Opened this to separate topic from another thread where there was a request to attempt this kind of comparison.

I strongly believe that, since we are in the non-linearity realm, this kind of comparison is pretty “dangerous” about what conclusions can be deduced.
Especially because this is HW vs SW and a set of controls completely different…

So…take it at your own “risk”…

Here’s the link of some A/B on an excerpt of a track of mine mix (not master) released last month (title: Slop)

There is the untouched mix (file: Slop_MIX)
Then three kind of saturation which, referring to AH nomenclature, are:
• Clean Boost
• Saturation
• Enhancement

I’ve tried to compare the harmonics characteristics with some TRASH2 algorithms (set to oversample, so behaving better), and I’ve choose the following:
• Little Popper
• Tape Saturation
• Mild Excitement

Even if I left the AH nomenclature on TRASH2’s files…

I tried to do my best in letting the two units to behave similarly, speaking of Peaks/RMS and Harmonics generations.
Forgive me for anything please…

I suggest you to download and import the files in your DAW and perform your comparison.
All files should be 44k24.
Let me know for any more info you would need.

This is, instead, a RenderToDisk of Ableton for the channel with AH plugin on it.
it is funny…and I never thought this could happen…weeeird!

Impressed by Heat but damn it's expensive

Interested in this, thanks for taking the trouble to put it together


Thanks for this. Interested to listen later tonight


Absolutley awesome, will meet my Jam buddy tonight, we are both intrested in this as we both lurk around the AH.


Yeah, this is interesting, thanks. All the processed tracks have some nice glue going on. The AH “enhancement” is flattening the dynamics a bit too much for me (though there’s quite a lot going on in the track in that regard so it’s maybe a bit hard to tell exactly what’s happening).

AH clean boost sounds best of all to me. In that comparison it feels like it has a little more (pleasing) colour than the Trash version and I love what it does to the kick.


Forget to say that: both Saturation and Enhancement (more or less) got Drive a bit less than half way (around 11 o’clock). Though, Enhancement is a bit more driven than Saturation.

I deliberately choose TRASH2 because is a plugin I love so much since my early days in music production (that time was v1).
And because, I think, it can do so many things in a really good way.

If you need to, I can process the audio (not mastered) you provide me, maintaining same settings (snippets of tracks, not full track please)


Thanks for taking the time to do this. I’ve been kicking around the idea of the AH but I already have Trash2, Saturn, Decapitator and a few other good saturation plugs.


I have Decapitator and Radiator which are beautiful for a lot of duties.
Trash2 is a best friend for me.
But I do love AH for its simplicity and quick setup.


Thanks for doing this test, many people will appreciate it I’m sure.

fwiw the env follower and the multimode filters are my fave functions of the heat. Just using the static distortion midels, boring and doesn’t bring much to the table compared to good plugins, the magic is in combining all the features together. Wish it had even more mod destinations for even more dynamic processing


WOW!!! AH killed Trash 2 !!!


I toggled the speaker i/o for two tracks, played both at the same time, and shuffled a random number of button hits for the track mute before listening. Then without opening my eyes I toggled more deliberately and identified qualities of both recordings. I then attributed certain sonic qualities to one processor or the other.

Having done the test with all three settings. I blindly labeled Trash as my prediction for the mildly more “stuffy” sounding. And in each instance I was correct. Now with this said, could I open Trash up more with some excitement or an equalization curve? I imagine so. But some folks on here might have more golden ears and hear more stark or distinct differences than I did.

Not to mention, unless you exported all the parameter settings for each preset then punched them in, it would be hard to know what we were hearing as a difference-the actual circuitry vs circuit emulation, the filter smoothness, the actual harmonic response when overdriving/saturating etc. And each device might be designed to respond to these changes differently anyway. This would be particularly true in the clean boost example.

Another distinction to make is how readily available these sounds are. In both instances, sicijk is using presets. But dialing specific settings in Trash may say more about how we relatively value our time, not one’s capabilities over the other. Playing with Trash could take me out of the more musical decisions in the moment, which is a tall price to pay for tweakability.

Now what are you referring to by render and slop? Am I to compare those two as well?


Found this thread looking for distortion/saturation plugs. Anyone know what heats like compared to fabfilter saturn? Any other software suggestions?




Farbfilter Saturn sounds relative digital and a bit thin (even thought it’s multi band processing is unique). Better are Soundtoys Decapitator, Klanghelm SDDR and Blue Cat Audio Destructor.


Another nice one is Devastor by D16. I still use Trash though


Vsm mix sattelite is good and i believe i could use it similarly to AH


FXpansion maul


if you’re into a more transformer or even tube style 2nd and 3rd order harmonics saturation, I highly recommend the Kush Omega 458a, A, N, and their REDDI plug-in. They go on sale often and just always get the job done for me. I used to own a lot of high end outboard and these are the first plug-ins that keep me from missing it.


Yea, I totally agree with this,
the magic happens when combining the AH’s features.
I love what the eq does to the sound & I love the filters as well.
It’s more than just a distortion box.

I’m interested in checking this comparison out tho!
Thanks @sicijk for putting in the work & sharing it with all of us :blush:


Thank you for this comparison and we instantly listen that AH is very powerful !