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The right hardware compressor
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Head
The right hardware compressor

Hi guys,
I want to upgrade my studio setup with a comp. I’ve read a lot of treads here on GS with opinions about comps. So I think to “virtually” know which compressors I would get for my studio, but I still don’t know which can be more useful with my setup. I have just an Hair Ball 1176 rev. A comp, that I like, but it’s not so useful in many applications. So I would like a comp can be less aggressive, that I can use on tracking/overdubbing/mixing vocals, guitars and basses most, but also as a bus comp. I want it to be more versatile than the 1176 I have, but I’m confused if I should get an OPTO or a VCA. I never worked with either, hardware speaking.
The gears I put my eyes on are:

- IGS ONE LA 19’ rack version (mono, opto)
- MANLEY ELOP+ (stereo, opto)
- OVERSTAYER SVC (stereo, vca)
- maybe CHANDLER Germanium Comp (mono, FET)

What do you think about this comps?
Should I get a VCA or an OPTO?
thank you guys...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
elamberth's Avatar
What’s you budget? Sounds like you want versatility. I like the JDK comp for what you are asking. Good on individual elements as well as a mix bus. The thing is, there are different styles as well. The Pendulum ES-8 would do this as well, but sounds very different.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 
RestLes's Avatar
Hey, recently demoed the SSL Six mixer and think it may suit you well! 1 knob compression per channel along with another on the buss with plenty of i/o. It has its character and quite flexible for the needs you've noted. Comp somewhat limited, but could just be the ticket.

If a rack unit is what you're after, the Kush Tweaker will keep ya entertained. Very flexible and really surprising at times. This (or a pair) along with the Electra will be a great addition.

Best to demo a unit if possible, impressive choices out there. Good luck!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by elamberth View Post
What’s you budget? Sounds like you want versatility. I like the JDK comp for what you are asking. Good on individual elements as well as a mix bus. The thing is, there are different styles as well. The Pendulum ES-8 would do this as well, but sounds very different.
Well, I think about 2/3k euros, but the budget will depend from the right choice I make For instance... if I buy the IGS ONE LA I don’t have the stereo, but if I go for the stereo which one? ...opto or vca?
I agree with your post directed to a stereo comp for more versatility. I don’t know if the R22 can give my that “high end” taste, and sadly I can not try it before buy it, here where I live!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Have you thought about 2 comps at half the price each? Would add the choice of compressors to your arsenal. 3K could get you a Kush Tweaker along with a JDK, TK Audio or Elysia would be a good combo and all round would give you a good range for different use along with your 1176.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Here for the gear
 

I have an overstayer myself, and although it’s the MAS and not the one you are looking at, I think their products are incredible. However they do tend to lean heavily into the “vibe” area. Like it’s SUPER vibe. I have some digital guitar sounds and slapping the Overstayer on it really brings so much analog vibe to it that it’s hard to tell if it’s still digital.

I am however very fond of a hardware API 2500. With its many options and wide range of controls, I think it covers a huge area of uses. Maybe you should look into that too ?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
jdier's Avatar
I have a dedicated stereo comp on my stereo bus, but before I did I used a Daking FET3. It was great in that I could link for stereo applications, then unlink and use as two separate mono comps, each with their own controls.

Way outside of the box, but possibly of interest, the FMR RNLA is a hell of a lot of compressor for the price. Prior to getting my Stam LA2A copy, I would used the RNLA on every vocal I did. Great sound, easy to set, very easy on the wallet.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Basically no one box does it all despite marketing eluding to it. Given the many roles you list a popular strategy is to get several different circuit type comps, buying used to stretch your budget.

If you are going to use a hardware comp on the 2 buss then you are going to park it there to monitor through so it wont be doing double duty. A clone SSL VCA for the 2 buss is common choice as your reading of threads should verify. As for bass as the source, so many different comps work with all different circuit types that its a matter of personal taste but a couple cheap ones that wont eat up much of your budget are the Symetrix 501 (metal toggle on/off switch) and the DBX 160X (with an optional transformer in it). There are versitile VCA comps that dont cost that much used which will work on many sources (Distressor or Urei LA-22). For clean, medium grab VCA circuit type it will be hard to beat best bang for the buck value of an Aphex 651 Expressor. For vocals as the source it seems to get back to taste with fast grab FET type (like your 1176 clone) and slow grab opto type (LA2A) being popular options, with some using both.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by RestLes View Post
Hey, recently demoed the SSL Six mixer and think it may suit you well! 1 knob compression per channel along with another on the buss with plenty of i/o. It has its character and quite flexible for the needs you've noted. Comp somewhat limited, but could just be the ticket.

