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Brainworx bx_console N - any good?

KMA

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It’s on sale right now at Plugin Alliance and I’m wondering if any owners might let me know their impressions?

The market is already saturated with vintage Neve emulations, and the modern 88RS desk is covered by UAD. But the late-90s Neve VXS isn’t one that I’ve come across before.

I’ve got lots of tools for EQ, dynamics and saturation. But the idea of a channel strip that gives me some character (without my having to go hunting for it) is attractive. It’s particularly interesting that they’ve modeled each channel separately.

Does anyone own this? What are your thoughts?

Thanks!
 

Michaelt

Senior Member
I'm also interested in this. I do very little processing on my stuff; the only things I own beyond Logic's stock are Valhalla Room and the Waves J37. A good console emulation that covers the few things I do tweak could be a great addition.

It's basically between this, or a couple more things from Waves (which is an ecosystem I've grown wary of getting more involved in recently).
 
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patrick76

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I have it and like it. The SSL one is great too. But, it doesn't matter if I like it.... they do offer free trials so try them out and see if you like them. Compare them to what you have now. I did and ended up making a purchase ( a while back).

Best of luck!
 
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KMA

KMA

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@miket I'm generally wary of Waves too, although I bought the Scheps Omni and 73 recently on deep discounts and vouchers. It's nice to have a couple of options, and I do like what those plugins do on certain things.

@patrick76 I completely forgot that you can download the demo, so thanks for reminding me. I'll be checking that out tonight. Which SSL model did you purchase, by the way?
 

Michaelt

Senior Member
I'm generally wary of Waves too, although I bought the Scheps Omni and 73 recently on deep discounts and vouchers. It's nice to have a couple of options, and I do like what those plugins do on certain things.

The Scheps 73 is probably what I'd be getting, along with the dbx 160 (or another compressor, not sure). Tonight, I'll demo all of these choices. I also need to figure out if I'm comfortable staying with Waves in the first place.
 
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patrick76

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@miket I'm generally wary of Waves too, although I bought the Scheps Omni and 73 recently on deep discounts and vouchers. It's nice to have a couple of options, and I do like what those plugins do on certain things.

@patrick76 I completely forgot that you can download the demo, so thanks for reminding me. I'll be checking that out tonight. Which SSL model did you purchase, by the way?
I went with the E series.
 
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wst3

Lunatic - it's really that simple
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I have their N and SSL G consoles. I much prefer the N, but then I was not a big SSL fan back in the day when I could not afford one<G>! I did get to work on a E and a G series a couple times, and they do have their sound, and in the hands of a skilled engineer they can help make a great recording. So too can an MCI, an API, a Neve, or half a dozen others.

But yeah, these console emulations are pretty darned cool. And as mentioned, you can try them before you buy.
 
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sostenuto

NKS Fan !
Not in Pro /Commercial category, but was recently sidetracked by Waves_ Abbey Road Mastering Chain. It will take a very impressive alternative to prod me away ....
Related videos made a strong impression.

.... and BTW, I am a loyal Plugin Alliance User and Dirk Ulrich fan.
 
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Michaelt

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Not in Pro /Commercial category, but was recently sidetracked by Waves_ Abbey Road Mastering Chain. It will take a very impressive alternative to prod me away ....
Related videos made a strong impression.

.... and BTW, I am a loyal Plugin Alliance User and Dirk Ulrich fan.

I was interested in that too, initially, but after trying the demo I decided it wasn't a great fit for the sort of music I do, particularly the way the compressor works. That could just be down to my lack of skill, though.
 
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KMA

KMA

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UPDATE: I’ve since downloaded bx_console N and activated a trial.

I took 6 channels of drums from a recent session and decided to do a shootout between the BX and the Maag EQ4. I replicated the settings as closely as I could between the two, both on each channel individually, as well as on the drum bus. I also avoided using any feature of either EQ that the other one didn’t also possess (gate, compressor, AIR band at 20k or above, center frequency, etc.).

The Maag bounce was simple enough. For the BX bounces, I bounced things a few different ways - first, with all channels set to channel 1 within the plugin (channel 1 of the virtual console, in other words), then 3 separate randomization bounces (where each instance of the plugin uses a different virtual console channel).

I really love the way the Maag sounds, and I was pleased to find that the BX matched it very well. There were definitely differences, but I imagine that some of these are likely attributable to my not knowing the various bandwidths/slopes on the Maag and how to replicate them on the BX, if even possible.

