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Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

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Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Jaylon » Fri May 21, 2010 11:26 am

I can understand wanting to create a warm sound, and harmonic distortion making things gel.

Is it not possible though to just create a plug in that does this without attempting to emulate analogue circuitry?

I don't really have any desire to create classic sounds. Sure you can use them for modern music. But aren't designers limited in their creativity by the market wanting 'retro'?

Anyone know any plug ins that have explored a warm sound without analogue emulation?
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Fri May 21, 2010 11:42 am

Don't worry too much what title is tacked on to the effect. Worry what it sounds like. But worry MUCH more about writing and performing good music. IT ISN'T ABOUT THE GEAR! Let's work towards the the day when SOS is 90% about technique, with just a few paragraphs: "Oh, BTW, X have brought out a new microphone. It won't change your life, but you might fancy trying it."
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby onesecondglance » Fri May 21, 2010 11:46 am

for the majority of people "analogue" and "warmth" are intrinsically linked. there's no concept of the two existing independently. this may not be true in practice, but it's the principle behind the marketing of all these plugs.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Mixedup » Fri May 21, 2010 11:48 am

Jaylon wrote:
Anyone know any plug ins that have explored a warm sound without analogue emulation?

Um... pretty much any EQ or saturation plug-in used in the right way It all comes down to what your definition of 'warmth' is — and that many people's perception is of 'analogue warmth' (hence the recent SOS cover feature on it). As the previous poster says, though, who cares about the epithet as long as it sounds good? Just because you're using a Pultec emulation doesn't mean you need to make records sound like they did way back when... it's just a tool.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby desmond » Fri May 21, 2010 12:14 pm

I use UA's Fatso quite a bit, which is a pretty faithful emulation of the real Fatso - itself a box designed to give those kinds of effects (bigness, warmth, transistors, saturation, compression) and which isn't designed as a vintage recreation of anything.

So that's as pretty close to being an ultra-modern bigness generator in plugin form as I have come across so far...
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Jaylon » Fri May 21, 2010 4:36 pm

Wombat and mixed up, yes I take your point it can be used in a different way. However as someone who likes forward thinking music it's good to have a fresh character to the sound and the incessant retro focus gets on my nerves. I'm sure there's so much more that can be done with new technology, but I'm not ready to give up music and become a plug in designer.

I think it's a sign of our degenerate popular culture in general to be so focused on retro for so long

for the majority of people "analogue" and "warmth" are intrinsically linked. there's no concept of the two existing independently


I think this is obviously true and they have to follow the demand.

desmond, I will demo the fatso but even that's 'analogue tape emulation'
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby desmond » Fri May 21, 2010 5:03 pm

Well, no it's not. The designers analysed all that stuff, and built in tools that simulate various characteristics, clipping, saturation, transformers, compression, and tape warmth, and designed models for them.

It is *not* designed as a virtual tape emulator or replacement and does not really sound like tape. Instead, you get a wide range of related bigness features that can sort of sound like tape but also go a lot further, or in different directions. But yes, it is based on popular analog techniques and engineering - my point is that it isn't trying to be "retro" at all.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Fri May 21, 2010 5:04 pm

Jaylon wrote:Wombat and mixed up, yes I take your point it can be used in a different way. However as someone who likes forward thinking music it's good to have a fresh character to the sound and the incessant retro focus gets on my nerves.

Just make good music and record it as well as you can. That's all the old guys did. Don't even dream of recycling other people's work with samples or loops.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Jaylon » Fri May 21, 2010 5:18 pm

I'm not one of the old guys though. I don't sample records that much, but I love turning sounds from freesound into something new, or making my voice unrecognizable with effects.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Jaylon » Fri May 21, 2010 5:19 pm

Fair enough about the Fatso...I guess it proves the point what they have to do to market it though.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby desmond » Fri May 21, 2010 5:25 pm

The tone of some of your posts suggests you know how it should be done differently, or have some ideas that you'd like to see exploited. Let's try exploring some of those. What is the future of warmth and saturation, in your opinion..?

I agree that there is a lot, perhaps too much, focus on vintage emulations - it's an easy marketing gimmick, but also those devices *are* desirable in many ways. Plus they often had a simple immediacy from a limited control set which makes them particularly useful.

Pushing future plugins is difficult because it's hard to see the quality of algorithms, and you may well be pushing a whole terminology that is alien to people. However, there are more contemporary devices, saturation units, compressors and so on, so it's not like they don't exist.

So what am I missing?
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Jaylon » Fri May 21, 2010 5:52 pm

Well I don't know exactly what could be done differently in terms of algorithms as I'm not an innovator in music technology. But do you really think there's nothing that can be done?

