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Dramastic Obsidian or Shadow Hills Dual Vandergraph for 2-buss?
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nas
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18th March 2013
Old 18th March 2013
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Dramastic Obsidian or Shadow Hills Dual Vandergraph for 2-buss?

Thinking of either the Dramastic Obsidian or the Shadow Hills Dual Vandergraph for the 2-bus. Anyone have experience with both comps? How do they compare in terms of sonics & versatility? Does either excel more in certain genres on full program material? Any experience or advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks
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19th March 2013
Old 19th March 2013
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The Dramastic Obsidian is a great piece.. Well built, sounds excellent.. It has that SSL tone, because it's basically based on it.. Very straight forward, IMO can't go wrong..

Another great piece is the API2500.. a little bit less intuitive, but sounds great.. quite versatile..
Or eventually a Vari-Mu (like Manley or Gyraf)..
Depends what you're looking for.. They're all different..

I don't care about SH stuff, so I won't comment.

Just my 0.02$,



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19th March 2013
Old 19th March 2013
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I've never used the Dramastic, but I have the Shadow Hills and really love it. Sounds great on the 2Bus, drums, and I even use it for bass and vox at times. It's built like a tank and has stepped attenuators for easy recall. I really love mine and highly recommend it!
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20th March 2013
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Thanks for the feedback. I've read that the Obsidian is very much the "SSL sound but better" perhaps in the sense that it is slightly wider and does a good job in retaining the stereo image. My question is does it sound too wide or a little unfocused ? too M/S if you know what I mean?

Also I've read the Dual Vandergraph is very different... how so? Bottom end? what about the mids and highs? and how would you describe the imaging? Do the preselected Attack and Release times make it less flexible for the 2-buss?

Lot's of questions... just trying to get a better general idea of how these units differ and where each one excels.

Thanks
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20th March 2013
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Can't help with the comparison, but I too have the Dual Vandergraph and use it on the mix in parallel all the time, it sounds amazing!
Also as a stereo drum comp, and or guitar subgroups.
And Peter and his staff over at Shadow Hills are second to none!
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21st March 2013
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It is slightly wider. I think it makes a dense mix even more focused. You have to try it to understand it.

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Originally Posted by nas View Post
Thanks for the feedback. I've read that the Obsidian is very much the "SSL sound but better" perhaps in the sense that it is slightly wider and does a good job in retaining the stereo image. My question is does it sound too wide or a little unfocused ? too M/S if you know what I mean?

Also I've read the Dual Vandergraph is very different... how so? Bottom end? what about the mids and highs? and how would you describe the imaging? Do the preselected Attack and Release times make it less flexible for the 2-buss?

Lot's of questions... just trying to get a better general idea of how these units differ and where each one excels.

Thanks
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22nd March 2013
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Yes I'm looking more for the SSL thing on the 2-buss and although the SH comp isn't really trying to do that it really intrigues me... the VCA ballsy sound and tight bass on the mix is a beautiful thing.

You're right though, I really need to hear these to get a better grasp but it's tough to order them and ship overseas and deal with the major customs hassles just to try them out and then decide if I prefer one over the other or any at all. Lot's of times it's a lot of research and a leap of faith - fortunately I haven't been disappointed yet. I have a feeling that I'm leaning towards the Obsidian - seems to fit the bill for what I'm looking for right now.

Anyway if anyone has more experience with either of these... keep it coming folks.
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23rd March 2013
Old 23rd March 2013
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I have both. And the SSL buss compressor. All 3 are great and I'd say you'd be happy with any one of them that makes it to your place. I use the DAO for 2 buss, and the SHDV for other stuff nearly 100% of the time.

Biggest difference to me is a brighter, more open tone with my DAO and a darker, beefier tone with my SHDV.
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23rd March 2013
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The Obsidian is AMAZING - wide, tight, sharp, versatile, has a skull setting, very easy to recall. awesome features.

just sounds like a record.

many golden ear pals of mine agree.

i own two.

dont know the Shadow Hills stuff.
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23rd March 2013
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I have a Vandergraph and love it. I do find myself needing the SSL vca thing sometimes. Getting ready to check the Serpent Audiobus comp. Looks like a handy tool.

Last edited by jglover; 23rd March 2013 at 06:54 AM.. Reason: Oops
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26th March 2013
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Cool - If anyone has any samples or links of these two comps on the mix bus that would be great. In particular I want to hear how the Obsidian makes the mix a little "wider".

Anyway thanks for everyone's input.
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27th March 2013
Old 27th March 2013
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Dramastic Audio Obsidian

As per usual you're going to get people responding to buy what they own!

