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Mastering Compressor Comparison (Audio Samples)
Old 20th November 2015
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by priko View Post
I have here
P4S ME
IGS Tube core
Kinf Pure Mu
SPL Iron
Gyraf G22
Well that sounds like a gold mine in terms of this thread. If you could find the time for some samples that would be great. But I'd also really like to hear about your experience using them: differences in sound, strengths and weaknesses and so on.
Old 20th November 2015
  #32
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Here are my impressions of the samples we have so far.

MANLEY VARI MU
As I mentioned to Adrien, in some ways I'm liking the sound more in LIMIT mode, which I find surprising. The 0.2 GR Comp mode at unity gain has a nice warmth to it and the samples with higher input gain have a nice saturation and smooth excitement in the top end. It strikes me as a little different to the sound I associate with the Manley and I wonder if that's the different tubes: these seem warmer and less 'metallic' sounding.

PENDULUM ES-8
The ES-8 does a nice gluey thing in terms of filling in the spaces and bringing up low level elements of the mix without sounding crowded. It even does a slight sweetening of the vocal on Mix 3. I'm not sure whether this was because it was grabbing the high mids or because of the tone of the unit.

VERTIGO VSC-2
My word, this has a particular type of punch to it that I really like. There's a slight rounding of the transient like a softer knee and just a more solid, pleasing punch. It's a sound I have always associated with Tony Mantz' masters and wondered if it was the VSC-2; I think this has confirmed that for me. It's reminiscent of a 2500 but also a bit rounder sounding. I like how it controls but doesn't squash the low end. I particularly like the way it adds definition and clarity to percussive elements in Mix 2. It sort of holds them in place but defines their place better. But that bottom end punch...! Even on Mix 3 it adds clarity/definition to the bassline and brings out the bottom of the kick slightly. I'm very excited by these samples!

API 2500
The first thing that surprised me when I got the 2500 is how well it does smooth. I quite like the boxtone which adds a hifi sheen. There are still times when it surprises me and makes me smile (although that didn't happen with these 3 mixes I have to admit). The settings are different for OLD and NEW. The NEW time constants were slightly faster to compare with the punch of the VSC-2 and the output was set to +3dB on the OLD sample to give a little bit of that flavour. Both samples are pushed a little harder than I normally would so you can hear the compression working a bit.

Looking forward to others' impressions.
Old 20th November 2015
  #33
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I instantly was amazed from the vertigo sample too, but be careful as it has a lot more GR than the others (havent only listened to the first manley sample and dont know the others), so it sounds quite full with a extended S-signal. The snare attack has sucked away quite intensively and the voice is ducked sometimes too. I also have also the feeling of a bit detached bass (SC-filter setup maybe) which makes it ever fuller sounding. It works better in the second file thought.

The manley (what means unity gain? no GR?) sound like butter, not something I want to hear very often when mastering I think. The APIs are crisp, but a bit crunchy/harsh, maybe. The pendulum is quite nice, lacks a bit presence but remains the openness in the mids the best.

Im not that sure if raw samples of comps will tell anything usefull. You can shape a the sound in a way that is sounding quite spectacular for its own, but its something completely different to use a tool as a part of a chain.
I think it would be much better to only doing samples with the raw boxtone of all units. This would tell a lot too and takes out all these differences in creating sound. Or you make available a sample that everyone should try to match as best as possible.
All in all its very difficult to come to some meaningful results here...

Some of my tools are sounding quite different when detached from the rest of the chain, so it makes no real sense to provide samples here for my own without doing some reconfiguration.
Old 20th November 2015
  #34
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Quick note, the compression on the ES-8 and VSC-2 is purposely heavy handed to show the limits of the two units, sort of worse case scenario setting. And by this I mean an average of 2 dB (0.5 to 3 depending on tracks sections)
Old 20th November 2015
  #35
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..finally got around to do Gyraf G22 version of the files, are in the mail...

