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Compresser for master bus (Hardware)
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trancio
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#1
22nd December 2012
Old 22nd December 2012
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Compresser for master bus (Hardware)

I know theres a lot of threads out here about compressors on the master bus.. But I haven't seen any
"new" thread.. But a lot of discussion from like 2008-2009 .. So now its time again..

Im going to buy a new "mastering compressor" for my dance/house/trance productions and I don't
really know witch one..

I have checked this ones out..

*GEM AUDIO LABS - PRECEPTOR
*MANELY - VARIABLE MU MASTERING VERSION
*THERMIONIC CULTURE - THE PHOENIX (SC COMPRESSOR)
*PENDULUM AUDIO - OCL-2

Please give me some feedback about these ones..

THANX ALOT!
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22nd December 2012
Old 22nd December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trancio View Post
So now its time again..
It isn't. It really isn't...
#3
22nd December 2012
Old 22nd December 2012
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Time to grab popcorn!
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22nd December 2012
Old 22nd December 2012
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Personally, I found that my mixes improved greatly when I stopped mixing into a compressor (when I did it was the SSL comp when on an SSL, a Fearn comp which I'd probably still mix through if I still owned it because the amplifier circuit sounded so beautiful and a OCL-2). Once I started working with a mastering engineer that I really liked and trusted I took off the 2-buss comp and spent a little more time automating and my mixes really opened up.

I still have an API 2500, RND 5043, Chandler TG 1 and the OCL-2 but I'm much more likely to use them on other busses (drums, guitars, backing vox etc) then the 2-buss. This achieves similar results but gives you much more control by allowing you to really dial in the right settings for subgroups which I think would be really handy with dance music. I know plenty of mastering engineers that like working with stems instead of just getting the mix for this very reason.

I think that what I liked most about 2-buss compression wasn't the compression but the color added by the amplifier stages of the boxes - the Chandler has a THD mode and my Pendulum mic pres have line inputs so I sometimes use them (or my 1/2" deck) for some extra harmonic distortion.

That's just my personal experience and of course many swear by and get great results mixing into a comp so theres no right or wrong but there is no one compressor that will substitute for a great mastering engineer so I now let them adjust the dynamics of the mix as a whole.
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22nd December 2012
Old 22nd December 2012
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I guess I might as well weigh on on your considerations since I've used a couple of them.

Manley - too soft and spongey for your style off music (or any style of music for that matter), great for backing vocals and acoustic guitars but I'd never run a whole mix thought it.

Pendulum - great, transparent gain reduction with just a hint of color. It's the compressr that I use when I don't want to hear the compressor. You might want something with more grab to it for your style of music. Has side chain inputs but doesn't have a simple hi-pass side chain (though you can make or buy plugs that go into the side chain inputs to achieve this).

Haven't used the other two on your list but you will definitely want a Hi-pass side chain for Dance music and you'll probably want something that can be a little aggressive like an API 2500 or one of the SSL clones that have a side chain to get it to pump in time with the music. If it were me, I'd gravitate towards solid state designs instead of tube designs but that's just be cause I have yet to personally meet a really aggressive tube compressor but I'm sure that they are out there. And again, this is why I choose to compress busses instead of the two mix - something nice a pumpy on the drums like the API, sweet and transparent on pads like the OCL-2, and something that can seriously alter the groove of electronic beats and arpagiated parts like the TG1.
#6
22nd December 2012
Old 22nd December 2012
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I like the shadow hills mastering comp. You get two comps per channel optical followed by a discrete VCA ("sometimes better to use two compressor to do the heavy lifting of one compressor....") 90hz high pass filter, I've never not used this. 1.2 ratio available on the discrete VCA compressor & of course the three different transformers to choose from on the output.

Not sure how it would work on your material but I bet it wouldn't suck. I hope this helps.
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22nd December 2012
Old 22nd December 2012
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MANLEY MU is an amazing box for the stereo bus.
They are on discount until the end of the year, could be a good time to get one launched your way.
#8
23rd December 2012
Old 23rd December 2012
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No love for the Neve 33609!!!!!
Or the RND MBP !!

Cheers
#9
23rd December 2012
Old 23rd December 2012
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What do you guys think of the Drawmer 1968 mk II?
#10
23rd December 2012
Old 23rd December 2012
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hear alot of good talk about the 1968 and the big switch could be very useful!
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23rd December 2012
Old 23rd December 2012
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23rd December 2012
Old 23rd December 2012
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#13
23rd December 2012
Old 23rd December 2012
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24th December 2012
Old 24th December 2012
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I'm also looking for a good master buss comp. I have experience with the Shadow Hills MC, RND Master Buss Processor, and the Manley VariMu along with others.

trancio, I think the VariMu would be way too gushy for your style. It's a great comp, but it uses a feed-back design, and can become a little soft on transient rich, pumping material. (For slower, whooshing tracks it's great)

The Shadow Hills is an amazing master buss compressor. Optical is warm and beautiful. Discrete is very versatile... 1.2:1 all the way to FLOOD (manual says it's close to 20:1). The output transformer matrix is a great last tonal tweak. Great unit, but again probably not the best option for dance/house/trance.

From my experience, I'd say you should look into the Rupert Neve Designs Master Buss Processor. It is amazing. The aforementioned comps are, too. But for dance/house/trance this thing could be incredible. You can choose feedback/feedforward, blend (parallel), it has harmonic excitement built in, and a stereo field editor. All are useful. Not to mention Mr. Neve's custom designed input and output transformers. At $4K it could be just what you're looking for. Definitely worth the money. A 1000 trick pony. (ok, a little hyperbole, but you get me).

