VST Plugins. Do you use them?

How many people here uses VST plugins with Audirvana? And what plugins?

I only have a desktop with Audirvana + Qobuz and a Sennheiser/Drop HD6XX. Without an amp/dac obviously I felt something missing and then today I tried with Ozone 9, that I used for a long time for mixing e mastering. Damn, I got a very interesting configuration here to improve the sound for my taste, of course. Indeed a interesting feature of Audirvana that I’ve never tested before. Impossible to listen without anymore.

And you guys? What do you think? What plugins do you use?

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In the first few years I felt that VST was not done. It had to be bit perfect.

After I moved to another house I had a 35hz room mode that I couldn’t get rid of. Step by step I went from a free EQ to Fabfilter Pro-Q3 and now Dirac.

By default I always use a 24bit dither from Airwindows to close the VST chain with. If you analyze the bitstream of Dirac, you go from a 16 bit to more than 32 bits. If I attenuate it 80 dB and then turn the amp wide open, you can hear the difference between truncating and dither very well. I think I always perceive it a certain way. it’s a kind of digital sharpness. But that could be a form of bias. And hey, it costs nothing except CPU processing power.

Occasionally I have played with tape or tube emulators. But I think that is still a step too far to always apply this.

Important is the Headroom and the SNR. Clipping the signal won’t make it sound better. If you attenuate the signal too far and then amplify it again in the analog domain, you will be short of bits. Internally Audirvana works in 64bit (floating I don’t really know) but eventually you have to go to a DAC with a limited Signal to noise Ratio.

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What free EQ did you use?

I think it started with an EQ from Apple. Then some demo stuff from Waves Audio and more. But then I have to restart my (even older) old Mac to see what was on it.

Not really relevant :wink:, but I now realize that the order of processing has changed in Audirvana compared to the older versions. At that time I was still able to analyze what the upsampling was doing with MusicScope as VST. Now the upsampling is after the VST bus.

This is very important. Especially if you have an old PC / slow CPU and/or a bloated Windows slutterings and instability may occur. If the CPU goes after 50-60 % it’s time to stop and not add anything more.

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In general you have to pay attention to what you are doing with DSP. You can easily cause more problems than you solve. But if you apply it carefully, a lot is possible.

I wouldn’t use more than EQ/room correction and Dither.
Although the Not Just Another Dither is quite CPU intensive.

The consideration of using plug-ins generally, in Audirvana Studio, must be rationalized to a reason for applying them to commercially available, pre-recorded source content… rhetorically speaking, what are you needing or wanting to accomplish in the employment of any particular plug-in or group of plug-ins in concert with each other?.. If one is applying EQ for speaker/room-correction, the actual positioning of the plug-in architecture of Audirvana Studio is not the optimum position for this type of equalization, (unless one is NOT applying up-conversion to the file)… Acoustical correction is best applied on the final output-stage of the signal being delivered to the DAC/amp architecture… Not prior to any sample-rate interpolation of the file…

However, the positioning of the plug-in architecture of Audirvana Studio, in my opinion, is perfect for those of us using plug-ins in more esoteric application, such as HTRF and virtualization for headphone listening… The use of plug-ins as a means to customize a preferred listening experience is of great value … I was glad to see that the Audirvana plug-in architecture was placed before sample-rate interpolation

As a headphone-centric user, I’m personally in the camp of those not applying EQ to commercial pre-recorded content… My adjustments to the tonal-balance of auditioned music production listening experiences on my system, are primarily focused on an amalgamation of hardware component choices, like interconnect cables (digital and analog), harmonic tuning tweaks of the power-feeds to the components and careful attention to mitigation of power-supply/ground noise related detractors, that precipitate jitter anomalies.

Why such philosophy? I’m a music listener. I listen with my ears, perception and equipement and decide. That’s all.

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It’s a matter of “Why, When and How” a plug-in is applied… This is the great intrinsic value of the plug-in architecture implemented in Audirvana Studio…

Why? Because sounds better for me (instruments, stereophony, bass/middle/treble). When? All the time. Even if maybe in some cases, I mean some tracks, the settings are not optimal I want to listen to music, not to change settings all the time. But it’s subjective. In my case is not a “radio friendly” sound. It’s just for me. And as I said, like Jacob, CPU loading is very important. I use 2 paid VST from Goodhertz but because of slow CPU I don’t upsample.

