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Multichannel Compressor/Limiter
Old 7th August 2005
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Multichannel Compressor/Limiter

Hi,

I have been piecing together a mobile multitrack recording rig for some time... it's together & has been tested a couple of times, but I've come to the conclustion that I need a couple of multichannel Compressor/Limiters to control overs & prevent clipping.

The rig basics;

Soundcraft Spirit FX16 Desk w/16 Mic Channels all with direct-outs
direct-outs patched directly into 2x Sonorus (swissonic) AD24s
M-Audio Octane
Behringer ADA8000
PC with Frontier Designs Dakota/Montana Cards

I use the desk to record all the channels which are needed in the FOH/Foldback Mix, and the M-Audio/Behringer for stuff that's just being recorded (generally drum overheads/room mics/etc)


I like to ride the gain as high as possible without constant clipping... i know 24-bit ADC; I dont really need to, but regardless I'm going to get the occasional peak.

So, I'm looking for some multichannel Compressor/Limiters that are giong to appear reasonably transparent, and aren't going to hurt the pocket too much.


I dont think I could bring myself to buy the bottom-o-the-line Alto CLE8.0, and the Presonus ACP88 looks awesome, but the budget isnt going to stretch to multiples of them in a hurry!


Any suggestions on something that will do the job in the mean time?


There used to be a Behringer product which was *just* a multichannel limiter... but surely the sound of a limiter alone isnt going to sound much more musical than clipping? These arent available, but if anyone thinks they;re worthwhile I can probably find a couple over time on ebay.


Thanks in advance...

Matt
Old 7th August 2005
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

I just spent a little while making a bit of a list... please give me your thoughts on any of these... any I've missed?

Remember, I am in Australia, the prices listed are the cheapest I could find in aus with a quick search.



Multichannel Compressors
------------------------

Make-Model, Comp, Limit, Gate, Price, where?

Alto CLE4.0, 4, 4, NA, $ 245, musiclab.com.au
Alto ACL4, 4, 4, NA, $ ???
Behringer MDX4600 (exp/gate/comp/lim), 4, 4, 4, $ 265, musiclab.com.au
Behringer MDX4400 (comp/lim), 4, 4, NA, $ ???
DBX 1046 Quad Compressor Limiter, 4, 4, NA, $1149, proaudio.com.au
LA Audio C400, 4, 4, NA, $ ???
Prosonus CL44, 4, 4, ??, $ 996, musicianswarehouse.com.au

Alto CLE8.0, 8, 8, 8, $ 899, musiclab.com.au
SM Pro Audio OC8, 8, 8, NA, $ 699, highstreet.net.au
Presonus ACP88, 8, 8, 8, $1596, musicianswarehouse.com.au



Alternatively, replace my ADC with models that features a compressor/limiter...

Focusrite Octopre 8ch mic pre/comp/lim, 8, 8, NA, $2139, musiclab.com.au
+requires ADAT Addon @ $ 549!
OR
Presonus Digimax 96K, 8, 8, NA, $2595, brisound.com.au
Old 7th August 2005
  #3
Lives for gear
 

FMR Audio RNC. Less than $200. Check out www.mercenary.com.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Old 8th August 2005
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Hi Chris,

Best price I can find for the RNC is AU$399... for what is effectively a single channel.

I started this thread specifically to discuss multichannel compressors.

Thanks for the input anyway

Matt
Old 8th August 2005
  #5
please some more info for me:
do you do afterprocessing with a sequenzer?(get your tracks in a sequenzer and mix it) or is it just, record and forget?
Old 8th August 2005
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

I am doing multitrack recording to mix later... I want the signal to be as "uncoloured" by eq/fx as possible at record time.

Limiting is the main goal here, and I am seriously considering selling a stack of my gear to replace my mic pres/ADC's with octopre/digimax... which will give me compressor/limiter on every channel. Then I can run line-outs from these to my FOH/Foldback desk... big $s to do this though!
Old 8th August 2005
  #7
My general rule:
don't compress the sound while recording (I change my mind with bassdrums, Snare and vocals).

Spend your money on a better interface, and some compressors for the dirty signals.

