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am660 v retro doublewide v shadow hills dual vandergraph
Old 9th December 2011
  #1
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am660 v retro doublewide v shadow hills dual vandergraph

I am wanting to get a pair of some kind of vari mu (type) comp.. I have not heard much buzz lately on the AM660 and the Retro double wide is pretty new, the Shadow dual Vandergraph looks interesting as well .. wondering if anyone has exp with these comps.

i do want to stay in the 500 format as I am trying to get a little more compact

thanks much
Old 26th December 2011
  #2
Here for the gear
 

am660 v retro doublewide v shadow hills dual vandergraph

I have two doublewides and use them with vocal and acoustic guitar.
I drive them with API 512c preamps. Mics are Royer 122s, Blue Blueberry and Mouse, or Neumann U87. My first compressors, and I'm only tracking at this point. The noticeable difference with and without the compressors is the articulation of the vocal. I have a thin voice with limited range ( home recorder) and sing almost in a whisper at times. The RETRO Doublewide definately gives presence and articulation to the vocal. Much more professional and complete sound. I would say recordings are improved by a factor of 30 to 40% in terms of general sound. Very much worth the money. Attack and Release mostly 40/40 on the dial. Single. On the guitar I increase the Atttack and Release and use the Double switch. Guitar seems a little brighter which is nice for my Martin 000-18 which sounds a little bassy without compression. Obviously the consistency is better. I don't have much experience to compare too, but professional audio people who have heard my voice recommended the Sta-level, so I went with the Doublewide when it was available. Very happy with the choice. The recordings are "warm" but they are "warm" anyway to my ear. I'm not technical, but the recordings are much improved. Since these are new products, I thought some feedback was better than none. (I guess I'll find out!)
Old 27th December 2011
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8th St. Bus Stop View Post
I have two doublewides and use them with vocal and acoustic guitar.
I drive them with API 512c preamps. Mics are Royer 122s, Blue Blueberry and Mouse, or Neumann U87. My first compressors, and I'm only tracking at this point. The noticeable difference with and without the compressors is the articulation of the vocal. I have a thin voice with limited range ( home recorder) and sing almost in a whisper at times. The RETRO Doublewide definately gives presence and articulation to the vocal. Much more professional and complete sound. I would say recordings are improved by a factor of 30 to 40% in terms of general sound. Very much worth the money. Attack and Release mostly 40/40 on the dial. Single. On the guitar I increase the Atttack and Release and use the Double switch. Guitar seems a little brighter which is nice for my Martin 000-18 which sounds a little bassy without compression. Obviously the consistency is better. I don't have much experience to compare too, but professional audio people who have heard my voice recommended the Sta-level, so I went with the Doublewide when it was available. Very happy with the choice. The recordings are "warm" but they are "warm" anyway to my ear. I'm not technical, but the recordings are much improved. Since these are new products, I thought some feedback was better than none. (I guess I'll find out!)
thanks for the info
Old 27th December 2011
  #4
AB3
Lives for gear
 

This is a great post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8th St. Bus Stop View Post
I have two doublewides and use them with vocal and acoustic guitar.
I drive them with API 512c preamps. Mics are Royer 122s, Blue Blueberry and Mouse, or Neumann U87. My first compressors, and I'm only tracking at this point. The noticeable difference with and without the compressors is the articulation of the vocal. I have a thin voice with limited range ( home recorder) and sing almost in a whisper at times. The RETRO Doublewide definately gives presence and articulation to the vocal. Much more professional and complete sound. I would say recordings are improved by a factor of 30 to 40% in terms of general sound. Very much worth the money. Attack and Release mostly 40/40 on the dial. Single. On the guitar I increase the Atttack and Release and use the Double switch. Guitar seems a little brighter which is nice for my Martin 000-18 which sounds a little bassy without compression. Obviously the consistency is better. I don't have much experience to compare too, but professional audio people who have heard my voice recommended the Sta-level, so I went with the Doublewide when it was available. Very happy with the choice. The recordings are "warm" but they are "warm" anyway to my ear. I'm not technical, but the recordings are much improved. Since these are new products, I thought some feedback was better than none. (I guess I'll find out!)
Old 30th May 2012
  #5
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Pale Pyramid's Avatar
Any one else care to postulate on their preference for either the Retro Double Wide or the Anamod 660 ? I'm interested in the Double Wide after listening to Zenproaudio's audio clips of it . The price suits me as well . The Anamod being on sale (this month only) is more affordable then the Double Wide .

