Reason SSL vs Waves/ Others

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BradfordMoeller
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Post 14 Oct 2019

Just curious; what is the consensus regarding the quality of Reason's SSL mixer when compared to big-name SSL mixer "analog modeled" VST plug-ins?
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jam-s
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Post 14 Oct 2019

The mixing desk of Reason is inspired by a clean SSL mixing console. It is pretty spot on with regards to the EQ curves and compressor/gate behaviour, but it does not involve any analogue modelling (like crosstalk or saturation).
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Periwinkle
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Post 15 Oct 2019

Like everything to do with sound and music, this is only my opinion. When looking at an SSL emulation, I'm probably most interested in its dynamics section's ability to provide that 'glue' when strapped across a bus channel. To my ears, the Waves SSL E and SSL G have a more coloured sound than the Reason mixer. To me, the Reason mixer sounds more transparent. That's not a bad thing, but you might want to add something like the free Klanghelm IVGI 2 to warm things up a bit.

To be honest with you, Iike most people, I don't have any experience using a hardware SSL desk, but when it comes to achieving cohesion across a bus I tend to eschew both the Waves and the Reason mixer in favour of Cytomic The Glue

https://klanghelm.com/contents/products/IVGI/IVGI.php

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https://cytomic.com/glue

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BradfordMoeller
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Post 15 Oct 2019

jam-s wrote:
14 Oct 2019
The mixing desk of Reason is inspired by a clean SSL mixing console. It is pretty spot on with regards to the EQ curves and compressor/gate behaviour, but it does not involve any analogue modelling (like crosstalk or saturation).
This makes sense, thanks!

Periwinkle wrote:
15 Oct 2019
Like everything to do with sound and music, this is only my opinion. When looking at an SSL emulation, I'm probably most interested in its dynamics section's ability to provide that 'glue' when strapped across a bus channel. To my ears, the Waves SSL E and SSL G have a more coloured sound than the Reason mixer. To me, the Reason mixer sounds more transparent. That's not a bad thing, but you might want to add something like the free Klanghelm IVGI 2 to warm things up a bit.

To be honest with you, Iike most people, I don't have any experience using a hardware SSL desk, but when it comes to achieving cohesion across a bus I tend to eschew both the Waves and the Reason mixer in favour of Cytomic The Glue

https://klanghelm.com/contents/products/IVGI/IVGI.php

Image

https://cytomic.com/glue

Image
Thank you, these both look interesting, and I haven't heard of either, I might have to splurge on the Cytomic!
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Kalm
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Post 15 Oct 2019

Compared the curves by matching them to Ozone, I can concur that E mode is pretty much a clean EQ until you do very extravagant strokes. The G Mode is BROAD, so if you need a nice big sweep EQ and only a couple dB changes. . . that's the biggest strength. I also get more 'noise' (frequencies modulating that I can't null) when using G Mode but nothing sounds bad in this EQ. I primarily only use it now in Reason.
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reggie1979
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Post 15 Oct 2019

I don't like it. For one thing with VST versions you can use the mousewheel and I prefer that. But also, and I'm sure it has something to do with order, I don't get the results I want. The graphic addition of the eq is nice, but again, I don't get the results I desire.

But with mixhub or Slate I get EXACTLY the results I desire. Go figure.

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DParris
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Post 15 Oct 2019

As others have mentioned, the mixer is pretty transparent, but:
In actual use, I find the channel strip compressor to be somewhat unpredictable. Don't get me wrong, I can get good results with it. But it never responds like I expect it to. Can't quite put my finger on it.

reggie1979
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Post 15 Oct 2019

As I've stated, I second this. It's not quite what I wanted/expected, ..................

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Dante
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Post 16 Oct 2019

Harrison Mixbus 32C hands down winner if after a classic analog sound. Everything I mixed in Reason's SSL sounds brittle by comparison, even though I though it sounded great at the time. After 30 or so mixes on Harrison, its a no brainer sonically over all these other digital sounding DAW mixers.


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hurricane
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Post 17 Oct 2019

Yeah, I was gonna say that digital is already too clean and pristine, so I want the noise and the saturation and the added harmonics. That's why my favorite SSL bus comp is IK's. Their version has a GRIT button that "will reproduce the slightly increased 2nd harmonic distortion of an out of calibration unit, a behavior favored by many engineers for its more characterful sound."


tr5_module_bus_compressor@2x.jpg
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DParris
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Post 17 Oct 2019

hurricane wrote:
17 Oct 2019
Yeah, I was gonna say that digital is already too clean and pristine, so I want the noise and the saturation and the added harmonics. That's why my favorite SSL bus comp is IK's. Their version has a GRIT button that "will reproduce the slightly increased 2nd harmonic distortion of an out of calibration unit, a behavior favored by many engineers for its more characterful sound."



tr5_module_bus_compressor@2x.jpg
I definitely enjoy adding some dirt and warmth to the mix! My logic is that that dirt and warmth doesn't need to come from my most basic compressors and EQs. The great thing about Reason's SSL is that those features are there on every channel by default, and they're kind to the CPU. I can do the foundational work I need to do with minimal plugins and REs, then add a few plugins later in the mix to get some grit going.

