Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
Michey
KVRer
19 posts since 24 Sep, 2019

Post Sat May 23, 2020 3:16 am

Liero wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:22 am
Most tape emulations are not subtle, or can be set up to be very evident. That said, not using subtle plugins and leaving that stuff to the mixing/mastering engineer is precisely what I would also recommend for everyone who doesn't see themselves in those categories.
That's what I was thinking... like, "Tape" (ie. "Mojo") and "Mastering" is kinda oxymoron.
Liero wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:22 am
Part of the problem today is that everyone tries to be everything, which is also the reason we hear so much mediocre music from solo producers who can't possibly be an expert at everything related to creating a finished piece.
IMO, the problem roots in the overwhelming abundance of tools. not only "everyone tries to be everything" but "every tool tries to fix every existing problem" (and if there isn't a problem to fix, the tool might create one, and fix it at the same time) - OKA "Swiss Knife". plus - everyone has access to (almost) all the tools available (and in the digital realm - literally to every tool). not a good way to hone your craft, me thinks...
Liero wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:22 am
Feels like most people putting out tracks today are 10% composer, 10% arranger, 10% mixing engineer, 50% gear/plugin addict, 20% forum troll.
EVERYONE can put out music nowadays. paradoxically, technology made it harder to put GOOD music out. "everything is a copy, of a copy, of a copy" (like the character Jake said in the movie "fight club")

perpetual3
KVRian
1387 posts since 28 Sep, 2012

Re: Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

Post Sat May 23, 2020 3:59 am

gentleclockdivider wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:15 am
MOst analog modelled plugins are designed to work at optimum level when input = 0db VU / -18db FS or roughly in the same ballpark .
This is exactly what I do using a VU meter plugin at every stage in any chain using analog modeling processors.

Robmobius
KVRAF
3516 posts since 10 Sep, 2010 from A shit hole (Ireland).

Re: Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

Post Sat May 23, 2020 4:29 am

From, a finishing a song perspective, I think with any tape sauce a little goes a long way. If over used they can flatten a mix.

I think I'll definitely pick up th IK ones, and check out the CHOW too.

Ta'
“Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.”
― Christopher Hitchens

jens
KVRAF
19972 posts since 12 Jul, 2003 from West Caprazumia

Re: Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

Post Sat May 23, 2020 5:06 am

perpetual3 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:59 am
gentleclockdivider wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:15 am
MOst analog modelled plugins are designed to work at optimum level when input = 0db VU / -18db FS or roughly in the same ballpark .
This is exactly what I do using a VU meter plugin at every stage in any chain using analog modeling processors.
That won't help you much at all though - you need to know what kind of input gain the plugin expects by reading the f**king manual. And the plugin should have its own means of measuring its input - which you will know all you need to know about by - yes, you guessed right - reading the f**king manual.

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telecode
KVRAF
1786 posts since 24 Mar, 2015 from Toronto, Canada

Re: Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

Post Sat May 23, 2020 5:24 am

enCiphered wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 10:02 pm
jdanzig wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:40 pm
tape sims make your mix sound like garbage
Can someone please confirm that? I'm in a hurry
i don't know. but to me, i *think* i am hearing a warmth to certain tracks when i apply the IKM tape sim. my issue is, i don't know if the warmth justifies the extra cpu hit the sim applies.

User avatar
telecode
KVRAF
1786 posts since 24 Mar, 2015 from Toronto, Canada

Re: Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

Post Sat May 23, 2020 5:28 am

jens wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:06 am
perpetual3 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:59 am
gentleclockdivider wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:15 am
MOst analog modelled plugins are designed to work at optimum level when input = 0db VU / -18db FS or roughly in the same ballpark .
This is exactly what I do using a VU meter plugin at every stage in any chain using analog modeling processors.
That won't help you much at all though - you need to know what kind of input gain the plugin expects by reading the f**king manual. And the plugin should have its own means of measuring its input - which you will know all you need to know about by - yes, you guessed right - reading the f**king manual.
^^ I did not know that. thanks. will need to check the IKM manuals (if they exist)

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jdanzig
KVRer
12 posts since 17 Jan, 2020

Re: Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

Post Sat May 23, 2020 5:31 am

enCiphered wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 10:02 pm
jdanzig wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:40 pm
tape sims make your mix sound like garbage
Can someone please confirm that? I'm in a hurry
I can :) . But now I'm hearing that I did it wrong.