Where the BX might fall down for me is the individual channel modelling, and that's only because this feature is central to the marketing. Perhaps my ears just aren’t that tuned in to the subtleties involved, but I didn’t hear a big (or any) difference between the channel 1 bounce and the various randomized channel bounces. It could be the programme material, or it could be that the tolerances between the different modeled channels really are very small after all (and that’s not an unfair expectation with a Neve console). Or it could just be that the Maag is just too awesome :)

Well, I still have a lot of playing around to do to get a better feel for it, but I wanted to share my initial findings with you.
 

Michaelt

Senior Member
I demo'd the N console as well. Two things happened.

First, I decided that it was the best console emulation I've come across, and probably the single plugin best suited to how I do things and the sound I'm after.

Second, I decided that even at the sale price, I can't afford to fork over the cash for it, at least not right now, given the relatively subtle difference it makes, and my inability to make the most of it anyway.

You know, all of my virtual instruments have been recorded through several stages of great gear (Soniccouture, Spitfire), or they're built to sound breathtakingly alive (Zebra). They've got the sound in there, captured by people who know a hell of a lot more than I do. I think I can continue to make do with Logic's stock plugins, and u-he's Satin for an overall bit of glue and character.
 

martincraneV

New Member
I’ve just started using the G and N. I think they both sound great. I particularly love their low CPU, dongle-free operation. It’s a simple, one stop shop. Between the two I can make anything sound good, and I can load up an instance on every track easily and run it at 64/128 buffer which allows me to much more easily write and mix at the same time, esp with more sound-design type music.

Of note - the EQ knobs on the G are off by maybe 500 - 700hz. So you put it at 1.7k and it’s really at 1k. I’ve had some issues related to Ableton on High Sierra that the customer support has been slow on.
 
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KMA

KMA

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Ok, after a couple days of solid testing… I think this plugin is pretty special.

The EQ is glorious, especially the highs and high-mids. I can boost as much as I like and it never gets ugly.

The gate/expander is just fantastic - transparent and easy to dial in. The compressor is clean and smooth, and the Mix and HPF are very handy additions. It doesn’t do crunchy, although you can hit it hard and blend it in parallel.

It's got a nice analog sound to it straight away. But it’s when I started pushing the V-gain (noise) and the THD, and then randomized the TMT channel, that I really began to hear some “console” variances. I printed a few randomized bounces and phase-cancelled to hear what was left, and there were definitely things left over. Certain channels seem to step out, so the trick will be making note of the channels that I like, just like I would have to do with a real console. In other words, I need to learn the desk. Of course, if you want it cleaner, you can set everything to channel 1 (their “golden channel”), turn the noise/THD down, and create something more precise.

And here’s the best part - it’s the most efficient plugin I’ve ever seen.

I loaded 72 channels, each one with an instance of Channel EQ (Logic), an instance of bx_console N (with dynamics and EQ all active), and some audio. And the CPU was only at about 35%, give or take. And this is with browsers and miscellaneous crap open in the background.

I don’t own any other single piece of software that packs as much bang for the buck, all while sounding beautiful and having a staggeringly low CPU-footprint.

So I bought it. :grin:
 

Michaelt

Senior Member
I came close to buying it too. Sigh. Just can't fit it in the budget right now.

Probably better that I don't accumulate too much of this stuff anyway. If I can be patient, I'm going to keep rolling with the Logic plugins until I can finally afford to buy into the world of UAD. Then things will get very Manley, and I doubt I'll want much more....
 
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sostenuto

NKS Fan !
Budget not so much an issue ……. as recent trial /purchase of Waves_ Abbey Road TG Mastering Chain @ ~$30.
As long-time PA fan …. struggling to improve on this Waves alternative.
 
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KMA

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If I can be patient, I'm going to keep rolling with the Logic plugins until I can finally afford to buy into the world of UAD.

I've tried out UAD stuff here and there, and it's great, but it's an investment for sure. I think that's another reason I see so much value in the BX Neve - it's efficient, supremely well-written code that runs natively within your host.

Logic's Channel EQ is still the first plugin in my chain. I use it for subtractive EQ'ing of problem stuff, as well as for its analyzer. And it's ultra-light on the CPU. The only other addition I'd probably make in the short term is FabFilter Pro-Q, for more surgical stuff. Otherwise, I'm trying to make this a quiet Black Friday.
 
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KMA

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Budget not so much an issue ……. as recent trial /purchase of Waves_ Abbey Road TG Mastering Chain @ ~$30.
As long-time PA fan …. struggling to improve on this Waves alternative.

To be honest, I guess I hadn't considered the Waves TG to be an alternative to the BX console emulation. They seem like different beasts with different purposes.

Fortunately, Waves is never not on sale, so I'm sure I'll be tempted to check it out sometime.
 

Chris Hurst

www.chrishurstmusic.com
Just demoing this and I’m really liking what I’m hearing. Seems to add a bit more colour than the slate plugins to my ears.
 
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