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Big guitar compression
Old 20th October 2002
  #1
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Big guitar compression

Anybody using compression on distorted guitars while tracking or mixing?

Which comps have you been reaching for lately? For color or more attack/bite?
Old 20th October 2002
  #2
I always use a Fatso for Tape simulation / to cut the digital 'fizz' off these days (warmth setting 2 or 3) .

I rarely compress dist gtrs...

I have / 1176 / distressor / DBX 160 / compex / tube-tech / Joe Meek / Cranesong STC 8 but do I feel the need to use em on dist gtr?

No, not very often.

But I am open minded, can folks describe what they get out of doing it?

I dont get it myself, but then I use a LOT of compression on my mixes..

Old 20th October 2002
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Secret Weapon.............

DBX 160x.. yeah the cheap one from the 80's that are as common as dog**** on the beach!, and are common in PA's still... try it today!

Also...

Distressor

for Distorted GTRs the Neve 2264 is the ****!!!!!!


PEACE
Wiggy
Old 20th October 2002
  #4
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

hmmm, compress the already hypercompressed?

leads, sure.
Old 20th October 2002
  #5
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

hmmm, compress the already hypercompressed?

SO true. alpha... tube amps are the biggest compressors around!

but they still sound great compressed.. song,application and compressor specific of course

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 20th October 2002
  #6
I guess me and Alpha are sceptical about this procedure....

Compression guys - explain yourselves!

I prefer to have what remaining dynamics there are in a distorted rhythem sound...



BTW my mentor used a touch of DBX 160 on EVERYTHING (ok 1176 on vocals!) and I bought one to use for tracking, but I rarely use is on dist GTR.
Old 20th October 2002
  #7
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e-cue's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
Compression guys - explain yourselves!

I prefer to have what remaining dynamics there are in a distorted rhythem sound...
I like my distorted guitars to sound like I wad of whole notes, almost like a guitar pad. The one thing I dig about Lord Algee's overcompression is the guitar sounds like he gets on WEEZER.

The distressor, 1176's, 33609, 160XTs are my usual suspects.
Old 20th October 2002
  #8
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

just use an Orange or an old marshall jtm45. they sound JUST like that naturally.

although the new fu manchu i heard used the dsl2k's.
Old 20th October 2002
  #9
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

I often use compression on dist guitars so that they bite hard on the first note, then move a db or two out of the way. Sounds like the guitarist is playing harder when it kicks in and grabs you like that.

Have been using the SSL channel comps for that, but thanks for the idea Wiggy, I'll try the 160X's today.
Old 20th October 2002
  #10
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subspace's Avatar
160XT on distorted guitar. Sometimes I'll compress palm muted stuff to control the low end thump, but it usually improves the sound just passing through one with a dB or so of GR. Kind of a tone thickener.
Old 20th October 2002
  #11
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Tim L's Avatar
 

I like to gently compress dist gtr's while tracking... not all the time but allot. For me it's more the color a particular compressor adds that I'm after more than control over the dynamics. For heavy gtr's I'll usually send it through a Meek SC2.2, slope on 2, dark switch in, about 1dB of reduction on the VU meter (the peaks are getting hit a tad harder). Something about the color of the Meek that I think adds to the sound. I just feel a little compression get's me that lil' bit closer to sitting back and saying "cool". Mixing on the other hand is a different story. If I need to thicken the gtr's up a bit I'll do a parallel and tuck in under the "dry" gtr's. I almost never straight out compress the Hvy gtr's unless I have to for some reason.
Old 20th October 2002
  #12
Gear Addict
 
cymatics's Avatar
 

If I compress distroted guitar it is only in the mix. If it needs it, I go for the distressor first. On occasion I use a grungy sounding 70's limiter I have for additional crunch/color etc.

- jon
Old 20th October 2002
  #13
Moderator emeritus
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Tim L
For heavy gtr's I'll usually send it through a Meek SC2.2, slope on 2, dark switch in, about 1dB of reduction on the VU meter (the peaks are getting hit a tad harder). Something about the color of the Meek that I think adds to the sound.
Not to change the subject, but since you mentioned the Meek...

My SC2 has found a home on synth parts - organs, odd sounds, and even string pads. The Meek does something to the tone that nothing else does...
Old 20th October 2002
  #14
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sonic dogg's Avatar
....a dbx 903....or one of the symetrix 525's...sometimes both sides of it one as a quick hard-kneed compression and the other set as an expander of sorts......cheep stuff and sounds good
Old 20th October 2002
  #15
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I hardly ever compress electric guitar to tape. Digital is a different thing, then I'll knock it back by a few dB with my Demeter VTCL-2a which is a tube opto thing. I'll compress guitar solos and stuff that I want to sound more agressive and in-yo-face, usually with an 1176 or Orban 414A. The Aphex Expressor isn't a bad choice either and I usually reach for that on clean guitars.
Old 21st October 2002
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

always worked for me on dist. git :

Running through a Tele V76 with very low gain setting :
It adds a great tone
Old 21st October 2002
  #17
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 

If I need to compress when tracking, I usally just crank the Mesa ( sounds like an arizona tourist ad..)

