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Vocal Compressor 500 series
Old 29th February 2016
  #91
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lobsterinn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
I hate to be such a fanboi, but the APA Leviathan really needs some attention. It's just an incredible unit. It's more than just an opto. It does everything you'd expect with an opto, but with adjustible attack, release, and ratio, you can shape your envelope like nothing else. It's super clean even when digging deep.

I love my LA3a, but if I really had to make a house payment ... well, let's not go there. That's just inviting something bad to happen. Let's just say, if I only had $700, it could not possibly be better spent.
I just picked up a pair of Leviathans based on reviews and how much I dig the Juggernaut preamp from APA. I haven't had a chance to put them through the paces yet though.

I also have an JLM LA500, which has been mentioned in this thread as a great vocal comp. I agree, though I do wish the attack was a little slower sometimes. There is a slow attack mod, but I haven't done it yet. The nice thing about the stock attack is that is works as both a gentle leveler and overload protector in one compressor. It's really transparent in 3:1 mode.

My hope is that the Leviathan can do something similar as well as having the extra controls when needed. Once I've had a chance to compare the two I'll chime back in.
Old 2nd March 2016
  #92
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lobsterinn's Avatar
I spent last night acquainting myself to the Leviathan. After running different styles of vocal tracks through it and the LA500, the Leviathan, IMO, is the better overall vocal compressor. It is more flexible and is less aggressive in the attack and tone. The auto mode is a little more forgiving and the envelope shaping of the variable attack and release makes it work better for getting a vocal to sit in the groove. It does let some fast peaks come through, so it might require something faster in front of it with really dynamic singers.

Tonally, both comps have a little pleasant shimmer up top. The LA500 adds some meaty dark weight down low as well, which is useful on wimpy or thin tracks, but it can stack up to get a little muddy at times.

I know this thread is about vocals, but the LA500 does some fun colorful "goosh" when used to smash drums. The Leviathan remains polite even when doing crazy reduction.

In summary: Leviathan wins for flexibility and envelope shaping. LA500 wins when specific character effects are the thing. In the perfect world I'd keep both around...I'm undecided if I can afford to live in the perfect world or not...
Old 8th March 2016
  #93
Lives for gear
I would like to nominate the Empress Effects Ecm-519. I like to try gadgets that fly under the radar and struck gold with this one. It is super flexible, easy to set up and has a mix knob! The transformer settings are not subtle at all! You have so much control over the tone with this option alone...from off, on to loaded! There are 2 auto modes that work similar to using an 1176 and la2a in tandem...so to speak. The input and output knobs are stepped which helps to get a precise level of signal compressed and send an ideal level to tape. My only gripe is the metering is so bright the neighboring leds light up which can be misleading when determining gain reduction. Needless to say I am really enjoying my newest toy!!!
Old 9th March 2016
  #94
Lives for gear
Thanks!

I have experience with the Jlm and can attest to how great it is on vocals but I recently acquired a WesternDynamo 1909 and tracked a vocal with it last night where I was going for a real up front and intimate sound and it killed. I tried with the Empress Effects Ecm 519 but the 1909 gave me exactly what I was looking for. In true gearslut fashion I wonder how the Leviathan would compare to the WesternDynamo 1909?



Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn View Post
I spent last night acquainting myself to the Leviathan. After running different styles of vocal tracks through it and the LA500, the Leviathan, IMO, is the better overall vocal compressor. It is more flexible and is less aggressive in the attack and tone. The auto mode is a little more forgiving and the envelope shaping of the variable attack and release makes it work better for getting a vocal to sit in the groove. It does let some fast peaks come through, so it might require something faster in front of it with really dynamic singers.

Tonally, both comps have a little pleasant shimmer up top. The LA500 adds some meaty dark weight down low as well, which is useful on wimpy or thin tracks, but it can stack up to get a little muddy at times.

I know this thread is about vocals, but the LA500 does some fun colorful "goosh" when used to smash drums. The Leviathan remains polite even when doing crazy reduction.

