Here is a selection of audio files comparing the Manley Massive Passive hardware with the Universal Audio Massive Passive plug-in (/sos/jul10/articles/massivepassive.htm). Both versions have been run through high-quality digital converters to take them out of the equation, and both units had the exact same settings except for the drum loop which differed due to the dissimilarities of the midrange filters. I've also included the original unprocessed audio files.
I urge you to challenge yourself by lining up the audio files on two stereo tracks in your DAW, mute one of the tracks, then choose the mute track and toggle solo. Close your eyes and listen to both versions toggling solo. If you can pinpoint the analogue version ten times out of ten then you should take good care of your Golden Ears. Frederick Norén
First I wanted to check how well the plug-in could handle filtering a whole mix so I used one of my own songs which has been nicely mixed through an analogue summing box providing both extra depth and width.
12kHz - Gain: 11 O'clock - Bandwidth: 12 O'clock - Bell filter
100Hz - Gain: 2 O'clock - Bandwidth: 11 O'clock - Shelving filter
100Hz - Gain: 11 O'clock - Bandwidth: 1 O'clock - Shelving filter
16kHz - Gain: 10 O'clock - Bandwidth: broadest - Shelving filter
The two acoustic guitars is a good example of how well both EQs can handle boosting the lower midrange as well as high-end without sounding boxy or harsh. The guitars are recorded with my 50 year-old Neumann microphone and sometimes I wonder whatever happened to 50 years of microphone development.
390Hz - Gain: 12 O'clock - Bandwidth: 12 O'clock - Bell filter
12kHz - Gain: 1 O'clock - Bandwidth: broadest - Shelving filter
Listen to how well both units adds "air" as well as low-mid stability. By the way, it's not me singing.
390Hz - Gain: 10 O'clock - Bandwidth: 12 O'clock - Bell filter
16kHz - Gain: 12 O'clock - Bandwidth: 12 O'clock - Bell filter
Due to the fact that the two units sounded quite different with the same settings I tried to match the two by altering the plug-in. I ended up using a wider filter with higher gain which sounded almost identical in the verse but somehow lost some punch in the louder chorus.
Hardware: 3.3kHz - Gain: 1 O'clock - Bandwidth: 12 O'clock - Bell filter
Software: 3.3kHz - Gain: 2 O'clock - Bandwidth: 11 O'clock - Bell filter