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AB3
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9th September 2005
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Best vocal compressor?

What is the best compressor for tracking lead vocals, especially for silkiness, smoothness, etc?
THANKS.
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Ya gotta know the true answer is that it depends on the voice, mic, song, situation, etc. So the BEST vox compressor is always----->"Many!" (to choose from, though sometimes the best is also 2 or 3 in a chain, if ya wanna really experiment).

That said, find any post by Kenny Goia ("Produceher") and read the gearslutz guide to all your questions, or whatever the fuk it's called. The list of vox compressors there is pretty much true.

If you had to pick one, many folks have gone on record saying the Tube Tech CL1B. For what you describe however, I like the LA2A myself, vintage or reissue are both nice--one trick pony, but quite a trick! :-)
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LA-2A any day of any week.

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Behringer Ultra Comp!!!! But thats only for the high end pros!!!



For real: Another vote for the LA2A. Is not always the best choice but never sounds bad!
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silky smooth is either the la2a or the stc8. i'm tempted to throw the red3 in there, but it's not actually silky, it's more furry. not so much the bristly fur of a donkey, but rather the soft fluffy fur of a pet rabbit.


gregoire
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Sorry, not being sarcastic but I wouldn't track compression with vocals. Been doing it for sometime that way... Do you HAVE to have one? I REALLY wouldn't do it, having said that if you must La2a, classic. Also the squeezebox is pretty good...
T.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3
What is the best compressor for tracking lead vocals, especially for silkiness, smoothness, etc?
THANKS.

The best is Definitely the Atomic Squeezebox. All other suggestions made so far are great suggestions, but the ASB is from another planet.
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For Silkyness/smoothness, nothing beats the LA-2A, anyway the most versatile (imho) is the underrated plugin (aaaaargh) Waves Rvox.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K
The best is Definitely the Atomic Squeezebox. All other suggestions made so far are great suggestions, but the ASB is from another planet.
That thing seems amazing. $7500 for a dual channel, yowza
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For smooth, from I've been able to use regularly I like the Tubetech CL1B and the EAR 660.

For more emotion and rock, an 1176.

To make a vocal even more aggressive, a distressor with brit mode on.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k
not so much the bristly fur of a donkey, but rather the soft fluffy fur of a pet rabbit.
My pet rabbit had quite coarse fur...... maybe you got a later version, cos I had mine a while back.
Anyone know where I can get mine upgraded? I hate stuff not being up to date?
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la-2a vs. la-3a

la-2a vs. la-3a,

What's your choice? And why? (again...vocal compressor emphasis)
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mercury M66


or
atomic squeez box
LA2A
LA3A
Tubetech
cranesong trakker
cranesong STC-8


chaining 2 often helps a lot....
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I have a Peavey VCl-2 and a Buzz Compressor. Maybe I should try chaining them together. Is this too much with a tube mic? I want smoothness for a grainier type voice. I guess I will never know until I try. It sound like the LA-2A is the overall favortie for smoothness.
By the way, would the Trakker be equally a good for this smoothing effect?
THANKS.
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pendulum quartet or pendulum es-8.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulSpace
la-2a vs. la-3a,

What's your choice? And why? (again...vocal compressor emphasis)
LA-3a. I like the faster attack and release. It's just a lot more responsive than an LA-2. I've never had any luck with La-2's, and I've tried them a lot over the years. I also like the tone of the 3a...

John

And an EAR 660 when mixing 85% of the time...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phunkyt
Sorry, not being sarcastic but I wouldn't track compression with vocals. Been doing it for sometime that way... Do you HAVE to have one? I REALLY wouldn't do it, having said that if you must La2a, classic. Also the squeezebox is pretty good...
T.

Do you end up doing a lot if rides when you mix? Do you use a compressor when you mix?

john
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Smoothness/silkiness is more in the mic,pre and singer.

A good compressor compliment would be a CL1B with different tubes.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k
silky smooth is either the la2a or the stc8. i'm tempted to throw the red3 in there, but it's not actually silky, it's more furry. not so much the bristly fur of a donkey, but rather the soft fluffy fur of a pet rabbit.


gregoire
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LOL !

