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Mix Buss Stereo Compressor Recomendations
Old 16th November 2014
  #1
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Mix Buss Stereo Compressor Recomendations

I am looking for a few answers and hope folks can chime in here:

1. Recommendation for a Mix buss Stereo Compressor to have immediately after my analog console prior to mix hitting the daw. Assume budget up to 5K USD, unless you think for extra there is 'the' piece to have. Note that my vintage console is an API sounding RCA and I use Neves/Tubes etc during tracking, I am open to either a transparent or colored comp.

2. How important is a stereo EQ in this chain

3. If there are folks who have the stereo compresor on when composing/producing as it determines the final mix (meaning mixing starts as soon as composing begins) - i tend to work a tad non-linearly so go back and forth.

4. Who uses more than one mix buss stereo compressor during mixing.

Hope you guys can chime in here
Old 17th November 2014
  #2
85% of the time my Dramastic Obsidian feeds my Crane Song Hedd. The other 15% is split between nothing, My AML 500 series 2254s, my Chandler Zener and a Manley Vari Mu. But yeah., Mainly the Obsidian. (If I eq the mixbus at all it is a Manley Massive Passive - often it's in line but doing nothing)
Old 17th November 2014
  #3
There are quite a few nice pieces in this application. Some that come to mind are the Serpent SB4001 which is based on the SSL circuit. It's built like a tank in the US and sounds super punchy with flexibility to match.

The Manley Vari Mu is a great piece, and has a certain kind of 'glow' in its sweet spot (tonally) that isn't easily matched. I wouldn't pick this piece first for hard hitting/aggressive drum oriented type music (metal, dance/electronic, etc), but can be used to nice effect in series after something punchy and fast like the Serpent, etc if you want to get more vibe on the two track. If you do use two in series generally there isn't going to be a ton of gain reduction happening on either unit, maybe 1-2db each on peaks.

If you want something extremely neutral (although able to crush just as well) take a look at the Foote P3S 'bus' version.
Old 17th November 2014
  #4
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Led Music's Avatar
Shadow Hills Dual Vandergraph is well under $5k and sounds great.
It's limitations make it reliable, recallable and easy to set up.
I'll usually throw it in the mix once I start mixing my vocals which I generally save until last. That's my preference and how I've always done it. It works for me and couldn't see myself reaching for something else or desiring another 2-bus comp. It's got all the features and color I like and need.
I've tried working with a 2bus Eq but it never seemed to work for me. I typically go back to my mix and adjust things accordingly.
Old 17th November 2014
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
85% of the time my Dramastic Obsidian feeds my Crane Song Hedd. The other 15% is split between nothing, My AML 500 series 2254s, my Chandler Zener and a Manley Vari Mu. But yeah., Mainly the Obsidian. (If I eq the mixbus at all it is a Manley Massive Passive - often it's in line but doing nothing)
Thanks, Trev. Appreciate it.
Curious to know if your Obsidian sounds more like an SSL or 2254 (or 33609) or is it similar?
Also, can you use it as 2 x mono compressors for tracking purposes?
What made you stick to Obsidian considering you have a Vari Mu etc. This is still VCA type right?
Your studio looks great btw. Curious to know, considering you do drums there, have you ever used a mono comp for the drum buss during mixing and then doubled it with the stereo drum buss mix?
Old 17th November 2014
  #6
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5k let's say for one color comp and a cleaner one
depending in what genres you work more often with
API 2500 or pair of Chandler LTD-2
STC-8 for clean and versatile (or 2 Titans)
SSL G is still an option tho'
Old 17th November 2014
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ1973 View Post
Thanks, Trev. Appreciate it.
Curious to know if your Obsidian sounds more like an SSL or 2254 (or 33609) or is it similar?
Also, can you use it as 2 x mono compressors for tracking purposes?
What made you stick to Obsidian considering you have a Vari Mu etc. This is still VCA type right?
Your studio looks great btw. Curious to know, considering you do drums there, have you ever used a mono comp for the drum buss during mixing and then doubled it with the stereo drum buss mix?
Mmmm. the obsidian is kinda like a 384 that doesnt flatten the image but someone widens and deepens it. Make sense?

The Manley Vari-mu rarely works for me on mixbus tbh. Its probably used least.

