel, which I then sent out of the Apogee into the line in of my 1073, which was set for 0 db gain. I came out of the 1073 back through the Apogee and into an aux channel which I had created to monitor the 1073. In the original channel, I simply used the URS plug-in. I ran signal from Pro Tools into an Audio Control SA-3050A 1/3 octave real time spectrum analyzer. It does not give the smoothest, most legible read out, but it was enough for me to use as a control in order to set identical frequency gain between the two EQs, and generally monitor the frequency response of the EQs.

First let me say that I am extremely impressed with the URS. Until now, the only plug-in EQ which I did not loathe was the Sony Oxford. It was the only digital EQ I had used which did not create serious phase anomalies. However, it is very sterile and lacks the character of a good analog EQ. I'm extremely skeptical about digital EQs, so while I thought it was worth a shot to check out the URS, my expectations were not the highest. How many times have you heard "It's sounds just like the real thing."?

The interface of the URS N Series EQ is sbased on the Neve 1084. There is a high shelf of 10khz, 12khz and 16khz. There is a mid freq EQ with the same parameters of the 1073: 7.2khz, 4.8khz, 32khz, 1.6khz, 0.7khz and 0.36khz, including a Hi-Q switch. The low shelf has 220hz, 110hz, 60hz and 35hz, with a hi pass filter of 360 hz, 160hz, 70hz, 45hz and a high pass of 18khz, 14khz, 10khz, 8khz and 6khz. It was using the common frequencies and settings of the 1073 that I did the testing.

A quick note about something different on the URS, the middle part of the concentric knob, controlling the gain, moves visually as though it has detents. There is a small icon above the knob while you move it which measures fully sweepable gain increments. Not a huge deal, but I wondered why they couldn't just make the thing move normally. I know that some 1073 modules have the detents, but I have rarely ever seen them. And while the red Marconi gain knob moves incrementally like it does on all 1073s, even though you gain sweep through the gain value, displayed numerically above the knob.

For reference, I listened to recordings of a female vocal, a male vocal, a 22" bass drum, an acoustic guitar and an electric bass. With each instrument, I a/b'd identical amounts of gain with the varying frequencies, eventually using the most extreme gain setting. The mid freqs were so similar sounding that it was quite scary. But when set the URS for a 12khz shelf, it sounded not at all the 1073. 10khz sounded a great deal more like it, however. The control test I did with pink noise and the RTSA made it appear that perhaps when I bought my 1073s 10 years ago, somebody had put the faceplate to a 1073 over a 1066, and that is why it would appear my high shelf is more consistent with 10khz, than 12khz. If that were the case, even at 10khz, there were audible differences when monitoring the pink noise, and the RTSA revealed a less steep shelf on the 1073 that at maximum gain, reached as low as 1khz. The URS, with equal gain at 10khz shelved down to only around 3khz with a maximum shelf peak at 12khz, as opposed to just under 10khz for analog version. So, even if my Neve module did happen to be a 1066 and not a 1073, there is still a noticeable difference in the hi shelf. I should note that of all the engineers who have come through my place, nobody has ever said to me, "Hey! This sounds like a 1066, not a 1073."

So far, the mid freq EQ was in the 10% ball park range. The hi freq shelf only differed in sound by 25% at most, in my estimation, visually and audibly, when comparing the 10khz shelf to what is allegedly 12khz on my Neve unit. However, the most audible difference between the URS and the 1073 was in the low freq shelf. What I was able to see visually once again while monitoring the pink noise was that as with the hi freq shelf, the slope of the shelf of the URS was steeper than that of the 1073. At 220hz, with 15db of gain to get the most exaggerated effect, the shelf bottomed out at 630hz, where with the 1073, the shelf extended to 1.25khz. The other thing that was audible when processing the instrument signals was that with the electric bass or the bass drum, the 1073 would seem to run out of headroom and I experienced what was a very pleasant warm distortion. It wasn't scratchy or unmusical at all. In fact, it was one of the great accidental design flaws of old discrete EQs. I was never able to achieve that sound with the URS. Instead of reaching a headroom limit with the bass frequencies which would in turn change the wave shape when adding more gain, I simply got more audible gain in that frequency. Although sonically different from the 1073, the URS did have a pleasant and useful sound in what it could achieve with the low frequencies.

Test results for gain reduction were conversely true for all frequencies, in terms of the URS unit differing from the 1073.

