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Compressor versatile for guitars/bass/drums...(tired of the distressor) Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 25th December 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 

Compressor versatile for guitars/bass/drums...(tired of the distressor)

We don't have a lot of gear in our little studio but we like to use what we have to it's fullest potential instead of having a ton of gear.

We've been using the distressor as our one and only tracking compressor for our music since 2002. We've used it on guitar, bass and drum tracks while tracking and while it is less noisy than the Universal Audio units and other units that it aims to emulate, we have become tired of it's sound.

We find it kind of sterile and boring. If we listen to the output coming off our Neve and API preamps before the distressor compression is added, we hear that something isn't quite as musical and the overall size, depth and width of the tracks seems to shrink a little when the distressor is in the chain.

Not complaining but we are looking for a compressor that will be versatile enough to track electric and acoustic guitars as well as bass guitar and drums too. Like the distressor but with the ability to add something really beautiful and magical to the musical and sonic picture.

Rather than taking away the beautiful quality of the Neve and API preamp signals, we want to add something in the really beautiful and musical sounding area to our gear collection. Something useful and versatile yet inspiring.

We also need a unit that isn't too noisy because we record a lot of really quiet and subtle ambient textures that don't have anything around them to mask the hiss and noise that you might hear coming from something like a UA 1176 compressor. We already thought of that one as an option but we are afraid that it will be too hissy as we layer up the tracks.

Thanks for any of your suggestions. We hope to do better with our tracking quality and appreciate the advice!
Old 25th December 2010
  #2
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Daedalus77's Avatar
MC77.
Old 25th December 2010
  #3
Gear Head
 

Does it not have the same noisy characteristics of the 1176? It's an 1176 clone is it not?
Old 25th December 2010
  #4
Try no compression when tracking. The cheapest and most cost effective way to improve the sound.

If you want something inspiring, dump the idea of tracking with compression and instead buy some EQ's for tracking. You can get more bang for your buck plus the drama, especially when tracking.
Old 25th December 2010
  #5
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Daedalus77's Avatar
I like what Thrill has to say.

The MC77 is indeed a contemporary "version" of the 1176. It is not generally noisy. It is very versatile.
Old 25th December 2010
  #6
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daedalus77 View Post
I like what Thrill has to say.

The MC77 is indeed a contemporary "version" of the 1176. It is not generally noisy. It is very versatile.
We already have equalizers. The Harrison EQ32 pair from Great River. They are indeed amazing and our favorite eq, even when compared to the Neve 1084 eq's that we also have.


How does something like the Purple MC77 work compared to something like the Retro 176?

Which is giving more mileage and beautiful inspiration to the musical sound?
Old 25th December 2010
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammock Byrd View Post
We already have equalizers. The Harrison EQ32 pair from Great River. They are indeed amazing and our favorite eq, even when compared to the Neve 1084 eq's that we also have.
I was talking about some real Pultec EQ's, a Hammer or 2, A Helios and a Trident A range. EQ's that are great sweeteners which help shape your sound dramatically and give you that finished sound when summed together digitally. The Harrison EQ32 may be part of the GS hype machine, but it won't give you what the other EQ's i named give.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammock Byrd View Post
How does something like the Purple MC77 work compared to something like the Retro 176?
The Purple and Retro sound nothing alike except for the compression characteristic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammock Byrd View Post
Which is giving more mileage and beautiful inspiration to the musical sound?
Sorry bro that is something impossible to answer. That's like me asking you "do you think i would have a better success rate if i dated a blonde, a red head or a brunette"?

Your answer would be...
Old 25th December 2010
  #8
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Lee Cardan's Avatar
 

The MC77 I feel does amazing things to snares, kick, bass, vox, etc.. Extremely versatile in that you can put in on anything and almost instantly pull a classic sound. Gating before the compression can be a must if you're heavily compressing though, but likewise with all compressors

Personally, I never track with compression, but I LOVE compression in the mix, not for control necessarily, but for heavily manipulation of a sound. Honestly, a pair of MC77s were an incredible addition to my place, and I'm very glad I made that choice

Tracking guitars with compression.. not sure why you'd want to, but each to their own. In the mix, I have never been wowed like I was with the SSL FX G384 (old one) on guitar bus. creamy saturated tones like none other

Compression is a wonderful thing when used artistically
Old 25th December 2010
  #9
epp
Gear Nut
 

SSL xlogic dynamic modules keep very much of the pre flavour you don't want to loose.
Old 26th December 2010
  #10
Gear Head
 

Thank you.

I'm thinking about the Purple MC77

How about the Universal Audio 2-1176? Does it compare to the Purple MC77 or does it have something lacking?
Old 26th December 2010
  #11
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
... That's like me asking you "do you think i would have a better success rate if i dated a blonde, a red head or a brunette"?

Your answer would be...
Redhead. Redheads 'have more sex than blondes or brunettes' | Mail Online
Old 26th December 2010
  #12
Gear Head
 

Can anyone tell me what the advantages are of the Purple MC77 compared to the Universal Audio 1176 re-issue or the 2-1176 unit?

Thanks. I need to know because I think that this is the direction I am going to go in.
Old 26th December 2010
  #13
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Daedalus77's Avatar
They are all "essentially" 1176 circuits. There is, of course, some subjectivity involved in terms of which unit is preferable. I (and others) think the MC77 provides the "best" contemporary (currently-made) "version."

