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Which compressor for analog sidechain effect/pumping
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deft_bonz
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18th May 2011
Old 18th May 2011
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Which compressor for analog sidechain effect/pumping

Hi

I'm planning a major studio upgrade at the end of this year. I'd like to mix my electronic music/projects fully analog. So I'm going to buy more EQs and some compressors, plus a small mixer. All high end with a lot of flavor to counter the digital sound.

A question popped into my mind: How to do the pumping effect with a compressor sidechained by a kick. I use this effect very often, sometimes pretty obvious, sometimes just a little. Sometimes I use it on a lot of instruments, sometimes just on the bass. On mono and stereo sources.

My main issue is, that I put the sidechaining always as the last effect. After EQ, "normal" compression, effects, etc. So the side chaining compressor should not alter the sound, but also it'd be nice if it was in a reasonable price range. My budget for the whole upgrade will be 30-32k $ and I'd like to spend it mostly on the "mojo" gear

I think doing the sidechain effect ITB then going OTB into a compressor doesn't make much sense, does it?

What compressor would you use just for that purpose of sidechaining?


Thanks in advance for your suggestions
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deft_bonz
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19th May 2011
Old 19th May 2011
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Seems that I'm the first one looking for such a simple feature
Am I the first electronic music producer going analog?

What would you think about the DBX 266XS or DBX 166XL?
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19th May 2011
Old 19th May 2011
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any hardware comp with sidechain inputs will do.Choose your poison.
Daft Punk did 15 years ago with the lowly Alesis 3360
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19th May 2011
Old 19th May 2011
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I have thought about this a lot too. I use Reason mostly and in reason I found a way to send the kick to many sidechain ins that may apply to a hardware system as well.

If the desk you're getting has a few sends and returns:

Take the kick channel, max out one of the sends (don't worry about the return for that channel). Hook that send up to a splitter and have that splitter feed into whatever compressors you need sidechain ins. I'd buy a few mid range compressors, you'd need one for each source that you're "pumping". Anything that isn't a noisy piece of shit should be fine .

Caveats: I'm not familiar with splitting in the hardware realm.
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19th May 2011
Old 19th May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baikonour View Post
any hardware comp with sidechain inputs will do.Choose your poison.
Daft Punk did 15 years ago with the lowly Alesis 3360
Haha, thought about the 3360 too, but I miss XLR connectors on it. Not very important, but kinda too amateur


Quote:
Originally Posted by dosilegecko View Post
Caveats: I'm not familiar with splitting in the hardware realm.
I think you can do that with the patchbay, if it's wired properly. You loose signal quality, but I think it's not that important on the sidechain.



Any other sugestions besides 3360, 166XL and 266XS?
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19th May 2011
Old 19th May 2011
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I have a Symetrix 522 in my studio for sidechaining purposes alone. It's very well built, transparent (but not sterile), it's a compressor/gate/ducker so I can do all sorts of cool stuff off of the sidechain, and in linked mode left channel controls both so it's easy to setup.

Besdes it doesn't have a gain makeup knob (it's not broken, 522s just don't ) so I can't imagine using it for anything else
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19th May 2011
Old 19th May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baikonour View Post
any hardware comp with sidechain inputs will do.Choose your poison.
Daft Punk did 15 years ago with the lowly Alesis 3360
Daft Punk don't use the sidechain
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20th May 2011
Old 20th May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
Haha, thought about the 3360 too, but I miss XLR connectors on it. Not very important, but kinda too amateur




I think you can do that with the patchbay, if it's wired properly. You loose signal quality, but I think it's not that important on the sidechain.



