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Alan Smart C1 vs. C2
Old 10th March 2009
  #1
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Alan Smart C1 vs. C2

Hi,

Since I know there are several loyal Smart users in these parts, I figured I could ask a simple question. What are the differences between the C1 and C2 - other than the obvious (lack of "crush," more limited attack/release settings, etc.)?

Which would you buy?

Thanks.

Adam
Old 10th March 2009
  #2
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the c1 doesn't have a sidechain.

i demo'd both along with the dramastic audio comp and went with the c2.

the dramastic was a VERY close second. i'll prob buy it too.
Old 10th March 2009
  #3
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I like the C1 best for mix buss duties.
The C2 is nice on the drum buss though.
Old 10th March 2009
  #4
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I think the output stage is different. The C2, I believe, is improved to interface well and be stable in every possible situation.

I´m going on faint memory here, however.
Old 9th May 2009
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gainreduction View Post
I think the output stage is different. The C2, I believe, is improved to interface well and be stable in every possible situation.

I´m going on faint memory here, however.
I saw engineers using c2 for drums but never for mastering .

I'm planning to buy a c1 , i don't know why but everything is new nowadays , is like a conspiracy against the market...
Old 9th May 2009
  #6
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The C1's cooler looking. Sleek, black. That factored into my decision.

Also, re: the C2: I never liked or understood the appeal of the "Crush" feature, which never sounded as glamorous as the name implied.

If I had it to do all over again, I'd take a serious look at the Dramastic, only 'cause Mercenary don't get excited over everything.

- c
Old 9th May 2009
  #7
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I have both. C1 is far better on the mixbus. C2 is nice on drumbus.
Old 9th May 2009
  #8
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several of us sunset sound frequenters have done the comparisons on the 2 buss.
we all have independently come to the same conclusion, the C1 sounds better in that
department.
Old 9th May 2009
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
several of us sunset sound frequenters have done the comparisons on the 2 buss.
we all have independently come to the same conclusion, the C1 sounds better in that
department.
This is my opinion as well.
Old 9th May 2009
  #10
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themattgoldman's Avatar
 

Better how? Firmer? Softer?
Old 10th May 2009
  #11
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rob S's Avatar
try it for yourself
Old 10th May 2009
  #12
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paterno's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
several of us sunset sound frequenters have done the comparisons on the 2 buss.
we all have independently come to the same conclusion, the C1 sounds better in that
department.
Mr. S, as a fellow SSR frequenter I have to respectfully disagree. I use the C2 at 1.5:1 on the stereo buss and prefer it to the C1. I think the top end is better and clearer than the C1.

I don't think 2:1 on the C2 sounds as good as 2:1 on the C1, though. Go figure.

To the original poster, the C2 has a discrete electronically balanced output
where the C1 does not. I think that is the biggest difference you will hear...

Cheers,
John
Old 10th May 2009
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paterno View Post
Mr. S, as a fellow SSR frequenter I have to respectfully disagree. I use the C2 at 1.5:1 on the stereo buss and prefer it to the C1. I think the top end is better and clearer than the C1.

I don't think 2:1 on the C2 sounds as good as 2:1 on the C1, though. Go figure.

To the original poster, the C2 has a discrete electronically balanced output
where the C1 does not. I think that is the biggest difference you will hear...

Cheers,
John
Well, there's no 1.5:1 on the C1 . hard to compare . the C1 is closer to the SSL sound while the C2 is more hi-fi sounding .
Old 10th May 2009
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volodia View Post
Well, there's no 1.5:1 on the C1 . hard to compare . the C1 is closer to the SSL sound while the C2 is more hi-fi sounding .
Why? It is SUPER EASY to compare:

Set the C1 so it sounds good to you. Set the C2 so it sounds good to you. A/B the two and see which one you like best. Buy one or the other. Or neither. Go grab a beer...

I personally think that the C2 1.5:1 sounds a lot closer to the 2:1 on the C1 [and on an SSL console] than the 2:1 does.

