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Gear / Technical Help => Post-Processing, Computer / Streaming / Internet Devices & Related Activity => Topic started by: heathen on January 24, 2020, 01:08:26 PM

Title: Post-processing for analog coloration/warmth/whatever?
Post by: heathen on January 24, 2020, 01:08:26 PM
As I've been slowly working on processing transfers of my old cassette recordings, I've found myself enjoying them more than I expected.  It's like there is a certain magic to them, and I don't know if it's simply because they were made on cassette tape or something else.  I was using a D6 so there's certainly no mojo to the recorder, and generally I'd either patch or use an Audio-Technica AT822.  Again I'm not certain I'd chalk the "magic" up to the mic(s).

Now let's be clear up front: terms like "coloration" and "warmth" are almost 100% subjective and I can't even articulate entirely what I mean.  Some of you may have a gut feeling for where I'm coming from, though.

So what I'm wondering is if there's any sort of post-processing that might be able to take a purely digital recording and get it somewhere in the ballpark of that analog magic.  Obviously it won't be exactly the same (particularly when I can't even explain entirely what I'm going for), but getting part of the way there would be a nice start.  I'd appreciate any ideas...this is pretty open-ended so any input is appreciated.
Title: Re: Post-processing for analog coloration/warmth/whatever?
Post by: noahbickart on January 24, 2020, 01:53:52 PM
Yes!! There are lots of plugins which saturate the signal to emulate the kinds of distortion caused by analog tubes, transistors and tape.

Here are three I've purchased and use with some frequency on the 16bit versions of the tapes I release.

https://www.soundtoys.com/product/radiator/ A "Tube" amp modeled on classic Altec preamps used in Motown

https://klanghelm.com/contents/products/SDRR/SDRR.php A very versatile plugin which covers tube, transformer and other kinds of distortion

https://blackroosteraudio.com/en/products/vpre-73 a plugin modeled to give the sound of a Neve preamp.
Title: Re: Post-processing for analog coloration/warmth/whatever?
Post by: if_then_else on January 24, 2020, 02:31:25 PM
Fabfilter Saturn (incl. various tape saturation presets)
https://www.fabfilter.com/products/saturn-multiband-distortion-saturation-plug-in
Title: Re: Post-processing for analog coloration/warmth/whatever?
Post by: heathen on January 24, 2020, 03:54:14 PM
Yes!! There are lots of plugins which saturate the signal to emulate the kinds of distortion caused by analog tubes, transistors and tape.

Here are three I've purchased and use with some frequency on the 16bit versions of the tapes I release.

https://www.soundtoys.com/product/radiator/ A "Tube" amp modeled on classic Altec preamps used in Motown

https://klanghelm.com/contents/products/SDRR/SDRR.php A very versatile plugin which covers tube, transformer and other kinds of distortion

https://blackroosteraudio.com/en/products/vpre-73 a plugin modeled to give the sound of a Neve preamp.

Thanks!  Is there one of those in particular you like best?
Title: Re: Post-processing for analog coloration/warmth/whatever?
Post by: heathen on January 24, 2020, 03:54:53 PM
Fabfilter Saturn (incl. various tape saturation presets)
https://www.fabfilter.com/products/saturn-multiband-distortion-saturation-plug-in

I'll try to test this and the ones Noah suggested.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Post-processing for analog coloration/warmth/whatever?
Post by: noahbickart on January 25, 2020, 06:54:03 PM
Try the klanghelm first. It has 4 modes (I use tube and desk), and it’s very inexpensive
Title: Re: Post-processing for analog coloration/warmth/whatever?
Post by: goodcooker on February 04, 2020, 07:24:29 AM

I use a touch of Waves L3 Ultramaximizer (older version VST plugin) on the mix buss on a lot of my recordings to provide light compression and a little more oomph. The presets are combinations of multiband limiters that provide gentle but effective coloration. Most of them are called things like "Loud and Proud", "Extreme Analog", "Lean and Mean"  and so on. Takes a little experimentation but I get a combination of a little more volume and some "color" although I'm definitely light on the touch with it. I generally prefer the "Extreme Analog" setting that emulates a high end optical compressor in line after any EQ I may slap on there.

https://www.waves.com/plugins/l3-multimaximizer#introduction-to-the-l3-and-l3-ll-multimaximizers



Title: Re: Post-processing for analog coloration/warmth/whatever?
Post by: wforwumbo on February 06, 2020, 10:41:38 AM
Just to chime in here...

My personal favorite (and part of my production signature now) is Soundtoys Decapitator. Radiator is great, it models a specific tube preamp while Decapitator models 3 tape machines, a triode tube, and a pentode tube.

Different flavors, but there’s room for both in a plug-in collection. Both are best IMO when used lightly rather than gratuitously.
Title: Re: Post-processing for analog coloration/warmth/whatever?
Post by: noahbickart on February 06, 2020, 01:05:55 PM
Just to chime in here...

My personal favorite (and part of my production signature now) is Soundtoys Decapitator. Radiator is great, it models a specific tube preamp while Decapitator models 3 tape machines, a triode tube, and a pentode tube.

Different flavors, but there’s room for both in a plug-in collection. Both are best IMO when used lightly rather than gratuitously.

Isn't the "N" setting on decapitator a model of a Neve mic preamp circuit as opposed to a tape deck?
Title: Re: Post-processing for analog coloration/warmth/whatever?
Post by: Ben Turnbull on February 07, 2020, 11:20:57 PM
I don't recall what DAW you employ but if it's Adobe Audition 3.0 there's a delivered "Mastering" tool box that is easy to use if you want to check out some specific... manipulations?  (Same tool set is available in CC revs I think.)

In normal edit view, pull down Effects | Special | Mastering and you'll see the elementary palate, attached. 

Use one or all. To "by pass" any effect just "0 out" the % application or set to Null points. A few delivered presets allow quick sampling and visual settings to be auditioned. The one shown started as Subtle Clarity which had much higher settings...

This tool can be used in multi track mode. I apply it to the mix, not separate channels.

I find it useful for adding a bit of life to otherwise flat sounding recordings. Normally, never more than 4% bumps to any of the tools. I use Ozone Imager to widen the field if it seems or is too Mono sounding.

Sorry if this is OT or redundant... 'Not sure if you can get warmth out of this set but I find it does add a tinch of sparkle or air.

BTW, the AA 3.0 manual is available here (https://www.manualslib.com/manual/393301/Adobe-Audition-3.html)