My conclusion is that the URS N Series EQ is a pretty good approximation of the Neve's characteristics. However, it did lack that magic sheen that the 1073 had, especially in the low end. Neve modules are not going to be obsolete any time soon. I don't know when they'll be able to write algorithms that can accurately reproduce the distortion associated with analog EQs, but this is absolutely the most musical EQ plug-in I have yet to use. It's going to be my first choice when using plug-in EQs. It's by no means going to replace the real thing, and it may make you long for using a real 1073, by being so close, but so far away from what an actual 1073 can do. But if you are in a situation where you are forced to mix 'in the box', this is your best bet. Forget Channel Strip, Waves, Filter Bank, the Bomb Factory Pultec, etc. At $299 for the VST/RTAS version, this is it. You'll get every penny's worth.
Logged
studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

j.hall

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3787
Re: Pepsi Challenge: URS N series EQ vs. Neve 1073
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2004, 11:54:54 AM »

thanks for the review J.J.

i'm pretty much an analog guy as of now, but my return to PT is simply something i can't put off forever....

i'm pretty convinced that there will be a day when digital emulation will infact be dead on to it's analog counter parts

at least a specific cross section of many "older" units as they all age differently and sound a tiny bit different

but personally, we just aren't there yet, and nothing can replace the real thing......
Logged

Erik

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 231
Re: Pepsi Challenge: URS N series EQ vs. Neve 1073
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2004, 06:18:58 PM »

j.hall wrote on Wed, 09 June 2004 11:54

but personally, we just aren't there yet, and nothing can replace the real thing......


There are numerous reviews, shootouts, rants and public tests where people cannot tell the hardware from the software.  Everywhere from published sources to internet chatrooms, take your pick.

But even more interestingly, there are an increasing number of shootouts where people prefer the digital device -- not on cost, not on functionality, but on pure sound.

I've seen posts where people say "Compared my Manley Pultec to BF Pultec, BF won, Manleys for sale, call me at 212-xxx-xxxx."

And I've even gotten irate emails from Ms. Manley begging me not to say this on the internet any more.

Regardless, it's clear that for lots of people, there are very many 'digital things' that can and do replace 'the real thing.'

The trick is to have an open mind and open ears.

--Erik
Logged
Erik Gavriluk, Bomb Factory Recording Studios
"The modern trouble is not the use of machinery, but the abuse of it." --Gustav Stickley, 1909

bblackwood

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7036
Re: Pepsi Challenge: URS N series EQ vs. Neve 1073
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2004, 10:16:53 PM »

Erik wrote on Sun, 13 June 2004 17:18

And I've even gotten irate emails from Ms. Manley begging me not to say this on the internet any more.

Whew, luckily you didn't say very-moo or she'd be suing you already...
Logged
Brad Blackwood
euphonic masters

Eliott James

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 283
Re: Pepsi Challenge: URS N series EQ vs. Neve 1073
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2004, 03:29:08 AM »

JJ
Thanks for the review. But I don't think they have a VST version out (I wish they did.) It works on TDM, RTAS and Audiosuite. I use Logic so I need AU or VST!

URS says the N emulates the Neve 1084. I've not used that EQ. How does the 1084 compare/differ from the 1073 or 1066?

Thanks for your insight,
Logged

j.hall

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3787
Re: Pepsi Challenge: URS N series EQ vs. Neve 1073
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2004, 09:46:30 AM »

Erik wrote on Sun, 13 June 2004 17:18


But even more interestingly, there are an increasing number of shootouts where people prefer the digital device -- not on cost, not on functionality, but on pure sound.



i don't doubt you one bit....

Quote:


I've seen posts where people say "Compared my Manley Pultec to BF Pultec, BF won, Manleys for sale, call me at 212-xxx-xxxx."



let me know when people are selling their real pultecs for your plug-in version

Quote:


Regardless, it's clear that for lots of people, there are very many 'digital things' that can and do replace 'the real thing.'