Havent used mono then doubled it but I very often put up a mono far room mic as well as two close rooms mics. This week we did a send from the coles underheads into our stone room through a PA, recaptured that with a Beyer M160 and then crushed that with a Urei 1176 (originally used the compex but preferred the 1176).
Old 17th November 2014
  #8
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Is it possible to assume (if budget was over the 5K mark), something like the Shadow Hills Mastering comp would be an option?
Thanks again Trev, Nathan and Led. Appreciate it. By the way, the type of music I make is anywhere from Top 40 Billboard Pop/Urban (Adele/Magic/Taylor Swift etc), which have a fusion of live meet sample sounds, if that makes sense. I don't do 100% live nor 100% samples, so I get fairly decent color out of my sounds and preamps/RCA console which is very API sounding, but would love to know if 'color' is recommended in the stereo mix in this instance or best to keep it neutral in the buss?
Old 17th November 2014
  #9
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It was said, but doesn't it depend quite a lot on the genre of music? You want something completely different from a MBC for Rock vs Jazz ... One of the biggest studios in my area has and swares by the Focusrite Red 3, which they have in all of their studios. Very versatile unit capable of being equally at home on all genres. Obviously the SHMC is flexible too, but double the price!

The Vari-Mu just doesn't have the guts to work well on Rock, Hip-Hop etc, so maybe you guys aren't doing smoother/softer genres?
Old 17th November 2014
  #10
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RoundBadge's Avatar
It's totally subjective.
Try as many as you can for as long as you can.
Some boxes take a minute or two to "learn".
Old 17th November 2014
  #11
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Slug1's Avatar
I'm waiting for Greg's new Kush Audio Tweaker! It's a mono VCA that has a ton of versatility. I'm getting a pair and will use mainly for mix buss, but it can be used for so many other things. I'm actually thinking about grabbing 4 of them to use for mixing, two buss, and trackin if needed.
Old 17th November 2014
  #12
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nyandres's Avatar
I loved the API2500 and my obsidian. Recently I've been going more ITB. I would also recommend Slate VBC, if you decide to give that a shot. Now I am strictly hardware for tracking, and like 95% software for mixing. Seriously try both, and give yourself a blind test . The focusrite RED in the VBC is amazing

You may find this interesting http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/b...re-test-2.html

It compares the obsidian with the Slate's SSL emulation. Whatever the case may be the red is even better.
Old 17th November 2014
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ1973 View Post
Is it possible to assume (if budget was over the 5K mark), something like the Shadow Hills Mastering comp would be an option?
Thanks again Trev, Nathan and Led. Appreciate it. By the way, the type of music I make is anywhere from Top 40 Billboard Pop/Urban (Adele/Magic/Taylor Swift etc), which have a fusion of live meet sample sounds, if that makes sense. I don't do 100% live nor 100% samples, so I get fairly decent color out of my sounds and preamps/RCA console which is very API sounding, but would love to know if 'color' is recommended in the stereo mix in this instance or best to keep it neutral in the buss?
In this case, for that genre i'd def consider Portico MBP
and an SSL type, skip my previous mention of the Chandlers
Imho, SHMC is a cool looking unit but overpriced
I'd take the STC8 any day over it
Old 17th November 2014
  #14
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Thanks folks. Appreciate it. Out of these compressor recommendations, are there any that could not be used as mono comps for tracking if need be as well? or for a drum buss to be run through?
Old 17th November 2014
  #15
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retinal View Post
Imho, SHMC is a cool looking unit but overpriced
I'd take the STC8 any day over it
My mileaged varied.
I thought the STC8 was kinda boring .
I had SHMC # 02 on mixbuss for 6 years.being kind of a prototype it got flakey last year.
Just had it rebuilt into a new unit and it lives on.the class A discrete deal.
better than ever.
Old 17th November 2014
  #16
rll
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I would recommend hearing the Old World Audio U33. The most flexible compressor I've ever used, and the most musical. It works 95% on the mix buss for us, and often in tracking as well. Certainly not as well known as others, but very special.

rll

Mavericks Recording Studio NYC
Old 17th November 2014
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rll View Post
I would recommend hearing the Old World Audio U33. The most flexible compressor I've ever used, and the most musical. It works 95% on the mix buss for us, and often in tracking as well. Certainly not as well known as others, but very special.

rll

Mavericks Recording Studio NYC
I had no idea this existed! Cool
Old 17th November 2014
  #18
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T_R_S's Avatar
You want something Dangerous on your Mix buss

Old 17th November 2014
  #19
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Yeah U33 was recommended by a close tech friend as well. I may inquire more about it. I very well known big time mixing engineer just emailed me saying I should go for an old Alan Smart. Anyone using one of these?
Old 17th November 2014
  #20
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IUnknown's Avatar
Dangerous Music Compressor
Elysia MPressor
Old 17th November 2014
  #21
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Tommyswami's Avatar
Check out the Nail by A designs I have been very happy with the results. I've noticed it really glues all the tracks together very nicely .
Old 18th November 2014
  #22
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sfoote's Avatar
I've been using the Rupert Neve Master Buss Compressor. It does quite a few things well.