On a side note, lately I've been more in favor of adding saturation to individual mono channels rather than stereo busses. Depending on the plugin or RE and how it treats the stereo signal, sometimes adding even a small amount of saturation to a stereo bus can start fold the mix down ever so slightly.

Of course, this doesn't happen with all plugins. For instance, the Puigchild (which I often use with virtually no gain reduction) is just magical with a stereo signal. It actually seems to widen the mix just a tiny bit (just in stereo left-right mode, nevermind lat-vert mode). But in general I'm super careful with adding saturation to a bus.

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hurricane
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Post 17 Oct 2019

DParris wrote:
17 Oct 2019

I definitely enjoy adding some dirt and warmth to the mix! My logic is that that dirt and warmth doesn't need to come from my most basic compressors and EQs. The great thing about Reason's SSL is that those features are there on every channel by default, and they're kind to the CPU.

Huh? Reason's SSL is CLEAN.
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diminished
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Post 17 Oct 2019

hurricane wrote:
17 Oct 2019
DParris wrote:
17 Oct 2019

I definitely enjoy adding some dirt and warmth to the mix! My logic is that that dirt and warmth doesn't need to come from my most basic compressors and EQs. The great thing about Reason's SSL is that those features are there on every channel by default, and they're kind to the CPU.

Huh? Reason's SSL is CLEAN.
That was basically his point.
One sentence later:
DParris wrote:
17 Oct 2019
I can do the foundational work I need to do with minimal plugins and REs, then add a few plugins later in the mix to get some grit going
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DParris
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Post 17 Oct 2019

hurricane wrote:
17 Oct 2019
DParris wrote:
17 Oct 2019

I definitely enjoy adding some dirt and warmth to the mix! My logic is that that dirt and warmth doesn't need to come from my most basic compressors and EQs. The great thing about Reason's SSL is that those features are there on every channel by default, and they're kind to the CPU.

Huh? Reason's SSL is CLEAN.

Sorry, I can see how my wording might have been confusing. By "those features," I was referring to Compressors and EQs, not to "dirt and warmth."

Another way of saying what I was trying to say: while it might be disappointing that Reason's channel strips and master section are basically colorless, the fact that the channel strips are there by default, highly functional, and light on CPU means that I can do a lot of the heavy lifting before ever adding a plugin or RE. That actually leaves CPU room later in the mix to add whatever kind of color I want to get things vibing a little more.

For me personally, Reason's mixer is a great way of working.

jlgrimes
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Post 17 Oct 2019

BradfordMoeller wrote:
14 Oct 2019
Just curious; what is the consensus regarding the quality of Reason's SSL mixer when compared to big-name SSL mixer "analog modeled" VST plug-ins?
I think it also matters which SSL Props is monitoring as certain SSL consoles are cleaner than others.

I think the more modern consoles are supposed to be "cleaner" and hence less harmonic distortion.

T-Racks has the british channel and the white channel with the latter supposedly a more cleaner model.

I'd imagine Reason is probably closer to the white channel.

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BradfordMoeller
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Post 17 Oct 2019

jlgrimes wrote:
17 Oct 2019
BradfordMoeller wrote:
14 Oct 2019
Just curious; what is the consensus regarding the quality of Reason's SSL mixer when compared to big-name SSL mixer "analog modeled" VST plug-ins?
I think it also matters which SSL Props is monitoring as certain SSL consoles are cleaner than others.

I think the more modern consoles are supposed to be "cleaner" and hence less harmonic distortion.

T-Racks has the british channel and the white channel with the latter supposedly a more cleaner model.

I'd imagine Reason is probably closer to the white channel.
Oh interesting, that's good to know
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exxx
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Post 17 Oct 2019

DParris wrote:
17 Oct 2019
hurricane wrote:
17 Oct 2019



Huh? Reason's SSL is CLEAN.

Sorry, I can see how my wording might have been confusing. By "those features," I was referring to Compressors and EQs, not to "dirt and warmth."

Another way of saying what I was trying to say: while it might be disappointing that Reason's channel strips and master section are basically colorless, the fact that the channel strips are there by default, highly functional, and light on CPU means that I can do a lot of the heavy lifting before ever adding a plugin or RE. That actually leaves CPU room later in the mix to add whatever kind of color I want to get things vibing a little more.

For me personally, Reason's mixer is a great way of working.
I think there is some kind of color in reason.

People say it's strange but

Try playing a note above c5 by yourself. It sounds clearer to using a reason rack on another daw.

reason makes a good musical instrument, but still spoils the sound in the daw's signal interpretation.

zoidkirb
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Post 18 Oct 2019

In this thread: people bringing back the reason sound debate.
the reason ssl isn't 'kind of' clean, it is 100% clean/non coloring. As would be expected from the main mixer in any daw.

boosto23
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Post 19 Oct 2019

I actually prefer Reason's "clean" version of the SSL. The amount of headroom available allows for some pretty drastic cuts and boosts, which I find useful. Granted, I started to learn to mix with "clean" EQ's, and I really honed my craft with the Reason SSL, so it's definitely a matter of preference.

