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2 Ch Overdub Rig - Stereo Compressor or High Quality AD Converter Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 29th December 2014
  #1
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2 Ch Overdub Rig - Stereo Compressor or High Quality AD Converter

I mix 100% in the box in my project studio, though do a lot of overdubs. Most of my overdub work is electric guitar (mic'd amp) and DI bass, though I will often add some percussion and other auxiliary instruments. Currently I have a great small mic locker, 2 really nice Chandler mic preamps and an RME UC interface. I only ever record 2 channels at a time, so I am considering either getting a stereo compressor or a high quality 2ch AD converter.

I have a Urei 1178 on loan from a friend right now, and like what it is adding to my chain while tracking. For bass, compressing on the way in sounds great, whereas for guitars, I find it sounds great just using it as a line amp, with little to no gain reduction, just to add some color. I'm really enjoying what the 1178 is adding to the chain, and like the possibility of doing some OTB compression on the way in on bass, percussion and other random instruments I may record.

I could either buy his 1178 or spend the money on a Burl B2 ADC. Since I won't do that much compression while tracking, this might be the better option to optimize my overdub chain. I can't afford both right now. The 1178 being vintage, might be a good investment, but since I am not going to be able to utilize it to it's full extent, I might do better with the Burl...also, since I haven't tried the Burl side by side with the 1178, I'm not sure if that color I'm hearing from the 1178 as a line amp is similar at all to what the Burl provides when driven a bit, or if it's a totally different thing.

What should I go for? Thanks!
Old 29th December 2014
  #2
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JonMiller's Avatar
If I were you, I would buy the 1178. It'll go up in value, converters only go down in value.
Old 29th December 2014
  #3
+1 to compressing on the way in. I wouldn't want to use an 1178 on everything (it can often be too fast in attack IME as compared to a mu or opto), but if using in moderation it can add a benefit in function and tone (as you've already found).
Old 29th December 2014
  #4
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Is the sound I'm getting from the 1178 with no compression/gain reduction, similar at all to the transformer sound that the Burl imparts on the signal?
Old 30th December 2014
  #5
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You will reap more sonic benefit from anything you do on the front end BEFORE signal hits the AD converter. The question then becomes one of real needs and allocation of your budget. First consider spending on a great Bass DI if your Chandler pre doesn't have that. There is a thread here on that subject with links to clips of different Bass DI's worth your research. As for compressors if you are looking for an 1176 flavor look up the Warm Audio WA76 thread here (a $600 1176 clone that gets much love from gearslutz members) as it will not eat up much of your budget and accomplish this task well. Consider some other choices too for another flavor of compression that won't dent the budget much but give you more options like a DBX 160X (meduim grab VCA type some like for Bass, $200 used) or specifically for guitar - any comp that has the adjective "Silk" associated with it.

With some careful choices and shopping you will be able to cover plenty of ground without spending much.
Old 30th December 2014
  #6
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Thanks for the advice! The Chandler Germanium Preamp sounds great on bass DI and I'm going to get a DI box so I can try running the bass through the mic inputs (perhaps an NPNG Diehlio DI as recommended by other forum members). Might also upgrade my bass pickups while I'm at it..I guess it's really hard to know how much of a difference converters will make until I actually can test them on my own material, but with all the love that the Burl B2 gets around here, it made me think it would be a really important investment in getting analog sources into the digital world.

I've got some great software compressors which I feel really comfortable with and love the sound of, so I don't feel I "need" a compressor on my front end...but since the 1178 is available to me, it got me thinking maybe I should grab that instead of the Burl, which was my original plan, to upgrade converters.
Old 30th December 2014
  #7
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ITB comps and hardware just sound different. As you have a hardware comp on hand right now, run comparisons including using the hardware comp during the mix stage as a hardware insert. Those experimentations should point you tword more outboard or none at all. Don't let others tell you what you need, get your hands dirty and find out for yourself.
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