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Arguments from a plugins junkie


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I have recently been exploring plugins by 3rd party companies such as Waves, Nomad, Nugen, Peavey, NI, and FabFilter to name a few. Although I really like the plugins I have purchased, I believe what you are really buying is the promise of killer sound, and the interface, and nothing more.

 

ARGUMENT:

Effect plugins are essentially EQ+Compression+Pan+Gain, and that's it. There's is very little magic "unit modeling" sauce, because these ARE the basis of almost every plugin I have heard or tested, no matter what it's supposed to do. ~ You can achieve any sound you can dream of with the stock effects onboard Logic Pro X.

 

Now, if you want a nice chained set of effects, and a unique interface in a single plug, That would be the reason to buy. If you want the Chris Lord-Alge, or Eddie Kramer sound with tuned EQ settings, that's a good reason to buy.

 

Just remember, EQ, Compression, Pan, and Gain all are stock plugins in Logic. You don't need to spend anything to use them. Instead, I suggest using a reference track to hone your sound. You can get the sounds you are looking for with free stock Logic plugs you already have.

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ARGUMENT:

Effect plugins are essentially EQ+Compression+Pan+Gain, and that's it. There's is very little magic "unit modeling" sauce, because these ARE the basis of almost every plugin I have heard or tested, no matter what it's supposed to do. ~ You can achieve any sound you can dream of with the stock effects onboard Logic Pro X.

.

 

NOPE

 

Not saying you cannot achieve good mixes with stock plugins. Also not saying that only 3rd party plugins will achieve good mixes. But the stock plugins don't sound the same as 3rd party plugins. Also not generally worse (ok, EQ and comp of L8 and L9 was crap), just different.

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Effect plugins are essentially EQ+Compression+Pan+Gain, and that's it.

 

I miss the word "Some" at the start of this sentence, and the "and that's it" seems to refer more to the thought you put into it than to the composition of effect plugins. What you describe are Dynamics plugins, a subset of effect plugins.

 

Reverbs? Delays? Choruses? Phaser? Flanger? Tremelo?

 

Also, different compressors and different EQ's do sound different, ask any audio engineer. Granted, some do sound similar or maybe even the same, and also granted: a prettier interface will skew the brain into hearing better sound. That's why the new compressor interface is indeed an improvement, even though it sounds the same. Also granted, sometimes the interface is too much (like that new Waves plugin that looks like a Da Vinci machine), but the fact remains that your main statement is seriously flawed.

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BTW, is the new GUI of the Logic-EQ just a new GUI, or is there a new core? I remember that I never liked the channel EQ, especially when you boost more than 5dB it starts to sound very fast very harsh.

 

I really never tried the new EQ... since I got so used to my 3rd party plugins.

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Following that idea, I would recommend reading this Andy Wallace article: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul14/articles/it-07-14.htm

Great article. Wallace primarily uses an SSL EQ (in Pro Tools ~ Sorry, please don't shoot the messenger) and a C2 on the stereo mix. Now that's minimalist.

 

ARGUMENT:

Effect plugins are essentially EQ+Compression+Pan+Gain, and that's it. There's is very little magic "unit modeling" sauce, because these ARE the basis of almost every plugin I have heard or tested, no matter what it's supposed to do. ~ You can achieve any sound you can dream of with the stock effects onboard Logic Pro X.

.

 

NOPE

 

Not saying you cannot achieve good mixes with stock plugins. Also not saying that only 3rd party plugins will achieve good mixes. But the stock plugins don't sound the same as 3rd party plugins. Also not generally worse (ok, EQ and comp of L8 and L9 was crap), just different.

I agree, that 3rd party plugs are tuned for tonal coloration differently or maybe better, but the tool pallet to create these plugs is limited by X Code parameters. Yes they can make it sound differently, but it is still using the same engine controls already at your fingertips.

 

Effect plugins are essentially EQ+Compression+Pan+Gain, and that's it.

 

I miss the word "Some" at the start of this sentence, and the "and that's it" seems to refer more to the thought you put into it than to the composition of effect plugins. What you describe are Dynamics plugins, a subset of effect plugins.

 

Reverbs? Delays? Choruses? Phaser? Flanger? Tremelo?

