Crane Song Trakker questions
666666
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#1
29th January 2013
Old 29th January 2013
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Crane Song Trakker questions

I've done a lot of searching here at GS and also read through the Crane Song Trakker manual.

I've owned and used an STC-8/H for years and know it pretty well. It of course has a certain "sound / character" that anyone here who uses one knows.

I never had a chance to try a pair of Trakkers. I understand that they're "different beasts" compared to the STC-8. I read about the differences.

But, one aspect that I'm wondering about is the inherent difference in sound / sonic character between the STC-8 and Trakker. To me, to be extremely vague, the STC-8 does have a certain, subtle, somewhat "soft" and polite thing about it. I'm wondering if the Trakker has this same inherent character, across the board, regardless of the different "character" settings it gives you. If not, how would you describe the inherent character of the Trakker? Or does the "character" adjustment section allow you to TRULY change the sonic character and not just the compression behavior?

To skip ahead, for the type of work I most often do, I tend to prefer compressors / limiters that are generally clean, clear, present and fast, maybe even with a tad bit of edge (sorry for the vague buzz words, but, you get the idea). I have less of a need / desire for units that are "sweet", "soft", etc. Having said that, the STC-8 still serves me very well, it's still "transparent enough" to get me to where I need to go. However, in a "perfect world", I wish it had a pinch more "edge" and/or "presence" to it for what I do. So then I started wondering about the Trakkers.

So, in sum, my first question here is, overall, how is the sonic character of the Trakker, compared to the STC-8? Can the Trakker be adjusted to to be a bit more clear and edgy, etc? Or does it share the same inherent STC-8 "musical softness" character across the board, regardless of it's "compression character settings"?

Second question... and this is really a question for the people at Crane Song, but I figure I'd just ask it now while I'm here: Does Crane Song offer a partially of fully detented version of the Trakker? Right now I do have the "H" version of the STC-8 with detented gain controls and I do find this helpful.

Thanks!
#2
29th January 2013
Old 29th January 2013
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post
I've done a lot of searching here at GS and also read through the Crane Song Trakker manual.

I've owned and used an STC-8/H for years and know it pretty well. It of course has a certain "sound / character" that anyone here who uses one knows.

I never had a chance to try a pair of Trakkers. I understand that they're "different beasts" compared to the STC-8. I read about the differences.

But, one aspect that I'm wondering about is the inherent difference in sound / sonic character between the STC-8 and Trakker. To me, to be extremely vague, the STC-8 does have a certain, subtle, somewhat "soft" and polite thing about it. I'm wondering if the Trakker has this same inherent character, across the board, regardless of the different "character" settings it gives you. If not, how would you describe the inherent character of the Trakker? Or does the "character" adjustment section allow you to TRULY change the sonic character and not just the compression behavior?

To skip ahead, for the type of work I most often do, I tend to prefer compressors / limiters that are generally clean, clear, present and fast, maybe even with a tad bit of edge (sorry for the vague buzz words, but, you get the idea). I have less of a need / desire for units that are "sweet", "soft", etc. Having said that, the STC-8 still serves me very well, it's still "transparent enough" to get me to where I need to go. However, in a "perfect world", I wish it had a pinch more "edge" and/or "presence" to it for what I do. So then I started wondering about the Trakkers.

So, in sum, my first question here is, overall, how is the sonic character of the Trakker, compared to the STC-8? Can the Trakker be adjusted to to be a bit more clear and edgy, etc? Or does it share the same inherent STC-8 "musical softness" character across the board, regardless of it's "compression character settings"?

Second question... and this is really a question for the people at Crane Song, but I figure I'd just ask it now while I'm here: Does Crane Song offer a partially of fully detented version of the Trakker? Right now I do have the "H" version of the STC-8 with detented gain controls and I do find this helpful.

Thanks!
Trakker does have different amplifier tweaks built into it. Yes.

16 Character Presets.
4 Amplifier/gain control modes.

Check this out; from the way back machine
http://www.cranesong.com/TRAKKER_REVIEW_EDDIE.pdf


Its certainly changing the entire sound of the unit, no question about that.

At times this compressor can be so clean and unobtrusive to the signal its just eery. I would say for the most part its pretty smooth if your using clean compression settings.

And other times the mythical magic that shoots out of the XLR within a mix is downright haunting. I find it almost impossible to explain the lengthy variance you can achieve with it. Every kind of possible artifact you want. Side-chaining cleverly with them is very fun. As is with the STC-8.