Any other sugestions besides 3360, 166XL and 266XS?
You're not the only analog electronic musician.
Daft Punk use a side chain. They're DJs, that's the sound they grew up with.
The 3630 is inexpensive, sure. I've seen them in major studios because they do the job.
What kind of snobbery is XLR vs TRS? Once it's wired into place the song, gear, client doesn't know, only you.
160X has TRS, all Orban and UREI has nothing but posts except the UREI 556 has TRS, SPL has TRS.
Or add an extra $500 to your budget to upgrade all your TRS to XLR. If you buy UREI or UA you will need to spend extra money connecting them up.
But it's not about the connectors, it's about the gear that'll give you results.
The hardware Elysia Mpressor is designed especially for electronic music.
YouTube - ‪Elysia mpressor demo‬‏
Also, the SPL DynaMaxx.
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20th May 2011
Old 20th May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by famousbass View Post
Daft Punk use a side chain. They're DJs, that's the sound they grew up with.
No, the 3630 is strapped across the entire mix. The dynamics are exaggerated going in (i.e. very loud kick) and the result is the pumping effect.

Don't want to derail the thread but I'm really tired of this misconception...
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20th May 2011
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I plan on getting a couple of Komit and a Workhorse once the rest of their lineup is released by Radial. $500 per channel is cheaper than most other option's these days, plus there feature loaded with stereo linking and sidechain input for Workhorse only.
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20th May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by famousbass View Post
What kind of snobbery is XLR vs TRS? Once it's wired into place the song, gear, client doesn't know, only you.
I know. In deed it's just a dumb kink (hope that't the right word) I got there. Doesn't mean anything. The sound matters and the budget


Quote:
Originally Posted by thick accent View Post
No, the 3630 is strapped across the entire mix. The dynamics are exaggerated going in (i.e. very loud kick) and the result is the pumping effect.
Don't want to derail the thread but I'm really tired of this misconception...
I don't like a pumping effect thru the whole 2buss/mix either. That's just too much. I like it on certain instruments, not all the time, not on the same instruments in every song, it highly depends on the mix/arrangement.

Subtly integrated it helps the mix. E.g. bass and kick play at the same time.

The 3360 seems to be a nice cheap choice. Will check it out.
The Elysia mpressor looks very interesting, but it's too expensive having it 3-5 times


Quote:
Originally Posted by FreshSkweez View Post
I have a Symetrix 522 in my studio for sidechaining purposes alone. It's very well built, transparent (but not sterile), it's a compressor/gate/ducker so I can do all sorts of cool stuff off of the sidechain, and in linked mode left channel controls both so it's easy to setup.

Besdes it doesn't have a gain makeup knob (it's not broken, 522s just don't ) so I can't imagine using it for anything else
What does it cost?


What do you think about Rane C4 or G4? It's about 800 bucks for 4 channels...
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20th May 2011
Old 20th May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dosilegecko View Post
Caveats: I'm not familiar with splitting in the hardware realm.
Found at Rane: distribution amplifier. 1 input up to 16 outputs. That could be a nice solution. 1 trigger in 16 triggers out
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20th May 2011
Old 20th May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
Haha, thought about the 3360 too, but I miss XLR connectors on it. Not very important, but kinda too amateur
Why would you use XLR for line-level connections? It's one of the most annoying things about my 1176. I ended up pigtailing it to TRS so I can actually plug stuff into it.

There is nothing amateur about TRS connections. It's the standard for line connections.

But if it helps, the new Alesis 3632 compressor, the successor to the 3630, has XLR connectors.


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20th May 2011
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XLR are for me just easier to solder. But if I was going to let the soldering done by a pro, only the sound should matter
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20th May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
What does it cost?
What do you think about Rane C4 or G4? It's about 800 bucks for 4 channels...
They could be had for $200-300 on the used market. That's $100-200 per channel. I've never worked with any Rane gear but from what I understand they rank about the same quality-wise (obviously the sonic imprint's gonna be different)
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24th May 2011
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What do you think about the FMR RNC1773?
Looks also very interesting and also space saving
Although it is not balanced... or am I wrong?

