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SSL Bus Comp vs Obsidian? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 14th June 2018
  #1
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SSL Bus Comp vs Obsidian?

I've been using the Waves SSL Bus Comp on the master on every track I've done the last 2-3 years, and I'm thinking about getting the real deal - Are plugins so good now that I won't notice a significant difference? I love the signature glue of the SSL Bus Comp - Should I go with the SSL or Obsidian?
Old 14th June 2018
  #2
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skybluerental's Avatar
 

I have used both of these and a few other SSL style compressors and my favorite is still the Alan Smart C1.
Old 14th June 2018
  #3
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toledo3's Avatar
 

It’s worth investigating how the different units trigger gain reduction. Some do it like the SSL, some do not.

Fwiw, I’d reccomend the Audioscape, then SSL or the Smart.
Old 14th June 2018
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by erike123 View Post
I've been using the Waves SSL Bus Comp on the master on every track I've done the last 2-3 years, and I'm thinking about getting the real deal - Are plugins so good now that I won't notice a significant difference? I love the signature glue of the SSL Bus Comp - Should I go with the SSL or Obsidian?
The Dramastic Obsidian has Jensen input and output transformers so it gives more "weight" and "heft" the signal, when compared to the X-Logic. Which is a bit more snappy and wet sounding. I prefer the Obsidian myself. And with its Side-chain Filter, it lets the bottom end "bloom" and sprout. Its my favorite SSL style compressor for the 2-mix. Just works awesome for me. Good luck finding the one that works best for you.
Old 14th June 2018
  #5
I would get the real thing that has been on thousands of recordings. Go SSL
Old 14th June 2018
  #6
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I've read that the Obsidian is kind the SSL Bus Comp without the sonic "drawbacks" - But isn't that also part of what makes the classic SSL sound like it does? I don't quite get what the drawbacks are - Is it stereo imaging? Loss of high end?
Old 14th June 2018
  #7
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toledo3's Avatar
 

The Obsidian was using the same PCB as the GSSL project, which uses a summed mono detection approach as opposed to the way an SSL comp works.

Whether or not this is more desirable is in the ear of the beholder.

Most would say it makes the compression more obvious sounding.

Personally, I prefer the original gain reduction approach.

(Edit: I have owned the Obsidian fwiw.)


Last edited by toledo3; 14th June 2018 at 11:20 PM.. Reason: Clarity
Old 14th June 2018
  #8
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo3 View Post
The Obsidian was using the same PCB as the GSSL project, which uses a summed mono detection approach as opposed to the way an SSL comp works.

Whether or not this is more desirable is in the ear of the beholder.

Most would say it makes the compression more obvious sounding.

Personally, I prefer the original gain reduction approach.

The one I have does both.
Old 14th June 2018
  #9
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rectifried's Avatar
Had and loved the obsidian
Got out of the 500 thing
But went back .. and got the smart C1LA this time
Prob the best of all
Miss the heft of the obsidian but smart is great as well and reallly really flexible
Old 15th June 2018
  #10
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ionian's Avatar
Obsidian here since 2010. It's still amazing.
Old 15th June 2018
  #11
The Obsidian is a great compressor and I'm glad the heft or weight was mentioned about its sound. The SSl does not offer this character, it's just punchy, clean and exciting. So it really depends what type of sound your looking for.

I think this great to have both sounds which is why I have the SSl for clear punch and the Portico 5043 for when more heft or weight is needed.
Old 15th June 2018
  #12
Gear Nut
+1 For the way Obsidian subtlety enhances the stereo image.
Old 15th June 2018
  #13
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IanBSC's Avatar
The Obsidian has nice, smooth and subtle color that SSL comps don't have, and it really widens and deepens the stereo field and doesn't mess with your panning. It's both more colored as a circuit, but more transparent in compression. The SSL if you want a little snappier, or if you want the exact SSL sound. I think the Dramastic with the hpf sounds better, though.

Both beat the plugins, but the Dramastic sound is something that you can't do ITB.
Old 15th June 2018
  #14
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IanBSC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by erike123 View Post
I don't quite get what the drawbacks are - Is it stereo imaging? Loss of high end?
Yes.
Old 16th June 2018
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by erike123 View Post
I've been using the Waves SSL Bus Comp on the master on every track I've done the last 2-3 years, and I'm thinking about getting the real deal - Are plugins so good now that I won't notice a significant difference? I love the signature glue of the SSL Bus Comp - Should I go with the SSL or Obsidian?
If you love the sound of the SSL snap, you want to go with SSL. The other compressors are very good and they all have their unique sound. But for the sound used on thousands of records which is attached to the XL, AWS, and Duality console, I would go with the SSL 2 bus compressor.
Old 16th June 2018
  #16
Gear Addict
+1 more vote for the Obsidian. I've also owned the Smart C2 which is excellent as well (sold the Smart, still have the Obsidian)
Old 16th June 2018
  #17
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Had a 384 and Smart c1 & 2.
still Prefer the Obsidian.
Old 16th June 2018
  #18
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toledo3's Avatar
 

The Obsidian uses a summed mono detection circuit as opposed to passing through the loudest side and then using that for keying the reduction.

