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ITB 'Vintage' Compressors - Blind Test!
View Poll Results: Which Vintage Compressor did it for you?
Compressor 1
4 Votes - 11.76%
Compressor 2
3 Votes - 8.82%
Compressor 3
17 Votes - 50.00%
Compressor 4
1 Votes - 2.94%
Compressor 5
9 Votes - 26.47%
Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

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MonikerMatt
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#1
4th December 2012
Old 4th December 2012
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ITB 'Vintage' Compressors - Blind Test!

Dear 'Slutz,

I'm new here, so be easy on me.

I figured you can never have too many audio examples, and I've been reading a lot on Gearslutz recently about ITB mixing, and how to get 'that' vintage sound.

So here's a blind test for you all.

I have a two bar drum loop, and I've processed it through five different compressors, each of which offers an 'analog' style sound. Where some compressors are more versatile, I've used them in their analog modes.

I used:

Waves API 2500 (with 'analog' mode on)
Waves SSL GChannel
iZotope Alloy 2 (with 'vintage' mode on)
iZotope Trash 2
Logic Compressor


They all have the exact same Attack, Release, Threshold, Ratio, Knee and Makeup Gain settings. The settings are a medium squash, designed to start introducing some 'glue' or saturation into the mix.

Let me know which one you think is which, and more importantly which one you prefer the sound of, and I'll let you all know the answers!

Shoot away!
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 Drum Bus - Original.mp3 (424.8 KB, 771 views)
File Type: mp3 Compressor 1.mp3 (424.8 KB, 810 views)
File Type: mp3 Compressor 2.mp3 (424.8 KB, 793 views)
File Type: mp3 Compressor 3.mp3 (424.8 KB, 837 views)
File Type: mp3 Compressor 4.mp3 (424.8 KB, 710 views)
File Type: mp3 Compressor 5.mp3 (424.8 KB, 664 views)
#2
5th December 2012
Old 5th December 2012
  #2
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I like 3 best, 4 sounds by far the worst, the kick is destroyed.

As too which is which, i dont know, 2,3 and 5 all sound fairly similar so 4 is the odd one out but I'm guessing thats due to matching settings rather than by ear 4 is squashing way more than the other 3.

Hoping 3 is Alloy but i reckon its the API

Ben
#3
5th December 2012
Old 5th December 2012
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I agree that #4 is the only one that sounded downright lousy and artificial on this particular loop. Maybe it would work on other things or with other settings, but not as it is on this clip -- it just sounded amateur to my ear at these settings.

Honestly, they're all fine in this context, #4 aside. I'd be pretty happy with 1, 3 or 5.

#1 is perhaps the most subtle, except on that initial kick hit. That's where you really here the differences on these compressor examples: attack and release times and slopes.

If you want "that vintage sound" start listening to a lot of vintage records and compressing and recording and EQing with vintage tastes in mind. The secret to making things sound like they're of another era isn't in the gear quite as much as it's in the choices.

There are a lot of records made on vintage gear that sound very "modern." The opposite can be achieved as well. This game is all about taste, not toys.
MonikerMatt
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#4
5th December 2012
Old 5th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FossilTooth View Post
The secret to making things sound like they're of another era isn't in the gear quite as much as it's in the choices.
For sure, you are absolutely right, but not forgetting that the way a lot of vintage gear was designed does still come in to play sonically.

That's sort of why I wanted to do this test, to see how the coloration of these plugs would stand up, though it's definitely NOT a case of suddenly sounding awesomely vintage just by buying them! With you on that!

I won't reveal the results yet, let's keep guessing away. And yes, I definitely matched them exactly by settings, but I was surprised that #4 was so different.
#5
5th December 2012
Old 5th December 2012
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2 and 4 sound like the SSL and API modules. I think 2 is the SSL, and 4 the API, but to me they sound a little like i remember them.
#6
5th December 2012
Old 5th December 2012
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Did you use any of the filter or distortion modeling on the Trash 2 example? If you really want to use it to mimic vintage analog gear, some judicious use of those processes would help nudge it in that direction. It is so versatile, I imagine you could get pretty close to anything if you spent enough time tweaking.

As far as the samples, they all sound useable in the right context. I'm sure with the rest of the music un-muted I would have an opinion which was best.
MonikerMatt
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#7
6th December 2012
Old 6th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn View Post
Did you use any of the filter or distortion modeling on the Trash 2 example? If you really want to use it to mimic vintage analog gear, some judicious use of those processes would help nudge it in that direction. It is so versatile, I imagine you could get pretty close to anything if you spent enough time tweaking.