If a rack unit is what you're after, the Kush Tweaker will keep ya entertained. Very flexible and really surprising at times. This (or a pair) along with the Electra will be a great addition.

Best to demo a unit if possible, impressive choices out there. Good luck!
Yep, i’ve Heard about Tweaker and It’s a curious compressor. I’m curious to ear it on vocals... do you own it?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Head
Many of you talk about a vca style comp. Do you think it can be best choice over an opto in my situation?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Here for the gear
 
RestLes's Avatar
Yes, happy owner indeed and when tested against an API 2500 prior to purchase I was surprised with the result. The Kush Audio provided 2500 preset tone and character was spot on!

I haven't applied it on vocals so not much help there but with its versatile design it'll surely get you good results. It's awesome on a drum group and synth bass!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
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crane song stc-8
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
maxhype's Avatar
If you can raise your budget the Rupert Neve MBP is largely what you’ve described in every possible way. It’s versatile for tracking and mixing, has color options (silk) compression options (FF/FB Peak/RMS), SFE, limiter and of course it’s literally designed for the mix buss.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrfantastic View Post
Have you thought about 2 comps at half the price each? Would add the choice of compressors to your arsenal. 3K could get you a Kush Tweaker along with a JDK, TK Audio or Elysia would be a good combo and all round would give you a good range for different use along with your 1176.
Thank you it’s a nice option.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Buzz Audio SOC.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanBarley View Post
Buzz Audio SOC.
Wow, veeery nice tool. Do you own it? Or did u ever compared with the ELOP+ ? The Buzz has many more features than the Manley, so interesting..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Huge fan of the Tube Tech CL1B. Not for 2 mix of course, But will cover all other basses. Vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, I love it on mono drum OH, tho I like the slow response on it for that. Really warms it up too. Set to +10 (keeps your pre down for cleanness) and it also gives you mad presence at +10. You can hear that box work. Every studio should have an OPTO. if you haven’t worked with one, you will love it.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
Lives for gear
 
GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ballin View Post
Hi guys,
I want to upgrade my studio setup with a comp. I’ve read a lot of treads here on GS with opinions about comps. So I think to “virtually” know which compressors I would get for my studio, but I still don’t know which can be more useful with my setup. I have just an Hair Ball 1176 rev. A comp, that I like, but it’s not so useful in many applications. So I would like a comp can be less aggressive, that I can use on tracking/overdubbing/mixing vocals, guitars and basses most, but also as a bus comp. I want it to be more versatile than the 1176 I have, but I’m confused if I should get an OPTO or a VCA. I never worked with either, hardware speaking.
The gears I put my eyes on are:

- IGS ONE LA 19’ rack version (mono, opto)
- MANLEY ELOP+ (stereo, opto)
- OVERSTAYER SVC (stereo, vca)
- maybe CHANDLER Germanium Comp (mono, FET)

What do you think about this comps?
Should I get a VCA or an OPTO?
thank you guys...
If you want versatility you want 2 Distressors.
Otherwise plan on more compressors.
At 2-4:1 Distressors can work nicely as bus compressors. And they have an opto mode. And they are cheap, used.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Here for the gear
 
Morgueritual's Avatar
Dude. Get a Distressor and be done with it. It’s literally the most versatile compressor out there. That’s why you see it and literally every single studio on the planet. If you want a stereo compressor the JDK Audio (made by API) stereo compressor is amazing. And it’s only $1150.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
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jdier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgueritual View Post
Dude. Get a Distressor and be done with it. It’s literally the most versatile compressor out there.
Love the Distressors. I have two, but have not used on bus, but agree that they are incredibly versatile.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ballin View Post
So I would like a comp can be less aggressive, that I can use on tracking/overdubbing/mixing vocals, guitars and basses most
I absolutely love my Retro Instruments STA Level for vocals, bass and guitar. It's a fantastic compressor
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
Basically no one box does it all despite marketing eluding to it. Given the many roles you list a popular strategy is to get several different circuit type comps, buying used to stretch your budget.