I'm no different, but here goes:

The Foote Control P3S and the Dramastic Audio Obsidian are the easiest compressors I've ever used. They dial in themselves, and are very clean. You could basically mix ITB and then strap one of those on near the end, or you could mix into it from the beginning. I've owned an API 2500. I'd describe it more as a gluer & tone-shaper (if used on the mix-buss). I wasn't particularly fond of the threshold. You really have to think a little bit with respect to how you use and abuse that box.

More importantly, I should give you a bit of background so you can put a frame of reference around my opinion:

I'm coming from a song writer/producing perspective. I like 'brain-dead' simplicity, and tools that don't interrupt or distract me from writing.

I'm not a pro. I work a day job.

As of now, I'm only using the Obsidian on the mix-buss. It's a great little box. Sorry I wasn't able to help you with respect to the Shadow Hills monster!

Kind regards,

Phil
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27th March 2013
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Palaver,

thanks for chiming in and sharing your impressions, regardless of whether you do this full time or part time as either a songwriter/musician or more as an engineer, your input is of value and offers yet another perspective... and most importantly first hand experience that I find the most helpful. I too come primarily from a musician/composer background and I've been doing this quite a while full time... engineering - first by way of necessity - but also because I actually really do enjoy it as an art form and a craft in its own right. So thanks for sharing... it helps to unconfuse me a little
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3rd April 2013
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bump!

i too am very interested in these two units. i am deciding between them and the api 2500. i would like to buy 2 out of 3.. one for the drum buss and one for the mix buss. initially i was set on the api for drum buss and the obsidian for mix buss but then this mean looking vandergraph swooped in and destroyed my world. now i am confused.

ive been using the api 2500 plug on drum buss a lot and i love what it does. very flexible. the obsidian i have heard samples of and have read countless amazing reviews that all say its an improved g comp so im good there. but then i read someone who has both the obsidian and dual v say that the dual v has a lot more low end weight to it and that its better suited for bass heavy music. as i produce mostly dance music and hip hop, this makes me wonder. perhaps a dual v instead of the obsidian on mix buss? perhaps dual v instead of the 2500 on drum buss? 70% of me wants to play it safe and just get the 2500 and obsidian because i know exactly what they do and its exactly what i need.. but this dual v really has me thinking.

any experience with all of these? particularly on bass heavy music? sorry to hijack but i figured everyone could benefit from this info.

and no i cant try them before buying!

cheers

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3rd April 2013
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I´ve got both the Obsidian and Dual Vandergraph. Love them equally!
Been using the Obsidian more for the mixbus, and Vandergraph more for parallel drum squashing.

Sometimes the Vandergraph has a nice color on the mixbus, sometimes a bit too much.
I find the preset attack / release times really nice and not an issue at all for most things.

I´ve also used the 2500 a lot for both drum bus and mix bus. Prefer it on the drumbus most times.
I agree with what´s been said earlier that the Obsidian has a more clean, open ( yet slightly colored ) sound, and the Vandergraph a more beefy, rounded sound. Kindof reminds me of a Neve 1073 tone in a compressor.

Of the three I´d take an Obsidian for mixbus duties most days
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4th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSOUND View Post
I´ve got both the Obsidian and Dual Vandergraph. Love them equally!
Been using the Obsidian more for the mixbus, and Vandergraph more for parallel drum squashing.

Sometimes the Vandergraph has a nice color on the mixbus, sometimes a bit too much.
I find the preset attack / release times really nice and not an issue at all for most things.

I´ve also used the 2500 a lot for both drum bus and mix bus. Prefer it on the drumbus most times.
I agree with what´s been said earlier that the Obsidian has a more clean, open ( yet slightly colored ) sound, and the Vandergraph a more beefy, rounded sound. Kindof reminds me of a Neve 1073 tone in a compressor.

Of the three I´d take an Obsidian for mixbus duties most days
thanks for the input man!

for bass heavy music, you think the obsidian would be suitable for mix buss duties? honestly im pretty set on it for mix buss but just wanna make sure.

as far as drums for bassier music, what do you think between the api 2500 and dual vandergraph? i also wonder which would also be better in combination with the obsidian on mix buss.

thanks
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4th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thetalkinghead View Post
thanks for the input man!

for bass heavy music, you think the obsidian would be suitable for mix buss duties? honestly im pretty set on it for mix buss but just wanna make sure.

as far as drums for bassier music, what do you think between the api 2500 and dual vandergraph? i also wonder which would also be better in combination with the obsidian on mix buss.

thanks
I write a lot of 'bass-heavy' music. The Obsidian is easy to use and the metering is excellent. Bass will not be a problem.

