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Smart C2: awesome on insert, but on master bus...not so great???
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audiomichael
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27th November 2008
Old 27th November 2008
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Smart C2: awesome on insert, but on master bus...not so great???

I've gotten great results from my C2 as a "crush" drum parallel, vocal compressor, drum bus, vocal bus, instrument insert...but I originally bought it as a 2bus compressor, and it really doesn't seem to be living up to it's reputation for me. Perhaps I'm missing something. It's so good in the other applications that I don't think I'd sell it, but I need a great modern 2bus comp. When I use it on the 2bus (usually either 1.5 or 3:1 Attack 3, Release A, 1-3 db of compression) it seems to flatten everything, and add a hazy character to the upper mids and top. Maybe that's the hi-fi thing that some people have mentioned in the past.

To a certain degree, I like Digidesign's Smack, and Waves SSL bus comp, but the C2 doesn't really seem to be in this family. I haven't used a 'real' SSL comp, so the plugs is all I have to go by for reference. Is a 'real' SSL bus comp fatter and less hi-fi than the C2? Does the C1 have a different character than the C2?

Thanks
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27th November 2008
Old 27th November 2008
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Hello,
I agree with you that the C2 is a great compressor! I love it for drums.

About the 2buss, usually I use it above all for the sound with a very little compression with an open attack (10/30). Besides I suggest you to buy the Sidechain High Pass filter cables (check on their site)

or however to use the sidechain input to reduce the compression at low freq!
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27th November 2008
Old 27th November 2008
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for two - API2500 works great - but imo i liked the c2 better than any plug that i've used, including waves ssl bus compressor.
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27th November 2008
Old 27th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabio View Post
Hello,
I agree with you that the C2 is a great compressor! I love it for drums.

About the 2buss, usually I use it above all for the sound with a very little compression with an open attack (10/30). Besides I suggest you to buy the Sidechain High Pass filter cables (check on their site)

or however to use the sidechain input to reduce the compression at low freq!
I do have the SC cables...didn't really excite me. I thought it unballanced (frequency speaking) the compression. I'll try again though.

My usual 2 bus setting is Thresh +8, Ratio 3:1, Attack 3, Release Auto, Makeup +2, and only compressing 1-4 db.

I'll try the attack wide open.
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27th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiomichael View Post
I've gotten great results from my C2 as a "crush" drum parallel, vocal compressor, drum bus, vocal bus, instrument insert...but I originally bought it as a 2bus compressor, and it really doesn't seem to be living up to it's reputation for me. Perhaps I'm missing something. It's so good in the other applications that I don't think I'd sell it, but I need a great modern 2bus comp. When I use it on the 2bus (usually either 1.5 or 3:1 Attack 3, Release A, 1-3 db of compression) it seems to flatten everything, and add a hazy character to the upper mids and top. Maybe that's the hi-fi thing that some people have mentioned in the past.

To a certain degree, I like Digidesign's Smack, and Waves SSL bus comp, but the C2 doesn't really seem to be in this family. I haven't used a 'real' SSL comp, so the plugs is all I have to go by for reference. Is a 'real' SSL bus comp fatter and less hi-fi than the C2? Does the C1 have a different character than the C2?

