Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

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jazzhobby
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Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by jazzhobby » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:24 pm

greetings,

i am new to the forum and Nebula3. for the most part everything is excellent and i am impressed with the sound quality and sophistication of this software.

however, i'm having some issues with the AlexB PCS Preamp Color Suite libary. mainly, i'm not hearing any noticable audible differences from or between the presets on/off from a dry track. Certainly not getting any vibe to suggest the presets are emulating the hardware.

i've done some null tests (in both Neb and Neb Reverb) ala Bob Katz by cloning a dry track and phase inverting the clone...the results have always been no audio or close to no audio. when i do hear differences, they sound like plugin compensation latency like i hear on other plugins not EQ character as represented in the manual graphs.

when i then test between different presets, the test produces nearly inaudible audio (very faint), again lower than what would be expected from different preamp samples and their imparted character.

Lasty, i did a null with the only difference being DAW level and PCS input level...Neb running on both tracks, one phase inverted. +3db Sonar Track A,+3db PCS input gain(within Neb) Track B. The test produced no sound, suggesting no difference between input gain in PCS plugin and my DAW (Sonar). Is this right?

Any suggestions much appreciated I admit I may be making mistakes or doing something wrong, but I haven't had the same problem with any other stock presets. Everything appears normal...preset names are showing up, meters show signal, attack/liquid/gain/etc appear fime.

Also one small misc issue, the library installer app didnt work correctly the first time i installed :?: I manually reinstalled the program and vector files throug extraction 2x to verify function...all else seems good.

System: Windows7 64bit, Neb3 Pro, latest version. Sonar x1

biomuse
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Re: Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by biomuse » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:34 pm

How hot is your input signal? Too low and you won't get any changes out of these.

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Re: Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by jazzhobby » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:34 pm

Biomuse,

thank you for your response.

my track signals are peaking -6 to -3 RMS roughly -10.

as noted, i also didn't get differences at +3db PCS input, which actually pushed me into the red a couple of times with both tracks in phase...so i'm pretty sure it's not the signal level.

AlexB responded to me promptly suggesting to consult the Nebula manual. Pretty weak response that was not helpful, but oh well.So I will troubleshoot this to a solution on my own testing and with much appreciated help from this forum.

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Re: Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by vicnestE » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:04 am

Do you work in 96KHz?
If the FRT: 96000 Hz -> 44100 Hz in PROG is blinking then MAST -> RATE CNV from default to 3500 ms

There should be slight a signal left with EQ difference and not null.

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Re: Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by yr » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:10 am

The daw gain and Nebula input gain are identical. No problem there. I don't own the PCS library, but I tried your test with 2 of the demo presets (DTE &Focus) and they only null to about -30dBFS (suggesting a big difference between the presets). There might be something wrong with your installation/configuration.
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Re: Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by jazzhobby » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:15 am

My master bus RMS is roughly -18db and -12db peak without the plug and stays within the paz margin of error +/- .1db when comparing different presets against each other and the dry track. No other plugs loaded or bypassed.

On null tests with different presets against each other, I'm getting RMS < -40db (the lowest it can read) and peaks roughly -35db only a couple of times at transient spikes. Very very low.

On single track metering, there seems to be no effect on the RMS or peak when the PCS preset is disengaged.

I'm running at 48k (not getting the 96k > 44.1 flashing mentioned)

Again, every other preset works...i'm just not getting the "huge" sonic differences AlexB said I would.

Have also flushed temp folder. The fact that stock presets work so effectively makes wonder if this libary is actually on the bogus side sonically since I am indeed getting low level nulls.

When i look at the curves in the manual, i'm not hearing anything that matches up. Also the manual says you can drive the input like hardware via the input gain...but now i know it's the same as the DAW, so thats a little rubbishy too.

:?

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Re: Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by biomuse » Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:22 am

jazzhobby wrote:Also the manual says you can drive the input like hardware via the input gain...but now i know it's the same as the DAW, so thats a little rubbishy too.
What's meant by "you can drive the input like hardware" is simply that you will get increased harmonic distortion dependent on input. In other words, there is an input-dependency of the effect, reminiscent of hardware. The fact that Nebula's "input stage" (i.e., the input level slider) is simply a digital trim is irrelevant, because the entirety of the effect is (in this case) emulating an analog input stage. Therefore, what matters is the value read from the Nebula input meter, irrespective of whether the gain source is within or outside Nebula.

I think the PCS is overall pretty subtle, but there are a handful of presets in it that pop out in an unsubtle way. The fairchild comes to mind.

