What can you tell me about ADR gear ?
Old 15th July 2005
  #1
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Thread Starter
What can you tell me about ADR gear ?

More specifically, their ADR F769X R Vocal Stressor, F760X RS Compex Limiter, and Express Limiter units.

I have sourced some reasonably priced second hand gear, but i am struggleing to find out my info about them. As much as i can gather, their compressors are good for slamming down drums and rock vox, but i can not find out much else. Any links or personal experiences would be most appreciated.
Old 15th July 2005
  #2
Gear nut
 

I have a version of the Compex 760 limiter (it's a dual channel unit mounted in my Calrec console) & it sounds great. It's kind of like an 1176 but with more presence and the potential to be even more aggressive (this is in comparision w/ my UA 1176 RI).

Bill

www.hifrequencies.com
Old 15th July 2005
  #3
My favorite of the lot is the Compex and the ADR Panscan.
Old 15th July 2005
  #4
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orange's Avatar
 

i've got a vocal stressor, compex and seperate eq...

great !!

i notice funky junk had some in their last mail out.

si
Old 16th July 2005
  #5
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Thread Starter
So, nothing bad to speak of as such ?

I guess i should tell you what i am doing at the moment... I'll be recording a hip-hop funk reggae band, a prog rock group, and a sorta pshycadelic rock trio pretty regularly over the next few months. I'm almost as good as sold on the gear, but i am just a little concerned as there is so little info out about them. I cannot do a listening test either as the units are in another state...

Thanks for the opinions so far.
Old 16th July 2005
  #6
one man, ONE mic pre
There's not much bad to say about their SOUND... they indeed DO work on the same principle as the 1176 but with their own line amps so naturally their own sound quality.

I used a compex (F-760x-rs) for years as my main stereo buss compressor.. it's a great sounding compressor.
The vocal stressor is a mono comrpesor and an EQ.. i never loved their EQ (and I hate "parametric" eq in general.. it's really a rationalisation for manufacturers to put in 49 cent pots instead of 40 dollar, hand wired, stepped switches) but it's a decent unit.

The compex is one of the very best piano compressors and also great on the whole mix.
And quite good on guitars and vocals as well.

I stopped using mine when Geoff Daking built his which (after we'd talked about it) incorporates the attack and release times of the compex (as one setting) but with nicer Class-A discrete line amps.
the one BAD thing one can say about A&DR is their build quality, especially the pots and switches, is a bit suspect.

if you buy a compex, try to find one with the balanced ins and outs option... not all have it.
Old 16th July 2005
  #7
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I know a little history about the company and product line. I had my first hands-on encounter with a Vocal Stresser and SCAMP modular rack in 1980 when I signed on as the Chief at an ad agency that had a new 24 track MCI room. Milam Audio had supplied all the gear and installed it just before I began working there, and there was that one Vocal Stresser and a SCAMP rack with just a few gate modules.

I was really knocked out by the VS, and the SCAMP gates were usable. Soon thereafter, we chased, and won, the USA advertising account for ADR. A LOT of gear was added to the studio via tradeouts. We added a second Vocal Stresser, maxed out two SCAMP racks, and added six Compex "N" modules.

For the latter, I added some switching so they could be used as six standalones, or in conjunction with the Transdynamic Processor. That box was basically a "crossover" with low/mid/high filtering to drive the inputs of a compressor, with a recombiner to put everything back together with a peak limiter at the output. The intended market was FM broadcast, and two radio stations here had them in their on-air processing (but with the much-less-expensive Express compressors) in the mid 1980's. It was sort of an Orban tri-band on steroids since you had so much control over each band.

Here's a scan I did from the ad agency's brochure showing the room as it currently exists. In the sidecar, you can barely see the six Compex "N" modules at the top of the left rack section. Directly below in the left rack, and immediately to the right in the other rack are the two SCAMP frames. Beneath the left SCAMP rack is an ADR "voice over" compressor (analog auto-ducker). The chair is mostly blocking the view of the Vocal Stressers beneath the other SCAMP rack.

http://www.brianroth.com/pix/gv.jpg

ADR went through several name variants. Originally, they were Audio Design (Recording), Ltd. They eventually dropped the () in the name. We suggested Audio+Design with a new logo which showed up on some later gear.