The trick is to have an open mind and open ears.



an open mind for digital compression in particular is something i'll have to work on....

digital effects, that's another story, and i'm all ears

personally, i think a few years from now we'll look back and think, "man we thought we had it right then.....now this is how we do it"

digital will take over.....that's something that is simply going to happen, but high quality analog outboard (pre's, EQ, compression) will be around for MANY years to come

there is something about putting my hands on a device that makes it much easier to work with.  

honestly, that's one of the biggest reasons i'd rather have the neve EQ then the plug-in.  it's just faster to dial in what i want with my two hands, then a mouse.
Logged

J.J. Blair

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12809
Re: Pepsi Challenge: URS N series EQ vs. Neve 1073
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2004, 01:55:15 PM »

EJ wrote on Mon, 14 June 2004 00:29

JJ
Thanks for the review. But I don't think they have a VST version out (I wish they did.) It works on TDM, RTAS and Audiosuite. I use Logic so I need AU or VST!



The only difference between the 1066 and the 1073 is that the high freq shelf is 10 khz for the 66 and 12 khz for the 73.  The difference between those two and the 1084 is that the 1084 has selectable high freq shelf as listed in my first post.  It also has a Hi-Q button for the mid-range, even though the frequencies for the mids are the same as the other two modules.  The 1084 also has low pass filter in a concentric configuration with the hi pass filter, where as the 66 and 73 only have the hi pass filter.
Logged
studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

J.J. Blair

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12809
Re: Pepsi Challenge: URS N series EQ vs. Neve 1073
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2004, 02:25:22 PM »

Erik wrote on Sun, 13 June 2004 15:18



There are numerous reviews, shootouts, rants and public tests where people cannot tell the hardware from the software.

But even more interestingly, there are an increasing number of shootouts where people prefer the digital device -- not on cost, not on functionality, but on pure sound.


Erik, I tell you what, if this is in fact true, I'll trade you a Bomb Factory 'Fairchild 660' for your analog 660.  Waddya say?  I mean, if the digital version sounds better, then I'm sure you could use the extra rack space for something like the Funk Logic Dual Valve Teleknobic Preampulator.  I'll also trade you some soft synths for some of your keyboards that I don't have yet.

BTW, regardless of how good some stuff might sound, I don't see an alogorithim that accurately recreates the distortion qualities that we associate as sounding pleasing any time soon.  If Brent Averil can't even recreate those properties in his 1073 clones, I can't imagine a programmer doing it.  Also, I have found that while some emulations of analog gear, whether it be EQ, compressors or instruments, may have some extremely accurate reproductions of some of the sounds, they have in my experience been tremendously limited in versatility, when compared to the real thing.  I mean, some of those Hammond emulators are virtually indistinguishable, but you can only get a fraction of a precent of the other sounds available on a Hammond to sound as good.

In the meantime, tell Reitzell and Justin that I'm being an asshole and giving you a hard time.  I'll come by and steal your Fairchilds in the next couple of weeks.  
Logged
studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

Erik

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 231
Re: Pepsi Challenge: URS N series EQ vs. Neve 1073
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2004, 12:31:26 PM »

j.hall wrote on Tue, 15 June 2004 09:46

let me know when people are selling their real pultecs for your plug-in version


It's been done.  And 1176 and LA-2A, too.  Then again, a lot of people have sold their Pultecs, period.

Quote:


there is something about putting my hands on a device that makes it much easier to work with.  

honestly, that's one of the biggest reasons i'd rather have the neve EQ then the plug-in.  it's just faster to dial in what i want with my two hands, then a mouse.



If you've got a couple grand per channel to drop on pots and knobs, go for it.

If you can't figure out how to use a mouse to change frequency and bandwidth -- and if it actually takes two hands -- I'm a little worried.  Wink

Then again, I use an analog desk with 136 faders (not tiny knobs) for EQ alone.

I'd argue that digital recall capabilities and reliability, plus the accuracy and the ability to control additional aspects of a device without adding cost, is a sufficient offset to render the 'mousing' complaint a pretty weak rationale for going pure analog at this point.

--Erik
Logged
Erik Gavriluk, Bomb Factory Recording Studios
"The modern trouble is not the use of machinery, but the abuse of it." --Gustav Stickley, 1909

Erik

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 231
Re: Pepsi Challenge: URS N series EQ vs. Neve 1073
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2004, 01:01:42 PM »

J.J. wrote on Tue, 15 June 2004 14:25

BTW, regardless of how good some stuff might sound, I don't see an alogorithim that accurately recreates the distortion qualities that we associate as sounding pleasing any time soon.  If Brent Averil can't even recreate those properties in his 1073 clones, I can't imagine a programmer doing it.


