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Looks like it's time to buy some compression
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Matt Grondin
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#1
12th August 2005
Old 12th August 2005
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Looks like it's time to buy some compression

Well, after selling thousands of dollars worth of gear from guitars, to mics, to monitors, etc. , I finally have some really nice mics and preamps.... I'm getting great sounds and I'm very happy. However, when I go to mix, my only compression is in the form of plugins, some of which aren't bad.

Anyway, I would love to hear some recommendations for good compressors that I can get that won't break my bank. I'll probably start with some RNC's since I'm low on cash right now, but I'd eventually like to get some nicer pieces, including some stereo compressors like a Vari-Mu or Neve 33609 for doing drum subs or mix buss compression. Any recommendations, or endorsements of products that have just knocked you right out even if you don't own it, would be great. Thanks a bunch. Later.
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#2
12th August 2005
Old 12th August 2005
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A pair of Distressors are a good start.
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12th August 2005
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RB is right....

Start with Distressors or a Pendulum ES-8 Vari-mu. Pendulum builds the best Veri-mus out right now. thumbsup
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12th August 2005
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Another vote for destressors here. Such a good compressor at a very reasonable price point. There is the UA 2-1176 unit as well, just throwin that option out there.

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12th August 2005
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2-1176 is all that and 3 bags of chips.

I used one recently to mix an album project. We first did stereo mini mixdowns of everything through 2-1176 in full mix context and after a mix compression at the end. I honestly felt as though I'd been spending tens of thousands of dollars over the past ten years on everything from tube mics to great pres etc. All of these lessons were valuable but none was more than that I basically had the entire music I've come to grow up loving iin one box. After my fifth or sixth stereo 'encounter' through 2-1176 I began to feel as though in an extreme set of circumstances I could confidently sell all I own only to have the lowest common denominators in all other areas and still lay a sonic ass whooping on the merits of this box alone. Side perk: Remarkably light. adamaudio.
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12th August 2005
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i'm a big fan of the manley elop. no, i don't work for manley.

--jon
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Matt Grondin
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12th August 2005
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Thanks for the suggestions fellas... I'm very much considering a pair of distressors, as well as a pair of RNC's and maybe RNLA's... What's the deal with the different model Distressors? I know there are ones with a British mod that are more expensive... any preferences as far as that goes? Is the stock model the way to go?
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12th August 2005
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Thumbs down for RNC.

Sorry folks but I own one and I can't understand why. As hard as I tried to get decent sounds out of it, I certainly wouldn't strap it across a stereo mix and the sounds I did get out of it, listening back sound like tight farts. Sorry if that's obscene but I feel empassioned to speak out against all this unconscious bowing to the misplaced faith placed in such a sub par box for my 300 odd bones. A good friend of mine and fellow sound engineer of 10+ years is also looking to offload his. It is through experiences such that I've come up with the saying, "There are no deals." adamaudio.
84K
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12th August 2005
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Must have the Brit mod. The stereo image link too. It is great. I would get Distressors first then check out the Pendulum Vari-mu, Manley mu, Phoenix, and any other hot vari-mus. The Pendulum always wins in our shootouts, but I would do your own if you can.
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12th August 2005
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Purple MC77's.
Matt Grondin
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12th August 2005
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How do those Purple's compare to the original 1176's? I know that's hard to describe, but are they designed to sound like the originals or are they Purple's own interpretation with similar cosmetics?

Hey Nathan, I'd buy stuff from you guys, but wouldn't I have to pay Florida state sales tax? I'm in Jacksonville... It's great to have someone with such great gear close by, but that's stuff is so expensive already, I don't know if I could afford to pay tax on it too. I noticed that you have a Distressor with all the mods that you're selling at demo price... I wish you had two, but this goes back to the whole sales tax thing. The government sucks. Later.
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12th August 2005
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Another vote for the Distressors.
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12th August 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K
Must have the Brit mod. The stereo image link too. It is great. I would get Distressors first then check out the Pendulum Vari-mu, Manley mu, Phoenix, and any other hot vari-mus. The Pendulum always wins in our shootouts, but I would do your own if you can.
84K have you tried the Pendulum agianst the Phoenix. I am really considering a Phoenix right now and was wondering your opinion.
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12th August 2005
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Crane Song Trakker and STC-8 are real nice!