Jakob E.
Old 20th November 2015
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
Quick note, the compression on the ES-8 and VSC-2 is purposely heavy handed to show the limits of the two units, sort of worse case scenario setting. And by this I mean an average of 2 dB (0.5 to 3 depending on tracks sections)
Ricardo, no offense from my side.
Thats the reason why I have posted above: a comparison without rules makes no sense.
Some are chasing limits, some are just using a setting from the session before, some are interested in boxtones mainly... I bet a lot of those units change their character a lot when sweeping through levels and settings. What we wanna show here?
I dont know this...
Old 20th November 2015
  #37
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Has the portico MBP II been added? Would like to hear against knif soma and the others
Old 20th November 2015
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
Ricardo, no offense from my side.
Thats the reason why I have posted above: a comparison without rules makes no sense.
Some are chasing limits, some are just using a setting from the session before, some are interested in boxtones mainly... I bet a lot of those units change their character a lot when sweeping through levels and settings. What we wanna show here?
I dont know this...
My purpose here was not to make this scientifically precise; there are too many uncontrollable variables for that. I was simply interested in getting a sense of the general character of various comps. Riccardo's samples were clearly pushed harder than Adrien's and I did the same with mine, and for me this still tells me many interesting things that I wouldn't get from descriptions or opinions alone. For example, I've been intrigued by the sound of the VSC-2 for a while, now I've had the opportunity to hear it on material I'm familiar with and it has confirmed some things for me.

I had considered asking for a boxtone pass and I think this is a great idea. EDIT: The problem with this of course is that we can end up debating whether it's the sound of the unit or the different converters used.

Dom

Last edited by SmoothTone; 20th November 2015 at 10:00 PM.. Reason: addition
Old 21st November 2015
  #39
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Here are the Gyraf G22 files: http://we.tl/PtiQ4H83pp

And my impressions...

Nice fullness on Mix1 - quite coloured, but sounds like tubes should to me. Very smoothing and softening of harshness in Mix2 (one of the things I'm looking for) but a little too much for this track. Same on Mix3 - takes it a little closer to a finished sound even without any EQ. Overall, does what a I wanted a Vari Mu to do in terms of smoothing and adding fullness. Sounds similar to the Manley Comp file (#3) but has a tone that I like more - the Manley still sounds a little metallic in comparison.

Many thanks to Jakob from Gyraf and Emil from ET Mastering for organising this clip for me!

Dom
Old 21st November 2015
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
I had considered asking for a boxtone pass and I think this is a great idea. EDIT: The problem with this of course is that we can end up debating whether it's the sound of the unit or the different converters used.

Dom
yes, thats true. My intention wasnt to speak ill your thread (Ihave done those comparrisons for myself a lot and Im always very happy if people are so kind to chime in with samples). But I think, similar for this EQ-Test here, it would be a better idea to try to match a submission.
Old 21st November 2015
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
Here are the Gyraf G22 files: http://we.tl/PtiQ4H83pp

And my impressions...

Nice fullness on Mix1 - quite coloured, but sounds like tubes should to me. Very smoothing and softening of harshness in Mix2
Interestingly how different are expectations to 'tube sound'.
I think then you should not consider a rockruepel, a varis (or a knif pure mu or a phoenix too) as they are quite different from your description; tight and firm without any kind of cloudyness or woolyness or softness. Exactly what I expect a great tube circuit should sound like: fast and tight with a subtile 3D enhancing effect due to its very precise saturation behaviour.
That tube sound is slow sounding is one of the most misunderstandings in audio I think. Afaik a tube has a extremly fast slew rate and I think often those softening is more due the use of 'bad' transformers and/or the phase behaviour... But thats guesing from my side, would be interesting what others can bring in. But its fascinating how different tubes circuits can sound in fact and how different expectations can be when it comes down to the ideal tube sound.
In my ears these cloudyness or woolyness I sometimes here in tube circuits is always a not wanted artefact, especially when doing mastering work.

Last edited by JP__; 21st November 2015 at 11:25 AM..
Old 21st November 2015
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
Interestingly how different are expectations to 'tube sound'.
I think then you should not consider a rockruepel, a varis (or a knif pure mu or a phoenix too) as they are quite different from your description; tight and firm without any kind of cloudyness or woolyness or softness. Exactly what I expect a great tube circuit should sound like: fast and tight with a subtile 3D enhancing effect due to its very precise saturation behaviour.
That tube sound is slow sounding is one of the most misunderstandings in audio I think. Afaik a tube has a extremly fast slew rate and I think often those softening is more due the use of 'bad' transformers and/or the phase behaviour... But thats guesing from my side, would be interesting what others can bring in. But its fascinating how different tubes circuits can sound in fact and how different expectations can be when it comes down to the ideal tube sound.
In my ears these cloudyness or woolyness I sometimes here in tube circuits is always a not wanted artefact, especially when doing mastering work.
Interesting thoughts JP. Points taken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
it would be a better idea to try to match a submission.
Do you know a way of doing this more precisely than by ear? We all know that attack and release time calculation can vary too widely between manufacturers to rely on faceplate markings. This is partly why I asked for longer time constants.
Old 21st November 2015
  #43
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Its only possible by ear, I think. I dont want to talk about science tests here, but a overcompressed file says nothing to me, especially in a mastering context. As well as an ultra hot bounce.
Of course its work to try matching another sample and not of lot of people are willing to spend their time with this I bet.
So, for me, a boxtone test only will do it as well as its simple as its gets. Of course there are a lot influences that alters sound (converters, input level, rest of the chain), but thats the same in a test with quite strong compression going on.
For me its simple: if I hear a compressor with a bad boxtone, the compression behaviour isnt within any interest for me and I must look no further at this unit. But if theres a unit with a good sounding one that is influenced to much due to the compression settings, that would be a pity.

