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BTW, regarding Amp Farm (and for that matter Sans Amp), I too am a guitarist and wanted so much for either to live up to the "sexy" claims. Sadly for guitar they simply don't but sure are great for other things (ala Dust Brothers drums or "nasty" and aggresive vox (as I believe has been noted). Though in a pinch I prefer either over a Big Muff or MXR distortion as these were what my first distortion boxes were (along with a misinformed choice of a solid state amp!) Don't miss that sound or that "aural" period of my life (that particular combination anyway). ;\)


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Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Frindle:
[...] Now in my book any plug-in that purports to emulate a guitar amp chain has to operate on this level of performer immersion. A tall order perhaps - and it sure won't be produced by simple convolution model of this or that amp. It'll have to be fashioned lovingly and meticulously by a 'performer' who actually percieves and understands the sensitivity of the whole experience of playing, with enough technical snout, tenacity and perception to somehow work out how to get this from a collection of largely disconnected and highly non-linear processes. [...]
You know, at some point in the modeling/emulation quest, you're probably going to ask yourself if you're puting in as much time getting it right in emulation as any of us have spent designing a box in the first place.

I should like to take this opportunity to re-state a very important fact of life, newly revealed to apply to the digital electronics paradigm as it has been recently learned regarding the "new" Internet economy:

There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Period.

George


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Originally posted by gm:
Quote:


There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Period.

George
Ain't that the truth. The amount of people I meet that seem to think plug-ins offer comparable performance to the real thing astounds me, maybe they should upgrade their monitoring...(or their ears).

The analogy I trot out is if they're achieving the performance of say, a $3000 compressor with a $300 plug-in, then THAT'S THE GREATEST BARGAIN I'VE EVER SEEN! You're getting a Porsche for Peugeot money! What a wonderful World that would be! If only.

Regards,
Justin

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Quote:
Originally posted by gm:
Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Frindle:
[...] Now in my book any plug-in that purports to emulate a guitar amp chain has to operate on this level of performer immersion. A tall order perhaps - and it sure won't be produced by simple convolution model of this or that amp. It'll have to be fashioned lovingly and meticulously by a 'performer' who actually percieves and understands the sensitivity of the whole experience of playing, with enough technical snout, tenacity and perception to somehow work out how to get this from a collection of largely disconnected and highly non-linear processes. [...]
You know, at some point in the modeling/emulation quest, you're probably going to ask yourself if you're puting in as much time getting it right in emulation as any of us have spent designing a box in the first place.

I should like to take this opportunity to re-state a very important fact of life, newly revealed to apply to the digital electronics paradigm as it has been recently learned regarding the "new" Internet economy:

There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Period.

George
Yep - totally agree. The fact is that the whole point IS to put as much energy into making it as it deserves - whether emulation - or more honestly, a new application with it's own unique merits.
But I also fully agree with what you are saying about the restrictions posed by the new financial paradigm we are living in now. I too believe that this industry has become somewhat under-valued in the present scheme of things. But the challenge is to recreate that value in a new world by doing artistic stuff that could never have been done before - rather than gravitating towards the lowest common denominator and doing almost as good for 'next to nothing'.
In my (admittedly rather idealistic) way I am somewhat encouraged that this stuff has become cheaper, because it enables more people to use it - and there is greater chance of someone doing something fresh, new and astounding :-)
I believe that if we embrace it rather than resist it, the art and it's market will eventually find it's own new level. Old ideas are under attack - but the new one's will replace them, because in the end this is human endeavour.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Loopy C:
Would it make sense to have any comment here about convolution devices, as an example the Sintefex Replicator?

Obviously many static points have to be taken at some given set of frequencies and levels but at least a portion of a particular setting might get represented (this should be "heard" as a question and not a statement of fact). I have "heard" good things said about the replicator and I believe KK Proffitt did a review for Audio Media? awhile back. Is there any points those who are familiar with both modeling and convolution would make while this is being discussed here?
I have the FX2000 and like it very much. I especially like the Pultec and Fairchild. Does it sound like the "real thing"? Well the "real things" often didn't sound like themselves on certain days either! I do like the FX2000 for a lot of things. I'm involved with development of convolution products (not for Sintefex), so I'm familiar with the limitations and benefits of convolution.

Are convolution-based products the "same thing as" the "real" ones? No, obviously not. Can they be useful tools that sound good? In the case of Sintefex, definitely YES.

