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how much 2buss squeeze can you handle?
Old 22nd June 2005
  #1
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

how much 2buss squeeze can you handle?

i know there are as many answers to this as there are engineers, but i am curious where everyone stands with it. personally, i have seen the light, or maybe i've seen the dark side and am hopelessly seduced.

thanks to an old post by paul wolff, i set up the api 2500 in a way i *never* would have on my own: loud thrust, soft knee, old (feedback) style, 10:1 (!!), release ~250ms, attack for desired snare splat, and DIG IN.

'try to kill the mix' he says. he insisted there be no pussying out with 2-4db compression, so i played with it hard for a while, but because the tune is downtempo it was just too much pumping; slowing the release fixed that, but then it didn't breathe at all, too much pancake. so i backed off, but i gotta say, 2-4db at 10:1 is a LOT, and this compressor SCREAMS.

it's every bit as exciting as an ssl, but the tone is way sweeter. okay, i confess, i do not like what ssl/smart does to the top. i very much do like what the api does to the top, and the middle, and most especially the ludicrous bottom, fat and driving even on ns-10's.

i keep listening, thinking, "is this too much squeeze? i don't do this much squeeze." but that punch circuit somehow compresses the snot out of things while sounding punchy... no fatigue in the listening. so i'm abandoning everything i've ever believed about 2buss compression and going for pure balls.

wish me luck.

and thank you paul wolff, you are a design maniac.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 22nd June 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 
kevinc's Avatar
 

I`ll admit I`m a bit of a compression wimp when it comes to the 2 buss.
I`m never sure if I`m doing more harm than good and I rarely like anything that`s obvious there.

Now on individual channels I`m perfectly comfortable smashing the **** out of things if it sounds good. I`ll do drum buss compression quite a bit and maybe lump some other things like guitars or backups on a buss and compress that quite a bit as well.

It`s just the final 2 buss that I can never seem to get anything I like out of when I compress it for some reason so I usually just leave it alone.

I should probably stop being a chicken and play around with it more with some different stuff though.
Old 22nd June 2005
  #3
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Kevin,

Try patching the 2-mix comp in early and mix to it. That's the only for me to make sense of it.
Old 22nd June 2005
  #4
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kevinc's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound
Kevin,

Try patching the 2-mix comp in early and mix to it. That's the only for me to make sense of it.

Yeah I`ve heard that`s the way to go. Get the drums pumping through just right and than go from there adjusting the 2 buss comp a bit as you go.

I should try it out more often. I also need some more compressors because I tend to throw the better ones I have on vocals and drums where I need them the most. The remaining ones I`ve got are a little too colored for the mix buss. NEED MORE GEAR !
Old 22nd June 2005
  #5
I get so much compression done WITHIN my mix that I don't / won't / can't - rely on the mix buss for much other than some subtle glue - I use a Cranesong STC-8

I have an SSL compressor but it just seems to severe to put in the mix bus these days... I have out-grown it or am out of the habit of using it - it gets use on drum bus instead.
Old 22nd June 2005
  #6
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PhilE's Avatar
I'm with Jules here- I like the mix just tickling something really transparent but things do get attacked before they get there!
Old 22nd June 2005
  #7
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I usually reach for the more transparent and invisible compressors for 2-bus duties. Things like the 1969, OCL-2 and STC-8 that can pull back a few dB and not impart too much squeeze have far greater value for me then something with a real sound to it, like the Alan Smart/SSL or the Manley Vari-Mu vibe. Sometimes that's exactly what's needed to pull a track together so it can reach it's maximum potential but I rarely dig that sound for the whole mix and try to get my color pallete happening with the individual tracks.