Last edited by JP__; 21st November 2015 at 02:12 PM..
Old 21st November 2015
  #44
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If you like I can provide samples of Dangerous compressor...
Old 21st November 2015
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giuseppe Zaccaria View Post
If you like I can provide samples of Dangerous compressor...
Sounds good Giuseppe. The unprocessed files are in the package at post #29 .
Old 22nd November 2015
  #46
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Had a listen...

Manley is round & pretty. Nice but not first choice on those examples for me.

The Gyraf is superwarm, love it but not on these mixes without EQ'ing it IMO, I think the Manley sounds more useable/finished... but for mixing the Gyraf would be awesome.

Vertigo is smoooth and keeps the lows moving in a great way... wouldn't mind an EQ after it. Doesn't ever add anything offensive to the audio.

The API2500 sounds forced to me and I only liked it on mix 3. Seems like one of the better choices to bring out something that's too soft, but overall not a big fan. It's defo cool on drums but doesn't suit me as a mastering comp with it's midrange force.

Vertigo is sweet. Always loved that compressor.

Pendulum impressed the hell out of me. Better centre image, nice detail, added a bit of punch/warmth to the lows, never sound bloated or sloppy. Worked on all three tracks... dayum nice box. Not heard one properly before.

-T
Old 23rd November 2015
  #47
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...please bear in mind that (at least the G22) samples were made to show clearly the _compression_ component in a possible mastering situation - the examples were not intended as being the _only_ needed treatment for perfectioning the material..

Jakob E.
Old 23rd November 2015
  #48
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Here are files from the Rockruepel Comp one and the ADT mastering comp:
https://copy.com/fPG9XiFHwJiyGILh

I just used the settings from the mastering session I had currently worked at and of course the same for all songs.
Old 24th November 2015
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
Here are files from the Rockruepel Comp one and the ADT mastering comp:
https://copy.com/fPG9XiFHwJiyGILh

I just used the settings from the mastering session I had currently worked at and of course the same for all songs.
Hi JP,

Thanks for those. I see what you mean about fast. The Rockruepel is tight and forward with a subtle enhancement; and quite bright comparatively. The ADT is darker and cleaner but both did a good job of tightening up both mixes and giving them a more finished sound.

An interesting listen.

Dom
Old 24th November 2015
  #50
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Hey Dom, thanks. The ADT is a extremely flexible unit. For example it has a high shelf in the side chain with several freq points and +-6dB gain.

The RR has a quite present sound without adding harshness. But it did not smooth out any given harshness in a track like others(what often comes around with a kind of wollyness or looseness). Therefore I often use some EQuing before when necessary and the ruepel ensures its not sounding dull afterwards. Very often I use it in his 'Amp-Only-Mode' without any compression going on and it can sound quite different then.
And this leads to what I have said before: It makes no so much sense to look at gear without context, at least for me. I use my gear as an interacting whole, so f.e. changing the order of the gear will not work in my setup as quite some units will change its sound then. The RR is very sensitive where it sits in a chain, but when it works its great I think.
Not to HIFI with great mids that remains the openness, punch and tightness and without those bass-bump quite some Vari-MUs offer, which can sound spectacular or annoying, depending on your working style. I don not want to fight against the colors my comps offers. I like EQs more for adding colors.
Old 24th November 2015
  #51
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Comp

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
Sounds good Giuseppe. The unprocessed files are in the package at post #29 .


Ok done, here the samples with different settings.

http://we.tl/6ASKj6A7Bk

Old 25th November 2015
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giuseppe Zaccaria View Post
Ok done, here the samples with different settings.

http://we.tl/6ASKj6A7Bk

Hi Giuseppe,

Thanks for doing those. It's downloading very slowly at my end. I'll get back to you when I've had a chance to listen.

Dom
Old 25th November 2015
  #53
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I can drop in the fairman TMC ))) maybe it makes you save up ... if they're still available new , which I guess is NOT
Old 25th November 2015
  #54
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Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
I can drop in the fairman TMC ))) maybe it makes you save up ... if they're still available new , which I guess is NOT
YES!!!

