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Buzz SBC20+DBC20 or Manley vari-mu Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 19th December 2017
  #1
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Black Seal's Avatar
Buzz SBC20+DBC20 or Manley vari-mu

I'm looking for help with this from people with experience with these units, BUZZ SOC20/DBC20 or Manley vari mu. I currently have the following:
API 2500
DBX 160x 3 units (2 w/transformers)
Demeter VTCL2
Klark Teknik DN504
DBX 162SL (side chain feeding KT DN410 Eq)
Aphex Dominator II

I have VCA covered too well. Was thinking something that can pull double duty tracking, mixing, and mastering. I am leaning toward the Buzz hardware as I think both would fill the void in my current collection. I also am willing to entertain other ideas as well. Budget $4000 max non-negotiable, I say to myself, lol...

Thoughts, opinions, oh yeah, and I want to start using them this weekend. Lol

Last edited by Black Seal; 19th December 2017 at 11:55 AM.. Reason: This Idiot messed up the title
Old 19th December 2017
  #2
I love both the Buzz and Manley pieces. As far as sheer power to process a lot of different applications, instrument types and genres, the SOC20 and DBC20 will get you further. Not only because you will have four mono channels (or two stereo pairs) but because the Buzz pieces are a bit more suited to tracking or mixing individual tracks (especially the SOC20 but the DBC is quite nice there too especially on percussive sources but even bass and vocals etc). The Manley can be used for tracking in some instances, and combines nicely with a faster comp before it in series (like the Manley Elop or Buzz SOC20 as real world examples). It excells on two bus and mastering certain genres of course (it’s very buttery in its sweet spot), so having all three eventually as a long term plan would be a complementary siuation as they wouldn’t step on each others toes very much.
Old 19th December 2017
  #3
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Black Seal's Avatar
Thanks Nathan,

I was thinking that both of those for now will cover more ground. Wish I had money for both. Was looking at the IGS Tubecore as well, but after hearing both the Buzz units, even on Youtube, left a very good impression. I have a DAV SIPP, the SOC will allow me to use the M/S option elsewhere Still want that Manley though. I don't think I will unable to get a good cohesion on the master buss Been using the API 2500 for years, always been a struggle to get it exactly right on the master. When it's right it's right though. Need other options as I record too many different types of music.

Anyone try using DBX 160's or the like limiting before your drum buss compressor? Was thinking a 10:1 soft knee followed by the API at low ratio. Just catching the peaks so I don't have to on the master buss.
Old 19th December 2017
  #4
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Black Seal's Avatar
Woohoo

Thanks Nathan, ordered both Buzz units. Should be able to cover more bases with them.
Old 19th December 2017
  #5
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Buzz Soc 20 owner here and man I threw that up against numerous units and came up with 2 simple conclusions!

2 x Neve 2254/R units strapped and the Buzz catching the tail
Smart research C1-LA or C2 side chained and Buzz catching the tail

Often I swap and let the Buzz go first and C2/2254R after all depends! Love the Vari Mu though too much colour that can be added later you just can't take it away though and yes I Insert and mix through from 4:1 and Auto and quite often the Buzz Soc 20 comes last if I want to M/S and make size, width, FX and spacial planes huge as in flying overhead to reverse left/right and very wide to very narrow its amazing when you toss that stuff in. Oh sometimes I do toss a Neve EQ 51 with those big orange donut trafos to make things a touch thicker!

Why Buzz and the Soc 20! Crikey I'm in Australia and it's built in a modular format so if one part or daughter board blows I can send it off and get a replacement and p,us it in. Man I got sick to death of sending busted crap across the world the postage now is utter extortion so take that into mind too, I doubt Manley will take anything save the whole unit etc, nor DW fearn or others so good construction means ease of repair - and just in case type thing, I don't need 4 weeks minus x unit!

Regards,
TLB
Old 19th December 2017
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
I love both the Buzz and Manley pieces. As far as sheer power to process a lot of different applications, instrument types and genres, the SOC20 and DBC20 will get you further. Not only because you will have four mono channels (or two stereo pairs) but because the Buzz pieces are a bit more suited to tracking or mixing individual tracks (especially the SOC20 but the DBC is quite nice there too especially on percussive sources but even bass and vocals etc). The Manley can be used for tracking in some instances, and combines nicely with a faster comp before it in series (like the Manley Elop or Buzz SOC20 as real world examples). It excells on two bus and mastering certain genres of course (it’s very buttery in its sweet spot), so having all three eventually as a long term plan would be a complementary siuation as they wouldn’t step on each others toes very much.
Great post Nathan - often just a touch is enough! The Diode Bridge on the DCB sounds great if I didn't have a few 2254/R units I'd be on them, though do remember those 2254's aren't as thick in Trafo sound as original 2254 squares those can make your mix go into MUD MODE so you do sort of need Compression that is multitasking and it's true with the Buzz Soc 20 as for Vocals or anything it's quick enough a unit to just add that sound. I guess it's also degrees many a vocal I've run through a smart C2 just to get that high octane sheen and it's usually on mixes where it's acoustic and a whisky male voice, so always degrees the C1-LA I love for its timing constants that box let's you go slow or overshoot the waveform until it's half dead!

Good luck!
Old 19th December 2017
  #7
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Black Seal's Avatar
Last byte,

Any other suggestions besides the 2254/Smart in front of the Buzz. I probably will alternate, API and the 162sl in front.
Old 3rd March 2018
  #8
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tengu's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLastByte View Post
Buzz Soc 20 owner here and man I threw that up against numerous units and came up with 2 simple conclusions!

2 x Neve 2254/R units strapped and the Buzz catching the tail
Smart research C1-LA or C2 side chained and Buzz catching the tail

Often I swap and let the Buzz go first and C2/2254R after all depends! Love the Vari Mu though too much colour that can be added later you just can't take it away though and yes I Insert and mix through from 4:1 and Auto and quite often the Buzz Soc 20 comes last if I want to M/S and make size, width, FX and spacial planes huge as in flying overhead to reverse left/right and very wide to very narrow its amazing when you toss that stuff in. Oh sometimes I do toss a Neve EQ 51 with those big orange donut trafos to make things a touch thicker!

Why Buzz and the Soc 20! Crikey I'm in Australia and it's built in a modular format so if one part or daughter board blows I can send it off and get a replacement and p,us it in. Man I got sick to death of sending busted crap across the world the postage now is utter extortion so take that into mind too, I doubt Manley will take anything save the whole unit etc, nor DW fearn or others so good construction means ease of repair - and just in case type thing, I don't need 4 weeks minus x unit!

Regards,
TLB
I'm in this boat as well, so I'm really appreciating your post. I'm trying to decide between a HCL Varis and the SOC 20 for the moment (I have a VCA, DBC and Another opto at the moment).

Using it for mastering purposes. Most of the material I will be getting will be electronic/hip-hop, and for the most part those producers are using a LOT of saturation FX these days. That's got me thinking something cleaner like the SOC 20 will suit I won't be needing Vari Mu sauce.

Can always get a Vari Mu down the track when I got more money coming in. Even though Optos are clean, I've felt like there's a certain "syrup" with them.

I'm located in Aus as well. Feels good to support Antipodean manufacturers.
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