Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

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Guy Rowland
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Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Guy Rowland » Aug 08, 2018 2:37 pm

I only just survived the Soniccouture sale, now they're pulling a similar stunt with Softube:

https://www.native-instruments.com/en/s ... offer-2018

The heartbeat drum machine looks very appealing I have to say...



and there's the modular synth - Bill, you're a big fan of this, right?



Then there's the Weiss MM1 which I know has a lot of fans, though I feel rather maximised out and a ton of other stuff. Stuff....


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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by wst3 » Aug 08, 2018 3:52 pm

well craptastic! Sorry for the harsh language!

Yes Guy, I grow more and more enamored with Softube Modular every time I sit down and play with it. It is huge, it is deep, and it sounds lovely (well, it can sound lovely - I have also managed to make it sound awful, but I am learning!)

Even the basic package will keep one occupied for a long time. I also added a few extra modules:
  • 4ms PEG - this shows real promise, I love envelopes as modulators, and this one is very flexible. I have not mastered it yet, but I am happy learning to use it.
  • 4ms SMR - I've been looking for a filter that you can drive into oscillation, and control. This is it. Again I have more to learn, but it is fun!
  • Doepfer LPG - this makes me look brilliant. Maybe the easiest to use module I've run across, hardware or software. Everything just sounds better.
  • Intellijel Korgasmatron II - I have an MS-20, and I love it. This can mimic much of what the MS-20 filters do. I feel like I still have much to learn, but with this I can make things sound better.
  • Intellijel Rubicon - this will blow your mind. It is, or should be, basic FM synthesis. I still have no idea how to use it. The presets sound fantastic, but I can't get my head around it yet.
  • Mutable Instruments Clouds - more of the same. I understand granular synthesis, but I haven't created even one decent patch with Clouds.
Honestly, if I had known just how deep some of these are I'd probably have waited till I had a better grasp of Modular by itself. Sometimes I guess you just have to jump into the deep end???

I strongly urge anyone that is in the least bit curious to download the demo of Modular. It is really cool.

I did not feel the same way about Heartbeat. Maybe I just don't get it, but I don't get it<G>!

Others that I (over-)use a lot:
Fix Flanger, Fix Phaser, Fix Doubler - These were my first Softube plugins, and they give my Instant Flanger and Instant Phaser (hardware & software) a run for their money.

Mutator -just picked this up. AMAZING filter. I've had a Mutron III since 1975, this is better. How is that possible?

Tape - there are better tape emulations (I like the UA Studer and Ampex myself), but this works seamlessly in Studio One. I wish UA would do the same trick.

Tube Delay - as if I didn't have enough delays already, but this does bring some new sounds to the mix, and it integrates into Modular, which is pretty cool. (Waiting for Mutator to integrate into Modular as well!)

Now the bad news - or news I'd have written differently<G>... Volume 2 is the way to go if you have none of their plugins. Once you have a couple you are somewhat out of luck. You'll pay a small fortune to upgrade to Volume 2. Pity! There are still some of their plugins I would not hate to have at my disposal. I have the UA version of the Trident A-Range, but a native version would be nice too. And all the Summit stuff sounds great - really wish I had not tried the demos. But I will probably pass on these because I do have plugins that cover those functions, and I just can't justify paying so much to add them. It is nearly cheaper to buy them individually. Hey, there is always the chance for a sale<G>!

More good news - while Modular is not yet wired to their Console 1 control surface (I do hope that happens) all the rest of their plugins are, and it makes a huge difference (mixing with my ears instead of my eyes) for this old dog.

Now aren't you glad you asked?


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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Guy Rowland » Aug 08, 2018 6:29 pm

wst3 wrote:
Aug 08, 2018 3:52 pm
Now aren't you glad you asked?
Bill, I truly am. As someone jaded at the mention of almost anything gear-wise these days, you've got me all enthused. Incidentally, do you have any experience with the VC 2A? I have a lot of UAD stuff, but not their LA-2A package which I keep reading is supposedly the most magical blah blah... is the VC 2A much the same?

