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api 525 or Distressor
Old 1st July 2005
  #1
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cletus's Avatar
 

api 525 or Distressor

I'm doing layaway on a lunch box right now (mike nehra @ vintage king audio is the man) . I am currently getting 2 512c's a 560b and a 525 compressor (I want the free lunchbox so I have to get 4). I want a versatile compressor that sounds good with more than just bass and guitars and I've heard a lot of good stuff about Distressors. The distressor is only a few hundred bucks more than the 525 and would rather spend now than regret it later. Was wondering what my fellow GS thought about one over the other. Thanks!!!
Old 1st July 2005
  #2
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Well, the 525 is no Distressor. I used a Distressor for a short period of time, probably not long enough to get to know it. I own a pair of 525's and they're one of my favorite vocal comp/limiters. The best way I've come up with to describe the 525 is that I use it where I would use an LA2A. I would get a Distressor, but not my first, or second choice. I certainly wouldn't trade a 525 for one.

So to me, that makes it great for vocals and electric and acoustic guitars. It's a very pretty sounding compressor; but it seems to me that the 'program dependent' attack time can be damn fast! I never really messed with 'em on stuff like drums, though. Singing through them is cool. They definitely have their own thing.

The 525s are stereo-linkable. I called API to get the info on how to do this; I got the feeling that it's not a very common request, though. Think about it; how many people stereo-link LA2A's? Not many, probably.

Maybe ask William Wittman about the 525. He seems to like them, too.

Distressors, I think everyone has at least one. But like I said, I don't know them that well.

(O/T a little: 225's are cool too, but there's no easy way to get into a pair; by the time you get two and all the stuff you need to make them go, you could almost have an API 2500.)
Old 1st July 2005
  #3
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I'm going to totally disagree with my esteemed colleague Max. I'm a lifelong API user and have had Distressors since 1997.

Get the two 512C, two 560 EQs, so you have a twin set of API pres and EQs, and then get at least one Distressor. There's almost nothing you can't do with a Distressor, and it's almost impossible to make it sound bad no matter how you set it. It can sound like many many other essential compressors.

Is the 525 a decent, nice-sounding comressor? Yes, no doubt. But it is far less versatile than the Distressor, trickier to find a sweet-spot on, and you will use the EL8 every day. Plus, if you have two API pres, you should get two EQs. And the 560 graphics totally rock.
Old 1st July 2005
  #4
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max cooper's Avatar
 

I agree with the above strategy.

My point was that the 525 is great but isn't very versatile. And only a few of us weirdos don't love Distressors; we're likely wrong.

And I guess I didnt' state the other point very clearly; I haven't found much reason for two 525's in my life, except to daisy-chain them with one set to 'off' which is different than the hard-wire bypass.

Old 1st July 2005
  #5
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My original plan was to get two more pre's so i'd have a total of 4 w/ 1 eq and one comp for a good vocal chain. I'd also use the comp and eq as inserts in PT's as well . Do you think it'd be wiser to go with the 4 pre's and two eq's? I already have some RNC's and could get a distressor later.
Old 1st July 2005
  #6
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I own (2)525 and love them long time, especially on kick, snare, and vocals.

My vote is for the distressor, it's more forgiving and has loads of options, you won't be disapointed. With the 525 you might upset cause it takes more work to get it to sound musical.

To be honest the 525 is a discrete comp/limit, while the Distressor uses DSP. but in the most romantic way!!!
Old 1st July 2005
  #7
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GearHunter's Avatar
 

Quote:
the Distressor uses DSP
It does? I thought it was an all-analog device.


Hmmm....

If you can't do two pres and two EQs AND a Distressor, find a way to include the Distressor, even if you have to give up on an EQ. A vocal chain with an API 512 going in to an RNC is, well, I dunno....Like putting a rocket motor on a 1972 VW Beetle?

A 512 in to a Distressor emulating an LA2A, LA3A or 1176. Yah! I do that one all the time.

Is a good ting mon!
Old 2nd July 2005
  #8
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I agree get two eq's if your getting two pres.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #9
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I agree that the attack time on the 525 is way to fast and NO control, I mentioned this to Paul at API years ago and I guess it may be a space issue, only so much of it on a lunch box module. I would go with the Distressor as well. Matching Pres and Eq's is a good idea...
Old 2nd July 2005
  #10
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THIS IS TAKEN FROM THE EL8 site:


Unlike most analog compressor/limiters the Distressor is a digitally controlled audio device and actually incorporates several products into one by utilizing digital controls to switch totally different circuits in and out. Years of beta testing and redesign went into the Distressor as will be the case with all Empirical Labs products.

http://www.empiricallabs.com/distdes.html
________________________________________________________________
Old 2nd July 2005
  #11
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zenmastering's Avatar
Hi,

That doesn't make the Distressor a DSP device - rather it's a digitally controlled analogue processor. The signal itself is always in the analogue domain. For it to be a device that uses Digital Signal Processing, it would need AD & DA converters, and the DSP hardware itself.

Best,

Graemme



Quote:
Originally Posted by audioez
THIS IS TAKEN FROM THE EL8 site:


Unlike most analog compressor/limiters the Distressor is a digitally controlled audio device and actually incorporates several products into one by utilizing digital controls to switch totally different circuits in and out. Years of beta testing and redesign went into the Distressor as will be the case with all Empirical Labs products.

http://www.empiricallabs.com/distdes.html
________________________________________________________________
Old 2nd July 2005
  #12
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I'm not trying prove anything here, and I should know better to throw out terms like DSP. All I know is that to me, it makes use of digital technology to emulate many different sounds of compression/limit. Unlike the 525 which has no Digital control. Maybe the "EL8 daddy" could give us a short story for a long day.