USA marketing was handled by Nigel Branwell and his wife, based in the Seattle area. Nigel and I became excellent friends, since the ad agency appointed me as the account executive! Pretty crazy for me, since I was a Gearslut, not a suit, but I could speak the lingo. I was the copywriter on all the A+D ads that ran in the US. Nigel and I could also "party hearty" when we got together at trade shows, etc. I believe he moved to AMS or Amek, but I learned awhile back he had died from a brain tumor. I now wish I had kept in contact after the A+D days.

As for the electronics itself, things like the Compex were 70's discrete designs, Class A circuitry with a British flair. Later gear (especially the newer SCAMP modules) used opamps. I will agree that some of their pots and switches weren't the best quality, but it's typically not too difficult to find modern replacements.

I am a HUGE fan of the Compex boxes...they have quite a load of features (since they are a compressor, limiter, expander, and gate all in-one) and a great sound. Of course, you can see a 1979 LA-2A reissue in the pic linked above and not visible are some 1176's and other gear (there's another stash in the "coffee table rack at the far left of the pic, with the drum synth sitting atop). Each box provides it's own sonic footprint. We tried to have a little bit of everything, and a lot of A+D gear.

I have a ton of service and sales lit (imagine that!) in my files if anyone needs additional info.

Bri
Old 16th July 2005
  #8
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FWIW, here's a medium rez scan from an ADR brochure (British issue) showing both a dual channel Compex and a Vocal Stresser. My HP scanner doesn't have nearly enough glass for the "foldout", so I had to scan it in two passes.

http://www.brianroth.com/library/compex.pdf

Bri
Old 16th July 2005
  #9
Thanks for doing the Brian...

I have a Vocal Stressor - its a firm favorite with the freelancers...

Personally I tend to use it on under snare mic when tracking and on 'hyper compressed' REM style jangle gtrs..
Old 16th July 2005
  #10
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Hey, Jules! I am drawing a blank about the name of the founder/president of ADR. I met him several times when we were doing their USA ads, but no name comes to mind. Perhaps a Mike-something? Maybe Mike Belville, or is that something totally off the wall?

ADR had morphed off into AES/EBU gear in the later 80's, but after that, I don't know if they still exist.

HMMM! Google to the rescue:

http://www.proaudio.uk.com/

I see they are now using yet another logo variant. Same mailing address in Pangbourne, Berkshire.

One fun tweak with a Compex is to set the attack to the slowest setting, then run a drum mic through it. Ignoring the gate/expansion modes, it would, in effect, act as an expander. The "whack" would escape the action of the compressor, whilst the drum's note would be squashed, thus, in effect, expanding the apparent dynamic range. I think I even have an "app note" from ADR about that operational mode.

If ADR had any sensibility, they'd take a cue from the Putnam boyz and reissue the Compex! If they don't, I just might do it myself....

Bri
Old 16th July 2005
  #11
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Old 16th July 2005
  #12
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We have a mix room in Toronto oft visited by all star mixers and the ADR stuff gets requested consistently. We've got 2 760's and 3 769's. A little confusing at first, but an extremely distinctive sound. Can be extremely aggressive (the limiting) or just fat (the compressor) Everyone seems to use them on drums and vocals.

My .02
Old 17th July 2005
  #13
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I have the F700H modules in my console. These are very early ADR and sound fantastic. No maintenance issues at all.

Old 17th July 2005
  #14
Whoops re link... I guess search URL's expire...

Please try typing ADR in an Advanced Search - subject title..

