Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

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purpurkatten
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Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by purpurkatten » Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:41 am

You can often see threads like "what is the best EQ/compressor?". In those discussions the EQ and compressor that come with Ableton Live are seldom/never mentioned, which can make the impression that those 3rd party plugins really are necessary to make a mix sound great.

At the same time, one can find nice mixes made just using Ableton Live plugs, like Pashas, http://alonetone.com/pasha/playlists/just-walking/

1. So how do you compare the EQ (hi quality mode) and compressor in Live to the 3rd party plugins around?
2. Is there anything Ableton could/should do to make the Live EQ and compressor more competitive?

Just curious.

luddy
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Re: Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by luddy » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:41 am

I'm using the stock EQ8 and comp a lot in my mixes these days and am getting results I'm really happy with. EQ8's high quality mode makes a difference. I find with 3d party EQs it's mostly a matter of interface; some interfaces just seem to be easier to use to get a certain kind of EQ curve. I find though if I stick with it with EQ8, putting a Spectrum after it to watch what's going on sometimes, I can usually get what I'm after. Sometimes for very radical cuts I think something like ApQualizer (sp?) is better just because it has steeper filters and stacking built in so you don't have to spend so much time stacking poles on top of one another in EQ8 to get the same effect.

The compressor ... it works fine for most things I use it on. When I do bus compression I sometimes use a 3d party plug (Flux Solera usually). I really like Live's compressor for sidechaining, very easy to use for that. I also like the differences between peak, rms and opto envelope modes. I think I've never used the FB model, maybe have to spend some more time with it. All in all it's a pretty flexible little compressor and very easy to use.

-Luddy

SubFunk
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Re: Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by SubFunk » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:07 am

has been discussed to death a hundred times already.
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purpurkatten
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Re: Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by purpurkatten » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:51 am

SubFunk wrote:has been discussed to death a hundred times already.
2 questions_
- How come when I do a search I don´t find anything?
- If it´s OK with you, maybe others could get an update on the subject?

Thank you for your cooperation.

The Leveller
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Re: Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by The Leveller » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:08 am

I think they are both perfectly workable tools. But you can't compare them to standalone plugs that have been designed specifically for a task such as the Sonalksis EQ and Compressor.

Ot all depends on the money you want to spend, Live comes with all the tools you need but you might want to upgrade some features by using hi quality third party plugs in time.

Sage
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Re: Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by Sage » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:48 pm

Live's compressor is the best I've used that's come with a DAW and actually useable (I've got Logic and it's compressor is terrible), all it's missing is an auto release.

3rd party ones will have more options, bit better at gain reduction and/or model hardware for more specific sounds.

leedsquietman
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Re: Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by leedsquietman » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:57 pm

+1 to both of the last posts.

Live's compressor and EQ are very useable and stand up to other 'in the box' tools included by other DAWS and surpassing some of them.

However, 'character' plugs which emulate analogue devices etc such as the Sonalksis SV315mkII and SV517mkII EQ are a different flavour and having access to both is the best of both worlds.
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purpurkatten
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Re: Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by purpurkatten » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:52 pm

Thanks for your input, it´s appreciated!

Tarekith
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Re: Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by Tarekith » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:43 pm

I use them all the time, in my own productions and professional mixdowns for other producers. No issues at all here. That said, both tend to be more of the transparent and clean type of plug ins, so if you want something that's going to add a certain color or 'warmth', then I'd start looking at other 3rd party options. But 95% of the time, they work perfectly for their intended tasks.

bagginz
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Re: Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by bagginz » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:49 pm

Sage wrote:Live's compressor is the best I've used that's come with a DAW
+1

I find Live's compressor superb.

It's a really flexible und useful plug and has all the options to accomplish almost any type of compression - from subtle RMS squeezing to peak/hardknee drum mashing to vintage levelling. That, plus a simple to set up (and filterable) sidechain input make it a total winner.

I wish it were available in Cubase.

In fact there are several things that Live's compressor can do which I cannot do with the Sonalksis - which is my most used compressor plug outside of Live.

E.Q.8's a very capable plug also: Sounds great, plenty of bands - stereo/L-R/Mid-Side modes, makeup gain etc - lots of options.

