First off, this isn’t truly scientific as it isn’t a blind test. Since we’re talking about high end, expensive plug-ins here I think a little testing not only appropriate but positively called for.
There is another plug-in on the market that claims to emulate the same EQ, except this one costs only $39, and there’s a free demo available, so there is no excuse.
Now I wouldn’t expect a $39 plug-in to match one costing 100s $$ but a little testing costs nothing but time.
First off I made a two bar wave file from an Halion SC preset called SR 120 BPM Loop. I loaded this loop into Cubase twice and made sure they perfectly nulled with an input of -2db. They nulled to absolute silence. My word means nothing here but this part can be tested by anyone. Please do.
I then loaded the Portico 5033 trial onto one track and the DDMF onto the other and tried various settings on both, taking great care to make sure the parameters on both were identical.
At no point could I make them null. There was always a difference. However, there appeared to be a small volume difference between the two in that the the Portico was a tad quieter on my Cubase meters. Also, even in all bypass mode on both plug-ins there was a very slight (inaudible) difference between the two. On my NS 10s and both my AKG and Sure headphones I could not hear the difference, but the meters showed a small difference.
I then did a subjective test, listening to both files separately through my NS 10m monitors, my AKG open back headphones and my Sure SRH830 closed back headphones.
To my ears the Portico’s sounded a little cleaner in the top end, but that means little as my ears are as human as anyone else’s and by now my ears may well have become a little clouded by fatigue. At this point the DDMF plug-in also sounded very nice indeed.
I am no scientist but very much driven by scientific scepticism and honestly, I’m becoming truly sick of reading buzz terms like: open, warm, 3D, wide and so on, which mean absolutely nothing really.
I will of course continue my tests. I do not for one second deny the quality of one plug-in over another. But please people, lets not compare the clever manipulation of 1s and 0s with magic.