YOU WILL FIND LOTS OF INFO!
Old 17th July 2005
  #15
I have a scamp rack w an SO1 compressor, 2 filter gates, 2 expander gates, an adt [flanger] and a panner. The rack is abit beat up but I have a harness and I'd let it go cheap
Old 17th July 2005
  #16
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Speaking of the SCAMP rack, I found one of our ads from 1981:

http://www.brianroth.com/library/scamp-1981ad.jpg

I had a bit of trouble scanning it since the paper copy had been laminated in plastic.

Later SCAMP modules were anodized black instead of that odd green color.

Bri
Old 17th July 2005
  #17
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Thread Starter
Wow ! Thanks for all that info Brian !

I must say i'm pretty sold on the whole concept. I daresay you will be hearing back from me gloating about my new ADR outboard.. hahaha.

Those scans offer some nice reading too. Cheers !
Old 17th July 2005
  #18
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some more useful info if you search at:

http://www.prodigy-pro.com/forum/

and

http://www.danalexanderaudio.com/Outboard.html

as mentioned previously, standard units are UNBALANCED - you could get balanced ins and outs on optional transformers (various brands used). Most of the units i've seen seem to have them. Open the lid and you will see the transformers (either 2 or 4 depending on option).

Gritty sounding units but cute with 'character'. f700 used in helios consoles.

here' mine.... thumbsup
Old 17th July 2005
  #19
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and.... thumbsup thumbsup
Old 17th July 2005
  #20
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Thread Starter
Is it possible to mod the un-balanced models to transformer balanced ? I'm guessing it would be, real estate permiting. The units i have lined up are unbalanced (according to their model number anyway, i'm awaiting e-mail response as to whether they are modded or not.)
Old 17th July 2005
  #21
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yes..

I think that adr specced gardener transformers but i've got sowter and gardner in mine.

There is a page in the manual illustrating this.

http://www.prodigy-pro.com/forum/vie...ex+transformer

There is plenty of space in the box for this - they seemed to use pretty much the same box for all the rack units of that period. My units have all kinds of extra blanked off holes for switches etc. so it will probably have the mounting holes pre-drilled. The ADR stuff i have is all a bit homebrew style - that's part of the charm.

Additionally i wouldn't believe what the model numbers indicate about being unbalanced/balanced - open 'em up and take a look

hope this helps.

si
Old 17th July 2005
  #22
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a few weeks ago we made a mix bus compressor shootout. we hat a couple of different mixdowns (rock, nu jazz, ...) and a bunch of great compressors: 33609, summit audio, ssl 9000 bus comp, alan smart, a pair of la-3a's, and the likes.

on the bottom of one of the studio racks we also found a pair of vocal stressers. first we didn't decide to check them out, but then at the very end of the session we gave them a try. and what can i say: we were three people in the room, and all of us found the vocal stressers the winners in this particular shootout.
after trying the vocal stressers we went back to the other comps to verify this impression. but we still felt they gave us the best results.

i think it's mainly because of their built-in sidechain eq that was very helpful in dealing with the (sub) bass frequencies. but they also had a very transparent and pleasing tone (by the way: the summit failed completely. we found it very muddy in the low mids. could be cool to fix a harsh 02R mixdown, but i wouldn't use it for other purposes.).

i'm sure it would have been interesting to work with a sidechain eq on the other comps (if possible by their technical layout). and maybe we would have had another "winner" then.

but it was a HUGE surprise. i didn't expect the vocal stressers to be SO good!

Old 14th July 2009
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianroth View Post
Hey, Jules! I am drawing a blank about the name of the founder/president of ADR. I met him several times when we were doing their USA ads, but no name comes to mind. Perhaps a Mike-something? Maybe Mike Belville, or is that something totally off the wall?

ADR had morphed off into AES/EBU gear in the later 80's, but after that, I don't know if they still exist.

HMMM! Google to the rescue:

Welcome to Audio & Design Reading :: Leaders in Broadcast IT and Digital Audio Equipment

I see they are now using yet another logo variant. Same mailing address in Pangbourne, Berkshire.

