What's the future of analog modeled plugins?

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
KVRian
1318 posts since 3 Mar, 2009 from Colorado Springs

Post Thu Sep 23, 2021 12:38 pm

I feel skeuomorphism and analog-modeling will become less and less prominent as analog gear becomes less focused on. They're very popular now because they are viewed as having been the pinnacle of technology with unquestionably the best sounding results putting together tracks and albums, that's a lot of cachet. People are still making hit records using desirable analog tools every day, so there's going to be demand as long as that is the case. But, as time proceeds, I think it's likely that tools which leverage the unique strengths of digital processing will be more popular than tools which attempt to achieve workflows that I think will come to be viewed as dated in time. I think the rise in prominence of analog modeled gear of certain kinds actually foreshadows this - it isn't that far from people choosing digital tools that recreate analog counterparts' behavior very closely, to questioning why it is so important to use analog tools to begin with.

I think people will eventually look at newer products more in terms of how they meet needs, how they work directly and what kind of particular appeal they have instead of "oh, this is just like that console/delay/compressor/etc.!", if for no other reason than we're already at a point where tons of people who love and use these softwares already have never touched anything like the analog counterparts of their plugins to begin with. And the ecosystem and economic factors that put those powerful things together to interface with the music industry as it existed, have drastically changed as well. I don't know if the big money will still be there in the same way to put these things in people's reach, even professionally, much of the time. There will be fewer and fewer people with any real knowledge of how the original stuff sounded, to make it such an appealing thing in the first place.

All that said...

There will probably still be wonderful artifacts of old analog modeling behaviors. For example, we're probably always going to want great sounding clipping as an option in different ways, so is it likely that the methods used to simulate tube (and other pleasantly distorting things') nonlinearities are going to suddenly disappear in the future? Hardly, I just feel they'll be used more freely and less with relation to "original hardware counterparts." And maybe people will feel freer to combine technologies, have a really neat analog modeled circuit bit here going into some cool digital waveshaping there - etc. - to do things that haven't necessarily been done before.

Anyway, whatever I say, there will probably always be models of more accessible gear that people do have potential to experience, and models of inaccessible gear too that people covet and salivate over, as long as there are original units being made & vintage units in use I expect there will be a market in digitizing their capabilities best as one can... I just don't think it's going to remain such a big focus of the industry as a whole forever. And I think we're already seeing this in different ways. I'm thinking in terms of decades, to be clear, not anticipating major changes quickly :)

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KVRist
62 posts since 6 Sep, 2021

Post Thu Sep 23, 2021 6:47 pm

Personally, what excites me more is plugins looking at the future rather than trying to emulate the past. There's just so many emulations now of 1176, LA2A, Pultec, API, Neve etc. and the plugin quality over the last 10 years has gotten to a point where these plugins can essentially get in the 95% accuracy range of the hardware. Sure, when you A/B them with a single sound you might find small deviations in the behaviour compared to the hardware, but in the context of a full mix, the sound is so close to the hardware that the value proposition of spending $3000+ on the hardware is just not there anymore in my opinion. For me personally, I just can't be bothered to A/B a bunch of 1176 emulations to see what sounds closest, especially when I haven't even spent an extended time with the original hardware to even know what I'm meant to listen for to judge a plugin's accuracy.

All these pieces of hardware, when they came out did something radically different to what was already available, and that's what pushed forward the technology of sound recording / music production. Sometimes I think the plugin world is stuck in a bit of feedback loop of trying to get a slightly better emulation of a piece of gear from 30 years ago, when maybe it would be a better investment of time to build new tools that haven't been conceived of yet. Some recent examples of really innovative plugins that come to mind are plugins like Soothe2, DSM V3, Smooth Operator, SmartEQ, Gulfoss, and a lot of products from Unfiltered Audio. That's what excites me most these days.
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KVRAF
5022 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Thu Sep 23, 2021 11:01 pm

still, the most successful plugin companies more or less offer LA2A, 1176 and SSLs, or variety of those with different GUIs.
takaperry wrote:
Thu Sep 23, 2021 6:47 pm
Some recent examples of really innovative plugins that come to mind are plugins like Soothe2, DSM V3, Smooth Operator, SmartEQ, Gulfoss, and a lot of products from Unfiltered Audio. That's what excites me most these days.
if you're after unique, don't sleep on Voxengo Peakbuster (fairly recent)
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Beware the Quoth
30035 posts since 4 Sep, 2001 from R'lyeh Oceanic Amusement Park and Funfair

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 1:40 am

Agreed wrote:
Thu Sep 23, 2021 12:38 pm
I feel skeuomorphism and analog-modeling will become less and less prominent as analog gear becomes less focused on.
The problem with that is that its not 'less focussed on'. Its more and more focussed on, as evinced by the massive resurgence of analog hardware, including Eurorack and cheap desktop synths.

In fact, thinking about it, maybe it'd become less and less prominent because analog gear is actually far more easily obtainable and cheap than it has been since plugins became prevalent?

So maybe more of an 'if analog gear becomes less focussed on' ?
This signature tells the story really, as quoting insults directed at me makes me someone with an over-inflated ego.