The processing afterwards is important for me. If you process the drums with right plugins you can get out a good drumsound from crap (I feel people trying to hang me now ) ..

good luck man
Old 8th August 2005
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

I'm not sure you completely understand my situation...

this is live, onsite recording, 1 take stuff... clipping ruins a track, no going back & recording it again, or putting the level down a bit for the next take... and no matter how low you ride/reduce the gain transient peaks can happen.

Thanks anyway George, what you have offered is good advice, for someone in a studio.


If anyone has any actual experience with the compressors I have mentioned, or can suggest other affordable options I should add to my list (4+ compressors per RU), please let me know.

Single channel & Stereo (permanently linked, like the RNC) are not of much use... it may turn out that I will buy one or more "boutique"/expensive compressors for vocals and other sensitive tracks, but for now I'm looking for lots of channels to prevent clipping.
Old 8th August 2005
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

perhaps I should have posted this query in the remote possibilities forum where they would be dealing with these same issues?... but it worries me that they will not have a solution that fits into the "Low end theory" budget
Old 8th August 2005
  #10
Gear Addict
 
seb37000's Avatar
 

Best price and quality you'll ever find is the Tf pro p5.
Its a five channel comp, 1 strereo and 3 mono for 500 euros.
Its an optical comp and its really awsome.
Old 9th August 2005
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Hi seb37000,

Although I was able to find the P5 for sale on a couple of website, the TF Pro website has no mention of it whatsoever... is it new? discontinued?

Got to find a distributor/reseller in Australia, if there is one...

It'll make it onto the shortlist after I get some more info

Matt
Old 10th August 2005
  #12
Lives for gear
Hi bernieLOmax, I use the ACP-88 in my studio. it's okay if you don't hit it to hard. Actually, all the processing works ok (compressor, limiter, gate) if you don't push it to hard. If you push it, it seems to get thin quick! YMMV.
Old 10th August 2005
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Pohaku's Avatar
 

You might want to see if you can track down some of the older SX200 series Symetrix stuff used. Discontinued but very functional and quite well built - certainly better built that Alto. The SX206 multidynamics processor (1 channel) and SX208 stereo compressor can often be picked up for $50 US. I find them remarkably musical. There is also the 501 compressor but those go for more like $100 US a channel - but they are great on bass and stereo linkable. Radio stations often seem to be unloading these.
Old 10th August 2005
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

snatchman, so you think it would be a good option for my needs... specifcally for catching transient peaks, and taming hot channels until I notice & bring the channel gain back a bit?


Any good for live Kick/Snare/Tom gate/compression?

I dont mind recording these channels post FX, as I've found myself using drumagog more and more to replace the recorded track with samples...


Thanks, it's good to finally hear from someone who actually uses one of these, and not just someone who heard something from someone who knew someone...

Matt
Old 10th August 2005
  #15
Lives for gear
 
John Suitcase's Avatar
 

I know everyone hates Behringer gear, but I have an MDX 4400 and it works fine. I usually set it to do very mild compression, with the limiter adjusted so it just "limits" on the occasional hard snare or kick hit. I use it for the DI bass as well, and it sounds fine.

I think you can use almost any piece of gear if you know it well, and learn its eccentricities.

But for the money, and for your purposes, I'd consider picking up a couple of those if you can find them

Another option that works pretty decently is the Presonous Digimax, which has limiters on all the channels. Not much control over them, but prevents clipping anyway.
Old 10th August 2005
  #16
Lives for gear
 
jetboatguy's Avatar
 

I've used the Behringer MDX 4400 live, with pretty good success... it's true that this unit can sound decent at moderate parameter levels.

Musician's friend sells them for $129 each... that's $32.25 per comp channel !

Has anyone ever made improvements to the Behringer MDX 4400 through IC upgrades...etc ?
Old 12th August 2005
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

it seems as though the MDX 4400 is discontinued... is the 4600 as good?
Old 12th August 2005
  #18
Gear Addict
 
seb37000's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bernieL0max
Hi seb37000,

Although I was able to find the P5 for sale on a couple of website, the TF Pro website has no mention of it whatsoever... is it new? discontinued?