Thanks
For starters, I wouldn't reference anything to a plugin. The haze you mentioned is part of the SSL thing people are usually after with the added glue. The G384(the real SSL) has more of that haze sound then the Smart C2. Then you have the Smart C1 that is a little bit closer in character to the G384 then the C2. So, in order of color, I would say G384->C1->C2. Now as far as the flatten, you are most likely hitting the unit too hard. On the two buss, set the attack to 30, release set to auto is OK, ratio 4:1, meters should barely move when compressing. Most importantly, the unit should be setup for dual mono because, when the C2 is setup in stereo, you will lose some of the bottom in your material.
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audiomichael
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27th November 2008
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Originally Posted by obostic View Post
For starters, I wouldn't reference anything to a plugin. The haze you mentioned is part of the SSL thing people are usually after with the added glue. The G384(the real SSL) has more of that haze sound then the Smart C2. Then you have the Smart C1 that is a little bit closer in character to the G384 then the C2. So, in order of color, I would say G384->C1->C2. Now as far as the flatten, you are most likely hitting the unit too hard. On the two buss, set the attack to 30, release set to auto is OK, ratio 4:1, meters should barely move when compressing. Most importantly, the unit should be setup for dual mono because, when the C2 is setup in stereo, you will lose some of the bottom in your material.
My C2 lives in dual mono mode. So you're saying you're saying the the C2 has the least amount of color of the C2,C1,G384 category? When you say barely moving are you saying less than 1db? or like 1-2 db?
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27th November 2008
Old 27th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obostic View Post
meters should barely move when compressing
Yep, the same here
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27th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabio View Post
Yep, the same here
When you say barely moving are you saying less than 1db? or like 1-2 db?
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27th November 2008
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It depends on the song but usually yes it's less than or around 1 db of GR, however open the attack!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiomichael View Post
My C2 lives in dual mono mode. So you're saying you're saying the the C2 has the least amount of color of the C2,C1,G384 category? When you say barely moving are you saying less than 1db? or like 1-2 db?
Yes, the C2 is the least colored of the bunch and when I say barely moving, I mean when the meters slightly moves from their "0" markings.
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28th November 2008
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I'd agree with the other guys. It's all about the attack... let the transients through. That's when the mix gets exciting and punchy. I aim for very little GR as well... most of the time I'm hitting about 1db of GR on loud spots BUT sometimes levels get hot and I check my meters and I'm doing 3db of GR and it sounds really good! Use your ears and don't be afraid to break the rules if things are working well.

I will say, I like the REAL SSL better than the Alan Smart units for Master Bus compression. The Waves Bus Compressor is not bad, however I've noticed some odd information in the low mids at times. I don't think you can go wrong with the C2 unit. It should be punchy and exciting if used right!
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28th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pristineb View Post
I will say, I like the REAL SSL better than the Alan Smart units for Master Bus compression.
I did a shoot-out of the SSL against the C2 prior to settling on one of them... The SSL is VERY vocal friendly, it wins hands down against the C2. The C2 sounds more balanced to my ears on the whole mix, it keeps you working a bit longer on your vocal rides though...

Finally bought the C2 and never looked back! As I said in another post, I wish there was a way to control the "crush" amount on the output. Most of the time, it's a bit to much...
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28th November 2008
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Bought, sold, bought again...

Funny, I did the same thing... kind of.

I bought the C2 thinking SSL. Used it for my drums and then for 2-buss. I KILLED on drums.

But it never did it for me on the 2-buss. I sold it and went SSL G-384.

Thing is... MAN did I miss what it did on that drums buss. I mean REALLY MISSED

I never got a compressor to give drums the smack, width (dual mono) and punch & cut as the Alan Smart C2... I bought it again! Yep.

I gotta say, don't buy it as an SSL, buy it as an Alan Smart C2

I understand your need (or want) for that SSL sound on the 2-bus, but don't lose the C2 on drums, you'll love out BIG time.


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28th November 2008
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I tried both the C2 and the C1 on the 2 buss, and the C1 won hands down.
That's what I bought, and have used ever since.

I usually go for "Dual Mono", slowest attack/fastest release (or auto), and GR of 2 db (which is like 4 db in "Stereo"-mode).

But I agree, the C2 kills on drums!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pristineb View Post
I'd agree with the other guys. It's all about the attack... let the transients through. That's when the mix gets exciting and punchy. I aim for very little GR as well... most of the time I'm hitting about 1db of GR on loud spots BUT sometimes levels get hot and I check my meters and I'm doing 3db of GR and it sounds really good! Use your ears and don't be afraid to break the rules if things are working well.

I will say, I like the REAL SSL better than the Alan Smart units for Master Bus compression. The Waves Bus Compressor is not bad, however I've noticed some odd information in the low mids at times. I don't think you can go wrong with the C2 unit. It should be punchy and exciting if used right!
That's why I like an Opto instead of a VCA buss comp, lets the attack through like you are talking about. I use an original English Joemeek SC2.2, slope 1, about a half db of mix GR. Amazing "glue", retains the low end, and pulls the image out nice and wide with no artifacts.
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28th November 2008
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Smaaaart

I have been a C2 user for a long while.
I agree with the slower attack mode. I use a lower compression like 2-1.
Dual mono mode. I have used it extensivly on tracking and the 2 bus. I prefer it on the 2 Bus over many other High End Compressors. Very smooth, and little coloration.
If you want more grit, then the C2 is probably not for you.
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The settings which I generally use for mixbuss duties are, 10-30 ms attack, 100 ms release, 3-1 ratio and a couple of db makeup, also when the gr needles just start to move on the louder parts this is where your threshold should most likely be set.