Cheers,
JP
Old 10th May 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paterno View Post
Why? It is SUPER EASY to compare:

Set the C1 so it sounds good to you. Set the C2 so it sounds good to you. A/B the two and see which one you like best. Buy one or the other. Or neither. Go grab a beer...

I personally think that the C2 1.5:1 sounds a lot closer to the 2:1 on the C1 [and on an SSL console] than the 2:1 does.

Cheers,
JP
I already bought a C1 . I know both but didn't make any scientific comparison . just used them on a project .
Old 11th May 2009
  #16
No one mentioned that the C1 has an unbalanced output.. I owned two of them before being made aware of this. It usually does not cause a problem, but can on occasion.
Old 11th May 2009
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paterno View Post
Why? It is SUPER EASY to compare:

Set the C1 so it sounds good to you. Set the C2 so it sounds good to you. A/B the two and see which one you like best. Buy one or the other. Or neither. Go grab a beer...

I personally think that the C2 1.5:1 sounds a lot closer to the 2:1 on the C1 [and on an SSL console] than the 2:1 does.

Cheers,
JP
I think that is a good point,,make it sound the best in each one!

I like the C1 Better...sounds more organic to me and many of my friends that owned the C2 after they checked the C1, they say that the C1 sounds better..but all is a personal opinion.


Hey Guys is your C1 at 2:1 compressing more than at 4:1 ????..i know sounds weird....but at 2: mine is more aggresive than at 4:1
I sent mine to Sunset and they Checked it saying was OK.... at 4:1 is more consistent andf controllable.


I will say C1 is more natural and organic, C2 more Hi Fi.
Old 11th May 2009
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Kress View Post
No one mentioned that the C1 has an unbalanced output.. I owned two of them before being made aware of this. It usually does not cause a problem, but can on occasion.
Yes, it is unbalanced but there is an output transformer, if I am not mistaken. This is less of an issue than with the C2, because it needs to see a balanced input stage after it, otherwise a few weird things can happen ---hence the pin2/3 lifts on the back of the unit.

JP
Old 11th May 2009
  #19
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paterno's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zak7 View Post
I think that is a good point,,make it sound the best in each one!

I like the C1 Better...sounds more organic to me and many of my friends that owned the C2 after they checked the C1, they say that the C1 sounds better..but all is a personal opinion.


Hey Guys is your C1 at 2:1 compressing more than at 4:1 ????..i know sounds weird....but at 2: mine is more aggresive than at 4:1
I sent mine to Sunset and they Checked it saying was OK.... at 4:1 is more consistent andf controllable.


I will say C1 is more natural and organic, C2 more Hi Fi.
Yeah, I felt the C2 was more 'natural' sounding at 1.5:1, but compressing as much as 4-8 dB. This really comes down to personal taste and what you are trying to get out of it. Again, for me, the C2 sounded more natural with that much gain reduction...

JP
Old 11th May 2009
  #20
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Steamy Williams's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Kress View Post
No one mentioned that the C1 has an unbalanced output.. I owned two of them before being made aware of this. It usually does not cause a problem, but can on occasion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by paterno View Post
Yes, it is unbalanced but there is an output transformer, if I am not mistaken. This is less of an issue than with the C2, because it needs to see a balanced input stage after it, otherwise a few weird things can happen ---hence the pin2/3 lifts on the back of the unit.

JP
There is no output transformer in the C1. Alan Smart describes the outputs as unbalanced, although I believe they are in fact impedance-balanced.
Old 11th May 2009
  #21
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stevetgn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zak7 View Post
I think that is a good point,,make it sound the best in each one!

I like the C1 Better...sounds more organic to me and many of my friends that owned the C2 after they checked the C1, they say that the C1 sounds better..but all is a personal opinion.


Hey Guys is your C1 at 2:1 compressing more than at 4:1 ????..i know sounds weird....but at 2: mine is more aggresive than at 4:1
I sent mine to Sunset and they Checked it saying was OK.... at 4:1 is more consistent andf controllable.


I will say C1 is more natural and organic, C2 more Hi Fi.
If you look at the ratio curves in your C2 manual you will see why 2:1 seems to compress more than 4:1. Compression starts much sooner in 2:1. Also the knee varies for each ratio.

