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Obsidian Rack vs 500?? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 2nd November 2014
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Obsidian Rack vs 500??

I want to purchase a new Obsidian but need the one that has the most control over the low end frequencies on the mix bus. I'm currently using the A Designs Nail which has the Variable HP Filter that keeps the low end from being compressed. I know the Obsidian 500 has a HP filter as well but the frequencies are limited. Does the rack unit with the 'Key Input' act as a Variable HP Filter like the Nail (love that feature)? How does this work? I have outboard EQs I could send into the Obsid rack if that's how it works, but I need confirmation that it will act as a Variable HP (detector) Filter...Also, is there any difference soundwise between the rack and 500?
Please explain in detail so I know which Obsidian to get. I want to purchase it this week.

Thanks!
Rich
Old 2nd November 2014
  #2
Gear Addict
 
JBVries's Avatar
 

I too am in the same boat. I am likely going to just purchase a 500 with a little 3 slot bay as that comes with the extra SC freqs and is cheaper than the rack anywhoo. I can't imagine they sound very different from each other.
Old 2nd November 2014
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Yeah but with the rack's key input, doesn't that work as a variable HP detector that would offer more versatility for saving the low end from being compressed?
I can't find any precise info on how the 'Key Input' works, hope some people chime in explaining if this feature will make the Obsidian act like the Nail's filter.
Old 2nd November 2014
  #4
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dhiltonlittle's Avatar
 

I have heard the rack version and it sounds amazing. A friend (who I trust his opinion) compared the rack and 500 series and said they were pretty different and much preferred the rack version. I'd suggest trying them both before diving in.
Old 3rd November 2014
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Can anyone explain if the Key Input on the Rack will make the Obsidian work like the HP filter on the Nail or not?
Thanks.
Old 3rd November 2014
  #6
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dhiltonlittle's Avatar
 

From the manual:

Through the use of several proprietary methods, the Obsidian performs a range of tasks unheard of from the average buss compressor. The Obsidian
offers superior imaging. The stereo image always remains intact, the highs stay brilliant and clear, and the bottom continues to thunder [especially with the
internal “High Pass Filter” engaged on the detection circuitry]. For even greater control, an “External Side-Chain” input is available and may be used in
conjunction with the “High Pass Filter.”
Old 3rd November 2014
  #7
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Hansest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcd View Post
Yeah but with the rack's key input, doesn't that work as a variable HP detector that would offer more versatility for saving the low end from being compressed?
I can't find any precise info on how the 'Key Input' works, hope some people chime in explaining if this feature will make the Obsidian act like the Nail's filter.
You got this wrong. Key input gives you access to the detector, and you can make it more or less sensible to a specific zone of the frequency spectrum. But if the compressor engages it will still compress the whole signal, lows included. It just helps you control which part of the signal will be more likely to trigger the action of the compressor. In contrast with multiband compression which would be to divide a signal in separate portions of the frequency spectrum and then apply compression in different amounts to each, and that, could ¨save the low end from being compressd¨. Hope this helps
Old 18th November 2014
  #8
Gear Nut
 

I have an Obsidian coming. I'm still confused on how the Key Input works to lesson the compression on the LOW END. Can someone please provide details on how to set this up? Do I feed an EQ? HW, or Plug?
Thanks Hansest!
Old 19th November 2014
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
Mixing Suite's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcd View Post
I have an Obsidian coming. I'm still confused on how the Key Input works to lesson the compression on the LOW END. Can someone please provide details on how to set this up? Do I feed an EQ? HW, or Plug?
Thanks Hansest!
Split the signal going in, one to the input and one to an eq then to the key input. Roll off on the lo end with the eq going to the key input and now the detector will only react to what it hears.
Old 19th November 2014
  #10
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mixerguy's Avatar
I spoke with John - the man who is Dramastic Audio - the man who personally builds each and every Obsidian, by hand.... and he told me that the rack and the 500 series sound EXACTLY THE SAME.

and yes, he has tested.



Old 19th November 2014
  #11
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Hansest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcd View Post
I have an Obsidian coming. I'm still confused on how the Key Input works to lesson the compression on the LOW END. Can someone please provide details on how to set this up? Do I feed an EQ? HW, or Plug?
Thanks Hansest!
Your welcome. Mixing Suite is right
Old 3rd December 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 

I have owned both and really did not notice much of a difference in sound.
Old 14th March 2019
  #13
Gear Head
I've been testing the rack and 500 side by side a lot of today.. I want to keep the 500 because it's so nice looking, the 1.5 ratio and the variable high pass options but I feel like the rack has got something ever so slightly extra on the 500.. sometimes it feels like more low end, sometimes more width, sometimes both.. then again i might just be making it up..

In comparing them i've found that the thresholds aren't quite the same, the 500 threshold needs to be set a notch lower than the rack to get the same gain reduction.. I don't know if 1 lower is exactly right because even though they're showing the same gain reduction on the meters and sounding the same volume wise, at the same attack and release settings, the rack is letting just slightly more of a snare through (for example) than the 500.. The rack is a demo version whereas the 500 is new, i don't know if it just requires 'breaking in'..

At the end of the day, i feel like i've gone obsidian crazy and forgotten exactly what i'm trying to listen to to judge which ones best, and both sound great although if i can't decide tomorrow, even though i actually want the 500 series, i think i'll go with the rack
Old 15th March 2019
  #14
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkybill86 View Post
I've been testing the rack and 500 side by side a lot of today.. I want to keep the 500 because it's so nice looking, the 1.5 ratio and the variable high pass options but I feel like the rack has got something ever so slightly extra on the 500.. sometimes it feels like more low end, sometimes more width, sometimes both.. then again i might just be making it up..