As to the modular.... I don't really understand half of the modules you mentioned. I know I'd need a lot of time and patience to get anything serious out of it, two things I all too frequently lack. That said, I'm considering a few life changes in the months and years ahead, and there's a chance this will liberate quite a lot of time. One for a different thread, perhaps.

Oh, and how about that reverb?


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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by wst3 » Aug 08, 2018 8:18 pm

You are quite correct about time and patience - the Modular is deep, maybe as deep as something like Max or Massive or Reaktor, just different deep. But you can get some great sounds out of the included modules, and they are conventional building blocks.

The reverb - it's nice, and if it were one of the first I used I'd probably love it. Heck, it is really nice, but it isn't nicer than other reverbs that I have and use and am accustomed to. If that makes sense.

If one were on a Softube kick then TSAR is a great choice. Just as the EMT Plate 140 and Lexi 224 (and DreamVerb) were great choices for me when I was on my UA kick. Now do I make sense?

The VC 2A - I haven't tried it. Same basic deal, I have the LA2A from UA (the original, not even the newer, better one) My best guess is that the VC 2A sounds like a tube based leveler/compressor/limiter with an optical detector. Which is really useful on some sources, not so much on others.

Better/Worse doesn't really apply here. Maybe better/worse for a specific application, but not overall. All the top tier plugins (Native and DSP) are really good these days.

Or in other words, it is darned difficult to go wrong with UA, Brainworx, Softube, and many others.

Do give the Modular a spin!


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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Guy Rowland » Aug 09, 2018 4:31 am

Thanks Bill - and I find my enthusiasm waning because all you say is clearly true. £199 is an outstanding deal, but I can point to every element in it and say "but I have a really good thingy from XYZ that does essentially the same job". I'll be getting NI blocks with Komplete 12, which I know is different in a few ways to Modular, but clearly its a similar beast. Which perhaps only leaves Heartbeat, so it was perhaps a little sobering to hear its been the one you haven't especially engaged with, Bill.

Indeed Komplete 12 does loom large over this for me. That said, I may even hold off that if in the end they have to drop Kontakt 6 from the line up.


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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Erik » Aug 11, 2018 6:33 pm

I tried Heartbeat a while back and it didn’t make it - for starters, no sequencer on board so it’s a big Negative for me.
Modular was at 39€ a coup’e of weeks back, so it will come back I’m sure. And yes there
s Reaktor and its Blocks
About comps : we have 3 units from
Softube in Komplete, so...
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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Thomas Mavian » Aug 12, 2018 4:11 am

Well as the Softube "fanboy" I've become lately I must say that upgrading from Vol 1 to Vol 2 was a no-brainer. To answer your initial questions Guy I'm sorry to say that I use neither of Modular or Heartbeat. Haven't even started Modular because I believe it's a black hole that will suck me in and let me do nothing else but tweak :)

Heartbeat can pull out a few nice sounds but I don't like the "workflow" with it. Can't put my finger on it but we just don't "click".

All their other stuff is great. The reverb is really great, would use it way more but my UAD reverbs almost always get the job done (if not I turn to Eventide 2016 or Altiverb). I had the Trident in UAD form first but like the fact that Softubes works "better" within Console 1.

I thought I was covered with "maximizing" plugins but the Weiss plays in a whole different league.

And, the UAD LA2A needs to be experienced, one of my favourite UADs ever (along Ampex ATR-102!).
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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Lawrence » Aug 12, 2018 4:20 am

The two UAD plugs I seriously miss after having my second PCI card orphaned were LA2A and the Plate 150.
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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Guy Rowland » Aug 12, 2018 4:42 am

We're veering off topic a little, but can you describe in words what makes the UAD LA2A sound / behave differently? All I really know is that the original technology was optical (somehow) and people eulogise over its magical properties.