Got to find a distributor/reseller in Australia, if there is one...

It'll make it onto the shortlist after I get some more info

Matt
I've got mine in germany from thomann music shop 2 years ago but I dont know if they export to australia.
You can probably ask that on the tfpro forum.
Old 14th August 2006
  #19
Gear Nut
 
ampsarus's Avatar
Did you sort out your compressor search? I'm in the market for 8 chs of comp. as well. Been looking at the Presonus ACP88 but I don't know much about it other than it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I might try to find a couple used MDX4400's and see how they fair first before I go in deeper.

Andy Bacon in Los Angeles
Old 14th August 2006
  #20
Lives for gear
 
DrDeltaM's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seb37000 View Post
I've got mine in germany from thomann music shop 2 years ago but I dont know if they export to australia.
You can probably ask that on the tfpro forum.
It's discontinued.
Old 15th August 2006
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Talking

Dbx 266XL. Used at home nightclub with allen and heath mixers on darling harbour. Very good sound and about $280 r.r.p. They are stereo/dual mono compressor/gates. Check www.cannononline.com.au
Old 16th August 2006
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

not that it really matters now; but the original requirement was for at least 4 compressors per rack unit
Old 16th August 2006
  #23
Lives for gear
 
meteor's Avatar
 

Since there are a couple of people asking the questions now, I thought I'd chime in with some suggestions. I am a compressor devotee, and I have the privilege to use comp units from the likes of Tube-Tech and Manley on a regular basis. However, I have also used just about every other cheap comp suggested in this thread somewhere along the way. I will try to limit this to 4 channels plus per rack unit...

DBX 1046... Really great for the $$$. Musical and accomodating, and the limiter is genius for multitracking. However, it is an auto so there is no attack and release.

As far as Behringer goes - the only quad-comp they have ever made that is worth a d#$% for recording is the original Multicom 2400. Roughly the same as the DBX 1046 but not as good sonicly and with no limiter.

Don't get an Alto comp for recording - it can be cool for live use if you are really strapped but never for recording.

Both the Presonus 4 & 8 channel are respecatbel for the $$$. The 4 channel is better for recording and has some cool features. Sounds very clean in normal mode but also has an "optical" emulation mode that can have some vibe.

Now... to the good stuff.

Klark-Teknik: Their quad is just fantastic and fully featured in one rack space... no limiter though. Their 8 channel (in the Square-1 line) is even cooler and has all kinds of flexibilty and features. The KT stuff can be $$$$ though.

BSS & Drawmer also make multi-channel comps that are great - also expensive.


---
However, if I were in your shoes and on a budget, I would either - Get as many DBX 1046 units as needed and carefully set them to compress a bit into the limiter in a way that transparently protects the signal from clipping --- or - look for a Symetrix 488 Dyna-Squeeze. It's an 8 channel, single rack-space unit that was specifically designed for your application - and it can be had very inexpensively.

Both of my suggestions more effectively accomplish what the soft-limit function on the Octopre is intended for - but without being strapped to a harsh, hazy preamp.

I would say something referencing my "$ 0.02." But let me just add... IMHO...









... My Humble and "Accurate" Opinion....





Cheers,
Old 9th April 2008
  #24
Gear Addict
 
skygod's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bernieL0max View Post
I'm not sure you completely understand my situation...

this is live, onsite recording, 1 take stuff... clipping ruins a track, no going back & recording it again, or putting the level down a bit for the next take... and no matter how low you ride/reduce the gain transient peaks can happen.

Thanks anyway George, what you have offered is good advice, for someone in a studio.


If anyone has any actual experience with the compressors I have mentioned, or can suggest other affordable options I should add to my list (4+ compressors per RU), please let me know.

