I didn't know what I was missing (outboard compression)
Old 18th March 2010
  #1
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kesslerjesus's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
I didn't know what I was missing (outboard compression)

After realizing how annoying it is to control peaking when tracking myself, and how much more difficult it is to keep untrained singers from controlling their voices, I finally decided to take the plunge and invest in an outboard comp.

I managed to get an aphex 651 for 150, and honestly, it makes recording vocals easier in addition to saving time since I don't have to do much editing ITB to control peaks that would appear in my vocal tracks.

It seems that this is pretty much getting the job done for now, but I was wondering if anyone has had their aphex 651s or 661s modded and if so, was the change worth it?

Also, what other budget compressors do you guys consider good clear compressors that can be good tools for tracking?

Thanks for reading!
Old 18th March 2010
  #2
Gear interested
 

Try DBX 160..............pretty good and classic compressor. It shouldn't be more than $400. Great for mixing as well.

Nico
Old 18th March 2010
  #3
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dustyreels's Avatar
 

Yep - Can't go wrong with a 160. There's always great deals on ebay on the "x" or "xt". People say they're better than the modern "a", I can't say cause I've never used the "a" model. You can get one between $200 - $250 on ebay. Another usual suspect is the RNC by FMR. Humbuckermusic.com has great customer service. $175, shipping included. It's also stereo, can be used mono but not dual mono. Do a search, there are 3 trillion threads about it. It's a great comp at any price. Have fun...
Old 18th March 2010
  #4
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yeah a real compressor is awesome! I highly recommend the pro vla II. I have the RNC too, but I like the pro vla better. Its amazing how much easier your recordings get after you get those things dialed in.
Old 18th March 2010
  #5
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Weasel9992's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dysenterygary View Post
yeah a real compressor is awesome! I highly recommend the pro vla II. I have the RNC too, but I like the pro vla better. Its amazing how much easier your recordings get after you get those things dialed in.
I agree. I have the VLA, a 160 and an RNC and I like the VLA best too.

Frank
Old 18th March 2010
  #6
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dustyreels's Avatar
 

I need to check out the VLA. I have a MPA and I'm not in love with it. It's not bad and works but not in awe with it.
Old 19th March 2010
  #7
Yup, Pro VLA II is legit, just swap the tubes. I upgraded to a set of Mazda/Belvu vintage tubes from Bowie here on the boards and the top end really opened up. I have yet to use it for tracking but I used it across the mix buss for an at-home mastering job recently so I could a/b the print with the stock ruby tubes and the Belvu tubes. The tube upgrade is totally worth the 40 bucks thumbsup
Old 19th March 2010
  #8
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asagaai's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by silence2-38554 View Post
Yup, Pro VLA II is legit, just swap the tubes. I upgraded to a set of Mazda/Belvu vintage tubes from Bowie here on the boards and the top end really opened up. I have yet to use it for tracking but I used it across the mix buss for an at-home mastering job recently so I could a/b the print with the stock ruby tubes and the Belvu tubes. The tube upgrade is totally worth the 40 bucks thumbsup

Yeah- but I love the VLA11 with stock tubes for treating any source with a thin harsh brightness- just does great things at getting such sources to fit in the mix.

But I do not use the VLA 11 for mix- so for that application perhaps diff tubes may work.

GJ
Newcastle/OZ
Old 19th March 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
I use my Aphex 651s for vocal tracking all the time. The transparency of peak control is ridiculous. Also use em sometimes for crushing vocals at mixdown, and they rule on snare. I have a VLA 2 and love it, but I personally wouldn't use it as a tracking compressor... it gets the most use on the drum bus. Every once in a while I use it on vocals at mixdown, but as far as cheap/new opto comps, I actually prefer my Joemeek TwinQ compression for vocals. The VLA 2 just screams drum bus comp, to me.

My Aphex 651s are modded by Jim Williams and sound beautiful, but I have used unmodded 651s and 661s and wouldn't mind using them the same way either.
Old 3rd April 2010
  #10
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I've always used one or another Ashly for vocals because they seem to be reasonably transparent* and very well-behaved. Maybe there's something better but it'll be a long time before I consider it to be a bottleneck.

LP

*which didn't stop me from doing an IC/cap upgrade, maniac that I am
Old 3rd April 2010
  #11
Gear nut
 

I have pairs of both the Aphex 651 and the DBX 160XT, all modded by Jim Williams.
They are both great work horses and can cover almost anything you need done (the 651 is amazing for its price to abilty ratio).

I also have the VLA II and it's a pretty good unit. I swapped in some very good NOS Mullards which helped immensely. I actually was surprised by it.

I'm sending in my VLA II to a well known modder (not Jim on this one) that wants to make it his research unit for some pretty cool mods (not the original tranny mod).

I'll let you know when it gets back. From what we've talked about, and what I've seen of his capabilities, this should be one "sick" (as in good) compressor that is just going to kill on vocals and the mix bus.

I highly recommend Jim Williams for modding your 651 or 160XT if you go that route. It's a fairly inexpensive mod and a decent improvement for both these units. He can also give your newly acquired "used" unit the "once over", to be sure it is where it needs to be, which is always a good idea.
Old 3rd April 2010
  #12
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ThunderShepherd's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by imdok View Post
I have pairs of both the Aphex 651 and the DBX 160XT, all modded by Jim Williams.
They are both great work horses and can cover almost anything you need done (the 651 is amazing for its price to abilty ratio).

I also have the VLA II and it's a pretty good unit. I swapped in some very good NOS Mullards which helped immensely. I actually was surprised by it.

I'm sending in my VLA II to a well known modder (not Jim on this one) that wants to make it his research unit for some pretty cool mods (not the original tranny mod).

I'll let you know when it gets back. From what we've talked about, and what I've seen of his capabilities, this should be one "sick" (as in good) compressor that is just going to kill on vocals and the mix bus.

I highly recommend Jim Williams for modding your 651 or 160XT if you go that route. It's a fairly inexpensive mod and a decent improvement for both these units. He can also give your newly acquired "used" unit the "once over", to be sure it is where it needs to be, which is always a good idea.
what is the 160xt mod? i like them the way they are, but if it's super awesome, I might look into it.
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