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Waves Abbey Road Studio 3 (control room modeling)

zolhof

Active Member
"The Abbey Road Studio 3 plugin brings the acoustic environment of the legendary Abbey Road Studio 3 control room to your headphones, so you can always trust the production and mixing decisions you are making."


Science or snake oil?

edit. well, I read the endorsement by Alan Parsons and Giles Martin... they definitely have more experience with Studio Three than I do (which is zero experience haha). Pretty cool concept, but I'm always skeptical about these miraculous plugins that in the end just create more issues than they solve.
 
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ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
this is a bad joke.

you can always trust if you have shitty monitors, shitty headphones, shitty signal chain - that it'll sound like that. If it could magically give your budget headphones the response of insanely expensive hardware, it still doesn't change the signal flow of your DAW in any way, or the quality of sounds being played through it.

It's basically just a tool that *kind of* corrects your headphones EQ curve and gives you 3 quick mix checks with different curves. I've used waves NX before and found no significant difference(other than it colors your sound if you leave it on) and in reality there are much more direct options for correcting your frequency response like sonarworks.

I feel like waves made this plugin to get channels like white sea studios views on youtube
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
waves NX isn't terrible - but this is basically waves Nx + random coloration. (i.e. soundgoodizer)

At the end of the day, if I mixed something with waves NX on my ATH-M50x's(using the profile for that specific headphone) it sounded like crap when I bypassed waves NX, and played it on other devices - but would sound fine if I left it on. Likewise if I left it off and mixed it all, it sounded fine on all as well and if I tossed waves NX on at the end using the same profile, it all sounded wrong.

Moral of the story? mix/test on multiple setups, and learn to get used to your specific room/monitors and how the mixes you like sound on them, and develop a baseline based on that.

Abbey roads sounds like abbey roads because of all of the gear, and the acoustics. That plugin doesn't give you their venue to re-record the sounds you're using. It also doesn't magically treat your room.

The person on the other end is listening to your track in mono on their cellphone on the toilet. So you're better off using a cell phone + bathroom IR on your master chain for mixing than abbey roads.
 

Hans-Peter

Member
Science or snake oil?
Science. Been using and creating my own head-related impulse responses (HRIR) for some time. If done properly, it sounds so much like the room you just sampled that you can’t tell the difference. When subjects are given an AB test (speakers vs headphones) after having gone through the HRIR capture procedure, a typical first response is that they think the (open) headphones are switched off. It always makes me grin when they realize what they heard originated from the headphones.

Apart from psychoacoustic experiments I use the same method for mixing. Perfect for multi-channel setups.

However, Waves’ solution suffers from the limited personalization options (still, better than nothing). As long as you don’t measure impulses at the entrance of the ear canal, there is really no guarantee that NX’s HRTF model will sufficiently approximate your own response. But this could be fixed in the future.
 
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germancomponist

Senior Member
If you work some time in an acoustic environment, your ears and your brain find out the best way to get there the best mixes you are available to do. Look at Mr. Junkie XL, who does excellent sounding mixes in his so bad sounding room ...... . :)
 

storyteller

Senior Member
Waves NX is neat. I have the hardware accessory as well. I’m a bit of an audiophile, so I get bummed out if anything isn’t perfect. Waves NX is a great tool that can help you mix with headphones by simulating 3D space, but it isn’t perfect by any means. I wouldn’t rely on it helping you solve how to mix with headphones, but it is a tool that can help you get a better mix.

That said, I find myself loving waves nx when it comes to watching movies with headphones. That is usually when I flip it on.

I haven’t tried the new plugin, but I am having a hard time justifying how it would help anyone. Might be wrong tho... jury is still out for me, awaiting evidence to be entered into this hearing.
 

Paul Cardon

Ninja Otter Music
One of the most exciting parts of this if you can get the head tracker attachment, is how it can be used for surround sound monitoring when you don't have the abilities or room to setup a quad/5.1/7.1

I do have quads in my space, but being able to do an extra bit of checking on headphone virtualization with head tracking? Super cool. And it looks like they have Studio 3's surround rig sampled in this as well.
 
One theory is that the people running Waves have completely lost their minds. And while they blow through huge amounts of development money on this useless, ridiculous technology that will never help anyone ever produce hit songs, their bread and butter plugins are growing increasingly obsolete (All of their plugins, for example, should have gotten the ability to mix in dry signal for easy parallel processing years ago.)

