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Old December 17th, 2009, 02:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
Ermz
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ITB vs Nebula SSL Shoot-out - Commercial Rock

Hey guys,

Been mixing a track today for fun, and I thought it would be cool to make a shoot-out of it.

For the last few years I've looked around desperately for ways to create a 'faux' console ITB. I absolutely hate the clean ITB sound and I do everything I can during tracking and mixing to get around it.

Recently I've bought Nebula 3 and I've been getting more and more into using Alex B's 'Classic Logic Console' programs. Essentially these are just Nebula 'impulses' that you apply to all of your tracks, then all of your busses, and then your master bus. It's meant to simulate the way a real console would saturate and glue your tracks together.

Anyway here are the explanations between both tracks.

ITB: A bit deceiving because it's a straight export through my GSSL compressor. The lead vocals also have a bit of Millennia Origin on them. All the raw tracks also had Alex B's 'Line Input' Program on them. So in effect this version has a fair bit of Nebula on it too.

NebulaSSL: I applied a bunch of Alex B's bus programs to my busses. One on drums, bass, guitars, lead vox, backing vox & the master bus.

And without further ado, here they are. If you hear clipping, I apologize profusely. I just had a single clip/limiter on the end and I wanted to hear this track roughly at commercial volumes to A/B the export.

ITB (Downsampled from 96kHz): http://dl.dropbox.com/u/285689/Porcelain3-ITB-96k.wav

Nebula SSL (Downsampled from 96kHz): http://dl.dropbox.com/u/285689/Porce...ulaSSL-96k.wav

2nd Set of Tests (better)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/285689/Forum...llyITB-48k.wav

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/285689/Forum...rogram-48k.wav

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/285689/Forum...ulaAll-48k.wav

Cheers!
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Old December 17th, 2009, 02:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Both sound good but I think the Nebula sounds best for this. The ITB is a bit louder but sounds less defined.

The mix sounds awesome btw!
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Old December 17th, 2009, 04:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I like the Nebula version more, expecially the vocals seem to be more glued to the mix... the snare transients seem more natural too, but I'm not sure since I'm listening through shitty headphones.
I think you've overdone it a bit with the final high shelving, making the mix a little bit harsher. Not in a bad way but I would lower the shelv a little.
Also, the Nebula version sounds louder to me.

What's your preference so far, Ermz?
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Old December 17th, 2009, 05:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Ah crud guys. I was just informed by Alex B that there's a bug in Nebula where 96kHz programs dont work well with 48Khz sessions. That was exactly the case here.

So I've upsampled the whole session to 96khz and re-exported. The Nebula version sounds *much* better to me now. I'm re-uploading the new files, please have a listen again guys when I update the main post.

Thanks again for listening to these.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 05:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Unless I'm imagining things it does make a difference. The ITB one is more flat and I especially like what Nebula is doing to the bass guitar. It would've been nice if they didn't clip so much but anyway..

edit: i'll check out the new version in a few minutes.

edit2: yeah, still similar impressions only this time I think you should lose the high-shelf.

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Old December 17th, 2009, 05:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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There was no high shelf this time!
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Old December 17th, 2009, 05:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Weird...it's a lot brighter than all the rest.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 05:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Wow! That new clip made me realize how much OHs the previous Nebula version was sucking out! I didn't notice it before, even if it was pretty apparent...
The new Nebula version is pretty awesome right now.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 05:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ermz View Post
There was no high shelf this time!
Ah! Seems like the dullness you noticed before was dued to the bug.
Nice to hear that!
And yes, it's brighter than the ITB.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 05:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah the Nebula programs did what they should this time. They glued everything, increased the air and also made the lows more dense. I'm tempted to work at 96kHz from now on... if only my PC wouldn't be dying from trying to run 100 audio tracks at once.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 08:33 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Haven't listen your clip but just a question Ermz:

Why don't switch to an hybrid setup if you like analog more than ITB?
I'm in same case (but really small level comparing to you) and I speak a lot with AE runing hybrid system (like Wieslawski bro with her amek classic).
A console don't cost so much if you don't look SSL/Neve/API

Good sounding console that don't cost so much:

Soundcraft TS24
Soundtrack 36/32, 48/32IL and solitaire
Amek big28

Don't want to derail your thread into an other gearslutz typical thread but this way is possible if you automate your stuff with your Daw for minor recall...
Just an idea
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Old December 17th, 2009, 08:42 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm already going Hybrid, analgrinder (fucking great name, seriously, it'll be my firstborn's maiden name). I use a GSSL on the master bus, and a Millennia Origin as my vocal strip. I've also got two 1176 clones coming, a Rev A and Rev D. After this I will get Pultec and LA2A clones. From there the sky is the limit. Hopefully ITB will have caught up a little more. Nebula really is helping though. It smooths things in a very analogue way, and as long as CPUs in the next few generations can keep up with its demands, mixing ITB should become another game entirely.

