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  • #61
    Sorry Chris, I can't figure out what you mean by seeing the effect parameter values in the Track inspector. Please PM me with how to do this, and I'll check whether the UA plug parameters are exposed.



    If it helps, the parameter values for UA plugs show up in the Console view when you choose to see assignable controls. So, it seems highly likely that the UA plugs will do what you want them to do.



    I don't want to detour on this for too long, but you've brought up an interesting point. The other aspect is that technology designed for accessibllity could have widespread applications for those who don't have particular disabilities, in terms of providing a better interface.



    So why do I care? Electronic Musician ran an article many years ago about people with various disabilities and how they made music. There was one musician who had to play all his music through pushing buttons with a pen in his mouth. Others had arrms that didn't work, no sight, etc. etc. Their desire to make music was so powerful that they overcame problems that would have stopped lesser people.



    When I see musicians on some forum whine about a workaround they have to do with a piece of software or whatever, all I can think is that they have no idea whatsoever about what a workaround is.
    Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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    • #62
      Hi Craig. Ok, I'm guessing Console view and Track Inspector are refering to the same part of Sonar. I've heard from a visually-impaired friend that many UA plug-in parameters do show up, so ... that's great!



      Yep, you're right; often, an accessible interface is easier to use for all involved, not just those with a visual disability.



      This is often a problem when it comes to music software, because people want things to look spiffy, vintage, right down to the needles and blinking LED's. *grin*



      P.S. There's a street musician in Chicago without arms, who plays acoustic guitar with his feet. As someone who plays guitar the usual way, that just blows my mind!

      clips of that guy on youtube.

      Comment


      • #63
        As most people who read my articles know, I’m not a gear snob. Sure, there’s gear I like, but that doesn’t necessarily correlate to price, “vintageness,” or whether it has a tube in it or not. I think the music is what matters, and if one EQ sounds a little different from another EQ, it won’t be enough to make or break the music.



        Yet as you can tell from my previous posts there’s a major exception for me with the Pultec equalizer, and the Massive Passive graduated from the same school....but with a more advanced degree. While I think a lot of “character” gear translates as “I don’t know what the hell I’m going, but it sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?,” the Massive Passive actually deserves the hype it gets. A unit that eschews surgical precision is totally dependent on the engineer’s concept of what “good sound” is, and the bottom line is that the Massive Passive sounds good from a subjective standpoint.



        Note that the Massive Passive is not about fixes (like notching out a rogue peak, or lifting a kick’s beater sound out of the mix), but totally about tone. And by “tone,” I’m using that word the way guitarists do – it refers to not just “bass” or “treble,” but a certain essence.



        To our friend who wanted to hear how this compared to something like a quality Linear Phase EQ, ain’t gonna happen. The Massive Passive doesn’t work like other EQs; controls are very interactive, frequencies are stepped, and bandwidth is variable from “pretty broad” to “not so broad.” Trying to approximate its sound with another EQ is maybe not impossible, but it would be extremely time-consuming to try to emulate all the variables (well, ask UA how long it took them to model this).



        The main difference compared to the parametric sitting in your mixer is that the hardware uses a passive approach to filtering (not unlike the tone stacks in guitar amps), which results in gentler curves; the use of inductors adds inherent, subtle midrange ringing – part of the same phenomenon, albeit for different reasons, that explains why some people flip over the sound of ribbon mics. And while this is a four-band EQ (well eight, actually, as there are four per left/right channel), they’re in parallel, not series. This alone guarantees a sound that’s not like what you’re used to hearing.







        The EQ bands can be linked for the left and right channels or adjusted separately; each has different ranges (low, low mid, high mid, and high), a shelf or bell response (you can even stack multiple shelves), and a boost/cut/out switch. In addition to frequency and bandwidth knobs, the gain controls work differently than active EQs. When fully counter-clockwise they have zero effect, while turning clockwise increases the amount of boost or cut, as set by the switch. There are also two master filters, highpass and lowpass. A link switch links the controls, but does not allow offsets between them.



        When you buy the Massive Passive plug-in, you actually get two different versions - standard and mastering. The mastering version has slightly different highpass/lowpass frequency choices and slopes, “stepped” controls for repeatability (although with software, the ability to store presets pretty much solves any repeatability issues), and reduced gain ranges for finer resolution. As with the hardware unit, the EQ in/out switch is not a “true bypass” - some of the hardware’s characteristics remain. They’re vestigial, but they’re there.



