Old 07-09-2017, 09:36 AM   #1
earforce
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Default sound shaping factors and mystery plugins

In general, as far as I understand, you can shape a sound via frequency (EQ), dynamics (compressor) and saturation (sat. plugins).
If that is true, i should be able to do things like some "mistery" plugins like izotope Neutron, Overloud Dopamine, Tape machine simulators etc do with standard plugins like EQ, compressor and saturation plugs?.
so what for do I need such plugins, except for convenience?
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Old 07-10-2017, 02:20 AM   #2
ivansc
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Not all EQ/Compressor/Limiter/etc plugins are created equal.
The way the various adds and subtracts are applied, the curves, Q factiors et on EQs, NOW the vasrious comprssion algorythms are applied...
If you never used hardware FX this IS difficult to "get" but there really IS a huge variation in all the various combinations. And then there is exciters, saturation/distortion plugs... they ALL bring something to the party & it is up to you to decidfe if it is soemthing you want or not. Happily most plugs are available as demos these days.
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Old 07-10-2017, 02:34 AM   #3
Judders
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You also have time/pitch/phase - wow & flutter on tape sims, modulation effects, you've got internal crossover filters to affect different frequency ranges in different ways, you have hard clipping, soft clipping, different flavours of saturation, you have different compression envelopes that distort in different ways, different mixes of even and odd harmonics.

Regardless, convenience is worth a lot to me. If I have a sound in my head I want to reach for something that will get me there with the least fuss, I don't want to spend a couple of hours getting there just to find I've lost that creative impulse down a rabbit hole of geeky tweaking.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:10 AM   #4
ashcat_lt
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OTOH, if the fancy analog-modeled plug is almost what you want, but just needs a little tweak to one of the "hidden" parameters that are hard-coded in, then all you can really do is reach for another that hopefully is closer, but that of course will quite often change about everything else, too, so...

I really tend to stay away from those things. I don't need my compressor to also filter and distort. I can get that elsewhere, add them where I feel they're needed, and have much more control over that character than if I just trust some plugin developer to set it where they think is best. Maybe I'm just a geek. Maybe I'm a control freak. Maybe I just don't like what amounts to surfing presets when I know what I want and how to get it.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:24 AM   #5
Judders
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
OTOH, if the fancy analog-modeled plug is almost what you want, but just needs a little tweak to one of the "hidden" parameters that are hard-coded in, then all you can really do is reach for another that hopefully is closer, but that of course will quite often change about everything else, too, so...

I really tend to stay away from those things. I don't need my compressor to also filter and distort. I can get that elsewhere, add them where I feel they're needed, and have much more control over that character than if I just trust some plugin developer to set it where they think is best. Maybe I'm just a geek. Maybe I'm a control freak. Maybe I just don't like what amounts to surfing presets when I know what I want and how to get it.
I think there's room for different approaches

I rarely use presets, and never for EQ or compression, but I do like "tone boxes" with a minimum of controls. If I can achieve the effect I want with one plugin, I'm happy to pay for the convenience rather than use 5 plugins to get a similar effect.

There are situations where you simply can't replicate what a single plugin is doing too, due to the signal chain. Compressor emulations that distort dynamically in relation to gain reduction being a prime example.

I get why some people dislike that approach, and prefer to be in direct control of every facet of signal processing, but I think it's a good thing that not everyone skins a cat in the same way.
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:53 AM   #6
ashcat_lt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judders View Post
I think there's room for different approaches
Definitely! I'm not trying to say that either way is right or wrong. In the end, all that matters is whether it sounds the way you want it to. Nobody actually cares how you got there except maybe a few other nerds looking for tips and tricks.

I know what works for me, and I happen to agree with the OP's premise.

Quote:
There are situations where you simply can't replicate what a single plugin is doing too, due to the signal chain. Compressor emulations that distort dynamically in relation to gain reduction being a prime example.
IDK, I think anything is possible as long as you break it down into small enough components. Between the routing capabilities, Parameter Modulation, and the vast number of great utility plugs that Reaper comes with, it really is possible to build some pretty convincing hardware emulations. That's part of what I love about this DAW!

I guess it's kind of the difference between something like a minimoog and like an actual moog modular. You can get the same sounds out of both, but the latter gives you more options and finer control and is capable of subtleties that the former isn't.
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
Definitely! I'm not trying to say that either way is right or wrong. In the end, all that matters is whether it sounds the way you want it to. Nobody actually cares how you got there except maybe a few other nerds looking for tips and tricks.


IDK, I think anything is possible as long as you break it down into small enough components. Between the routing capabilities, Parameter Modulation, and the vast number of great utility plugs that Reaper comes with, it really is possible to build some pretty convincing hardware emulations. That's part of what I love about this DAW!

I guess it's kind of the difference between something like a minimoog and like an actual moot modular. You can get the same sounds out of both, but the latter gives you more options and finer control and is capable of subtleties that the former isn't.
Out of interest; how do you link gain reduction to parameter modulation?
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Old 07-10-2017, 12:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judders View Post
Out of interest; how do you link gain reduction to parameter modulation?
Depending on what you're trying to do, there are a number of ways to accomplish it. I actually wrote a JS "clone" of ReaComp that will send its gain reduction factor as a "control voltage" out a couple channels. There are other ways to skin that cat, though.

Really, you could probably get close just using the original signal for audio control and tweaking it so that whatever parameter is responding to the same signal in about the same way as the gain reduction in your comp.

Edit to add -

Realize also that if you run a DC voltage of 1 (0dbfs on the positive side) through ReaComp and the original signal through the sidechain, the output will be exactly the gain factor with all of the RMS/attack/release integration included. That's going to be like the inverse of the gain reduction, and you could do things with that. We do start to run into the limiting factor that PM is not sample accurate and most good plugin parameters are "smoothed" so that they won't follow sample-to-sample either, but most of the time close enough is close enough, and there are ways around that, too.

Last edited by ashcat_lt; 07-10-2017 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 07-10-2017, 12:22 PM   #9
Judders
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Interesting!

Still, this is something I do in my precious spare time, so I'm much more interested in the music-making and knowing which "tone box" will paint the broad strokes I hear in my mind.

Trying to recreate all the toys I regularly use with other plugs just doesn't seem worth the time investment.

I do think it's cool that other people are into tinkering like that though
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Old 07-10-2017, 12:54 PM   #10
ashcat_lt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judders View Post
Trying to recreate all the toys I regularly use with other plugs just doesn't seem worth the time investment.
TBH, I don't usually bother either unless there's something really specific - and usually weird - that I want to do. Most of the the time I just chain filters and non-linearities until it sounds right.
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