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Foote FCS P4s or Vertigo VSC-3?
Old 17th April 2020
  #1
Foote FCS P4s or Vertigo VSC-3?

I'm thinking of adding an awesome VCA-style compressor to my chain. Already have the tube sound covered. Mainly doing jazz, fusion, acoustic music mixing and mastering... Looking for a nice clean open 3-dimensional sound for drum bus when mixing and mix bus duties when mastering.

If you guys had to choose between Vertigo's VSC-3 and Foote's FCS P4s series, what would you take?

I have been using the Vertigo plugin, sounds very nice...

Also open to other ideas.

Cheers.
Old 17th April 2020
  #2
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Kronos147's Avatar
Interesting you put those two head to head.

FWIW, I have a friend with a Vertigo and I have the FCS P3 EX.

He was here one time and heard the Foote and thought it responded much like his Vertigo.

I would be interested as well to hear if anyone has compared the brands directly.
Old 17th April 2020 | Show parent
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kronos147 View Post
Interesting you put those two head to head.

FWIW, I have a friend with a Vertigo and I have the FCS P3 EX.

He was here one time and heard the Foote and thought it responded much like his Vertigo.

I would be interested as well to hear if anyone has compared the brands directly.
That's cool to hear, thanks for sharing. Yes they seem like quite similar topology, although the Foote P4s series has many more choices of ratio below 2:1 which could be very useful for mastering, whereas the Vertigo only has 2:1 and then "soft". Plus you get more HPF options on the P4s. Overall it seems like the P4s has more flexibility. On the other hand I am mainly concerned with the sound. I quite like functionality and sound the plugin of the VSC-3, but I know well enough not to take that as what the hardware would sound like.

Would love to hear from anyone who's had a chance to compare these comps in either mixing or mastering contexts. I'd be using it for both.
Old 18th April 2020 | Show parent
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerFoote View Post
Another option is the P4DMS
Dual Mono/Stereo

Has everything except HPF switch which is optional.

I listed this a while back.
It has my own op amps, Peerless 15335 input transformers and UTC A-20 output transformers.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/FCS-P4DMS-d...kAAOSwDCBeHNaE
Thanks Roger. Yes, actually you were very helpful and sent me the info about that a while back. Looks pretty sweet! I read the whole manual. Wait though, as far as I read in the manual and can see on the front panel, that one does have a single HPF option at 74hz, is that not correct? That would probably be fine for mastering contexts. Can more HPF options be added to that unit, or would you have to build another one?
Old 18th April 2020 | Show parent
  #5
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Kronos147's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerFoote View Post
Another option is the P4DMS…

It has my own op amps, Peerless 15335 input transformers and UTC A-20 output transformers.
Wow.

Can you tell us why the 4 x M-F XLR pairs on the back? Side Chain?
Old 18th April 2020 | Show parent
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kronos147 View Post
Wow.

Can you tell us why the 4 x M-F XLR pairs on the back? Side Chain?
Well, in addition to L/R I/O, they appear to be for the addition of a an optional switchable external sidechain.

Last edited by Birdlives1955; 18th April 2020 at 08:18 PM..
Old 19th April 2020 | Show parent
  #7
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Hi Roger,

Let’s chat about this compressor via email.

Look forward to catching up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerFoote View Post
Another option is the P4DMS
Dual Mono/Stereo

Has everything except HPF switch which is optional.

I listed this a while back.
It has my own op amps, Peerless 15335 input transformers and UTC A-20 output transformers.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/FCS-P4DMS-d...kAAOSwDCBeHNaE

Last edited by StevenLMorgan; 19th April 2020 at 01:41 AM..
Old 19th April 2020
  #8
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midmost's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdlives1955 View Post
If you guys had to choose between Vertigo's VSC-3 and Foote's FCS P4s series, what would you take?
You can't go wrong with either of them.. I just love, Love LOVE the Vertigo.
You could download a demo version of the VCS-3 plugin (the Vertigo one, not PluginAlliance!) and try to see if it works fo you.
On a side note, that's probably the best compressor plugin to date and darn close to the hardware..
Old 19th April 2020 | Show parent
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by midmost View Post
You can't go wrong with either of them.. I just love, Love LOVE the Vertigo.
You could download a demo version of the VCS-3 plugin (the Vertigo one, not PluginAlliance!) and try to see if it works fo you.
On a side note, that's probably the best compressor plugin to date and darn close to the hardware..
Thanks midmost! Yes, I downloaded the VSC-3 Vertigo plugin and have been using it. I loved it actually... I have the Fairchild 670 and API 2500 bus compressors from UAD, I guess the API would be much more comparable to the Vertigo being a VCA, although still very different sounding... For me at least, and although I love the quality & functionality those two UAD plugs, the Vertigo VSC-3 compressor plugin was much better on my jazz fusion tracks than either of them! Couldn't believe it. I love how even it sounds and how when you hit it lightly it gels things together in a subtle way without ever getting harsh or top-endy.