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After some hours listening and comparing with and without the Ozone, in my case, to my personal taste, and mainly because I don’t have an amp and dac, indeed improve my experience here. My father have a Luxman DAC and headphone amp so sounds better there, of course, and here I never listened like today with this headphone. I’m really happy!

After all we listen music to experience things, and we pay some programas like Audirvana because they sound better, right? Everything directly to the “experience”.

With the EQ I got more punch, richness and with the Imager, I improve the soundstage a little, trying to avoid an unnatural soundstage. My experience with mastering and mixing helped here in this case.

Tomorrow I’ll do the same thing there to my father, because the room have some issues I think around 60hz, so finally we wil get rid of that, or I think it will. Sunday I’ll share the tests there.

Years ago when I had a stereo set in my living room I get rid of it because the room was a square and it’s really hard to settle to listening propouses, and wasnt’ “cool” to use EQ. I don’t know why but here if you used to listen with an EQ, you equipament would be wrong. Hard to explain the mentality here. But if 99,5% of the rooms are perfects, why not try to fix them with some software? What’s wrong here? Yes, in Brazil we had that years ago.

Anyway…

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Why make life so complicated? If I enjoy music then it’s fine, right?

There is (almost) no recording that is technically correct. There is (almost) no listening situation that is technically correct.

There is nothing to strive for except enjoying music.

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A source master-recording is, what it is… what we do with plug-ins, is intrinsically tied to our sense of enjoyment… It’s a great asset of Audirvana and Audirvana Studio to have plug-in architecture, especially, when it is positioned in the signal-chain before sample-rate interpolation… :sunglasses:

The CD you have is the CD you have. The streamed file is what it is. So?

The speaker is also what it is. The cable is also what it is.

You have chosen to make the master leading in pursuing the rendering. That is a choice and you are free to do so.

For me the master is already so far away from what the artist has ever done that there is no reason to attach a value to it.

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I disagree with this. The master is the output of this creative process. If that’s not what they intended, it should not be put out.

Imagine an artisan producing a product and saying: “Well, this what you’re buying is crap, but I want you to pay for how good would have been what I intended to build”.

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I’m not saying it’s crap. At least that’s what I’m trying to say. I want to enjoy the music. And by taking the master as sacred and not allowing any kind of processing, you are depriving yourself of the opportunity to get closer to the musical intent.

I’m not saying you should do a remaster with plugins. But I think you see more and more that DSP is being accepted. The audiophile thinking that everything has to be bit-perfect for proper reproduction to begin to decline.

And as far as I’m concerned it’s the right way. But that is my view and not absolute truth.

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I don’t care what they do before releasing the master, unless it’s a live performance recording. But from that point on, I like to reproduce it with as little alteration as possible.

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Because your room sounds like the studio? I think room acoustics are a bigger problem than DSP.

Nevertheless. I’ll leave it at that. We disagree here and that’s no problem. We can both enjoy music in our own way.

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No, but I accept that degradation instead of trying to compensate for it.

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We can’t remix or remaster a final production to taste… the master product is all we have as the representative of the original intentions of the artist, producer, engineer(s) and mastering engineer… This is what they “hang their hats on” for most intents and purposes, it is, what it is… I have several recordings that I’d wished they had been mixed and mastered differently to fit my preferences… However, I certainly appreciate these recordings as they are reproduced on my personal amalgamation of playback system components and tweaks…

In the context of plug-in application, this is obviously a very personal decision… In Audirvana and Audirvana Studio this functional aspect of the audio-engine is a very useful tool, (to say the least)… :sunglasses:

In the context of “Enjoying the Music” the plug-in architecture allows folks to be ‘creative’ and to be technical in focus, with manipulation of the audio signal… Using plug-in EQ to compensate for subjectively perceived, tonal imbalances or compensate for subjectively perceived, inherent anomalies of one’s playback system architecture, and/or hearing acuity, is a valid application of such tools, in my opinion… (Good luck fiddling with creative equalization on a track by track basis)…

Otherwise, Audirvana Studio has been designed to provide an unfettered representation of the source audio file, as transparently as possible as mastered, given the system platform it is operating upon, and the playback-system it’s output is auditioned from.

So the rational question remains in the context of applying an EQ plugin: “Why do I feel the need to EQ this master recording?”… The same would hold true for any other DSP being applied in plug-in form… (I personally use the 112dB “Redline Monitor” HTRF plug-in, as I am a headphone-centric audiophile.)

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