User avatar
pixel85
KVRian
661 posts since 11 Apr, 2008

Re: Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

Post Sat May 23, 2020 5:41 am

jens wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 12:52 pm
sleepcircle wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 6:15 am
pixel85 wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:16 am
(especially Waves!)
waves' tape sims are not very good, no. they really chew up the sound, somehow.
I strongly disagree - and so do some of those who worked with the real stuff…

for instance Bob Ohlsson (of Motown fame) claimed over at Gearslutz that Kramer Master Tape is nigh indistinguishable from the original it emulates.
Bob Olhsson;8088983 wrote:The Kramer and the VTM are apples vs oranges. The old Ampex is a very colored machine compared to more modern tape machines and has a much narrower "sweet spot." Most people never used more than three tracks and maybe ten of us in the world ever used an 8 track based on that design. It's the sound of the '50s - '60s and not the sound of 8, 16 and 24 track tape in the '70s-'90s.The old tube Ampexes have a sound I love and waves really nailed a specific machine and tape but it's not something to mindlessly throw on every track. Something a lot of us did in the '70s and '80s was to intentionally use a different kind of machine and tape for mixing than the multitrack to minimize the build up of colorations. There can be a real synergy between an old Ampex and a more modern multitrack.
Bob Olhsson;7049568 wrote:Whatever was done with tape, which could be as many as four or five generations, we tried really hard never to saturate it because what happens with the plug is exactly what the tape machines sounded like and not pretty at all. Let me repeat that sending lower levels to the plug ahead of its own input control can be beneficial.
Bob Olhsson;13662711 wrote:My friend's unmodified Ampex 351 running Scotch 207 was pretty spot-on but it doesn't and shouldn't sound like a '70s or later tape machine. I was frankly amazed. There was almost never more than a 4 track version so putting one on every track of a modern recording is asking for trouble. Back in the mid-'60s most studios aimed at achieving a live, first-generation mono mix with no remixing. Multitracks were used mostly for backup and only occasionally for overdubs.

The problem with emulation is that typical digital recording levels are way too loud to allow an accurate model of how the machine was actually used. They only start to sound right with the level dropped 10-20 dB. A 351 hit hard sounds like sh!t and waves nailed that sound very accurately. After all, it's not a guitar amp! That accuracy requires a nerd's understanding of gain structure which doesn't exactly help the plug-in's reputation.
I follow 'old school' practice of gain staging to -18dB so I don't drive hard except if it's for creative effect purpose so my experience with Waves Kramer and J37 is not based on a hot signal on the tape sim input.
Maybe those tape sims are good for country music. Maybe. Can't say as I'm not working on this type of music. I just checked albums he produced and not much is happening in the higher register. Actually hi-hats are very low and the air is in guitars and vocals. I found this tape seems to mess up with clarity of higher register mostly and I work with tracks that are busy from bottom to top so even on low input/output levels the affected sound is strong. In country music, it may be not that obvious when hi-end frequencies are quiet.
Yes, I'm aware that not every tool is made for every music genre. Maybe Kramer or J37 are great for country music but I found them horribly sounding for other genres with busy high end. Even if these are 101% accurate emulations I don't see this blurry mushy sound as good. Question of preferences but I prefer clarity and clean high end and imo in 2020 we have much better plugins that can give 'dat mojo' than Waves
don't use plugin/s in this topic! It has aliasing at -196dB and 60fps

jens
KVRAF
19972 posts since 12 Jul, 2003 from West Caprazumia

Re: Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

Post Sat May 23, 2020 7:10 am

telecode wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:28 am
jens wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:06 am
perpetual3 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:59 am
gentleclockdivider wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:15 am
MOst analog modelled plugins are designed to work at optimum level when input = 0db VU / -18db FS or roughly in the same ballpark .
This is exactly what I do using a VU meter plugin at every stage in any chain using analog modeling processors.
That won't help you much at all though - you need to know what kind of input gain the plugin expects by reading the f**king manual. And the plugin should have its own means of measuring its input - which you will know all you need to know about by - yes, you guessed right - reading the f**king manual.
^^ I did not know that. thanks. will need to check the IKM manuals (if they exist)
*ouch*

They exist (it's one big PDF for all of TR, another one for Amplitube), but you got me here in that in this case the manual mostly doesn't say much about gain-staging… they usually do indeed come with their own metering, which you can treat as you would do with any analog-device, but their calibration is all over the place - for most of them it's 0dB = 0dBVU, but not always ( the Opto Comp for instance expects something around -10dB or so)

perpetual3
KVRian
1387 posts since 28 Sep, 2012

Re: Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

Post Sat May 23, 2020 10:12 am

jens wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:06 am
perpetual3 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:59 am
gentleclockdivider wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:15 am
MOst analog modelled plugins are designed to work at optimum level when input = 0db VU / -18db FS or roughly in the same ballpark .
This is exactly what I do using a VU meter plugin at every stage in any chain using analog modeling processors.
That won't help you much at all though - you need to know what kind of input gain the plugin expects by reading the f**king manual. And the plugin should have its own means of measuring its input - which you will know all you need to know about by - yes, you guessed right - reading the f**king manual.
Whatever man. You feel the need to be aggressive and condescending, that’s on you.