As far as the samples, they all sound useable in the right context. I'm sure with the rest of the music un-muted I would have an opinion which was best.
I didn't use anything except the compressor for the Trash 2 example. You are right, there are some more features there, just as there are in Alloy 2 and the GChannel that I could use to make it sound even better, but this was just focussing on the comps. And the Trash 2 comp does impart some nice glue anyway, as do the others.

Also - I agree. I own all of these plugs and they are all usable, so the final reveal isn't intended to say 'this plug good' and 'this plug bad', but rather to let people decide for themselves which one they generally prefer the sound of in this context. No matter what wins and what loses here, each of these plugins has people who swear by them. It's all good :-)

I've already done the double blind test with these files myself. Be interesting to compare at the end.
#8
6th December 2012
Old 6th December 2012
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You should RMS match those clips. They get slightly louder towards the end (except the clip number 4). Human brain deciphers louder = better which will definitely skew the results.

On first listening through the clips sounded different to me. On a second listening through when taking into consideration the unequal volume levels, they sounded really close to each other, no big differences there, except the clip number 4.

Could you post RMS matched clips?
MonikerMatt
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#9
7th December 2012
Old 7th December 2012
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i can post them up this weekend for sure.

but just to be clear, i wanted this test to be about how each compressor works with exactly the same settings.

so if one compressor comes in slightly quieter with the same settings as another, that's something that i think we should be aware of and why, rather than me posting clips of compressors with different settings to account for RMS matching.

in my humble opinion, though, i do know what you mean.
#10
7th December 2012
Old 7th December 2012
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4 really sounds like the Waves API to me. I'm thinking the Waves SSL is either 2 or 3. I haven't used any of the other 3, so I have no idea how they sound. I prefer 3 and 5 in this test.
#11
10th December 2012
Old 10th December 2012
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And...
what's the verdict?
;-)
#12
11th December 2012
Old 11th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20100db View Post
And...
what's the verdict?
;-)
The verdict is that louder sounds better.
#13
11th December 2012
Old 11th December 2012
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if you put the same rms, the louder sounds less good !
#14
14th December 2012
Old 14th December 2012
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???
;-)
#15
17th December 2012
Old 17th December 2012
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Any results yet?

4 Sounds weak. I haven't used all of the comps listed here, so I can pick which is which.
#16
22nd December 2012
Old 22nd December 2012
  #16
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So.... any update?
#17
18th January 2013
Old 18th January 2013
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Liked the third most, fourth least. No idea which is which.

So, OP, let's hear it?
#18
7th February 2013
Old 7th February 2013
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Hmm Im going for 5.
#19
7th February 2013
Old 7th February 2013
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I like 5 the best. Never having worked with these comps I can't say which is which.
Quote
1
#20
7th February 2013
Old 7th February 2013
  #20
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Result please?
#21
2nd April 2013
Old 2nd April 2013
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#22
2nd April 2013
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where's the result for this?
#23
2nd April 2013
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seriously did one of the company's get to you and buy you off?
#24
2nd April 2013
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We're not getting the results to this. He joined GS then 2 days later was his activity.


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MonikerMatt
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#25
16th May 2013
Old 16th May 2013
  #25
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Hey now.. I took my time OKAY? :-)

1) Logic Compressor

2) Waves API 2500

3) iZotope Alloy 2

4) SSL GCHannel

5) iZotope Trash 2

what does everyone think now? i was actually surprised by how much i loved the sound of the logic compressor compared to the waves stuff, and also i did like alloy 2 a lot as well
#26
20th May 2013
Old 20th May 2013
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#4 sounded horrid (I closed it within seconds )
#27
27th June 2013
Old 27th June 2013
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WOW... kinda crazy. I use SSL series a lot on my stuff, but never really push the compressor that hard. Which is probably why I didn't like #4... sounded "pumpy" to me. However, in the right context I'm sure it would work great. Maybe just not for this particular sample. I'm not doubting your attention to detail during this test, but you didn't happen to have the compressor setting on the SSL set to "fast attack" did you?

As for me, my favorite was the API (#2). There wasn't much difference between 1, 2, 3 and 5, but the kick on #2 seemed to have more snap and less muddiness. It just seemed more focused. But hey, that's just my opinion. :D

Thanks for posting!
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