Single channel & Stereo (permanently linked, like the RNC) are not of much use... it may turn out that I will buy one or more "boutique"/expensive compressors for vocals and other sensitive tracks, but for now I'm looking for lots of channels to prevent clipping.
Forget that RNC crap - here's the real deal time tested and totally workable live and in the studio

Klark Teknik Square One Dynamics (model: DYNAMIC )
8 Ch w/Sidechain $1,798.50
Rane C4 Quad Compressor/Limiter $799.00
Rane G4 Quad Gate/Ducker/Expander $799.00
Rane PEQ55 $759.00

Works for me l


~skygod~
Old 10th April 2008
  #25
Gear Nut
 
ampsarus's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by skygod View Post
........

Klark Teknik Square One Dynamics (model: DYNAMIC )
8 Ch w/Sidechain $1,798.50
.........
And you can find them on eBay selling for under $1200. Not sure if that's a good price or MAP or what.
Old 11th August 2008
  #26
Lives for gear
 

lots of talk of the Klark Teknik square one dynamics in this thread, but have people actually used them or is it just that its the klark name?

im considering if it would be worth buying one of these or maybe just get a dbx 1066 for now

i was quoted just under $2100AU for one today which seems good, list here is $3000
Old 12th August 2008
  #27
Lives for gear
 
jude's Avatar
 

the square 1 series cant hold a candle to the "real" KT gear. that said they are great for a live FOH mix, except you can only have the gate or the compressor per channel, not both.

the KT quad comps are bloody awesome.

in your situation id go for an ACP88. keep it for the really dynamic channels (kick snare bass DI acc gtr and vox) as for the rest just turn down the gain a bit and watch your levels
Old 12th August 2008
  #28
Lives for gear
 

at the moment im mainly looking for FOH inserts anyway and probable just chain a couple of channels for gate/comp but if i was going to go for such a piece it would end up being used everywhere anyway.

160's being the standard anyway i guess the main thing is would the S1 be at a similar level? obviously it would have a different sound but generally speaking

the presonus doesnt seem much cheaper anyway
Old 12th August 2008
  #29
Gear Nut
 
ampsarus's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussie_techie View Post
lots of talk of the Klark Teknik square one dynamics in this thread, but have people actually used them or is it just that its the klark name?
In my case it's just the KT name and the 8 ch in a 2 space that interests me. As Jude suggested, I'm enamored by KT and Midas products and would expect performance better than my Presonus 88 due to pedigree alone. I have no experience with them. I take his word that the 4 ch KT compressors are superior to the pretty purple Square 1 boxes.

A few weeks ago I kind of lost favor with my 88 when I reluctantly took a friends advice to use [BARE WITH ME] some of the old Behringer MDX2100 2 ch boxes he and I have in stable. (I think between he and me we have 12 or so WORKING samples)

We have been recording a impromptu drum circle that gathers on Tuesday nights here for a few months for kicks. we use 4 overheads (SM58's, it's what we have) and his results with the 2100's vs. mine with the 88 are not subtle.

Further monitor listens through the 88 vs. (4) 2100's on my 4-way quad-amped playback stack reveals that the presounus just sucks the life out of the material, and adds noise and "skrim and haze and opacity" The cheapass old Bherry gear is just faster, cleaner, snappier, better...We paid between $15 and $65 each for them on eBay over a few months. Some were DOA, some died in hours or days...some are hanging on, good to go, and work great. Behringer reliability! It's about 50/50 on the ones we bought.

I don't mean to turn this into a Rah*Rah Behringer thread, but these older units have linear power supplies, robust steel chassis, and more discrete circuitry than the newer flimsy crap they make. 4 of these things are more adjustable, have better sonics and "slap", and are just less "arbitrary" than my 88 by far. One just has to get a bunch of them and keep the ones that keep working.
For what it is worth I sell and install new 10XX dBx comps all the time for installed sound and they don't sound as good...but they all work and keep working!
Just callin them as I hear them!

My 88 is for sale for the used price I paid for it, I'm in no hurry to sell it but I won't be using it again, so I might as well mention it here. I'm in Los Angeles.

Best...
Old 9th October 2008
  #30
Here for the gear
 

Bernie

Well Mr. Lomax, when it comes to input levels:

Some like it hot. Oh Yeah
Some like it cold. Oh no.
Some never know. Oh no.
Some never know. Oh no

-Weekend at Bernie's soundtrack
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