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SSL vs Serpent vs Obsidian 2-Buss Comp
Old 15th March 2014
  #31
Gear Head
 

FWIW I've tried the Smart C1, C2 and the Obsidian and I didn't think any of them sounded as good as a real SSL 384 compressor. My favourite of all the alternatives I've used was the current SSL XLogic compressor.
Old 16th March 2014
  #32
4001 kills on the 2 buss
Old 10th December 2014
  #33
Having some great fun comparing bus comps in the "Clipalator" today (full mix). So far, my faves are the Serpent 4001, the SSL 500 G, and the Chameleon Labs with the Zen mod. All 3 sound really good, and to be honest, I'm quite tempted to go with the Chameleon, since the mods really do sound nice, and the price is great for a full 19" rack. The Serpent is very impressive, and probably the top of the heap. I'm also interested in the IGS S Type... too bad I can't compare the IGS the same way (not available at Zen)... the samples I found of IGS online are beats, so its hard to judge the nuances. I really dig the song used on the "mix" tracks in the Clipalator by the way...
Old 10th December 2014
  #34
I have my Serpent 4001 on my drum buss and Obsidian on the 2 buss. this really kills it.
Old 10th December 2014
  #35
Quote:
Originally Posted by climber View Post
I have my Serpent 4001 on my drum buss and Obsidian on the 2 buss. this really kills it.
Wow, sounds like a deadly combo! Just out of curiosity, any reason you don't use the Serpent on the 2 buss?
Old 10th December 2014
  #36
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmett_Brown View Post
I really dig the song used on the "mix" tracks in the Clipalator by the way...
Hi there, I appreciate your comment and wanted to elaborate for a second if it matters to anybody...

That stereo "mix" file is very challenging dynamically, it's why we chose it. It sort of builds at the beginning, then abruptly drops to a volume that normally does not really hit much threshold, then a loud single snare hit BLAM! before the song kicks back in. You can really hear how each compressor acts with that single hit. The outgoing chorus builds up with layers of guitars, then multiple lead and background vocals, forcing the compressor to keep "gluing" it down from slightly hotter levels so we can hear the compressor WORKING.

Also, there is a guitar panned hard to one side that is all open, ringing sustain notes and another that is framming / muting hard panned on the other side. Drastically different stuff going on that could "pull" a mix slightly left or right depending on the action of the compressor.

On top of that, yeah it's actually a really cool song in my opinion and I have worked with this band for years.

War
Old 10th December 2014
  #37
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
Hi there, I appreciate your comment and wanted to elaborate for a second if it matters to anybody...

That stereo "mix" file is very challenging dynamically, it's why we chose it. It sort of builds at the beginning, then abruptly drops to a volume that normally does not really hit much threshold, then a loud single snare hit BLAM! before the song kicks back in. You can really hear how each compressor acts with that single hit. The outgoing chorus builds up with layers of guitars, then multiple lead and background vocals, forcing the compressor to keep "gluing" it down from slightly hotter levels so we can hear the compressor WORKING.

Also, there is a guitar panned hard to one side that is all open, ringing sustain notes and another that is framming / muting hard panned on the other side. Drastically different stuff going on that could "pull" a mix slightly left or right depending on the action of the compressor.

On top of that, yeah it's actually a really cool song in my opinion and I have worked with this band for years.

War
Great material. The song works perfectly for that purpose. Its also a great way to judge the color of EQs. I really like the Ocean EQ 500 on this mix. So I spent most of my time in the Clipalator today... I didn't mix much!
Old 10th December 2014
  #38
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmett_Brown View Post
Great material. The song works perfectly for that purpose. Its also a great way to judge the color of EQs. I really like the Ocean EQ 500 on this mix. So I spent most of my time in the Clipalator today... I didn't mix much!
Yes, there is a lot of rich midrange stuff going on and nice depth in the bottom and air up top so equalizers get an "equally" good workout (pun intended).

War
Old 10th December 2014
  #39
Gear Addict
 
Inceptic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmett_Brown View Post
Having some great fun comparing bus comps in the "Clipalator" today (full mix). So far, my faves are the Serpent 4001, the SSL 500 G, and the Chameleon Labs with the Zen mod. All 3 sound really good, and to be honest, I'm quite tempted to go with the Chameleon, since the mods really do sound nice, and the price is great for a full 19" rack. The Serpent is very impressive, and probably the top of the heap. I'm also interested in the IGS S Type... too bad I can't compare the IGS the same way (not available at Zen)... the samples I found of IGS online are beats, so its hard to judge the nuances. I really dig the song used on the "mix" tracks in the Clipalator by the way...
I love the Clipalator!