I did hear some clips Roundbadge posted against an actual Fairchild . I prefered the Fairchild in a third of the clips and don't feel that I got favorable impression on what may be a very nice sounding and useful 500 series Vari-mu . So, any one with Anamod hours under their belt please chime in .

I read the Anamod 660 PDF and Dave Amels various time constants read like they'd cover alot of bases .

Was going to add it to my personal home studio setup . male vocals , drums , bass , acoustic guitar ..
Old 30th May 2012
  #6
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bump
Old 30th May 2012
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pale Pyramid View Post
Any one else care to postulate on their preference for either the Retro Double Wide or the Anamod 660 ? I'm interested in the Double Wide after listening to Zenproaudio's audio clips of it . The price suits me as well . The Anamod being on sale (this month only) is more affordable then the Double Wide .

I did hear some clips Roundbadge posted against an actual Fairchild . I prefered the Fairchild in a third of the clips and don't feel that I got favorable impression on what may be a very nice sounding and useful 500 series Vari-mu . So, any one with Anamod hours under their belt please chime in .

I read the Anamod 660 PDF and Dave Amels various time constants read like they'd cover alot of bases .

Was going to add it to my personal home studio setup . male vocals , drums , bass , acoustic guitar ..
You don't need to listen to someones opinion. You can try one in your studio risk free for 10 days. That would be the real test.
Old 30th May 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
Maybe I'm the only one, but I didn't particularly care for the Doublewide. Definitely adds a midrange presence to everything. I LOVED the AM660. In fact, if I didn't have the Sta-level, I would still have it. With the current sales price at $899, I might just buy another one.
Old 30th May 2012
  #9
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Pale Pyramid's Avatar
Hey Dave ,

Thanks for posting . I had forgotten you had that ten day trial . That sounds like a good idea !
Old 30th May 2012
  #10
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Pale Pyramid's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
Maybe I'm the only one, but I didn't particularly care for the Doublewide. Definitely adds a midrange presence to everything. I LOVED the AM660. In fact, if I didn't have the Sta-level, I would still have it. With the current sales price at $899, I might just buy another one.
Thanks ,

Appreciate it Johnkenn .
Old 16th June 2012
  #11
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
Maybe I'm the only one, but I didn't particularly care for the Doublewide. Definitely adds a midrange presence to everything. I LOVED the AM660. In fact, if I didn't have the Sta-level, I would still have it. With the current sales price at $899, I might just buy another one.
Gotta say, in some cases a midrange presence is exactly what is needed, and a Retro Doublewide can give you a midrange presence plus dynamic control all wrapped in one bundle. So not a cure-all compressor but could be just what Doctor Mojo ordered on some tracks. I think this one has a unique sound, and something worthy of a broad palette even if not the #1 go-to.
Old 18th June 2012
  #12
My studio recently got a Doublewide. I haven't had enough experience with it just yet to really draw a serious conclusion, but I've found it useful on bass and vocals. We have a Retro Sta Level and a pair of Retro 176s, and this is definitely a different flavor.

It's not quite as transparent in its compression as the Sta Level, but that's not a bad thing in the least. Johnkenn is right about the midrange presence; it's certainly brining a subtle tonal shift to the table.

My biggest complaint is the controls. For some reason, they're just not intuitive to me; I find myself twisting and turning the knobs aimlessly and often counterintuitively, and taking much longer than usual to find what I'm looking for. When I find it, it's good, but getting there can be a bit of a hassle. Again, the unit is a fairly recent acquisition, so maybe with some more quality time I'll wrap my head around it (wouldn't be the first piece of gear in which that was my experience).
Old 18th June 2012
  #13
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Denny C's Avatar
Great thread. Love to hear more comparisons.
Old 19th June 2012
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post

My biggest complaint is the controls. For some reason, they're just not intuitive to me; I find myself twisting and turning the knobs aimlessly and often counterintuitively, and taking much longer than usual to find what I'm looking for.
I agree...I found them to be somewhat of the Fisher Price variety...
Old 19th June 2012
  #15
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Denny C's Avatar
My 660 just arrived from Greg. Looking forward to putting it through it's paces!
Old 19th June 2012
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Try it on bass. Just sick in my opinion.
Old 19th June 2012
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
I agree...I found them to be somewhat of the Fisher Price variety...
I have to disagree with this assessment.