It's an SSL-type compressor that's wide and clean (see my posts earlier in the thread). Its settings can also be easily recalled which meets my checklist.

In reality, I'd quit 'humming' and 'hawing.' I can't imagine you going wrong with any box mentioned in this thread. Quality certainly won't be an issue. It's going to come down to your workflow.

Just buy and try. Or find a reputable dealer that will help you.

A word of advice: none of these tools will make your content better. And I'd simply stay ITB if I wasn't running my mix-buss outboard gear thru a high-end mastering converter. Also, usually when I used to start threads like these, I was simply sitting idle with more money than brains... I wish I could take my own advice!

Get off this site before it rots your brain!

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4th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palaver View Post
I write a lot of 'bass-heavy' music. The Obsidian is easy to use and the metering is excellent. Bass will not be a problem.

It's an SSL-type compressor that's wide and clean (see my posts earlier in the thread). Its settings can also be easily recalled which meets my checklist.

In reality, I'd quit 'humming' and 'hawing.' I can't imagine you going wrong with any box mentioned in this thread. Quality certainly won't be an issue. It's going to come down to your workflow.

Just buy and try. Or find a reputable dealer that will help you.

A word of advice: none of these tools will make your content better. And I'd simply stay ITB if I wasn't running my mix-buss outboard gear thru a high-end mastering converter. Also, usually when I used to start threads like these, I was simply sitting idle with more money than brains... I wish I could take my own advice!

Get off this site before it rots your brain!

Happy Sluttin'

-Phil
Thats great to hear it works well. I think i will just go with the api and obsidian for drums and mix buss, respectively.

Yeah of course it wont fix the content.. I am looking for a functional unit that sounds great and can improve my mixing workflow. I do drum buss and mix buss compression with plugins and believe hardware will be even better sonically and fun to use. Plus, sadly but realistically, having them will also improve the legitimacy of my studio.. Even though thats secondary it doesnt hurt.

I use the apogee symphony i/o which i find to be a great converter. I currently have a ubk fatso, clariphonic, api 5500 and 1176ln which i use for busses, mixes and tracking. I love using hardware and find that it has improved my sound pretty substantially. Now i just want hardware for drum buss and mix buss and frankly dont really want much else. Any other money i invest in the future will be going to front end stuff like mics and preamps, although i am pretty content with my great rivers and p1s.

Anyway thanks again for the input. My mind is pretty much made up.

I also looked at the a designs nail as i love all of montessi's stuff but for now i think these two will do exactly what i want them to. Now its time to save up!
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4th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thetalkinghead View Post
thanks for the input man!

for bass heavy music, you think the obsidian would be suitable for mix buss duties? honestly im pretty set on it for mix buss but just wanna make sure.

as far as drums for bassier music, what do you think between the api 2500 and dual vandergraph? i also wonder which would also be better in combination with the obsidian on mix buss.

thanks
If you buy the Obsidian and 2500 you´ll be set for mixbus and drumbus!
I love the Obsidian on the mixbus. So easy to dial in the right setting and no problem with bass heavy music at all. Just set the High pass filter to let some bass through.

The 2500 and Dual Vandergrap are kindof similar in that they have more colour and vibe than the Obsidian. Sometimes that´s great for the mixbus, most times it´s perfect for drumbus

As for "bassier music" as you say it I would probably use the Dual V on the mixbus before the 2500. Depends though. Even thought the Dual V has preset attack / release those settings are really cool on the lowest ratios on the mixbus. Can give a really cool punch to the kick and bass. It also imparts a bit more of a "retro" character than the obsidian. Sounds a bit more rounded on top whereas the Obsidian is very wide and open. Not near as clean as say a Cranesong STC-8. You can hear the transformer softening the sound somewhat when compressing. It just doesn´t narrow the stereo image at all when you compress.
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4th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSOUND View Post
If you buy the Obsidian and 2500 you´ll be set for mixbus and drumbus!
I love the Obsidian on the mixbus. So easy to dial in the right setting and no problem with bass heavy music at all. Just set the High pass filter to let some bass through.