The sound of the amplifiers are there, letting you know your using a really special crane song piece. There is a certain sound to Dave's gear. I hear it on everything he makes. His new stuff is beyond ridiculous!!! I think I'd be going the DHD route when it came time to pull my wallet out.

Can't recall ever seeing TRAKKER-H's, but your right, that's a phone call to Dave or Sean...

The Titans have stepped controls, though. Seems like a very cool evolution of Dave's stuff.

good luck!
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666666
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#3
29th January 2013
Old 29th January 2013
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Thanks, Doc!


EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post

Can't recall ever seeing TRAKKER-H's, but your right, that's a phone call to Dave or Sean...
Yes, I did just email Sean. He informed me that they cannot add stepped / detented controls to the Trakkers, as they do with the STC-8. Not a big deal really.
666666
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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666666
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#5
7th February 2013
Old 7th February 2013
  #5
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Ok, let's have another go at this....

The Trakker, when set to "clean" mode... just HOW clean is it? Crispness, immediacy, detail, etc?

I'm sure it isn't as "transparent" as say a GML 8900, but just how far away from an 8900 is it?

Or another way to put it, how much more transparent is the Trakker (in "clean" mode) than the STC-8? Or are they very similar? Cut from the same fabric and totally different animals?

I'd greatly appreciate it if a few more Trakker users could chime in on this.

Thanks!!!
#6
8th February 2013
Old 8th February 2013
  #6
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Hi,

Long time owner of a pair of Trakkers and an STC8 here. I love them both. Comparing the two, my opinions are:

When it comes to clean compression, The Trakker and STC8 are similar, but not the same. I personally find that the Trakker in limiter mode with the "clean" setting chosen to be pretty close to invisible and unobtrusive. I don't think the STC8 has anything exactly like it.

You noted above that the STC8 has a generally clean, polite sound with a slight softness to it. I would tend to agree. It sounds awesome and seems to be useable on almost everything. It might be possible to get something similar on the Trakker in one of the many settings, but I've never really tried. I tend to use my Trakkers in the mix and the STC8 on the 2 Buss.

It's important to note that the Trakker can get much faster and slower attack and release times than the STC8. As a result, it can be more distortion prone, if set up to do so. I've always found the STC8's action to be pretty distortion free unless you go way out of your way.

I find that the different modes can subtly change the sound of the Trakker, but it doesn't exactly turn it into a different compressor. If anything the different modes effect the action of the compression more than the overall tone. I will say that the air optical mode is really nice since it adds a very slight high frequency bump. It's pretty subtle, but can be nice sometimes. Vintage mode can darken the tone nicely too. Again, it's pretty subtle. You can add VCA artifacts to either the clean or vintage sounds. I rarely use these. I generally stick with clean.

I feel the sound of the make up gain amplifiers on both units is pretty similar if not the same.

It's a tough choice, that's why I have both! In all honesty, they are both pretty awesome, and not really interchangeable. However, I think you'll find both are from the same family of tone. Obviously, demoing the Trakker is probably the only way to answer your question.

Good luck with it.
666666
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#7
9th February 2013
Old 9th February 2013
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Thanks!

Was looking at the Crane Song site for the attack / release times of the Trakker, cannot find anywhere. The STC-8 specs are there though. Anyone have the Trakker specs? Though if the attack / release can go faster and slower than on the STC-8, perhaps that's all I need to know, but I'm just curious. Having the ability to run a super slow attack is something that is important to me... and I like very fast release as well at times. I wonder if the attack on the Trakker can be set as fast as the limiters in the STC-8?
#8
10th February 2013
Old 10th February 2013
  #8
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Don't quote me, but as I recall reading somewhere, the Trakker's fastest attack time was 10 microseconds. I don't know what the slowest attack time is.

I don't think you can set the Trakker to be as fast as the STC8's limiter. That limiter has no ratio, attack or release controls, but seems nearly instantaneous when audio goes over the threshold that's been set by the user. It seems to only be designed to catch occasional peaks. It's likely to distort if hit too hard. Hit it way too hard and it can sound ugly.

The Trakker is extremely fast, but not that fast. The upside is that when the Trakker is in its limiter mode (hard knee mode), you can still play with the attack and release. It's possible to get fairly distortion free limiting this way. It's not like brickwall limiting, but it can sound very nice and clean.

I should also add that the linking between two Trakkers is excellent and should not present any left/right tracking problems should you choose to demo a pair.

Again, best of luck with it!
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