One of the most popular EQ libraries for Nebula seems to be AITB's DocFear. Whenever mention of 'favorites' come up, it is very often in the short list.
When I have called up a preset or 2, I'm usually pleased with the results, as it delivers a very musical sound. Still, I never quite got the full handle on using this library ... as wonderful the individual presets, it was always a disconnect, isolated experience ... until now
I have just begun a whole new experience/journey with this library through the NVC-DocFear MIDI controller.
Here's the preview screen of the main GUI interface:
Even earlier in the development version number, it already has all the features and engineering tools that make the job easier, faster, improved critical judgment, and just plain fun
Alright GANG ... a few questions on Doc Fear please.
First ... the spec page on AITB for the DF library does not seem correct.
EQ Specifications - Low cut at 30, 40, 100, or 400 Hz, 0 to -18 dB shelving in 2 dB steps - Low boost at 20, 40, 80, or 140 Hz, 0 to 12 dB shelving in 2 dB steps - Mid cut at 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, or 700 Hz, 0 to -30 dB in 3 dB steps - High boost at 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12, or 16 kHz, 0 to 12 dB in 2 dB steps - High bandwidth Q of 0.6, 0.8, 1.0, 1.4, or 1.7 - High frequency Cut at 1.5, 3.5, 8, or 20 kHz, 0 to -14 dB shelving in 2 dB steps
comparing to the factory 'stepped' version The LOW BOOST goes 0 - 16 dB MID CUT are in 2dB steps 0 - 16dB Hi BOOST 0 - 14dB and the HF CUT is 28kHz
Now, my library is quite old [pre authorization]. Just wondering if all this can be confirmed.
Next up ... the PDF manual has a very interesting discussion on Nebula's 'Interpolation Mode', whereby FREQs and GAINs are stepless. This allows 'settings' not available on the hardware.
I won't post the whole section ... it has graphs too. But the excerpts ...
Nebula’s interpolation is pretty good as you can see in the graphs below.
So why did we release interpolated and stepped programs and not only interpolated ones? As good as Nebula’s interpolation might be: It also has its weaknesses, especially when it comes to interpolating between frequencies on peak filters. Take a look at the graphs ...
As you can see the interpolated curve is wrong. This is not really a fault, but a logical consequence of the small number of frequencies that have been sampled (all that were existing on the hardware).
There's more in the PDF manual ... but this is what concerns ...
But there is another reason why we released both versions of these programs. In a very few cases there is a synchronization error between the kernels when interpolating that leads to a roll-off in the highs. Although this side-effect occurs only for specific settings we released the stepped control versions as well, in order to provide you a 100% accurate tool when needed (for example mastering applications). Remark: Kernel synchronization errors only occur in the programs D.Fear Hi+ 3I* and D.Fear Hi- 3I
This is something I noticed in other libraries that provided extended 'interpolation' presets. As nice as it is to have the variable flexibility, it can also be 'sonically' confusing. As one sweeps through interpolated FREQ's, there can be surprises
Personally ... I'm not much of a surprise 'fan' when it comes to dialing in an EQ ... other than the pleasant surprise when something is tonally improved.
2nd ... I'm not much into the idea of running VSTAnalyzer while I work an EQ to see if it is doing something strange [even though it was not designed for a particular setting].
Now for the 'crunch', and how to deal with this within an NVC controller.
I'd be very interested in hearing how others are using this EQ. Primarily ... are the 'interpolated' presets being used.
Second ... were we aware that their could be issues ??
Currently, the NVC design [in particular, the KNOB functions] are stepped to exact values. This is still based on a MIDI scale of 0 - 127 [steps]. For libraries that have 'strange' scaling [not linear], I use a type of 'look up' table that outputs a specific value to lock the NVC knob to the exact value it should be in NEBULA. That is not an issue, but merely mention of conditions that are dealt with.
I have toyed with the idea of having dual function controls that could be locked into step mode, and unlocked to provide continuous sweeps [within the MIDI spec]. The main issue I see is in the graphics design of the knobs. They are 'rendered' to the exact steps needed. More steps ... more graphics ... larger graphics file. This may not be a huge issue ... but it is something to consider.
