Old 10-23-2014, 01:09 AM   #1
J9mm
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Default Waves Gold vs Izotope Studio

So I am about to embark upon recording my band as a bit of a project. Normally I am just recording my own music but I thought it would we good to branch out.

I am using Reaper with a Zoom R24 and a laptop running win 7

Primarily I will be recording audio buit I plan to use a few VSTi to add in a little bit of keys, synth and also to replace my floor effects (guitar)

As part of this project I thought I might be good to invest in a plug in package, I know reaper comes with a fairly decent free set many of which I use, but I was wondering if getting either the waves GOLD or Izotope studio package would be an upgrade... given that I am going to be mixing and mastering 18 songs it also seems to me that now would be a perfect time to invest.

Izotope Studio comes with Ozone 5, Alloy 2 and Nectar 2
Our singer is ok, but not great and does warble a bit..., so having Nectar could make life much easier, I also like the idea of doing all my mastering in 1 plug - being able to create a skeleton preset to give all 17 songs some cohesion. I am unconvinced about alloy 2 though. I am also thinking that once I have nailed using these 3 packs mixing future projects will be less time consuming (I am not a fan of mixing) as I will be restricted to the confines of the packages...

Waves gold seems pretty comprehensive, but I understand that some of the plugs are now quite old? However having individual components strikes me as being a bit more flexible and means I don't have massive of required components loaded into the project (one of my fears with alloy), however getting to know 30+ plugins well enough to make good choices seems daunting.

I am going to trial both, but having only 7 days with waves makes it really hard, where as Izotope offer 30 days, I can get both for around the same price so that is not a factor.

Any thoughts, opinions or experiences you'd care to share?
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:37 AM   #2
citizenkeith
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Originally Posted by J9mm View Post
Any thoughts, opinions or experiences you'd care to share?
My two cents: If you aren't a professional, just use the Reaper plugins. They are excellent and powerful. It's all about your ears and your technique.

Instead, I'd identify exactly what you feel you need and look at the alternatives. For example. I use Stillwell's Rocket compressor on nearly every project. It's my favorite compressor. And they sell a non-commercial license for Reaper users that is only $25. ValhallaDSP has great reverbs and delays, and those are only $50. And Limiter No 6 is a phenomenal compressor/clipper/limiter that is free! Not to mention all the JS plugins that come with Reaper (no need for Waves Maxx Bass when you have JS Huge Booty!).

You'll find lots of other great suggestions for plugins in these forums. Spend a little time experimenting, and I think you'll have everything you need without spending $500-$800.
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:12 AM   #3
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Second that. I do hap[p[en to own a fair few "premium" plugins, but all were bought on special with anywhere between 50% and 90% price reduction!
And I still wind up with Valhalla room and the reaper plugs on most things.

You can`t substitute experience working with the tools you already have with spending money on more tools you don`t really know how to use properly.
Just means you postpone doing the work and have TWO learning curves to deal with!
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Old 10-23-2014, 02:11 PM   #4
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What are the main plugins you are looking for or have a hole in your collection or are you starting from scratch?...and what kind of music are you recording?
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Old 10-23-2014, 03:19 PM   #5
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If you're recording rock, best bang for the buck would be, in order:
- Slate VCC
- Slate VTM
- Slate VBC

And use ReaPlugs for all other. VCC will give you the analogue vibe, VTM will fatten up the lowend and polish the high end, and VBC will make the drums and mixbuss punch.

My 2c.
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Old Yesterday, 01:14 PM   #6
J9mm
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Originally Posted by camerondye View Post
What are the main plugins you are looking for or have a hole in your collection or are you starting from scratch?...and what kind of music are you recording?
Well in terms of Audio Manipulation all I have is the plugs that come with Reaper, nothing else at all.
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Old Yesterday, 03:07 PM   #7
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Well I will take it as a per effect situation now that I've listened to some of the music examples in your signature.

