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Choosing a Compressor
Old 18th January 2021
  #1
Here for the gear
 
Choosing a Compressor

I'm looking at 3 compressors:

Drawmer DL241
Really Nice Compressor
Really Nice Leveling Amp

These would mostly be for drum recording/processing. Appreciate any input from those who have compared all 3.

Thanks!
Old 18th January 2021
  #2
Lives for gear
 
robotchicken's Avatar
 
The rnc is the most overrated piece of crud.
Old 18th January 2021
  #3
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratedepth ➡️
I'm looking at 3 compressors:

Drawmer DL241
Really Nice Compressor
Really Nice Leveling Amp

These would mostly be for drum recording/processing. Appreciate any input from those who have compared all 3.

Thanks!
Hi there,

I have all three of those compressors in my studio and use them all the time on a wide range of mix material.

As to which one I'd reach for it rather depends on what sound you're going for - RNC and DL241 are both very clean comps so I'd use those on a jazz mix but the RNLA is very good for processing drums on pop/rock etc. The RNLA definitely has 'a sound' that makes it much easier to get classically squashed pumping drums - the other two really don't, hence are better for pure transparency.

Obviously, of the three, the Drawmer is a much more 'grown-up' unit with balanced I/O and a more extensive range of controls etc - and crucially can be dual mono comps whereas the FMR stuff is stereo or mono.
Old 18th January 2021 | Show parent
  #4
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by robotchicken ➡️
The rnc is the most overrated piece of crud.
Whoa. I've read nothing but good things. Would you elaborate? Hate to buy junk.

I am a little puzzled by the fact that it's software based. Basically a plug-in in a box?
Old 18th January 2021 | Show parent
  #5
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann ➡️
Hi there,

I have all three of those compressors in my studio and use them all the time on a wide range of mix material.

As to which one I'd reach for it rather depends on what sound you're going for - RNC and DL241 are both very clean comps so I'd use those on a jazz mix but the RNLA is very good for processing drums on pop/rock etc. The RNLA definitely has 'a sound' that makes it much easier to get classically squashed pumping drums - the other two really don't, hence are better for pure transparency.

Obviously, of the three, the Drawmer is a much more 'grown-up' unit with balanced I/O and a more extensive range of controls etc - and crucially can be dual mono comps whereas the FMR stuff is stereo or mono.
Amazing, thank you! I like the sound of the RNLA based on what I've heard. Good to know that it's a winner in practical application on drums.
Old 18th January 2021 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
robotchicken's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratedepth ➡️
Whoa. I've read nothing but good things. Would you elaborate? Hate to buy junk.

I am a little puzzled by the fact that it's software based. Basically a plug-in in a box?
That’s the problem. I read all good things too until I bought one and was madly disappointed. Don’t believe the hype mane
Old 18th January 2021
  #7
Lives for gear
 
robotchicken's Avatar
 
Don’t believe what you read on the internet man. Not even this. sometimes you gotta just figure out yourself and gear is no exception
Old 18th January 2021 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by robotchicken ➡️
The rnc is the most overrated piece of crud.
It's not my thing, I prefer gear with some color to it but it's far from a "piece of crud".

It's very clean which means software can do what it does quite well unless you really have the need for a hardware solution.

Honestly one has to really search hard these day s to find gear that is truly crappy.

An Alesis 3630 might count as crud but then again there are people who find uses even for it.

Simply calling something crud without offering further detail and info about what you mean is a pretty "crud" comment.
Old 18th January 2021
  #9
Lives for gear
 
robotchicken's Avatar
 
What’s the real piece of crud is a compressor not even worth a mention is mentioned thousands of times on the internet when a better less popular piece never gets mentioned.
Old 18th January 2021 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
robotchicken's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLast ➡️
It's not my thing, I prefer gear with some color to it but it's far from a "piece of crud".

It's very clean which means software can do what it does quite well unless you really have the need for a hardware solution.

Honestly one has to really search hard these day s to find gear that is truly crappy.

An Alesis 3630 might count as crud but then again there are people who find uses even for it.

Simply calling something crud without offering further detail and info about what you mean is a pretty "crud" comment.
But it makes sense I wouldn’t be surprised if you worked for the company that makes rnc. I know If I was a company I would be making a ton of spam accounts and just drilling these forums
Old 19th January 2021 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by robotchicken ➡️
But it makes sense I wouldn’t be surprised if you worked for the company that makes rnc. I know If I was a company I would be making a ton of spam accounts and just drilling these forums
With what you have chosen to say so far here I'm not surprised you have an irrational conspiracy theory that I work for FMR.

I don't work for them. If you search and read the kind of stuff I post here i'm about helping people out and sharing what I know about audio not trying to push gear or sell stuff I benefit from.