I've collected noise makers and noise shapers for nearly 30 years. I still have a TR-808 in working condition. Does it sound like real drums? No. I still love the hand clap sound on it (but I use samples of it these days). I can love stuff that doesn't sound "real" if I can use it...


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I'm personally biased towards cheap gear, because it's allowing me to succeed. There are at least two other biases active in this thread- people who make money from creating/selling expensive gear, and people who have expensive gear and want to protect their market share and the value of their investments. We could all do a lot by admitting these things to ourselves.

OK then- on with my biased post.

Look at it another way.

I personally love bombfactory's 660 compressor plug.

I've never heard a real 660 in use in my life. Probably never will.

Anyone who actually has the dough for a real 660 probably won't be replacing it with a plug-in anytime soon. But anyone who would sink the money into a real 660 in this market has a real gung-ho business model or else a lot of corporate clients.

Music has never been worth less than it is right now. Expenses to make music have to come down for anyone to even hope to stay in the game. We went from how many majors to how many? And they're still hemorrhaging money.

I agree that false advertising sucks. On the other hand, there's no point in throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Would the 660 plug sound so good if it didn't have the 660 in mind when they designed it? If you guys are just railing on the fact that such claims are overblown- you would know better than I do. But for me, the end-user small-guy- I love it, and I'll keep using it. Good luck improving the process, because I'm all for better sound. But if you end up with something that costs ten times as much and sounds similar, I'll stick with the BF660 rather than saddle myself and my clients with that kind of expense.

Here's a question for folks recording music. Who, besides the gear manufacturers, are you helping by purchasing into an enormous operating expense that forces you to set rates at $100 an hour? Did you get into this business to make good music? Can good musicians afford those rates? Are you enabling the musicians that you work with, or are you pricing many of the best ones right out of the game? Which is a better goal, that last 5% difference in fidelity that quadruples your hourly rate, or never having to turn away talent? Do you like doing drug company narrations and shitty demos for wanna-be dentists and lawyers?

People are making a living at lots of different levels in this industry and sometimes it seems like everyone is isolated in their own corner and forgets about the rest of the world.

The bar to getting a good recording is a financial one, when it should be an artistic one. Capitalism and art are uncomfortable bedmates at best.

Plummeting equipment prices are changing the equation. It sounded idealistic ten years ago but it's happening now.

Generally, good music isn't coming from the $100+ studio rate business model any longer. I think that we're seeing that now pretty clearly, in the decline of the record industry, in the decline of people's enthusiasm for music, in the absence of any sort of popular artistic movements. I believe that music will recover, but that the way it comes to us is going to look different. The halcyon days of big music have passed.

I do not believe that good music relies on expensive equipment. It's a mind game, a false idol.

First, the growth of the MP3 phenomenon shows that to the audience, musical ideas & communication are the primary concern, and that after a certain level of sonic quality is reached, additional quality matters much less than the actual musical content.

Second, there is a lot of good-sounding gear available at low prices. Good ears can make inexpensive recordings without compromising.

This is all essentially heresy in these parts, but so be it.


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Quote:
Originally posted by Thermionic:

Ain't that the truth. The amount of people I meet that seem to think plug-ins offer comparable performance to the real thing astounds me, maybe they should upgrade their monitoring...(or their ears).

The analogy I trot out is if they're achieving the performance of say, a $3000 compressor with a $300 plug-in, then THAT'S THE GREATEST BARGAIN I'VE EVER SEEN! You're getting a Porsche for Peugeot money! What a wonderful World that would be! If only.

Regards,
Justin[/QB]
The oddest thing is that this may indeed be exactly what it is :-)

I can honestly say, that for instance the S/W EQs I have been involved in making, achieve performances far and way beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of in the analogue designs I have struggled with over several previous decades. In fact such performance is not even theoretically possible within analogue electronics because it is constrained by the physical world.
As an 'old hand' designer it was only the advent of digital processing that allowed me to finally make the console EQ of my dreams - what a complete honour it was for me :-) And this is indeed on sale for $100s not $1000s - and you can run as many simultaneously as you can find processing for.

The only issue is whether you can realise this performance within the system peripherals (converters and such) being used to interface with the real world.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Philter:
I'm personally biased towards cheap gear, because it's allowing me to succeed. There are at least two other biases active in this thread- people who make money from creating/selling expensive gear, and people who have expensive gear and want to protect their market share and the value of their investments. We could all do a lot by admitting these things to ourselves.

OK then- on with my biased post.

Look at it another way.

I personally love bombfactory's 660 compressor plug.