If you are going to use a hardware comp on the 2 buss then you are going to park it there to monitor through so it wont be doing double duty. A clone SSL VCA for the 2 buss is common choice as your reading of threads should verify. As for bass as the source, so many different comps work with all different circuit types that its a matter of personal taste but a couple cheap ones that wont eat up much of your budget are the Symetrix 501 (metal toggle on/off switch) and the DBX 160X (with an optional transformer in it). There are versitile VCA comps that dont cost that much used which will work on many sources (Distressor or Urei LA-22). For clean, medium grab VCA circuit type it will be hard to beat best bang for the buck value of an Aphex 651 Expressor. For vocals as the source it seems to get back to taste with fast grab FET type (like your 1176 clone) and slow grab opto type (LA2A) being popular options, with some using both.
Thank you for your advices!! I’m wondering if a stereo opto would be as versatile as a stereo vca...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by amolin View Post
I absolutely love my Retro Instruments STA Level for vocals, bass and guitar. It's a fantastic compressor
I think I’d go for an opto (stereo better) over the vca for it’s fast approaching to the tracks and that smoothness that I love. And wait some more for a vca..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxhype View Post
If you can raise your budget the Rupert Neve MBP is largely what you’ve described in every possible way. It’s versatile for tracking and mixing, has color options (silk) compression options (FF/FB Peak/RMS), SFE, limiter and of course it’s literally designed for the mix buss.
How it is on vocals and basses? Did you ever use it on it?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
Here for the gear
 

Audioscape LA-2 clone. Their 1176 Rev. A clone is amazing as well and at those prices you could get one of each. But I would lean towards the LA-2 if you can only have one.

Audioscape build quality is ridiculously good and prices are more than fair.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
Lives for gear
 

J.Ballin, the VCA circuit type will cover more ground with it's medium grab than the slow grab Opto or the fast grab FET. Many like the LA2A opto for vocals better though. The thing about hardware comps is that while you can generally lump what a comp will do by it's circuit type, each box will still bring it's own thing to the party in addition to being somewhere on the spectrum of clean / transparent to colored. That is why one strategy is to have racks of them. The other thing to keep in mind is what you are using it for like correction of a problem, envelope shaping, sonic placement etc. Hardware comps also are source specific so when auditioning a comp with a source, sometimes the winner surprises you. While I have many hardware comps it doesn't mean I need to use them so figuring out whether to use a tool is just as important.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
maxhype's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ballin View Post
How it is on vocals and basses? Did you ever use it on it?
I do some light compression on vocals on the way in. There's a video on youtube somewhere where a guy uses the MBP in series (L into R) with different compression types to emulate the 1176/2A thing on vocals. I've used it on bass as well for really polished and musical results. Nothing sounds bad through this box.

However - - if mixing vox and bass is a heavy part of the equation I'd look at the classics for sure - LA2A, Tubetech, Sta-Level etc.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
Gear Head
Neve 33609N , Desert Island Compressor
Old 3 weeks ago
  #29
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Strobian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ballin View Post
Thank you for your advices!! I’m wondering if a stereo opto would be as versatile as a stereo vca...
You have an 1176, so that should be all you need for guitar and bass.

I even like them on vocals, especially REV A.

Follow it with an Opto plugin from UAD or something similar if you want that final smoothing.

Anyway, 2bus = VCA for me. You'll get a lot of opinions on that. I think the API 2500 is a solid choice. Aurora Audio GTC2 may be of interest if you still like the FET and OPTO options in a stereo unit. Its a neve sounding unit.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #30
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgueritual View Post
If you want a stereo compressor the JDK Audio (made by API) stereo compressor is amazing. And it’s only $1150.
+1
the R22 (or V12 in the 500 series world) is a very underrated piece..
great compressor that is incredibly versatile and very solid sounding.

can track and mix with it. I love it.



Cheu
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