I'm probably the only person in the world for whom an SSL style doesn't work, so take my input for what it's worth.

Other things that I've used are Retro 172s for a more colored sound, and even Overstayer Fet's in a pinch.
Old 18th November 2014
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ1973 View Post
Thanks folks. Appreciate it. Out of these compressor recommendations, are there any that could not be used as mono comps for tracking if need be as well? or for a drum buss to be run through?
+1 for the Rupert Neve MBP. It really is one of the best all-around buss comp, IMO, on the market. Plus people that own one know how sweet the Stereo Field Editor section and Silk are.

If you have the coin, I'd also recommend the Shadow Hills Mastering Comp. Some people can't get over the price point but you can, on occasion, find them for around $6500. I just saw a demo unit on Sweetwater the other day as a matter of fact. Anyway, it really is a fantastic sounding and pretty damn flexible/versatile compressor.

Both compressors you can use as buss comps OR use individual channels for tracking mono sources. You really can't a great bang for your buck with either and both work great on the music you're doing. Hope it helps.
Old 18th November 2014
  #24
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The Serpent Audio SB4001 or TK Audio BC1-S are top choices for SSL clones for sure. I squarely put the Dangerous Compressor in the "once you learn it" category, took a little time but once my brain wrapped around it I found the sucker to be very predictable and easy to dial in.

The Thermionic Culture Phoenix SB is probably the nicest stereo tube compressor one could hope for, and is likely the most versatile in tone on the market.

War
Old 18th November 2014
  #25
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I've never had the pleasure of using the Phoenix SB, but I've used the Culture Vulture 15 a few times on program material so I can just imagine. Those guys know tubes!
Old 19th November 2014
  #26
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CJ1973's Avatar
 

Thanks folks. Still digging deep to work out what may work for my needs and budget.
Who else has used A-Designs? I have a REDDI and it's just amazing. Just curious to know of the MBC is around the type, warm, round etc.
Also, still curious to know more about U33 (emailed them, no response as yet). Shadow Hills is tempting but that's a huge investment into an a new territory for me, instead for that price, I could get a pair of EQs too.
Old 19th November 2014
  #27
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shortstory's Avatar
there are so many choices it's insane these days. and it's very subjective. but based on your criteria, I would say a TC phoenix, SHMC, or an RJR with lundahls (although that's a VCA comp). Lastly- the RND master buss or possibly a fern VT-7.

Like I said- lots choices

Good luck-
Old 19th November 2014
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ1973 View Post
Thanks folks. Still digging deep to work out what may work for my needs and budget.
Who else has used A-Designs? I have a REDDI and it's just amazing. Just curious to know of the MBC is around the type, warm, round etc.
Also, still curious to know more about U33 (emailed them, no response as yet). Shadow Hills is tempting but that's a huge investment into an a new territory for me, instead for that price, I could get a pair of EQs too.
The only A Designs product I own is the REDDI and I agree :D

There are some HD quality videos on youtube where people demonstrate gear, tweaking knobs and flicking bypass on/off throughout that you may find useful to give you a bit of an idea as to the sound the unit imparts.

There should be plenty of videos on the RND MBC as it's pretty popular! Definitely looks great for pop.
Old 19th November 2014
  #29
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warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zigziglar View Post
I've never had the pleasure of using the Phoenix SB, but I've used the Culture Vulture 15 a few times on program material so I can just imagine. Those guys know tubes!
The control is so spot on and easy it's kind of scary. However, most people would likely be amazed at how CLEAN it runs when gain staged properly. It always sounds big and wide, and putting it into the SB mode (StandBy) the tubes are powered at 50% and distort in this really glorious and useful way. Possibly the most versatile tone compressor on the planet.

War
Old 19th November 2014
  #30
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Drumsound's Avatar
I'm still very happy with my Drawmer 1969. The "BIG" switch puts a hi pass filter in the units detector circuit so that low end doesn't make the comp go crazy and get all "pump-y" if you mix the BD hot or like a lot of lows in the mix. It is pretty subtle if not hit hard, but had a tube output stage that add a really nice sonic quality to the unit. The attack and release are switched, so they are simple to recall. I'd actually buy the '68 if I were buying now, as I don't really use the pres or the DI on the '69. I patch it in and mix into it, because adding it late makes me feel like I'm chasing my tail. The thing I notice about using it is how mixes sound more like they sound in the studio when I take them elsewhere. I can mix without it in the studio and think the mix is great, but when I take it home it doesn't have the same weight or cohesiveness as when I use the '69.
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