If I need it when mixing I have to rely on plug-ins, so I generallt use the LA2A bomfactory. Just don't think of it as an LA2A and it sounds pretty cool IMHO
Old 21st October 2002
  #18
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mig27's Avatar
ashly

my vote goes for the ashly SC-50.
it's a cheap solid state box from the early eighties.
pretty grainy sounding, but it nicely complements distorted guitars (not much else, though).

being a DAW-dude, I like to bounce electric guitars to tape (telefunken M15a @ low speed).

my 2 euro-cents.

michael
Old 21st October 2002
  #19
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AudioGaff's Avatar
I'll second that vote for the Ashly SC-50. It works more as a limiter. The MXR 136 dual limiter also rocks. Not as cheesy as you would think or expect. The dbx 160SL works better than the 160X/160XT as it is faster and preserves more of the high end. For a thicker/warmer/fuller tone I really like the Groove Tube CL1s
sometimes just in bypass mode and other times one channel into another setting one as a comp and the other as a limiter.
Old 21st October 2002
  #20
If going to tape, one probably doesn't need anything. I record to digital, but mix to 1/4" Ampex @ 15ips which really takes the edge off of digital (I notice it mostly in the high hat of all things). I will do a little 'tone compression', like a pair of distressors (distortion 3) or pair of trakkers (in vintage optical mode) coming in from a pair of 'Neve' based preamps to add more even order harmonic distortion to the path. Also, it's always set to completely open attack, fast release so the transient is touched as little as possible. So overall it's not for leveling, it's more for 'glue'. A little gain reduction (as in just lighting up) really goes a long way towards bringing up the mids to the right place without EQ.
Old 22nd October 2002
  #21
Gear Addict
 

Nathan, you should be fair and point out to everyone that the distortion 3 setting on the Distressor adds second and third harmonics. It's a good way to get those master volume guitar amps to sound a bit more like non-master amps, since a push-pull power section in overdrive will add some third harmonic (as will pentodes, analog tape, and I believe single-ended class A output amps, ala Fender Champ, as well). All the chatter about just the second harmonic is a bit overblown, IMO, as sometimes it can get a little mushy on it's own. Maybe I just have no taste; lately, I'm liking fuzz boxes much better than natural overdrive sounds, which I used to be very much obsessed with.

Unless going for an effect, I prefer to leave balls out distorted guitars alone. Clean or semi-clean are fair game, though, especially if the player isn't in the room with the amp or if it's direct - it tends to feel better to them w/ compression.

Bear
Old 22nd October 2002
  #22
Quote:
Originally posted by Gone Fission
Nathan, you should be fair and point out to everyone that the distortion 3 setting on the Distressor adds second and third harmonics.
This is true up to a point, but it also depends on how hard you push the input on the distressor. Sometimes the 'redline' light won't even show at all, which according to the manual (and my ears) consists of primarily even order. Tape also has a lot of 3rd order harmonic distortion, but I think it may put out a lot more when pushed to it's maximum. I've noticed that the lows on tape are so much nicer when it's somewhat lower than it's stated levels. For instance, I primarily run 911 @ 15ips and I try not to let it run past +4 on peaks. I've pushed it to +6 and didn't like it at all, the lows didn't seem as big and the highs weren't as natural....although a few people in the room did like it, I think after repeated listens it would wear on me.
Old 22nd October 2002
  #23
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Nathan, what's your operating level? Hitting peaks of +4 or +6 VU means nothing unless we (or I) what op level your at. I run 456 or SM911 at +6 over 185, 15ips on my A80MkII.
Old 22nd October 2002
  #24
I don't tech my own machine, but tell me if this makes sense. It's +3 over 250 nWb/m @ 15ips. I use BASF 911. My tech is convinced that it can take +7, but I've pushed it far into the red and didn't like it...if the extreme transients hit at '0' (or +3 signal) on the meter it sounds right to me even though my tech prefers hotter (the bass freq sound far smoother to my ears when the tape isn't saturating to it's more extreme limits). When I said +4, I wasn't refering to the VU meter, I just meant gently over 0 VU. Let me know if I'm off base here...
Old 22nd October 2002
  #25
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Tim L's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by NathanEldred
I don't tech my own machine, but tell me if this makes sense. It's +3 over 250 nWb/m @ 15ips.
+3(=0VU) over 250 nWb/m is the same electronic operating level as +6(=0VU) over 185 nWb/m.

Quote:
...if the extreme transients hit at '0' (or +3 signal) on the meter it sounds right to me even though my tech prefers hotter (the bass freq sound far smoother to my ears when the tape isn't saturating to it's more extreme limits). When I said +4, I wasn't refering to the VU meter, I just meant gently over 0 VU. Let me know if I'm off base here...
Vu meters are showing you an average of what's happening, not the peaks. Depending on the envelope of the source your "extreme transients" can spike as much as 6dB to 10dB higher than the average of what you're seeing on the meter. So depending on the formula of the tape and how the machine is callibrated you can very well be saturating some of the peaks at 0VU. Sometimes cool, sometimes not.

I'm not sure what the fluxivity of Basf 911 is but if it's the same as 456 then it's (IIRC) around 370 nWb/m (Jay?). If that's the case then you should have about 9dB of headroom over 0VU if you're calibrated for +6 over 185 nWb/m.
Old 22nd October 2002
  #26
Very cool...thanks!
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