• Bob Davodian

Nebula 2012 Interview: Behind the Kernel

Updated: Apr 17, 2018

Acustica Audio: How did you know about Acustica Audio and Nebula?

I remember first seeing some things about it on an audio forum, may be 2006 or early 2007.

Acustica Audio: Which feature you look into gear before get sampled?

I tend to look at sound, as it relates to audio mixing and design, as an end result. To me this means gear is a way to get there. But this doesn’t restrict to just a sole piece of gear. This also relates to chains of gear or of analog and digital tools together creating an end result; a character. So for any gear or ideas I have in my head, I look into a character that I am going after.

Acustica Audio: Which gear was the more complicated to be sampled with NAT and why?

Well, I can tell you that my 78 Five compressor as an entire library was the most difficult. The reason is, first I had to get the compression right. Then the customization for every single instrument preset had to be done right to represent those typical frequency ranges representing each instrument.

Acustica Audio: How you handle the noise during the sampling process?

If there is some kind of error related noise I will either edit or re-create a sample step within the process. But, for the most part, good gain staging always helps with minimizing noise, unwanted dirt, and musically uncorrelated distortions.

Acustica Audio: Your lasted to EQ releases where inspired by the Joe meek Q series. Will also Rain a Q series inspired?

Ah yes, this was put on hold for a little while due to a busy mixing schedule but ‘Rain’ comes from a Rane graphic EQ that has an incredible open sound with a slight sheen. I thought it would be a perfect candidate for a multi-frequency EQ.

Acustica Audio: Seems that you use a lot of psychoacustics enhancers. Can you explain me the main differences between Behemoth, My Son Max and So Transcited?

Absolutely, Behemoth is a kind of low frequency clean up utility and enhancer all in one. Rather than just shelving low’s up and creating overs or uncontrolled peaks, this harmonic enhancement fills in the low-end and some subtle upper mid range frequencies as a consequence of clearing up the low end. My Son Max hearkens back to sonic maximization to create the idea that upper harmonics are being made even though they are not. This is a phase adjustment between broad low range frequencies and high range. When used just right with or without EQ, punchy signals come be had, such that the signal comes into focus so to speak. So Transcited is an inspiration of the classic aural exciter. This preset especially loves percussive or transient rich signals where it can detect and grow  new upper harmonics for clarity, fullness, and overall impact while virtually leaving the peak out put intact. In fact, the common denominator that ties all of these psycho-acoustic processors together is just that: a type of loudness enhancement without actually pushing levels up.

Acustica Audio: Almost all of your libraries are based into a chain of gear like: 78 Five, Green Squeeze or Behemoth. Will you release in the future those equipment separately?

Actually, Green Squeeze is just itself however I used its transformer mic pre as added character in the final result of the compressor preset. I really like this one for its vicious cracking sound!

Acustica Audio: One of the drawback of the signal modelling technology is that you can not avoid to sample the complete chain including AD/DA, cables, etc., but for Transcending music that seems to be an advantage. Are aware of this?

Indeed. Because real-world routing is involved, it allows me to create mults and signal feeds in order to harness multiple effects of a sound and merge them for a type of result.

Acustica Audio: Which studio configuration do you use. ITB, OTB or Hybrid?

Well of course, in the beginning like 20 years ago up until like about 12 years ago, I used to be all analog. Then in the past 12 years I was employing a hybrid set up. It’s only until about 3 or 4 years ago I mostly go ITB. If something is without hope

and needs a tool that does something special in the analog realm then I will consider it. But as I said, for me audio mixing and design is a result more than about one piece within the process. To me, the differences between analog and digital today is more about character; specifically initial character: what you have to start with. But when we present music or mixes to the world, it’s a final result; a final sound. These types and flavors of sounds can be achieved ITB, it’s just a different approach to being OTB. And I think that is something that all good and dedicated engineers will figure out eventually on their path. Software like Nebula can help as a means to getting character but for me it doesn’t stop there. Creating different ways of processing sounds with these tools ITB is what the power of being ITB is all about: to transcend sounds of the past.

Acustica Audio: Do you use external DSP processing?

I do enjoy using UAD! I started with the Nevana 128 on a UAD-2 Quad.

Acustica Audio: Do you think that audio engineering is better today?

Hmm that’s a tricky question. Do I think its potential is better today? I’d have to say of course. With all of these developments such as Nebula how can it not be in that sense. Do I think the application of audio engineering is better today? Not necessarily.

The issue there is a lot of the new up and comers dissuaded by formal education or putting the time into actually learning the fundamentals and ironically we live in a society with information overload. This is ironic because the info is there but there is no systematic method in learning it in the right way.

Acustica Audio: Did you have formal study in audio engineering?

Yes, after years of constantly fiddling with recording, tapes, and microphones through the 90’s, I finally decided to “officialize” my formal status. So I got my audio engineering certification from The Institute of Audio Research in NYC.


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