It is a very aggresive comp which will totally kill drum transients if the attack is too fast, simple. Also the unit knee changes at the onset of compression when you move the ratio up to 3-1 instead of 1.5 or 2-1, it becomes less mushy and a lot snappier.
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3rd December 2008
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Thanks for the great posts guys! I'm getting better results using the Attack as slow as possible (which is still pretty fast actually), Release is fast as possible (I like this better than my old medium attack and auto release) and keeping the compression as minimal as possible. It adds quite a bit of C2-ness with just 1db of compression...but you can't fault it for having tons of personality (it's a cool sound).

I'm considering getting a Chandler Universal Mix Control so that I can get a "blend" knob for "crush mode" compressing...how cool would that be!?!
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Glad it worked out for you!
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i get awesome results with Smack plugin on drum buss or for paralell. just thought id chuck that in there!
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4th December 2008
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it's strange to read people can recite a specific threshold setting, because for me the threshold is different everytime depending on the source and how much gain reduction i want / i can hear.
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it's strange to read people can recite a specific threshold setting, because for me the threshold is different everytime depending on the source and how much gain reduction i want / i can hear.

I try and leave my compressors set to a general setting, then adjust the level hitting the compressor with a pre-fader. Sometimes it works out nicely, other times, I have to grab some knobs. It's nice when it works out because I have instant recall.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiomichael View Post
I try and leave my compressors set to a general setting, then adjust the level hitting the compressor with a pre-fader. Sometimes it works out nicely, other times, I have to grab some knobs. It's nice when it works out because I have instant recall.
same here, although, gotta say that if you are using SC cables, I find I like as much as 4db GR on peaks, dual mono of course. <1 db?, may as well use a freakin' pkugin!
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I like the C2 for mixing most when set on the 2:1 ratio with auto-release, and like some of the above posters, set the other controls very carefully to make sure the meters aren't going hay-wire.
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be gentle with the C2 on 2Buss, im getting great results here, not more then 1-2db GB.
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4th December 2008
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I think that C2 is great on 2 buss. I'm always use on dual mono. Right now i'm trying for the first time at stereo mode, and seems ok.
You guys are right about slow attack. Sounds much more natural...
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5th December 2008
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Originally Posted by audiomichael View Post
Thanks for the great posts guys! I'm getting better results using the Attack as slow as possible (which is still pretty fast actually), Release is fast as possible (I like this better than my old medium attack and auto release) and keeping the compression as minimal as possible. It adds quite a bit of C2-ness with just 1db of compression...but you can't fault it for having tons of personality (it's a cool sound).

I'm considering getting a Chandler Universal Mix Control so that I can get a "blend" knob for "crush mode" compressing...how cool would that be!?!
I can't think of anything this box needs more, variable crush would be extremely usefull.

Give crush a go on some really delicate sounding instruments like strings and pianos, you'll be amazed.

I usually run an eq with the C2 on crush to roll off the high end it adds to taste, try using a high shelf from aroung 2khz upwards, the crush function adds about 3 db in gain from about 2khz upward so rolling it off 2 db can work wonders.

Yeah with only 1 db gr the c2 can really be doing a fair amount of compression without you even realising it too much, until you bypass it, then you know it's working.Took me quite a while to get used to it as well.
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5th December 2008
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. <1 db?, may as well use a freakin' pkugin!
Ummmmm why?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fernando S. View Post
I think that C2 is great on 2 buss. I'm always use on dual mono. Right now i'm trying for the first time at stereo mode, and seems ok.
You guys are right about slow attack. Sounds much more natural...
Using it in stereo mode will narrow your mix guaranteed.
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I have owned my unit for some time now and never used the crush mode, I guess it's about time to give it whirl.
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