Saturation: what do you do?

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KVRist
77 posts since 9 Oct, 2020

Post Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:25 am

Hi!

I'm trying to look for opportunities to improve/shape the sound of some instruments or a mix using saturation, which seems weirdly good at that and adding depth. Largely for orchestral music, but not just (some hyrbid music / experimental electronic / retro synth/rage against the machine-style of rock also sneak in there).

There are a whole slew of plugins I've seen named for this, many of which sound interesting and awesome; but I should for now avoid having 12 plugins that all do slightly different shades of similar activity, as my ears just aren't there yet (as with my wallet). What I'm after is learning some from the community on how you like to use what you like, and why? And if you happen to own something like Phil's Cascade, Kush Omege, HG-2MS, bx_Saturator, Vertigo VSM-3 or the like: why do you choose one over the other for a given task? I wonder why it seems many prefer True Iron towards the track-level? I'm a happy new owner of Phil's Cascade, but it took awhile to decide to settle with it before some of these others, and many of these I hear people are using side-by-side for different tasks despite their similarity to my relatively fresh ears. It may make sense after more experimentation, but I always worry the demo for some plugins will expire before it's really situated itself in my mind with a clear purpose, even if it sounds great. Many of them sound great.

Thanks!

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KVRAF
3124 posts since 12 May, 2011 from Albion

Post Mon Apr 05, 2021 2:16 am

I tend to use channel strips for saturation (push the input into the red!), it's a little more subtle, but builds up when used on every track. EG Waves TG12345 and REDD channel strips, or PAs 80 or 50 channel strips. Otherwise I just use either bx_Saturator or Vertigo VSM-3 (both on sale at the moment (when are they not?) on groups. I have SDRR but I've never actually used it on a finished track - I tend to it replace with either of the other 2.
I find that the VSM-3 is somehow less clean than the bx.
Sometimes an amp sim can work, too. After all, most instruments are played or miced (miked?) up through an amp of some sort.
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KVRian
1178 posts since 11 Jun, 2019

Post Mon Apr 05, 2021 2:41 am

That is an endless topic reaching from shades of subtle to various extremes. Every amp/saturator sounds somewhat different and are respectively used in different cases and for different purposes. Just Look Insiders a guitar Studio/forum and you quickly See what variety is.

Open Up for the complexity and take time to learn. I See no different approach to that topic.

For me: focus in the lowend. Halion distortion, Redoptor, ST Harmonics Transformer, ... None of the plugs mentioned before come close to the results I'm heading for.

All the best!

KVRist

Topic Starter

77 posts since 9 Oct, 2020

Post Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:27 pm

GRUMP wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 2:41 am
Open Up for the complexity and take time to learn. I See no different approach to that topic.
Thanks both of you for the replies; this really seems like the only way to go about it. I'm new enough that I thought I could learn from words but indeed, like reverbs these are really subjective effects and frankly I think some of them like HG-2MS seem to be... over my head with regard to the value they add over something like free Melda plugins or CHOW Tape for the hiss, and a plugin host like DDMF/FL Patcher for the mid/side / L/R operation. For some, I'm sure that's a sacrilegious statement to make but that's where my mixing and listening skills are at/possibly the setup I'm running with a cheap 1stgen Scarlett 2i2 and some Sennheiser HD202's through Realphones/80's Klipsch horn speakers in a bad room; I just can't hear the difference right now.

I've got Phil's Cascade and I think that's probably about as hi-fi as I need to experiment with for the next while :phones:

KVRian
1178 posts since 11 Jun, 2019

Post Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:37 pm

E_Anderson wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:27 pm
GRUMP wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 2:41 am
Open Up for the complexity and take time to learn. I See no different approach to that topic.
Thanks both of you for the replies; this really seems like the only way to go about it. I'm new enough that I thought I could learn from words but indeed, like reverbs these are really subjective effects and frankly I think some of them like HG-2MS seem to be... over my head with regard to the value they add over something like free Melda plugins or CHOW Tape for the hiss, and a plugin host like DDMF/FL Patcher for the mid/side / L/R operation. For some, I'm sure that's a sacrilegious statement to make but that's where my mixing and listening skills are at/possibly the setup I'm running with a cheap 1stgen Scarlett 2i2 and some Sennheiser HD202's through Realphones/80's Klipsch horn speakers in a bad room; I just can't hear the difference right now.

I've got Phil's Cascade and I think that's probably about as hi-fi as I need to experiment with for the next while :phones:
Saturation is imho one of those topics that never ends. You´ll always again discover new tools and aspects. Despite of tools: FX chains. Some saturators do really great stuff in chains, especially coupled with VCFs. Or Mod-FX.

As said already: Redoptor. It can show you an other side of saturation if you use the mix knob.

And concerning the web discussions: you should always be aware that people do quiet diferent things with saturation, so don´t believe the hypes ;-)

have fun and stay safe!

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KVRian
670 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:15 pm

I use the CTC-1 in Studio One with light drive and moderate crosstalk. I put T-RackS EQ 73 in MIC mode in the first slot of every "mic" channel.

This combination brings palpable depth and space to the mix unlike anything I've heard ITB before.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

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KVRist
225 posts since 2 Sep, 2012

Post Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:34 pm

I use Softube Console 1, so the channel strips for that, the standard 4000, Brit Class A and Grand Channel primarily, American Class A some as well. I also use Kush stuff alot, Omega N and TWK, AR-1 and Silika, UBK-1 too. I really like the saturation on u-he Presswerk as well. Those are the most used for me.

KVRAF
3164 posts since 2 Jul, 2005

Post Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:23 pm

I am a fan of sknote's roundtone for a kind of "set and forget" saturation throughout a mix. You could also grab the excellent (and free) saturation knob from softube. At the end of the day it's just distortion after all though so I'll often just use the Melda MWaveshaper (also free) to dial in what I want. A combo of that and some eq can generally get me any type of saturation I'm looking for.
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