On the mix buss, more often than not I usually have my C2 set at 3 or 4:1 with only about 1 or 2 dB GR. Attack all the way slow and release all the way fast (sometimes auto). Set like this it seems to add a subtle drive, punch, glue and urgency I like.
Old 11th May 2009
  #22
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paterno's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steamy Williams View Post
There is no output transformer in the C1. Alan Smart describes the outputs as unbalanced, although I believe they are in fact impedance-balanced.
What do you mean by 'impedance-balanced'?
Old 11th May 2009
  #23
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rob S's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by paterno View Post
Mr. S, as a fellow SSR frequenter I have to respectfully disagree. I use the C2 at 1.5:1 on the stereo buss and prefer it to the C1. I think the top end is better and clearer than the C1.

I don't think 2:1 on the C2 sounds as good as 2:1 on the C1, though. Go figure.

To the original poster, the C2 has a discrete electronically balanced output
where the C1 does not. I think that is the biggest difference you will hear...

Cheers,
John
interesting.
here's what happend for me.
doug and I were mixing in studio 1.
we automatically were going to use the C2 because its one better so it must sound better.
for ****s and grins we compared it to my C1.
set both to our usual 4:1 settings matched them up compared and thought the C1 was more open and had better bottom.
viola different results from you.
welcome to the world of audio, it might be subjective but at least its arbitrary.
Old 11th May 2009
  #24
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paterno's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
interesting.
here's what happend for me.
doug and I were mixing in studio 1.
we automatically were going to use the C2 because its one better so it must sound better.
for ****s and grins we compared it to my C1.
set both to our usual 4:1 settings matched them up compared and thought the C1 was more open and had better bottom.
viola different results from you.
welcome to the world of audio, it might be subjective but at least its arbitrary.
Ah, yes, subjective and arbitrary. I am not doubting your conclusion at all. As you know, I have the utmost respect for you. The compression curves never did sound the same to me on the C1 and C2 for a given ratio setting. I'm not sure how different the circuit designs are beyond the output stages. I guess that is how I stumbled upon my 1.5:1 thing that I really like. Go figure...

But there are few things [unfortunately] to keep in mind with gain issues when using the C2 on an unbalanced insert point -- hence the pin 2/3 lifts on the back. Can't remember is St 1 is that way or not. The SSF consoles are. I always run my C2 in front of a stereo EQ that I know has output transformers and balanced ins, so I don't ever have to mess with those switches anymore.

Cheers,
John
Old 12th May 2009
  #25
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rob S's Avatar
and i'm not doubting your conclusion either.
Old 12th May 2009
  #26
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GYang's Avatar
C2 after comparison with C1 was generally slightly preferred here, but I use it in chain with another slower comp (like Phoenix or Fearn), usually before EQ and C2 does exactlly what I need from it, clean, fast, very highly resolute compression with touch of 'sheen'. It does THIS better than C1, but as only one compressor at 2-buss, C1 might provide some sonic imprints that really sound arguably more pleasant to some.
So, no real dispute which is better, it highly depends on setup and task.
Old 12th May 2009
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GYang View Post
So, no real dispute which is better, it highly depends on setup and task.
Agreed. thumbsupthumbsup

Thats why one called C1 and the other C2. they are different units each with his own compression characteristics. C2 fits better for my needs, it doesn't mean that it is better then C1.. C2 is exactly what i wanted in my sound; High resolution, clean & Fast and it does add some wonderful sparkle over the mix.
Old 12th May 2009
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paterno View Post
What do you mean by 'impedance-balanced'?
Wikipedia seems to have a fairly straight-forward explanation here.
Old 12th May 2009
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steamy Williams View Post
Wikipedia seems to have a fairly straight-forward explanation here.
thanks !! I'd just never heard the term 'impedance balanced' used in this way.


JP
Old 29th July 2014
  #30
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James Lugo's Avatar
 

Bumpin an old thread. Question for guys who work on SSL desks:

How does the C1 and C2 compare to using the quad compressor on the board when mixing rock? Better? Wider? Fatter? Same?
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