I have read a lot of articles on the internet and in some magazines concerning this question. Some say that it is absolutely impossible to reproduce hardware because of the physical size of the device and others pride themselves on having succeeded in emulating the most faithful of such hardware. Who to believe?.
In fact, we are talking about electronics here, whether it is hardware or software (plugin) inside a computer, when the power outlet is unplugged, neither is functional and does not reproduce anything.
So, we are simply talking about electricity… Why would it be impossible to faithfully reproduce a hardware. Who is right? Can anyone give me a clear explanation?
Boy!.. You might unknowingly trigger a war on the true nature of pataphysics with questions like this…
I’d prefer asking, if I may suggest, this one : should we care!?
At the end of the day, you want your mix to sound good, regardless of how you got there.
It’s more reliable/predictable/repeatable to get results using (good) plugins, but more fun to turn real physical knobs. It’s not so much a question of getting “better” results. Whatever you are the most comfortable using is the “better” approach.
My 2-cent anyway.
Assuming “money is no object” of course…
Because if your wallet gets to vote… the plugins will win any day.
But I forgot to answer your original question…
Yes, it is possible to emulate “faithfully” any piece of hardware *BUT* for a limited set of use conditions only.
The corner cases will just be as good as the level of details that was put into the models.
It is in theory “possible”, but not practical, to emulate all the quirks of all the components.
So any emulation out there (via plugins or FPGA - same issue) will focus on a limited set of (useful) use conditions.
You will easily find a situation that the emulation does not cover perfectly “as-is”.
But then I ask again: Should we care?
Whatever gets you the sound you wanted to hear is the ‘better’ solution.
Should we care? Maybe yes!
UAD sells a $149 plugin with the name Fairchild and the graphical representation beautifully copies the image of the original device. I found a studio on the internet that was selling the device for $44,000.00 (probably US), there is a big price difference all the same.
I should therefore deduce that the plugin has absolutely nothing to do with original hardware. Or would UAD misrepresent? I need someone to explain to me how a plugin can replicate hardware that usually runs into the thousands of dollars.
What should I think of the three Vintage plugins included with Cubase? VintageCompressor aka urei 1176, TubeCompressor aka LA-2A and Magneto which would be an emulation of ???.. Not very convincing, is it?
You obviously haven’t used AA plugin’s with their sampling technology instead of Algo’s . They fool the most respected of engineers
No I don’t know the vst produced by Acustica Audio and the technology they use. Maybe I should have asked my question differently. Is it possible to state clearly that it is impossible for a plugin to reproduce its hardware equivalent adequately?
But I agree with you and Y-D, some plugins are surprising and what matters is the result, regardless of the plugin and the technology used, if it meets my needs and it sounds good, why try to understand the operation behind all this and ask unnecessary questions? If it sounds good, it’s good!