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2cAudio Precedence vs. Parallax Audio VSS2

98bpm

Member
I never sprung for any soundstage processors so far, but have been eyeballing Parallax Audio's VSS2 for some time now. It doesn't seem to ever go on sale and it has been pretty much abandoned from development from what I can tell. Now, I found out about 2cAudio's Precedence, which (I think) is supposed to be create soundstage simulation. From the examples I hear on 2cAudio's (without Breeze2) I mainly just hear left-right modulation effects, but wonder from those of you who own either (or both) of these titles which is preferred for sound quality, ease of use, etc. There are posts out here stating VSS2 produces phasing issues (sadly, no demonstrations or video examples) and I wonder how Precedence deals with that with the modulating imaging present in the demos. Your thoughts?
 

hawpri

Active Member
There was a very long break between Parallax Audio's first and second version of Virtual Sound Stage. I think the second was basically a totally different product. I imagine that the third version (if it is completed) will be as different from the second as the second was from the first, but I'm not holding my breath. In hindsight, both versions were overpriced and underwhelming, which was a genuine disappointment. I really wanted to like this product and use it on everything. However, I DO think that it can be very useful as a panning and volume tool for orchestral templates. The stage placement sound just wasn't up to the level it needed to be.

Moving on from my opinions, here are some messages / updates I received as a VSS customer:

"Hi there,

as my study approaches its end, I am excited to announce that I joined a team to create a new music software in which VSS 3 is going to be integrated. To make sure that what we will create fits your needs, we want to ask you some questions. Please take five minutes to answer this short survey.

Begin Survey
Thank you!

 Gabriel from parallax-audio
"


I took the survey and later that same day received this response / newsletter.

"What is this new software ‘VSS 3 is going to be integrated in’?

We don’t want to give away too much at the moment, because the project is still in its initial stage. But we’ll keep you up to date as the development progresses. The customer survey was so insightful and you shared so many amazing ideas that we would love to build a steady feedback loop with you guys. When we have settled all the basics I will send you an email where those of you who are interested can subscribe as alpha testers and advisors.

What about VSS 2.0?

Before the new project will overwhelm me with work I will be able to release an update of VSS 2.0 with some crucial features you have requested. The version is currently in the testing phase and I hope to release it within the next two months."

A few months later in May of 2018 there was an update, version 2.0.1:

"Hi there,

a new update for Virtual Sound Stage has been released. Besides some some general improvements, it includes two useful new features:

Groups
Instances can now be organized in 8 separate groups, each with its own stage and microphone setup.

Early Reflection Diffusor

A new optional diffusor has been added to the Early Reflections section. It's designed for very dry and percussive sounds, but can add a smoother feel to the early reflections on any input material.

Additionally, some of the parameters can now be automated.
"


There may have been other updates, but during the last couple years I unsubscribed from a wide variety of audio and music related newsletters, so it's possible there has been progress and teases, but we'll see. Or maybe other people will see. I can't speak for other products that VSS competes with, but you're sure to find knowledgable users here who can fill you in, or even posts from people who have already discussed some specifics in detail.
 
OP
9

98bpm

Member
There was a very long break between Parallax Audio's first and second version of Virtual Sound Stage. I think the second was basically a totally different product. I imagine that the third version (if it is completed) will be as different from the second as the second was from the first, but I'm not holding my breath. In hindsight, both versions were overpriced and underwhelming, which was a genuine disappointment. I really wanted to like this product and use it on everything. However, I DO think that it can be very useful as a panning and volume tool for orchestral templates. The stage placement sound just wasn't up to the level it needed to be.

Moving on from my opinions, here are some messages / updates I received as a VSS customer:

"Hi there,

as my study approaches its end, I am excited to announce that I joined a team to create a new music software in which VSS 3 is going to be integrated. To make sure that what we will create fits your needs, we want to ask you some questions. Please take five minutes to answer this short survey.

Begin Survey
Thank you!

 Gabriel from parallax-audio
"


I took the survey and later that same day received this response / newsletter.