Actually, this is one of those cases where it's easier to do something in software than in hardware.  Ask George if you want a second opinion, but suffice to say that analog-only guys are pretty jealous of the freedom and control we have in the digital domain.

Don't get me wrong, I think there's a lot of pretty wacky stuff out there in the digital marketplace.  And clearly a lot of these companies are not modeling transformers (even crudely), let alone distortion/overload characteristics.

Then again, a lot of people don't understand their analog signal paths.  I went back and forth with people claiming that the LA-2A goes into heavy distortion when you crank up the gain.  It really doesn't -- the gain is damn clean on that thing, like most properly-designed tube gear of that era -- but you can certainly overload the return to the board.

Obviously those types of analog signal paths are not available using DAWs.  And the companies that do 'saturation' type stuff really do it poorly, without oversampling.  It's just nasty stuff, Digitech circa 89.

The lack of a consistent digital 'operating level' and all the fucking redundant input and output trim controls on every damn plug-in make it virtually impossible to setup cool, groovy distortion sounds.  (If you want to bitch about mixing in the box, there's a valid complaint.)

Lots of analog engineers rely on that stuff for their sound, it's why seemingly intelligent people get superstitious about mixing only in one studio, on one particular board, at one particular operating level.

But give a serious listen to our Fairchild in heavy gain reduction or the Pultec EQH versus the EQP because they share many of the same frequencies.  The EQH models the increased distortion of the single-ended output stage.  It's a pretty good demonstration of the level of control we have over this stuff.

Quote:

I mean, some of those Hammond emulators are virtually indistinguishable, but you can only get a fraction of a precent of the other sounds available on a Hammond to sound as good.


Well, as you probably know, Dave Amels of BF was responsible for the digital modeled Voce organs, which kick Roland and Korg's ass every year in the shootouts.  

And the full range of Hammond sounds are available, although of course every individual Hammond organ sounds different, and some organ models have different foldback (harmonic mixing) qualities across the manuals (the A has two different foldback schemes and the M is different than the B-3...)

That's why I keep a dozen handy at BF studios.

Quote:

In the meantime, tell Reitzell and Justin that I'm being an asshole and giving you a hard time.


Yup, the kids are rocking the house.  Shh... don't tell anyone here.  They think the studio is just a front for my exploits with supermodels.

--Erik
Logged
Erik Gavriluk, Bomb Factory Recording Studios
"The modern trouble is not the use of machinery, but the abuse of it." --Gustav Stickley, 1909

j.hall

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3787
Re: Pepsi Challenge: URS N series EQ vs. Neve 1073
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2004, 11:37:38 AM »

Erik wrote on Wed, 16 June 2004 11:31


If you can't figure out how to use a mouse to change frequency and bandwidth -- and if it actually takes two hands -- I'm a little worried.  Wink



hahahaha

yeah, an extreme example.....i know

but putting you hands on physical equipment is nice
the mouse thing is no big deal....

for actual speed of mixing, having a pro control with mute buttons and solos is far more handy then physical knobs for plug-ins



Quote:


I'd argue that digital recall capabilities and reliability, plus the accuracy and the ability to control additional aspects of a device without adding cost, is a sufficient offset to render the 'mousing' complaint a pretty weak rationale for going pure analog at this point.

--Erik


and argument you could easily win.....
Logged

ivangough2

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 61
Re: Pepsi Challenge: URS N series EQ vs. Neve 1073
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2004, 02:12:28 AM »

Nice work folks..

Can I say that we need more reviews like this. There's a very large number of us studio types that know what we're doing, understand good sound, yet don't have acces to some of the really great hardware eq's and other things. It's software like this that goes a long way to making life in the digital world a little better. While I'm on about eq's, has anyone used the Sonalksis eq or comp? Or the elemental audio Eqium and Firium Eq's? I'm using a VST/Logic/Mac system (soon AU) and wondering whether to look at a UAD-1, the Powercore/Oxford combo, or something like these plugs..

Any thoughts?

Also, the URS plugs will be soon available for Audio Units!
Logged
If you're going to criticise someone, first walk a mile in their shoes. That way when they get angry, you'll be a mile away, and you'll have their shoes.
Pages: [1]   Go Up
 

Site Hosted By Ashdown Technologies, Inc.

Page created in 0.035 seconds with 16 queries.