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Old 06-12-2000, 04:45 PM
Bill Miller Bill Miller is offline
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Maple Ridge,BC,Canada
Posts: 12
Default Plug in advice

I'm a 001 owner and would like some advice as to what would be a good stradegic plan for buying plug ins on a limited budget. I seemed to be obsessed with very high end gear like Focusrite... I'm leaning towards a good quality eq and compressor for the 001. Has anyone had experience running mhlab's Channel Strip, McDSP's filter bank, Waves Renaissance... Would any of these be best suited for the 001 on a G4 350. I am a complete beginner and want to make a well informed decision as to what will render the best results for making my music sound the best that it can. If anyone has sound advice on anything to do with plug ins for a novice I would greatly appreciate hearing from you. Also, maybe EQ isn't the best place to start, I'm open to all suggestions! Cheers from Bill in Vancouver!
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Old 06-12-2000, 07:08 PM
zavijah zavijah is offline
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Mountain View, CA, USA
Posts: 373
Default Re: Plug in advice

Hey Bill-

IMHO, McDSP's CompressorBank may be a better deal than the Waves compressors. I played with the demo of CompressorBank and I've owned the Waves Gold Bundle for a bit now. I'm kind of not a happy Waves customer just now. The big bad exploding plug-in bug is really starting to fray my nerves. Also the dongle's pretty flaky (even after slowing down the iMate's ADB polling). And I wrote to customer service a week ago with a question and haven't heard back. I'd kind of expect better treatment after buying the Gold bloody bundle...

On the other hand, the Ren comp sound is nice. And the L1 is nice. The Waves manuals are cool. Can't say much for the C1, but that could just be because I don't really know how to use it or don't have applications which could make use of it.

On the, uh, third hand, my experience with CompressorBank was wholly positive. Very nice compressor sound with startlingly little CPU drain. It's on my wishlist.

I don't have strong opinions about EQs, but this is also probably out of ignorance. I doubt I could tell the difference between the DigiRack EQs and the Ren EQ in a blind taste test. Also haven't heard Metric Halo's stuff.

Depending on the type of music you're working on, yeah, I'd suggest good EQs and compressors and a good reverb if you can get one. But before all that, if you're recording real people (er, as opposed to mannequins, I guess...) or instruments, a good mic and pre are perhaps the best investment you could make in your sound. MHO, of course.


[This message has been edited by zavijah (edited June 12, 2000).]
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Old 06-13-2000, 12:35 AM
lwilliam lwilliam is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Allison Park, PA (Near Pittsburgh)
Posts: 5,099
Default Re: Plug in advice

I have used the demo of the McDSP Compressorbank and Filterbank. They are both VERY good sounding (and on my list to buy). However, since you said you were on a budget, these are not the least espensive plugins for RTAS - so you might want to keep that in mind. I believe they're around $350 each.

I have heard good things about the Channelstrip, but haven't used it (I guess there is a demo available).

I have the Native Power Pak I with the L1 and C1. They are both pretty transparent when used moderately. They are high quality plugins and relatively inexpensive (around $300 or so for the NPP I or II). However, I have to also side with zavijah and say that - for me - I have personally experienced problems with the current version on PTLE ("exploding sound") and seem to be able to attribute it to the L1+ plugin. I have also whined (long and laboriously) to Waves about the dongle - although mine is now reliable. If you can wait until their next upgrade, you will probably be happier with Waves. They are no doubt going to fix the "exploding" bug and they are aware of how dissatisfied people are with the dongle when everyone else is using challenge/response.

Another option is the DUY Everpak. It's very similarly priced to the Waves NPP I and has a few similar plugins: reverb and a nice limiter. They also include a very powerful 3-band compressor/expander that can get you into serious trouble (sound-mangling-wise) unless you know what you're doing. No EQ is included with the Everpak. The 3-band dynamics processor can get EQ-like effects, however. There's also a nice tube modeler included.

I could definitely hear the difference between the Digirack EQs and the NPP I EQs. I could also hear the difference between the Filterbank and the NPP I.

As far as the front-end goes. You should definitely put some money into it. Obviously, you will need a good all-purpose mic. Depending on what you record, a single-pattern mic may be all you need. There are a lot of good mics for under $1000 nowdays.

I can definitely hear the the coloration in the 001 mic pre's. I noticed it the first time I used my faithful AKG 414 with them. I've had an external mic pre (transformerless) for a number of years and it has definitely made for significantly better recordings. I would compare the 001 pre's to the Mackie VLZs as far as depth, punchiness, clarity, etc. Not terrible - but what to you expect with everything you get for $1000?

On compressors, there seems to be a couple of schools of thought: 1. compress when recording to get better levels and closer to the "fat" sound you'll be getting on mix; and 2. record as clean as possible and use compression during mixdown. I don't know which is better. My experience is that the guys who have a lot of analog experience seem to prefer the "compress to tape" concept and guys who are comfortable with digital know it really doesn't matter.

