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Analogue character / distortion device... Saturation Plugins
Old 11th February 2015
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Analogue character / distortion device...

Hello,

I mix predominantly ITB, working with hip-hop / electronic / experimental music.

I tend to use Decapitator on many of my individual tracks, as well as busses - I love what it does. I also enjoy driving the input on Filter Freak. Similarly, I'm finding that the sound of soft-clipping can be useful for 'dirtying' sounds.

I've decided that I'd like to see what analogue can offer.

Right now I'm split between purchasing a stereo character compressor that I can use on the drum bus, or a Burl B2 that I can use to sum stems and the overall mix.

Can you please suggest further options / ideas? I'll mostly be using it on drums.

Budget: $3500

Many thanks
Old 11th February 2015
  #2
Gear Addict
I should imagine something like the Culture Vulture would be useful if you like Decapitator?
Old 11th February 2015
  #3
i just ordered a Cranesong HEDD 192. Its doesn't crush things the way a culture vulture or the decapitator does. Its a converter box not a compressor, but for summing it has some exceptional converters and it also has some tape and tube emultations that add different charicter depending on how you use them. heres a video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS8YCCeT1ss
Old 11th February 2015
  #4
It really depends on the flavour you like. There are literally loads of options at this point from the culture vulture to the Zener or the RND 511 to the Burl B2. Heck you could even get yourself a tape machine cheap nowadays.
Old 11th February 2015
  #5
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

It really depends on how subtle or pronounced you want to go.

I love the Crane Song HEDD 192 suggestion, the tape saturation emulation is quite nice plus you'd be picking up a top notch converter. The saturation will be fairly subtle though.

The Burl is a great converter but don't buy it to "push" or saturate it, I know it has transformers etc but it will clip when pushed like many devices.

If you're looking at being able to really push it seems the Overstayer Saturator or Thermionic Culture Vulture might be best suited, among other analog solutions as well.

Along the lines of Overstayer it's worth a mention that their AMPEQ-02 is a dual channel pre that also accepts line level. The EQ on board is excellent in a Pultec usefulness kind of way, with great tone. It has a 2nd order and 3rd order harmonic circuit though that you can switch in and push.

You'd end up with stereo preamps, harmonic distortion and EQ all in one place.

War
Old 11th February 2015
  #6
Lives for gear
 
toledo3's Avatar
 

The Summit TPA200B can be used for a slight tube saturation/soft clip to raunchy distortion. It's really nice as far as being a good all around preamp, and having that added frill that's almost an entire secondary function. Mic and line inputs, two channels. Two 990 opamps per channel, and a tube saturation stage for each. Dave Hill design from before he left Summit. Lots of bang for the buck compared to other options I can think of…closest thing I've heard to it are some clips of the newer Chandler Redd preamp.

Anytime I want that tube driven sound, it's my go-to. Great as a DI for bass/guitar/keys, or for general saturate/distort purposes.

It's not really just a distortion box though… if it's gain staged so that it doesn't saturate, it's pretty similar to something like a Hardy Dual Servo preamp…clean and snappy.
Old 12th February 2015
  #7
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brianellefson's Avatar
How about a FATSO Jr or the UBK version? Put an EQ or something into the side chain where you can control the volume. Then you can dial in the distortion without having to smash the signal with the compressor. I have the UBK version and I like it on drum buss, but adding a side chain with volume control lets you really push the grit without too much compression. Just a thought.
Old 12th February 2015
  #8
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Aaron Miller's Avatar
Check out Mammoth Cave Audio! I'm not affiliated in any way...just saw a post on here and their Passive Aggresive looks interesting.
Old 12th February 2015
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Thanks for all your suggestions - some good ideas / stuff I hadn't considered.

I'm thinking the Burl might not be the best route, now.

Will check out Mammoth, Summit, Overstayer & UBK.

I've also discovered the LoopTrotter Monster, which seems cool, but not much feedback on it... This and the Culture Vulture are definitely in the running.

From the videos I've seen, these latter two can really be pushed into sonic annihilation, which is a nice option to have!

Thanks
Old 12th February 2015
  #10
Gear Addict
I have a vulture which is cool, but I prefer the heft I get from my fat bustard.

I know that thermionic just announced a little red bustard which has the same distortion circuit as the fat bustard plus you could use it as a summing mixer.

Not as flexible as the vulture but definitely worth considering!
Old 13th February 2015
  #11
Lives for gear
 
skythemusic's Avatar
Also consider things like the SansAmp PSA1.
Old 13th February 2015
  #12
Gear Nut
 
InMyGalaxie's Avatar
 

Decapitator is honestly so great. I demo'd the Culture Vulture trying to step up the grittiness in parallel, but actually found the decapitator could emulate the Vulture's sound without getting as mushy. Personally couldn't justify the price. Still a cool unit though.

Not analog but...

For nice overall coloration/vibe ITB - check out Steven Slate's VCC and VTM plugins. Mix into 'em and enjoy.

For gnarly distortion, check out Massey's THC plugin. Didn't use it much until they updated it with that wet/dry fader. It's badass.
Old 13th February 2015
  #13
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skythemusic's Avatar
Also consider things like the SansAmp PSA1.
Old 13th February 2015
  #14
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Avening's Avatar
 

New product hitting shelves soon. Would fit your criteria quite well.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-m...-tone-amp.html
Old 14th February 2015
  #15
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funkycam's Avatar
 

Overstayer has a new harmonic color box. Eric Valentine approved. I am a huge decapitator fan & looking for a colored hardware box. Had been thinking about a fatso but this might be the call.
M-A-S — OVERSTAYER Recording Equipment, Inc.
Old 14th February 2015
  #16
Gear Addict
Think you should check out the Kush Audio Tweaker because saturation, color, compression is what it does. Blew my mind. Seriously!

