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Analog stem summing and processing on a budget
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Analog stem summing and processing on a budget

Hello, dear fellows! As the COVID19's still hitting pretty hard here in Italy, the only single positive outcome has been the huge availability of time for those like me who were blessed enough to have it. I used it to bring to completion the pre-production of a work I've long been into and now it's time to record, mix and master.

Surely there's the usual path (hitting studios, etc.) but lately I've had some guilty pleasure in listening to the stuff I've recorded in those pre-production sessions by letting it run outside Logic Pro and through my old Mackie CR1604. I just like the way its preamps and eq. work, it's a no-nonsense and effective box that actually seems to add some of that "je ne sais quoi" we're pretty much all about.

Now, I'm thinking at a possible solution "on-a-budget" to get 8 stems (6 stereo and 2 mono) processed by the Mackie using its onboard eq and some outboard. More precisely, I'd love to have the following kinds of hardware external processors:

- 2 stereo compressors; one squashy and aggressive and the other warm and gentle;
- 2 saturators
- 2 equalizers with some "personality" (I have the UBK Clariphonic in mind but it'd be a tad too much for the budget).

I think the good ol' Alesis 3630 would perfectly address the needs for the first of the two kinds of compressors, but I'm short of ideas about the second one (maybe the Drawmer 1978? Or maybe some Joemeek?). As to the saturators I was thinking at the Elektron Heat but uhm… and about the equalizers… well: no real clue about where to look at.

What would you suggest in terms of brands, models, ideas and thoughts about this? Since I'm pretty skilled at soldering and assembling, hints about DIY kits and/or usually "obscure" stuff (let's say Orban?) would be VERY welcome, full size rack or 500 format makes no difference. Thanks a ton in upfront!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Nut
ciao compatriota,
as a budget piece of gear did you consider ART Pro VLA II compressor? I'll be after one of those in a few weeks probably.
If you go to accessanalog.com and shell out a few bucks you can try SSL Fusion and the LTLO Silver Bullet. I literally fell in love with the Silver Bullet, sounds amazing to me: this one is definitely making the top of my wishlist. They're not really on the cheap side though.
I just bought 2 of the pultec-style Warm Audio WA-PEQ-1, not sure if that's what your looking for but definitely has a character, and an affordable price tag
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmilani View Post
ciao compatriota,
as a budget piece of gear did you consider ART Pro VLA II compressor? I'll be after one of those in a few weeks probably.
If you go to accessanalog.com and shell out a few bucks you can try SSL Fusion and the LTLO Silver Bullet. I literally fell in love with the Silver Bullet, sounds amazing to me: this one is definitely making the top of my wishlist. They're not really on the cheap side though.
I just bought 2 of the pultec-style Warm Audio WA-PEQ-1, not sure if that's what your looking for but definitely has a character, and an affordable price tag
Ciao caro! :D

Thank you for the very interesting tips; I've never had the chance to try out the Art Pro VLA II, so far, but I regularly see it mentioned around. I'll try to snag one and see how it behaves, many vouch for its warmth though I'm curious about its noise floor… did you have the chance to test your newcome?
As to the accessanalog.com idea, definitely a great one! It could be helpful in the last phases of the process, I'll keep that in mind.
Yeah, I've been looking at the Warm Audio line of vintage repros (Pultec, 1176…) but I'm kinda curious as to the even-cheaper dark side that is Klark Teknik. Anyone tried to mess around with them/modded them? Any other input from the board?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ulrichanders View Post
Hello, dear fellows! As the COVID19's still hitting pretty hard here in Italy, the only single positive outcome has been the huge availability of time for those like me who were blessed enough to have it. I used it to bring to completion the pre-production of a work I've long been into and now it's time to record, mix and master.

Surely there's the usual path (hitting studios, etc.) but lately I've had some guilty pleasure in listening to the stuff I've recorded in those pre-production sessions by letting it run outside Logic Pro and through my old Mackie CR1604. I just like the way its preamps and eq. work, it's a no-nonsense and effective box that actually seems to add some of that "je ne sais quoi" we're pretty much all about.

Now, I'm thinking at a possible solution "on-a-budget" to get 8 stems (6 stereo and 2 mono) processed by the Mackie using its onboard eq and some outboard. More precisely, I'd love to have the following kinds of hardware external processors:

- 2 stereo compressors; one squashy and aggressive and the other warm and gentle;
- 2 saturators
- 2 equalizers with some "personality" (I have the UBK Clariphonic in mind but it'd be a tad too much for the budget).

I think the good ol' Alesis 3630 would perfectly address the needs for the first of the two kinds of compressors, but I'm short of ideas about the second one (maybe the Drawmer 1978? Or maybe some Joemeek?). As to the saturators I was thinking at the Elektron Heat but uhm… and about the equalizers… well: no real clue about where to look at.

What would you suggest in terms of brands, models, ideas and thoughts about this? Since I'm pretty skilled at soldering and assembling, hints about DIY kits and/or usually "obscure" stuff (let's say Orban?) would be VERY welcome, full size rack or 500 format makes no difference. Thanks a ton in upfront!
So... what exactly is your budget?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgood View Post
So... what exactly is your budget?
Say more or less 700€ in total but it could vary in time, since I'm not expecting to finish the recording before July.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
The ART PRO VLA II isn't particularly noisy IMHO. But it's certainly not a compressor that works on all material. When it does, it's great but for some reason on certain tracks it sounds dull and flat. I put hotter tubes in mine to use it as a parallel grit box. Although I have a Silver Bullet now so I might switch back to the OE tubes. The VLA II makes a lovely tracking vocal compressor. It sounds like I've got a downer in the VLA II - I haven't - it's a cracking bit of kit for the money. These days I would have probably gone for stereo-linked KT-2As instead. The VLA is far more transparent though - particularly when you're not hitting it hard.

I also have a Warm BusComp. Again this sounds nice as long as you don't drive it too hard. I think the transformer insert is great on certain things - sometimes it just widens too much and loses the focus of the track. Not bad as a tracking compressor for bass, here the transformer button solidifies the sound nicely. On whole mixes it can do the opposite and add too much mud. I definitely found I have to mix into this compressor to work with it to keep the bottom end clean rather than slapping it on a finished mix and expecting an improvement.
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