I've never heard a real 660 in use in my life. Probably never will.

Anyone who actually has the dough for a real 660 probably won't be replacing it with a plug-in anytime soon. But anyone who would sink the money into a real 660 in this market has a real gung-ho business model or else a lot of corporate clients.

Music has never been worth less than it is right now. Expenses to make music have to come down for anyone to even hope to stay in the game. We went from how many majors to how many? And they're still hemorrhaging money.

I agree that false advertising sucks. On the other hand, there's no point in throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Would the 660 plug sound so good if it didn't have the 660 in mind when they designed it? If you guys are just railing on the fact that such claims are overblown- you would know better than I do. But for me, the end-user small-guy- I love it, and I'll keep using it. Good luck improving the process, because I'm all for better sound. But if you end up with something that costs ten times as much and sounds similar, I'll stick with the BF660 rather than saddle myself and my clients with that kind of expense.

Here's a question for folks recording music. Who, besides the gear manufacturers, are you helping by purchasing into an enormous operating expense that forces you to set rates at $100 an hour? Did you get into this business to make good music? Can good musicians afford those rates? Are you enabling the musicians that you work with, or are you pricing many of the best ones right out of the game? Which is a better goal, that last 5% difference in fidelity that quadruples your hourly rate, or never having to turn away talent? Do you like doing drug company narrations and shitty demos for wanna-be dentists and lawyers?

People are making a living at lots of different levels in this industry and sometimes it seems like everyone is isolated in their own corner and forgets about the rest of the world.

The bar to getting a good recording is a financial one, when it should be an artistic one. Capitalism and art are uncomfortable bedmates at best.

Plummeting equipment prices are changing the equation. It sounded idealistic ten years ago but it's happening now.

Generally, good music isn't coming from the $100+ studio rate business model any longer. I think that we're seeing that now pretty clearly, in the decline of the record industry, in the decline of people's enthusiasm for music, in the absence of any sort of popular artistic movements. I believe that music will recover, but that the way it comes to us is going to look different. The halcyon days of big music have passed.

I do not believe that good music relies on expensive equipment. It's a mind game, a false idol.

First, the growth of the MP3 phenomenon shows that to the audience, musical ideas & communication are the primary concern, and that after a certain level of sonic quality is reached, additional quality matters much less than the actual musical content.

Second, there is a lot of good-sounding gear available at low prices. Good ears can make inexpensive recordings without compromising.

This is all essentially heresy in these parts, but so be it.
Damn good points :-)
But please bear in mind that the plumetting cost of producing the music isn't actually being accompanied by a similar plummet in potential sound quality at all :-) That's what everybody expects and assumes in this world of spin and economics - but for once it isn't actually the case - things really are better AND cheaper :-)

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Quote:
Originally posted by Thermionic:
The amount of people I meet that seem to think plug-ins offer comparable performance to the real thing astounds me, maybe they should upgrade their monitoring...(or their ears).

The analogy I trot out is if they're achieving the performance of say, a $3000 compressor with a $300 plug-in, then THAT'S THE GREATEST BARGAIN I'VE EVER SEEN! You're getting a Porsche for Peugeot money! What a wonderful World that would be! If only.
While I agree that many plug-ins are of extremely low quality, there are some that are absolutely amazing. I don't think you'll find that George or Paul think their plug-ins are compromised in any way.

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I also like the Bomb Factory 660. It has more character than most of the other "in the box" alternatives. But I will say that I wish the designers would get back to designing the best EQs, compressors and effects that they can, rather than emulating things that already exist.

It seems to me that that is what Paul is talking about when he designed the Oxford EQ; throwing out the old analog limitations and trying to design something new and better. When Bill Putnam designed the 1176LN, he was innovating and looking for new solutions to solve his audio problems. Same with George when he INVENTED the parametric EQ!

This "monkey see, monkey do" style of designing has to end, doesn't it? I love the sound of the GML EQ. But when I buy an new TDM plug, I just want it to sound musical and fit into my palate of tools. I want it to inspire me to make new creative choices.

