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Thread: UAD Massive Passive vs Manley Labs Massive Passive

  1. #1
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    UAD Massive Passive vs Manley Labs Massive Passive

    Hey all,

    Here's a shootout of the UAD Massive Passive vs our Manley Labs Massive Passive to compare
    Once again UAD have done a really good job I think, see what you think.

    UAD Massive Passive vs Manley Massive Passive - Vocals


    UAD Massive Passive vs Manley Massive Passive - Acoustic Guitar Strum


    Any requests for shootouts of the UAD Massive Passive on other instruments let me know and I'll make it up and post it for you.

  2. #2
    Master of the UADiverse Matt Hepworth's Avatar
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    When you're doing your shootouts are you including DA back to AD?
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    Hey Matt,

    As in for the UAD plugins going in/out an insert loop DA/AD?
    No we are not - The comparison we are looking at is (semi-philosophically) to have the relevant piece of gear showcased in the context that it is actually used (and would be used by an in situ end user).
    i.e. outboard gear includes (as it would have to) the AD/DA stage, and plugins are processed internally.

    In an ideal world of course (e.g. inordinate amounts of spare time to real time pass every new plugin that comes out, getting paid to do it, full peer review level aims etc) we would do both internal and DA/DA versions of plugins (or even better, find someone with no social life and an almost pathological interest in watching status bars to do it for us).
    But at the moment that is beyond that realms of the achievable, so the in situ style is what we have focused on.
    Hope that answers your question

  4. #4
    Experienced UAD User FonderieFoniche's Avatar
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    Interesting question, interesting answer. From one side, a big advantage of a plugin vs the hardware counterpart is actually to avoid the DA/AD stage, and so it makes sense to compare the plugin with a complete chain convos+hardware.
    On the other hand, I think it would be useful to mention the converters you used for the test, because it may represent a significant variable. Thanks!

  5. #5
    Practically a UAD Expert Kcatthedog's Avatar
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    IF the same converters are used with the HW and with the SW,how does this matter: have they passed twice on the HW and once on the SW?

    OR if the signal went through the HW before conversion, isn't there only one round trip for both examples ?

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    Experienced UAD User FonderieFoniche's Avatar
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    Normally I would run the comparison like that:
    starting from two copies of the same track (no matter how it was recorded), one is processed ITB with the plugin, the other is processed OTB following the chain DA->hardware->AD.
    In this case, you should agree the DA/AD plays a significant role just on the hardware-processed track. Let's suppose (ok, I don't think it's the case, but let's suppose it!) you are using a 30$ soundcard converters to make the trick; you will probably judge the plugin sounding much better than the hardware solution...
    I'm pretty sure the shootout has been done with more-than-good convos, but some info about them can be useful anyway to have a complete overview.
    Kcatthedog and gearshoot like this.