I personally no longer compress to "tape" mainly because I'm holding out until I get a nice Manley or Crane Song. A Behringer or DBX 166 (or especially 266) just doesn't cut it for high-quality recordings - way too audible and clunky-sounding. The Digirack plugin compressors sound as good or better than those.

If all you're doing is home-based demos, then inexpensive stuff will work.

There is a mic "pre-amp shootout" CD available from 3DAudio which compares a lot (like 25 or 30) of high-end preamps costing up to $7000 in a blindfold-like test. It includes the lowly Mackie VLZ and DBX 386 plus a lot of $1500-$2500 preamps. It's a good ear test to see if you can tell the Mackie from the GML or Focusrite. If you can't tell, then why spend the money? It really opened my eyes. [I have to admit, I had little trouble telling the low-end pre's from the $1000+ pre's - but there was a LOT less of a difference as the price went up from there.]

There are demos of most of the plugins you want, so download 'em and listen (no RTAS WAVES demo, however). It can't hurt.


PT 2021; MacBookPro M1; 16GB; Spectrasonics; Native Instruments, Toontrack, Waves...too many plugins.
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Old 06-13-2000, 04:57 AM
Frank S Frank S is offline
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Posts: 675
Default Re: Plug in advice

LW, as usual has thoroughly covered the topic, so I have little to add. (That guy really knows his stuff, is great about giving lots of help and advice, and also has way too much free time on his hands...)

My only advice is to AVOID THE WAVES stuff at present. They do sound great when they work properly. This bug that cause the full code digital overload/Weird LFO modulation on playback at unpredictable but extremely frequent intervals (aka the Strange exploding sound) is a MAJOR PROBLEM. I would not spend the money until it is fixed. ( I bought both the NPP 1 and 2, was initially amazed at the quality and cost effectiveness, only to be plagued by this bug. It took over 2 months to even recognize this problem on this forum.) Yes Waves will fix it, just like they'll get rid of the Dongle - but it hasn't happened yet.

For now, I'd look elsewhere.
Frank S
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Old 06-13-2000, 04:55 PM
nuke nuke is offline
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 276
Default Re: Plug in advice

Channel strip is pretty cool, I played around with the demo for a while and kind of got hooked on it. I wish I had played with it more before the demo expired. Very useful for carving up the right tone, the eq section is very impressive. The gate and compressor seem to be pretty good, but I didn't do as much with them. I favored the "warm" setting on the compressor, whatever that means.

I got a few more demo's to cycle through. Too bad Waves doesn't demo in RTAS mode. I also ain't real crazy about an ADB dongle either. I'd be less troubled by a native USB dongle if they really had to have one.

I'll tell you this: authorization and copy protection schemes figure VERY heavily in my buying decisions. Who cares how good the software is if using it is a pain in the buttocks or worse, makes your computer unstable.

I'd gladly sign a legally binding license aggreement if it meant not being troubled with flaky authorization schemes.

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Old 06-13-2000, 07:37 PM
BruceB BruceB is offline
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Northport, ME USA
Posts: 40
Default Re: Plug in advice

Hey, anybody else out there tried the Bomb Factory stuff? I tried the classic compressoers, and Sans Amp which I think sounded really sweet- or dirty if you like.
The compressors were a real kick, Added some great depth to the tracks I tried.
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Old 06-14-2000, 03:15 AM
Toad Toad is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: toronto ontario canada
Posts: 8
Default Re: Plug in advice

In the reverb dept. Have recently downloaded Z-room from duy and kind of loud. I thought Z-room was pretty good for the money (I believe it comes bundled with 4 or 5 other of duy's stuff. Then I tried the kind of loud reverb demo and it was amazing. I played for hours with it. Really beautiful. Sorry if I'm drooling.
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Old 06-14-2000, 11:46 AM
Bill Miller Bill Miller is offline
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Maple Ridge,BC,Canada
Posts: 12
Default Re: Plug in advice

Thanks everyone for taking the time to shoot me some advice. I have recently downloaded the RTAS version of Channel Strip and so far I really like it. Mind you I don't have any other references to compare to. I know these plug ins eat a lot of cpu power but I'm wondering if something like Channel Stip(eq/compressor) would, should or could be printed to your audio tracks to conserve the cpu of my G4 350 like you would with Audio Suite(the demo doesn't allow this if it is possible). My guess is yes. It was quite a drag to see how Channel Strip as an insert on 4 tracks and 2 tracks with D Verb on a 4 track recording with 3 midi tracks brought my session to a halt. Lot's to learn but again thanks for the advice. PS have you ever tried funneling a beer while standing on your head while camping in the monsoon rains of Vancover? I'm still trying to organize my priorities. Cheers Bill

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