Critical Listening Audio Samples
* indicates: All music written, recorded, and mixed by Michael Angel, Copyright Michael Angel.
*Acoustic Guitar before and after Tape Booster +
Stereo acoustic guitar track, first dry, then one pass through the new saturation program, then a second pass, a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth time. Gradually, the volume, largeness, presence, all increase. At more apparent gain, we start to hear the first signs of noticeable distorting, but it takes several stages, which is good, as we want as much clean sounding signal with as much perceived volume before audible distortion.
But now, if I process this same file through the Akai from R2R, and saturate it by the exact same procedure, listen to how dramatic the saturation has built into a very true, very accurate, distorted signal! In 3 steps, our signal has gone from subtle to radical gain!
Let’s listen to the same process on the wonderful old Lafayette tube mono reel to reel at 7.5 IPS. By the third render, we hear a lot more harmonic content and accentuation of overtones than the Akai, and slightly less distorted ‘drive’. All volumes are the same at each stage and eq has a dynamic effect at a range of 10 decibels, each producing harmonic content that is unique to the machine. WooHoo!!!
Listen to the Studer, first by itself, then a single pass at a time. Compare this to the Dry sample we first listened to. The harmonic content is similar, because of the quality of the Studer at 15 IPS, but the resulting harmonic response is extremely unique to the machine, not just by eq, but in the character of the driven signal. It ‘buzzes’ differently. It ‘hears’ tones differently. Everything elusive that we have tried to describe in creative terms about these wonderful machines. Now we can push them a bit harder beyond their comfort zone. Yes, the saturation program works well on its own. But, it is specifically created to respond accurately in unison with these real R2R machines.
First, let’s check out a drum track dry, then processed one rendering at a time through the new program:
It scales up with almost perfect precision, appearing steadily louder and louder at the same peak volume without any effect on transient peaks. Distortion only appears when driven as far as it can go before break-up occurs. Wow, this is really working!
So, does this work in use on multiple
tracks individually? Yes!
Here is the result of a single saturation instance on each track of my drum multi-track session:
Now, listen to the same result with a second saturation to the mixdown:
The result is very different from the same levels of harmonic drive in the first example where it was only applied to the entire mix. So, we have true variant dynamic, frequency dependent change happening here. This rocks! 🙂
Some people may be thinking, "yeah, but surely the subtle aspect of that Studer machine won’t hold up in a drum example. I mean, maybe he can make overtones sound rich with an acoustic guitar, but drum peaks are the determining factor in whether subtle changes are really happening."
OK, let’s take a listen!
First, the same drum session processed with the Studer a single time at mixdown, then processed with saturation one rendering at a time:
So, if the theory holds true, processing exactly the same mix with the Studer on each track, matched levels to the dry version, if I get unique results from saturating this at mixdown, then the subtle character of the Studer is acting upon each independent element of the mix in a unique dynamic and eq manner, than handling it all at once at mixdown. And, the saturator is able to build upon this characteristic uniquely at each pass. Let’s see if the results are unique:
I would say they are very different! And, they both sound unique in the correct ways, from peaks to overtones to audible drive and distortion. I would assume that more build-up on individual tracks on the real machine would sound more ambient and different than a collective mix-pass. Again, this is really a breakthrough!
Now, let’s listen to a Guitar first dry then saturation, then the same first running through the Revox, and second through the Studer.
Now, let’s hear a guitar first dry
then saturation, then through the Studer first, and then using
one of our reverb "real spaces" from
"The Producer’s Pack 2"!