so, is analog signal path simulation still the trend?


  1. Feel free to drop some comments and wishes here!

  2. jonas christensen says:

    No…Analog emulation is very cool and often useful, but why put it in everything? Dont get me wrong, i love and use some of these emulations, but it there is a place for it…and lots of places for something else. There is a significant “hype-factor” inviolved when it comes to “analog”

  3. jonas christensen says:

    Ohh…how could i forget to ad a wish when you ask for it?

    I know its unlikely, but your take on a bitcrusher would be interesting…99% of whats out there sounds awful. Emulation of analog is old, emulation of digital is the future😉

  4. No, and as a matter of fact, I don’t want it on every plugin. Analogue simulation certainly has it’s place (To quote Charles Dye, “we like distortion”), but sometimes color free digital precision goodness is the only way. There are also occasions when it really doesn’t matter, with the exception that the analogue simulated stuff generally takes up more CPU cycles. I agree with Jonas on the hype factor comment. For best results, a on/off or variable wet/dry for analogue simulation whenever possible.

  5. The key word is ‘simulation’. For these instances, signal path emulation might be preferable, for the reasons stated in the posts above. But for a plug-in that isn’t modelling a specific hardware device, I think it’s less important. I second Teera’s comment (above); an ‘on/off’ switch would provide the best of both worlds, with the potential of saving CPU cycles.

    • I agree totally with the switch, but want to add something. Cakewalk Sonar’s px-64 and vx-64 plug ins (percussion strip and vocal strip) are perfect examples of modern audio plug ins with a very flexible touch of analog simulation. They both have not only an on/off switch, but also an amount slider at both input and output stage for dealing with the amount of tube/saturation/clipping effect. That way you can easily A/B the audio with or without the effect with the on/off switch, and be able to adjust and fine tune the effect with the slider whilst doing that. Very easy and fast.

  6. bill wesley says:

    Where there is an analog signal path emulation function available, I’ll usually try to incorporate it into my mix, setting it up as subtly as necessary, which Variety Of Sound plugins allow you to do. Other plugins don’t usually allow for degrees of analog emulation (if they even feature AE at all), which is why I use Variety Of Sound plugins almost exclusively now.

  7. rvbeing says:

    There is nothing important about “analog” for me. What’s important is careful design of things. Good analog gear sounds great not because it’s analog, but because every its component is thoroughly choosen and tuned to sound great. Also analog gear needs to be relatively inexpensive to produce otherwise the product won’t be competative. In digital world it’s quite the same: every part should sound as good as possible but shouldn’t eat too much CPU. And I think simulating analog circuits is not always advantageous in this respect. If there’s a greater “digital” solution, go for it and forget “analog”. In the end people choose what sound better (and easier to use (and uses less CPU)).

  8. Johnny Wishoff says:

    I have to totally agree with Jonas.

  9. Not unless that’s what it’s designed to do.
    On to the wishes:
    A VST instrument (I’m mostly curious on what you’d make/base it on)
    Speaker simulation (and not just for musical speakers, but also things like gameboy speakers and whatnot)

  10. I think that there has been a trend to make analogue modeled/emulated plugins because it is easier than coming up with genuinely innovative new ideas or new applications. The big innovations seem to have happen a while ago (auto-tune, linear phase, etc). Perhaps digital audio has matured to the point where we are now just making tiny improvements as we progress.

    I still want someone to make a multi-band gate though.

  11. cool:spring! says:

    well, sometimes a simple switch can’t be the answer, because analog modelling is as the word says, a model, and often it is way more complicated than a digital “ideal” algorythm. I think that the best analog simulated path should be non-destructive, and so i’d prefer it to enrich, instead of decreasing sound quality. i can’t think it is only a matter of distortion. i think the response is in the total, feedback integration of dynamics, distortion, and freq-dependant behaviour. but this can be more than an analog model. it can be a brand new concept for dsp coding. some time ago herbert told something about this, i feel he’s movin’ in the right direction.
    there are some plugins who already claim that interaction, but they’re still mere emulations:VTM-M2, the glue, wa tube saturator, decapitator… they all indeed tend to be much better than many other counterparts

  12. Maybe something like this already exists, but how about a “living” plugin (for lack of a better word) that automatically fine tunes various parameters such as EQ, multi-band Compression, saturation, gain etc in reaction to the ongoing changes within a piece of music?

    Or is that like asking for the VST equivalent of Unified Theory?

  13. hello

    Or like a console emulation with several classic sounds, made by you it will be wicked !

  14. To me it’s not simply yes or no. It depends.
    Analog signal path simulation can be needed, can be simulated or can be unwanted. I explain what I mean.
    – If you want to recreate real hardware and feel the need for tweaking every possible parameter with exactly the same end result, analog signal path simulation is almost inevitable. For example IKMultimedia’s Fairchild 670 is completely modeled after a real piece of hardware. That is worth the amount of extra cpu load because that way we can benefit from the characteristics (compression, harmonics,…) of that analog masterpiece in a digital world.
    – Other plug ins can simulate analog characteristics in a purely mathematical way. Not every component of a hardware device must be taken onto account and thus be recalculated, but only subparts to get to the final result of that certain kind of hardware. IKMultimedia’s opto compressor is not modeled after a particular hardware device, but it has the behavior of one that could exist in the real world.
    – Lastly there are plug ins that doesn’t need any analog signal path simulation at all. Native instrument’s FM8, a recreation of the hardware synth Yamaha DX7, but with modern benefits, has a purely digital signal path, like the original, even if that was hardware. Even so, a linear phase eq only can exist in the digital world, but that doesn’t man that the signal cannot benefit from some analog simulation afterwards, so…
    … it depends. If the audio signal sounds better with it, leave it as an option if possible, like others already stated before me.

  15. My wish would be a guitar processing plugin… virtual guitar amp always tend to sound cold and dynamic-less… Ferric does a good job, adding warmth, but i still dream a dedicated solution…

  16. I don’t think I can add anything new considering the comments so far but rvbeing makes the best point of all, “Good analog gear sounds great not because it’s analog, but because every component is thoroughly chosen and tuned to sound great.” Amen to that. Design equipment based on whether it gets great results not just because it follows an established technology paradigm.

    Iain may be onto something too, “I think that there has been a trend to make analogue modeled/emulated plugins because it is easier than coming up with genuinely innovative new ideas or new applications”.

    Wishes? Do something really crazy. You’ve made some genuinely special “bread and butter” plugins, now I would love to see Bootsy go bonkers🙂

  17. according to the voting results so far its more or less 2:1 for including analog signal path modelling – so the overall answer seems to be YES

  18. the issue is not hardware emulation known, but have analog behavior but it is original

    (sorry for the grammar, translated with google)

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