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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Lawrence » Aug 12, 2018 5:21 am

All about sound for me, Guy. I loved it on vocals....it seemed to smooth things out and have a warm, dare I say analog, effect.
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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Thomas Mavian » Aug 12, 2018 5:26 am

Yes, the sound. It's smooth and "slow" and distorts in a nice way if you push it a tad. Plus the workflow, 2 knobs and that's it :)
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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Tanuj Tiku » Aug 12, 2018 6:30 am

Lawrence wrote:
Aug 12, 2018 4:20 am
The two UAD plugs I seriously miss after having my second PCI card orphaned were LA2A and the Plate 150.
This is a very good one from Waves Larry if you are interested - a steal at $45

https://www.waves.com/plugins/abbey-roa ... erb-plates


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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Lawrence » Aug 12, 2018 7:01 am

Thanks Tanuj-my main worry about it is that I get the idea it's a little cpu hungry.
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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by wst3 » Aug 12, 2018 10:14 am

Guy Rowland wrote:
Aug 12, 2018 4:42 am
We're veering off topic a little, but can you describe in words what makes the UAD LA2A sound / behave differently? All I really know is that the original technology was optical (somehow) and people eulogise over its magical properties.
'I think I mentioned earlier that I do not turn to the LA2A with the same frequency as many others do. This isn't the fault of the plugin so much as it is the influence of my early mentors. We had optical compressors, and it is true that they sound different. If I were going to go all geek I'd describe the non-linearities of light sources, I'll spare you. Suffice it to say that the release curve (and to a lesser degree the attack curve) sound almost adaptive. It is a very nice sound on tracks without a lot of really sharp transients. It can be an interesting sound on transients as well. This is, to my ears/experience, the biggest difference between the LA2A and the LA3A - the solid state design reacts more predictably to transients.

Anyway, I do use the UA LA3 plugin a lot more than the LA2, but when I was a wee lad we had LA3's and LA4's - and the 1176. The later is probably the most versatile dynamics processor I've used. It won't sound exactly like an LA2/3/4, or an Altec 436, or a dBX 160, but it will get close to all of those, and it has it's own list of tricks that the others can not do.

In the right hands I think all three of the UA dynamics processor plugins have magical properties (as do their hardware counterparts.) Not sure what was in the water when these were designed, but I'd love a sip or two. Sadly my hands are not always "the right" ones<G>!


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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by wst3 » Aug 12, 2018 10:49 am

Thomas Mavian wrote:
Aug 12, 2018 4:11 am
Well as the Softube "fanboy" I've become lately I must say that upgrading from Vol 1 to Vol 2 was a no-brainer.
Sadly I already owned enough of their plugins that the upgrade to Vol 1 was not attractive, and since then the upgrade to Vol 2 has become even less attractive! (That, and I do have the UA versions of some of these already - it would be cool if there was some kind of cross-grade!)

Aside - I try to shop wisely, meaning I wait for a sale if I can. At the same time I do not (usually) begrudge the pricing of (perceived?) higher end software. But I too have become accustomed to both the never ending sale model, and especially the loyalty model. In my case I'd get Vol 2 if I could get credit for all the plugins I already own, or they made it easier to resell them. There just isn't anything there that is so tempting that I'd shoot myself in the foot (financially). Which is a pity, because some of them might be fun.
Thomas Mavian wrote:To answer your initial questions Guy I'm sorry to say that I use neither of Modular or Heartbeat. Haven't even started Modular because I believe it's a black hole that will suck me in and let me do nothing else but tweak :)
You have that right! Modular - even the base configuration - is a HUGE TIME SOAK. I removed it from my template for the time being because I wouldn't get anything done. I am definitely still in schoolboy mode!
Thomas Mavian wrote:Heartbeat can pull out a few nice sounds but I don't like the "workflow" with it. Can't put my finger on it but we just don't "click".
Same here, I was expecting much more, and I did try to use it almost every day of the demo period. But nothing leapt out.
Thomas Mavian wrote:All their other stuff is great. The reverb is really great, would use it way more but my UAD reverbs almost always get the job done (if not I turn to Eventide 2016 or Altiverb).
Reverb has become, for me, the one effect that has matured to the point that I no longer watch for new plugins.

I LOVE the Eventide reverbs, especially the 2016 (always lusted for one of those when hardware ruled the world!), and Black Hole (which is somewhat constrained in application, but sounds awesome when it works.)

