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YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

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YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:43 pm

This chap reckons that plugins emulating analog gear fail for all sorts of aliasing/oversampling/nyquist reasons I don't understand. Is any of this true, please, digital boffins out there?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4taroKS_N6Q
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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:34 pm

Hi Dr. Huge,

Yes, it's all true, although as Monsieur Snake Oil admits, he does exaggerate a bit for effect ;)

Personally I think it's slightly unfair to use Decapitator as his example plug-in to demonstrate aliasing issues, since it's by definition designed to produce evil distortion and lots of upper harmonics :headbang:

Most other plug-ins will have far less high frequency energy being generated, so any aliasing should be at correspondingly lower levels - after all, how many signals are you likely to be using with perhaps 7kHz or higher at near clipping levels?

Moreover, many other plug-ins where clarity is of tantamount performance will use internal oversampling where required (or even provide such options as user-defined settings), so that aliasing doesn't happen, or at the least is minimised to be at inaudible levels. It seems to be generally accepted that any lines that appear in the audio spectrum at less than -125dBFS can be consider inaudible.


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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:06 pm

since it's by definition designed to produce evil distortion

Not necessarily, to be fair. It models desk channels so you can choose to have a tiny amount of it. But Herr Snakeoil basically says it's always going to impart nastiness you shouldn't be getting because of its non-aliasing etc design? Does this mean one should always check the specs of an allegedly analog-modelled plugin very careful?
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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:19 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
since it's by definition designed to produce evil distortion

Not necessarily, to be fair. It models desk channels so you can choose to have a tiny amount of it. But Herr Snakeoil basically says it's always going to impart nastiness you shouldn't be getting because of its non-aliasing etc design? Does this mean one should always check the specs of an allegedly analog-modelled plugin very careful?

To some extent yes, but personally I think you have to judge with your ears in context.

Decapitator-10kHz-5dB.jpg


Here for example I've just run up the wonderful Decapitator with a more subtle preset that emulates 'Neve Fizz' ;)

With an 10kHz sinewave input at a level of -5dBFS, yes, you can see aliasing apart from the wanted 10kHz and 20kHz lines, but as you can see from the THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) figure of around -60dB, the distortion products are already at low 0.1% levels in total, while the highest aliased spike is at about -87dB (that's equivalent to 0.0044%) - not very significant in the overall context to my mind.

As always your likeage may vary from plug-in to plug-in, and it's well worth doing a few tests at higher frequencies to check for aliasing problems, but in practice I wouldn't rule out using Decapitator based on these figures 8-)


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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:28 pm

BTW, I forked out for the Metric AB plug on your recommendation. Excellent as you said. Can't find a way to activate the help balloons at the moment, though. The manual says click on the settings icon to get a dropdown, but doesn't work for me!
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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:57 am

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:BTW, I forked out for the Metric AB plug on your recommendation. Excellent as you said. Can't find a way to activate the help balloons at the moment, though. The manual says click on the settings icon to get a dropdown, but doesn't work for me!

Glad you like it!

Help mode does work for me, although for some reason when I first tried it nothing seemed to happen. Click on Settings and select the drop-down option Enable tooltips then hover over a function - if you move the mouse about then the help balloon won't appear, but as soon as you maintain your position over a particular function it will.

Good luck!


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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:33 am

I don't get the dropdown menu, that's the problem. Are you on 1.1?
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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:16 am

Dropped a note to PA support and they can't get it to work their end either...think it might be a bug!
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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:25 am

Aha - couldn't find a version number on mine anywhere, and nor could I find it on the PA website. Finally found my original ZIP download, which has the filename adptr_metricab_win_x64_1_0.zip

Now updating to the latest version 1.1 to get all the improvements, so I'll probably lose the help function as well :headbang:

EDIT: Yep, no help function any more - it's been tromped upon by the new enhanced Settings page :beamup:

2nd EDIT: No, I've just found it - in the new enhanced Settings page under General Settings there's a tick box labeled Tooltips. Click on this and your help functions all return :thumbup: 8-)


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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:34 am

DOH! :headbang:
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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby CS70 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:54 pm

It's very hard to gauge someone's argument when it's presented like that.

Confirmation bias is very strong. If they guy could show that he consistently distinguishes digital vs. analog distortions in a blind setting, it would be worth listening to his explanation.

As it is, it is not really worth the time.
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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:29 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:...all sorts of aliasing/oversampling/nyquist reasons I don't understand.
That's because he doesn't explain it very well. There's a really great, long running thread on Gearslutz about this. Several plugin developers chip in, and are great at explaining this stuff! And they're honest about their own products that are getting tested by users in the thread.
CS70 wrote:As it is, it is not really worth the time.
Agreed. The GS thread is far more useful, even though it'll take up more time LOL:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-c ... hread.html
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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:13 pm

116 pages of Gearslutz! It better be good, Tomas! :D
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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:27 pm

So got as far as page 20 in this very interesting GS thread. And whilst the conclusion was broadly aliasing:broadly bad but often inaudible, this pic stopped me in my tracks. This was the frequency analysis of, get this, a single 910hz sine wave at 44.1k subjected to one Waves modelled EQ and 2 modelled compressors. Eek is the word!

Image
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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:47 pm

Well done for getting to page 20 thus far Dr. Huge! :clap:

I'm pretty sure I've eventually waded through all the pages, and can reveal that the best choice of sinewave signal when sampling at 44.1kHz to most easily reveal any aliasing is 993Hz.

I believe it was Andy of Cytomic in that thread who eventually came up with that figure, and it works well, since any aliased lines appear neatly between the other desired lines of the harmonic series ;)

"Ok, I've worked these to be as close to 1000 hz as possible, be integer values frequencies, and spaced the aliased harmonics at close to 400 hz up and down from the main harmonic peaks for easy detection:

44100 -> 993 hz for easiest detection of aliased harmonics
48000 -> 992 hz
88200 -> 998 hz
96000 -> 996 hz
176400 -> 989 hz
192000 -> 998 hz"


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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:33 am

...and here's a very interesting discussion about aliasing by the very expert (Chris Johnson of Airwindows fame) that Monsieur Snake Oil consulted before making his video. It makes an awful lot of sense to me:

http://www.airwindows.com/unbox/

Here's a very telling paragraph that reinforces my initial reply in this thread:

"many of my plugins have gentle enough distortion curves that they throw a limited number of harmonics. If you are only generating harmonics within the range of digital audio’s frequencies, you’re fine and there will be no problem until you feed the system a frequency that’s too high. You’re not automatically feeding superhigh frequencies all the time if you’re working with natural recordings: not all sounds contain that kind of high frequency content."

...before he goes on to explain the philosophy used in his Unbox plug-in that only distorts those frequencies that WON'T generate aliasing :clap:


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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:38 am

Yes, very interesting. Makes you wonder why all the top end plugin developers don't do something similar as a matter of course?
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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:13 am

I've started putting some of my own plugs through the GS test! Very interesting. Logic's own plugs are on the whole remarkably clean and alias free at all frequencies, certainly the EQs and Compressors, and whilst their basic limiter is great their Adaptive Limiter is shocking!
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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Folderol » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:03 am

Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but surely anything that is going to generate distortion should also include post-effect low-pass filtering.
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Re: YT vid 'explains' why analog emulations don't sound as good as they should? Any truth in this?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:34 am

yes...
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