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The outboard gear Super Mojo/Color/Dirt/Vibe thread. Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 18th December 2013
  #1
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The outboard gear Super Mojo/Color/Dirt/Vibe thread.

OK so I tried for a little bit to search but could not find something similar so I figured start it myself. In part this will hopefully help give me, or others in my boat, ideas on buying the right gear moving forward.

This is with the intention of mixing only, and adding color and vibe which ranges from just passing a signal to it, to the actual processing it does, like an eq for instance. IN SHORT, I AM LOOKING FOR DIRT. FILTH. Something that you don't say, "hmm that's cool but clean and subtle." I'm looking for things that make you go "whoa" or close to it.

I have some of the basics, not going to name them, from plug ins to outboard. I wanted to basically start buying outboard hardware gear in the form of compressors and eq (or even signal processors like transient, or weird enhancement things) that add COLOR, VIBE, MOJO to the sound. Nothing subtle, or clean, or pristine. I notice many people ask for eq suggestions and to use an example something like the GML comes up, and yes it's a fine eq, but it's not a "mojo monster" like say a pultec or something which has a very distinct sound and it not under the radar at all.

So any suggestions would be great for ANALOG eqs, compressors, signal processors (for example anamod ats 1, fatso jr, spl transient, etc.)

NO PLUG INS! No itb vs otb war either, there are plenty of other threads for that and I kindly ask to omit any opinions about how there are plug ins also. Maybe it deserves it's own thread.


I'll start with some of mine that I like:

- Moog MKPE 3 Band EQ: Real noisy unit that sounds great on bassy stuff. I usually use it on bass, or as suggested by many elite mixers, great for bassy synths. Very dirty and has lots of color.

- Massive Passive: I heard a few people say it's clean, but driving the gain, and really pushing the eq it adds a substantial amount of color.

- Peavey Kosmos: Adds nice width and kind of grainy "air" to heavy guitars.

- Clariphonic: Not dirty, but insane and beautiful mojo for high frequency content.

- Distressors: People say they are clean, but I've found that the distortions work great for many sources. I really like them on heavy guitars but of a certain sort, not really thrashy clean guitars, but more I guess "limp bizkit" type of dirty guitars. For like tapey distortion and squeeze.

- Slate Dragon: The distortion modes rock. 1 on vocals is a favorite and 2 on more aggressive vocals. Sometimes I just use it with almost no compression just for the sound of it. Also sounds good with vintagey sounding kick drums as a parallel thing.

- Fatso: I'm kind of breaking my own "no subtle" rule, b/c it is subtle, but it's subtle amazingness. I almost never use the compressors but the signal processing is real neat. from warmth, to tranny, to just running something through it. I use it often for OH, acoustic guitars, and on 2bus. I've heard they work great on modern ITB synths but never really got around do trying it myself, but i'll throw the tip out there.

- Valley people dynamite: Sounds amazing in parallel on drums with the expander. I actually got the plug ins to steal presets and use it on the hardware units I have, but end up using the plug ins if I need more instances of it. If you push them really hard they add lots of vibe.

- PCM 42: I submit this NOT as a delay but for the "Andy Wallace" trick on guitars. I def hear what it does but for whatever reason I just never got around to using it because I always use the delay so much lol. But it does sound kind of cool although I found it's better with more steady "chordy" source material. Ala Linkin Park… not System Of A Down (aw refs)

So I'm looking for more stuff to kind of continue in this direction and take it even further in the mojo realm. EQs that have a very colored sound, compressors that are super filthy. This also includes cheap stuff also, or not super expensive. Like a sans amp box or something. Not only fairchilds.
Old 18th December 2013
  #2
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Here's a list of what I would go to. Hope it helps.

Thermionic Culture:
  • Culture Vulture
  • Culture Vulture Mastering Version (With stepped controls and balanced I/O.)
  • Culture Vulture Solo (Single Channel with AMP feature.)
  • Rooster Dual Channel Strip with EQ.

FMR:
  • RNLA (Stereo Compressor, dirt cheap, has a lot of color going on for what it costs / performs well.)
  • RNLA 500 (Mono Version of the RNLA with stereo linking Controls and higher headroom / better bass response.)
  • PBC-6a (Cleaner than a Distressor but has distortion controls, and they're inexpensive / well thought out.)

