Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by Henry Olonga » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:35 am

Michael's on the money and I agree with everything he has said. I love all his tapes - so well thought out and sound amazing. I look forward to his future productions.

I just wish the 'other guys' wouldn't spend so much time slagging off Neb. Nebula and VTM-M2 is just plain astounding. It can be taken as a backhanded compliment in a way that they would bother to take the time to slag off a product that they think is not as good as theirs. :lol:. One thing is for sure - value for money is not on their side - and they know that.

I kind of compare it to the sampled stuff from imperfect piano verses pianoteq. The sampled stuff just sounds alot more real although maybe not as playable or resource light. Each to their own.

The 'hype' is just a little irritating from some folks.......right I will keep my thoughts to myself now.

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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by SWAN » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:49 pm

I think its important to remain balanced-even though I am very fond of AA and Nebula.
Nebula is a pain in the arse to use compared to algo plugs-so I can understand why people might want a more usable solution. By many accounts the Slate VTM does sound good.

However I do think Slate were naughty to use / abuse the 'kernal based' competitor in the way they did in their promo video. As Henry points out - its doubtless partly because they are aware that it is a stong competitor. Perhaps also due to the Alex B past...

Of course each developer makes claims their version is the best. I dont know what it is that makes Michael sure that his implementation of tape (VTM_M2) is better or more accurate than Fabrice. Purely being passionate about tape sound isnt really evidence-although its good to see Michael fight his corner. I just wish there was more marketing for R2R and the combined process.

I do trust my ears and of any processing in the box I always found Nebula to be non destructive to the integrity of the signal. I think it would be great if someone did a mix and compared the R2R studer, Tapebooster and VTMM2....with the Slate VTM.

I seem to remember it rather put to bed the UAD Studer on the UAD forum - and it could be rather good marketing for CDS...
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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by Mercado_Negro » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:29 am

I processed some SSD4 drums with both plug-ins, Slate's VTM and Nebula. Zero extra processing, no eq, no comp, nothing, just tape. Nothing on the Master Track either.

ITB audio file (no VTM, no Nebula):
http://www.mediafire.com/?1m800hnulory464

One Nebula instance per track:

Kick: Studer_-15_15a + TapeBoost 96 Lo2 + VTM-M2 (-17dB Input/15dB Output, "Hi" setting)
Snare: Studer_-15_15a + TapeBoost 96 Lo2 (no VTM-M2 in this case, it "swallowed" it too much)
Hi-Hats: Studer_-15_15a + TapeBoost96Med1 + VTM-M2 (-7dB Input/-6dB Output, "Hi" setting)
Rack Tom L: Studer_-15_15a + TapeBoost 96 Lo2 + VTM-M2 (-17dB Input/15dB Output, "Hi" setting)
Rack Tom R: Studer_-15_15a + TapeBoost 96 Lo2 + VTM-M2 (-17dB Input/15dB Output, "Hi" setting)
Floor Tom: Studer_-15_15a + TapeBoost 96 Lo2 + VTM-M2 (-17dB Input/15dB Output, "Hi" setting)
Overheads: Studer_-15_15a + TapeBoost96Med2 + VTM-M2 (0.0dB Input/0.0dB Output, "Hi" setting)
Room: Studer_-15_15a + TapeBoost 96 Lo2 + VTM-M2 (0.0dB Input/0.0dB Output, "Hi" setting)

Nebula Audio File:
http://www.mediafire.com/?q337zn6ghon97ob


One VTM instance per track: (Bass Alignment: 0dB; Noise: -40dB; Wow & Flutter: zero percent)

Kick: 2-inches 16 Tracks Machine @15ips and using the FG9 tape (+2.6dB Input/-2.6dB Output)
Snare: 2-inches 16 Tracks Machine @15ips and using the FG9 tape (+4.1dB Input/-4.1dB Output)
Hi-Hat: 2-inches 16 Tracks Machine @15ips and using the FG9 tape (+7.2dB Input/-7.2dB Output)
Rack Tom L: 2-inches 16 Tracks Machine @15ips and using the FG9 tape (+5.4dB Input/-5.4dB Output)
Rack Tom R: 2-inches 16 Tracks Machine @15ips and using the FG9 tape (+4.2dB Input/-4.2dB Output)
Floor Tom: 2-inches 16 Tracks Machine @15ips and using the FG9 tape (+5.1dB Input/-5.1dB Output)
Overheads: 2-inches 16 Tracks Machine @15ips and using the FG9 tape (+8.5dB Input/-8.5dB Output)
Room: 2-inches 16 Tracks Machine @15ips and using the FG9 tape (+4.8dB Input/-4.8dB Output)