  7. #7
    Experienced UAD User tomtama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FonderieFoniche View Post
    Normally I would run the comparison like that:
    starting from two copies of the same track (no matter how it was recorded), one is processed ITB with the plugin, the other is processed OTB following the chain DA->hardware->AD.
    In this case, you should agree the DA/AD plays a significant role just on the hardware-processed track. Let's suppose (ok, I don't think it's the case, but let's suppose it!) you are using a 30$ soundcard converters to make the trick; you will probably judge the plugin sounding much better than the hardware solution...
    I'm pretty sure the shootout has been done with more-than-good convos, but some info about them can be useful anyway to have a complete overview.
    This assumes the hardware was used as an insert in the DAW. What if the hardware and Plugin were tracked on the way in, say via an Apollo? Wouldn't this even the playing field?
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  8. #8
    Experienced UAD User FonderieFoniche's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomtama View Post
    This assumes the hardware was used as an insert in the DAW. What if the hardware and Plugin were tracked on the way in, say via an Apollo? Wouldn't this even the playing field?
    Yes, it would for sure. Being @gearshoot a ME in a mastering studio, I suppose he's used to work on mixes coming in digital format, and to process them both ITB (with no conversion), and OTB with hardware inserts (via converters), that's why I assumed that kind of workflow. And that would be rather coherent with his answer to @Matt ("The comparison we are looking at is (semi-philosophically) to have the relevant piece of gear showcased in the context that it is actually used (and would be used by an in situ end user). i.e. outboard gear includes (as it would have to) the AD/DA stage, and plugins are processed internally.")
    Of course he can confirm or not my interpretation
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  9. #9
    Experienced UAD User tomtama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FonderieFoniche View Post
    Yes, it would for sure. Being @gearshoot a ME in a mastering studio, I suppose he's used to work on mixes coming in digital format, and to process them both ITB (with no conversion), and OTB with hardware inserts (via converters), that's why I assumed that kind of workflow. And that would be rather coherent with his answer to @Matt ("The comparison we are looking at is (semi-philosophically) to have the relevant piece of gear showcased in the context that it is actually used (and would be used by an in situ end user). i.e. outboard gear includes (as it would have to) the AD/DA stage, and plugins are processed internally.")
    Of course he can confirm or not my interpretation
    Good point, makes sense!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by FonderieFoniche View Post
    Normally I would run the comparison like that:
    starting from two copies of the same track (no matter how it was recorded), one is processed ITB with the plugin, the other is processed OTB following the chain DA->hardware->AD.
    In this case, you should agree the DA/AD plays a significant role just on the hardware-processed track. Let's suppose (ok, I don't think it's the case, but let's suppose it!) you are using a 30$ soundcard converters to make the trick; you will probably judge the plugin sounding much better than the hardware solution...
    I'm pretty sure the shootout has been done with more-than-good convos, but some info about them can be useful anyway to have a complete overview.
    Hey there,
    Sorry I haven't had a chance to get back to you (Xmas rush of jobs. . .)
    So, we are using SSL converters for our tests.
    We've done a relatively extensive shootout to help us make sure we are doing it to a level that is good enough to be within our considered margin of error converter wise.
    So, what do I mean from this. . .
    Here is a link to a test of converters ranging from budget conscious Focusrite all the way to Lavry Converters so you can assess a range of difference to a currently available range converters (incl the UAD ones of course). We are doing a single DA/AD pass for outboard gear - so the first pass can be compared between units) - It's worth checking the 5th iterative pass for fun as well as this is where the converters are really starting to diverge.
    Converters Shootout

    Factoring in other aspects to consider for a shootout user, such as frequency spectrum variation within a room at their listening position (easily over +/-20dB for many home studios), RT60 factors across that spectrum as well (often well over 400ms), and also monitor limitations variation between different brands of converters on a single pass is pretty minor within a significant number of audio environments, (assuming - let's say, 95% of studio/music environments exists as such and 5% of audio users are pro studios designed by professional Acousticians (more reliable sound freq/RT60/monitors etc) - that puts us at 2 standard deviations of useful i.e. covering 95% of potential users that converters would likely not be a significant factor in the listening experience to effect the determination of what could be argued (in relation) to be the significant tonal difference between e.g. a Urei 1176 20:1 compression effect vs a UAD 1176 plugin vs a Warm WA76).
    So - Do converter brands make a difference? - yes - undoubtably.
    And given time I think it will be nice for us to do multiple pieces of gear through multiple brands of converters (e.g. 1176 style outboard) and see if people on an ABX test can reliably (i.e. statistically significant) tell the difference between a single pass of the various good level converters - my guess is that 95% of people in their standard listening environment probably couldn't (although I would hope to be proved wrong).

    Is this difference (across the general factors experienced within a listening environment) 'significant' compared to other aspects to be observed/compared within a comparative test?
    At the moment, we are finding not appreciably.
    We have talked to a number of people that make converters just to double check our working hypothesis (above) is within useful working / non delusional parameters, and so far they are comfortable with our rationale.

    So as the short take home summary - Our tests so far indicate that converters are a minor aspect of our overall factors to focus on regarding the signal compared to the far more substantial differences encountered in the tonal characteristics of the individual pieces of gear being tested.

    Hope that is of some use etc, and any other wisdom on it all is much appreciated

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