Actually if anything I want a controller desk. Get some actual hands-on fader action, that would be ace.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 08:47 AM   #13 (permalink)
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definitely prefering the neb version!
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Old December 17th, 2009, 09:19 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Amazing sound!!! Neb version is great!
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Old December 17th, 2009, 09:41 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ermz View Post
I'm already going Hybrid, analgrinder (fucking great name, seriously, it'll be my firstborn's maiden name). I use a GSSL on the master bus, and a Millennia Origin as my vocal strip. I've also got two 1176 clones coming, a Rev A and Rev D. After this I will get Pultec and LA2A clones. From there the sky is the limit. Hopefully ITB will have caught up a little more. Nebula really is helping though. It smooths things in a very analogue way, and as long as CPUs in the next few generations can keep up with its demands, mixing ITB should become another game entirely.

Actually if anything I want a controller desk. Get some actual hands-on fader action, that would be ace.
Sound like you really know what you want but infortunatly for you also sound like you need a duality for heaven workflow and analog vibe

Btw it cool to read post from people loving analog vibe (I sometimes feel that I want and try to get is simply night and day comparing to actual "standard" metal production)

I'll follow this thread carefully
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Old December 17th, 2009, 09:45 AM   #16 (permalink)
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How are the duality's? They'd be closer to SSL's newer designs, right? The 'top guys' always seem to prize their E and G series, and refuse to move up for some reason. I need my analogue to impart a nice color, you know. Nebula seriously is a great thing for that right now, but it's just so clunky to work with. It destroys your workflow completely by stupidly lagging out your session!.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 10:03 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Best person to answer

What I hear by some French AE (no metal, mostly pop and working on beautifull 4k and 9k) is you don't exactly have exact same sound but you win in term of workflow (analog desk+ daw controler), daw insert into analog processing, recall...
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Old December 17th, 2009, 02:27 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks Ermz for this (about to buy alex b console)! Your mix is already amazing but nebula gives it this glue and warmth and a little more punch to my ears. (unless I'm insane)
with placing it on all the busses does it bring your system to it's knees or..?
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Old December 17th, 2009, 02:37 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Damn. I just remembered I have actually bought Nebula 2 some time ago. Proceeded to download it and quickly realised it's only for Windows and only VST :P
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Old December 17th, 2009, 03:07 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Ermz, do you have any plugins like URS Saturation you could use for a third version?
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Old December 17th, 2009, 03:26 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Wow, I like the Nebula version 100x better than the ITB one!
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Old December 17th, 2009, 04:55 PM   #22 (permalink)
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How would you compare the Alex B programs to other commercial/free programs?
I've been looking for a nice analogue sounding Nebula program for a year now, maybe the "Classic Logic Console" is the one to get.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 07:09 PM   #23 (permalink)
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From what I understand the 3rd party Nebula programs are the best. The only 'free' ones I got were the Doc Fear, API550B and API3124+. The API550B ones for instance are better than the Waves.

@fredrik: Unfortunately I don't have anything similar. This isn't 'saturation' as the plug-ins do it, but something much more real and subtle.

@jauernis: It most certainly does. Current hardware is not up to spec to run Nebula properly. Though there are things you can do like use CUDA, print offline, chain multiple PC's together etc.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 10:04 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Sounds good man. I got the Black Modern Console (API) and the White Modern Console (Neve). I also got the Black Mastering EQ (API). Now just gotta get the other 2 consoles, the preamp pack, and the1073!
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Old December 18th, 2009, 02:19 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Anyway guys, I did another slightly more scientific test this time. I exported 3 different versions, all from the source sample rate of 48kHz (so one less upsample) down to 16 bit 44kHz. I also dropped the output gain by 1dB to avoid distortion.

The ITB program is totally clean. No Nebula SSL saturation anywhere. The only outboard involved is the Millennia Origin on vox and GSSL on master bus.

The Nebula Line program just has the offline processing done direct to the source audio tracks to simulate the SSL 'channel strip saturation'. No Nebula running in real-time.

The Nebula All program is the full shebang. Nebula SSL 'Channel Strips', Nebula 'Bus Summing' and Nebula 'Master Bus Summing' too. No FX Return saturation strips though (maybe these would enhance the depth of the ambience).

The increasing difference from one to the other is quite interesting to behold.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/285689/Forum...llyITB-48k.wav

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/285689/Forum...rogram-48k.wav

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/285689/Forum...ulaAll-48k.wav
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