Chandler LTD:
  • Chandler Germanium Compressor (Single most ANALOG sounding compressor I own, I prefer them to Distressors on most duties, though I like both designs, great on the 2Bus, or even for mastering when paired with my Manley Massive Passive.)
  • Chandler Tone Conrtrol EQ (Germanium based mono Equalizer)
  • Chandler Germanium Preamp (Really amazing and flexible design. Tons of color on tap.)
  • Chandler Little Devil Compressor(Not exactly a "Mini-Me" Germanium Compressor. More related to Neve 2264/33609
    compressors, but still a big thick sound.)
  • Chandler Little Devil EQ (Very big, "Neve-like" inductor based EQ)
  • Chandler Little Devil Preamp (A myriad of over-driven tones in a fairly inexpensive unit.)

Lindell Audio:

(*Three variations on a theme, but you can compress as hard as you want since they all have WET/DRY knobs.)
  • 17X Compressor (Carnhill transformers in an 1176 design with parallel compression built in. Similar to your Dragons.)
  • 17XS MKII Compressor (When modded by Zen pro, very similar to the 17X, even without the transformers in an 1176 design with parallel compression bu lit in.)
  • 7X-500 (The mini 17XS MKII)


*Extra Notes: Some good VCA compressors can grit up when pushed hard. API 2500, Dramastic Audio Obsidian, and the Serpent Audio SB4001 come to mind. The API and Dramastic have transformers, and the Serpent has a WET/DRY feature which allows for extreme compression settings.
Old 18th December 2013
  #3
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cheu78's Avatar
Avedis MA5 (strapped on the 2bus with the line pads)
Avedis E27 (if used for boosting)
BAE 10DC
BAE pre/eq's (or original Neve stuff)
Retro 176
Retro Sta Level
LA2A
LA4
Old Dept of Commerce Compressor
MCI JH tape machines
MCI consoles
Studer C37
Roland Re-201
Spectrasonics preamps
Tech21 ParaDriver DI

and there's probably tons of other stuff that I forgot...



Cheu
Old 18th December 2013
  #4
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che_guitarra's Avatar
 

UA 610. I plug mine through as a line connection with it's role being a tube fattener - it certainly doesn't do 'light touch', but it does vibe and mojo like a boss.
Old 18th December 2013
  #5
Well

Due to my son Robin Harwood of Dubstep outfit "Brown and Gammon"'s fantastic genre leading mastering services for Circus Records and the amazing amount of interest in getting hold of one of his own design, Tube/Fet Pultecalicious EQP 1a + Meq 5 + a load of other usefull stuff in a box.
He has begrudgingly decided that he will let you gearsluts buy it now, and has called it a Browning Polymath:

No it will not be available in a 500 series module.
It goes from squeaky clean to utterly pornographic:-)
Old 18th December 2013
  #6
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

WEM Copicat.
Old 18th December 2013
  #7
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmec View Post
Due to my son Robin Harwood of Dubstep outfit "Brown and Gammon"'s fantastic genre leading mastering services for Circus Records and the amazing amount of interest in getting hold of one of his own design, Tube/Fet Pultecalicious EQP 1a + Meq 5 + a load of other usefull stuff in a box.
He has begrudgingly decided that he will let you gearsluts buy it now, and has called it a Browning Polymath:

No it will not be available in a 500 series module.
It goes from squeaky clean to utterly pornographic:-)
What are they going to run? haha are these single channel? Looks amazing.
Old 18th December 2013
  #8
Yup!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo View Post
WEM Copicat.
Actually that's a coincidence Robin Harwood had a bit of a fiddle with a similar design he found, adding more heads and switches and a bit more length to the tape loop for wear rate reasons and stuff, but at the mo he isn't manufacturing them.:-)
Old 18th December 2013
  #9
Well!