I'll put the compressor on early in the mix...like as the basic tracks are coming into balance. From there I'll add mults and channel compression as needed. Putting the 2-mix compressor on last is the worst way to do it because it changes all your balances around. I'd spend hours rebalancing and fighting the compressor before getting the mix back to something that makes me happy.
Old 22nd June 2005
  #8
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

go for it... dont be a wuss... but do mix to it.
Old 22nd June 2005
  #9
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gainreduction's Avatar
 

I use parallell compression on the mixbuss, SSL or DBX 160VU does it very well. I blend it in to taste. Still sounds somewhat uncompressed but you get "more of everything". I have a custom made rack-mounted mixer for the purpose with just one knob... compressor blend ! Then I might take out 1-2 db of the peaks with something invisible.
Old 22nd June 2005
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I usually don't hit the 2-mix comp too hard, usually 2 dB or so on the '69 with the 'big' switch in. There's plenty of level coming out of it though. Like Jules I tend to have a fair bit of compression elsewhere.
Old 22nd June 2005
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Stick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gainreduction
I use parallell compression on the mixbuss, SSL or DBX 160VU does it very well. I blend it in to taste. Still sounds somewhat uncompressed but you get "more of everything". I have a custom made rack-mounted mixer for the purpose with just one knob... compressor blend ! Then I might take out 1-2 db of the peaks with something invisible.
I just tried this on the mix I'm doing today... nice one! I've been doing that with the drums for a while, but never tried the whole mix. I used the Smack! plug... not bad.
Old 22nd June 2005
  #12
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
My Mixes almost always go through a Manley Vari-Mu but usually only about 2 db of reduction. I mostly just like the sounds of cranking the input knob.
Old 23rd June 2005
  #13
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

2500 redux

well here's an update for anyone who's interested...

the pendulum, it seems, has swung back into the middle. when getting back to the room today, i stopped by the waterpipe then fired up the mix. immediately i was struck by how 'radio' it sounded, and i wanted some of my transients back, as well as deeper breaths between the notes.

so i backed the api way the hell off, and now the mix is happily splatting into it just enough to get a little dance on the meters, 0-2db 10:1 med attack slow release. what a gorgeous compressor; i've managed to get a healthy dose of 70's singer/songwriter vibe, with a tasty bit of the spank and attitude of modern hiphop. think nick drake meets massive attack.

can't wait to share this mix when it's done, the nicerizer is on the verge of breaking up and it sounds stupidly good.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 23rd June 2005
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
murp's Avatar
 

Hopefully this is related, but if not, feel free to ignore me... heh

How are you people integrating 2buss compression? I'm working on a DAW (Cubase - be nice), and I'm doing all my summing ITB then going out through my D/A into my monitor amp. Are all you people using summing boxes, or are you mixing on consoles, or are you using the compressor as a master insert? I ask because if I use it as a master insert, I would have to A/D then D/A again, unless of course I just patch it after my D/A... anyways, just curious...
Old 23rd June 2005
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I mix on a console. I think Jay Kahrs does too.
Old 23rd June 2005
  #16
Lives for gear
 

I think the 2500 is a buss compressor that you can drive much harder than many other units in this application without it taking too much away. I've found that it really does work best to mix into it pretty early on, as opposed to getting a mix happening, throwing on the buss compression and adjusting from there. It's a pretty amazing box--one about which I initially had some reservation because I expected more (insert "vibe," "mojo," "color," "whatever") from an API box. But once I realized what it was about, I got to really dig it. Now I've got to pick one up for myself. It's pretty outstanding on drum overheads, too, and I'm not usually one for drum overhead compression. Can't wait to hear the new one Paul's working on.

Just for the record, I always mix on a console and while I often dig the Manley Vari-MU across a stereo buss, I don't usually find much use for the SSL buss compressor and probably do as much mixing without any buss compression as with.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Old 23rd June 2005
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound
I mix on a console. I think Jay Kahrs does too.
Me 3.
Old 23rd June 2005
  #18
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules
I get so much compression done WITHIN my mix that I don't / won't / can't - rely on the mix buss for much other than some subtle glue .
While this method can be a bit more time consuming, the results will translate lots better and it'll sound a lot better after it gets slammed going out on the air.