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12th August 2005
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Distressors rule. But here's the thing. You should really have a couple different flavors if for no other reason than for vocals. For me, vocals usually end up running through 2 or 3 different compressors by the time they are mixed down. The reason being that after a certain amount of gain reduction, all you are doing is turning it down, if that makes any sense. And there is no point in using the same compressor twice. Each one has an inherent sidechain that gives it a tone and response. I would get a dbx 160X, a Distressor, and if you can swing it, a stereo box such as the Alan Smart C1 to run your mix through.
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12th August 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobby12
How do those Purple's compare to the original 1176's?
my impression is that the purples are cleaner (especially at high gain reduction), and have a bit more open high freq overall. we're not talking clean like a cl1b or anything... it still sounds like an 1176.

if memory serves, purple is really big on beefy power supplies, and the effect that has on the sound of the box. don't know anything more than that.

no, i dont work for purple.

--jon
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12th August 2005
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man, there are just too many to pick from !

the sound of distressors is everywhere so i'd look elsewhere, but they are also the most flexible so it's a good tool to learn on.



I'd start with something you can track, mix and 2 bus with ... that knocks it down to a shorter list but gives you more options.

ask yourself (or GS) what color you want the compressor to add ... that will help narrow it further.

or this one: what instruments in what style?




Quote:
Originally Posted by JonCraig
my impression is that the purples are cleaner (especially at high gain reduction), and have a bit more open high freq overall. we're not talking clean like a cl1b or anything... it still sounds like an 1176.

if memory serves, purple is really big on beefy power supplies, and the effect that has on the sound of the box. don't know anything more than that.
which "original 1176" are you comparing to?
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12th August 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
which "original 1176" are you comparing to?
blackface.

--jon
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12th August 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonCraig
blackface.

--jon
I'm no expert on 1176s but i thought there were at least 2 blackface versions? are they not different enough?


thinking back to Richard Dodd ... ?




oh, and i love the MC76 ... best parallel bass comp i've ever heard
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12th August 2005
Old 12th August 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobby12
How do those Purple's compare to the original 1176's? I know that's hard to describe, but are they designed to sound like the originals or are they Purple's own interpretation with similar cosmetics?
The MC-77 is a pretty faithful recreation of like a "D" or "E" revision 1176LN "Blackface" with a lot of the NY mods [mods that were commonly found on those units in NYC during the 70's/80's... at joints like Record Plant, Media Sound and Power Station]... with the added bonus of having the "link" module buit into the units


Quote:
Originally Posted by msrecprod
84K have you tried the Pendulum agianst the Phoenix. I am really considering a Phoenix right now and was wondering your opinion.
I'm obviously not 84k... but I have tried the two side by side... and I can tell you that they don't really sound similar at all. Neither sounds better than the other, they're both great, they're just different.

Granted they use the same principle to accomplish gain reduction... but that is where the similarity ends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
I'm no expert on 1176s but i thought there were at least 2 blackface versions?
There were like 4 or 5 blackface versions... but they were only subtly different from each other. You got into more radical changes between the "blue stripe" and the "blackface" versions and the "blackface" and "silverface" versions.
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12th August 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msrecprod
84K have you tried the Pendulum agianst the Phoenix. I am really considering a Phoenix right now and was wondering your opinion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
I'm obviously not 84k... but I have tried the two side by side... and I can tell you that they don't really sound similar at all. Neither sounds better than the other, they're both great, they're just different.

Granted they use the same principle to accomplish gain reduction... but that is where the similarity ends.
The nature of a Vari-mu brings a constant character type to the table. They all differ in color (Fairchild, Pendulum, Manley, Phoenix, EAR, etc.), which is why I recommend doing your own shootout. thumbsup

I preferred the Pendulum over the Phoenix in a recent shootout, but the Phoenix was great... It sounded awesome!!! The Pendulum gear (Mic pres, compressors) are like chameleons. With the Vari-mu: Depending on how you hit the input, compress, speed of attack/release, there are a many different sounds to that box. They all have a few sounds to them, but I find that I can do more with the Pendulum then the other vari-mus currently in production. IMO The Pendulum does not mask the bottom end (When on the mix buss) the way the Manley does. No Vari-mus sound clean to me, but The Phoenix sounds a little cleaner in general. It is a great, great compressor.... I will buy one at some point.... But, if I back off the input of the Pendulum and use more make up, I can get it to be as clean. Remember, I have much more experience with Pendulum then Phoenix, so keep that in mind.

Vari-mu's have attitude by nature of the beast. I love them. You should try to do a shootout and decide yourself. I like the flexibility of the Pendulum. When you try them, play with the gain structure. That will be the easiest quick way to hear the various sounds each vari-mu will give you. Listen to how clean you get them when backing off the input, and how they handle high and low frequencies when pushed. Some Vari-mus can destroy the low end in a bad when when they are pushed.

