REVIEW

In this mini-series we have been comparing Pro Tools stock plugins with Logic stock plugins.

In the last two we covered EQs and Digital compressors.
Check them out here.

Pt 1 - Pro Tools EQ III vs Logic Pro Channel EQ

http://www.gearshoot.com/features/pro-tools-eq-vs-logic-pro-eq/


Pt 2 - Pro Tools Dyn III Compressor vs Logic Pro Compressor (Platinum Version)

http://www.gearshoot.com/features/pro-tools-compressor-vs-logic-pro-compressor/


In this third and final instalment, and thanks to those who requested it, we will be comparing each one of these DAWs stock FET emulations. Since these are clones of FET style comps we have put in an original 1176 to compare both of them up against. 

So in this comparison we are checking out
1 - Avid/Digidesign Bomb Factory BF76

2 - Logic Compressor set to Studio FET AND Vintage FET

3 - Urei 1176LN Rev F Analog Hardware from 1971


Here’s what they look like -  If you want to go direct to the SHOOTOUTS CLICK HERE


Avid/Digidesign Bomb Factory

Logic Compressor Studio FET

 

Logic Compressor Vintage FET

UREI 1176LN Rev F

Here's the Shootouts

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SHOOTOUT 1 - Drums

 

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When listening through the four compressors at a low setting (4:1 ratio) they are all relatively similar sonically. They do have slightly different characteristics in the harmonics even at this level of compression, as would be expected.

   
The Pro Tools BF76 sounds the cleanest at these low setting and does not introduce much harmonic content, it seems to have less lower mids, which could account for this 'cleaner' feel and the kick has more of a snap, although it does sound a little unnatural as if there is something happening phase wise on the snap of the kick.   The BF76 does seem to lose sub frequencies on the kick, compare it to the Urei 1176 to hear how much (unless you are on ear buds, in which case maybe pull up a spectrum analyzer ;) ).

Both of the Logic Compressors sound a bit more forward and harmonic than the Pro Tools Compressor, with the Logic Vintage FET being the most harmonic sounding of the two - this can be quite hard to pick, but listen to where the mid range slap of the kick sits - with different harmonics introduced the frequency range where ‘slap’ is most noticeable changes. The Logic Compressors sounds like they have a very subtle warm mid range push and the harmonics coming up from the low end are more apparent.

When comparing all of these to their analog counterpart the Urei 1176LN Rev F the Urei has a more laid back character and does something quite pleasant to the cymbals in the top end. If you are listening to how the characteristic of the kick changes then the Logic Studio FET sounds the most similar to the analog Urei 1176.

Moving on to listening through at 20:1 compression settings on the drums the Logic Compressors crunch up a large amount and really start to distort the kicks, it reminds us of the Lindell 7X-500 a bit in that way. The sound of this compression is really cool and useful to use in parallel, but definitely not the same sound as what our real 1176 gave us.

The Pro Tools BF76 is a lot cleaner than the Logic Compressors (again this may be a low mid frequency drop), and has a great pumping/washing machine feel to it (assuming you are a fan of the uses of pumping or washing machines). At high settings it is far closer to the Urei 1176 at the slow setting, not so much at the fast setting as you can hear. Comparatively, at the slow setting the Urei 1176 is a lot more harmonically rich, and the drums have more life and punch to them, the elements of the drums are still locked in than either the BF76 or Logic FET.   We think however, that none of these plugins come that close to the Urei 1176's sound, but that's for you to decide how much it matters because a] they are free, b] they still have interesting and useable effects in the right circumstances and c] if you want a much much closer emulation of an 1176 go check the UAD plugin (we have done a shootout review of it here).   

 

SHOOTOUT 2 - Bass

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On bass at the low compression 4:1 setting the Pro Tools BF76 sounds the closest to the Urei 1176, but the Urei sounds much warmer and fatter, one again the low end goes all the way down compared to the BF76. The Logic Compressors introduce some harmonics in the low mids (~400hz) that start to give the bass a bit of a boxy sound and push in that area. This leaves the Pro Tools BF76 and the Urei 1176 sounding a bit and tighter in comparison.   The BF76 does sound a bit more hollow compared to the Urei 1176.

At the higher 20:1 settings the harmonics and distortion that is introduced on the Logic Compressors are far more noticeable - it is up to you to decide whether or not you like this, for example, it would be a useful thing to use in an electronic track. The Pro Tools BF76 in this comparison stays far more consistent to what the Urei 1176 sounds like - just not as warm and fat sounding (hooray for using descriptive words with no technical relevance).

 

SHOOTOUT 3 - Vocals

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On the low 4:1 settings all the compressors sound pretty similar, while still exhibiting some of the same characteristics we outlined from the last few tests.

On high 20:1 settings both of the Logic Compressors add a low mid push/honk that doesn’t sound that great, and the balance of the frequency content sounds a little off.   It also changes a lot more in comparison to the Pro Tools and Urei 1176 Compressors. The Logic Compressors also both introduce a decent amount of distortion (something that can be really useful when used the right way). The Pro Tools BF76 does introduce a mid range push but far less so than the Logic Compressors. It also brings forward a bit of low mid push that we think isn’t that pleasant on the vocals (again YMMV). There is also a bit of a sub boost apparent - listen to how it brings forward the plosives* on the vocals. A slight distortion is present in the BF76, but far less than in the Logic Compressors. The Pro Tools BF76 Compressor sounds (we think at least), far more similar to the Urei 1176 than the Logic Compressors do, but neither of them are able to keep the high end 'air' and lushness on the vocal at these extremem settings in the way that the Urei 1176 seems to.   As expected (or hoped for if you payed a lot for one of these units) the Urei 1176 sounds great. It provides nice forward vocals and none of the potentially unpleasant artefacts caused by the other compressors in the test. Warm and smooth.   Sell a kidney, borrow the money off a loved one, buy an 1176, make your life complete.

 

What we think

In this test in our opinion the Pro Tools Bomb Factory BF76 came out on top compared to both of the Logic Compressor FET Designs. It held more true to the characteristics that we love from traditional 1176s and reacted very nicely even when pushed to extremes.   The analog 1176 still wins the day, but that is hardly surprising really.
The Logic Compressors have a cool mid range character at low settings and when pushed to their extremes they have a distortion that could be useful in some situations.  So if you aren’t going too extreme on the settings you are going to be okay we think, and if you are going extreme and want more of a traditional 1176 sound you might want to have another option on hand just in case.


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Handy Links -

Check out the Avid/Digidesign Bomb Factory BF76 

http://akmedia.digidesign.com/support/docs/Bomb_Factory_Plug-Ins_v70_26682.pdf

(Chapter 5 - Page 21)

Check out a cool article about the Logic Compressor types
http://logicstudiotraining.com/members/logic-pro-x-plugins-compressor-circuit-types/

 

Check out a cool article on 1176s and their history on the UAD site

http://www.uaudio.com/blog/1176-la2a-hardware-revision-history/


Extra info for those interested in how we make our calls on what stuff sounds like -

Listening tests and assumptions are determined, double checked or signed off at Gearshoot HQ on ATC110ASL Pro monitors.   We reckon that they give us a pretty good chance at getting it pretty well in the ballpark of what it is going to sound like on most other people’s monitors.   We also headphone check on Extreme Isolation EX-29’s to hear what is going on in that spectrum and to hear what the world of headphones can show us.

*A plosive is an unpleasant low frequency transient usually caused by “B” and “P” sounds when singing or talking. 

** Shameless plug - if you have any mastering you need done please consider us so we can buy a puppy and spend more time writing reviews and making shootouts for you ;)

 

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