The 2500 and Dual Vandergrap are kindof similar in that they have more colour and vibe than the Obsidian. Sometimes that´s great for the mixbus, most times it´s perfect for drumbus

As for "bassier music" as you say it I would probably use the Dual V on the mixbus before the 2500. Depends though. Even thought the Dual V has preset attack / release those settings are really cool on the lowest ratios on the mixbus. Can give a really cool punch to the kick and bass. It also imparts a bit more of a "retro" character than the obsidian. Sounds a bit more rounded on top whereas the Obsidian is very wide and open. Not near as clean as say a Cranesong STC-8. You can hear the transformer softening the sound somewhat when compressing. It just doesn´t narrow the stereo image at all when you compress.
cool man that all makes sense.

im def gonna go with the 500 series obsidian for mix buss and the api 2500 for drum buss. they both seem so amazing that i just feel like i cant go wrong. the dual v was tempting but i know exactly what im getting with the 2500 and i love it so i think i will stick with it. and the obsidian is perfect because ive always wanted an ssl g comp with adjustable high pass filter and a wide open top... seems like this is exactly what it is!

i just wish that the obsidian 19" rack version also had the adjustable high pass filter. i dont feel like hooking it up to an external one. i like to have just preamps in my 500 series but hey its all good! i will have to make an exception ehe
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#21
4th April 2013
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I have both boxes, and favour the Obsidian for the 2-buss. I like to divide the drum kit into OH/ambs, toms, kick and snare when mixing. The Dual V is great on the tom group. Also great on guitar groups, if you have dubbed guitars panned left and right.
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5th April 2013
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very cool.

another question... i, like anyone else, obviously compress individual sounds if they need it or can benefit from it. snare drum, bass line, etc. however, i wonder.. is there any downside to doing drum buss compression with a high pass filter side chain AND mix buss compression with a high pass filter side chain? is it somehow possible that the drums and bass can end up relatively under compressed in relation to the rest of the mix? know what im saying?
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6th April 2013
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2500 -> Dual Vandegraph

I cannot answer you about the obsidian, but I have owned both the 2500 and the Dual Vandegraph. Myself, I prefer the Vandegraph. This is your way of working. The best thing for you to do is to get both of the pieces into your studio and then make a decision yourself. This is something you have to use day in and day out. You need to experience it.

Good luck
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7th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie View Post
I cannot answer you about the obsidian, but I have owned both the 2500 and the Dual Vandegraph. Myself, I prefer the Vandegraph. This is your way of working. The best thing for you to do is to get both of the pieces into your studio and then make a decision yourself. This is something you have to use day in and day out. You need to experience it.

Good luck
that is very true, ollie. unfortunately that is not an option for me right now. however, since i also work at a music store, i get good prices so if i end up with the wrong piece i can also swap it without losing too much money.

i was wondering, have any of you guys ever used the 2-1176 or two 1176's for drum buss compression? because i already have a single channel 1176LN which i use mostly for tracking. i could always just get a second one.. however i really like the flexibility of the 2500 with the side chain and forward and back modes etc. so i guess i just answered my own question... but anyway id be curious if any of you guys have used a pair of 1176s for that. thanks
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7th April 2013
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just to be clear, the music store i work at does not stock all this stuff all the time but we can get it at any time
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7th April 2013
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2-buss or drum buss

Those are two very different things. For the 2-buss I would pick the shadow hills, for the drum buss, I may pick 2500 or an ADR. 2-1176, nahhhh.

Again, it is to your taste. Wonder if there is a rental company you can get one or the other from. You have a 500 series rack?
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8th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie View Post
Those are two very different things. For the 2-buss I would pick the shadow hills, for the drum buss, I may pick 2500 or an ADR. 2-1176, nahhhh.

Again, it is to your taste. Wonder if there is a rental company you can get one or the other from. You have a 500 series rack?
im gonna go for the api 2500 and obsidian. if it doesnt work, then it is i who sucks, not the gear. im a big fan of doing a lot of research etc but at a certain point, i know when things are more than good enough.
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8th April 2013
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im gonna go for the api 2500 and obsidian. if it doesnt work, then it is i who sucks, not the gear. im a big fan of doing a lot of research etc but at a certain point, i know when things are more than good enough.
Fantastic combo. Both very different and versatile. You'll love 'em. I'm inseparable from my Obsidian on mixbuss, personally.

Regards,
Frank
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#29
8th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
Fantastic combo. Both very different and versatile. You'll love 'em. I'm inseparable from my Obsidian on mixbuss, personally.

Regards,
Frank
thanks, frank. i have a feeling i will be the same way! ive been getting such great results with the software 2500 and ssl g comp... cant wait to use the real thing!!
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8th April 2013
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I think i'm late to the party but I would strongly recommend the Vandergraph if you want something different but very interesting sounding.
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