A good note... none of them suck. All of the vari-mus we are discussing are great in different ways. That is why it is so much fun. Try them all. See what color matches the other colors in your palate best, and go for it!!! Best Of Luck!!!

P.S. I have no affiliation with any pro audio company in any way. I am not a builder, investor, dealer, or blah, blah, blah.... Nothing to gain from whatever you buy.




P.S.S.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
I'm obviously not 84k... but I have tried the two side by side... and I can tell you that they don't really sound similar at all. Neither sounds better than the other, they're both great, they're just different.

Granted they use the same principle to accomplish gain reduction... but that is where the similarity ends.

Fletcher for President!!! Geez, do you think he is a dealer for both of them or what???? King of the dealers. No doubt. Well done!!

But there is a great deal of truth to it. So,
Matt Grondin
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19th August 2005
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Well, I bought a pair of Distressors with the Brit mod from Mercenary today... I'm pretty excited about getting them. My initial idea is to use them for a drum sub, but I also have an Avalon vt-747 on loan that sounds pretty good in that application. It's very subtle though.

I was thinking about trying the Distressors on kick and snare at first and experiment from there. I don't like overcompressing the drums, but it would be nice to be able to tighten up the kick and snare if needed.

My main concerns now are having some comps for the bass and vocals since those seem to vary in level the most... I was thinking about getting some dbx 160's or RNC's/RNLA's.... I've heard the RNC stuff sucks on bass though because of it's release times... does anyone have any recommendations on a really good comp for bass? Also, any thoughts on the RNC as opposed to the RNLA?

I'd like to maybe get an LA-3 for vocals eventually when I get some more money. All the suggestions have been very helpful so far by the way. Thanks.
#23
19th August 2005
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I'd recommend:

1176 (don't know the newer ones, along with the dual one, but they're all pretty awesome. The MC77 seems to take away some of the grit that I go for, but it may work for you)
SSL G384
Alan Smart C1
Distressor with Brit Mod
Neve 33609
Neve 2254
Neve 2264
LA2A
LA3A
Focusrite Red 3(the older one)
DBX 160X

ummmm. . . that's enough for right now. Sorry, I got a little carried away and just started remembering my favorite comps from past sessions. I guess if I were gonna pick 4 or 5, I'd go for the 1176, the Distressor, the LA3A, the 160X, and the G384. I've used the 1176 and Distressors on pretty much every source at least once and I swear by the LA3A's for vocals, especially combined with the SSL comp. The 160X is definitely cheaper, but immensely useful on bass, snare, among other things. The SSL is great for the 2-bus, drum buss, vox, or pretty much anything else. Damn, talking about this just makes me want to buy several of each of these
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19th August 2005
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Yeah, I really love the 1176, but 1500 is alot of money for one channel of compression... I'd rather spend a little extra and get a 2-1176.... I don't know if they sound as good as the originals, but it would be great to have a true stereo 1176 for the price of one original.

I just downloaded the trial version of the UA plugins today... it sounds pretty good for what it is... definitely sounds better than Bomb Factory to me. Maybe I will buy the plugin for now until I can afford the real deal.

Has anyone tried the Summit TLA 50? For only 600 dollars, it seems like a pretty good deal. I'm probably going to get some 160x's next... I'm undecided on the RNC's.... a lot of people say they're great, and others say they're complete shit, so who knows. At least they're not really expensive so I won't be let down if it doesn't sound so good.
#25
19th August 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamaudio
Sorry if that's obscene but I feel empassioned to speak out against all this unconscious bowing to the misplaced faith placed in such a sub par box for my 300 odd bones.
No one is bowing to anything. Some of us simply like the box. It's OK if you don't. Don't feel guilty about it.

In another thread there was a post about Eliot Scheiner not liking "300 cycles". Hey, for me it's 400 cycles.

We all have our own ears and we make our own judgements/choices based on what we hear.

It's all good.

Peace!
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19th August 2005
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Add the Drawmer '69/'68 to the list!
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19th August 2005
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I agree with Tony, just picked up a 1968 and it's way cool, but the desert island comp would still be a discrete Neve comp.
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19th August 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K
RB is right....

Start with Distressors or a Pendulum ES-8 Vari-mu. Pendulum builds the best Veri-mus out right now. thumbsup
my words and my gearlist

edit: plus an urei 1178
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gravity8058
I agree with Tony, just picked up a 1968 and it's way cool, but the desert island comp would still be a discrete Neve comp.
It even makes my Elan sound good.
#30
19th August 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound
Add the Drawmer '69/'68 to the list!
Wow, I can't believe that I forgot the 1969! I LOVE that thing! Has sooooo many great uses, and the pre's are awesome for vocals on an SM57. Awesome stuff.
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