This week I wrote 2 blogposts on aliasing in amp simulation. I focussed on Reason for part 1 and focussed on Ableton Live for part 2. Aliasing is ruining perfect sound, making digital sound uhm… digital!
For today, for part 3 of what seems to have become an aliasing series, I want to focus on all the Reason rack devices which can saturate an audio signal. Testing both the native Reason devices as well as the rack extensions I have bought. To see (hear!) if they are prone to produce these annoying aliasing sounds. This time I didn’t make samples.
What I found out is that all standard Reason devices are producing aliasing sounds. Yes ALL of them!
Here’s the list of all the default Reason devices I have tested:
Pulveriser (Dirt module): aliasing!
The Echo (Color module): aliasing!
Aligator (Drive module): aliasing!
Audiomatic (VHS & Cracked modes): aliasing!
Scream 4 (all modes): aliasing!
D-11 Foldback Distortion: aliasing!
Synchronus (DIST module): aliasing!
Thor (Shaper: all modes): aliasing!
Malström (Shaper: all modes): aliasing!
And here’s the list of the additional rack extensions:
Cakewalk RE-2A: no aliasing
Primal Audio ACID Diode Ladder Filter: no aliasing
Primal Audio Ladder Multimode Filter: no aliasing
Primal Audio PMS-20: aliasing in both modes, see back of the device
Softube Saturation Knob: no aliasing
Battle-Axe Sound Destroyer: aliasing on all saturation modes (Cleave, Trash, Decap)
The Primal Audio PM-20 and the Battle-Axe Sound Destroyer REs are bummers! I hope the companies add an oversampling switch to these devices one day. Possibly with a switch on the back of the devices. 2 times oversampling is often enough to prevent them from aliasing. So it should be a super easy fix right?
It is 2016, stuff shouldn’t sound low res digital anymore. Simple as that.
image by Moxfyre / under Creative Commons BY-SA (Wikimedia)
P.S. these tests are done using a sample rate of 44.1 kHz. Sometimes I use 48 kHz for video projects.
UPDATE (Nov 18, 2020): By email someone asked me if the Sononics Revival RE is causing aliasing errors. I am very fond of its sound. Not only for retro organ sounds, but also as an effects processor. See my review:
Today I decided to put my nerd hat on.
When pushing the drive of the Gold, Red and Brown modes on the Preamp section to the max I could not detect any noticeable aliasing. However with the SilverHG and BlueHG (high gain) modes aliasing became very much noticeable.
I think this device doesn’t use oversampling techniques. The Gold, Red and Brown are filtered overdrives so the filtering in combination with the moderate amount of saturation seem to be a safe combination.
I tested this in a project at 44.1. At 96 kHz the aliasing errors shift to a higher frequency spectrum which might solve the issue you might have when using the HG modes. See my post:
I must say I never use the HG modes, only the Gold, Red and Brown modes. So for me this isn’t a problem at all.