Can tube sound be replicated via plugins?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by roughsleeper, Mar 30, 2013.
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  1. bigshot
    Replay Gain is just one brand of level balancer. There are a lot of them. I don't know any VST ones because I use a Mac and iTunes and that uses a different kind of plugin.
    WoodyLuvr likes this.
  2. castleofargh Contributor
    replay gain in the recent versions(it's been a few years now) is based on EBU R128 standard for loudness. so it's a pretty good option IMO. there are still ways to mess things up and end up with some clipped classical albums, but overall I'm pro replay gain. I never cared about all the bit perfect master race as I've always been using EQ anyway(plus I now know too much to keep believing in unicorns). so all I see is that I don't spend my day reaching for the volume, in exchange for maybe 12dB removed on musics that are the most dynamically compressed. so no biggie.
    WoodyLuvr likes this.
  3. bigshot
    I've got a pretty sophisticated one for iTunes. I forget the name. It works on everything but harpsichord music. That stuff is so bereft of dynamic range, it comes out ten times too loud.
    WoodyLuvr likes this.
  4. WoodyLuvr
    So you replay gain all your tracks in foobar and use the advanced limiter at the end of your DSP chain?
  5. castleofargh Contributor
    live and classical albums are put aside. because I tend to listen to those in one go and per track gain can really suck that way sometimes. I just don't go and shuffle classical music. I'm not that much of a free thinker yet ^_^.
    I apply per track replay gain on everything else, then go open mp3tag and sort out the suspicious bunch, i.e. the tracks getting boosted by replay gain. usually there are only a few so it's rapidly done, I just go play them to see what's going on. within those few, some would be acoustic stuff very dynamic and/or recorded very quietly. and some would be those tracks you get that aren't necessarily musical content in some albums(intro, outro, dudes talking...). the former I would check that I'm really not clipping depending on my replaygain settings. nowadays I put dpMeter2(free) at the end of whatever digital chain, to check for true peaks. and obviously if clipping does happen on a song, I edit the replay gain value so that it won't.
    as for the latter (weirdo tracks) I go with how I feel, remove or adjust replaygain, or just delete the track if I don't like it(yes I'm an album destroyer, I delete anything I don't like in them).

    I don't use a limiter right now. I don't change stuff anymore on the computer so I just made sure I had enough headroom with the convolution stuff I'm running for the headphone, or the EQ for my speakers, and leave it at that. I still have dpMeter or even my EQ to tell me if something clipped at some point. and it doesn't happen anymore so I don't see the point of a limiter right now.

    for DAPs I apply the replaygain changes to the foobar conversion(the stuff that applies a gain change instead of just adding the metadata). I do that for those crappy DAPs that still can't handle replay gain. I'm looking at you sony A15!!! bad DAP!
    WoodyLuvr likes this.
  6. WoodyLuvr
    I as well! I usually cherry pick from most albums and only have a few albums in their entirety.
  7. bigshot
    For classical, I join tracks as I rip to create single files with an entire work on them. Makes everything simpler.
  8. castleofargh Contributor
    that's also what I've been doing for the most part. but somehow it's not a systematic thing I do, and right now I'm wondering why ^_^.
  9. WoodyLuvr
    Currently the following are my replay gain settings in Foobar2K (all my tracks have been scanned and applied with "per-file track gain")... anything amiss?



    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
  10. castleofargh Contributor
    showing the "tools" column on the last screenshot with replaygain expended might be more relevant if that's what you're using to scan files. :wink: but ultimately it's a matter of what you desire and the most extreme files you own.
    as always I'm really not an expert and when it comes to foobar stuff, I'm really just another user so I wouldn't claim that everything I write here is right. hope some more informed people can confirm or correct. and of course Hydro might be the better place if you have super specific questions. although there has been a few knowledgeable dudes helping on this topic

    still the principle of replaygain is fairly straightforward even if not super intuitive(I don't know what half of the settings do ^_^). replaygain aims to get some average perceived loudness at a given digital level. so if you set that desired level to 90dB, it will take the super modern and compressed songs that goes to the max all the way, and take it down by almost 10dB so that we perceive the volume around there. logic.
    as for very dynamic tracks, the average loudness might be at -25dB before we do anything to it. so replaygain will boost the song by 15dB to reach our 90dB perceived target. that's very likely to clip the song of course. that's where we have to consider what we wish to do.
    the most simple choice that solves everything and makes everything at the same loudness is to find the worst case possible among jazz and classical music, and set the replaygain target low enough so that the track doesn't clip. the obvious drawback is that you end up with your favorite Justing Bieber song taken down by maybe 25dB. out of 96dB it's starting to be a lot.

    the other choice is to leave it be set the target loudness to something more sensible, and have all the anti clipping options possible, starting with selecting "apply gain and prevent clipping according to peak" on the playback tab. what that will do is say "F replaygain's target level" as soon as a track is going to clip, and make the song quieter so that it doesn't clip. so there you lose having absolutely everything at the same perceived loudness, but at least you don't ruin your song.

    you can decide to use other methods, like a dynamic compressor, or just leaving those few clipping ducklings without replaygain tags, or scan them aside from the rest with a lower target loudness, or you could apply a preamp value super low so that nothing clips even with bad replaygain settings... there really are a lot of ways to do things. personally I have -3dB on the preamp but that's for intersample clipping paranoia at the DAC. I use a lot of lossy tracks and I don't use the oversampling option in replaygain(because it's so damn slow) when I scan the tracks. so instead I kill another 3dB from my already crippled dynamic range and put intersample clipping concerns behind me. the lazy way. ^_^

    castleofargh modo talking to castleofargh member: stop making off topic posts!!!!!
  11. WoodyLuvr
    Apologies good sir, I take full responsibility for luring said member with my off topic post & question. I have been rather naughty and have done that thrice in the Sound Science forum this past week. I'll surely endeavor to do better in this regards. With that said, as long as we put the word "tube" into the post it remains subject related, yes? :wink: :p

    I will definitely check out "Hydro" as well as that Head-Fi Foobar thread!

    Thank you for the insight on replay gain, as it relates to tubes (thread subject connection :p)... the extreme track gain corrections on my tracks are showing +23.75 dB (for my quietest track:Sir Simon Rattle's Holst: The Planets, Op.32/H.125: Neptune, the Mystic) down to -12.30 dB (for my loudest: Thirty Seconds to Mars' Closer to the Edge). That is a 36 dB difference!

    Regarding tubes (for real this time) it is a toss up between the Tokyodawn's TDR VOS Slick EQ and Wave Arts Tube Saturator Vintage emulator plugins I have been messing with... leaning towards the silky sounding SlickEQ though. Really like the "Adding Weight"; "Soviet Crisis"; and "LF Tilt" presets... "Mojo" is also good.
  12. WoodyLuvr
    Finally figured out what you meant... slow burn here (LOL)


    Regarding tube plugins I am now preferring the more subtle Tokyodawn's TDR VOS Slick EQ
  13. castleofargh Contributor
    it's my fault I didn't pay attention that there was also "Tools" on the left. I should have given the path instead.
    so here it's all about how you scan for replay gain and some of the settings should be set depending on some of the options I suggest in my previous post. lowering the target volume when too many songs either clip or end up much quieter because some anti clipping options are used. increasing the peak scan sampling to account for intersample clips(but is slower, so as I said I go for a -3dB in the preamp of foobar instead and it is enough in my own ecosystem.
    WoodyLuvr likes this.
  14. WoodyLuvr
    Gotcha. So any advice on what to try with these Replay Scan settings or just best to let alone?

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