"What is this new software ‘VSS 3 is going to be integrated in’?

We don’t want to give away too much at the moment, because the project is still in its initial stage. But we’ll keep you up to date as the development progresses. The customer survey was so insightful and you shared so many amazing ideas that we would love to build a steady feedback loop with you guys. When we have settled all the basics I will send you an email where those of you who are interested can subscribe as alpha testers and advisors.

What about VSS 2.0?


Before the new project will overwhelm me with work I will be able to release an update of VSS 2.0 with some crucial features you have requested. The version is currently in the testing phase and I hope to release it within the next two months."

A few months later in May of 2018 there was an update, version 2.0.1:

"Hi there,

a new update for Virtual Sound Stage has been released. Besides some some general improvements, it includes two useful new features:

Groups
Instances can now be organized in 8 separate groups, each with its own stage and microphone setup.

Early Reflection Diffusor

A new optional diffusor has been added to the Early Reflections section. It's designed for very dry and percussive sounds, but can add a smoother feel to the early reflections on any input material.

Additionally, some of the parameters can now be automated.
"


There may have been other updates, but during the last couple years I unsubscribed from a wide variety of audio and music related newsletters, so it's possible there has been progress and teases, but we'll see. Or maybe other people will see. I can't speak for other products that VSS competes with, but you're sure to find knowledgable users here who can fill you in, or even posts from people who have already discussed some specifics in detail.
Thank you very much for the feedback. I presume your position on VSS2 is even after the 2.0.1 update leaving it still subpar. May I ask, what do you currently use for stage placement of your instruments?
 

hawpri

Active Member
Thank you very much for the feedback. I presume your position on VSS2 is even after the 2.0.1 update leaving it still subpar. May I ask, what do you currently use for stage placement of your instruments?
You're welcome. I'm not using VSS2 or 2.0.1 now. I should try it as a panning tool, though.

The way I've handled working without a stage placement plugin is with panning, EQ, impulse responses (from sample library purchases), and a tiny amount Valhalla Room (algorithmic reverb) for a more consistent reverb tail, but almost everything is from developers who recorded in position anyway. I've tried to use drier, but not close mic settings, to EQ instruments to not stand out, and have added a little algorithmic reverb on top of to help the reverb tail not seem too mismatched. It's not perfect but it's good enough.

Other forum users will probably have better insight on stage placement and reverb. There has been a lot of discussion on it here over the years.
 

Land of Missing Parts

flibbertigibbet
I never sprung for any soundstage processors so far, but have been eyeballing Parallax Audio's VSS2 for some time now. It doesn't seem to ever go on sale and it has been pretty much abandoned from development from what I can tell. Now, I found out about 2cAudio's Precedence, which (I think) is supposed to be create soundstage simulation. From the examples I hear on 2cAudio's (without Breeze2) I mainly just hear left-right modulation effects, but wonder from those of you who own either (or both) of these titles which is preferred for sound quality, ease of use, etc. There are posts out here stating VSS2 produces phasing issues (sadly, no demonstrations or video examples) and I wonder how Precedence deals with that with the modulating imaging present in the demos. Your thoughts?
You might want to look at EAReverb 2 as well, as it's similar in concept to VSS2, Precedence, and MIR. It's cheap, easy to use, and provides both the ER and tails (and you can toggle them on/off independently). I think I got it for around $100 on sale Black Friday. It's my go-to.
 
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Zoot_Rollo

Throbbing Member
You might want to look at EAReverb 2 as well, as it's similar in concept to VSS2, Precedence, and MIR. It's cheap, easy to use, and provides both the ER and tails (and you can toggle them on/off independently). I think I got it for around $100 on sale Black Friday. It's my go-to.

+1 for EAReverb.
 
OP
9

98bpm

Member
You might want to look at EAReverb 2 as well, as it's similar in concept to VSS2, Precedence, and MIR. It's cheap, easy to use, and provides both the ER and tails (and you can toggle them on/off independently). I think I got it for around $100 on sale Black Friday. It's my go-to.
Tell me, does EAReverb have a setup where you can have a single screen for all the tracks sent to the plugin like VSS2 and control them all from there or do you have to have multiple instances for the tracks/groups? I thought that was a pretty cool feature in VSS2 but got cold feet after reading the comments about its sound and the fact that it never goes on sale.
 