I did have an RNC on loan a several years back from a friend for about a month to try out and I decided not to purchase it because it was too clean and I wanted something that provided a bit of color to the signal.

I did get to spend some time with it and felt I actually got to know it a bit which was cool but ended up getting a couple of old ART VLA comps cheap that were more my kind of thing and are still in my rack.
Old 19th January 2021
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
drsaamah's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
to dismiss a piece of gear without providing a single reason is as constructive as saying a piece of gear is the greatest and not providing a single reason. trash comment, and accusing someone who has asked you for justification of working for the company pretty much just makes you a troll.

The RNC is raved about for good reason. The quality you get for $120 is unmatched by any other hardware compressor on the market.
It is not a digital hardware compressor. The audio path is 100% analog. The controls are digital. What this means is that the audio does not pass through the parameters potentiometers. But the compression is still analog.
The RNC sounds high quality in the sense that the noise floor is very low, very little distortion (especially given the price point), very transparent.
The biggest con to the RNC is a lack of balanced inputs and outputs. This is the reason why I sold mine. Didn't feel like incorporating the unit into my patch bay (especially because of the TRS input/insert jacks).
But before anything, I would ask the OP....
What exactly are you looking for in the compressor? Do you want coloration? Do you want something fast enough the really clamp down on the transients? I had a Drawmer 1960 for about 48 hours, using the line inputs so the unit was just a stereo compressor. That particular unit was definitely on the "dark" side, tonally. Not bad for drums, in my opinion. I currently own a 1973 which I love on drums, and almost everything else. Of course that's a little different, as its a multiband compressor.
So again... what do you want out of your drum compressor? I think we can help you better if we have some insight there.
Old 19th January 2021
  #13
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Agree with drsaamah except I think “raved about” is a bit of exaggeration on how it is thought of. The RNC is inexpensive, it works, it is very well-behaved. But... the unbalanced connections can sometimes be problematic if you use it in a chain with balanced equipment. Some balanced gear doesn’t play well with unbalanced gear.
I found it effective for simple compression, but I’m happy enough that I haven’t had to use one in years. I found it useful but unexciting.
Old 19th January 2021
  #14
Gear Maniac
This is Low End Theory.

Use software compression.

Or buy what is locally available on the used market.

Getting picky about expensive compressors is for the High End subforum. Not for low end enthusiasts to try coloring their sound.
Old 19th January 2021
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
A less commonly talked about option is a Focusrite Compounder. Looks like the price has crept up a little since I last looked, but they can still likely be had for less than $200. It's a very versatile compressor with full manual control over everything. Can be clean or characterful depending on how you set it. It was a much pricier piece when new than the other pieces being discussed here, but it was a flop that never got a reputation as a sleeper piece to drive the price up.

Having said that, Sense_A has a good point. Are you sure you need a hardware compressor?
Old 19th January 2021 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sense_A ➡️
This is Low End Theory.
Getting picky about expensive compressors is for the High End subforum.
This IS Low End Theory, so I agree about the silliness of recommending or discussing expensive compressors in this particular forum.

That said, the RNC is not an expensive compressor, and thus fits in Low End, I think.
Second, folks who right now belong in the Low End forum often have aspirations to move above and beyond that designation. Some are eager to explore hardware, and to learn about common differences in hardware such as balanced/unbalanced, +4/-10, line/DI, and so on.
Did someone recommend a Manley or Retro in this thread? I missed that.
Old 19th January 2021 | Show parent
  #17
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by drsaamah ➡️
to dismiss a piece of gear without providing a single reason is as constructive as saying a piece of gear is the greatest and not providing a single reason. trash comment, and accusing someone who has asked you for justification of working for the company pretty much just makes you a troll.

The RNC is raved about for good reason. The quality you get for $120 is unmatched by any other hardware compressor on the market.
It is not a digital hardware compressor. The audio path is 100% analog. The controls are digital. What this means is that the audio does not pass through the parameters potentiometers. But the compression is still analog.
The RNC sounds high quality in the sense that the noise floor is very low, very little distortion (especially given the price point), very transparent.
The biggest con to the RNC is a lack of balanced inputs and outputs. This is the reason why I sold mine. Didn't feel like incorporating the unit into my patch bay (especially because of the TRS input/insert jacks).
But before anything, I would ask the OP....
What exactly are you looking for in the compressor? Do you want coloration? Do you want something fast enough the really clamp down on the transients? I had a Drawmer 1960 for about 48 hours, using the line inputs so the unit was just a stereo compressor. That particular unit was definitely on the "dark" side, tonally. Not bad for drums, in my opinion. I currently own a 1973 which I love on drums, and almost everything else. Of course that's a little different, as its a multiband compressor.
So again... what do you want out of your drum compressor? I think we can help you better if we have some insight there.
Appreciate the thoughtful reply.