I guess that is a hard thing to do...Never mind.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Frindle:
In my (admittedly rather idealistic) way I am somewhat encouraged that this stuff has become cheaper, because it enables more people to use it - and there is greater chance of someone doing something fresh, new and astounding :-)
While this can be a good thing, it's my opinion that it can also be very dangerous. The lower cost of equipment has put quality gear into the hands of people that don't know what they are doing. Some people with the gear lack the ears and experience to use it correctly and the results can be horrendous. I don't know if you recall the phase we experienced a few years ago when ADAT's first came out. Some artists started using their recording budgets to set up cheap home studios and do most of the work themselves or with acquaintances with an "engineering" background. The results were awful. While this still goes on to some extent, at least most of the artists and labels recognize the need for legitimate engineers to be at the controls. You can't get great sounds out of this less expensive gear unless the person behind the controls has the training and experience to get the job done. Sometimes I think some kind of background check or license should be required before selling audio gear to customers.
;\)

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The bar to getting a good recording is a financial one, when it should be an artistic one. Capitalism and art are uncomfortable bedmates at best.
I want to make a point here. Most recording (I stress recording) of music is primarily a "bourgeois" activity. I use the term loosely in reference to a middle class/leisure society where the activity of recording is not required for daily survival. And it has little to do with the traditional ritualistic expression of music that is part of the cultural structure of our society, except as an act of archiving.

It is meant for entertainment, much as the classical composers provided scores for their patrons who performed the composed music for their own entertainment. The music itself can, and has occasionally, transcended its environment, but for better or worst, it was and is a commodity.

However, for those moments when people create music that becomes a transcendental experience (do not necessarily read religious,) even if the music is created within a commercial framework, the impeccable capturing of the performance becomes an imperative. So here I ask the question. Are modern, great recordings the way we can define our lack of a "single cohesive culture" society? Could listening to these recordings be a new musical ritual? I believe for a while it was.

And in that instance do we go with "cheap" or do we put together the resources and results of the best minds in the field? Do we go with what will capture the event as closely as possible to that of the event actually happening? I would argue yes, and in this case, the issue does become a financial one. Not as an over riding principle, but rather how can we accumulate the necessary resources to achieve the goal.

A good room or environment costs money. The argument over whether tape or digital is the better medium will go on and on, but the best of both is still expensive, and will continue to be so. Capturing these moments is serious business in my humble opinion, whereas recording a pop hit, while considered by some to be serious, is as often as not, simply a commercial venture (which is serious for some.) In the latter instance the equations of economics come into play, and the choice is less about artistry and more about the financial end result.

So, I would argue, achieving a good recording of an extraordinary performance is both a financial and an artistic endeavor. The later is hopefully taken care off by the performer/s and by those that have been entrusted to capture the event. The former is merely the means by which to do so.

And it is in this very area that the keepers of the "resources" have failed us all miserably by continuing to see music strictly as a commodity. Some would argue that this viewpoint is elitist. That this will return to the time when only the best have access to the tools of capture.

My argument is that I would rather hear beautiful music rather than worrying if I can join the club. In the end, in any given age, there are only so many great artists.

Sorry to be slightly off-topic. But I feel that while our desire as a society is to constantly "even the playing field" by employing the economics of mass distribution, we should not forget that great art needs great resources. I am sure that the R&D costs for Paul's Oxford console where not on the smaller scale of funding. Nor was the price of the result. Nor should they have been. The benefits of his work have become available to many more. But the addition of a plug-in still does not make the standard DAW a first class recording environment.


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Quote:
Originally posted by kk@jamsync.com:


I've collected noise makers and noise shapers for nearly 30 years. I still have a TR-808 in working condition. Does it sound like real drums? No. I still love the hand clap sound on it (but I use samples of it these days). I can love stuff that doesn't sound "real" if I can use it...
Thank you for the response, certainly your attitude is in line with mine (my 808 is still working also) and I appreciate the additional comments concerning the Sintefex, a box I see in my future. Some good points here by all, there may not be such a thing as a free lunch but certainly this thread has provided "food" for thought at no additional charge.


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Wow, this turned into a great thread. So much great info here.

For the guitar players, yup, so far nothing I've seen or played with "behaves" the same as an old tube job. But those plug things are getting better and better all the time.

For the keyboard players, yup, it is diffenrt playing a real Hammond or grand or Rhodes, they still "behave" differently, but I too am constantly amazed by how good and how close the "sounds," if not the "behavior," have become. Even a cheap Casio amazes me. But, I've had fun playing on toy pianos, the kind with the tongs inside, I actually blew a few musician friends away. So sometimes it's the player and not the box he's banging. The same can be said for cheap guitars, in the right hands they can sound great.

So I'm not sure if the quality of the sound you get is completely dependent on price. I mean look at all the great stuff done with just a Shure SM57.