Others here more knowledgable than me will attest to the Purple's superiority by virtue of its faithfulness to one of the most sought-after iterations of the 1176 from the 70s.

Others claim the MC77 is a bit brighter than the UA reissues, though having used the Purple alongside a reissue and a couple vintage blackface 1176s, I don't find this necessarily the case. For certain, the Purple is (in my experience) less noisy than the vintage units and more "hi-fi" than the current UA units. Its build-quality is better than the UA reissues, I believe, as well.

The real difference, of course, is that the 2-1176 provides two channels, the MC77 only a single mono channel. If you can afford it, and want stereo capability, I'd urge getting two Purples.

Ultimately, you'll want to demo the UA and Purple units yourself and decide. They do sound somewhat different.

Best of luck.
Old 27th December 2010
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
4blades's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammock Byrd View Post
How does something like the Purple MC77 work compared to something like the Retro 176?

Which is giving more mileage and beautiful inspiration to the musical sound?
I would pick the Sta-Level over the 176. As always YMMV.
Old 27th December 2010
  #15
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DaVogi's Avatar
Compressor versatile for guitars/bass/drums...(tired of the distressor)

ubk fatso and daking fat III seem like a good choice if you want/need something versatile!
Old 27th December 2010
  #16
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bcgood's Avatar
 

I love the DW Fearn VT7 you could track through that no problem and it does add mojo in spades. Such a great compressor and extremely versatile.

vt-7_compressorVT-7 Compressor

Old 27th December 2010
  #17
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
I have been using Distressor for over 10 years and have not started getting bored of them yet, but another that I am really loving these days to do what you are looking for is the Pete's Place BAC-500. Very versatile and really great character.

I have not used it yet, but from all I have read the Steven Slate Dragon might be worth taking a look at as well, based on what you are looking for.
Old 27th December 2010
  #18
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MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
and now for something completely different...a CraneSong Trakker
Old 27th December 2010
  #19
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Audio Child's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan View Post
I have been using Distressor for over 10 years and have not started getting bored of them yet, but another that I am really loving these days to do what you are looking for is the Pete's Place BAC-500. Very versatile and really great character.

I have not used it yet, but from all I have read the Steven Slate Dragon might be worth taking a look at as well, based on what you are looking for.
Would you say the Bac 500 has more character than the Distressor ?
Old 27th December 2010
  #20
dmp
Gear Head
 

huh?

nacent, as in nascent?
Old 27th December 2010
  #21
for me it's a trakker or a Cl1b.
Old 27th December 2010
  #22
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio Child View Post
Would you say the Bac 500 has more character than the Distressor ?
Yes.

Lately my mix vocal chain has been Distressor > BAC 500 Hitting the distressor because I really like a particular way it deals with envelope shaping and the BAC 500 for the coloration.
Old 27th December 2010
  #23
I don't know how any compressor can have MORE character than a Distressor (different, sure), you can mangle the audio into oblivion both in terms of distortion and actual compression. What else defines 'character' than changing it from reality?
Old 27th December 2010
  #24
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AllBread's Avatar
 

I just don't hear a lot of character from the distressor at milder settings (even with the distortion options. There's some, but I was expecting a lot more from it's reputation.
Old 27th December 2010
  #25
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Red 7's Avatar
Besides MC77 I would be thinking of LA-2A or GTC2 for stereo application. Great color.
Old 27th December 2010
  #26
Lives for gear
For bass and drums, you can't go wrong with 1176 (and clones).

However, It might be a bit too agresive for guitars.

In my opinion, the guitars usually require totally different type of compression than drums or bass.
Old 28th December 2010
  #27
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

If you're talking subtle beauty for soft, delicate acoustic sounds, and you want something currently made, I can't think of anything sweeter than the Thermionic Phoenix.

It ain't cheap, but it absolutely sings, and is capable of a huge range of attitudes from sparkly clean to thick and hairy. After you track thru it, run the whole mix thru it, it's phenomenal.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 28th December 2010
  #28
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DanGo's Avatar
 

Compressor versatile for guitars/bass/drums...(tired of the distressor)

What about an API 2500? Perhaps not as much character as you're seeking, but versatile and big sounding once you get used to its various modes. Or, since Gregory chimed in, what about a UBK Fatso?

I'd agree with everybody who suggested tracking without compression. Add it later, if needed. Personally, I love the SoundToys Decapitator or Ohmicide plugins for clipping things, if you want tons of character and some compression-like artifacts... On electric guitar, that's often all you need...


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Old 28th December 2010
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
Try no compression when tracking. The cheapest and most cost effective way to improve the sound.

If you want something inspiring, dump the idea of tracking with compression and instead buy some EQ's for tracking. You can get more bang for your buck plus the drama, especially when tracking.
+1!! Not everything needs to be compressed.
What the heck ever happened to dynamics?

Everything is "meters pinned" these days especially in rock styles (i.e. New country, pop, nu-rock, nu-metal and heavy metal).

I've loaded in some new recent albums into PT lately to look at how much everything was compressed, and it's like a solid black rectangle.

Now where's the musicality in that?
Old 28th December 2010
  #30
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BradM's Avatar
I know this suggestion won't be very slutty, but how about having Audio Upgrades remove the tone-sucking and size-shrinkng from your Distressor through some tasteful modifications. There is another GS user who did just that and he is quite pleased with the results. A search should turn up his thread.

I'm really fond of my Daking as a versatile and musically pleasing traking/mixing compressor. I actually replaced my Distressor with one and haven't looked back.

Brad
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