Or the FMR RNLA723?
This one seems to have balanced outputs, although again unbalanced inputs.
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24th May 2011
Old 24th May 2011
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To me this is madness/sillyness. Just do your sidechain lark with soft comps and spend your money on boxes for other main tasks. And yes, you may end up with your ducking happening before already applied 'real' compression on the desk inserts, but so what. For a bit of sidechaining that will still do the do.......spending a load of money on several analog compressors that are 'clean enough to not alter the sound and must have XLR's' is just a big LOL. Sorry.
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24th May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
To me this is madness/sillyness. Just do your sidechain lark with soft comps and spend your money on boxes for other main tasks. And yes, you may end up with your ducking happening before already applied 'real' compression on the desk inserts, but so what. For a bit of sidechaining that will still do the do.......spending a load of money on several analog compressors that are 'clean enough to not alter the sound and must have XLR's' is just a big LOL. Sorry.
I'm going to test it, but I think it's kinda nonsense to add sidechain pumping and then adding another compressor. The second compressor just would level the pumping out again, wouldn't it? The first compressor should be the one shaping the sound, the second one just doing the sidechain effect.

For XLR, yes, it was just a silly first thought of mine. Please just overread it

TRS or XLR really doesn't matter, but unbalanced might cause an issue when hooking up several outboard gear.
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24th May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
I'm going to test it, but I think it's kinda nonsense to add sidechain pumping and then adding another compressor. The second compressor just would level the pumping out again, wouldn't it? The first compressor should be the one shaping the sound, the second one just doing the sidechain effect.

For XLR, yes, it was just a silly first thought of mine. Please just overread it

TRS or XLR really doesn't matter, but unbalanced might cause an issue when hooking up several outboard gear.
Well, yes, that's the normal/ideal case, but depending on the amount of the 'shaping the sound'-compression and the amount of sidechaining you could easily get away with it the other way round in many (most?) cases.

It's easy to wire up pseudo-balanced leads to connect balanced-unbalanced. Just take a balanced lead and snip the ground on one end. That end goes into your unbalanced box, the other into the balanced. If that's too 'unprofessional' for you or you get gain issues, get some Ebtech converters.
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24th May 2011
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Thanks for your inputs.

Any other opinions or points that I might have to reconsider?
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14th September 2011
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Hi,

for a side chain comp purely to give you a pumping sound you really only need a very cheap sub £100 compressor with a side chain.

Its not needed to add character or whatever like a top comp. It simply is only used to 'duck'. Any comp can do it. Save you cash. Send me the rest for saving you lol
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15th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Major Tom View Post
Hi,

for a side chain comp purely to give you a pumping sound you really only need a very cheap sub £100 compressor with a side chain.

Its not needed to add character or whatever like a top comp. It simply is only used to 'duck'. Any comp can do it. Save you cash. Send me the rest for saving you lol
Yeah, that's why I decided to go with the DBX 266XS
I think that's the best solution for your buck at the moment.
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15th September 2011
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I think even thats excessive if all it is to do is pump, but you sound like you have wads of cash so why not.

Im just pleased you didn't buy an ultra expensive one as it would have been a waste of your money (wads of cash or not lol)
Just a simple transparent ultra low budget comp with side chain. Id even consider a behringer!

With comps I find you pay for the character. And thats exactly what you don't need for a pumping effect.

All that said the DBX you bought will be perfect
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15th September 2011
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Well, or you pay to avoid character that f***s your signal.......ever had a signal through a dbx 266? I have. Briefly. I'd rather have my signal through any comp plug...personally......far from transparent, more like cheap, wimpy plastic fuzz......
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15th September 2011
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I dunno I think there is a lot of snobs on here TBH.

Some of the best tracks ever were made in the bronks a la hip hop or in England's bedrooms for underground raves.

I honestly think a good engineer can get great results with mediocre equipment.

I cannot help to think that a pursuit of perfection is pointless as life isnt perfect. You can also always get better so its all relative. For EG if you have a million pound studio someone with a 10 million pound studio can sneer at you. I find the whole thing pointless. Talent and experience is worth more than kit any day.