In summary: Leviathan wins for flexibility and envelope shaping. LA500 wins when specific character effects are the thing. In the perfect world I'd keep both around...I'm undecided if I can afford to live in the perfect world or not...
Old 9th March 2016
  #95
Gear Nut
 
DeyeYguy's Avatar
 

Not a single mention of the CAPI FC526, one of the best sounding compressors i've ever heard, it's basically an 1176 and API channel mashed up, i really appreciate it as a light touch tracking compressor, and I don't even believe in tracking with compression ala Bruce Swedien. Don't mistake the preceding as it being only "light touch", you can also smack the **** out of stuff with it!
Old 9th March 2016
  #96
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lobsterinn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twenty Staxx View Post
I have experience with the Jlm and can attest to how great it is on vocals but I recently acquired a WesternDynamo 1909 and tracked a vocal with it last night where I was going for a real up front and intimate sound and it killed. I tried with the Empress Effects Ecm 519 but the 1909 gave me exactly what I was looking for. In true gearslut fashion I wonder how the Leviathan would compare to the WesternDynamo 1909?
Based on the videos I've seen, the WesternDynamo is capable of faster and snappier compression, and is probably a lot more fun on aggressive drums. It doesn't have the intelligent release mode like the Leviathan for a more classic opto action. I'm guessing both can do pretty similar action with moderate settings.

Last edited by lobsterinn; 9th March 2016 at 09:31 PM.. Reason: Spelling!
Old 9th March 2016
  #97
Lives for gear
Yep!

Vintage mode is exactly why I wanna get the Leviathan in for a shootout with the 1909. That and the fact it's on sale right now. I've noticed people say things sound "bigger", "polished" or "3d" when describing the Essence...would you say the Leviathan shares these characteristics?



Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn View Post
Based on the videos I've seen, the WesternDynamo is capable of faster and snappier compression, and is probably a lot more fun on aggressive drums. It doesn't have the intelligent release mode like the Leviathan for a more classic opto action. I'm guessing both can do pretty similar action with moderate settings.
Old 10th March 2016
  #98
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lobsterinn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twenty Staxx View Post
Vintage mode is exactly why I wanna get the Leviathan in for a shootout with the 1909. That and the fact it's on sale right now. I've noticed people say things sound "bigger", "polished" or "3d" when describing the Essence...would you say the Leviathan shares these characteristics?
I've never used the Essence, so I can't compare. I feel like Nathan or Tim have compared the two somewhere on GS before though.

In my limited experience, the Leviathan has a subtle but pleasant harmonic sheen. I wouldn't say "bigger", but maybe "polished" or "3d". It isn't a dramatic tone box or anything, but it adds a little something that helps things pop.
Old 17th March 2016
  #99
Here for the gear
 

Torn between a lunch box compressor for vocals.

AM660 vs. Pendulum OCL 500 vs. IGS One LA500

Looking for clean transparent compression being fed by API 512c pre.
Old 17th March 2016
  #100
Lives for gear
Both the IGS and Anamod have an obvious color. The Falcon might fit the bill for "clean, transparent" compression. I believe that's what the Leviathan is capable of too but I have no experience with it or the pendulum...have a Leviathan on the way though! Couldn't resist the current promotion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachNichollsMix View Post
Torn between a lunch box compressor for vocals.

AM660 vs. Pendulum OCL 500 vs. IGS One LA500

Looking for clean transparent compression being fed by API 512c pre.
Old 9th April 2016
  #101
I have an Essence, a Leviathan, and an SOC 1.1. My preferred vocal chain (and more often dialog chain for the post I do) is Leviathan over easy approx 2-4 db reduction with "punch" on into the soc 1.1 at 5:1 to just knock down peaks. I experimented with the essence replacing the 1.1, and it didn't work for me. I like vocals (and dialog) to get "smoothed" out without pumping, and when I put the essence after the Leviathan it was edgier than I liked.

If anyone wants to send me files to compare the Leviathan and the Essence I would be happy to do that for them.

I'd like to free up my 1.1 for stereo stuff, so I've been looking for a transparent limiter to go after the Leviathan. I thought about the LA500, and I nearly pulled the trigger on the Western Dynamo. I don't want something that kills the sheen and vibe that comes off the Leviathan. It just has this awesome vibe for voice that I really love. Single space, under 1K, thoughts?

Oh, the Essence kills on bass. Also, I like turtles.
Old 9th April 2016
  #102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Actualsizeaudio View Post
I have an Essence, a Leviathan, and an SOC 1.1. My preferred vocal chain (and more often dialog chain for the post I do) is Leviathan over easy approx 2-4 db reduction with "punch" on into the soc 1.1 at 5:1 to just knock down peaks. I experimented with the essence replacing the 1.1, and it didn't work for me. I like vocals (and dialog) to get "smoothed" out without pumping, and when I put the essence after the Leviathan it was edgier than I liked.