        Those who say “adjust sounds with your ears, not your eyes” can point to the Massive Passive as something you have to adjust with your ears. There’s a lot of interaction among the various controls (remember, this is emulating passive circuitry – active circuitry buffers the effect of a stage from previous stages), so what you do in one band can influence what’s happening in another band. Another example: The gain control ties in with bandwidth, so you need to go back and forth between the two of them to zero in on the desired amount of gain+bandwidth.



        When you start doing edits with the Massive Passive, do yourself a favor and a) forget everything you knew about EQ, and b) read the manual (and UA makes it easy – click on the little question mark in the lower right). You’ll still need to experiment to fully understand the practice behind the theory, but you’ll get there faster if you follow my advice.



        So of course, we need an audio example, right? The following is an excerpt from “The Miami Beat,” a song from my “Sexy World” album I recorded back in the 20th century (some of its cuts appeared in Europe as remixes or on their own, but I never released the whole thing...I hope to remedy that soon). Anyway, it was never “officially” mastered and I always felt it lacked sparkle, had too much of a buildup around 500Hz, and needed just a bit of a kick in the low end. That’s basically like a job description for the Massive Passive.



        The audio example is set up as follows:



        Unprocessed – short gap – processed – short gap – unprocessed – short gap – processed



        Oh, one last thing: Compare the price of the plug-in (about $300) with the hardware, and remember that with the plug-in, you can have multiple instances. However, do note that the Massive Passive is a DSP hog – you’ll get one instance per DSP, or a max of four Massive Passives for a UAD-2 Quad card. But hey, you can always bounce the track, and delete its processor.
        Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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        • #64
          That sounds very, very nice, Craig - not a subtle difference, and quite a useful one at that.
          Bass Player/Worship Leader/Gear Junkie

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          • #65
            Time for one of my famous "watch the knobs, listen to the audio" videos. This shows the full range of the Massive Passive controls at the default frequency for low shelf, the two mid bands, and the high shelf.



            Note that the average level is fairly low, as I had to leave enough headroom to accommodate some of the major boosts. There's no dynamics control, so turn up the volume!



            This starts off with all controls flat (remember, the top control isn't flat at center, but when fully counter-clockwise). For each band, the following sequence occurs:

            • Boost from zero to full at widest bandwidth

            • Bandwidth from widest to narrowest with boost at full

            • Boost from full back to zero

            • Mode change from Boost to Cut

            • Cut from zero to full at narrowest bandwidth

            • Bandwidth from narrowest to widest with cut at full

            • Cut from full back to zero

            Repeat for the next three stages (the four stages are linked with the equivalent stages for the right channel, so there was no need to show both channels).






            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geZAF7mjwmo





            The point of all this is that there is a huge range of tones you can get out of the Massive Passive, not that you'd actually use these extreme settings in your day-to-day work...although you never know



            Now, a note about the song. I'm doing some instructional videos on mastering for PreSonus, and because a lot of musicians work there, I thought it would be cool to ask them to send me some mixed but unmastered demo songs to illustrate various points in the video. I took a real liking to this song, "I'm Alright" by Jeff Moore, and in this case it has a pretty wide range of frequencies and although it's unmastered, the mix is still more than good enough to get the point across of what the Manley can do.



            I thought I'd give a tip o' the hat to PreSonus for providing the song, and load it into Studio One Pro - but I have the 64-bit Windows version, which at least currently doesn't have a bridge for running 32-bit plug-ins...and UA doesn't have 64-bit versions yet. So, I loaded the Massive Passive into 64-bit Sonar X1 (which handles 32-bit plug-ins very well), and carried on from there.



            (I have a removable system drive bay in my PC Audio Labs computer, and I still load up 32-bit Windows XP when I need to do intensive mastering - some older software simply doesn't like 64 bit operating systems. But I really notice a major dip in performance when going from 64-bit to 32-bit. I'm looking forward to the day when it's a 64-bit world...)
            Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

            Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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            • #66
              I downloaded Version 6.0 and all seems to be in order...will be trying it with Pro Tools next, and also, it's time to check out the new plug-ins like the ATR-102, and the latest from Brainworx and SPL. That's the good news. The bad news is that this review will be on hiatus for several days in deference to my AES show coverage responsibilities with HC...I'm finishing up templates and background music along with other show prep, and of course, the show starts shortly and with it, the concurrent insanity of non-stop video editing. But, I'll get back to this review as soon as possible, and meanwhile, will monitor it for comments from others.



              See you after the show with new plug-in reviews!
              Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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              • #67
                Enjoy the show. Can you cover the EMT140 plug-in too??

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                • #68






                  Quote Originally Posted by BlindGuyEars
                  View Post

                  Enjoy the show. Can you cover the EMT140 plug-in too??




