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Mixing with Saturation ? Plugins ? Theory ?

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nuyo

nuyo

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Well said.

I’ve used FF Saturn on some instruments and it can really help excite the sound, and this really helps when you’re trying to pump some life into samples. And of course, any saturation plugin should do.
Saturn has an extra compression knob built into it. I started experimenting with that. Now it sounds like OTT.
 

PeterN

Senior Member
If saturation falls into the category of "main suspects" that frequently 'disturb' a mix this seems to point to questionable gain staging.

Unless you're using a plugin with variable input gain, saturation plugins by their very nature behave differently depending on the level you drive into them. Too much level and you can easily wind up with mud, greater loss of transient detail than you'd ideally try to achieve, etc.

That isn't to say it'll work on everything. But with good gain staging and some tasteful choices you can often get away with putting saturation on most things if that's the vibe you're after.

Yea, but its not frequently, that is your word. You see 3 messages, praising saturation, so like I said. in the post, I threw in one negative for the balance.

I recall last time I was wondering why the piano ballad was weird, I found the saturation plugin. It fu.ked up the piano sound. I guess if someone is doing, say, techno stuff, it might just work like magic. Probably will never throw it on a piano, on a piano ballad anymore, with exception of vocals and (maybe a pinch) master bus. Just as an example.
 

Tralen

Active Member
Saturation is also very useful to blend different libraries together, or to make individual instruments sound like an ensemble.

When you saturate a section together, you get a type of unity that is hard to mimic with other effects.
 

vitocorleone123

Senior Member
I
Yea, but its not frequently, that is your word. You see 3 messages, praising saturation, so like I said. in the post, I threw in one negative for the balance.

I recall last time I was wondering why the piano ballad was weird, I found the saturation plugin. It fu.ked up the piano sound. I guess if someone is doing, say, techno stuff, it might just work like magic. Probably will never throw it on a piano, on a piano ballad anymore, with exception of vocals and (maybe a pinch) master bus. Just as an example.
It really depends on how much you're applying, how high quality it is, where you're targeting it in the frequency, the type of saturation being applied, etc. I'd probably start (and end?) with extremely subtle saturation on a piano, if any. Probably zero saturation if there's a piano solo - but I'd still try it out. Maybe apply very subtle tape saturation with Softube Tape or Fuse Audio Flywheel.

I might almost apply a parallel compressor set to let the transient through and a bit more and then saturate the tail of the compressed signal.
 

PeterN

Senior Member
I

It really depends on how much you're applying, how high quality it is, where you're targeting it in the frequency, the type of saturation being applied, etc. I'd probably start (and end?) with extremely subtle saturation on a piano, if any. Probably zero saturation if there's a piano solo - but I'd still try it out. Maybe apply very subtle tape saturation with Softube Tape or Fuse Audio Flywheel.

I might almost apply a parallel compressor set to let the transient through and a bit more and then saturate the tail of the compressed signal.

Well, you probably have some saturation on master bus, and thats where you can blend piano in - sort of. Saturation also has a tendency to exaggerate pedal etc noises on piano. If you throw compressor after that, it can really bring the crap out.
 

jcrosby

Senior Member
Yea, but its not frequently, that is your word. You see 3 messages, praising saturation, so like I said. in the post, I threw in one negative for the balance.

I recall last time I was wondering why the piano ballad was weird, I found the saturation plugin. It fu.ked up the piano sound. I guess if someone is doing, say, techno stuff, it might just work like magic. Probably will never throw it on a piano, on a piano ballad anymore, with exception of vocals and (maybe a pinch) master bus. Just as an example.
Fair enough. But based on it being described as a 'main suspects' I had the impression this is something you've experienced frequently enough to categorize it as such.

I've put saturation on a piano many times. As someone else pointed out it should be almost inaudible, and typically comes down to the plugin or type you choose. If applied tastefully it shouldn't 'fuck up' a piano, this still sounds like a gain staging issue.

Gain staging is inextricably tangled up with the theory of applying saturation.... Not to mention that the act of recording a piano inevitably results in multiple layers of real-world saturation that naturally occur during the recording process. The choice of a tube mic, the preamps used, tracking the live recording through any outboard equipment, and/or recording to analog tape all result in multiple stages of natural saturation. Whether adding more after-the-fact works in the context of a piece of music's another story that comes down to aesthetic choices..

But a recorded piano has saturation baked into it by default, so the mindset that saturation fucks up a piano kind of suggests you might want to revisit the choices that were made that lead you to this conclusion.
 
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PeterN

Senior Member
Fair enough. But based on it being described as a 'main suspects' I had the impression this is something you've experienced frequently enough to categorize it as such.

I've put saturation on a piano many times. As someone else pointed out it should be almost inaudible, and typically comes down to the plugin or type you choose. If applied tastefully it shouldn't 'fuck up' a piano, this still sound like a gain staging issue.

I'm also not saying saturate anything/everything just because you can or should. But I am saying anything can be given a little saturation without audible damage if proper gain staging and tasteful choices about the type used are applied.

Gain staging is inextricably tangled up with the theory of applying saturation.... Not to mention that the act of recording a piano inevitably results in multiple layers of real-world saturation that naturally occur during the recording process. The choice of a tube mic, the preamps used, tracking the live recording through any outboard equipment, and/or recording to analog tape all result in multiple stages of natural saturation. Whether adding more works in the context of a piece of music's another story that comes down to aesthetics.. But a recorded piano has saturation already baked into it, so the mindset that saturation fucks up a piano kind of suggests you might want to revisit the choices that were made when you came to this conclusion.

Its all fine, I dont think we have an argument.

Yea, it fu.ked it up. This is the ezkeys, the sound used, not the engine, but its a great sound. Saturation fucked it up.

