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Most Versatile Comp for $4000 ? Tracking, master...
Old 19th January 2007
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Most Versatile Comp for $4000 ? Tracking, master...

Hey all,

I'm mixing and sometimes premastering hip-hop and electronic music and I decided to invest in a good comp... What I need is a comp that can add its color to the mix, for giving a little more life and warm to digital tracks.

I would like to run it on some tracking (Vox, bass, drums), and use it on the 2-bus too. There's so many options I'm really lost.

For now I can grab a second hand Manley Vari-Mu for about $2500... Is there any really good other choices for what I'm expecting ? (SSL, SPL, Neve, Alan Smart...)

Thanx for any fast answer... I have 4 days to decide about the Vari-Mu heh
Old 19th January 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
funka's Avatar
 

STC-8 comes to mind. Very versatile. Can add some beautiful subtle warmth(KI mode if I remember). And top build quality.
Old 19th January 2007
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
pieter's Avatar
 

STC8 works from Jazz to metal
Old 19th January 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Zwinter's Avatar
 

I would add to the equation a stereo pair of Distressor's (with mods) and the Pendulum ES-8. Both of these units sound great on everything from vocals to the stereo buss. Don't get me wrong, the Cranesong STC-8 is an amazing unit, but I feel these other units should be considered as well.

These three units also have distinct flavors. So far nothing has been mentioned in terms of flavor, only functionality. So what are you looking for in a compressor? Do you want a compressor that is clean and clear, where the unit doesn't impart any coloration? Or are you looking for a unit that will impart its own flavor to the audio passing through it?
Old 19th January 2007
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaNeT View Post
For now I can grab a second hand Manley Vari-Mu for about $2500... Is there any really good other choices for what I'm expecting ? (SSL, SPL, Neve, Alan Smart...)
I'm not sure you will be happy with Vari-Mu for electronic music or hip-hop. I think SSL/Smart C2 would be better, haven't heard STC-8 though... Vari-Mu adds nice colour and has beautiful sound but sometimes may be not fast enough for you, especially with electronic music. If you want Mu, better buy Gyratec G10, I heard samples somewhere on this board and it sounds better than Manley IMHO (better bass, cleaner highs). Manley has nice colour though, but it's very subtle... maybe too subtle for electronic music.

Smart C2 is very modern-sounding comp and adds something like "German Eins Zwei Drei" to the music, one may like it or not. It has good bass (especially with sidechain enabled) but not that "warm sound" like tube comps. However for electronic/hip-hop it might be good.
Old 19th January 2007
  #6
The Cranesong STC-8 is solid in so many applications.
Old 19th January 2007
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Thanx for the replies.

A lot of votes for the STC-8... And Vari-Mu doesn't seem to fit my need. I would like to give you more details on the "sound color" I'm looking for but badly, it will be my first really high-end hardware analogue gear, so I don't know what to expect... Where I live I simply cannot hear by myself the units you're talking about, only read review from here and mags...

What I need is something that can warm and give "life" to synth tracks (who will pass before trough a UA 2-610 DI), add color to vocals or basses, "glue" and add some "dimension" to the mix, making it sounding less digital. I don't need heavy compression (often not more than 3-4 dB on the master). Well... I don't know if one beast can do all this !

And about the Vari-Mu (my budget isn't illimited !), is it a better deal for me to have one for 2500 than a STC-8 for 4500, and then save for some other stuff (mics, preamp) ?

This is what will be the "studio" :

Nuendo 3 (Core2duo etc)
4 UAD-1 with all plugs
Mackie Control Universal + 2XT

SSL Alpha LINK MADI AX
RME MADI card

Universal Audio 2-610
RME Quadmic

Mackie HR824/Yamaha HS-50
Mackie Big Knob

2 RNC
(THIS HIGH-END COMP)

U87
Aphex 430 mod. Peluso
2 Rode NT1
2 Rode NT5
AKG D112
Shure SM57
...

Maybe this list can help you juge.

Last edited by Moja-audio; 19th January 2007 at 11:07 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 19th January 2007
  #8
I don't think the STC-8 will add much color or life to synth tracks. It does have a nice sound, but it's subtle. I think of it as pretty transparent. The Vari-Mu is much more colorful. Maybe that's the one you should get.

The Vari-Mu also arguably will give you more "glue", I think.

There might be better devices for getting the added life and warmth you're thinking about. Phoenix Audio and others make stuff for that, I think.
Old 19th January 2007
  #9
Oops, I meant Thermionic, not Phoenix! http://www.thermionicculture.com/

The Culture Vulture is one such device. I've never heard it--just a thought.
Old 19th January 2007
  #10
The answer is none. If you have to wait till the end to add color, life and warmth you are screwed(especially if you are mixing ITB). I would say focus more on things that will help you to get the sound closer to what you want up to the end and if you still need a little help to glue it together than go for it. Spend your $4K wiser and you will be happy man for it(and won't become a GS addict).

In a nutshell if you got gun shot wound a bandaid(no matter how expensive) over it won't cut it.
Old 20th January 2007
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
The answer is none. If you have to wait till the end to add color, life and warmth you are screwed(especially if you are mixing ITB). I would say focus more on things that will help you to get the sound closer to what you want up to the end and if you still need a little help to glue it together than go for it. Spend your $4K wiser and you will be happy man for it(and won't become a GS addict).