Waves - If you buy anything Waves I would get the Musicians II bundle only to start out with. It has great Eq's, the compressors are easy to set and sound good, and has doubler which is a plugin I still use to this day to fatten up vocals. I personally own the Mercury Bundle but I like a lot of their newer things that aren't included in Gold. The 2 plugins that I would just watch for being on sale from AudioDeluxe that aren't in Musicians II but in Gold are H-Delay and H-Comp. Those 2 are really cool and fun to use plugins that I would recommend. Waves tune and the light version of tune are actually better at auto-tuning vocals than auto tune and is a good option if you need it. Remember that all waves stuff is free to try out and you don't need an ilok anymore so try it out.

Eq - Reaper's EQ is perfectly fine and can pretty much get you going. My favorite EQ is Fabfilter Pro-Q but I wouldn't say it sounds better necessarily but it's definitely my favorite and has some nice options. I wouldn't spend the money here if I were you.

Compression - This is the one where I would want a couple of flavors. I never use ReaComp, that doesn't mean it isn't just fine but I use certain things for certain sounds and like comps that have less control over everything. I would get something like the Rocket or an 1176 type of compression to inject a little excitement into your vocals. I would also get an SSL type compressor for my buss like "The Glue" because I love SSL type compression for this and it really does do a great job on the master buss.

Reverb / Delay - Everything Valhalla DSP does is great and I consider to be one of the best bang for the buck companies for VST's. You really can't go wrong with these and I have the most expensive options and still use these...they are great.
http://valhalladsp.com/

The other thing to do is to get the Bricasti M7 Impulse Responses and a stereo convolution reverb like reverberate because it is a good way to get damn good reverbs for not much money. I own a real Bricasti M7 hardware reverb and I can say they aren't the same but they are definitely in the direction and sound excellent. The M7 is by far my favorite option but it isn't a VST. My favorite VST delay is Sountoys Echoboy and my favorite VST reverb is the Lexicon PCM, UAD EMT 250, and the UAD Ocean Way which is one of the best room verbs I've ever heard. All of these are super expensive and probably wouldn't be the smartest things to start out on. PSP audioware also makes some really good easy to set delays but try them out and see if you like any of them.

Limiter - My favorite limiter is the Fab-filter Pro-L because I think it does the best job of making your mix louder without changing the sound of your mix. I haven't used and do not know of any option for a cheaper limiter. Fabfilter makes amazing stuff for sure. Izotope Ozone has a limiter that I think almost as good as Pro-L and has some other goodies on it also and does save you a bit of money.

Distortion - This is the one that I've been using a ton lately for compression and so many things. A lot of time I will use a distortion program over an eq to bring something to the front. A lot of times you don't hear the distortion but it does something cool to bring things out. Fab-Filter Saturn is one of my favorites, some of the softube ones are really cool...just look around. This is one I like to have options of because all do different things really well.

Find the vst's that work for you and make them work. Don't go insane with too many options and learn to make it work with what you have as opposed to getting too many options. You will learn more and become better at your job. Get inventive with your VST's and run delays/reverbs into compression and the distortions and then mix them in on a buss. Learn how to use your reverb and delays on busses for sure and use them on several instruments because it will glue your mixes together. Read and learn about studio techniques because technology is a cool thing and it is amazing that our $60 Reaper program destroys most of the options that our favorite bands of the 60's and 70's ever dreamed of.
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Old Yesterday, 03:13 PM   #8
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you are imo completely set with that.

as for the Slate recommendation: if you want to boost your signal into neverland and degrade it deliberately to make it sound "analog" ... you should waste your money on that hype-bullshit.

seriously, all I heard that was made "analog-sounding" regardless whether real analog gear was involved or digitally emulated analog gear was used ... it sounded all degraded, overcompressed, artificially, mid-ish or harsh, or simply dull but distorted, what they call "warm". simply put: I heard highly praised productions from so-called pro-producers that made me facepalm. that is all a really, really very big hype, nothing more.

before buying Slate or Waves products, I would really consider that you listen with some days in between it to things produced with these. you will get in no time so tired of this artifically made "analog" sound, that will stay away from that purchases.

serious: all this "analog-makers" cant do nothing than degrade the signal. what else should they do? digital is way beyond analog. everyone believing in the opposite is way behind earwise and/or simply a believer in nothing but marketing hype.

these are my 10 cents ... and I will go up to 100 cent ... €-cent of course.
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Old Yesterday, 03:28 PM   #9
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Agreed that you can start with Reaper plugins and hold off on purchases until you really feel you need them.