There's lot's of innovative software for creating and processing sound - spectral effects, granular synthesis whatever, but stuff that defines the character of a mix - compressors, eq, warmth etc it seems like nothing is really offering a new way forward for mixes characteristic of our time. All we got is the harsh in the box sound or things that sound like something else.

I dunno about 'should be done' the market is what it is. Just having a rant really and seeing if anyone knows things that are out there.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby desmond » Fri May 21, 2010 6:28 pm

Jaylon wrote:But do you really think there's nothing that can be done?


I never said that. But innovation and marketing don't necessarily follow. A lot of people don't want innovation, they want useful, usable tools. Take something like Metasynth - innovative program for sure, loads of options, ways to mangle sound unlike many other tools - but a lot of people don't use it, because it's a little too *out there*.

Plus I think there's an awful lot of emphasis on the "a plugin can do that" these days rather than people producing creative and innovative sounds use the (wealth) of technology they already have. I would bet that by far most people who own softsynths don't get beyond picking presets and tweaking the filters and envelopes, and I can't imagine a majority of the userbase of, say, Reaktor are wiring up their own sound tools from scratch.

Jaylon wrote:There's lot's of innovative software for creating and processing sound - spectral effects, granular synthesis whatever, but stuff that defines the character of a mix - compressors, eq, warmth etc it seems like nothing is really offering a new way forward for mixes characteristic of our time.


Come on, some of the tech we have now is amazing. Back in the early nineties, I'd save up for a Behringer Composer. Now, they same money would buy me a linear phase multiband mastering plugin that would jump rings around that.

Compression *is* compression. Sure, we have more modern features, a wider choice of algorithms, mix knobs, transient modifiers, dynamic spectrum mappers and so on - but compression is largely a transfer curve and time constants. That is what it is. :shrugs:

Jaylon wrote:All we got is the harsh in the box sound or things that sound like something else.


If your in-the-box sound is "harsh", I'm pretty willing to bet that that's far more due to your skills than it is the tools (or lack thereof). And that goes for everybody (myself included). Too many people are ending up with massive plugin lists, now spending the time to learn and understand them, and even more importantly, not developing the skills that will let them choose the correct tool, *why* they are doing so, and how to use it appropriately.

And the first thing they do when their mixes don't sound how they'd like? They complain there aren't enough plugins, or that plugins aren't good enough.

It's not the plugins, it's the skills, for all but the most talented and experienced, imo.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Jaylon » Fri May 21, 2010 6:56 pm

Ok compressions compression...but is eq eq or a mixer bus a mixer bus?

I think your point about people not using the tools properly is a derail slightly...I'd be the first to admit I'm not the best mixer but however good you are the technology around defines characteristic sounds of a time or genre, which I feel we're lacking.

Come on, some of the tech we have now is amazing. Back in the early nineties, I'd save up for a Behringer Composer. Now, they same money would buy me a linear phase multiband mastering plugin that would jump rings around that.


Fair enough good value, but what sound character do we have for our time compared to the early 90's? Then you have a characteristic sound of dance stuff put together on samplers, with an exiter over the mix for example.

Now it's erm..cleaner...maybe harsher. Often compressed to buggery.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby desmond » Fri May 21, 2010 7:14 pm

Jaylon wrote:Ok compressions compression...but is eq eq or a mixer bus a mixer bus?


Well... pretty much, yes...

Jaylon wrote:however good you are the technology around defines characteristic sounds of a time or genre, which I feel we're lacking.

Autotune, anybody?

Jaylon wrote:Fair enough good value, but what sound character do we have for our time compared to the early 90's? Then you have a characteristic sound of dance stuff put together on samplers, with an exiter over the mix for example.

Back then, sounds were defined because gear was limited, hardware only, and pricey. Many of those sounds became trends because all these guys had access to was the cheap gear. You had the Fairlight productions at one end, the S900 in the middle, and the home keyboards at the bottom.

Nowadays, pretty much everything is available to everybody, often free. Now you wonder why there aren't consistent sound genres? I'd argue that there is, to a certain extent. In many types of music, you largely have to fit in with the established formula before you can be accepted in that genre.

I really don't know the point you are trying to make. But I don't think we suffer for a lack of technology. It's true, the amount of amazing, new, revolutionary tech seems to happen less often than when we were at the peak of a whole new thing (digital, computers, software, MIDI, sampling - we did get through quite a lot). Innovation won't stop, but new discoveries happen when they happen, and people will take advantage of them when they can.