One fun tweak with a Compex is to set the attack to the slowest setting, then run a drum mic through it. Ignoring the gate/expansion modes, it would, in effect, act as an expander. The "whack" would escape the action of the compressor, whilst the drum's note would be squashed, thus, in effect, expanding the apparent dynamic range. I think I even have an "app note" from ADR about that operational mode.

If ADR had any sensibility, they'd take a cue from the Putnam boyz and reissue the Compex! If they don't, I just might do it myself....

Bri
Dear Brian, (Great Post)
I also share your enthusiasm when it comes to ADR gear.
Regarding the Re-issue of the Compex, we were asked but felt that we should concentrate on the Helios F760 as it a relative to our company.
So a guy (Whom I have a great respect for ) called Tim Mead has been appointed to re-introduce both the Compex and the Vocal Stressor.

We are appointed as the Service Agent for Europe and Tim handles the USA, we are as you are most likely aware about to re-introduce the Helios F760 and later we will bring it out for the 500 Series Rack.

Mike Beville was the name of the guy who started ADR, he is now retired into the South West of England but ADR is still going, if you LINK to this GS Thread I have placed a LINK about the ADR DMA-2.

Audio & Design 760 X-RS stereo comp

It would be great if we could keep these two threads running together, if we could join them (Series) then even better.

Many thanks for all your interesting Posts I do enjoy them, if there is anything I can help you with drop me a line

arny@helios-electronics.com

Best Regards,

Tony.
Tony Arnold (Director)
Home
Old 14th July 2009
  #24
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Balancing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nut View Post
Is it possible to mod the un-balanced models to transformer balanced ? I'm guessing it would be, real estate permiting. The units i have lined up are unbalanced (according to their model number anyway, i'm awaiting e-mail response as to whether they are modded or not.)
Dear Nut,
Its a real shame I had about 14 of the Gardners balancing TX as they were just up the road from my UK home, but I sold them to the wrong guy and now have regrets.

Gardners with out doubt made some of the finest Audio Transformers ever, even Ampex & Harrison used them, including Mains as well.

But I can supply Sowters for the Job if you require them, they are also excelant

Best Regards,

Tony.
Tony Arnold (Director)
Home
Old 14th July 2009
  #25
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Dear All who sail on this thread,
Here is part of an ADR Brochure, if you need more I have quite a bit of Memorabilia.
One of my favourite tools that I would use to turn a 4 track Tape into a, 8 or even 1 16 Track Multi, was the ADR Transdynamic, it is an amazing piece of gear, for separating instruments on old Masters.
It also might interest those who have the ADR F760 or 900N Series that I still keep in stock the McMurdo Interface Socket

Best Regards,

Tony.
Tony Arnold (Director)
Home






http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/h...ScampMiniS.jpg



Old 14th July 2009
  #26
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The Baby Scamp

The Mini Rack was great for the Traveling Producer/Engineer.
I have two and always take them with me.
Complete with PSU and Vertical Bantom Patchbay

Old 14th July 2009
  #27
Lives for gear
I remember lusting over those ARD ads in Studio Sound and RE/P back in the day.

Definitely qualify as sound geek porn......
Old 15th October 2009
  #28
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Hugely popular was the Compex limiter in the UK with radio stations as an output limiter (before the days of Optimod). It was also the THE compressor of choice for voiceover studio all throughout the 80's. I heard Kate Bush won't record without one. And didn't Led Zep use one? Levee breaks comes to mind.
Old 15th October 2009
  #29
Gear nut
 
Billy Palmier's Avatar
 

ADR

I have the vocal stresser and to my opinion the compressor is really punchy and aggressive, I would only use it for drum related compression, but it works reaaaaaally well for that !!!

The eq... not sure about that, I never really use it, I personally don't like it, but of course, that might be a personal flavour thing.
Old 16th October 2009
  #30
Lives for gear
 

keep in mind that you may not want the transformers. My desk has them in the mixbuss so i prefer my compex without them. you can have too much of a good thing! overall a fantastic comp. needs a very expert calibration- not for the layman.
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