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mimicking API preamp by doubling Slate VCC

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mimicking API preamp by doubling Slate VCC

Postby Guitarking » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:48 pm

I'd like to have an API pre, a 512c or so. But hey, money...
How about using 2 VCC channeltrips. One to mimic the pre, one to mimic the console.
And then another one on the bus to mimic the buss.
Would the api pre give another sound than the console itself? I suppose they all have resistors, transformers etc... in them. I could turn up the input of the first insert to mimic the pre overloading.
I have no idea as I haven't got a real api pre.
Also, what would be a good order when I like to insert the waves api 550a eq? Where would I put it to faithfully mimic a console? Before or after the VCC channel (and how about when I use 2 VCC's on the channel?)
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Re: mimicking API preamp by doubling Slate VCC

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:33 pm

Hi Guitarking!

I can follow your reasoning, but I wonder if you're getting sidetracked from the main event, which is getting the SOUND you want.

I suspect many of us have disappeared down similar rabbit holes over the years in dreaming up perfect gear chains that might emulate what we hope would be the perfect audio result, if we could only afford the hardware in question, but sometimes to stay sane it can be more rewarding to carry on exploring the best sounds we can achieve with the gear (hardware or software) that we already have).

Having said that, to my mind, the 'sound' of a large analogue console can be more to do with the way the various different input channels interact at the mixing buss (the magic 'glue-ing effect') than how it overloads at the input.

My two 'pennorth anyway ;)


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Re: mimicking API preamp by doubling Slate VCC

Postby CS70 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:46 am

What Martin says. Still if you want that analog console sound, you could try Mixbus, which is said to have that “console” sound. I haven’t tried it yet but most people I’ve spoken with uses it just for that reason.
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Re: mimicking API preamp by doubling Slate VCC

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:48 pm

I agree with Martin. This is a red herring. The 512 is a great mic amp, and it does a nice party trick with saturation when the yellow light comes on. But it's not going to make a great record for you. Incidentally there are lots of extremely good, and often functionally easier clones of that circuit - like CAPI VP25/26/28 etc etc. Try the Slate chain. Get it sounding just right and then try taking it off.
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Re: mimicking API preamp by doubling Slate VCC

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:13 pm

Wow - thank for the votes of confidence guys! :blush:


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Re: mimicking API preamp by doubling Slate VCC

Postby Wonks » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:37 pm

Why not test what the basic slate preamp is doing to the input, so you'll get an idea what the preamp emulation is doing to the straight0through sound, if anything? You can put a pink noise source before the preamp, set the EQ all flat, then see what the before and after frequency responses are doing. I was quite surprised at the fairly significant HF roll-off and the lesser LF roll off I was getting with the UAD 1073 emulation. This won't tell you about what it's doing to the phase at different frequencies, but it will give you a general idea and if its boosting of cutting certain frequencies.

Putting a sine wave through and then frequency analysing at the resulting waveform will show you the level of distortion the emulation is giving.

You can also draw some wave shapes, such as square and triangle, in a pencil waveform editor, and see how passage through the emulation affects them. Then at least, by trying different pre-amp or console emulations, you can get a basic idea of what is happening in an emulation you like (or even dislike) and probably the reason why you like (or dislike) how it sounds.
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Re: mimicking API preamp by doubling Slate VCC

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:20 pm

Wonks wrote:Then at least, by trying different pre-amp or console emulations, you can get a basic idea of what is happening in an emulation you like (or even dislike) and probably the reason why you like (or dislike) how it sounds.

Exactly this - it's not the name or number on the console, but what it does and moreover why you like it that's most important :thumbup:


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Re: mimicking API preamp by doubling Slate VCC

Postby Guitarking » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:07 pm

Thanks guys! Very much appreciated!

Still, I'm just trying to understand how these old consoles worked. Slate emulates the console. What's that? Not the preamp? And when you use a preamp of a certain console, does it sound different from 'the console'? Like I said, I guess it's all about the same material like resistors etc inside, Or is there something special about say the 512C preamp that's not on the console?
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Re: mimicking API preamp by doubling Slate VCC

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:24 pm

Guitarking wrote:Thanks guys! Very much appreciated!

Still, I'm just trying to understand how these old consoles worked. Slate emulates the console. What's that? Not the preamp? And when you use a preamp of a certain console, does it sound different from 'the console'?

Hi again Guitarking!

The fundamental design of plug-in console emulations tends to be in two parts - a 'virtual channel' that you insert into each playback channel, and a 'virtual mixbuss'. In some designs you can even consider them as providing encode/decode functions.

The channel part is essentially the preamp that you're talking about, and its features can be as simple as a convolution-derived static frequency response (Neve channel emulations may for instance have a rich and slightly boosted bottom end, while API and SSL types tend to roll off the extreme bass end). The virtual channel may also add low-level harmonic distortion that changes with input level, mimicking the overload characteristics and possible input transformer circuitry of the relevant preamp. It may also include various special features of the desk channel in question, from a variable EQ section, through built-in compressor, gate, and so on.

Meanwhile, the virtual mixbuss alters how the various channels interact when they are mixed together - no hardware circuit design is theoretically perfect, so (for example) a group of channels may get added 'glue' when sent to the virtual mixbuss, to make them sit together better in the final mix.

This is also the reason why the Slate Virtual Console Collection also offers 'group' functions, so you can (for instance) send all your bass or drum sounds to be mixed by one virtual mixbuss, all your guitars to another, and so on, to hopefully enhance your mix in various desirable ways.

This is what I understand to be the case anyway - for a long time I (and various other people it seems) remained unconvinced that expensive hardware summing mixers actually resulted in a measurable audible improvement, as all DAWs can mix every playback channel together perfectly. However, it finally dawned on me that the 'magic' of analogue desks was always in their pleasing imperfections (due to such factors as opamp slew rate and DC offsets). This is what the virtual console suites are attempting to emulate.


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