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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.