In the meantime, there's still good songs and music to be written.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Jaylon » Fri May 21, 2010 7:20 pm

Not exactly what I meant...but I think our discussion's run it's course unless anyone wants to come in. Interesting though.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Plockton Blue » Fri May 21, 2010 7:43 pm

One thing i haven't seen mentioned is how important the use of stereo field is, when creating 'that' satisfyingly warm sound. I know it's not pertaining directly to the OP's point, but all the same, a properly eq'd distortion guitar plus stereo goodness can't be beat.

Whether it's an analogue or digital eq IMO only comprises a part of 'that sound'. Like everything else in life, the cake's only as good as the ingredients...
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Nightfly » Fri May 21, 2010 7:51 pm

...I blame Vintage Warmer!
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby desmond » Fri May 21, 2010 8:35 pm

I never liked Vintage Warmer at all...
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Jaylon » Fri May 21, 2010 9:16 pm

desmond, I'll have a stab at replying as my brain has coughed up a response. You say everything is available to everybody. True, everybody has access to professional equipment and can have a decent stab at any sort of sound that has existed previously.

However IMO there is nothing interesting going on with 'cutting edge' sounds it's either a kind of anti anything sound, or various flavours of retro.

To be clear on terms, I don't mean trends like using autotune or new genres say dubstep, just the character of mixes being made.

I take your point obviously noone can use a new discovery until it's been discovered..but it's a shame there seems to be no energy in it. Maybe it's always happened by accident though?
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby johnny h » Sat May 22, 2010 9:36 am

desmond wrote:I never liked Vintage Warmer at all...

I never liked anyone that liked vintage warmer. Rubbish mushy waste of time imo...
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby RegressiveRock » Sat May 22, 2010 11:07 am

Jaylon wrote:Anyone know any plug ins that have explored a warm sound without analogue emulation?
Voxengo's Varisaturator

It's the mutts nuts and cheap as chips; sounds fantastic: nuff said.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Jaylon » Sat May 22, 2010 11:37 am

VariSaturator features...digital “waveshaping” saturator with feedback topology


Thats what I'm talking about!...


...don't know what it means, but it's what I'm talking about!
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby desmond » Sat May 22, 2010 11:44 am

Waveshaping, in terms of audio processing (ie, not synthesis) is generally just another word for clipping, afaik.

Nothing nu skool about it
(unless you're just talking about the marketing speak, in which case you're just as guilty of being force fed desirability as the vintage emulation crowd...
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Jaylon » Sat May 22, 2010 12:00 pm

Oh I'm sure I'm guilty, but the acid test will be if my tracks sound a bit different with this stuff...just more inclined to limit myself to non-analogue software and see where it takes me.

Voxengo look like an interesting company.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby RegressiveRock » Sat May 22, 2010 1:12 pm

Jaylon wrote:

Voxengo look like an interesting company.

Their are inexpensive and good. Nuff said!
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sat May 22, 2010 3:11 pm

Jaylon wrote:Oh I'm sure I'm guilty, but the acid test will be if my tracks sound a bit different with this stuff...

They'll sound different if you fiddle with the eq. If you change the mix levels a little. If you do almost anything! Make sure it's a GOOD different.

It really isn't about the gear. Repeat that until you believe it. I know it'll probably never really sink in, but try!
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Mixedup » Sat May 22, 2010 3:54 pm

I think the confusion lies in the fact that you ask why 'warm' has to mean 'analogue' or 'vintage'... The term warm, in terms of sonics, was coined (or evolved) to describe exactly those characteristics... so if you aim for 'warm' then you're inevitably going to get something leaning towards analogue emulation or emulation of old gear.

There's plenty of innovative and different stuff around. But starting with the word 'warm' is probably the wrong way to go about discovering it.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby RegressiveRock » Sat May 22, 2010 4:02 pm

desmond wrote:Waveshaping, in terms of audio processing (ie, not synthesis) is generally just another word for clipping, afaik.

Nothing nu skool about it
(unless you're just talking about the marketing speak, in which case you're just as guilty of being force fed desirability as the vintage emulation crowd...

Not exactly, it's more about applying a formula or set of rules that imparts particular properties to the original wave.
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Re: Why are all the 'warm' plug ins 'analogue' or 'vintage'?

Postby Jaylon » Sat May 22, 2010 4:17 pm

Of course it's about the gear! If you make something with a wax cylinder, vintage analogue, with a sampler and a mackie desk or with cubase and it's included plug in's it's all going to be different.

I think you're answering a different kind of common question.

I'm not that [ ****** ] at mixing...
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