I honestly think a 266 is more than required to make a pumping effect that could feature on a great track Face it, most mixes sound great these days, some done ITB and some done OTB, the standards are ultra high.

I honestly feel people need to stop obsessing. Its unhealthy.


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15th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Major Tom View Post
I dunno I think there is a lot of snobs on here TBH.

Some of the best tracks ever were made in the bronks a la hip hop or in England's bedrooms for underground raves.

I honestly think a good engineer can get great results with mediocre equipment.

I cannot help to think that a pursuit of perfection is pointless as life isnt perfect. You can also always get better so its all relative. For EG if you have a million pound studio someone with a 10 million pound studio can sneer at you. I find the whole thing pointless. Talent and experience is worth more than kit any day.

I honestly think a 266 is more than required to make a pumping effect that could feature on a great track Face it, most mixes sound great these days, some done ITB and some done OTB, the standards are ultra high.

I honestly feel people need to stop obsessing. Its unhealthy.


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Hmmmm, my experience tells me to avoid that box, is all.

There are a lot of 'snobs' and even more people rendering thought processes not very useful to real life due to being overthought sorts of logic-resembling things of not much use. And then you also get the "oh f*** it, nothing matters, just make music" sort of giving up on trying to improve ......

I have tried a dbx266xl. Not sure if it sounds the same. But this thing sounds in a way that today I would avoid. That's real, for a reason. It does something to the integrity of the sound in an unpleasant plastic manner. If you think avoiding that is snobbery, may I offer the idea that might be a bit like "oh, sure, I can use this brush to paint, nevermind if it leaves a lot of hairs in my painting you snobs"....sure you can. I just don't want to, as I wouldn't pay for its plastic hairs in my picture and any free plugin comp would be preferable. And I MUCH prefer hardware comps over soft. Just not that one.

Bear in mind you can tell from the OP's gear and even considering hardware JUST for ducking stuff a level of a certain desired quality result. In that context to me the sound of a dbx266 just happens to be a bad fit, maybe not to you, Major.....
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15th September 2011
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Perhaps if they learn how to use the paint brush to its best they can get it to leave less hairs or none at all and still get the job done.

I do fully agree there is a level in anything that below it should be avoided. But the standard and kit people talk about here on GS is way beyond the law of diminishing returns. Way way way beyond.

I have heard ITB mixes that sound just as good as OTB mixes as said. And a dance floor has never emptied yet because the tune was totally ITB. (I am a hardware man myself as I prefer the tactile interface and tangible products but Id be lying if I stated ITB mixes were inferior.)

I just feel people obsess over tools too much as opposed end product.

Of course my answer isn't just aimed at this thread. More an overall observation of internet culture. Guess thats why its called 'gearslutz' and not 'musicslutz'
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15th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Well, or you pay to avoid character that f***s your signal.......ever had a signal through a dbx 266? I have. Briefly. I'd rather have my signal through any comp plug...personally......far from transparent, more like cheap, wimpy plastic fuzz......
Why should the DBX f*** up my signal?

It's kinda self-defeating to make the pumping ITB, and then give the signal character and compression with a high end compressor OTB.

The flow should be, flavor and compression with high end and THEN pumping.
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15th September 2011
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Agreed don't do that DBX 266XL. I had one too. Cheap with sidechain. yeah, well, forgettaboutit. It's crap. 166 is better.

Instead, save up for some DBX 160x, symmetrix, BSS or Drawmer. Also sometimes some german broadcast stuff on ebay.de. VCA based eightties/nineties. worth looking into, and fix up/mod a little. Mostly good switches, PSU, circuit etc.
Also consider gates. Drawmer is nice.
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If a few people like Karlof and reptile are bashing the 266 then perhaps it is a poor unit as opposed a cheap unit that is being bashed simply for being cheap.

In that case guys, what would you recommend for a pumping comp in the same price range.

TBH I am happy to use a Behringer for such a simple task.

OPs original suggestions of a RNLA to me were far to expensive and 'over qualified' for a simple job like ducking.
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