In a nutshell if you got gun shot wound a bandaid(no matter how expensive) over it won't cut it.
I understand your point. I don't ask for "THE outboard that will give me major label sound", I only try to add a little warm color to my mixes (using the comp on tracks and master). But two things are facts :

- my budget isn't unlimited, I would like to have very good musicians and instruments or warm keyboards, mix OTB, tape the tracks, use various excelent mics and pres, but actually I can't.

- half of the tracks I have to deal with are not the ones I record myself, and come already thin or lifeless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
Spend your $4K wiser.
I would love to spend my money wiser if it can be for what I'm looking for... Any ideas ?
Old 20th January 2007
  #12
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rashadrm@hotmai's Avatar
 

A pair of Cranesong Trakkers thumbsup
Old 20th January 2007
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaNeT View Post
What I need is something that can warm and give "life" to synth tracks
From what you've said, vari-mu is not such a bad option for you.

I use Drawmer Three-Sum + Manley Vari-mu on mid/highs above 1Khz (ONLY !!! do not touch the bass !) and it's the only one way I know and I can imagine to add "life" to the synth tracks. You can leave tracking just use it on 2 buss. It's magic. I have 2 other compressors (C2 and Tube-Tech SMC-2B) and none of them do this. Three-Sum is quite cheap.
Old 20th January 2007
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by yareck View Post
From what you've said, vari-mu is not such a bad option for you.

I use Drawmer Three-Sum + Manley Vari-mu on mid/highs above 1Khz (ONLY !!! do not touch the bass !) and it's the only one way I know and I can imagine to add "life" to the synth tracks. You can leave tracking just use it on 2 buss. It's magic. I have 2 other compressors (C2 and Tube-Tech SMC-2B) and none of them do this. Three-Sum is quite cheap.
That's very interesting. Why do you use a so high crossover ? What do you feel the Vari-Mu does to the low freqs on single synth tracks ?
Old 20th January 2007
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaNeT View Post
That's very interesting. Why do you use a so high crossover ? What do you feel the Vari-Mu does to the low freqs on single synth tracks ?
I think tracking ordinary synths with Vari-Mu is not so good idea. I tried it before and it really does not work in an obvious way. It works much better on 2-buss by adding warmth and life to the synths and other instruments, vocals in a very clean, musical way.

Regarding low freq: for me it does not make anything interesting there for the music I mostly work on (electronica). But it really adds life to the highs. HPF switch or T-Bar mod could be helpful options for bass but I don't have them installed.

I had some good experience with tracking synths using exciter (low and high) from my low-end Behringer Tube Ultrafex. It really works for synths. But it's not a compressor and it's a very low-end.

Hope this was helpful...
Old 20th January 2007
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaNeT View Post
Why do you use a so high crossover ?
Checked once again, the actual crossover is set from 630 - 700 Hz, not 1 kHz like I said before (but for me it sounds rather like from 1 kHz).

It's the only one compressor I have which does not add negative artifacts during the compression of a high freq. At all. It sounds so natural and musical, which is important for electronica to sweeten and soften mostly hard & digital top end (hihats, synths etc.). The reason I use so high crossover is that I need Manley to focus on those frequencies where it has no competitor in my rack.

I wouldn't say that frequencies beetween 200-800 Hz are handled by Manley in a negative way.... but I can use also Smart or Tube-Tech there...
Old 20th January 2007
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by yareck View Post
I wouldn't say that frequencies beetween 200-800 Hz are handled by Manley in a negative way.... but I can use also Smart or Tube-Tech there...
Right you have different flavors... Thanx for the precisions.
Old 20th January 2007
  #18
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

get a 2-track...
Old 21st January 2007
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

Neve 33609 - Solid and yummy!!
Old 21st January 2007
  #20
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heathen's Avatar
 

C2 and es8 for hiphop.
Old 21st January 2007
  #21
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Soldier777c's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
In a nutshell if you got gun shot wound a bandaid(no matter how expensive) over it won't cut it.
Unless you got shot with a paintball gun . . . in which case a bandaid, even a cheaper one, would do the trick.


.

If you're doing the Hip Hop / Electronica stuff, you'll probably dig a C2 . . . it's versatile (and you'd especially love it on your drum bus).
Old 21st January 2007
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

Your paintball comment is funny and true.

I have a friend who does electronica...he borrowed my c2 and won't give it back. Says it's the shiz for what he's doing. I haven't seen it in 4 months or more.

He's also got my API 2500 and is digging it too for what he does.
Old 21st January 2007
  #23
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

I do a lot of hip hop and would probably look at the Smart C2 or Aurora GTC2... They are very different sounding but I would narrow my choices to those two units based on what you are asking for in a compressor. They are both about $2800, leaving enough money to also invest in a Distressor.

The Smart will give you the SSL style of fast VCA compression. The Aurora has both fet and opto compression, and a combination mode for both. Sounds pretty unique, and great on vocals, bass, and 2 buss... rounder & more colored than the Smart.
Old 21st January 2007
  #24
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kingneeraj's Avatar
 

+1 for pendulum ES-8
Old 21st January 2007
  #25
Emi
Gear Addict
 
Emi's Avatar
check this out!...this will give some warmth and beauty to the sound...but as I always say, try to hear it first!

http://rupertneve.com/products/portico-5042/
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