Quote:
Originally Posted by herecomesyourman View Post
What are they going to run? haha are these single channel? Looks amazing.
Yes they are single channel units and I don't really know what Robin has decided yet about price, as it's all a very new idea to make them for others. those pair are the very first ones he did for someone else for Christmas!:-)
You will have to ask him:
https://www.facebook.com/robin.harwood.9
PS. At least that will divert his OCD from pulling all my old RCA gear apart to see exactly how that worked.:-)

In the rack seeing how it matches up against some of the competition on the compression front.
What Robin says about it.
Robin Harwood Browning Audio Polymath

In partnership I have developed a unique preamp/passive EQ/limiter hardware unit.

The preamp design is a 4-stage current mode amplifier. She is extremely quiet. The noise floor is -110dB, which happens to be 20dB quieter than the digital noise-floor in a DAW!

Due to the nature of the current mode operation, it is impedance-sensing. We have added a switching option in addition. This enables you to change the response and gain characteristics of the mics that you place in-circuit. This includes changing the frequency range that a ribbon mic can produce. As you switch the impedance, different coloured LEDs tell you which mics (or line input) are suitable. The polarity is switchable, as is phantom power, which also illuminates a red LED whilst on.

The separate inputs available are a transformer-balanced XLR, an unbalanced XLR (10k?) and there is also high impedance 1/4 input for all instruments (1M?). A switch chooses between each preamp circuit (balanced or unbalanced).

The unit has up to 80dB of gain on tap: extremely useful for low-output microphones or other low signal recordings.

After the preamp section comes the passive EQ. This circuit combines the EQ sections of two vintage Pultec units; the much-revered EQP-1A and the MEQ-5. Our MEQ-5 section has been modified to cater for 15dB boost rather than the 10dB of the original. At the narrowest Q setting, the cut becomes up to -30dB. The EQP-1A retains its original features (including the 21dB boosts and cuts) but its frequency values have been mildly adjusted to fit better with the MEQ-5's frequency options.

In combination, the EQ sections are capable of 4 simultaneous boosts and 3 simultaneous cuts, all of which are interactive. In addition there is a first order (6dB/octave) passive high pass filter just before the final amplification section.

The loss that the EQ creates is matched by two low-noise amplifiers. A switch provides you with the option to completely bypass the EQ sections. There is also an EQ master gain for perfectly gain-matched A/B comparisons.

After the EQ sections comes two separately routable compressors/limiters.

The first is a modded vintage Urei 1176, producing even lower noise than the LN designs. Our mods enable a comprehensive sidechain input and an increased attack time. The unit features an identical quickest attack time (still the blisteringly quick 20?s), yet an expanded slowest attack time (a healthy 8ms rather than 800?s of the original). We have included a sidechain input on the reverse of the unit, which has either a 'flat' setting, 150Hz high-pass or 150Hz low-pass. This enables you to use her for kick drum orchestrated pumping effects (in low-pass mode) or for zero influence of the kick drum/sub bass in the compression characteristics (in high-pass mode).

Stereo-linking capabilities are also included for mix-buss operation (if two Polymath units are used). This modded 1176 has 'British mode' selectable on a switch, rather than having to push multiple buttons in (labelled as 'slam' for spacial consideration), which is usually used as an extreme effect on drum loops.

The increased range of attack time enables our version of the 1176 to be better utilised as a mix buss compressor without it being too 'grabby'. We had originally planned to increase it to 80ms of attack but we quickly discovered why this design doesn't exist: the FET goes into self-oscillation! All of the original options and sound is retained (but with less noise).

The second compressor is very similar in design to the Teletronix LA3A optical compressor using a T4 with electroluminescent panel and light dependant resistor combination. It is also stereo linkable.

Each compressor is utilised in either order and each can be independently bypassed too. The unit includes an uncompressed XLR output for parallel compression and 'safe' tracking. This is offered in case you might change your mind about your use of compression. As the EQ sections can be bypassed before the compression sections, you can also compress the same signal later, from your DAW's (or desk's/tape machine's) output... a minimum of simply the mild preamp coloration would be re-added to that signal path.

The final amplification is a single-ended class-A valve amp, powered by an ECC82. We may change this design to a dual valve circuit in future. This goes through an output transformer also for its desirable coloration.