KVRian
891 posts since 29 Oct, 2015 from Jupiter 8

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 1:58 am

i think plugins at one point will have the better analog sound than true analog in every conceivable way, as there are less boundaries regarding component behaviors.
Not saying that current technology is truly inferior anymore, especially when even an almost ten years old plugin synth can already fool quite a few analog loving people in blind tests thinking it is actually the analog synth, because it sounded “more analog“ to them than the actual analog.
And there is some more recent stuff for the fans of the more extreme settings, if that “old“ plugin is only good for the bread and butter stuff to them.

there will of course be “perfect“ emulations that are more or less as restricted as their mostly quite restrictive originals regarding their lack of “modern“ features

and there will be synths that will take the paradigms of a Serum or Phase Plant and improve on that, but will also feature “perfect“ (with the possibility of even being more than just perfect) “analog sound“ in every single way.

And of course “digital“ will also continue to improve over time too and “analog“ is not the be all end all for everything and everyone anyway to begin with.

But in the end, it doesn't matter what you use, it's not the tools that are holding us back. It probably never really was, but especially today it is pretty much insignificant what you actually use, as long as you don't feel that your setup sucks and you don't like to work / play with it.
Last edited by FapFilter on Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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KVRian
806 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:16 am

Future is great if I count my last years purchase of them. Just bought the Arturia V8 collection + Sq80 as crossgrade. However, I must say that where their analog emus are very overlapping if not in sound details, then sound design, I find their digital emus diverse and exciting. My best gain was Emulator II V, since it provided me with a decades longed for exact repro of the old "Sadness" Shakuachi. Did not know you had to move its samplestart point to replicate it, but when done, I can hear the monks sing to my playing. The Synclavier is Yummy too.
Last edited by TribeOfHǫfuð on Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 "First rule: From one perfect consonance to another perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or obligue motion." Johann Joseph Fux 1725.

KVRian
891 posts since 29 Oct, 2015 from Jupiter 8

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:16 am

whyterabbyt wrote:
Fri Sep 24, 2021 1:40 am
Agreed wrote:
Thu Sep 23, 2021 12:38 pm
I feel skeuomorphism and analog-modeling will become less and less prominent as analog gear becomes less focused on.
The problem with that is that its not 'less focussed on'. Its more and more focussed on, as evinced by the massive resurgence of analog hardware, including Eurorack and cheap desktop synths.

In fact, thinking about it, maybe it'd become less and less prominent because analog gear is actually far more easily obtainable and cheap than it has been since plugins became prevalent?

So maybe more of an 'if analog gear becomes less focussed on' ?
I agree with Agreed.
Of course the “analog craze“ is still going very strong, but “less focused on“ is actually pretty accurate, if simply because digital is becoming more and more hip again.
Not just “modern plugins“ like Serum or Phase Plant, but in hardware too.
Look at the Waldorfs or FM synths, but there also seems to be rising interest for some of the first generation VAs again. Stuff that was considered crap not too long ago.

And as far as i'm concerned- i really dislike most hardware looking plugins, especially if they incorporate virtual wood on them.
There's no Logic to Windows

KVRAF
5022 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:19 am

f**king wood
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KVRAF
10768 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:29 am

FapFilter wrote:
Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:16 am
... really dislike most hardware looking plugins, especially if they incorporate virtual wood on them
How about if what they imitate is plastic wood?
Or a wood-looking laminate (sticker) on a metal?
Are those acceptable?

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KVRian
891 posts since 29 Oct, 2015 from Jupiter 8

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:40 am

dunno, i simply don't like the look of that.
In hardware it still a bit better, but i also don't like if a plugin tries to look like a 90's synth, even without any wood.

Funnily, this is mostly valid for synths, with FX i'm mostly ok with that, as long as the usability doesn't suffer. Though i also wouldn't mind if those were looking more like something you would expect from Valhalla or Fabfilter either.
But it would be boring of course if everything was looking the same

Oh, and btw. regarding the wood, when i was mostly thinking about synths:
i dislike FX as well with spinning reels which serve no other purpose than take a big portion of the screen
There's no Logic to Windows

KVRAF
5022 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:46 am

Or a static photo of a tube
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Urs
u-he
26020 posts since 8 Aug, 2002 from Berlin

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:48 am

Ploki wrote:
Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:19 am
f**king wood
We've listened.

Screenshot 2021-09-24 at 12.47.11.png

:hihi:
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KVRian
832 posts since 21 Nov, 2015

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:53 am

This!
Urs wrote:
Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:48 am
Ploki wrote:
Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:19 am
f**king wood
We've listened.

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:hihi:
Last edited by El°HYM on Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:55 am, edited 2 times in total.
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KVRian
532 posts since 27 Aug, 2020

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:54 am

FapFilter wrote:
Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:16 am
especially if they incorporate virtual wood on them
C'mon man, they make synths sound so much more warmer and organic.

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KVRian
806 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 3:00 am

Human brain is multisensory. Do not underestimate the potential perceptual effects of a convincing GUI. While it may be questioned whether the stimulation is percieved is effected or not, it is known that the evaluation of it certainly can be. My old Sylenth One sounds much better to me in its white dress.
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 "First rule: From one perfect consonance to another perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or obligue motion." Johann Joseph Fux 1725.

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