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Alan Smart Compressors Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 25th January 2007
  #1
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Alan Smart Compressors

Anyone like or hear good things about the Alan Smart C1 (or maybe a C2) for mastering purposes?

the LTD2 honeymoon is over.
Old 25th January 2007
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phild View Post
Anyone like or hear good things about the Alan Smart C1 (or maybe a C2) for mastering purposes?

the LTD2 honeymoon is over.
you read my mind! I am also very curious.
Old 25th January 2007
  #3
I use the C1 in unlinked mode occasionally to master... with just a touch of compression (needle barely moving). I know some of the high end guys use modified SSL type circuits, but who knows what's under the hood (B.B. Brian, etc.). The C1 is definitely not "pristine", though... alot of grit in there. I do like the fact that it will do an unlinked dual mono thing. I know some folks feel the attack/ release times are not ideal for mastering, but on hip hop, or uptempo rock stuff I think it can work great. 90% of the time I'm using an STC8 though, and not the C1.
Old 25th January 2007
  #4
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I think a C2 works well. It's aggressive, but hifi enough I think. When I use it for mastering, it's at the lowest ratio most of the time (1:5:1) auto release, and I use the sidechain inputs to make sure it's not sucking out the lows.

It does tighten up the upper mids quite nicely. I think you will probably want to use it in conjunction with another maybe slower compressor though, and I'd be hesitant to rely on it as my primary mastering compressor.

I haven't tried the C1, but those sidechain inputs are critical for mastering imho, otherwise it stomps too hard on the low end.
Old 25th January 2007
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by robot gigante View Post
I think a C2 works well. It's aggressive, but hifi enough I think. When I use it for mastering, it's at the lowest ratio most of the time (1:5:1) auto release, and I use the sidechain inputs to make sure it's not sucking out the lows.

It does tighten up the upper mids quite nicely. I think you will probably want to use it in conjunction with another maybe slower compressor though, and I'd be hesitant to rely on it as my primary mastering compressor.

I haven't tried the C1, but those sidechain inputs are critical for mastering imho, otherwise it stomps too hard on the low end.
Agreed. That's why I only use it when I want something really aggressive...and add a touch of post-compression low boost.
Old 25th January 2007
  #6
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Fabio's Avatar
Hi,
I produce above all rock/metal stuff and I use it regulary if/when I have to master, usually together with a vari mu comp and an eq after.

I never tried the C1 but I agree with Robot Gigante about the importance of the the side chain option.
Old 25th January 2007
  #7
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phild View Post
Anyone like or hear good things about the Alan Smart C1 (or maybe a C2) for mastering purposes?
I have C2. It's good especially for dynamic content. Sounds very modern and fast but I think it's not that transparent as it could be (maybe someone will disagree). It can be very versatile however actually I use it only for low frequencies in my mastering chain.
Old 25th January 2007
  #8
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My limited experience tells me it's a great box that can be handy in mastering but in occasional situations. A bit aggresive and ideally you'd prefer some slower attack times.

Probably more versatile in the recording mixing world. An awesome drum compressor.

I wouldn't spend that much on it to have as a luxury. Unless of course you have run out of options.

What is it that you feel is lacking in your current set up that you are finding trouble achieving?

I'm sure there's better options but until we know what you're looking for we won't know which hat will fit best.
Old 25th January 2007
  #9
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by punisher View Post
My limited experience tells me it's a great box that can be handy in mastering but in occasional situations. A bit aggresive and ideally you'd prefer some slower attack times.

What is it that you feel is lacking in your current set up that you are finding trouble achieving?
Thanks all for the replies! Appreciated...

Maybe I can get a C1 or C2 with some different attack/release times?
The S/C thing is interesting to me as I have never worked that way before.

I'm actually not sure what's missing in my current setup. Maybe I have too much gear? Maybe I get bored easily? Either way it's probably more like I have all these comprezors and I really don't like how any of them sound after a while. I don't have this experience with my EQ's - I still like 'em all. My VariMu was sold. My Weiss sits there "off". My LTD2 despite a few tweaks is very course and dark. My Kultube is used alot but it's a specific sound. I'm using a PSP more often than anything. What's with that?