I have Alloy 2 and like it a lot; it's basically what i rely on these days. I've used Waves stuff in the past and liked it as well.

Alloy 2 is a convenient way to cover a lot of needs at once. I got it on sale for $150 and you get one plugin that does EQ, compression, transient enhancement, exciting, limiting, de-essing, etc., re-orderable according to need. The interface it at times great and at times a little wonky, but nothing serious. It's not like the usual all-in-one "channel strip" plugins that have half-assed versions of all that stuff; each component is serious in its own right. I find myself preferring that approach rather than the Waves approach of a bunch of separate versions of the individual plugins for every permutation (i.e. "compressor, mono version, not multi-band", "compressor, mono version, multi-band", etc etc.)

I do use Reaper plugins sometimes (ReaEq, ReaComp, and ReaVerb for convolution reverbs); they sound fine to me. Sometimes they are a bit limiting, but every now and then they do things that Alloy 2 doesn't (e.g. extreme-Q eq). I use the free Limiter No6 for gentle last-in-master-chain brickwall ISP limiting (Alloy 2's limiter is not brickwall.)

I think it's a good combo overall. Works for me, anyway.
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Old Yesterday, 03:51 PM   #10
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In regards to Whiteaxxxe's comments on horrible mixes, the good thing is you can listen to his mixes if you follow the link in his sig and decide for yourself if they're better than mix engineers who use analogue equipment or software emulations

So many plug-ins have some sort of analogue emulation involved these days, like EQs with emulated transformers and preamps etc., I wouldn't worry about anything other than the sound. If you like what it does, use it. Different things will be appropriate for different occasions.

I would say though, it took me a good while to really know what it was I wanted. For that reason, I'd be wary of dropping a ton of money on premium stuff just yet. The truth is, there are great-sounding and super-useful plug-ins at all price points, if you know what you're listening for.

You will get as many opinions as you get replies. My tuppence worth for bang-for-buck goes to ToneBoosters and Overtone DSP.

Best thing you can do is demo as much stuff as you can. Decide what you like and determine if you can replicate the effect with Reaper plugs. If you can't, buy it.

One last word of advice: it is all to easy to spend a fortune on a hundred cheap plug-ins, but decent gear like instruments, microphones, audio interface etc. is worth twice its price in plug-ins.
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Old Yesterday, 04:04 PM   #11
camerondye
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Alloy 2 is a great plugin for sure but I think it leans towards doing things for you and I think that it isn't as CPU friendly for just a compressor or EQ as some other things. On the other hand, on the things that you need need a little bit of all of them or a channel strip...it's a good option but just make sure to learn how to set up a compressor and eq and all that stuff. You will be happy you learned.

I read in a book once a more fool proof way of setting up a compressor on any instrument that once I started using it I honestly started hearing what everything did better.

Set the attack to anywhere, release to minimum or fastest, ratio to maximum, and the threshold to a point where it is doing a decent amount of compression so you can hear it. First set the attack with all of these settings, it makes it easier to hear what the attack is doing and how much it thins out the transient. 2nd, set the release time. Listen for how the track is reacting with the rest of the instruments...how it grooves with the music. 3rd set the ratio, generally don't go insane on the ratio but listen to the options and how it's affecting the girth of the track. 4th and last, set the threshold. Make sure it's not compressing all the time and adds instead of flattens the track unless you are positive that's what you want the track to do. Also, remember that stacking compression sometimes is a cool thing on tracks but stacking two 4:1 compressors is more like 16:1 than 8:1 and watch out about over-compressing.
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Old Yesterday, 04:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camerondye View Post
Alloy 2 is a great plugin for sure but I think it leans towards doing things for you and I think that it isn't as CPU friendly for just a compressor or EQ as some other things.
I can't speak to it's overall CPU use relative to other plugins, but i can tell you that you can disable any of the modules so they aren't using CPU. E.g. with just the EQ module on, it's just an EQ.
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Old Today, 08:35 AM   #13
citizenkeith
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Tell me more about your recording setup. What interface are you using? What kind of microphones do you have at your disposal? Any outboard preamps?

Plugins will not make or break a recording. What you are using to record your sounds WILL make a big difference. You might be better off spending that money on some microphones.
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