So here's what I'm getting from all you, the plugs may not actually model the "behavior" of the real deal, but they can still sound good, and some, like Paul's, can have their own new flavor.
I like to try new flavors, but it does not mean I will never have authentic vanilla again.

What we are really talking about are tools to get a job done, some like a hand saw, some would only use a worm-drive power saw, and some will want a table saw. They all cut wood. That is, if we keep them polished and sharp.

But there is no question that some saws are made better than other saws, better metal, nicer handles and so forth, but it still all comes down to getting the job done. And the job should be complete in workmanlike or craftsmanlike manner, no cutting corners, no bad cuts or jagged edges.

Is it easy and nice to work with?

Does it sound good when you are done?

A 25K compressor for a 100 bucks because it's software? Well, maybe.

Paul,

Maybe you can describe for us how you went about designing what you did.

And George,
Same question re: plugs.

And maybe others would like to chime in with their thoughts. Thanks. \:\)

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Interesting thought from this month's Tape Op:

Larry Fast re: digital vs. analog...

Quote:
the good part about analog synthesis was that there were some rather pure sounds that were created there. So, you knew what it sounded like coming out of the instrument. But, when it went to tape, the sound wouldn't come back quite the same because tape had a lot of non-linearities in it its recording process. Repeat that with a number of overdubs in the arrangement and the discontinuities would multiply. When it went to LP disc, it got mangled even more. So what transformed between what was going on at the instrument output in the studio to what was finally out there for the record-buying public to take home was a pretty inaccurate version of what the original studio vision was supposed to be...
Perhaps our love-affair with that "mangling" indicates our failure as producers to make sure the sound coming out of the instruments is right in the first place?

Something to think about as we lust for digital simulations of old analog gear.

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First, the growth of the MP3 phenomenon shows that to the audience, musical ideas & communication are the primary concern
I donīt know.

If I take a look at all the people I know, there are a few real music lovers - and, strange or not, they do not have or hear a lot of MP3s.
The other group, which collects MP3 files like crazy often donīt hear all their crap - they mostly count how much crap they have instead of listening.

So I donīt know if the audience collecting MP3s has an idea of the musical ideas & communication.

If you offer this crowd data compressed movie files they switch to that and start collecting visual garbage and donīt care too much about content.

On the contrary, the problems of the music industrie is that the productions they relaease are not able to have emotional effects to the audience.

Emotional strength has of course nothing to do with the technical quality, but because of the ease of making a recording/CD there is so much low level music on the market that the real music gets lost in the see of mediocrity.

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Sure the song is important, the emotion of the performance is important, and I guess the last priority is the sound, but we are all drifting off the topic.

So back to the basic topic: Modeling.

Perhaps, Paul can talk about his design and George can talk about his EQ plugs.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Griffinator:
...Perhaps our love-affair with that "mangling" indicates our failure as producers to make sure the sound coming out of the instruments is right in the first place?
The supreme irony is that the main thing wrong with the sound of many early CDs was too many analog tape generations because the label couldn't find the original master! Analog tape and disk weren't nearly as "mangled" as most people today seem to assume they were.


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Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Frindle:
Quote:
Originally posted by Thermionic:

Ain't that the truth. The amount of people I meet that seem to think plug-ins offer comparable performance to the real thing astounds me, maybe they should upgrade their monitoring...(or their ears).

The analogy I trot out is if they're achieving the performance of say, a $3000 compressor with a $300 plug-in, then THAT'S THE GREATEST BARGAIN I'VE EVER SEEN! You're getting a Porsche for Peugeot money! What a wonderful World that would be! If only.

Regards,
Justin
The oddest thing is that this may indeed be exactly what it is :-)

I can honestly say, that for instance the S/W EQs I have been involved in making, achieve performances far and way beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of in the analogue designs I have struggled with over several previous decades. In fact such performance is not even theoretically possible within analogue electronics because it is constrained by the physical world.
As an 'old hand' designer it was only the advent of digital processing that allowed me to finally make the console EQ of my dreams - what a complete honour it was for me :-) And this is indeed on sale for $100s not $1000s - and you can run as many simultaneously as you can find processing for.

The only issue is whether you can realise this performance within the system peripherals (converters and such) being used to interface with the real world.[/QB]
Please except my excuses for such a candidly written post... It was geared towards criticising vintage emulation plugs, which can be entertaining in their own right, but would make my life easier if they behaved genuinely like their real-world counterparts in some circumstances.

