I've been working with Tim P's fantastic Surge EQ in the last couple of days and it made me wonder. With these awesome samplings of great hardware you often get that wonderful, spacious 3D effect. If I recall rightly, the Acqua Navy pres are other good examples for this. It made me think what's going on in there? Obviously there is no built in reverb or delay. But, to my ears, in a very subtle manner, the effect can be somewhat similar. Any idea what causes this behaviour?
to my knowledge, it is mostly to do with phase but harmonics too. The phase/group delay distortion of the devices affects the transients of the audio material (accurately reproduced by GC's FIR engine). And transients are important for localisation, the stereo field, perception of spaciousness, etc.
Another thing that often happens (as with the Navy pres, which I sampled) is that some of these get higher levels of harmonic distortion in the LF range than in the MF/HF. This acts as a sort of aural exciter for the lows in the particular case.
You might as well be a noob, but the question is a fundamental and frequently asked one, even by myself and, I believe, any other person here involved in creating, developing and testing Nebula/Acqua.
I'm afraid there are no quick and easy answers, though.
Over time I became more and more convinced that mainly it has to do with phase and time smearing, in particular for equalizers and filters.
When you compare Nebula and Acqua with algorithmic plugins, of course you have to consider also the correctness of the harmonics and the general dynamic behaviour, but what really sets AA technology apart IMHO is the way it deals with the phase near Nyquist frequency (= half the sampling frequency).
Also, bear in mind that the effect of this different behaviour is highly cumulative, i.e. it becomes more and more evident with each new instance invoked in a multitrack mix.
... and I have to say [coming from the 'Land of Hardware'] ... how frustrating it was trying to bend, fold, mutilate, an algorithmic eq to create what had been so expected... and it did not happen until NEBULA.
About the closest 'algo' had come [for me] is DMG Equilibrium running at 'insane' IR size. Yet it still did NOT have that sense of musical 'liveliness' ... nor the color/attitude mojo.
Anytime I need to run an algo, it can not be the last in the chain, as it will flatten the dimension. I always have something NEBULA as the final process.
Last edited by RJHollins on Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Thanks for your replies! I actually had the assumption that phase and time smearing would play a role in this, but categorically ruled them out as reasons. After all, Nebula seems to preserve transients better than anything algorithmic Then again, I don't have any clue about sampling whatsoever
Interesting to read about the aural exciter of harmonic distortion. I didn't think the distortion could have that effect. I guess that might explain why some EQs sound so fat.