If anyone wants to send me files to compare the Leviathan and the Essence I would be happy to do that for them.

I'd like to free up my 1.1 for stereo stuff, so I've been looking for a transparent limiter to go after the Leviathan. I thought about the LA500, and I nearly pulled the trigger on the Western Dynamo. I don't want something that kills the sheen and vibe that comes off the Leviathan. It just has this awesome vibe for voice that I really love. Single space, under 1K, thoughts?

Oh, the Essence kills on bass. Also, I like turtles.
+1 I'm very happy with the Leviathan. Great comp for vox. Like it lots on bass too.
Old 9th April 2016
  #103
Lives for gear
The jlm la500 might be better at giving you what you ask for than the WesternDynamo. The 1909 has a bite and edge to its tone. I think both the empress effects ecm 519 in either auto mode and the awtac compressor will provide the smoothing you seek. I have a WesternDynamo I'm looking to sell for this same reason...I prefer others on voice.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Actualsizeaudio View Post
I have an Essence, a Leviathan, and an SOC 1.1. My preferred vocal chain (and more often dialog chain for the post I do) is Leviathan over easy approx 2-4 db reduction with "punch" on into the soc 1.1 at 5:1 to just knock down peaks. I experimented with the essence replacing the 1.1, and it didn't work for me. I like vocals (and dialog) to get "smoothed" out without pumping, and when I put the essence after the Leviathan it was edgier than I liked.

If anyone wants to send me files to compare the Leviathan and the Essence I would be happy to do that for them.

I'd like to free up my 1.1 for stereo stuff, so I've been looking for a transparent limiter to go after the Leviathan. I thought about the LA500, and I nearly pulled the trigger on the Western Dynamo. I don't want something that kills the sheen and vibe that comes off the Leviathan. It just has this awesome vibe for voice that I really love. Single space, under 1K, thoughts?

Oh, the Essence kills on bass. Also, I like turtles.
Old 9th April 2016
  #104
Gear Maniac
Shameless plug, but I have a nearly brand new Falcon in classifieds that I like on vocals. I am keeping one myself, so do very much like it, but am selling the other I recently picked up to fund some other gear if you want to PM me. I think it shines on vox and bass by itself. Also nice after 1176 when you want that sound.
Old 11th April 2016
  #105
Lives for gear
 
lobsterinn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Actualsizeaudio View Post
I'd like to free up my 1.1 for stereo stuff, so I've been looking for a transparent limiter to go after the Leviathan. I thought about the LA500, and I nearly pulled the trigger on the Western Dynamo. I don't want something that kills the sheen and vibe that comes off the Leviathan. It just has this awesome vibe for voice that I really love. Single space, under 1K, thoughts?

Oh, the Essence kills on bass. Also, I like turtles.
I am also pro turtle, and I vote.

I've got a couple different things that work to eat peaks in combo with the Leviathan. My Xpressor does that nicely without messing with the tone. If you want a one-slot cheaper option, I bet a Pico or Grace comp would work well.
Old 11th April 2016
  #106
If it was a simple limiter that followed the Leviathan, how would you guys like to see it set up in terms of option controls? I'm guessing it would only need to be complementary to the basic function of the Leviathan, with very fast attack/release? Would very transparent in terms of tone be ok (preserves the basic tone of the Leviathan), or would more of a crushing Distressor/1176 tone be expected? We're tossing around the idea of a rack version and we would likely have physical room for a few more features as compared to the 500 version. Thanks.
Old 11th April 2016
  #107
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lobsterinn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
If it was a simple limiter that followed the Leviathan, how would you guys like to see it set up in terms of option controls? I'm guessing it would only need to be complementary to the basic function of the Leviathan, with very fast attack/release? Would very transparent in terms of tone be ok (preserves the basic tone of the Leviathan), or would more of a crushing Distressor/1176 tone be expected? We're tossing around the idea of a rack version and we would likely have physical room for a few more features as compared to the 500 version. Thanks.
That would be a useful feature! I'd say something very transparent and fast with a one-knob control would be the place to start, but if there were an easy way to be able to switch in some fet color that would be a bonus. It would be interesting to be able to add a little aggressive smack without patching in another comp.
Old 11th April 2016
  #108
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