Plugs / soft-emulations are regularly useful to me, they are great in their own right. I'm sure the Oxford eq is superb, as are many soft-apps these days. I guess there could be bias on my behalf towards some soft-apps as traditionally a lot of the finest algorithm code has been available in hardware form (Eventide / TC / Lex etc). I highly rate many plugs, Altiverb is one for instance.

Excuse incoherence, late in UK, have had a few.

Regards,
Justin

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BTW, effing good thread, Thanks to all! \:D

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Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Olhsson:
Quote:
Originally posted by Griffinator:
...Perhaps our love-affair with that "mangling" indicates our failure as producers to make sure the sound coming out of the instruments is right in the first place?
The supreme irony is that the main thing wrong with the sound of many early CDs was too many analog tape generations because the label couldn't find the original master! Analog tape and disk weren't nearly as "mangled" as most people today seem to assume they were.
Bear in mind, Bob, that quote came from a guy who's done it both ways - his efforts with the Moog synths date back to when they first hit the market, around 1970.

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Quote:
Originally posted by blairl:
Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Frindle:
In my (admittedly rather idealistic) way I am somewhat encouraged that this stuff has become cheaper, because it enables more people to use it - and there is greater chance of someone doing something fresh, new and astounding :-)
While this can be a good thing, it's my opinion that it can also be very dangerous. The lower cost of equipment has put quality gear into the hands of people that don't know what they are doing. Some people with the gear lack the ears and experience to use it correctly and the results can be horrendous. I don't know if you recall the phase we experienced a few years ago when ADAT's first came out. Some artists started using their recording budgets to set up cheap home studios and do most of the work themselves or with acquaintances with an "engineering" background. The results were awful. While this still goes on to some extent, at least most of the artists and labels recognize the need for legitimate engineers to be at the controls. You can't get great sounds out of this less expensive gear unless the person behind the controls has the training and experience to get the job done. Sometimes I think some kind of background check or license should be required before selling audio gear to customers.
;\)
A 'licence to engineer" - hmm.. There are lots of great points being made in this thread. But - I dunno - I just cannot force myself to be sympathetic with the idea that empowering people to do creative things can ever be a bad thing?

If I think back to my first years as an engineer in the 1970's in a studio packed with what was then considered moderately serious gear, which some rich fat-cat had paid the equivalent of a pretty grand residence on. There was a Scully 16track tape machine that struggled to achieve -60dB noise below operating level. A (semi home made) console that sported 24 channels with 'bass and treble' tone controls and a couple of sends per channel. An entirely separate monitor mixer built by my predecessor cos the console had no means of properly monitoring off tape, the whole of which hummed and picked up taxis cos it unbalanced all the feeds. A load of highly expensive outboard gear (costing more than whole systems at todays prices) that we used ever-so sparingly cos the slightest boost of anything resulted in some of those 16 noisy channels getting too much. The whole recording chain was down -3dB at 30Hz and 18KHz, the upper freqs of which could only be recorded at low level cos of the tape machine (which precluded EQing and serious trafficking in record as well). The whole LF response was horrifically variable depending on level - not to mention incredible phase responses at both end of the spectrum. There were no gates, noise reduction that squashed the transients so you only wanted to use it on things that didn't need it anyway!

Although some people were miraculously making great sounds on kit like this - for me the main struggle was getting anything sounding remotely tolerable! But like everyone, I had to start somewhere and I had all the ideas in the world, but every darned one was subject to the 'devil of degradation' before I could even try to use them. I wouldn't wish it all on any creatively motivated person who had only human levels of patience. It took great men indeed to wring anything remarkable from all this stuff - and only great men could ever get the chance to attempt it. I got the chance (even though I couldn't have started out great) - but failed to become great in the face of adversity. Perhaps hampered too greatly by the love of what I could hear BEFORE I tried to record it, my patience ran out after only a couple of years. I ran off vowing to end the misery I had experienced by hell or high water (or even digits if necessary) - it was an unstoppable darned personal goal.

So now 30 years on, with a domestic PC and some affordable S/W I can run a system, that although not perfect, I could only dream of in those fraught days. Instead of wondering how to do anything at all without intolerable noise and degradation and the accompanying depression, in these days when generation loss is a distant memory we now ponder on whether SNR of -140dB is really good enough (i.e. 10000 times better literally). And with responses ruler flat from 10Hz to 20KHz even at full level we wonder if the loss of response beyond 30KHz is something to panic about? This is as maybe - but to behold all this and then actually complain about the fact that 'just anyone' can have a go with this kit (as though we somehow begrudge them the chance) and then criticise them for being amateur when they fail muster at 'greatness', seems a bit rich to me and smacks of indulgence? Why can't we just rejoice that in the grand scheme of unselfishly improving the human condition for everyone - a very great deal has been achieved - even if currently we don't much like lots of what people are currently doing with it? The more people that get to use something that doesn't need an engineering degree or super human patience to slam into submission - the more likely we are to hear other people's interpretation of 'art' - eventually. Surely this can never be a bad thing?