 

Also, different compressors and different EQ's do sound different, ask any audio engineer. Granted, some do sound similar or maybe even the same, and also granted: a prettier interface will skew the brain into hearing better sound. That's why the new compressor interface is indeed an improvement, even though it sounds the same. Also granted, sometimes the interface is too much (like that new Waves plugin that looks like a Da Vinci machine), but the fact remains that your main statement is seriously flawed.

 

Verbs, Delays, Choruses, Phasers, and Tremelo. You got me there, but my point remains. Even these effects are using the same engine that comes stock in Logic. 3rd party plugins are a double edged sword. You drop $150 to $300 to get that shiny new plug, you just feel better... But really, you could have achieved that sound using what you already owned. You buy the interface and the promise of 3rd parties but nothing you don't already have.

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Nope, they definitely DO NOT share the SAME engine. They share the same basic idea, on how to create those effects or processing. But in fact even an analog EQ can be done in many many different ways, although they share the same basic idea of "select a frequency and boost or cut it", they sound totally different. That's the same for digital gear.

 

There are so many different factors to count in, that the engine just cannot be the same, resulting in different sounds.

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All UA plugs adhere to X-Code standards. 3rd party plugin devs can change variables with the tools provided within, but they cannot introduce what isn't already in the tool box.

 

Just because you have the same kind of hammer and saw you don't have to build the same boat.

 

Plugins that are tuned properly by professional audio engineers using the available tools definitely give you a head start.

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Plugins that are tuned properly by professional audio engineers using the available tools definitely give you a head start.

 

I think you are misunderstanding my analogy.

What I mean is that just because something is coded in Objective-C it doesn't have to be the same algorithms.

And even if you are using similar algorithms you can use different serial and parallel techniques to achieve additional blends.

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My point is that 3rd party plugins are not critical to a great mix. If you listen and play with these effects long enough, you soon realize the same things can be achieved using eq, comp, pan, and gain. That goes for any of the time modulation plugins as well.

 

3rd party plugins do change your workflow if the plugin is a series of effects chained together, but it's all the same stuff.

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Nope, I wouldn't say critical. But they can give you a sound others cannot. Despite the same basic idea, e.g. modulation. Or for instance it's not very simple to setup a signal flow that simulate EchoBoy, where a lot of stuff happens in the delay feedback line like the highs are damped while the mid freq build up and the lows are damped just a little, plus where the input gain has a remarkable influence on a lot of other parameter inside, for instance like on the damping of the delays ;)

 

But if you are able to do that, please share that Logic session with us, so we all can save a lot of money :D

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Have you listened to the UAD Ampex ATR-102 tape emulation plug? You can't get sound like that from within LP (or maybe anywhere). I own the precursor AG440-C hardware and I can tell you that the ATR plug is so true to what AMPEX did in hardware that it's amazing.

 

Now it can be argued that the Ampex plug just uses compression and EQ as opined by the OP, but one can not get there by using LP's stock plugs.

 

I also strongly disagree with OP (with respect) on the subject of a great mix. While I freely acknowledge a good mix can be attained with Logic's stock plugs, I submit that the "big boy" stuff which gets airplay uses subtle and expressive hardware such as the Manley Massive Passive, Cooper Time Cube, 1176, LA2A, etc. which cannot be achieved inside Logic itself. I submit that anyone going for "big boy" mixes will buy third party plugs for their unique tonal quality—kinda like a guitarist owning an SG who wants a Strat sound must get a real Strat.

 

Of course, one can argue that an SG sound is all that's wanted (SGs are fine sounding), and that's perfectly OK. It's just music after all.

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I must add here, that during the KVR One Synth Challenge, where paid 3rd party plugins are forbidden, I used Logic's channel EQ. Of course it's allowed to use other 3rd party plugins as long as they are free. I limited myself to use only stock plugins and the synth that was given for this contest (Dexed, a FM synth).

 

I use mostly Fabfilter Pro-Q2, Waves V4 and API 550b for EQing during mix down. Now, after that challenge, I can really say that the channel EQ sucks big time. Boosting 2dB around 8kHz just sounded harsh, very unpleasant. Cutting 5dB around 200 Hz made the sound hollow. So I wasn't able with a few clicks to do a simple sound balancing, where I never had any issues with the before mentioned 3rd party plugins.

 

Therefore: Yes, they're all EQs, but hell no they do not sound the same, at all... the 2dB boost with API will sound different than the exact same boost at the same frequency with Logic. Of course you should be able to get also great results with the stock plugins, but my experience now is, that I need way more fiddeling and tweaking than with my other plugins.

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