Another theory is that Waves is trying to position itself for a V.R. play, and this is all sort of an attempt to monetize the development with silly products until they figure out where their company fits in this new tech space.

Who knows...oh wait. This just in. Yep. They've lost their fucking minds.
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
One theory is that the people running Waves have completely lost their minds. And while they blow through huge amounts of development money on this useless, ridiculous technology that will never help anyone ever produce hit songs, their bread and butter plugins are growing increasingly obsolete (All of their plugins, for example, should have gotten the ability to mix in dry signal for easy parallel processing years ago.)

Another theory is that Waves is trying to position itself for a V.R. play, and this is all sort of an attempt to monetize the development with silly products until they figure out where their company fits in this new tech space.

Who knows...oh wait. This just in. Yep. They've lost their fucking minds.
funny thing is I was actually surprised by their bass plugins. I like them..but this product is really a lot of sales talk. Its not really particularly useful. It feels like a gimmick and maybe some people might be inspired or find a way to make it work..but it seems like it has the potential to do more harm than good.
 

cmillar

Active Member
I love Waves plugins; but Sonicsworks 4 does the job very nicely when used with good headphones like Beyerdynamic DT770's.

Yesterday, I was re-mastering some previous work with some Waves plugs that are fantastic....but, running it all through the Sonicsworks 4 (..I was in my studio setup so could use my monitors instead of the headphones.)

But, the Sonicsworks headphones version works incredibley well.
 

Beat Kaufmann

Active Member
Every PlugIn manufacturer says: "Buy my PlugIn and your mix sounds good!"... In this case, as if the mix had been made at Abbey Road Studio. Why do manufacturers do that? They want to earn money, as we all have to ... as me too.
As for this Abbey Road plugin: If your mix sounds bad - for whatever reason - it won't save it, of course. I'm not saying the Abbey Road plugin is badly made. On the contrary, I suppose people have done their job very well.

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Basically the category "coloring plugins" is controversial. You want to use it to simulate other loudspeakers or, like here, other room acoustics and speakers. Because you don't hear the simulated timbre through a neutral system, but through your own, which is probably only budget- or middle-class, you don't really get the desired effect. Of course, this is about headphones. But if you have different headphones, you know how they can sound very different as speakers do. In addition - especially with orchestral mixes - not all tasks can be solved in headphones.

Let's actually explain the function of the Abbey Road plugin with colors: Let's assume that your own system colors the music so that it sounds slightly green. The Abbey Road PlugIn now adds for example the typical "Abbey Road red part". Now your music sounds different, but not like Abbey Road, but brown. So what does that help you now?

One last point:
It seems that the main focus of this PlugIn is on timbre and a sense of space. But:
There's so much you can do wrong in a mix. What do you do if your mix doesn't sound great even with the plugin?

That's why...
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For good mixes I would rather invest the money that way:
  • 1a) Your own system should sound as neutral as possible - hardware solutions
  • 1b) Your own system should sound as neutral as possible - software solutions
  • 2) Purchase reference recordings and compare your own mixes again and again.
  • 3) If you don't manage to get at least close to the reference recordings, you should educate yourself.

Beat
 

Paul Cardon

Ninja Otter Music
Every PlugIn manufacturer says: "Buy my PlugIn and your mix sounds good!"... In this case, as if the mix had been made at Abbey Road Studio.
It seems like some people in here are confused about what this plugin is doing? This isn't for effecting your mix. This is purely for monitoring. You are NOT and SHOULD NOT render with any NX plugin activated. It's only for virtualization of a different listening space in headphones when monitoring a mix.
 

Henu

Senior Member
Beat didn't say that either. Nevertheless, he is 100% correct, especially with the coloring-analogy.

If this $ 99 plugin magically first neutralizes your cheap headphones completely flat and then makes them sound and behave exactly like the room in Abbey Road, I'll take ten pairs right away and sell my monitor pairs away.

Seriously people, do not EQ your speakers or headphones on top of already-colored (original) sound. The whole idea is to get your monitors and phones as FLAT as possible in most cases- not to paint "green on red". Your mixes will sound horrible if you do that and completely different anywhere else than at your control room. At that point you may as well render with the ABS3 on and it prolly doesn't make it any worse from that.
 
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