I myself, did not find it very hard to dial in, but it is clear, the unit is a tone shaper, and likes it when you subtly whisper into its ear. We might agree, its a tweaker, and has several sweet spots, to work with. Depending on what you want. It seemed to me, to be more "unfurled", and by that I mean, meant for tweaking to find your thing, and not a "turn this knob for optimum results" kinda vibe. Kind of a wild animal, but I suppose that appealed greatly to me.

So, I am not trying to fault your opinion, really just descend from it.

When I tried this module in my studio, I personally thought that the knobs, "felt" awesome. Tightly positioned, and firm, and not "cheap", at all.

I've tried a lotta 500 modules in my day, and the RETRO, seemed to have a very rugged build quality, compared to others. Surely, this is just my viewpoint. Again, I am not faulting your viewpoint, but it was not at all the impression that I got upon inspection.

And I am pretty damn staunch with this kinda stuff.
Old 21st June 2012
  #18
epp
Gear Nut
 

I don't really mess around that much with the 500 modules, but the build quality of Retro stuff is fantastic. Hugely impressive, ten out of ten.
Old 22nd June 2012
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by epp View Post
I don't really mess around that much with the 500 modules, but the build quality of Retro stuff is fantastic. Hugely impressive, ten out of ten.
Build quality absolutely is top notch. Retro makes great gear.
Old 22nd June 2012
  #20
Lives for gear
I've had the Retro for some months now, got the very first batch when it came out and while at first I had contrasting feelings about it now I like it a lot.

It's definitely a unique flavor, I didn't think it would be as flexible as it turned
out to be, which is nice. The "mid bark" is there but is very program depending,
I still have to figure out that, but is not always present..
If you track with it some mics will bring that up, some other won't.
Mixing with it is somehow a guess everytime, sometimes it works perfectly
on something I'd never imagined it on and some others it's wrong where
I thought it could work..

The best thing about it is its behavior, maybe it's the knee I don't know
but the way it compresses is simply lovely at any setting.
I find it very hard to describe but indeed is a keeper.
No experience with the other comps you listed
Old 11th June 2014
  #21
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cowboycoalminer's Avatar
Bumping this for more opinions on the vandergraph.

Thanks
Old 12th June 2014
  #22
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espen askelad's Avatar
Vandergraph has a big sound. It on the 2.5 ratio is my usual mix compressor for slower tempo, more spacious material. Faster, denser stuff it's just too fat sounding IMO. I like the 4:1 ratio for backing vocal busses. Haven't run it on a piano yet, but imagine it'd be cool. The overall tonal shift the unit pushes over material is hit/miss for me, but when it's right, it's really exciting.
Old 12th June 2014
  #23
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ARIEL's Avatar
What kind of tonal shift could you descibe as I aM thinking of getting a couple - For fast stuff why dont you try the 1.2 to 1 ratio setting . A friend of mine uses the SHMC for a lot of fast metal stuff , Sounds great with his set up .
Old 12th June 2014
  #24
500 series compressor fun

Loving the anamod, not so much the double wide (other than on snare). Used the vandergraph only once. Liked it.
Old 13th June 2014
  #25
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espen askelad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ARIEL View Post
What kind of tonal shift could you descibe as I aM thinking of getting a couple - For fast stuff why dont you try the 1.2 to 1 ratio setting . A friend of mine uses the SHMC for a lot of fast metal stuff , Sounds great with his set up .
For tighter, more compact sounds like I usually associate w/ fast metal (which I admittedly don't hear a lot of,) I'm sure it rules. Most fast metal I hear I think needs a little beef. For program mix, the 2.5 is just the sound I like. If it's too sludgy, I'll use the Obsidian.

The tonal shift is most apparent as bigger low end. It does the gooey glue thing nicely, plus that extra weight. For leaner/more spacious material, it's excellent. For my tastes, it can get a bit heavy feeling for denser stuff. I like to mix with a little bit of swampiness in the lows, and it can just take it a little too far sometimes. When it's right though, I love it.
Old 14th June 2014
  #26
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ARIEL's Avatar
Thanks for the reply , sounds like the unit I want get as I just bought an SSL sigma so I think the vandergraph will add that beef I need .
Old 14th June 2014
  #27
I have the vandergraph and the anamod. Love the vandergraph, use it alot on drum buss, never tried it on the 2 buss, it is so simple to use and dial in. Anamod is great too, dont have a pair. You also might want to check out the AML 54F50, big bottom and very smooth..it is a three space unit so a pair will take up some space in a lunch box...something to consider. I only have one but am getting another.
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