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Re: Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by jazzhobby » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:37 am

biomuse...

thanks again for the insights. yeah i understand the harmonic distortion thing. one of my main points was that driving the input (at least to +3db above input, roughly -9 RMS) actually had next to zero effect on the character of the preset in a null test it's no different sonically than trimming the level within the DAW software. i didnt detect anything with the PAZ and my own ears even when the input gain within the plug was pushed as mentioned.

i've used a lot of the real hardware over the last 20 years, this PCS library isnt even close. i did indeed try the fairchild preset you mentioned, and again it was subtle at best (although i never touched a real fairchild 8-)

the only time i get anything remotely detectable as far as harmonic distortion goes is when i crank the drive up to +30db within the PCS preset on a null test, and it is definitely neither hardware-like or desirable.

ultimately my main concern is that alex emailed me personally saying the sonic differences are "huge" in his own words...after no further suggestions from him other than checking the manual i'm thinking this is a totally underwhelming library...not one of the better ones. i understand subtlety but i also understand placebo! :geek:

alas there are no audio samples for it on his site that i could find either....as it stands a waste of $30 dollars and definitely NOT-AS-ADVERTISED, but I will chug away and come clean if i can get it working "properly".

if anyone has any other useful suggestions, please let me know. thanks again biomuse.

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Re: Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by vicnestE » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:58 am

It's a preamp not a overdrive. Nebula can't generate or sample real overdrive as hot as hardware.

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Re: Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by Barendse » Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:05 am

For colour better use the compressor and tape progams. Although there are some real colourfull preamp programs. The free Sebatron programs sampled by Lord Nielson for example.

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Re: Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by jazzhobby » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:14 am

Barendse and vicneste,

greetings and thanks for the advice...i will check those free plugs out tomorrow. i foolishly assumed a library called "preamp color suite" would impart some true color on the tone.

more experimenting yielded the same crappy results. adjusted CNV, sample buffer, reinstalled nebula and the library, etc. read all the literature...i dont think a setting is gonna yield anything magical at this point.

I will probably give a few more days if anyone has any more suggestions in the meantime. Anyone else using his successfully?

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Re: Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by faun2500 » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:28 am

"Have also flushed temp folder. The fact that stock presets work so effectively makes wonder if this library is actually on the bogus side sonically since I am indeed getting low level nulls."

I use the Preamp bundle extensively on every single software synth I use (sometimes 10-20 or more in a song) and although I have pretty good monitors (Acoustic Energy) I can hear the difference in the preamps best on headphones.

I can hear the 3D magic they impart on the source and some programs add a 'deepness' & 'Warmth' some (like the aforementioned fairchild) actually change the frequency curve of the source without using EQ (hi boost). Some give a low cut etc...

If you test these programs with white noise and a frequency analyzer you can also 'see' the changes to the frequency.

I can assure you the library is not 'bogus' at all.

Another example: Using some programs on a synth sub bass you can actually hear the added harmonics making the sound more 'full' above the fundamental frequency, kind of like the 'waves ren bass' plugin.

If your getting nothing, something with your setup is not right but don't write the library off just yet because it can be very useful.

:)
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Re: Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by dpclarkson » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:38 am

ultimately my main concern is that alex emailed me personally saying the sonic differences are "huge" in his own words...
I think he means it's a huge difference from his perspective.
Using a only preamp program on a source doesn't really change
or color the signal, it adds a little distortion and a subtle curve.
When I use, for instance, a SC1081 pre and full equalizer in a chain,
as in a real world situation, the color is getting more audible.
Add up an R2R and TB+ program in that same chain, the results
are surely audible.
To me, null tests are a complete waste of time, and adding nothing
to a well written song.
But then again, there are those who mix technically and those who
mix musically, no offence. :mrgreen:

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Re: Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by vicnestE » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:00 pm

I found the PCS useful too.
I mainly use the programs to imprint better or slightly different preamp sounds for my recorded stuff.

Love "PCS VocBocs" on vocals.

Real hardware could easily go to insane input level and clipping/overdrive the signal. And the sound could be easily distuinguished from the sound of normal preamp input level. I guess there's no much crazy input level programs in Nebula library due to the Kernel limitation.

By the way the "Cupwise Tube FM3 - Vintage Reverb", some of the reverbs could go into red driven sound. Quite interesting.

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Re: Questions About AlexB PCS presets NULL testing.

Post by dpclarkson » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:01 pm

If you're looking for color, you should check
out the Vintage Tube Collection and Tubebender
from CDSM.

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