You can switch-out the final valve circuit (and transformer) to go through solid state amplification instead. Two distinct flavours. Switching between the two is silent and very effectively gain matched.

Metering is undertaken with a VU meter showing the gain reduction of each compressor independently, and the Output at +4 and +8dBu. A red LED peak indicator also shows the headroom at all stages of the signal path, lighting at -6dB below clipping. The 'signal present' blue LED lights at -36dB and upwards to give an indication of inputs

There is a headphones out (dual mono as this is a single channel unit!) with its own independent volume. The headphone output is linkable for stereo operation.

It's fully hand-built, point to point wiring on all EQ's switching and Valve section by Nick Browning. The limiter boards are designed and produced by Nick via a CAD machine.

He has even painstakingly hand-wound all the EQ inductors for perfect matching to all frequencies.

The concept, block diagram and features of this unit is largely my own, though Nick had some invaluable input even at this stage. Together we have selected the most desirable vintage units for EQ and compression (the preamp is actually a rather rare design suggested in preference by Nick over the Neve 1073).

It appears that nobody has attempted to put anything near to being this comprehensive into one box before: hence our name for her, the Browning Audio Polymath.

Nick has designed or modded all of the individual circuits and unique switching required for this device to function as beautifully as it does.

The gain-staging alone is an impressive and delicately executed feat.

Nick is an audio electronics engineering genius who has repaired, designed and modded vintage audio equipment for over 30 years. When someone entrusts you to repair their Fairchild 670, one should be most comfortable that one has gained a bit of reputation in one's field of expertise

Appropriately, the unit sounds bloody incredible.

I cannot overstate that. The mere design left the UK's premier ribbon mic seller and restorer, Stewart Taverner of Xaudia, 'speechless'. He is testing the 1st prototype soon.

She can be used for any tracking, mixing, mastering duties (two units is preferable if the compressors are utilised for the mix buss). She is an outstanding DI (the very best for bass guitar I have ever heard) or can even be used live as the most ridiculously over-capable instrument preamp/EQ/compressor imaginable!

Pride is a dangerous thing... but I cannot avoid being enveloped by it.
Old 18th December 2013
  #10
Gear Addict
 

3M 79's ALLLLL NIGHT LONG, a very special tone/projection.
Harrison 24c/32c (the original modules not the great river ones), very slow almost dull in a good way, kind've saps the attack of sounds a little, thick and mellow.
Marshall valve amps - reamping sounds through EL84's driven well, miking them up and blending them in in a little. Easy way to get great colour.
Same as above with fuzzface
Lexicon reverbs/EMT
JCF Latte... To catch all of the above with no damage and/or Help the DAW not sound like a DAW ..err?
Old 18th December 2013
  #11
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nickelironsteel's Avatar
 

If youre serious about tone, accept no clone.

Neve 1057/66/73/84, (3)2264, 33609a
Pultec eqp-1a/s3
v41b/72/76/75, u73b
Api 312/512/550/560
Urei 1176/78, la-2a, 3a
Emt 246/50/51/52
Sony dre 2000
Lexicon pcm42, 224/300/480
Marshall ar-300
Ams reverb, delays d2-20
Old 18th December 2013
  #12
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gainreduction's Avatar
 

Get one of those di/reamp boxes (like the TK Tranciever) and hook up a bunch of guitar pedals..?

Extremely recall unfriendly but sure us fun. And plenty of dirtboxes to choose from.
Old 19th December 2013
  #13
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shortstory's Avatar
Definitely gotta add a federal to this. And the levelor.

Good list. Keep em comin!
Old 20th December 2013
  #14
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Vintageidiot's Avatar
Make sure you have some transformers, for certain. I was in a major studio last night and played back an mp3 on my phone and, not to brag, I am ahead of the game. Vintage is no punk....

Make sure you have monitors so you can hear what's going on too....
Old 23rd December 2013
  #15
ADR Compex F760-RS two-channel compressor/limiter. Unbelievably sexy box, I will never sell mine. The magic happens when you take the input and start to push a little further than your head tells you you should. Try it on drum buss in particular....
Old 23rd December 2013
  #16
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string6theory's Avatar
Sansamp PSA-1 (I have a pair)... a must have, very versatile tone and grit shaper.