Old 2nd July 2005
  #13
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Yup, the distressor is an analogue signal path, with digital controls. That's how it remembers its settings when turned on, and uses a single button for ratio control. The sidechain here is digitally controlled, but is analog itself.

The RNC on the other hand is a DSP based sidechain with an analogue audio path. Very cool concept, though I often wonder how Mark McQ got around the issue of the A/D and D/A latency. Maybe that's why the RNC isn't so good at very fast fast attack/release times. I keep wanting to design something like this myself...so I can play around with all kinds of sidechain architectures.

Cheers,

Kris
Old 2nd July 2005
  #14
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GearHunter
It does? I thought it was an all-analog device.


Hmmm....

If you can't do two pres and two EQs AND a Distressor, find a way to include the Distressor, even if you have to give up on an EQ. A vocal chain with an API 512 going in to an RNC is, well, I dunno....Like putting a rocket motor on a 1972 VW Beetle?
Just for the record; I've used my RNC in lots of situations that I wouldn't have thought. It's amazingly good for what it costs. I sometimes forget that it's cheap.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #15
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Albert's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioez
I'm not trying prove anything here, and I should know better to throw out terms like DSP. All I know is that to me, it makes use of digital technology to emulate many different sounds of compression/limit.
My understanding is that only the controls on the Distressor are digital, while the entire signal path, emulations, etc. are all analog.
Old 3rd July 2005
  #16
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Distressor. The 525 is a one trick pony but it's still cool. Distressor can work on about anything.
Old 3rd July 2005
  #17
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Fletcher's Avatar
There are lots of compressors with digital control of the analog signal path... the Crane Song "Trakker" and "STC-8" work that way, the "RNC" works that way.

For that matter the Great River EQ-2NV is a digitally controlled analog device...
Old 3rd July 2005
  #18
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Buy the Distressor, and get the EQ's to go with your preamps. No question about it! The EQs make the pre's incredibly flexible...and the EL-8 does the same. Lunchbox pre's and comps, not in the same league. Best part of it is that Vintage King will cover your ass and be happy to add the gear :>) I mean hell, it's only money, right?

JvB
Old 3rd July 2005
  #19
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BobbyPeru's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
So to me, that makes it great for vocals and electric and acoustic guitars. It's a very pretty sounding compressor; but it seems to me that the 'program dependent' attack time can be damn fast! I never really messed with 'em on stuff like drums, though. Singing through them is cool. They definitely have their own thing.
I tried to use the 525 on distorted electric gui but I get a kind of grainy crackly thing happening most of the time. Maybe I'm hitting it too hard or not hard enough.

Any suggestions?


BtW: 525's rule for vox. I love to crank the compression thing up to 20 and have the In at like noon and use either Comp/Limit setting. Then mix that with a non-comp'd vox. AWESOME!!

Its alright on Bass too.

Cool on acoustic.

You can strap 2 of them across a drum buss too, but the fixed attack time limits your options, although I like having limited controls, ie- no attack and release. It's less to think about. Sometimes options paralyze.


Bobby Peru
Milwaukee, WI
Old 3rd July 2005
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbuntz
The 525 is a one trick pony but it's still cool.
Yep, 1 pretty cool trick. You could say the same about the LA-2A and Fairchild 670. You go to them for what they do not how much you can do with em.

I don't think you would regret a 525. Sounds though like you want something for many purposes. You'll be able to tweak and sculpt a bit more with a distressor to good ends but they're not the end all be all.
Old 3rd July 2005
  #21
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cletus's Avatar
 

I really want at least four pre's to do drums. I still will only be able to match 2 of the 4 512c pre's with 2 of the 560b eq's. My original intention was to have a good portable set of pre's, 1 comp and 1 eq to use together and as inserts into PT's. Ideally of course it would be better to have an eq for each pre but I can't afford all that right now. Probably just wait on the 525, go with the pre's and eq's and save the money I would have spent for the 525, and get a Distressor later on.
PEACE
Old 27th November 2005
  #22
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Mattsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
cals and electric and acoustic guitars. It's a very pretty sounding compressor; but it seems to me that the 'program dependent' attack time can be damn fast! I never really messed with 'em on stuff like drums, though. Singing through them is cool. They definitely have their own thing.
Sorry to bring this old thread to life again, but does the API 525 really have a 'program dependent' attack? I thought it had a fixed attack of 15uS or something.

Cheers,

R
Old 27th November 2005
  #23
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All I can say is that you cannot have too many 512Cs. Sure its great to pair them with EQ and comps, but the pres are a must.

My vote: four 512Cs and two 560s to fill the lunchbox.
Old 27th November 2005
  #24
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Knox's Avatar
 

yep . . . 2-512 and 2-560 combo is a good thing.
525 is cool, but not as usable combination.
512 / 560 is my choice for kick and snare, though I may add a tad Tube Tech eq on the snare.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GearHunter
I'm going to totally disagree with my esteemed colleague Max. I'm a lifelong API user and have had Distressors since 1997.

Get the two 512C, two 560 EQs, so you have a twin set of API pres and EQs, and then get at least one Distressor. There's almost nothing you can't do with a Distressor, and it's almost impossible to make it sound bad no matter how you set it. It can sound like many many other essential compressors.

Is the 525 a decent, nice-sounding comressor? Yes, no doubt. But it is far less versatile than the Distressor, trickier to find a sweet-spot on, and you will use the EL8 every day. Plus, if you have two API pres, you should get two EQs. And the 560 graphics totally rock.
Old 6th December 2005
  #25
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cletus's Avatar
 

Just to let all concerned know I did end up getting the 525 instead of the Distressor for right now and am really happy with my decision. I also got 2 512c's and a 550b too! Two more slots in the lunchbox for more eq's and pre's! I'll be getting a Distressor as soon as fortune permits!
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