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Recreating Classic Sounds With Analog Emulation Plug-Ins in Logic Pro X
Joe Albano on Wed, June 3rd 0 comments
Classic analog audio hardware is highly desired to add warmth and character to tracks. Joe Albano shows how to use Logic Pro X's included plug-ins to good effect.

The DAW world has been inundated for many years now with plug-ins that emulate analog hardware. All of these can be used in Logic of course, but Logic users who prefer to stick with the built-in plug-ins can still call up the sounds of classic analog gear.

Mixing Analog-Style

Logic includes a number of processing plug-ins, and several instruments, that emulate the character and sound of classic vintage hardware. Unlike many third-party analog emulations, Logic’s offerings don’t model the exact circuitry of particular hardware units—instead they provide models that capture the inherent sound and response of certain classic pieces of gear. Most of the time their front panels are not duplicates of the originals’—usually they have a more generic layout, often with a wider range of control settings—but with a little knowledge of the originals’ layouts and specs, and a little experimentation, it’s easy enough to dial up settings appropriate to the hardware units that each model is based on. I’m going to briefly look at three of Logic’s plug-ins that bring analog sound and response to mixing.

Analog EQ

fig 1

Logic’s Vintage EQ Collection models three classic analog EQs. While most of Logic’s hardware emulations don’t mimic the exact layout of the originals’ control panels, these three do. The Collection includes: 

  • Vintage Console EQ: this is Logic’s take on the venerable Neve solid state transformer-driven 1073 preamp/EQ, famous for its broad, smooth EQ curves and “British” EQ character; 
  • Vintage Graphic EQ is a model of the API 560, the sound of classic “American” EQ, from API’s consoles; 
  • Vintage Tube EQ emulates two Pultec classics, renowned for their smooth response and legendary tube warmth—the EQP-1A, with its unusual control layout and musical curves, and the companion MEQ-5 midrange equalizer. 

With all three EQs, the analog characteristics can be enabled and dialed up to taste, and even mixed and matched between the models, for extra flexibility.

Classic Compressors

fig 2

Logic’s Compressor is a hidden gem—it models no less than six famous vintage compressors (along with a generic clean, digital compressor option), each with a distinctive sound and response. Once again, the degree of analog character can be selected, and despite the generic control layout for (almost) all models, the dynamic response differs from model to model at the same settings, each in accordance with the original’s response character. The emulated hardware compressors on tap are: 

  • Studio VCA: this models the Focusrite Red, a clean, warm modern VCA unit; 
  • Studio FET and Vintage FET: these are two versions of the classic Urei 1176, a fast FET compressor famous for its ability to dial up big, aggressive drum sounds; 
  • Classic VCA: this represents the tight, punchy dbx 160/165, granddaddy of VCA compressors; 
  • Vintage VCA: this would be the SSL Master Buss Compressor—aka “The Glue”—found in the master section of classic SSL 4000G consoles, and renowned for it’s ability to “glue together” elements of a mix; 
  • Vintage Opto: this is Logic’s take on the Teletronix LA-2A, the classic tube-based opto compressor, a favorite for vocals—it allows relatively heavy compression to be applied smoothly, without sounding overly squashed.

Tape Delay

fig 3

Logic’s Tape Delay plug-in doesn’t have a fancy front panel like the EQ and Compressor—it sports Logic’s basic blue graphics—but it does hide a little analog magic behind its plain-jane looks. Nestled in with the usual Delay Time and Feedback controls are two sections that let the user impart a bit of analog character to the delayed signal. A Modulation section includes the ability to dial up Wow and Flutter—artifacts of (worn) tape that can add a little authenticity—and a Character panel lets the user add some nice emulated tape saturation, for the distinct edgy warmth that classic analog delay devices always provided.

All of these analog-style mixing tools can add the sound and response of classic hardware to any Logic mix, and they’re well worth a good look before turning to third-party processors.

Take your Logic Pro X know-how to the next level with these video courses at: Ask.Audio Academy | macProVideo

 

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