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Paul,

Would you be kind enough to describe how you went about the design process? Thanks.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Griffinator:
Interesting thought from this month's Tape Op:

Larry Fast re: digital vs. analog...

Quote:
the good part about analog synthesis was that there were some rather pure sounds that were created there. So, you knew what it sounded like coming out of the instrument. But, when it went to tape, the sound wouldn't come back quite the same because tape had a lot of non-linearities in it its recording process. Repeat that with a number of overdubs in the arrangement and the discontinuities would multiply. When it went to LP disc, it got mangled even more. So what transformed between what was going on at the instrument output in the studio to what was finally out there for the record-buying public to take home was a pretty inaccurate version of what the original studio vision was supposed to be...
Perhaps our love-affair with that "mangling" indicates our failure as producers to make sure the sound coming out of the instruments is right in the first place?

Something to think about as we lust for digital simulations of old analog gear.
Man, talk about synchronicity, I too just got done reading the Tape Op/Larry Fast issue and was thinking the same thing. I have been transferring many records (I have over 5000) over the last month and as with CD I have heard everything from pure genius to some real BAD sound coming from this "cherished" medium called vinyl. As people debate over Stevie Wonder's remastering I am listening to the vinyl I own of Stevie and wondering how close this ever was to it's intended sound and what a terrible benchmark it probably is. I assert no statement concerning anything versus anything, but as a owner of all of Larry Fast's wonderful Synergy catalog and many of his other projects I think he is a valid "old school" source of opinion and is expressing something I also have felt. What a timely appearance (the article), glad you posted the excerpt Griffinator.


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Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Frindle:
A 'licence to engineer" - hmm.. There are lots of great points being made in this thread. But - I dunno - I just cannot force myself to be sympathetic with the idea that empowering people to do creative things can ever be a bad thing?
The license thing was of course meant as a joke. I tried to get that ;\) graemlin in there, but it went on the wrong line.

Quote:
...but to behold all this and then actually complain about the fact that 'just anyone' can have a go with this kit (as though we somehow begrudge them the chance) and then criticise them for being amateur when they fail muster at 'greatness', seems a bit rich to me and smacks of indulgence? Why can't we just rejoice that in the grand scheme of unselfishly improving the human condition for everyone - a very great deal has been achieved - even if currently we don't much like lots of what people are currently doing with it? The more people that get to use something that doesn't need an engineering degree or super human patience to slam into submission - the more likely we are to hear other people's interpretation of 'art' - eventually. Surely this can never be a bad thing?
My short post above failed to express all of my feelings on this subject, so I will clarify a little bit here. I certainly don't want to discourage anyone from pursing their own artistic interpretations and apologize if that is how it came across.

I and everyone else here had to start somewhere and I'm sure we all cringe at our first attempts at recording. Through the years we live and learn. Knowing this, I hope that nobody ever reaches a point in their lives where they think, "I now know everything there is to know about audio." People with an open mind and some sense of humility will always be searching for new ideas and techniques. I applaud anyone from beginner to expert who possesses this kind of mentality.

The thing that I have a hard time with is when a beginner has the funds to buy some decent gear and then without training and without searching for ideas and answers from people in the know; without searching out and listening to quality examples; without experimenting and finding solutions through trial and error, they declare themselves a "professional" engineer and then blindly accept their early efforts as top notch. They close their minds to new ideas and other opinions. Contrary to the type of person with an open mind and sense of humility, there are some with a closed mind, proud of their mediocrity. While this type of person might be rare, there were some in the early days of affordable, quality gear and unfortunately there are some still out there. I don't think we'll find any here in this forum. If they are here, they are searching for ideas and answers.

Kudos to anyone willing to learn from scratch who will experiment, listen and grow along the way by keeping an open mind and continuing to learn until the very end.

So how ‘bout those modeling plug-ins...