There are some good audio files here too:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/gear-shoot-outs-sound-file-comparisons-audio-tests/699125-hardware-compressor-limiter-comparison-thread-audio-files.html
Old 11th December 2014
  #40
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ballandbiscuit View Post
FWIW I've tried the Smart C1, C2 and the Obsidian and I didn't think any of them sounded as good as a real SSL 384 compressor. My favourite of all the alternatives I've used was the current SSL XLogic compressor.
+1 . Its really fashionable to dog that xlogic unit, but when you test side by side...the differences are clear.
Old 11th December 2014
  #41
Lives for gear
 
Stimmt's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by davehall6162 View Post
+1 . Its really fashionable to dog that xlogic unit, but when you test side by side...the differences are clear.
+2 Serpent has a nice tone, as does the Dramastic. Both don't sound anything like an SSL. Xlogic
Old 11th December 2014
  #42
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ballandbiscuit View Post
FWIW I've tried the Smart C1, C2 and the Obsidian and I didn't think any of them sounded as good as a real SSL 384 compressor. My favourite of all the alternatives I've used was the current SSL XLogic compressor.
As a Smart C1LA and C2 Crush user, I must say I found them both miles ahead of the Xlogic, an SSL 384 just was no where to be found at the time (Save middle of an E or G/G+ Console which is where I took the bearings of the unit from), though the Serpent Audio 4001 and the IGS-S Type imho are two of the best bang for the buck compressors.

I'm a huge sucker for VCA compression and just love the feeling it imparts (and how even slightly different designs make their own mark!). Though in Price.......The Serpent 4001 is the serious slammer in SSL bus Comp Price. I'd even go so far as to say the 4001 will be my next purchase, silly money for such a great design! Here is the PDF i have.....shame there were none to be had when I was looking for my last VCA SSL type comp. (The 500 series wasn't out back then)

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/atta...1&d=1418321082

No hesitation in recommending this 4001 compressor, it was very scarce (In my part of the Globe) when TK Audio brought out their unit and the Xlogic seemed very bright in the mids!

The Radioman SSL (uses 8 x Gold can VCA's DBX 202?'s) was also another comp I've never heard a bad word about! Looks seriously Dr Who in vibe as well, though apparently you need to buy them via eBay now....no direct dealer!

Regards
TLB.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf SB4001_Manual_V1.2.pdf (81.0 KB, 517 views)
Old 12th December 2014
  #43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmett_Brown View Post
Wow, sounds like a deadly combo! Just out of curiosity, any reason you don't use the Serpent on the 2 buss?
For a year or so I did have the Serpent on the 2 buss and it sounded very good. But then I tried the Obsidian and fell in love what can I say? It's just wider and sweeter to MY ears.
Old 13th December 2014
  #44
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
I wouldn't call it too basic. It does have stereo/dual mono, a 5 point Hi pass sidechain, and a parallel Mix function.


Since we are talking about SSL inspired 500 units, here is the IGS S-type below. Top shelf and super tight.

Wow, that sounded really good.
Old 13th December 2014
  #45
So I ordered, and just received the CL 7720 with the Zen Pro Mod, and I am a very happy guy! This is a really nice piece of gear. The build quality is better than I expected for the price. The knobs are really smooth and pleasant to use. I love the spacious feel of a 19" rack unit like this one, vs. the cramped 500 format, but that's just me. The meter is a bit small, and hard to read on an angle, but it seems accurate and responsive, so its not a big deal. I started with kick drum, just to see what it can do on a track. Nice firm VCA smack. Then, I strapped it across the drum bus, and it sounded great. Lots of great smack and control. A bit of fairy dust sheen on the high end as well. I wasn't sure what to expect since other posters said this was an ultra clean unit, but there is definitely a little mojo, perhaps as a result of the mod. So far so good. Now onto a full mix. I imported a wav file of classic rock tune that I know well, Vital Signs by Rush from Moving Pictures. This record was one of the first recorded on an SSL in North America. Now, this is an amazing mix, and it didn't need any more compression, but I had fun with it anyway. Some great punch snap and sheen to be had with the ratio at 2, attack 3, release Auto, getting about 1-3 db gain reduction. It pulled up the sides nicely, and a punchy drum part got even punchier. The auto release sounds natural. Whatever Warren and gang did, the auto release is not any issue. The clipalator files of the un-modded unit sounded a tad pumpy, but this modded unit doesn't have that problem. I have a load of bus comp plugs, but the only one I use regularly is UAD SSL G buss comp. I shot the two out at similar settings. That UAD version is a really good plugin. I preferred my new CL 7720 however; sounds a bit livelier and a bit wider. So far, I really like this 7720 mod. I think it sounds a bit more exciting than I expected. It has some sparkle. At this price, it really is nicer overall than I thought it would be. I'm going to chalk that up to the mod, since the Clipalator mix file of the stock unit sounded a bit narrow and pumpy. I'm not hearing any of that here! Now to play around more with the high pass filters, and the nice low 1.5 ratios...
Old 14th December 2014
  #46
nms
Lives for gear
 