Would love to hear it Wim. Files at post #29 .

Dom
Old 25th November 2015
  #55
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TMC versions,

linked & unlinked , the unlinked version has got some more input_drive/action.
settings just a fast blast.

now volumes up to 12 )))

http://we.tl/mXjEFODyOe
Old 25th November 2015
  #56
Wonderful soundstage on that TMC Wim!!


Here's my contribution with the Fairman TSC, it's little opto brother.

Settings are the same for each song, except track 1 linked, track 2 and 3 unlinked.

I don't know how to host this so I just use Wetransfer, here goes: http://we.tl/70royQH29D
Old 26th November 2015
  #57
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Thankyou gentlemen for some very interesting listening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giuseppe Zaccaria View Post
If you like I can provide samples of Dangerous compressor...
DANGEROUS COMPRESSOR
Definitely clean. I like how it controlled and defined the low end on Mix 2 and 3. A little thin sounding. Overall clean tone and didn't really grab me. I think I'd need to play with it to get a sense of it's value in subtle control.

Thanks Giuseppe!


Quote:
Originally Posted by finetuner View Post
Here's my contribution with the Fairman TSC, it's little opto brother.

Settings are the same for each song, except track 1 linked, track 2 and 3 unlinked.

I don't know how to host this so I just use Wetransfer, here goes: http://we.tl/70royQH29D
True to your word Peter - thanks for following through and satisfying my curiosity!

FAIRMAN TSC
Subtle enhancement; slight forwardness - brings out clarity on all 3 mixes. Ever so slight pumping on Mix2 but did a great job of tucking in that one poky percussion hit with no audible artifacts. Also did a great job of smoothing the distortion in this track. I noticed a slight loss of depth: perhaps the trade for a more upfront sound. This is a classy piece for sure. Makes things sound more finished, but probably not a flavour I'm looking to add to my chain at the moment.


Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
TMC versions,

linked & unlinked , the unlinked version has got some more input_drive/action.
settings just a fast blast.

now volumes up to 12 )))

http://we.tl/mXjEFODyOe
FAIRMAN TMC
I was a little underwhelmed at first (big expectations perhaps). But this is the sample that kept drawing me back - it's a slightly addictive sound. Same forwardness and clarity as the TSC. I found the TSC warmer. Tight - gives the audio a real pop that adds energy/excitement. There's grit that I can hear and I can really hear the forwardness in the midrange (particularly high mids). Unlinked is big... really big! The TMC even made the clicks in Mix3 sound nicer! It's not really a sound I'm looking for or even particularly like but this thing just has an excitement/energy that grabs me almost on a visceral level.

Thanks Wim! Lovely to hear such a magical unit.

So far the G22 is closest to the sound I'm looking for in my chain. But maybe just a touch too soft. Hmmm. . .

Would still love to hear the Knif, Liminator and Tubecore. . .
Old 26th November 2015
  #58
You're very welcome Dom!
Thank you for creating this interesting thread and thanks everyone who contributed so far.

The API 2500 reminded me that I still like to have some of that grab in my setup, but with perhaps less loss of sub low and less finicky in-/output pots (I tested the unit a while ago).
So maybe a Foote P3S.. Anyone?

The Pendulum ES-8 reminds me of my TSC , lovely.

I find the Rockruepel impressive in combining a big sound with a subtle, tight grab.

The TMC to me stands out in it's surround like 3D quality.

Looking forward to hear the Knif Pre Mu and Foote P4S.
Old 27th November 2015
  #59
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Wow the TMC is something !!! (what's the price of this unit ??)

And the Dangerous with 7dB GR is kinda impressive too.

Any chance to get a sample from a KNIF Pure Mu user ??

Last edited by Saxnscratch; 27th November 2015 at 02:51 PM.. Reason: supplement
Old 27th November 2015
  #60
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Yes, the TMC is very impressive. Very organic hugeness, wide and deep with a big, deep bass. Sounds like soft waves in a thick fluid... A little bit too much maybe as I have the feeling of some kind of a very organic lifelike modulation/breathing is going on especially on the unlinked sample... (the fairchild thing...)?
On the second track it sounds to me like a creepy monster coming out of its dungeon...
I bet there are little goblins in it which alters the audio. It sounds so alive...


PS: okay, maybe I had too much mushrooms in my soup at lunch... but I like gear that gets beyond a technical aplication...

Last edited by JP__; 27th November 2015 at 07:32 PM..
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