Saturation Tools for 2021

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
Hettoblaster
KVRist
64 posts since 22 Mar, 2006 from Netherlands

Post Sat Nov 27, 2021 4:02 am

Brand new, very good & intro price until dec 1; Kiive Distict. for only about €20..
and you may as well check out his other plugs - BF sale. All Kiive's preamps/sat are good/great. Tapeface is great. also tapeface is getting a hefty free upgrade soon.. Nice new Dev!
https://www.kiiveaudio.com/plugins?utm_ ... 02f5494194

Kiieve himself has been so brave to put an /a/b on YT between Distict and the Overstayer it's modelled on.
Distict is WAY better than €20, very good saturator and close to the Overstayer imo BUT...
with the Overstayer i can hear that extra 'aura' (depth/width/3Dness). That unit is €3000 though!
The quest for this 'depth' was kinda my topic this year and i definitely did not test all, and skipped the very expensive and very cpu hungry ones, but the depth in the overstayer here i've heard esp with London Acoustics TAIPEI (which is on sale btw) and KIT BB N105 and next BBHG2-MS (and Airwindows Console). [PS: yes i know - TAIPEI is very cpu intense and really to much for my current iMac]
EDIT: i did not test: Kelvin, Softtube Overstaeyer MAS, any other acoustica audio, VSM-4 amongst others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckIMFcepuBc

NomadMonad
KVRist
36 posts since 28 Jan, 2021

Post Sat Nov 27, 2021 8:54 am

Besides all the plugins mentioned so far, I have recently (re)discovered bad buss mojo by https://www.stillwellaudio.com/. Amazing wave shaper.

greyman666
KVRer
7 posts since 2 Nov, 2021

Post Sat Nov 27, 2021 10:37 am

SSL FUSION DRIVE

TONE SHAPER KELVIN

imrae
KVRAF
1963 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Post Sat Nov 27, 2021 11:03 am

sambaji wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:36 pm
In the year 2021, there is no reason why paid plugins should not have an option to produce zero aliasing (oversampling) or enable auto-gain compensation--features that have been available in some plugins for several years now.
SDRR has both oversampling and auto-gain. But oversampling doesn't mean zero aliasing. The goal is to reduce aliasing to acceptable levels - ideally below the noise floor. In practice this is very difficult for heavy distortion.

In research papers such as http://dafx.de/paper-archive/2016/dafxp ... _41-PN.pdf we see that it is possible to reduce aliasing of a nonlinear function by ingenious design of the digital implementation - but for the best results it is still necessary to run at a high sample rate (i.e. oversample). Even then, we can see some aliasing in the plots.

sambaji
KVRist
122 posts since 31 Jan, 2021

Post Sun Nov 28, 2021 7:15 am

An approach I use when testing saturation plugins is to adjust the saturation plugin to where I want it on a track or mix, then copy the plugin to a new midi track and test for audible aliasing using Melda's free Mosciliator and spectrogram such as Mmultianalyzer (or its free lite version Manalyzer), playing a pure sine wave at a high frequency such as 18khz. Sometimes, I'll use a step lowpass filter to filter out the original signals so I hear mainly the aliasing. I've been surprised of the audible "dirt"/artifacts that some saturation plugins introduce even at moderate settings, not pushing it into the extremes. Some plugins use additional techniques to reduce aliasing such as the "Clean" setting in Kelvin Tone Shaper saturator which works quite well, when combined with the plugin's maximum oversampling.

Ploki
KVRAF
5241 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Mon Nov 29, 2021 2:36 am

are you sure it's all aliasing tho. Might be intermodulation distortion or sideband distortion.

I like clean in Kelvin, but it can dull some sounds
Image

Bulbizarre
KVRist
219 posts since 31 Aug, 2020

Post Mon Nov 29, 2021 4:06 am

I bought Kelvin too. Still not hardware level but closer than most plugins. The widener knob sold me in.

