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 CDSoundMaster Collections: Technical Details
 CDS Nebula Program FAQ's
 Variable "Q"
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clubvst
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Posted - 07/02/2010 :  04:37:07  Show Profile  Visit clubvst's Homepage Send clubvst a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Question:
Why don't you provide variable "Q" width on your eq libraries?

Super quick answer: it is an additional field value that multiplies the number of settings and resources exponentially with very little yield/reward, very little change in final result, and again huge resource hog.

But, this deserves the long answer, because it is a valid question.
In code-based and simplified IR and dynamic IR based programs, variable "Q" is common plotting between programmed vector plots.

When adding a feature to something as robust as an eq program, it is not addition, but multiplication.

Say you have variable #1 = Frequency, variable #2 = Gain.

For one Frequency you have 2kHz, 5kHz, 10kHz.

For Gain you have -10, -5, 0, 5, 10.

You have five gain settings for 3 frequencies for a total of 15 samples (except in a mastering program there may be 12 frequencies at 40 gain settings!)

So, what happens if we add a "Q" variable?

Well, let's say we do "Q" 4, 3, 2, 1.

We have to have enough versions to plot, but if we do as many as gain, literally we will never finish sampling an eq and it will never be usable.

So, now we have 3 frequencies at 5 gains and at 4 "Q"'s.

In our tiny example we now have 60 samples, and that only covers 3 fixed frequencies, and only 5 gain settings.

Let's say there are actually 12 frequencies and 40 gain settings (if that sounds like a lot, there are more than this for the eq's that the question relates to).

So, for our fixed frequency fixed gain fixed "Q" program we have 480 samples!

Now, let's add that variable "Q":
480 x 4 = 1920

Now, I've had complaints for loading programs with as few as 240 samples, and I believe in quality above all things.

I dO believe that feature set is extremely important. I also believe that there should be beneficial limitations. And, there are differences in hardware and digital. I personally am a hardware fan, but I embrace digital more and more as I find that the trade-off on sound quality is pretty much a past argument.

Where does analog do best? Well, it is pretty easy to load up 4 bands of variable "Q" and use any combination of them. But, 90% of the time aren't we doing the best work by applying as little as it takes to solve the problem at hand or enhance what is beneficial? Even in other digital examples as this translates, I can't tell you how many times I've loaded a developer's multi-band emu or sample-based eq and loaded only one band, or loaded the whole thing just to use the shelf.

Nebula is incredibly useful as a stream-lined organization to mixing. It can be slower than standard mixing, but I get more done in fewer steps with Nebula every time. I load instead of patch.

What else is different?
We can have harmonic non-linearities... or not!
And, if we want them, we do so without an actual noise floor!
But, we get the benefits of the filtering and overtones- so basically a perfected version of the hardware.

So, yes it is true that in some cases interpolation is not a perfect answer and other times it is better than the original.

My approach, once again, is to give every important accentuated detail of the original hardware while optimizing performance in such a way that delivers 100% full quality in sound with few losses in options.

Next important reason; I deliver the most usable and recognizable fixed "Q" widths and fixed frequencies from each major flexible mastering eq that I provide. This is true for mix eq as well, but usually it is a mastering eq that can do any "Q" and frequency without anything missing.

Here is what is important:
You are going to get the full quality of the original unit.
You don't have to patch it in, you load what you have memory for.
You can use 20 of them and it won't cost $70,000.
You can mix/match ANY band and not build up noise floor.
Every fixed "Q" I provide gives you more overlap than you would ever need to choose from or need to dial in.
I focus on literally as many frequencies as I can squeeze in, focus on what each device does best, and overlap different frequencies at different widths to make sure not only that you never run out of options, but that custom sculpting by layering widths is also possible.

Another important reason why...
I am providing these at a ridiculously low price. I think it is foolish to ask less, and even cheapens the entire concept to deliver something so wonderful as the sound of these hardware classics at too low a price, but I want everyone to have an opportunity to afford them if they save for them. It will always be a fraction of what large developers ask. Trust me, their money is not tied up in sponsoring and licensing; it is tied up in marketing and paying their top positions- quite well!
Why bring this up?
Because you are not faced with the same decisions as you would with the hardware. If we were talking about the hardware, you would normally be deciding between 1-3 major eq items for mastering. Each of those would HAVE to perform all tasks in a few steps in analog. In this ideal digital state you are no longer trading off sub-standard quality hoping an emulation is close, or paying $200-300 to get 90% there. You can afford the entire rack of the highest quality real classic eq's for mix and mastering, add new features to them, and use the electronics just for tracking as desired.
Again, your choices are so much wider and interchangeable with the most important "Q"'s from each device to mix and match with the strongest sonic qualities of other hardware items in DAW form. You don't have to rely only on a Nice EQ or GEQ to perform all "Q"s all the time. Use the 25,000Hz on Nice and cut sharp in the mids with the GEQ. Or, tune in a standard 1.0 "Q" with NICE and shelf with GEQ.
Use PEAK only for vocals and don't feel ashamed for using an expensive hardware item only for one track per album, or for only guitars. You have THE ideal situation.
All releases are made to compliment each other and to give you the absolute ideal facility.

Since perfecting the process of adding these releases one by one, I have been down-sizing my analog chain substantially. My outboard hard drives are filled with sound examples of original hardware versus Nebula, and a few other secret weapons.

I've probably sold 30+ hardware items over the past 2 years, and bought maybe 5-6 in their place. The lines for where analog and digital have their strongest links are coming more and more to how fast your computer can process, because the sound is definitely there!

So, more often than not, interpolation and careful sampling will end up adding more control features than what you may lose in variable "Q", but I truly believe that if you use the "Q"'s and frequencies featured in each collection, you will not find yourself stuck in between without there being at least one other eq, if not 3, that will fill that gap better than the device missing a feature. In the end, you gain 400% and lose 20%. That works quite well for me! I hope it works for you as well.


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