Old 23rd December 2013
  #17
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in the red's Avatar
 

i´m surprised no one mentioned the chandler tg-1 yet!?
Old 23rd December 2013
  #18
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nickelironsteel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by in the red View Post
i´m surprised no one mentioned the chandler tg-1 yet!?
Neve was already mentioned why bother listing all the clones?
Old 24th December 2013
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickelironsteel View Post
Neve was already mentioned why bother listing all the clones?


The TG1 is the EMI clone, the LTD-2 is the Neve clone.
Old 24th December 2013
  #20
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drastic's Avatar
I like this thread!!!
Old 24th December 2013
  #21
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gear is cool's Avatar
SERGE (I had Rex build one for me)...WOW!!!

The DBX VU's are great squishy vibes.
Old 24th December 2013
  #22
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmec View Post
Yes they are single channel units and I don't really know what Robin has decided yet about price, as it's all a very new idea to make them for others. those pair are the very first ones he did for someone else for Christmas!:-)
You will have to ask him:
https://www.facebook.com/robin.harwood.9
PS. At least that will divert his OCD from pulling all my old RCA gear apart to see exactly how that worked.:-)

In the rack seeing how it matches up against some of the competition on the compression front.
My GOD do those look incredible yet complicated for my dyslexic mind.
Old 25th December 2013
  #23
Gear Head
 
zebra50's Avatar
 

Quote:
The mere design left the UK's premier ribbon mic seller and restorer, Stewart Tave[r]ner of Xaudia, 'speechless'. He is testing the 1st prototype soon.
May I just clarify that statement? I was impressed by the ambition and the looks but i have not used or heard the unit. Robin was planning to come and test it with some ribbons here sometime.

Cheers!
Stewart
Xaudia
Old 25th December 2013
  #24
Here for the gear
 
Zerodieci's Avatar
 

bump
Old 23rd July 2014
  #25
Gear Addict
 

so a very cool device !

any audio sample as well ?

peace
w.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmec View Post
Due to my son Robin Harwood of Dubstep outfit "Brown and Gammon"'s fantastic genre leading mastering services for Circus Records and the amazing amount of interest in getting hold of one of his own design, Tube/Fet Pultecalicious EQP 1a + Meq 5 + a load of other usefull stuff in a box.
He has begrudgingly decided that he will let you gearsluts buy it now, and has called it a Browning Polymath:

No it will not be available in a 500 series module.
It goes from squeaky clean to utterly pornographic:-)
Old 24th July 2014
  #26
Gear Nut
 

One of the most underrated mojo makers out there IMO SHV and SHO.

SHV on drums into the distortion/warmth circuit of the fatso is gold.

Others I've liked for vibe are the 176, shelford eq, vac rac TSL 4, & TT cl2a.
Old 24th July 2014
  #27
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zulusound's Avatar
Lomo mics and preamps, Sknote Vastaso, RCA Ribbon (some can still be found very very cheap if not the 44 or 77), Siemens w295b EQ, any tape delay (I usually record back into my DAW with multiple speeds and feedbacks and pan them out), Master Room Spring reverb, Altec 436C comp, Real Rhodes and 70's Synths. Coles 4038- instant vibe.
Old 24th July 2014
  #28
+1 on Chandler Germanium and also the TG stuff. The Germ is overall more dirty, the TG stuff is more of a lovely but very colored sound. The Serpent SB4001 can get very slamming and is coming from a different perspective design-wise. All are complementary and excellent. I don't agree about having to have original vintage pieces. There are many great designers now that are putting heart and soul into these pieces. Downing modern analog is just elitism or nostalgia IMO.
Old 24th July 2014
  #29
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zulusound's Avatar
What is SHV and SHO?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwilson View Post
One of the most underrated mojo makers out there IMO SHV and SHO.

SHV on drums into the distortion/warmth circuit of the fatso is gold.

Others I've liked for vibe are the 176, shelford eq, vac rac TSL 4, & TT cl2a.
Old 24th July 2014
  #30
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zulusound View Post
What is SHV and SHO?
Shadow hills vandergraph/optograph
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