In comparing them i've found that the thresholds aren't quite the same, the 500 threshold needs to be set a notch lower than the rack to get the same gain reduction.. I don't know if 1 lower is exactly right because even though they're showing the same gain reduction on the meters and sounding the same volume wise, at the same attack and release settings, the rack is letting just slightly more of a snare through (for example) than the 500.. The rack is a demo version whereas the 500 is new, i don't know if it just requires 'breaking in'..

At the end of the day, i feel like i've gone obsidian crazy and forgotten exactly what i'm trying to listen to to judge which ones best, and both sound great although if i can't decide tomorrow, even though i actually want the 500 series, i think i'll go with the rack
I can't help you. I've had the 500 series on my bus since 2010 though and I've never changed to anything else as I've felt nothing can match it.

Personally though I'm a rack person and I really lament that Jon Ellis never bothered to update the rack with the features of the 500 series because I'd switch to the rack in a heartbeat if he did just because I love racks.

I won't switch over because 1.5 is my favorite ratio, period, on the Obsidian. There's something just amazing about it. In fact, I don't think mine's been switched from 1.5 in at least 3 years. I never use the other ratios at all. Even pop and rock work, it's all compressed at 1.5. That ratio just sounds so amazing and reacts a certain way that just makes it really add magic to any song.

The ratios all sound so different from each other - not only in compression quality but the actual tone to me. 1.5 is the gold standard to me. But 2nd, I love 4. But I really don't like 2 at all so I've never used it. 2:1 sounds more closed in and the action is more "dull" to me than any of the other ratios on that compressor.

Really, until he makes an mk II version of the rack that has 1.5, 500 series is where I've been since 2010 and where I'm staying.

He personally swears there's no difference at all between the 500 series and the rack when it comes to the actual performance of the unit. But gear makers always swear that no matter what anyway.
Old 17th March 2019
  #15
I just found it too smeary, and then finally forked out for the Vertigo VSC which sounds superior all round to my ears. It's the shlt.
Otherwise I'd rather use a good SSL style comp with a Vari Mu and have more control.
Old 17th March 2019
  #16
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
always liked the obsidian.more than the smart or 384 I had.I found a used 500 version for pretty cheap recently.
threw it in the console.between that and the unfairchild and 32264's I'm good for 2b.
Old 18th March 2019
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
I just found it too smeary, and then finally forked out for the Vertigo VSC which sounds superior all round to my ears. It's the shlt.
Otherwise I'd rather use a good SSL style comp with a Vari Mu and have more control.
Everywhere I look on gearslutz, there is Paul G trying to get me to spend more money!! I like my Obsidian, had it for about 6 years as my primary mixbus comp, it really makes mixing easy, and is very versatile, but there is a kind of vagueness to the sound which sometimes bothers me, could never put a word to it but smeary is bang on. Obviously we’re dealing with real subtleties here. Still, maybe I have to try the Vertigo... sigh....
Old 18th March 2019
  #18
Gear Head
Which are you guys using the rack or 500?
Old 18th March 2019
  #19
Lives for gear
 
ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkybill86 View Post
Which are you guys using the rack or 500?
500
Old 18th March 2019
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkybill86 View Post
Which are you guys using the rack or 500?
Rack
Old 18th March 2019
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkybill86 View Post
Which are you guys using the rack or 500?
Rack
Old 18th March 2019
  #22
500 here
Old 18th March 2019
  #23
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
I can't help you. I've had the 500 series on my bus since 2010 though and I've never changed to anything else as I've felt nothing can match it.

Personally though I'm a rack person and I really lament that Jon Ellis never bothered to update the rack with the features of the 500 series because I'd switch to the rack in a heartbeat if he did just because I love racks.

I won't switch over because 1.5 is my favorite ratio, period, on the Obsidian. There's something just amazing about it. In fact, I don't think mine's been switched from 1.5 in at least 3 years. I never use the other ratios at all. Even pop and rock work, it's all compressed at 1.5. That ratio just sounds so amazing and reacts a certain way that just makes it really add magic to any song.

The ratios all sound so different from each other - not only in compression quality but the actual tone to me. 1.5 is the gold standard to me. But 2nd, I love 4. But I really don't like 2 at all so I've never used it. 2:1 sounds more closed in and the action is more "dull" to me than any of the other ratios on that compressor.

Really, until he makes an mk II version of the rack that has 1.5, 500 series is where I've been since 2010 and where I'm staying.

He personally swears there's no difference at all between the 500 series and the rack when it comes to the actual performance of the unit. But gear makers always swear that no matter what anyway.
After quite a while of testing I think i'm 95% convinced by the 500 series just because of the 1.5:1 ratio - I do feel like there's the tiniest little something different between the rack and 500 and it's in the racks favour, but it's not worth losing the 1.5 ratio for. I think i know what you mean by the 2:1.. Thanks for your comments, they've really helped

As for Paul_G and the smeariness - i bet you had the rack version without the 1.5 ?
Old 18th March 2019
  #24
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
500
Sounded the same and more features
Old 19th March 2019
  #25
500 here. HPF on the SC is great. Find a ton of use between the bottom three ratios; each has a different 'grab' that can be useful.
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