Dont put saturation on it.

Saturation? dont even try
 

PeterN

Senior Member
Btw, I recall Greg Wells has a Piano plugin. One of effects is saturation. Correct me if Im wrong. That plugin is a good way to destroy the piano sound.

Does anyone use it?
 

jcrosby

Senior Member
Its all fine, I dont think we have an argument.

Yea, it fu.ked it up. This is the ezkeys, the sound used, not the engine, but its a great sound. Saturation fucked it up.

Dont put saturation on it.

Saturation? dont even try
17-surprised.jpg
 

jcrosby

Senior Member
It puts the saturation on its piano. It does this whenever it’s told.
INT. BED ROOM. NIGHT.

"BUFFALO BILL" stares in mirror, tucked.

BILL: Gazes at self in mirror while applying lip liner and mutters the following words:


"Would you saturate me?
I'd saturate me.
I'd saturate me hard.
I'd saturate me so hard".
 
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PeterN

Senior Member
But lets say something still. Talking about the risk of over saturating and making it all washy.

This thread was about saturating and mixing. At least, in the title.

Remember, you have a master bus too. If you gonna saturate your tracks at mixing stage, be prepared for a washy sounding final sound. Just saying own experience, if you throw in stuff at mixing stage - such as saturation - and have plugins on master too, you run the risk of wishy washy, and you might not even realize it, until you let the track rest. Do you really need to saturate in mixing? How will you master? Ask yourself that, before saturating tracks. Also ask yourself how your compressor can affect saturation, in mixing. And check it.
 

Russell Anderson

Active Member
To my understanding saturation is a combination of soft knee compression and harmonic distortion (different types emphasize different sets of harmonics) which brings out more helpful frequencies from the signal as well as helping bring up lower signals through gentle compression. It's a tool like any other but it's a very powerful one when used tastefully.

Ex. The tube saturation that creates warmth people love has a stronger second order harmonic emphases in the saturation and that gentle soft knee compression that comes with it helps round things out and fill up the signal.

This is my understanding, anyway. I'm happy to learn if I'm wrong!
If you wanna really cook your noodle, a digital compressor is actually a clipper which is actually a waveshaper, but with an attack and release attached to an envelope follower.

So the transfer function, the line of the waveshaper/processing shape in the compressor will distort as it’s beginning to waveshape when there’s shorter and shorter attack/release values. That’s because you’re reaching such short or instant-time values that you’re operating on a per-waveform or faster rate with the amplitude transfer function, resulting in waveshaping.

When you slow that down with an envelope follower, then the transfer function is acting on longer “swathes” of audio (insofaras one might refer to the first 60ms of a drum strike as a “swath(e?)”) and therefor is not distorting, despite being built on the same thing.

Is that how it works in analogue gear? I’d guess not.

Try messing with a compressor like MCompressor (free), lets you draw your own curve and set att/rel to 0/0. You’ll be straight up waveshaping with whatever custom curve you draw/create.
 
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sostenuto

NKS Fan !
Looking now at Nembrini Audio PSA1000 Bundle @ $38. Saw earlier deals a bit lower, but thinking this Saturation unit may be solid, 'general' toolbox addition ??

 

Trevor Meier

Friend-Fu Master and Wizard of Odd
The free GSat+ plugin by TB Pro Audio is quite good, and the same as what’s used in their CS-5501 channel strip. I also quite like Spectre from Waves Factory
 

Trevor Meier

Friend-Fu Master and Wizard of Odd
BTW, as I posted in the Decapitator thread… when testing out saturators or anything that generates harmonics, make sure to check that it handles Nyquist reflections properly (aka aliasing).
 

vitocorleone123

Senior Member
I'm a sucker and bought Baby Audio's new TAIP plugin on PluginBoutique for abour $34 with some cash bonus I had there. I'm currently experimenting with subtle settings (the saturation/distortion sounds great). But really I have it set on a Korg Polysix VST instance somewhat subtle on the mix slider, and I just keep playing it. And playing it. Unpredictable Chorus setting at 20% wet.

https://babyaud.io/taip-plugin

The only negative I see right now is that the plugin does add a chunk of latency.

I'm going to have to power on the hardware.... OB-6 coming right up!

Edit: :cool:

Edit 2: That was hard to stop playing the OB-6 bass that was gritty that TAIP then made absolutely filthy and wonderful. The mix slider is great, but the Presence, High, and Low sliders are what really help dial it in. So far, and I know it has that new plugin shine, this is very much worth the sale price. Full price? Not sure yet.

I've not yet tried it on anything orchestral (Damage 2 will probably come up soon for me, but that's only tangentially orchestral).
 
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sostenuto

NKS Fan !
I'm a sucker and bought Baby Audio's new TAIP plugin on PluginBoutique for abour $34 with some cash bonus I had there. I'm currently experimenting with subtle settings (the saturation/distortion sounds great). But really I have it set on a Korg Polysix VST instance somewhat subtle on the mix slider, and I just keep playing it. And playing it. Unpredictable Chorus setting at 20% wet.

https://babyaud.io/taip-plugin

The only negative I see right now is that the plugin does add a chunk of latency.

I'm going to have to power on the hardware.... OB-6 coming right up!

Edit: :cool:

Edit 2: That was hard to stop playing the OB-6 bass that was gritty that TAIP then made absolutely filthy and wonderful. The mix slider is great, but the Presence, High, and Low sliders are what really help dial it in. So far, and I know it has that new plugin shine, this is very much worth the sale price. I've not yet tried it on anything orchestral (Damage 2 will probably come up soon for me, but that's only tangentially orchestral).
Trialing TAIP now. Have Little Radiator and Black Box Design HG-2. Need to follow here while doing some careful testing.
 
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