The difference can be subtle to...less subtle. But it generally makes the compression more pumpy sounding and seems to change the way the compressor handles the center of the mix. For me, not for better, but I did have one and liked it, and would use one again and be pretty fine with it.

IMO, high pass *and* the actual SSL style gain reduction circuit is where it’s at. It seems to allow more subtle shades of control before getting into the “woah, yeah that sure is obvious!.”
Old 16th June 2018
  #19
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IanBSC's Avatar
If you were inclined towards the Obsidian and have a 500 rack, I would go with the 500 version because that has more features that the SSL doesn't have: 1.5:1 ratio, and selectable HPF that goes up to 330hz. I have the standard rack unit and the HPF is 125hz, lowest ratio is 2:1. These are the settings I use for mixes, along with a slow attack and medium-fast release. I love the sound, but I think it would sound even better at 1.5:1 and 180hz HPF. I like a transparent sound with big low end.
Old 16th June 2018
  #20
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBSC View Post
If you were inclined towards the Obsidian and have a 500 rack, I would go with the 500 version because that has more features that the SSL doesn't have: 1.5:1 ratio, and selectable HPF that goes up to 330hz. I have the standard rack unit and the HPF is 125hz, lowest ratio is 2:1. These are the settings I use for mixes, along with a slow attack and medium-fast release. I love the sound, but I think it would sound even better at 1.5:1 and 180hz HPF. I like a transparent sound with big low end.

1.5 is actually my favorite on the Obsidian. I don't think I've had it in any other ratio for the past 3 years at least. There's something that sounds really good and open about it. Even rock songs, I bus compress them at 1.5 because it sounds so good.
Old 16th June 2018
  #21
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I have the obsidian 500 and have had the c2. Obsidian has more weight, but thought the c2 was better at heavier compression.

I've never really used 1.5 much, but maybe should give it a go, can probably hit it harder.
Old 16th June 2018
  #22
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szmola's Avatar
If Obsidian is too much money, there is Nekotronics SSL compressor with transformer and HPF option.
Old 17th June 2018
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by szmola View Post
If Obsidian is too much money, there is Nekotronics SSL compressor with transformer and HPF option.
The Nekotronics is what I've been using. Mine has the HPF at 80hz, 160hz, and 300hz.
Also it has the "Turbo" feature which makes it process audio like the original SSL, but you can also deselect it to make it process as summed mono.
Old 17th June 2018
  #24
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by szmola View Post
If Obsidian is too much money, there is Nekotronics SSL compressor with transformer and HPF option.
obsidian jenson I/O tx.
carnhill on the outputs.gonna be a diff sound.

who's got the audioscape clone?
Old 17th June 2018
  #25
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Pale Pyramid's Avatar
I like the colour that the obsidian adds. It’s kinda a Brown tone. And I also like the setting. I go back and forth between this and Chandler MSTR LTD2s in 2 bus for indie rock
Old 17th June 2018
  #26
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by erike123 View Post
I've been using the Waves SSL Bus Comp on the master on every track I've done the last 2-3 years, and I'm thinking about getting the real deal - Are plugins so good now that I won't notice a significant difference? I love the signature glue of the SSL Bus Comp - Should I go with the SSL or Obsidian?
i found the software Waves SSL and the UAD buss comp both sub par to hardware.

i went with an SSL based hardware unit with sidechain input options.

its similar to the units you listed, and has great options on the low pass sidechain, which is why it work so well.

its on reverb if you look for HI VOLTAGE SSL BUSS COMP.

works good down here. Buddha
Attached Thumbnails
SSL Bus Comp vs Obsidian?-hi-voltage-ssl-bus.jpg   SSL Bus Comp vs Obsidian?-sidechain-copy.jpeg  
Old 17th June 2018
  #27
Village Idiot
 
Labs's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo3 View Post
The Obsidian was using the same PCB as the GSSL project, which uses a summed mono detection approach as opposed to the way an SSL comp works.

Whether or not this is more desirable is in the ear of the beholder.


Exactly!

I wrote a few lines about it here - where Im offering my own take on it.

G4K


Gustav
Old 17th June 2018
  #28
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toledo3's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
obsidian jenson I/O tx.
carnhill on the outputs.gonna be a diff sound.

who's got the audioscape clone?
Me.
Old 17th June 2018
  #29
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo3 View Post
Me.
Like it?
Old 17th June 2018
  #30
The SSl X Rack compressor has additional settings the rack version lacks including the 1.5 ratio option.
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