I recently got to hear what a Distressor did on room mics (printed) and what it did to the snare, kick, and overheads (post) and was blown away. Nothing in software sounds like that.

I'm sure none of the units I listed are close to the Distressor, but the samples I've heard online all sound better (to my ears) than software emulations.
Old 20th January 2021
  #18
Lives for gear
 
The Distressor is a $1500 unit and it's mono, I'd say that's well out of the land of low end even though there are comps that cost a lot more than that.

The Golden Age Comp 3a jr is around $350 if you want an opto compressor that has transformers and descrete transistors in it and has some color. I have a couple of Comp2a which is the tube version and they are nice but run about $600.

The RNLA I have never had a chance to use but I have seen many claim that it has a sound to it. For the price it is probably worth further investigation.
Old 20th January 2021 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
drsaamah's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Can we consider the Distressor low end theory? :D
I don't know of anything on the cheaper side that would sound like a distressor. Maybe maybe the warm audio bus comp? Something VCA for sure. You might be best off saving for a Distressor and practicing dialing in compression with plugins in the mean time. The best definitive advice I can give you is to not collect crap hardware. We've all been there. You'll be swimming in boxes that will cost you more to ship than their used market value.
Old 20th January 2021 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
drsaamah's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Hey, how long have you been using the C2a? I have two comp54's and both of them are no longer working. It seems like GAP has, or at least had, some serious QA issues.
Old 20th January 2021 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by drsaamah ➡️
Hey, how long have you been using the C2a? I have two comp54's and both of them are no longer working. It seems like GAP has, or at least had, some serious QA issues.
I have had the Comp2a's for about two years or so. One had a tube that was making a weird high end noise that was fixed by swapping it out. No other issues.

My pair of Pre73'dlx which are probably about five years old have been fine except the controls need to be excercised a bit once in a while. The output pad especially gets dirty if left on the same setting for months on end. Just needs to be turned back and fourth a bunch, I've never even bothered to break out the Caig cleaner on it yet.
Old 20th January 2021 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratedepth ➡️
Appreciate the thoughtful reply.

I recently got to hear what a Distressor did on room mics (printed) and what it did to the snare, kick, and overheads (post) and was blown away. Nothing in software sounds like that.

I'm sure none of the units I listed are close to the Distressor, but the samples I've heard online all sound better (to my ears) than software emulations.
Are you sure you've really exhaustively checked out the various distressor emulations to your satisfaction? It's not exactly the same but I think FG-Stress sounds much better than it has any business sounding, especially at zero latency and a light cpu load. And there are a whole bunch of others I haven't heard but have a good reputation. That seems like a straighter line to your goal to me, but I suspect you probably will just need to try a range of things and figure out your own preferences.

Last edited by NarxistDan; 20th January 2021 at 04:22 AM..
Old 20th January 2021 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by drsaamah ➡️
I don't know of anything on the cheaper side that would sound like a distressor. Maybe maybe the warm audio bus comp?
I have a Warm Bus Comp. I like it a lot, and especially like the switchable Cinemag transformers. I doubt it sounds like a Distressor, but I only have the Slate Distressor simulation to compare.
Old 20th January 2021
  #24
Gear Nut
Time to embrace the Low End Theory and get an Alesis 3630
Old 20th January 2021
  #25
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
You could pick from many Behringer hardware compressors. They are extremely low-priced used. Any of them is a better compressor than the 3630.
Old 20th January 2021
  #26
Lives for gear
 
As NarxistDan mentioned, plugins are your friend if you don't have much cash to spend but here are some budget ideas if you want hardware.

The Alesis MicroLimiter is cool for a cheapie. I have four of them and they can be a little noisy but if you gainstage carefully they can do some good stuff.

Also the DBX 163 and 163x are also useful budget boxes, people tend to use them on drums and bass but they will work even on vocals if that's all you've got.

The ART VLA is another friend of those who live in Low End Theory land and has xlr's and is lower noise than the others I mentioned. I have a couple of old made in USA ones.
Old 20th January 2021
  #27
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Similar to the Drawmer

Old 20th January 2021 | Show parent
  #28
Here for the gear
 
Thank you! I will check those out as well!
Old 20th January 2021 | Show parent
  #29
Here for the gear
 
I've been reluctant to get into the iLok/subscription thing, but I'll give another look and listen.
Old 20th January 2021 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
drsaamah's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
If we're going software route, I can't speak highly enough of Harrison's plugins. No iLok or weird subscription things. And they're always having crazy sales where you can grab their plugins for $39 if not less.
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