August 15, 2007

Audio Damage update...

by Chris Randall

Now that Dr. Device is out and doing well, we've begun work on some new things. For the next few months, rather than put out one big whopper (e.g. Dr. Device), we're going to work on releasing some smaller effects with a more narrow focus at a somewhat lower price point. The first one of these will be up fairly quickly, and I'll probably begin teasing you next week.

In the meantime, I'm working at whipping 3D Studio Max 9 in to shape.



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Aug.16.2007 @ 11:07 AM
Chris Randall
"If you can simulate analog bucket-brigade delay in your plugins (which you do), you should be able to simulate a tape delay."

Uh, no. You haven't heard any fantastic tape delay pedals or plugins, because there aren't any. There are plugins (and pedals) _CALLED_ tape-delay simulations, and they are good-sounding delays, but they don't sound anything like a tape delay. As penance for that statement, you need to spend the next week listening to Bauhaus' "Bela Legosi's Dead."

The reason tape compression is essentially impossible in software is the same reason tube compression and "phatness" is essentially impossible in software. It's something that can't be explained mathematically, for all intents and purposes, as the response changes in accordance with the input level, along with about 10,000 other variables.

A bucket brigade delay chip is just a chain of capacitors on a chip, and this _can_ be explained mathematically. It is a consistent and repeatable event, and not difficult to model. (The effect that occurs when you change the clock signal, the re-pitching of the buffer, _is_ difficult to model, which is why so many companies get to the half-way point and give up. We didn't give up, and Dubstation was born.)

Now, we could take our BBD model, slap a compressor and soft-sat on the feedback chain and a couple of filters and call it a tape delay, and we could probably get away with it. In actual fact, I've proffered that very concept a couple times. Adam, however, being something of a purist in these matters, simply won't do it. Neither will he listen to me any time I mention the word "tube." So I've stopped bringing it up.

But, long and short of it, sorry, Rex, but the difference between even a shitty little tape delay like the Univox EC-100 and the absolute best tape delay plugin on the market (probably the new Massey one, or UA's Space Echo sim) is vast and sad, and easily apparent when you compare the two. Don't confuse a good-sounding plugin with an accurate one.



Aug.16.2007 @ 11:49 AM
I'd love to see the math involved in modeling the change in the response of a tube when the AC cycles on in the middle of July, or the furnace kicking on December. I imagine it'd be akin to proving the Riemann hypothesis.

Aug.16.2007 @ 12:00 PM
Chris Randall
That post will make my wife laugh. There's some other math thing that makes her giggle, something about Fermat's Last Theorem or something. But yeah, you got the idea.



Aug.16.2007 @ 12:06 PM
Adam Schabtach
I think the fact that at least one high-end audio company is marketing a _hardware_ tape simulator illustrates how difficult it is to do tape simulation in software.

I'd like to do a good tape-echo plug-in but I just don't think it's worth the R&D investment. Consider UA's tape-echo plug-in: they have a much, much bigger operating budget than we do, and, frankly, they have more DSP and hardware expertise at their command than we do. Their tape-echo simulation eats up half of a UAD DSP card (I think--it's been awhile since I ran the demo) and while it's an interesting-sounding plug-in, to my ears it's not interesting-sounding enough to merit its price or its DSP load. (This is not meant to diss UA; I have a UAD-1 and some of their plug-ins are extremely good. I just wasn't taken with this particular plug-in of theirs.) So, if we were to go down the same R&D garden path as them, we'd probably end up with something that ate a huge amount of native CPU and really didn't sound special enough to merit the work put into it.



Aug.16.2007 @ 1:35 PM
So back to the badgering about what's next, my vote is for some good distortion effect. Doesn't need to be toob or analog modelled this that or whatever, just good, in a similar way that Dr. D's 4P Low pass is just good.

As simple as it is, maybe because it is so simple, I use Fuzz+2 all the time. Personally, effects like Trash and Ohmicide do little for me, stomp-like distortion plugins appeal to me much more.


Aug.16.2007 @ 2:30 PM
RE: Tape delay, as I'm sure y'all are aware of, there's always this:
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Looks really cool. And just over a grand, while way out of my price range, seems pretty reasonable for what it is.

How about a nice little slapback plugin? Or does that come under the same set of DSP impossibilities as a tape/spring delay?


Aug.16.2007 @ 3:08 PM
shamann - i agree, fuzz+ has long been one of my favorite effects (tho ratshack is getting up there!). it's just ass-simple and sounds great. i'd personally love some similar utility devices from AD.

Aug.16.2007 @ 3:09 PM
How about a EH Memory Man pedal? Sure it's just another analog delay, but it's very different sounding than Dubstation.

Aug.16.2007 @ 3:39 PM
Chris Randall
We're all delayed out for the moment. We have another delay in the works, but we're waiting on the hardware to clone it with. This current series we're going to do will come quick; you can expect about one every month or so for a little while; they'll be fun, simple, and cheap.



Aug.16.2007 @ 3:45 PM
beauty pill
I don't care what it is, I'm buyin' it. Far be it from me to tell you guys where to go next. You're artists. Do what you want.

Also I like the description "fun, simple and cheap." I like single-function tools; an increasing rarity in the swiss army knife value system of the plug-in world.

So whatever it is, I say Yes, yes y'all. And ya don't stop.


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