Land of Missing Parts

flibbertigibbet
Like this?
Screen Shot 2019-05-25 at 9.38.49 AM.png

If so, yes this is the default behavior. The blue labels I added later in Photoshop, the UI just shows the numbers. You can get more details in this post.

Is there a single interface to control all those instances?
Each instance will show the position of all instances. However it only lets you move the one you currently have open, (which is the lower left one in the picture above). So if you are in the violin 1 (as above) and you want to move the bass, you'd have to open the instance on the bass. I've not found it to be a problem.

Maybe there's a demo version you can try out?
 
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chibear

Active Member
I demoed VSS1 and didn't like it at all. Demoed VSS2 and bought it right away. At the very least it's a very fast and easy to use graphical panning tool. There's been some criticism concerning the sound of the provided early reflections on a thread here in VI forums, but in the same thread someone pointed out that they (the ERs) play nice with EWQL Spaces which is the way I use it. IMO a good starting point from which you can upgrade later if you find it lacking and want to deal with the complexity of more expensive VSTs.
 
OP
9

98bpm

Member
Like this?
View attachment 21360

If so, yes this is the default behavior. The blue labels I added later in Photoshop, the UI just shows the numbers. You can get more details in this post.


Each instance will show the position of all instances. However it only lets you move the one you currently have open, (which is the lower left one in the picture above). So if you are in the violin 1 (as above) and you want to move the bass, you'd have to open the instance on the bass. I've not found it to be a problem.

Maybe there's a demo version you can try out?
Great! Thanks for that visual. Do the numbered circles represent the track numbers? I assume they can't be renamed (thus the blue label overlays).
 
OP
9

98bpm

Member
I demoed VSS1 and didn't like it at all. Demoed VSS2 and bought it right away. At the very least it's a very fast and easy to use graphical panning tool. There's been some criticism concerning the sound of the provided early reflections on a thread here in VI forums, but in the same thread someone pointed out that they (the ERs) play nice with EWQL Spaces which is the way I use it. IMO a good starting point from which you can upgrade later if you find it lacking and want to deal with the complexity of more expensive VSTs.
Interesting. Rookie question for you, if you don't mind: why use both the early reflections from VSS2's rooms along with EWQL Spaces seeing that they're both impulse responses of actual spaces?
 

Land of Missing Parts

flibbertigibbet
Do the numbered circles represent the track numbers? I assume they can't be renamed (thus the blue label overlays).
It's actually the number of instances, not the track number. So if you open your first instance on track 20 and the second on track 30, you'll still see 1 (for the first instance) and 2 (for the second). I haven't looked at the manual, so it's possible that there are options to change this. I've just not felt the need to.
 

chibear

Active Member
Interesting. Rookie question for you, if you don't mind: why use both the early reflections from VSS2's rooms along with EWQL Spaces seeing that they're both impulse responses of actual spaces?
Ha! Not much more than a rookie myself in the engineering department, but read about it on VI Control and played around with it. To my ears I get the best sound with Spaces and the ERs of VSS2 turned down about 1/2 way. Personal preference.
 

Montisquirrel

Active Member
I have VSS2 and I use it all the time. I dont know much about the details of panning and reverb and early reflections and all that stuff, I just do what sounds good to my ears. VSS2 helps me alot with the easy to use interface. If I remember correct here is a free demo which you can try.
 

Rob

Senior Member
I have VSS2 and I use it all the time. I dont know much about the details of panning and reverb and early reflections and all that stuff, I just do what sounds good to my ears. VSS2 helps me alot with the easy to use interface. If I remember correct here is a free demo which you can try.
+1 use it often, I find the e.r. very clean, probably algo rather than real. This is why they blend so well with impulse responses. I don't care getting very strange instrument seating, as long as it sounds good...
 
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