Good luck!
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24th December 2012
Old 24th December 2012
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For almost a year, I've been using a Rockruepel Comp.One and that thing puts a smile on my face like no other compressor I've experienced. Are there any left?
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#16
25th December 2012
Old 25th December 2012
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One more...

Don't have personal experience with this one, but have done a bit of research. And it seems like it would be amazing for dance music. The Elysia Mpressor seems to be feature rich, creative, functional, fast, and perfect for your style. It was probably mentioned above, so +1.
trancio
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25th December 2012
Old 25th December 2012
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Thanx alot guys! Great points from you! It helps me alot! One question to you who probably are way much better then me on this equipments.. What do you think about this comp for dance music? Its a VCA comp and isnt that fast compressors? Thanx again!

Preceptor model-T | Gem Audio Labs
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26th December 2012
Old 26th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickknack View Post
No love for the Neve 33609!!!!!
Or the RND MBP !!

Cheers
Lots of love for the 33609 for sure.
#19
26th December 2012
Old 26th December 2012
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Also have a look at the foote control P3S ME, it is extremely versatile and is very reasonably priced, I usually mix it with my thermionic culture phoenix when mastering that type of music, and many times the phoenix is doing no gain reduction, it is just there for its tone.

The pendulum OCL-2 is a great compressor but it is not what I would go to for this genre.

Others that I use regularly are the cranesong stc-8 and the API 5500.

In my experience they all have their place, but the P3S really works in many situations.
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26th December 2012
Old 26th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trancio View Post
Thanx alot guys! Great points from you! It helps me alot! One question to you who probably are way much better then me on this equipments.. What do you think about this comp for dance music? Its a VCA comp and isnt that fast compressors? Thanx again!

Preceptor model-T | Gem Audio Labs
Gem is pretty new to market as I know. Beside test in SOS I've never heard anyone having it or talking about it.

For music you do you should check Maselec MLA-3, you have unlimited control under your fingers.
#21
27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gramophonedzie View Post
Gem is pretty new to market as I know. Beside test in SOS I've never heard anyone having it or talking about it.
I was given a preceptor and a BC2ME for trial from a local music store, did not expect to like any of them, was aiming for a ssl compressor that was a bigger sounding then the smart C1. Tried the BC2 for a few days, liked it but a bit to plain sounding for my taste, better then the C1 when doing "heavy compression" 4-6db GR, the C1 does something very nice to the lowmids though while the BC2 sounds more hifi. I almost decided to buy the BC2 since I felt it was more allround then my other 2buss compressors at that time (API 2500, Smart C1, Cl1mk2) but when I plugged in the preceptor it was no contest, It has a great tone, adds lowend but somehow it never gets in the way, It's fat but not very colored, great in a ITB/hybrid mix since it adds a lot of weight and size to a mix. I had two smart C1's I was thinking I could sell one but I placed it after the preceptor and I think they are very nice in series so I kept it, to be honest I haven't done to much experimenting the preceptor, I just liked the tone and I would actually buy it even if it did not compress.

I mix ITB with two stereo insert chains, the master buss has a crane song flamingo preamp followed but the Preceptor-smart c1. The flamingo has a very hifi'ish tone, it scoops the mix a bit (that I'm not always happy about) and somehow the preceptor evens out the negative things I hear in the flamingo makeup. The flamingo adds a lot of depth and having the Preceptor/Flamingo in a chain helps a lot, with the i/o bypassed a mix sounds grey and cloudy in comparison. My next quest would be to find a preamp make up that sounds as deep as the flamingo without that modern hifi sparkle, on the other hand I like my masterbuss chain better then the SSL4000E that I mixed on before going hybrid so I'm pretty happy right now.
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27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
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I had the Manely and the Phoenix when I bought the Maselec MLA-3. The Maselec was used on the buss 95% of the time so I sold them both. Its soo versatile and useful. You can use it as a three band or a very useful stereocomp that can react different on each crossover if you want. There is even a "feedswich" that lets you use one band as a "de-esser". Very transparent and at the same time a compressor that adds weight and clarity. Amazing peace of gear!
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trancio
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29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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Thanx alot for all this info guys! You're great! I think it will be this Gem Audio Labs compressor for now and maybe some other later.. I got a good deal on this unit and people I have talked to like it...
#24
29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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for electronic music i can recommend you the Phoenix... Dont expect the Hardware to do a way better job den any good software.... to it sounds like you wanna have a better sound of your production with a compressor in the stereobus... that will not happpen :-) at this level i would get more then one from your local dealer and try them out... my 2 centsd
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trancio View Post
Thanx alot for all this info guys! You're great! I think it will be this Gem Audio Labs compressor for now and maybe some other later.. I got a good deal on this unit and people I have talked to like it...
Hope that will work for you! The best of luck
#26
17th November 2013
Old 17th November 2013
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Hi Trancio

I'm sure you've got your compressor by now so this is probably a bit late for you. However, you might find this video review of the Preceptor interesting ..

It's been a long time coming but I think this would have been just the thing you were looking for ..

Gem Audio Labs Preceptor compressor limiter review - YouTube

Best wishes
#27
18th November 2013
Old 18th November 2013
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I know this is not one of the compressors listed, but in my opinion the SSL is an excellent compressor for Trance, Dance and Electronic stuff. It is aggressive and is my preferred choice (always over the Manley VariMu which I have) for that type of genre. Can't comment on the other compressors.
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