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gm wrote:

Quote:
I should like to take this opportunity to re-state a very important fact of life, newly revealed to apply to the digital electronics paradigm as it has been recently learned regarding the "new" Internet economy:

There's no such thing as a free lunch.
OTOH, the cost of lunch seems to keep decreasing year after year. ;\)

Imagine where emulation will be 10 or 20 years from now. Think of the stuff we were using in the eighties and nineties compared to what we have today.

No matter what device you're talking about, at some point, they ARE going to nail it. It's just a question of when. You can also be sure that once they nail it, there are going to be people waxing eloquently about how they prefer the early emulation stuff that didn't quite nail it.

Thinking back on the things that were available when I started in this biz in the mid-seventies compared to now, it's hard not to be totally thrilled.

Lee Blaske

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Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Olhsson:
[The supreme irony is that the main thing wrong with the sound of many early CDs was too many analog tape generations because the label couldn't find the original master! Analog tape and disk weren't nearly as "mangled" as most people today seem to assume they were.
Also, early converters were often downright nasty. I much prefer the sound of 1/2" masters I did in the mid 80's to the DATs I did directly from the board (I used to do simultaneous mixes to both).


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Quote:
Originally posted by blairl:
The license thing was of course meant as a joke. I tried to get that ;\) graemlin in there, but it went on the wrong line.

My short post above failed to express all of my feelings on this subject, so I will clarify a little bit here. I certainly don't want to discourage anyone from pursing their own artistic interpretations and apologize if that is how it came across.

I and everyone else here had to start somewhere and I'm sure we all cringe at our first attempts at recording. Through the years we live and learn. Knowing this, I hope that nobody ever reaches a point in their lives where they think, "I now know everything there is to know about audio." People with an open mind and some sense of humility will always be searching for new ideas and techniques. I applaud anyone from beginner to expert who possesses this kind of mentality.

The thing that I have a hard time with is when a beginner has the funds to buy some decent gear and then without training and without searching for ideas and answers from people in the know; without searching out and listening to quality examples; without experimenting and finding solutions through trial and error, they declare themselves a "professional" engineer and then blindly accept their early efforts as top notch. They close their minds to new ideas and other opinions. Contrary to the type of person with an open mind and sense of humility, there are some with a closed mind, proud of their mediocrity. While this type of person might be rare, there were some in the early days of affordable, quality gear and unfortunately there are some still out there. I don't think we'll find any here in this forum. If they are here, they are searching for ideas and answers.

Kudos to anyone willing to learn from scratch who will experiment, listen and grow along the way by keeping an open mind and continuing to learn until the very end.

So how ‘bout those modeling plug-ins...
Dear Blairl. Yes I know you were saying this with a large smattering of irony. No offense has been taken and my response wasn't intended as an angry one in the least :-) It was only intended to illustrate just how much we take for granted and crucially (and paradoxically) trying to reverse the in-built perception bestowed on us by the current social paradigm - that cheap must always mean bad! We have become such slaves to our own marketing propaganda that we are actually missing that which is good. Even more paradoxically, it is the very financial machines that have been manipulating our perceptions so effectively, that have actually provided us with the ability to do these things - largely as a by product of their efforts to induce us to throw away last year's technology.
There actually still is such a thing as 'absolute human value' that can exist beyond and outside of the twisted value perceptions of our time. It is good to remind ourselves of this occasionally :-)

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Quote:
Originally posted by Johnny B:
Paul,

Would you be kind enough to describe how you went about the design process? Thanks.
Oh heck - thats a pretty wide open request :-) What aspect of it is of interest?

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Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Frindle:
Quote:
Originally posted by Johnny B:
Paul,

Would you be kind enough to describe how you went about the design process? Thanks.
Oh heck - thats a pretty wide open request :-) What aspect of it is of interest?
Paul, I think what Johnny B. wants to know is how something is "designed". Let me help...

Forgetting for the moment about the mysterious processes of productization, of endless hours/days/weeks/months (and years!) of iterative testing and re-coding, not to mention the oh-so boring jobs of doing the packaging, the descriptive languages, the manual. GEEZ does anyone out there appreciate how utterly BORING it is for a designer to write the damn manual...

But forgetting all that...

I think that the picture that I'd eventually paint for Johnny B is that design experience is a life-long process, and that one accumulates a plethora - a universe - of details that go into the designer's decision tree.

And, yes, you'd eventually arrive at the big secret – that at least in part we're offended by the notion of high-quality design being a simple, if not a push-button, process. Not that we don't get myopic mind you, and need correction...but...

Hey he didn't ask me...

George


George Massenburg

http://www.massenburg.com
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