Academy Dashboard Forum Production Mixing Gear makes me feel stupid.

  • This topic has 4 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by face (chris) Janton.
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    Just Lisa

      Okay, here's a completely newb issue about plug ins.

      I know nothing about 'gear' because I've never been in a recording studio. I've seen a lot now having watched so many videos, but it's all noise at some level. (Yes, pun intended.)

      After the livestream yesterday with IK Multimedia, I went shopping. And I got frustrated because I don't have the experience to fill in the details that the descriptions leave out.

      You've all seen all the models of analog plug ins from Waves, IK, Slate, the new Presonus(Studio One) emulations, etc. etc.

      There are so many and everyone just "knows" what they're supposed to be... except me, apparently.

      Which ones are which?

      I can look at the greenish/grey one with the white knobs and recognize that I have a similar model from Waves and stock in my Studio One, I'd like to know what it's supposed to be in real life but no one is allowed to say because of copyright issues, I guess.
      Everyone goes nudge nudge wink wink and I get to feel left out.

      Is there a database or a spreadsheet with pictures and names cross referenced with all the various plug in manufacturers' emulations? Can we PLEASE make one as a resource?

      Oh, and even better -- what makes them special? Why would I want one over the other?
      : )

      Simon Brown

        I can definitely confirm that not everyone knows what they're meant to be or why you might want one over the other. 🙂

        What I'd suggest is what I'd always suggest when someone is looking into buying something, which is to find reviews of the thing you're thinking of buying. For plugins which emulate famous pieces of gear, reviews will normally tell you which one they're emulating, and will often talk about what's special about the hardware in question and whether or not the plugin gets that right.

        I don't know of any resource which tracks which emulations are which, but the clues are often there. To use Waves compressors as an example:

        The PuigChild 670 is a Fairchild 670 emulation
        The CLA-76 is an 1176 emulation
        The CLA-2A is an LA-2A emulation
        The V-Comp is a Neve 2254 emulation
        The dbx 160 is a dbx 160 emulation 🙂

        Sometimes you have to dig into the descriptions on the site to find the clues (as in the case of the V-Comp).

        As for what you'd best use them for, I'm nowhere near an expert on that, but that's one of the reasons why the academy and the courses we get here are great; you can see e.g. Bob Horn using an 1176 emulator on a pop vocal and now you know one thing that an 1176 is good for, which will be good for any 1176 emulation no matter who makes it.

        Plus messing around with stuff is good. Put one option on a track, and if you don't like the sound, try a different one.

        I hope this sheds a tiny bit of light. 🙂


        Just Lisa

          Very tiny, Simon. But thank you.
          If digging for info was working, I wouldn't be asking for a spreadsheet with pictures.
          ; )

          Simon Brown

            A fair point. What I'm trying to get at is that once you know what the patterns are you can start to work out (usually) what they're meant to be, so if the name ends in 76 it's probably an 1176 emu and if it ends in 2A it's probably an LA-2A emu, and the interfaces are usually reminiscent of the original hardware, so once you've seen the UI of (e.g.) the CLA-2A you can probably spot another LA-2A emu when you see one. It doesn't always follow but if a plugin is trying to trade off the hardware it's emulating, those similarities will often be there.

            I'll try and illustrate my point with a couple of images.

            This is the front of (reissue) LA-2A hardware:

            This is CLA-2A's interface:

            There are differences but the similarities are there.

            I've also had some luck with "what is [plugin name] an emulation of" in google but your mileage may vary. 🙂

            • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Simon Brown.
            • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Simon Brown.
            face (chris) Janton

              I have been doing the software gear for going on 7 years. All I ever wanted was a U67 and an LA2A...when I was growing up and getting to hang out in the studio (with my teacher/mentor) all I ever saw was a "real" instrument and a microphone. They were very nice microphones. I never got a tour of all the lights and things in the control room.

              Things started getting better for me after I decided to learn what an LA2A actually was and did. "Leveling Amplifier" makes a whole lot more sense than "compressor". Just like I think "Sta-Level" is such a fine name for gear.

              I'm working on a small, portable system to take on the road. I don't have all the room in the world, so my ITB gear needs to shrink.

              Turns out that Logic Pro X has pretty much "all the gears" or something close, but doesn't work outside of the Logic world...that's OK.

              I did the IK Studio Bundle back in like 2011 during Black Friday sales, so got started easy...T-Racks, Amplitube, SampleTank. All the toys. I install T-Racks on all of my systems, thrilled by the 10 for 1 deal this month, have all the T-Racks I so very well.

              In the "modern" AI world of things the iZotope folks have my ears as well. Neutron 2, Ozone 8, RX 6 (soon 7), and Nectar just make things so simple it's almost not fair.

              One week I do T-Racks. One week I do iZotope. Might actually give up the Slate bundle for practical reasons - hate the iLok...and the IK and iZotope tools are certainly at least similar in the skill set.

              For my Logic buddies I try to stay in the pocket with the Apple tools.

              For me knowing "what it does" and some of "how it does it" is far more helpful than the "it makes it 'better', but it is subtle" that I hear a lot.

              I found my Rosetta Stone when I learned about the compressors in Logic. All the flavors are there. Not emulations, but "inspired by". This cheat sheet sums it up far better than I can


              I am learning to love the T-Racks EQ-73 and EQ-81 for color (don't quite need VMR) and the de-esser from IK. The CSR hall/iverse/plate/room reverbs cover a wide swath.

              I am finally learning how to translate the gear into the built-in effects I have in to my XR18 mixer (yes, all the classics) for me to use live.

              It used to be simple - pick up the axe, play the axe, have a good time. Now I get to shape it a bit more.

              Pardon me if I ramble.

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