I LOVE Zynaptiq Adaptiverb, and find myself using it more and more often. In addition to sounding "weird" it can sound quite lovely.

I am still looking for a spot-on version of the OLD Ursa Major Space Station. Audiority Polaris does some cool things, even extends the original concept in some ways.

BUT!!! Most of the time I turn to the UAD EMT Plate 140, and Lexi 224, the Exponential Audio R4 and PhoenixVerb, Valhalla VintageVerb, and Liquidsonics Reverberate and (recently) Seventh Heaven. That's a TON of reverb options. I do have a difficult time imagining a new reverb that offers something new (not that there is anything wrong with that!)
Thomas Mavian wrote:I had the Trident in UAD form first but like the fact that Softubes works "better" within Console 1.
I really wish you hadn't put that bug in my ear! Since getting a Console 1 I've started really focusing on the Softube and UA plugins that it can control. I never imagined there would be a difference. Now I guess I need to look into that. I really hope you are wrong<G>!
Thomas Mavian wrote:I thought I was covered with "maximizing" plugins but the Weiss plays in a whole different league.
This is a category I don't really use. The Weiss sounds interesting, if you are doing mastering work, but I shy away from that, so I'm not sure I'd get much use from it. If I am wrong about that please do not tell me<G>!
Thomas Mavian wrote:And, the UAD LA2A needs to be experienced, one of my favourite UADs ever (along Ampex ATR-102!).
Agree completely on the Ampex ATR-102, and would add the Studer A-800 and the Ocean Way Room to my list of favorites.

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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Thomas Mavian » Aug 12, 2018 11:55 am

wst3 wrote:
Aug 12, 2018 10:49 am
You have that right! Modular - even the base configuration - is a HUGE TIME SOAK. I removed it from my template for the time being because I wouldn't get anything done. I am definitely still in schoolboy mode!
Haha! Reading this and the rest I believe we have a lot in common... (I've cut a few were we just agree :) )
wst3 wrote:
Aug 12, 2018 10:49 am
Reverb has become, for me, the one effect that has matured to the point that I no longer watch for new plugins.

I LOVE the Eventide reverbs, especially the 2016 (always lusted for one of those when hardware ruled the world!), and Black Hole (which is somewhat constrained in application, but sounds awesome when it works.)
[snip]...
wst3 wrote:
Aug 12, 2018 10:49 am
BUT!!! Most of the time I turn to the UAD EMT Plate 140, and Lexi 224, the Exponential Audio R4 and PhoenixVerb, Valhalla VintageVerb, and Liquidsonics Reverberate and (recently) Seventh Heaven. That's a TON of reverb options. I do have a difficult time imagining a new reverb that offers something new (not that there is anything wrong with that!)
Yes. The 140, 224, 2016 and Ocean Way has a lot covered. I bought the EMT 250 last Christmas (impulse buy) but haven't really heard the greatness in it that others rave about. Should have demoed first...
wst3 wrote:
Aug 12, 2018 10:49 am
Thomas Mavian wrote:I had the Trident in UAD form first but like the fact that Softubes works "better" within Console 1.
I really wish you hadn't put that bug in my ear! Since getting a Console 1 I've started really focusing on the Softube and UA plugins that it can control. I never imagined there would be a difference. Now I guess I need to look into that. I really hope you are wrong<G>!
Well, don't read too much in that sentence, it works "better" by showing the curve in console 1's GUI, that's all really. Sonically I think they are very close. I got it "for free" when buying Vol. 1 so to speak. Wouldn't buy it especially for Console 1 if you get me.
wst3 wrote:
Aug 12, 2018 10:49 am
Thomas Mavian wrote:I thought I was covered with "maximizing" plugins but the Weiss plays in a whole different league.
This is a category I don't really use. The Weiss sounds interesting, if you are doing mastering work, but I shy away from that, so I'm not sure I'd get much use from it. If I am wrong about that please do not tell me<G>!
Well, when I send something to mastering I expect it to sound almost exactly as what I sent, only levels (and some slight EQ-change) please! I'm totally with Mixerman on this one :) If it sounds way off then my mix was way of to begin with. The Weiss let's me do "mastering" of "lesser" projects by myself, it doesn't muck with the sound (if you don't want it to).
wst3 wrote:
Aug 12, 2018 10:49 am
Thomas Mavian wrote:And, the UAD LA2A needs to be experienced, one of my favourite UADs ever (along Ampex ATR-102!).
Agree completely on the Ampex ATR-102, and would add the Studer A-800 and the Ocean Way Room to my list of favorites.
And the Precision K :)
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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by wst3 » Aug 12, 2018 1:16 pm

We do seem to have very similar tastes!