A further point that adds to this ... I've never been to keen on near 'infinite' choices regarding EQ settings. Deciding between a 0.001 'change' can bring a paralysis to the process ! Least we not forget ... there are many pieces of hardware sampled to Nebula that do not adhere to the specific or exact 'setting' we see on a display. Units like a Pultec are scaled 0 - 10 ... but these are not a dB reference like we see from algo [digital] plugins. These things become apparent when viewed with VSTAnalyzer for example. Nothing wrong with any of this ... that is the nature of the original beast.
So ... looking for some feedback, insight, comments and opinions ... I like the idea of mirroring the exactness of the original hardware, but also not ignore the options that a Nebula can offer.
I need to do more analysis in testing a possible 'middle-ground' thought I'm having about this. But this will take more time ... just to determine if this is feasible AND practical. But I don't have time to waste on an 'possibility' if there is no use for it, or the results would be unpredictable.
i too have the pre auth version of doc fear running here, but to my knowledge, there were no changes in the actual programs and samples. but there may have been things, that slipped my attention.
i will check the numbers o my side, too.
regarding interpolation errors:
i must say, that i really like the attitude of aitb, to inform customers of any issues that are there, with the programs. it is absolutely necessary to know the shortcomings of a technology, to avoid unexpected results or even headscratching about what you hear and then having to spend time, to check programs by measuring, when the issues was known in the first place. so again, thanks aitb!
i talked about these interpolation things on different occasions, but there are differing opinions about it and if it should be avoided or not. but at least it should be openly discussed/mentioned in the manuals, so everybody can listen and decide her/himself. with many sources/sounds, you won't notice it at all, so for mixing by ears, it should by totally ok. i did my listeningtests and use interpolated eqs with no concerns. on the mastering side, the stepped eqs would be the way to go, to avoid any possible unintended soundchange. i think developers are aware of that and all eqs i took a closer look, that are advertised for mastering, are stepped or at least errorfree in regards to interpolation.
so to your question regarding docfear: if you can provide both in the same interface, it would be a welcomed addition for me. issues are known and stated in the manual, so everybody can decide/hear, if it is alright taking it.
system 1: windows 8 32 bit - samplitude prox/x3, tracktion6/7, reaper system 2: mac osx yosemite - reaper(32+64bit), tracktion6/7(32+64bit)
both systems on: macbook pro (late 2009), core 2 duo 3,06 ghz, 4 gb ram, graphic: nvidia geforce 9600M GT 512 MB
Tonite I was experimenting with the stepped/continuous concept. trying to see if I can get my head around doing this ... in a sensible way! I started with a test render of a knob, going from 10 steps to 128 [full MIDI resolution]. The size of the bitmap images are 10x the stepped size. I've not compiled the code to see how this impacts the overall size ... guess I'll see that later.
Still many design question on doing this... things like:
1. should each module [eq band] have global switching of step/cont?
2.Should Gain and Freq be independently switchable?
Then we get to the 'sanity' issue.
Since we are dealing with 2 separate Presets ... should the choice the user makes THEN determine the stepping option? Keeping in mind that the NVC can already enforce 'stepped' mode, even on a fully sweepable preset. That condition is something I consider when going for 1/2 or 1/4dB resolution. The NVC-Mammoth being an example. It uses a percentage scale.
Still tricky ... when we switch presets, coordinating the settings will be interesting ...
I already see that the related presets scale out differently. I may be able to rectify that.
This may take quite some testing ... and again, IF I can mustard what's left of that last brain cell to do this right
Where we are right now.
Playing with my list of 'test' audio sources, I put the DF to work using this new controller. On the first track [2trk stereo], I ended up with settings I would never have thought to use. But because I could change settings so quickly, with fast A/B ability, this track played very well within 3 different monitoring systems [from MONO Auratones to Mains]. As to making this a 'final' master, I would need to call in another EQ that can handle some specific issues that the DF is not really designed for.