A switchable 24db/octave slope (and a 48db/octave) for the high and low pass filters would be a useful addition, but that can easily be solved by enabling another band and stacking them in series.

Both are excellent tools imo.

cheers,
bagginz
Last edited by bagginz on Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

leedsquietman
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Re: Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by leedsquietman » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:57 pm

a couple of additions though - Cubase's VINTAGE compressor can be actually a pretty good sound alike of an 1176, but the DYnamics / VSTDynamics Compressor is lame.

The Sonalksis can do most things really well, I can get a close SSL G-Buss compressor out of it, it excels at buss compression on track groups or the 2 bus. Cytomic's 'The Glue' also does a great job at this and as Tarekith suggests, Live's compressor is great, sidechains really well, but has a neutral digital sound about it, unlike Sonalksis and UAD etc compressors.

EQ8 is great as a bread and butter EQ, I don't find it's high pass/lo pass filtering to be as good as something like the SOnalksis, Sonnox or DMG Equality plugins, and it can induce more phase shifting if you boost it more than about +4 to 5 dB than some EQs. For regular EQing tasks, especially subtractive parametric EQing EQ8 is great.
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SubFunk
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Re: Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by SubFunk » Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:14 pm

purpurkatten wrote:
SubFunk wrote:has been discussed to death a hundred times already.
2 questions_
- How come when I do a search I don´t find anything?
- If it´s OK with you, maybe others could get an update on the subject?

Thank you for your cooperation.
1, because the search engine is utter useless, google works, though...

2, yes, i don't like either of them, simply because i have way superior tools at hand. so in my eyes a complete overhaul of the ableton plugs is due.
but it's a matter of taste, well i think the EQ8 is real weak, though... the comp is useable.
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mr.ergonomics
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Re: Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by mr.ergonomics » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:35 pm

I love the usability from abs compressor, but I always have problems with sidechaining, it's always off the groove for me, I don't like the release, I have no problem doing that with sonalksis for example. Really curious that using it as abs sidechaining compressor gets so much love soundwise.

slirak
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Re: Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by slirak » Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:41 pm

Well, I think Tarektih, Leeds and Bagginz pretty much nailed it. They're perfectly fine, nothing wrong with them (EQ8 and Compressor that is. T, L and B are absolutely crazy :wink: ). Actually, methinks Compressor is a bit above average. And I use them all the time. But, as others have said, they're on the neutral side, don't add much character. I think it's a good idea to have a couple of emulations of classic analogue stuff too. And you'd might like to add a graphic EQ (good for complex sources, like full mixes or loops with lots of instruments), an EQ with much steeper slope when surgical precision is called for and perhaps a linear phase EQ if you need radical, yet transparent filtering.

anybody human
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Re: Live EQ and compressor compared to 3rd party plugins

Post by anybody human » Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:30 am

I like Live's compressor in Opto/FB mode, and will also use it for obvious sidechain things. Its a pretty damn good compressor. EQ8 is particularly useful for drastic tone shaping, in racks etc. but I wouldn't do anything subtle with it, the curves and Q aren't there. I don't see either of them as mix tools, more early in the process workhoarses but that's just my opinion. I would agree they're as good or probably better than most DAW's, and you can get results with them. If I'm not using them it's not because they aren't good, I've just found things I prefer. I'm just really picky about gear, which is probably as much about having fun as it is about getting the right results.

I have to strongly disagree with oft repeated statements (from people I respect) to the effect of "Live has everything you need and if you can't get the sound you want then you basically don't know what you're doing". I don't even know where to begin with that kind of thing, so I won't.

Anyway, there are a bunch of software eq's out there that are ridiculous, sublime even. Brainworx, Abbey Road, Waves SSL, multiple Pulteq emulations, Fabfilter's Pro Q, and on and on. It's not about "good enough", it's about "holy shit that sounds fantastic!". There are some excellent, moderately priced eq's out there like Stillwell Audio's 1973 & Vibe eq's or all the DDMF ones. Likewise with compressors, they're so important and there are so many great ones out there that one should really experiment and shop around. Find eq's and compressors that you love using. Find ones that work for different jobs. Use the tools that work for you. It doesn't matter what they cost or where they came from but you'd better absolutely love them cos you're going to be spending a lot of time with them.
Last edited by anybody human on Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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