nms's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by climber View Post
I have my Serpent 4001 on my drum buss and Obsidian on the 2 buss. this really kills it.
Do you find the Obsidian better & more detailed on the 2 buss than the Serpent? Does either of them crush the stereo image more than the other?

And are you talking about the Obsidian 500?
Old 15th December 2014
  #47
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Thanks for letting us take care of you, yes our ZenPro Audio 7720 mod fixes the AUTO-release (which they got wrong, we make it the same value as SSL) and also involves the audio path getting a sonic makeover, and the left / right balance is dialed in to be as dead on as possible.

Congrats!

War

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmett_Brown View Post
So I ordered, and just received the CL 7720 with the Zen Pro Mod, and I am a very happy guy! This is a really nice piece of gear. The build quality is better than I expected for the price. The knobs are really smooth and pleasant to use. I love the spacious feel of a 19" rack unit like this one, vs. the cramped 500 format, but that's just me. The meter is a bit small, and hard to read on an angle, but it seems accurate and responsive, so its not a big deal. I started with kick drum, just to see what it can do on a track. Nice firm VCA smack. Then, I strapped it across the drum bus, and it sounded great. Lots of great smack and control. A bit of fairy dust sheen on the high end as well. I wasn't sure what to expect since other posters said this was an ultra clean unit, but there is definitely a little mojo, perhaps as a result of the mod. So far so good. Now onto a full mix. I imported a wav file of classic rock tune that I know well, Vital Signs by Rush from Moving Pictures. This record was one of the first recorded on an SSL in North America. Now, this is an amazing mix, and it didn't need any more compression, but I had fun with it anyway. Some great punch snap and sheen to be had with the ratio at 2, attack 3, release Auto, getting about 1-3 db gain reduction. It pulled up the sides nicely, and a punchy drum part got even punchier. The auto release sounds natural. Whatever Warren and gang did, the auto release is not any issue. The clipalator files of the un-modded unit sounded a tad pumpy, but this modded unit doesn't have that problem. I have a load of bus comp plugs, but the only one I use regularly is UAD SSL G buss comp. I shot the two out at similar settings. That UAD version is a really good plugin. I preferred my new CL 7720 however; sounds a bit livelier and a bit wider. So far, I really like this 7720 mod. I think it sounds a bit more exciting than I expected. It has some sparkle. At this price, it really is nicer overall than I thought it would be. I'm going to chalk that up to the mod, since the Clipalator mix file of the stock unit sounded a bit narrow and pumpy. I'm not hearing any of that here! Now to play around more with the high pass filters, and the nice low 1.5 ratios...
Old 15th December 2014
  #48
Gear Addict
If you are not compressing much do you think the Slate VBC does an adeqeute job as any of these..I compared them when I had them and the Slate held up with all of them IMO..for the money anyway! I only do about 1-2 db of bus compression and I like the mix /wet/dry option!
Old 15th December 2014
  #49
Gear Addict
Dont get me wrong i did LOVE my obsidian and Manley Vari MU..but I thought for the money i could get by with the Slate..but the aforemention above all sound great it's a matter of preference!
Old 16th December 2014
  #50
Lives for gear
 