Waiting for a second unit to arrive next wk for the stereo pair. It's just under 3k for a pair which is below your budget too. See the demo video and in the first 40 secs you'll see it.
https://vimeo.com/115147316
Old 17th February 2015
  #17
More Options...

I went through this search a number of years back as well, and from what it sound like you're saying, and given your budget, I would divide the labor into 2 different processors. On a tip from Joe Chicarrelli, I started with a pair of Level-Ors in a 500 rack. They are reasonable, and are absolutely fantastic in parallel on a drum kit or a loop, as well as other things you want to dirty up. They are modeled on the old Shure Level-Loc compressors, and do the distortion/smash thing perfectly, imho.

After that, other cool compression/distortion flavors abound...my faves over the years have been Spectrasonics 610, Ampex 351 pres, and Fender Tweed Champs...obviously, there are many great stereo compressors for drum buss that do wonderful things...I would say that the holy grail would be a pair of Levelors and a big fat tube Limiter running in parallel to your original track(s)....keep us posted on what you end up with! Good luck!
Old 17th February 2015
  #18
Lives for gear
this thread is friggin rockin -- great suggestions. what a renaissance of gear going on! and i don't wanna pick a fight, but the decapitator and culture vulture are in 2 entirely different leagues. as are the UAD version and hardware. sorry, but we're a decade + out from successfully emulating these things..
Old 18th February 2015
  #19
Gear Head
 

DIYRE Colour Palette (500 series)

Colour – DIYRE

Pretty easy to put together and available pre-built as well. I'm playing with designing my own Colour right now ...
Old 18th February 2015
  #20
Lives for gear
Swap Decapitator with Klanghelm SDRR and be happy
I bought and sold many "character" boxes (not talkng about coms or eqs,
but more or less dedicated "color/distortion boxes)
and more and more I feel plugins like SDRR (Reelbus is another one)
not only sound as good, but sometimes better just because they're so
tweakable and versatile.
Sure some more time is neede to get to know them but well worth
the effort. Oh wait, this is hi end, my bad..
Old 18th February 2015
  #21
Lives for gear
^ demoed and bought. def not high end -- too cheap:0 but great vibe.. thanks Retinal!
Old 18th February 2015
  #22
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldi View Post
^ demoed and bought. def not high end -- too cheap:0 but great vibe.. thanks Retinal!
No prob
Really a lil gem this one
Old 18th February 2015
  #23
SEED78
Guest
This is a bit of a obsession of mine.

Black Box HG2 (prob the best choice)
UBK Fatso
Culture Vulture ME/Special Edition
Loop trotter Sat2rate (cheapest option)
Overstayer Saturator

or
TC Phoenix (driven hard during tracking or mix bus)
or
Loop trotter Monster (tracking or mix bus)
or
slate dragon/dave hill titan/distressor/UBK Tweaker (recording mono channels)

or, just mix/record through a suitable coloured preamp...
Old 18th February 2015
  #24
SEED78
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by funkycam View Post
Overstayer has a new harmonic color box. Eric Valentine approved. I am a huge decapitator fan & looking for a colored hardware box. Had been thinking about a fatso but this might be the call.
M-A-S — OVERSTAYER Recording Equipment, Inc.
interesting! will add that to my list!
Old 18th February 2015
  #25
Gear Nut
 

Many thanks for all your responses.

I'm glad I started this thread - I've discovered so many pieces that I never knew existed!

Will def look into the HG2. Also interested in the 500 series Devil-Loc clone - I really like the Sound Toys plugin.

Will keep you posted with my findings...
Old 18th February 2015
  #26
Gear Addict
 
Highphi's Avatar
 

If you are handy with a soldering gun... try an old Auditronics 110b channel strip with the A30 xfmr equipped output card running at 18volts. There are 4x5534 opamps in there that have a truly gritty sound. You can overdrive them and achieve a "tubescreamer" overdrive, or distortion, like tone. Plus the xfmr's give it some balls. Great for tracking guitars IME. They are super cheap on ebay these days, like $200!
Old 18th February 2015
  #27
SEED78
Guest
Also - I keep hearing many MANY good things about FabFilter Saturn plug in - I love hardware, but this might be the ticket for all our distortion needs if what I keep hearing is correct.
Old 18th February 2015
  #28
Lives for gear
 

that thread is cool !
Old 18th February 2015
  #29
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Audio Child's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SEED78 View Post
This is a bit of a obsession of mine.

Black Box HG2 (prob the best choice)
UBK Fatso
Culture Vulture ME/Special Edition
Loop trotter Sat2rate (cheapest option)
Overstayer Saturator

or
TC Phoenix (driven hard during tracking or mix bus)
or
Loop trotter Monster (tracking or mix bus)
or
slate dragon/dave hill titan/distressor/UBK Tweaker (recording mono channels)

or, just mix/record through a suitable coloured preamp...
Can't accept the HG2 as the best because we haven't enough testimonies proving that statement!

You forget to mention the Sonic Farm Creamer plus too!
Old 18th February 2015
  #30
SEED78
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio Child View Post
Can't accept the HG2 as the best because we haven't enough testimonies proving that statement!

You forget to mention the Sonic Farm Creamer plus too!
That's why its 'prob' best choice not 'def' the best choice. Personally I hear what I like from demos made so far.

I forgot a list the creamliner/creamer plus, but that amounts to mixing through a nice preamp, which I did mention. There is not that many users of those products out there either tbh, if original poster wants 'tried and tested' and a big user base to reference, that's the Culture Vulture/Fatso or one if the mono comp's I mentioned.
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