Spring Goose
KVRian
574 posts since 31 Jan, 2020

Re: Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

Post Sat May 23, 2020 12:21 pm

What's wrong with the sound of the Waves Kramer Tape?

It sounds alright if you ask me.

https://youtu.be/PTbJsE65nLs

MogwaiBoy
KVRAF
3403 posts since 26 Nov, 2015 from Way Downunder

Re: Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

Post Sat May 23, 2020 12:57 pm

perpetual3 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:59 am
gentleclockdivider wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:15 am
MOst analog modelled plugins are designed to work at optimum level when input = 0db VU / -18db FS or roughly in the same ballpark .
This is exactly what I do using a VU meter plugin at every stage in any chain using analog modeling processors.
There's something about this kind of gain-staging that confuses me though. I watched several "gain staging" youtube videos recently and yeah I get the -18db thing (used Satson for years).... but then they (seemingly professional engineers) were saying "Use -18 for mixing but in mastering I would push it to -10 or even a -8 VU calibration".

I don't get it.

-8VU = -8dbFS? Some peaks might be a couple of db above that? So you're going to finalise a song, leaving 6db of clean headroom available - and compete in the music industry? Who does that?!

They all seemed to be mimicking Ian Shepherd's advice on the -10 to -8 thing. I don't understand why you would leave that much headroom on a finished master. One engineer had a Waves L1 on screen at -1db ceiling and he was chuffed that his track was not even hitting it, so therefore it was dynamic. I'm sitting there thinking that's because you didn't limit anything so why are you even using a limiter at all.

No one in the comments questioned anything and it's all kumbaya like a cult - very weird.

sleepcircle
KVRian
785 posts since 28 Nov, 2016

Re: Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

Post Sat May 23, 2020 1:19 pm

it must be said that a VU meter is not a peak meter. fast transients will be higher than that.

also, before limiters were used to crush songs, they were used to catch overages. he probably individually clamped all the pieces of the song on their own tracks, with their own compression strategies and automation. if he made the song sound exactly how he wanted, and it didn't need a limiter to shave off any peaks, then hey, cool. with loudness normalization being implemented more and more, the amount of headroom no longer defines what volume the song is played at relative to other songs. it only defines how much dynamism is available to the song. (although whether a song takes advantage of that is another question entirely)
Last edited by sleepcircle on Sat May 23, 2020 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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gentleclockdivider
KVRAF
2714 posts since 22 Mar, 2009 from gent

Re: Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

Post Sat May 23, 2020 1:43 pm

perpetual3 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:59 am
gentleclockdivider wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:15 am
MOst analog modelled plugins are designed to work at optimum level when input = 0db VU / -18db FS or roughly in the same ballpark .
This is exactly what I do using a VU meter plugin at every stage in any chain using analog modeling processors.
KLanghelm vu meter deluxe :tu:
Eyeball exchanging
Soul calibrating ..frequencies

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gentleclockdivider
KVRAF
2714 posts since 22 Mar, 2009 from gent

Re: Tape simulations for that mastering mojo.

Post Sat May 23, 2020 2:02 pm

MogwaiBoy wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 12:57 pm
perpetual3 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:59 am
gentleclockdivider wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:15 am
MOst analog modelled plugins are designed to work at optimum level when input = 0db VU / -18db FS or roughly in the same ballpark .
This is exactly what I do using a VU meter plugin at every stage in any chain using analog modeling processors.
There's something about this kind of gain-staging that confuses me though. I watched several "gain staging" youtube videos recently and yeah I get the -18db thing (used Satson for years).... but then they (seemingly professional engineers) were saying "Use -18 for mixing but in mastering I would push it to -10 or even a -8 VU calibration".

I don't get it.

-8VU = -8dbFS? Some peaks might be a couple of db above that? So you're going to finalise a song, leaving 6db of clean headroom available - and compete in the music industry? Who does that?!

They all seemed to be mimicking Ian Shepherd's advice on the -10 to -8 thing. I don't understand why you would leave that much headroom on a finished master. One engineer had a Waves L1 on screen at -1db ceiling and he was chuffed that his track was not even hitting it, so therefore it was dynamic. I'm sitting there thinking that's because you didn't limit anything so why are you even using a limiter at all.

No one in the comments questioned anything and it's all kumbaya like a cult - very weird.
-8db VU is NOT -8dbfs , fs stands for full scale and in a digital environment you never ever want to exceed 0dbfs , VU is the metering used in analog consoles and stands for Volume units

0db VU , that's when the needle is starting to kiss the red = the optimal level for recording ( it could even go in the red ) , this equals at -18 db fs ( full scale ) , depending on country and equipment .
So 0db full scale ( which you will never ever want to exceed ) = + 18db VU
In the end it's good to have at least 6-db FS of headroom
Eyeball exchanging
Soul calibrating ..frequencies

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