Years later, when I started demo'ing other SSL-type EQs that model the saturation, I was taken aback. The big cuts and boosts I was used to making would be influenced by the limiting of the saturation modeling. I soon realized that the "saturation modeling" isn't necessarily the mixing-magic-bullet people often hype it up to be. It's simply another form of compression/limiting that can give the perception of "musicality" (in individual channels) or "glue" (in buses).

With that in mind, I occasionally employ the best of both worlds. If I really want some compression/limiting "glue" for certain subgroups, I would put in a saturation plugin (usually the McDSP Analog Channel or a UAD preamp model on occasion) in a bus grouping. However, for each individual channel, I still generally get the flexibility of making clean boosts and cuts (understanding that the bus saturation will influence the sound, but not as drastic as compared with every channel having saturation).

aeox
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Post 19 Oct 2019

Can we get an "analog" mode for the mixer? :D Maybe some tick boxes to turn off individual channels noise floor, saturation, etc. Idk, they probably already tried internally and it never came to fruition.

I think most people(people who don't own Reason) assume that the mixer is already created that way, and they are sad when they realize that it's clean :P
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selig
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Post 19 Oct 2019

exxx wrote:
17 Oct 2019

I think there is some kind of color in reason.

People say it's strange but

Try playing a note above c5 by yourself. It sounds clearer to using a reason rack on another daw.

reason makes a good musical instrument, but still spoils the sound in the daw's signal interpretation.
OK, I'll bite, for the record. No, there's no kind of color in Reason, other than what is specifically added by REs etc. Mixer is squeaky clean, been proven so many times by so many different users (and multiple times by crazy guys like myself).

So I don't see how it can "spoil" the sound since it does absolutely nothing to the sound (there is really no such parameter as "interpretation" IMO, either the signal is clean or it is not.) - or maybe that's your point?
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selig
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Post 19 Oct 2019

boosto23 wrote:
19 Oct 2019
Years later, when I started demo'ing other SSL-type EQs that model the saturation, I was taken aback. The big cuts and boosts I was used to making would be influenced by the limiting of the saturation modeling. I soon realized that the "saturation modeling" isn't necessarily the mixing-magic-bullet people often hype it up to be. It's simply another form of compression/limiting that can give the perception of "musicality" (in individual channels) or "glue" (in buses).
As someone who cut their teeth on the early SSL E (then G) series mixers, I feel the software versions I've tried that add "color" add far more than I ever remember getting from the console itself. It seems to be exaggerated so that folks using it these days would actually hear it more "obviously".

But those who DID use a real SSL were trained in what used to be called "gain staging", which is a term used these days to mean "setting levels". Gain staging allows you to avoid adding distortion by keeping within the narrow confines of the signal to noise ratio of the console. The digital versions have so much dynamic range you don't have to worry about gain staging - though you should still practice good level management to stay within the nominal levels of any non-linear devices such as dynamics/saturation/etc.
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pushedbutton
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Post 19 Oct 2019

Can we make people read something on the way in before the 'reason sound' debate has us all tearing our hair out again? :mrgreen:
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Periwinkle
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Post 19 Oct 2019

I do wonder if there's a certain amount of snake oil involved in the analogue vs digital argument. It's worth remembering that what we are told is a desirable sound is actually just the result of the shortcomings of comparatively unsophisticated technology. One wonders how readily recording engineers of yesteryear might have traded in their broken tubes, crackling faders and distorted tape for a laptop running a pristine digital DAW.

I see the same thing happening nowadays with the hipsters returning to vinyl records and film cameras. Speaking as someone who spent a fortune on camera film and spent hours crashing into things in the dark and soaking my hands in noxious chemicals, digital photography couldn't have come soon enough. I also have a big box of records which have been played way past any usefulness. Now, I can have 1000 mp3s on my phone and they will never degrade.

I think there is a certain irony that the more our technology advances, the more we use it to emulate what it has replaced. Who decided that that dusty old piece of obsolescence, rusting away in the corner of the studio was actually the holy grail?

We used to talk about used clothes, now we talk about vintage clothes. Could it be that software developers have a vested interest in propagating the idea that retro is good? In the end, surely the value judgments that we make about any creative outcome are simply learned.

Also, I think we often hear plugins with our eyes rather than our ears. One day I'd like to create a VST with a drop-dead gorgeous retro interface that has no effect whatsoever on the sound. I'd sell it for £1000 and see if the 'experts' rave about it.

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selig
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Post 19 Oct 2019

Periwinkle wrote:
19 Oct 2019
Who decided that that dusty old piece of obsolescence, rusting away in the corner of the studio was actually the holy grail?
Probably the person who found a use for it. ;)
Don't throw the baby out with the bath water - newer isn't alway better, but neither is older/vintage. There is potential value in all things, as artists we own it to ourselves to find the best ways to express ourselves. I'm one of those "old farts" who would not wait to ditch analog tape. But I also love the sound of saturation and distortion, sometimes from hardware and sometimes from software. Doesn't matter in the end, just pick your toys/tools and get to work making music!
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