I`ve got a Joe Meek SC3 (digital version of original SC2) that I`ve often described as furry. In this case it`s furry like an old fat Golden Retriever that obviously hasn`t been washed for a while and you`d kinda like to just ignore but than he comes over and gives you a big grin and wags his tail and you end up patting him for a half hour just cause he`s such a nice fella.

Way too furry for vocals and drums but I love it on guitars and bass sometimes.


As far as vocals are concerned I liked the Vari Mu I used to own. I compare it more to sticking your hand in front of a dryer vent. It not only warms up the vocal a bit but increases the humidity as well. You can get the compression itself to react in kind of an unnoticeable way but it definately warms things up a bit from the get go.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor
Smoothness/silkiness is more in the mic,pre and singer.

A good compressor compliment would be a CL1B with different tubes.
That makes sense. But assuming you do not have it in the singer, and have some of it the mic and pre, what is the best compressor to add additional smoothness. That is what I was after in my original inquiry (though it could have been better stated). THANKS for responding.
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As with most things that have to do with the vocal: totally depends on the singer. There is obviously more variation in the human voice than in a twin with a tele...

My go to compressor for vocals is: the best one for the task at hand.

I will mix an entire record with an orban de-esser, a gates sta-level and a pultec. The next record will wind up having a 33609, a collins 26W, and an RCA de-esser. The one after that, a 33609 with a dbx 160A. Then a song where the 1176 with barely any squeeze will make the vocal hang right for the record after that.

That being said, if i had to use only one compressor for vocals for some reason, I would probably either use an EAR or a STA-level. Maybe... I dunno... and a 33609 and an LA2A and an LA3A/// Totally application specific. Anything will WORK, but some things make it great, and it has nothing to do with the price tag.

Tracking wise, I probably have used the limiter section of the 33609 more than anything else on the way in, just to lick the big transients or save my ass when going straight to PT....
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I vote for the trakker. for a more aggressive sound I definitely use an 1176 or a distressor. In fact a trakker into a distressor works great as well. It's a luxury to be able to try them before you buy them but that's the only way to really know what your getting into. mc
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I think the word "best" should be stricken from this forum when relating to gear. Its all high end gear. If I had to pick my favorite, it would be the distressor. It is the most versatile compressor I think. Another crowd favorite is the tube tech CL-1b.
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AMEK 9098 CL is clean & transparent I use very much on vox & everything that I need clear with no color, If I need some color and attitude I use the FOCUSRITE BLUE 230, amazing thumbsup
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I am beginning to think that I will gain more out of getting a smooth sound from a rougher male voice by using an AEA 84 than worrying about the compressor.
Any thoughts?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3
I am beginning to think that I will gain more out of getting a smooth sound from a rougher male voice by using an AEA 84 than worrying about the compressor.
Any thoughts?

Well I`d say yes. (if the mic does it for you that is)

The mic will make more difference to the sound than a compressor will.
It`s the first thing the sound hits so it`s the most important cog.

We`ve got to remember that a compressor is supposed to be a tool that controls dynamics first and foremost. If by smoother you mean that the levels are jumping around too much in the mix you need a compressor or need to start automating things.

If by smoother you mean your current mics sound too gritty in the highs it`s a mic you need.
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I was trying out some comps today as i'm looking for a great vocal comp as well (but usable on other things too of course).

Trakker was just KILLER imo. Could get it very close to the CL1B i was comparing it with. But the Trakker did an as good job at emulating other compressor sounds: did a close match with my SSL clone-comps as well as with a Daking comp. Of course it's never 100% the same, but way closer then i had expected. So basically, Trakker gives you plenty of sounds in one box, so i'm sure it'll be able to handle all vocals with style thumbsup
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LA2A seems to be a norm. I like the 1176 for vocals, but I do not consider it smooth.
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2 LA3A one set to LIM and the second to COMP

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeltaM
I was trying out some comps today as i'm looking for a great vocal comp as well (but usable on other things too of course).

Trakker was just KILLER imo. Could get it very close to the CL1B i was comparing it with. But the Trakker did an as good job at emulating other compressor sounds: did a close match with my SSL clone-comps as well as with a Daking comp. Of course it's never 100% the same, but way closer then i had expected. So basically, Trakker gives you plenty of sounds in one box, so i'm sure it'll be able to handle all vocals with style thumbsup


Trakker, smooth and versatile.
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