VTM Audio File:
http://www.mediafire.com/?1z8d9dvzis24218

All tracks were properly gain-staged (-3dBVU/0dBVU), except Room and Overheads which I usually don't gain-stage, using Klanghelm Audio VUMT for Nebula and VTM's own meters.

SSD4 tracks were individually rendered to prevent changes in dynamic, i.e., I worked on audio files.

If you need more info, please let me know.

Now let your ears be the judge... :)
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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by SWAN » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:34 am

Thank you! now to listen...
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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by mathias » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:07 am

great example! thanks for this.

compared to the unprocessed file:

the nebula/vtm-m2-processed mix keeps the balance between the different parts of the drumset. it sounds natural, gives some level to high frequencies.
brings up the room-sound of the recording. makes a big and deep image.

the slate-vtm processed file makes the sound sharp (reacts pretty strong to mid/midhigh sounds, accentuates transients). the bassdrum sounds flat and lifeless, the distortion is a bit too obvious. the roomimpression stays pretty much the same. overall it sounds pushing and a little sharp.


i personally like the nebula/vtm-m2-sound much better.
but i think to be fair, one should try to finetune the slate-vtm, to see what you can get. it seems, that some instances of the plugin were a little overdriven.
on the other hand this shows, what you can get "out of the box" without much tweaking.
let's see what others hear......

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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by Mercado_Negro » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:22 am

mathias wrote:it seems, that some instances of the plugin were a little overdriven.
No, they were not overdriven. The plug-in has a big headroom and this tape, the FG9, is the one that has more. I tried to make "pushed" examples to see what they were capable of and how they reacted to dynamic changes, transients, etc. I checked each element on its own and then heard everything as a whole, one by one, track by track. Fine-tuned it as much as I could, right to the point where I could hear the distortion and then pulled them a bit down.

Surprisingly, with Nebula it was much faster. Maybe because I knew what to use (I've become very intimate with each R2R and TapeBoost program).
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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by SWAN » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:02 am

my first impression is this:

The Nebula example has a slight high end lift which is opposite to the slate example...this does potentially make it more difficult to draw comparisons...However - it sounds open which is pleasant - and perhaps that contributes to the feeling of improved handling of the signal upon saturation - ie it doesnt sound congested at all by the distortion/saturation. In fact - you can hardly hear the saturation - the signal just sounds bigger. You only hear the saturation when you switch back to the original. In this context - you could say the processing is an effortless addition to the signal.

The Slate example sounds like a saturated and compressed version of the original track-however having a slight low end boost and softening of highs-and it adds punch. These are all regarded as favorable attributes. My concern with the highs and lows are - do they sound natural and do they breathe with dynamics? Or are they choked or false sounding...Im not sure yet how I feel about this. If Im honest - in many of the demos of SLate VTM I have not felt that feeling of enjoyment I can get from an analogue process. I wont bother describing that here with words because that is not politically correct these days - but people know what I mean.
I have to say Im not sure I hear anything massively exciting in the Slate VTM more so than other algo saturation tape examples. The switching on and off of the VTM examples gives that 'oh wow - volume boost...some bass and less highs....' But is it really musical sounding...Im not sure.

I wonder if there might be a more EQ neutral preset in R2R to compare with...
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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by Mercado_Negro » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:53 am

SWAN wrote:I wonder if there might be a more EQ neutral preset in R2R to compare with...
Ok, here you go:

http://www.mediafire.com/?hdndgw42lfntdvd

I used the "Studer_-9_15a" program this time and since this changed the saturation I also had to change some TapeBooster programs.

Cheers
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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by lipa » Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:39 am

thanks for this comparision! ;) i liked nebula much better too.. (..but the kick is distorted on every track - preamp hitting ad converter too hard)

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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by mickdundee63 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:03 pm

I can see the punch from VTM being useful to get drums to cut through but nebula seems like it would be better for thickening/enlivening.