Working backwards...

I think almost all the Precision plugins are wonderful, and do exactly what they say. I don't often feel the need to use them, but when I want them they really are the only thing that does the trick. In addition to Precision K I'd add the Precision enhancers as gems.

I long ago decided that neither my ears nor my gear is up to the task of mastering, so if I need something mastered I send it out. I do make every attempt to provide a mix that doesn't require any massive surgery.

What I do to tracks that I don't send out I'd call "pre-mastering", and I might benefit from more than Waves L2 I suppose. That is a path I have not wandered down yet!

And thanks for the additional information on the integration with Console 1. I think I will put that off until someday when Vol 2 becomes attractive.

I did demo the EMT 250, and I was unable to make magic with it, so I haven't purchased it. And while I do love the sound of a Lexicon 224, I'd probably be quite happy with the EMT plate and Ocean Way - I think that has more to do with my current ideas about what things should sound like, and that has a lot to do with stuff I used "growing up". I could be wrong about any and all of that!

Cool stuff all!


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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Guy Rowland » Aug 12, 2018 4:27 pm

Interesting discussion, thanks guys.

I don't know if I should post this... I just don't get excited about what seems to me to be often very subtle differences. I have most of those UAD reverbs, and I like them and use them from time to time. But often I'm perfectly happy using my humble Waves Renaissance, which I know like the back of my hand (I do share your enthusiasm for Blackhole and Adaptiverb though Bill, for the right applications). Similar story with my boring Waves C1 for basic compression chores, and I like the Supercharger XT for vocals, nice and versatile. I have the UAD Neve 33609 and... yeah. Maybe my ears are shot, but I don't hear such an incredible difference. As long as the tools are of a good solid standard, I've always felt that skill in using that level of tools is massively more important... like if I had a $1,000 compressor the result might be 0.5% better, but if I had better skills the result would be 100% better.

Just to undermine my own argument, something about that LA2A intrigues me though, I'll be on the lookout during their sales.


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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by wst3 » Aug 12, 2018 5:56 pm

Guy Rowland wrote:
Aug 12, 2018 4:27 pm
<snippity> Maybe my ears are shot, but I don't hear such an incredible difference.
I doubt that your ears are shot, many of the differences are very subtle. Sometimes that is important to the person producing the track, sometimes it is not.

I used C1 for ages, and I still turn to it (or C4) when I need really precise control over dynamics.

Which brings up one of my pet peeves.

It is very cool to be able to create a software version of famous (and often unobtanium) hardware. It can't be easy, and some of these emulations are really good. Which is fine as far as it goes. But I don't believe it goes far enough. Why not take that exact copy as a starting point and add new features, things the hardware could never do? First person to do that well makes all my other plugins obsolete!

The flip side of that is almost good - Soundtoys has developed some of the finest effects processors around, and they are capable of emulating some of the old hardware. But you have to work pretty hard to get there, it is far from intuitive. (Their presets are a good starting point!) if they were to provide an emulation mode that would be so cool!
Guy Rowland wrote:As long as the tools are of a good solid standard, I've always felt that skill in using that level of tools is massively more important... like if I had a $1,000 compressor the result might be 0.5% better, but if I had better skills the result would be 100% better.
It is all about that last 1% Guy! It may be foolhardy (it probably is) but sometimes you just have to swing for the fences even if you know up front that no one but you will know the difference.

As an example, I have most of the UA amplifier sims, and quite a few others. The UA stuff is the gold standard for now, and if I were honest with myself I'd have to argue that the plugins sound more like the real hardware (or what I'd like the real hardware to sound like<G>) than the real hardware. That Fender 5E3 is just gorgeous. I also have the Line6 Helix, which I take out these days (on the rare occasions when I play out) - so much easier!!