I have to admit I like the sidechain options on the Vertigo plugin better than what's available on the hardware. Having only 60 and 90hz I don't totally understand... 75 and 150 makes a little more sense if you were just going to have two options, or maybe 75 and 180 or even 200... I wouldn't generally go above 75hz on a sidechain filter for mixbus/mastering, but I would go as high as 200hz sometimes for drum bus compression... So not really sure why they limited the hardware to 60 and 90hz... Supposedly it's customize-able if you special order different frequencies when you buy it though.

Overall I think vari mu compressors are still much more appropriate for most of the stuff I do, which is mostly jazz and acoustic music, but from all the demos I've heard and from using the plugin, the VSC-3 is definitely on my list for someday down the road... It's very sick.

All that being said I think the Foote P4s looks amazing as well. Not to take anything away from that extensive set of features. I hope to hear one in person someday.
Old 20th April 2020 | Show parent
  #10
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdlives1955 View Post
I have to admit I like the sidechain options on the Vertigo plugin better than what's available on the hardware. Having only 60 and 90hz I don't totally understand... 75 and 150 makes a little more sense if you were just going to have two options, or maybe 75 and 180 or even 200... I wouldn't generally go above 75hz on a sidechain filter for mixbus/mastering, but I would go as high as 200hz sometimes for drum bus compression... So not really sure why they limited the hardware to 60 and 90hz... Supposedly it's customize-able if you special order different frequencies when you buy it though.
I had my VSC-3 modded when I ordered it. I'm much happier with my choices. I had used the plug in to verify what frequencies I liked the best and what was the most useful to me.

I had two mods done to my VSC-3. The sidechain and had the threshold and makeup knobs stepped. They charge for both. Surprisingly, it was cheaper to get switches for the threshold and makeup knobs than it was for the sidechain mod!

They charged me 90 euros to have the 4 pots (two makeup, two threshold) changed to switches.

They charged me 200 euros to have the sidechain modded. I had it changed from 60 and 90 to 90 and 180.

I ordered direct from Vertigo so I could request the mods. Honestly though, ordering direct + the mods + shipping + customs fees actually still came in cheaper than ordering an unmodded, normal unit from an American dealer - and that's before tax - so I can't be too salty about it because even with the extra charges I paid a few hundred less for a modded one than an unmodded one.

Vertigo was great though and sent me photographs as they were building my unit and sent me photos of it on the test bench showing it passed all tests. They also included, and signed, a printout of a frequency sweep of my side chains from their test rig showing that it was indeed modded.

As for drum bus, I'm much happier with the 180 hz sidechain. When I've used 90hz on drums, I can hear it grabbing a little too much for my liking so I know if that had been the highest value for me, it wouldn't have been enough.

Great unit though - I'm very happy with it.
Old 20th April 2020
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdlives1955 View Post
If you guys had to choose between Vertigo's VSC-3 and Foote's FCS P4s series, what would you take?
I had both for a quite a while. I kept the Vertigo, it just has this rhythmic bounce that I haven't found anywhere else. That and POM's Fairchild II together is heaven.

The FCS P4S was so subtle I didn't really dig it, it's probably made for "Masterers".
Old 20th April 2020 | Show parent
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerFoote View Post
Paul, you mean P4S ME?

That is the mastering one, fwiw.