PS, that 2500 is really impressive!
Old 23rd June 2005
  #19
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson
While this method can be a bit more time consuming, the results will translate lots better and it'll sound a lot better after it gets slammed going out on the air.
This has been my approach lately as well. I split the mix up into (usually); drums, guitars, vocals, bass, kick drum. They all get their own G.R. and then are summed. I have eight outs from my D/A, and I've been thinking of trying analog summing, but I'm gonna guess that the digital summing that's gonna take place in order to get it all down to eight outs is going to negate the effect of the analog summing that would come afterward. We shall see, I suppose.
Old 24th June 2005
  #20
Lives for gear
 

I think having 4 stereo stems being summed in analog may sound better than cramming it all into 1 digital mix bus. So even if you have to sum your drum tracks in the DAW, there should still be an advantage in doing the final summing analog.
Old 24th June 2005
  #21
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Renie's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k
what a gorgeous compressor; i've managed to get a healthy dose of 70's singer/songwriter vibe, with a tasty bit of the spank and attitude of modern hiphop. think nick drake meets massive attack.

can't wait to share this mix when it's done, the nicerizer is on the verge of breaking up and it sounds stupidly good.


gregoire
del ubik
let me know how to listen to it when it's done please thumbsup
Old 24th June 2005
  #22
Gear Addict
 
trident fan's Avatar
 

i have the daking fet compressors strapped across my 2 bus and they jam. i like a
heavy hand on the make up gain, because it adds something i like.
regards,
tf
Old 24th June 2005
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
Tom VDH's Avatar
 

I'm with Jules on this one. And since we still have to go to Mastering after mixdown, I try to leave'em some fun. But YES, it is so tempting, and so rewarding sometimes to patch a comp into the 2buss and squash the hell out of it and have the whole thing pumping!!!
Ok, I need a glass of water...


Tom VDH
Old 24th June 2005
  #24
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superburtm's Avatar
 

Right now I just wait until mastering to comp the mix.
Old 24th June 2005
  #25
Gear Nut
 
Jeff S's Avatar
This maybe another thread all together but... I use 2 bus compression once initial tracks are cut and to provide rough mixes for the band. I feel it gives a basic idea of how things may sit post mastering and makes for a more cohesive reference. I have not been in tha habit of sending the mastering house any 2 bus processing. I'd like to hear some comments on this from both the recording engineers out there as well as any mastering engineers opinions.
thanks
jeff
Old 24th June 2005
  #26
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound
I mix on a console. I think Jay Kahrs does too.
I used to mix on a console and I prefer mixing on a console. Now that I'm up here I'm not sure what I'll be mixing on...

If it's any kind of rock/pop/metal/modern music then I always have a compressor across my 2-bus. The balances change too much when I leave it out and add it later, plus these days people like compression and extra level, it's like a shot...all of a sudden everything is just a little bit nicer LOL.

I'll rarely use EQ and never, ever, under any circumstances...patch a limiter across my 2-bus. That gets left for mastering...aside from level and quality control part of the ME's job (IMHO) is getting the level up enough to be competitive but not completely kill the music.
Old 25th June 2005
  #27
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs
...these days people like compression and extra level, it's like a shot...all of a sudden everything is just a little bit nicer LOL.

indeed, nothing helps me glue a mix like a healthy shot of demerol.

and i agree that compression has too much of an effect on balances to leave for later. but despite what most guys seem to do, i just can't mix into a compressor from the getgo. i get things about 85% dialed, then dial up some punch, 2db max. things always shift, and the last 15% is a joy to tweak because i can push things dramatically hard but rather than just getting too loud, they push into the whole mix and spread out big. controlled, orchestrated drama.

and if you're still wondering what to mix into, i've heard good things about the 80xx neves ; )


gregoire
del ubik
Old 25th June 2005
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

I'vbe been using ProTools since 1990. Any time I have "mixed" inside the box it seems lifeless compared to the work I have done on SSLs and older Neve and Trident desks, but these have always been accompanied by a buttload of great outboard as well. But I make it a point to take everything tracked in PT and buss it out. At the very least, I do up to eight stereo stems or a few stems plus direct outs from multitrack and use analog outboard. The difference you hear using a Summit, Cranesong, Manley, Steck, Neve, Avalon or other EQs & comps is a world of difference. Still saving up for my Great River EQ but the parametrics I use for precision, plus the color I get from Steck and Summit EQs just knocks the socks off the mosty expensive plug-ins.

Whether I'm using my Manley El-Op, my pair of Distressors, a Smart C1, 33609, or one of my three cheap-O RNC comps, I just love what they do en route to the master recorder. I tend to mix with 10:1 or more to get a 'radio mix", then I'll do one with 2.5:1 on the buss as "a breathing mix" usually with vocal +1dB, and see how much I like them in the Auratone and the car.

Jim
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