User avatar
LFO8
KVRian
646 posts since 21 Jul, 2012

Post Mon Nov 29, 2021 4:50 am

Bulbizarre wrote:
Mon Nov 29, 2021 4:06 am
I bought Kelvin too. Still not hardware level but closer than most plugins. The widener knob sold me in.
For hardware level: Blackbox HG2 MS

TIMT
KVRian
913 posts since 8 Mar, 2009

Post Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:16 am

LFO8 wrote:
Mon Nov 29, 2021 4:50 am
Bulbizarre wrote:
Mon Nov 29, 2021 4:06 am
I bought Kelvin too. Still not hardware level but closer than most plugins. The widener knob sold me in.
For hardware level: Blackbox HG2 MS
The modelling in Blackbox HG2 MS is identical to the first one apart from the addition of M/S. HG2 doesn't have any sensitivities to frequencies which is unusual for a device supposedly modelled on tubes and nothing about it struck me as hardware like..even from Youtube i can tell that it's not really comparable to the thing it is modelled on. In terms of plugins, that can sound hardware-ish despite not modelling any particular device, i think Kelvin combined with Spectre can get really close to that "aura"(as somebody else put it)that hardware does
I

sambaji
KVRist
122 posts since 31 Jan, 2021

Post Mon Nov 29, 2021 3:29 pm

Ploki wrote:
Mon Nov 29, 2021 2:36 am
are you sure it's all aliasing tho. Might be intermodulation distortion or sideband distortion.

I like clean in Kelvin, but it can dull some sounds
Can you have intermodulation/sideband distortion that occurs in hardware in a plugin without specifically programming an algorithm for it? The degree of "aliasing" frequencies that appear lower than the fundamental is proportional to how close I bring the fundamental to the Nyquist (e.g., 20khz). Plugins that have adequate oversampling, the more reputable ones, produce less of this phenomenon as oversampling increases (e.g., 16x). I also test the plugins using moderate to subtle sittings. Perhaps, I could rule out intermodulation/sideband distortion, if indeed that is a possibility, in plugins without adequate oversampling by increasing my sample rate. Regardless, some saturation plugins produce some pretty unpleasant sounding artifacts below the fundamental sinewave near the Nyquist, which I don't want in my mixes.

NinjaToon
KVRist
59 posts since 28 Sep, 2021

Post Mon Nov 29, 2021 11:55 pm

Whatever about the sound of BB Vs Kelvin (horses for courses), the thing about BB is that you only every use like 1-2%. I always feel if I'm only ever using a tiny fraction of a dials range they over did it.

With Kelvin you have a lot more of a range to find your sweet spot and I really appreciate that.

And yeah Kelvin lacks that "Air" thing but it's easy to find that with sommit else. Although if they put an exciter circuit type thing into Kelvin I wouldn't complain.

User avatar
LFO8
KVRian
646 posts since 21 Jul, 2012

Post Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:14 am

What you describe (only 1-2% range) is a matter of gain staging.

NinjaToon
KVRist
59 posts since 28 Sep, 2021

Post Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:43 am

LFO8 wrote:
Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:14 am
What you describe (only 1-2% range) is a matter of gain staging.
Please explain? I follow best practice with GS always have but I still don't understand what you mean.

User avatar
Unaspected
KVRAF
2307 posts since 4 May, 2012

Post Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:19 am

NinjaToon wrote:
Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:43 am
LFO8 wrote:
Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:14 am
What you describe (only 1-2% range) is a matter of gain staging.
Please explain? I follow best practice with GS always have but I still don't understand what you mean.
I was going to say the same.

If you lower your input then the following gain stage will have more range.

NinjaToon
KVRist
59 posts since 28 Sep, 2021

Post Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:45 am

Unaspected wrote:
Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:19 am
NinjaToon wrote:
Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:43 am
LFO8 wrote:
Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:14 am
What you describe (only 1-2% range) is a matter of gain staging.
Please explain? I follow best practice with GS always have but I still don't understand what you mean.
I was going to say the same.

If you lower your input then the following gain stage will have more range.
I guess I'm not in the habit of inserting gain adjustment between processors on a master bus. I would set it early then adjust it at the end if needs must and if I do I never find any travel on BB but I would for Kelvin at the same RMS (hottest mixbus for me would be -16-14 at the most).

I guess it's true that I could drop it down to sub -20 to find more travel tho but that's fiddlyness I generally wouldn't pursue, especially when I don't have to do that for any other saturator in my experience. I just don't think there's enough usable travel on BB. Like there is no way you would go to one o clock or beyond on BB right?

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