And yet when push comes to shove I will hook up my amplifiers and pedals, arrange my microphones, and record the moving air. I think it sounds better. Of course I can't prove that, since better is a subjective measurement. But I like it.
Guy Rowland wrote:Just to undermine my own argument, something about that LA2A intrigues me though, I'll be on the lookout during their sales.
We all do that from time to time!


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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Guy Rowland » Aug 13, 2018 3:51 am

Well Bill, I guess I see that a little differently too. On my imaginary scale, the greatest music ever made gets to 100%. Let's be charitable and big myself up to say at my peak I reach 50%. I think getting a $1000 compressor might get me to 50.1%. Whereas I always feel I should be focusing on the big - 1) composition - is that REALLY the best melody / lyrics? 2) arrangement and 3) mix. In (3) specifically, that compressor might make the mix itself 1% better, but all the other core mixing skills are much more important - how I actually use a compressor.

Put another way, the greatest mixers in the world using my rig would likely produce massively better mixes than me using theirs. I mean, I'm not utterly useless, but c'mon. Incidentally, increasingly I'm of the opinion that most of the challenges we face when mixing (and mastering even further down the line) are often because the arrangement itself is problematic. So many of the songs I admire the most are really simple, but they just have exactly the right elements. I still have this tendency to over-layer, a modern curse - once that was a huge technical challenge, now its way too easy.

Sorry for this absurd tangent, but I guess reluctantly dragging back to something even remotely approaching On Topic, whenever I face these sorts of decisions, the loud voice in my head is always telling me that this is a bogus choice. I have enough, many times over, to make outstanding music and when it isn't outstanding the problem is extremely unlikely to be that I don't have an LA2A as opposed to a 33609. I 100% agree that having great tools is vitally important, it's just that in truth I think I have them. Its why I always get more excited by something that feels new rather than Another Variation. And thinking about it, this is much more common in my world of audio post than in music. If I don't buy the latest version of RX when it comes out, I'll be left behind because each release makes possible something once impossible. Clients get used to that awfully quickly, and rightly so. For music making, it feels relatively static.

Right, morning pontification mode off, time to crack on...


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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Lawrence » Aug 13, 2018 4:11 am

The LA2A came with the UAD card I bought as part of a starter set (this is the Legacy version, btw). Before that I had been using various stuff, Waves Renaissance compressor for a while (really pretty nice as I recall), stock Cubase, Waves C1.

When I started using the LA2A, I literally stopped looking for another compressor for vocals. It was dead simple and fit the sound I heard in my head more than anything I'd had. I've never owned a high end hardware piece, but the studio I used to work at had various good ones including 1176s and some DBX units. This was the closest I got to a 'record' sound (and with my mixing skills, that isn't very close).

One thing I was surprised at-I don't get on with any of the Izotope ones from Ozone 7. Eh.
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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Thomas Mavian » Aug 13, 2018 4:28 am

I shall not argue to much Guy (since I agree with most of what you say), but I think that if YOU were to buy a compressor for $1000 I believe you knew what you were buying and that would indeed get you further than 0.1% on your scale.

The old mantra "It's not the tools, it's how you use them" is very true, but inside that sentence is also the fact that if you know your tools you know when to reach for an LA2A or a 3609 :)

Disclaimer: I would never pretend that I know all my tools but taking the LA2A and driving it a bit on vocals makes me use less EQ than if I'd use a stock DAW compressor, which means that I work faster :)

I usually print the LA2A (AT-4047 -> Apollo -> Neve 1073 (Unison) -> LA2A -> Rec) when tracking vocals.
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Re: Softube / NI bundle sale up to 75% off

Post by Guy Rowland » Aug 13, 2018 8:54 am

More good posts you two. Well, tis true I've never tried an optical compressor so I may yet be surprised. My scepticism is really based on my experience or compressors and eqs that, thus far, never quite match the levels of enthusiasm that others have reported, but first time for everything....

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