Btw, the side chain on the P4DMS has connectors for a HPF switch with 6 frequencies:
34, 50, 74, 110, 160, 225 Hz

The switch is optional
I attached a picture, but it's an old one.
We use the larger 21mm Elma knobs now.
Of course it is.
Old 20th April 2020 | Show parent
  #13
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b0se's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdlives1955 View Post
Thanks midmost! Yes, I downloaded the VSC-3 Vertigo plugin and have been using it. I loved it actually... I have the Fairchild 670 and API 2500 bus compressors from UAD, I guess the API would be much more comparable to the Vertigo being a VCA, although still very different sounding... For me at least, and although I love the quality & functionality those two UAD plugs, the Vertigo VSC-3 compressor plugin was much better on my jazz fusion tracks than either of them! Couldn't believe it. I love how even it sounds and how when you hit it lightly it gels things together in a subtle way without ever getting harsh or top-endy.

I have to admit I like the sidechain options on the Vertigo plugin better than what's available on the hardware. Having only 60 and 90hz I don't totally understand... 75 and 150 makes a little more sense if you were just going to have two options, or maybe 75 and 180 or even 200... I wouldn't generally go above 75hz on a sidechain filter for mixbus/mastering, but I would go as high as 200hz sometimes for drum bus compression... So not really sure why they limited the hardware to 60 and 90hz... Supposedly it's customize-able if you special order different frequencies when you buy it though.

Overall I think vari mu compressors are still much more appropriate for most of the stuff I do, which is mostly jazz and acoustic music, but from all the demos I've heard and from using the plugin, the VSC-3 is definitely on my list for someday down the road... It's very sick.

All that being said I think the Foote P4s looks amazing as well. Not to take anything away from that extensive set of features. I hope to hear one in person someday.
Demo this: https://www.toneprojects.com/unisum-...ompressor.html

Marketed as mastering yet it's top class on the mixbus (and busses). GS thread here.

You can shape the compression for VCA, FET, Tube etc. Very powerful and sounds fantastic; compresses and glues so transparently. Probably the best ITB bus comp yet (I know that's thrown around here a lot - try it and see for yourself, it's pretty special) :¬)

HW VCA: VSC-3. If you're looking for tubes, POMChild.
Old 21st April 2020 | Show parent
  #14
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Kronos147's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
Marketed as mastering yet it's top class on the mixbus (and busses).
Is this where the thread devolves to another analog vs. digital debate?
Old 21st April 2020 | Show parent
  #15
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b0se's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kronos147 View Post
Is this where the thread devolves to another analog vs. digital debate?
Only if someone feels the need to start it. It was a recommendation that may help someone, nothing more, nothing less.
Old 21st April 2020 | Show parent
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kronos147 View Post
Is this where the thread devolves to another analog vs. digital debate?
Haha. Could be. I appreciated the helpful comment though, I hadn't heard about this plugin before so that's one of the best reasons to be on here, I think. I have always 95% read and 5% posted, but each time I start a thread I learn something I didn't know before. So I'll check that plugin out.

For me, there is no debate analog vs. digital on the master bus/mixbus. I don't notice hardware vs. software as much in a mix, although if I take my AML 1073 and compare it directly to the plugin 1073 I can hear a difference in the mix although more subtly... But for me, analog vs digital is much more noticeable on the mastering stage, or mixbus. Through my Varis and Mytek converter the drums sound so much more alive and 3 dimensional than any top-tier compression plugin I have ever tried, and I've done many comparisons on different tracks. For me, this is enough not to think about it anymore and just use as much analog hardware as possible for mastering tasks... That is not to say that the plugins don't sound fantastic, they do, they're just not as alive or picturesque to me in the mixbus role.

I'm leaning towards just getting the new Varis. I may sell my old one from a few years ago and go that direction. I love its bright and alive tube sound, but I can tell from the design improvements outlined in its Varis thread that the new one is going to be even better.

The Knif Vari-MU II is on my short list though... I have listened to it a fair amount and it just sounds so deep and the high end sounds so refined... Perfect for more acoustic and jazz type stuff. So warm and lush on the low end. I must have one at some point!

I have also heard the UnFairchild 670 in person. Is that the POM one? I think it is right... Undertone Audio. Anyway, one of my friends actually has one... It's nuts. It looks exactly like the real thing I dunno how they did that... But the point is, it sounds ridiculously insane. It's everything you would've imagined. So much vibe and character for days... I can't justify 10k on a stereo compressor though, personally, although if money were no object... I'd have it!
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