                  Sure...why not? I want to do the newer ones first, though.
                  Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                  • #69
                    So, I will I finally be able to put my TASCAM Model 38 on eBay?



                    Yes, I’ve kept around an analog two-track recorder because you never know...I’ve already transferred anything I recorded on it over to digital, but keep it around for those rare times when I want to stick it into some insert jacks and get “that sound.”



                    But let me make it clear how terribly untrendy I am, because I don’t like “that sound.” However, the cool thing about a plug-in is that you don’t have to include the things you don’t like, such as hiss, hum, wow, flutter, and crosstalk (all of which are modeled but can be individually disabled). So the real question to me isn’t how accurately it models a tape recorder, warts and all, but how accurately it models the desirable characteristics of tape that are so hard to separate from the undesirable characteristics when you’re working in the real world. (Thankfully it hasn’t gotten to the point where the plug-in shuts down for a few minutes every couple hours, with an error message saying “Time to clean your heads and tape path!” )



                    Like the Studer A800 plug-in, what you see is not what you get, because you can open it up to access the virtual trimpots. Also like the Studio A800, the degree to which the bias control emulates the effect of changing bias “back in the day” is truly freaky. I’ve spent so many hours adjusting bias the sound of different settings is burned into my brain, and while I’m not an expert on ATR-102 bias, I can certainly vouch for the overall effectiveness.



                    But I’m getting ahead of myself...



                    For those who don’t know the history of the ATR-102, it was introduced in the mid-70s and is arguably (actually, maybe not so arguably) the classic, most sought-after two-track mixdown recorder. In the plug-in context it’s intended to be a bus processor for mixdown; it requires about 1/3 of a UAD chip’s DSP in stereo, so while it likes to suck the juice, with a Quad card you could instantiate it on every track of relatively modest projects.







                    It may seem like there’s some seriously wasted space in the GUI, but the space where the reels are opens up to reveal the ancillary calibration controls, which we’ll cover shortly. The main action here is toward the middle to lower right.



                    One of the most important “customizations” of the time was what tape you chose, which head (it had interchangeable heads), and what you chose as your reference calibration level. UA is true to the spirit of the original, including seven tape formulas (250, 456, 468, 900, 35-90, 111, ATR), although they’ve limited some tape types to particular tape speeds and head configurations. Head options are 1/2” and 1/4,” as well as a 1” option which wasn’t stock but often added by hot-rodders. Also, there are the four standard tape speeds (3.75, 7.5, 15, and 30ips) so if you’re one of the people who preferred the “lower-fi” 15ips because you like where the head bump falls better than with 30ips, you’re good to go. You can also choose whether or not transformers are in the signal path.



                    There’s the option to monitor from the input, repro head, or sync head, as well as bypass the electronics altogether. Also notice that toward the lower left, you have the option of NAB or CCIR EQ characteristics.
                    Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                    • #70
                      I'm going to show a bit of my ignorance about uad workflow with this question.



                      Can the atr, or Studer version for that matter, be set to work at the front end of your project ....like on a track coming in as you record.... to basically print the affected/effected signal direct to a track right from the start?



                      I know that eliminates the concept of "undo", but I can see the above way being more convenient for me sometimes. More like working with real tape. Especially if I hit on bias/eq/speed settings that I happen to like (ahead of time) with the ATR or Studer plugs.



                      No need then to start up instances at mix time since each track is already printed with the effect of tape. Which also then frees up the memory/power in the UAD for other stuff like reverbs during mix.

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                      • #71






                        Quote Originally Posted by Bookumdano2
                        View Post

                        I'm going to show a bit of my ignorance about uad workflow with this question.



                        Can the atr, or Studer version for that matter, be set to work at the front end of your project ....like on a track coming in as you record.... to basically print the affected/effected signal direct to a track right from the start?




                        Actually that's a good question, so bring on the ignorance . These plug-ins, despite being based on hardware, act like standard plug-ins - you record dry, and on playback, the plug-ins process what you recorded.



                        The only way around that would be to monitor the output of the computer, then route that back into a spare input and record that. There is a "LiveTrack" mode for live use, but that just eliminates using the buffers that a normal part of DAW operation (however, note that this feature is not available with the Satellite).








                        I know that eliminates the concept of "undo", but I can see the above way being more convenient for me sometimes. More like working with real tape. Especially if I hit on bias/eq/speed settings that I happen to like (ahead of time) with the ATR or Studer plugs.