VT-MHE's Avatar
Hey war head. I was enjoying the song sooooo much in the clipalator i wish you guys would have at least left half the song. It really is a great song. And so much fun hearing and comparing all the different comps. Are you guys going to add more? I hope you can throw in much more api 2500, manley vari mu, shadow hills.. Etc other great comps. I found myself for over an hour comparing.. Finding new loves for certain pieces..
Old 18th April 2015
  #51
Gear Addict
So Serpent 4001 vs Shadow Hills Dual VanderGraph?
Old 18th April 2015
  #52
Gear Head
 
therecordlabel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sourcefor View Post
So Serpent 4001 vs Shadow Hills Dual VanderGraph?
Well this thread is oldish but what the hell - I've used both those, just bought the Serpent. Waaaay more versatile. Don't get me wrong, SH gear is incredible and I love the dual vandergraph for both 2bus and tracking but it's one of those that you either engage and it's perfect, or it doesn't work with the mix. The Serpent will ALWAYS work if you tweak it, it is ridiculously flexible and sounds the bomb.
P
Old 2nd September 2015
  #53
Lives for gear
I have an older SSL G series that I love. It apparently compares very favorably to the 384. Don't want to get rid of it, but I was considering selling and using the proceeds to get a Serpent or other less expensive replacement. Obsidian would probably be a break even trade.

Has anyone A/B'd an older SSL against one of the 500 series clones?
Any thoughts on my plan? Crazy talk or sensible?
Thanks!
Old 2nd September 2015
  #54
Gear Nut
 
YouCantHear.me's Avatar
 

People love the obsidian so much here... Maybe the true SSL sound just isn't for me. I have the x rack ssl bus comp and I think it is incredible. Cleaner than an original ssl or any of the clones, which I prefer. I hit it incredibly lightly. Just a bit of meter movement... And my god what it does to the vocals is just perfection. Low end sounds really fantastic as well. I love that it doesn't have the graininess of the other SSL types (dramatic, serpent, the ssl 500 series). I guess everybody here just loves the ssl graininess. I'd take the x-rack ssl any day over any of the others mentioned without a moments hesitation. For me, crisp clarity > grainy "vibe"
Old 2nd September 2015
  #55
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fwet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by YouCantHear.me View Post
People love the obsidian so much here... Maybe the true SSL sound just isn't for me. I have the x rack ssl bus comp and I think it is incredible. Cleaner than an original ssl or any of the clones, which I prefer. I hit it incredibly lightly. Just a bit of meter movement... And my god what it does to the vocals is just perfection. Low end sounds really fantastic as well. I love that it doesn't have the graininess of the other SSL types (dramatic, serpent, the ssl 500 series). I guess everybody here just loves the ssl graininess. I'd take the x-rack ssl any day over any of the others mentioned without a moments hesitation. For me, crisp clarity > grainy "vibe"
Live a little, the blend knob is good! There are extra features on the clones that improve on the design.
Old 2nd September 2015
  #56
Gear Nut
 
YouCantHear.me's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fwet View Post
Live a little, the blend knob is good! There are extra features on the clones that improve on the design.
Absolutely.. But have you heard the x rack ssl bus compressor? What it does to vocals/high end is magic (when on the master bus)
Old 2nd September 2015
  #57
Lives for gear
 
fwet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by YouCantHear.me View Post
Absolutely.. But have you heard the x rack ssl bus compressor? What it does to vocals/high end is magic (when on the master bus)
No I haven't heard it, sounds interesting. I got the compressor mainly for drums. Ill have to try it out on vocals.

I wonder if putting a stereo widener after ssl type compressors does magic. Maybe not for drums but for mix buss.
Old 2nd September 2015
  #58
The TK BC501 is the one I'm digging recently. I also have the Obsidian, the IGS, Xpressors and the SSL 500.
Old 2nd September 2015
  #59
Gear Nut
 
YouCantHear.me's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fwet View Post
No I haven't heard it, sounds interesting. I got the compressor mainly for drums. Ill have to try it out on vocals.

I wonder if putting a stereo widener after ssl type compressors does magic. Maybe not for drums but for mix buss.
Just a little of the green band of izotopes imager (like 13%) sounds great on the mix bus. For the x rack, as long as you aren't hitting it really hard I haven't noticed anything negative happening in the stereo image. It's not widening my mixes, but for me that's a good thing... Width happens in the mix, and the bus comp adds some glue/energy/crispness and just makes it sound finished
Old 4th September 2015
  #60
Lives for gear
 
fwet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by YouCantHear.me View Post
Just a little of the green band of izotopes imager (like 13%) sounds great on the mix bus. For the x rack, as long as you aren't hitting it really hard I haven't noticed anything negative happening in the stereo image. It's not widening my mixes, but for me that's a good thing... Width happens in the mix, and the bus comp adds some glue/energy/crispness and just makes it sound finished
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