Maybe even a subtle (as possible) VTM instance plus tapebooster could work? Mercado IIRC you said that VTM + VTM-M2 was not outrageous?

Given both approaches are praised for their accuracy I was not expecting such a big difference. Have the nebula chain but will probably end up getting VTM as well. Poor wallet.

I suspect the way that both approaches integrate with console emulations will be relevant as well. VTM sounds tighter and dryer to me in a way that might be beneficial in some circumstance but throwing an Alexb console in the mix I find narrows and defines things a bit as well so maybe it would work with the nebula approach better. Will have to demo to do my own comparisons but this is a really big help - Thanks Mercado!

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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by SWAN » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:42 pm

Mercado_Negro wrote:
SWAN wrote:I wonder if there might be a more EQ neutral preset in R2R to compare with...
Ok, here you go:

http://www.mediafire.com/?hdndgw42lfntdvd

I used the "Studer_-9_15a" program this time and since this changed the saturation I also had to change some TapeBooster programs.

Cheers
great!

Close!

The Slate VTM has more low end and a bit more punch. It punches the transients harder but the rest of the signal appears less compressed. Im not sure if I like the way it pushes the transient through-sounds slightly exaggerated.

The Nebula example to me sounds a bit more open prob because of less treble roll off - and you can hear the room sound more.

Theres not a lot in it - it was my second attempt I got 100% correct in an ABX test...

I dont yet have the VTM-M2 plugin which is another $179 on top of $99 + $39 in Nebula, or $149+$49...total $319 or $368...then there is the requirement for offline processing/latency.

Slate VTM is $200 with lower latency.

Id prefer to support AA and CDS-as I think the results are marginally more natural.
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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by sfunk » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:57 pm

I am with you Swan. I can not and will not support, buy or have ANYTHING to do with Slate products at all. The marketing for this plugin has been completely objectionable; from the start "Slate" was making comments defaming all the current tape emulations saying they weren't good enough and we have this recent video that is just an outright smear at Nebula. Lets not even talk about the obligatory thread on Gearslutz that just gets bumped 24/7 with salivating, hyped up "posters" :roll:

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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by Mercado_Negro » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:13 pm

mickdundee63 wrote:Mercado IIRC you said that VTM + VTM-M2 was not outrageous?
Not at all. VTM-M2 is my favorite plug-in, nothing can really do what it does. It shapes transients, enhance the stereo image, smoothens the low-end and tames hi-frequencies like no other plug-in in my toolbox. I even use it without tape emulations. I've been using it in my Master Track, right after VCC, for a long long time and I'm very pleased with the results. I don't believe in magic plug-ins but this VTM-M2 thing has some serious voodoo coded inside heh

I used VTM + VTM-M2 a few hours ago on a rough mix I had to pull out real quick for a client. I kept VTM at unity and VTM-M2 at -17dB/15dB (in/out)... really nice.

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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by yr » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:27 pm

Interesting thread. Hard to say how much closer to Nebula you can get with Slate without actually testing it. In any case, if you like supporting small developers and don't miss looking at spinning reels, ReelBus and ToTape2 are good options. Below are a couple of files I made from the original drum sample:

ToTape2 (x2- it's a subtle effect):
http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?2b6yacom2c55ovw

ReelBus: (+2db [email protected] to match R2R sample better):
http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?wboozmtj9a6pwmq

STN NAG30 (x2)+ polysquasher:
http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?aauv9qlsuuuw5pi
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Re: Slate VTM VS Nebula R2R + Tape Boost ETC...

Post by Martinez » Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:01 am

I sold my guitar amp to move interstate and have not replaced it yet.

When I was re-amping some DI'd tracks I was mixing I noticed something about the amp sim that I was using.
It is not musical!!!

It suddenly dawned on me that the reason I have had such trouble getting useable sounds through the amp sims is because the distortion they produce is not musical.
There just isn't another way to say it other than to say that they make a noise like a guitar amp but they aren't musical like one.

I suspect the same is true of all analogue gear including tape.

The experience with the amp sim just really brought home this truth for me.
Before that I didn't know what it was that wasn't as good about digital approximations of these bits of analogue gear.

Not Musical!!!

I knew what the outcome of this comparison between S#@#te and neula would be before I even read any of the responses.

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