I'm still amazed at how the NVC allows me to work so differently than I did using the individual pieces.
The NVC has been rock solid. There are a couple GUI items I may need to change a bit, but overall it is performing very well.
I'm thinking I may release the NVC-DocFear as it currently works. If we get customers for it, I'll look at expanding the 'interpolation' idea. Of course, this will be upgraded at no charge to current customers.
I want to take the time to design a solid solution that makes sense to the user. I just don't know the time span as yet.
Hannes_F wrote:I own the library - but where can I get this interface please?
Hi Hannes_F, Must have been posting same time ...
I've not yet released a demo for this NVC-DocFear. In my post above I was still looking for user feedback on how they are calling on this library. In particular, deciding between the 'stepped' preset that replicates the actual hardware, or using the 'interpolated' preset ?
And of course the main point ... is anyone interested
If I release now, we have the NVC working just as the actual hardware does ... and boy does this eq work far better than my piecemeal experience running and adjusting individual Nebula plugins.
To integrate both stepped and continuous presets is the question. Not only how to do it ... but how BEST to [if I can]
Actually, I do have the individual functions that work in my test model. It requires much larger knob files [probably not much of a concern]. The one I'm testing with is 483KB, compared to only 46KB originally. The knob still functions the same [performance wise]. This NVC has 11 knobs.
I have considered using a 'vector' knob design, but then this is a different graphic look ... and something that I'd have to get some time with to learn.
It comes down to, I suppose, the level of interest. I can hacked something together for my own personal use that would work [and deal with any glitches along the way], but I would not want to release any product like that. I think there is a way to do this right, but I don't know the exact timeframe.
I've gotten several emails already inquiring about this controller [being a very popular library].
I could release with the current 'stepped' mode, and look to add additional features as a free upgrade. The current version already takes, using this eq, to a whole new level. If I did it this way, I do know that I would like finer resolution in the 'gains'. I thinking at least 1/2dB steps. User feedback plays an important role.
As I think this out loud ... what would you guys prefer ??
koda wrote:Lovely. Release and then upgrade in my opinion, unless the features you want to add will come in a short timeframe (1-2 weeks.)
Combining both stepped/continuous is still under design ... there are several strategies I'm testing.
There are several areas that are rather in conflict due to the function they would need to do. Having a 'stepped' knob [with only a select number of frequencies to choose, allows for a shorter 'throw' with the knob swing [or arc]. Turning that to a continuous knob, a tight [or narrow] sweep makes it difficult to do fine tuning [even though the [SHIFT] mouse control allows smaller divisions, it is still less surface area of travel to select from. The clear solution would be to switch knobs [with different sweep arcs]. That might need the overall GUI to be changed to make room.
This is mostly an issue with the FREQ knob. The GAIN knob uses a full sweep anyways.
Here's a general question that speaks to how true we are to the sampled hardware.
Having FREQ's that were not normal on the unit seems the most in conflict. Hardware designers tend to pick these step frequencies for reason.
GAIN, on the other hand, would seem to have more license for modification.
The DocFear's +/- 2dB stepping could certainly benefit from smaller steps [say +/- 1/2dB or maybe 1/4dB]. We could then look to the 'interpolated' presets and possible 'lock' its' FREQ choice exactly like the stepped preset, but now have smaller gaining resolution.
If this is even a possible method ... then THE critical factor left is how 'true' are the interpolated Frequencies as compared to the actual [specific] sampled ones. Does that make sense ?!?!
OK ... if they do turn out to be [or can be] identical in performance, then one wonders why we'd bother with having the stepped presets at all
Thusly why YE has brought this up to the forum community
I need input, feedback, comments from everyone that uses the DocFear to express their experiences. I'll admit, due to the nature of my work, I've not had the pleasure to really explore this EQ as detailed as I'd prefer. What I have heard has been fantastic. I'd have no problem with the factory Frequencies, but I could see finer gain selections being quite useful.
OK ... I slipped my opinion in there ... what say Y'ALL !