                        You can save all those settings as a preset, in fact, the ATR-102 comes with lots of useful presets from ATR-102 owners (including some pretty famous name). So if you come up with something you like, you can save it for future use, or use on other tracks.








                        No need then to start up instances at mix time since each track is already printed with the effect of tape. Which also then frees up the memory/power in the UAD for other stuff like reverbs during mix.



                        The best way to deal with this would be to bounce the recorded track while incorporating the effect. After bouncing all tracks that used the effect, you would free up the UAD DSP for other tasks.



                        So the bottom line...it's not possible to do what you want to do, but there are workarounds.
                        Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                        • #72
                          Like the A800, you can get under the hood and tweak the virtual trimpots that make up a set of secondary controls. Moving from left to right, the two most important controls from my standpoint are the left and right channel EQ and bias options—I’ll explain why in a bit. Next are level controls for hum, hiss, wow, flutter, and crosstalk.







                          Toward the middle is the calibration section for the true tape geeks. There’s an auto cal function that calibrates characteristics for the chosen tape type, speed, emphasis EQ, and head type, and frankly, that’s what I used 99% of the time—one of the things I never liked about tape recorders was having to sit there and calibrate the darn things. But, if you want to relive the old days, you can perform your own calibration or calibrate in a non-standard way to obtain different effects. In that respect, there’s a distortion meter that’s valuable if you want to hit a specific distortion target.



                          The calibration section even emulates the output from MRL calibration tapes, which were extremely expensive calibrated tapes with consistent levels. While I appreciate UA’s fanatical attention to detail, if you’re like me you’ll probably just hit Auto Cal and tweak the EQ and bias if you want to get experimental.



                          Moving toward the right, there are buttons to enable/disable noise, wow and flutter, and crosstalk. More interestingly, there’s a button to enable or disable transformer characteristics. It’s not a major change, but you’ll hear it on some material. Finally, there’s a tape delay section so you can get those authentic slapback echo tape sounds. With the original you had to do this with mixers and patching, so it’s convenient to have this built-in.



                          Now, the reason why I mention the EQ and bias options as most important to me is that they are essentially signal processors that have no equivalent in standard plug-ins. The EQ isn’t like having an emulated console parametric, but EQ with the inherited characteristics of working its way through the tape path. Similarly, as I mentioned before regarding the A800, I was into tweaking bias for specific effects, and I’m happy to see the ATR makes this possible as well. Bottom line is that yes, the ATR is a processor that happens to look and act like a tape recorder, but it’s a signal processor nonetheless that imparts its own unique sound to the material that passes through it...as we’ll find out when I post the audio examples I was working on tonight.
                          Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                          Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                          • #73
                            Well of course, you want to HEAR what this puppy sounds like...right?



                            There are a zillion possible variations on this particular ATR-102 theme, so it was a little hard to figure out exactly which examples to do.



                            This one takes a mixed, but not mastered, piece of house music with lots of bass in the beginning that gets "crispier" after about 30 seconds so you can really hear the effect of the tape saturation. For this example, I went for the in-your-face, fair amount of natural tape compression sound. Still, I think you'll hear this as pretty clean; it's like someone just flicked a "more" switch - more level, more girth, more bass, and more highs.



                            This isn't a full-on, blow the doors off distortion sound, but it does what tape does when you hit it hard.
                            Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                            • #74
                              Again, this cut is mixed but not mastered, and is sort of a smoky jazz piece. For this, I went in the complete opposite direction - adding just a very subtle "taste" of tape. If you listen to these casually, you won't notice much, if any difference. But load them into an audio editor where you can A-B them, and you'll hear a subtle enhancement with just a bit more sparkle.
                              Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                              Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                              • #75
                                And of course, you surely want to hear what happens if you crunch drums. So, this takes a loop from the Discrete Drums library and applies a pretty hefty about of tape saturation. I went for what I call the "Radio Shack tape recorder" setting - 3.75 IPS, with 35-90 tape at a +7.5 cal level. I added a fair amount of hiss and also a little wow, just to keep things interesting. The drums end up sounding pretty muscular, to say the least. Fun stuff!



                                Unless anyone has any questions, or wants to hear some other audio examples, it's probably time to move on to another plug-in. My conclusions about the ATR-102 is that yes, they got it right. Thing is, it IS a signal processor, but the best part of the ATR-102 is you can take out the elements of tape you don't like, and leave in the ones you do.



                                Like the original, it's possible to get subtle tape effects (as the Jazz audio example showed). In fact, you have to work a bit to get it to sound really rude, but it is possible. Overall, though, this plug-in does indeed give that sort of undefinable "tape" sound that is really like no other processor.
                                Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                                Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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