I'd like to check out an Elysia based soley on Brian's very thorough demo's - they were eye opening great. But I'm not going to spend 10K on another compressor which I may not like after a while?

I mind's ear tells me that if I could use an aggressive comp and somehow integrate it in some sort of parallel/reverb return fashion then this might be the comp I have been looking for!

Back to work for me!
Old 25th January 2007
  #10
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The C1 is great actually. Just use it really lightly, like 1 db tops. But that 1 db of gr comes in handy as you all know. I also use the RMS 755 which has the same style of VCA gain reduction BUT with a cleaner signal path and a hi pass filter. Its also fully balanced and you don't have to crank the output as much if you're trying to slam the A/D's for some gain. C2 is great but has a bit more color.
Old 25th January 2007
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robot gigante View Post
I think a C2 works well. It's aggressive, but hifi enough I think. When I use it for mastering, it's at the lowest ratio most of the time (1:5:1) auto release, and I use the sidechain inputs to make sure it's not sucking out the lows.

It does tighten up the upper mids quite nicely. I think you will probably want to use it in conjunction with another maybe slower compressor though, and I'd be hesitant to rely on it as my primary mastering compressor.

I haven't tried the C1, but those sidechain inputs are critical for mastering imho, otherwise it stomps too hard on the low end.
I didn't know the C1 or C2 had auto release. Am I wrong?
Old 25th January 2007
  #12
How about checking out Peter's Shadow Hills mastering comp? The VCA side is supposed to be a higher spec version of the SSL thing, with more flexibility (release times) and sidechain.

Cost a purdy penny though.
Old 25th January 2007
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by phild View Post
Thanks all for the replies! Appreciated...

Maybe I can get a C1 or C2 with some different attack/release times?
The S/C thing is interesting to me as I have never worked that way before.
I actually looked into that with Mick (?) over at Sunset Sound, who works on them. He told me it was a no-go... but you could always see if someone else could mod.
Old 25th January 2007
  #14
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloocproducer View Post
I actually looked into that with Mick (?) over at Sunset Sound, who works on them. He told me it was a no-go... but you could always see if someone else could mod.
Wow, cool! Thanks for checking.

I seem to recall somewhere on the smart website that they were open to doing mods?

I'll have to check the site again...

Geez, haven't even bought the thing yet and I'm thinking mods already?

Mods have made me old before my time.
Old 25th January 2007
  #15
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phild's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloocproducer View Post
How about checking out Peter's Shadow Hills mastering comp? The VCA side is supposed to be a higher spec version of the SSL thing, with more flexibility (release times) and sidechain.

Cost a purdy penny though.
No room in my rack for that! (except for a 1RU there and there)

Plus it looks like my grandmothers old tube radio!
Old 25th January 2007
  #16
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robot gigante's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bump Music View Post
I didn't know the C1 or C2 had auto release. Am I wrong?
The C2 certainly does, and it works well. I've not used the C1.

Usually when I use the C2 for mastering the needles are barely twitching and as I stated before, I use it in conjunction with another compressor.
Old 25th January 2007
  #17
I had a Alan Smart C2 for a few years and that honeymoon is definitely over for me. I've got plenty of options for that type of compression in software and especially with the release of the SSL bundle, a lot of mixes already have that stamp. The other thing that really started to bug me was the lift in the top end with the C2. It's not even really 'euphonic' it's just brighter. I think it's cool as a mix compressor but found better options for the mastering room.
Old 25th January 2007
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robot gigante View Post
The C2 certainly does, and it works well. I've not used the C1.

Usually when I use the C2 for mastering the needles are barely twitching and as I stated before, I use it in conjunction with another compressor.
Hey Robot,

I'm sure you're right (cuz you actually have one), but according to the spec sheet (which could very easily be wrong), I don't see an auto release. Did they just leave it out of the sheet?

Thanks!

Operation:


Fast attack and limit settings for protective limiting.
Crush mode gives f.e.t 'overcompression' with tailored frequency response, and higher distortion, for 'huge' dynamic effects.
External sidechain inputs, (for ducking etc.)
Power fail bypass for broadcast or live sound.
Ratios 1.5:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1, 10:1 and Limit.
Attack 0, 0.1, 0.3, 1, 3, 10, and 30 m/sec.
Release 0.1, 0.3, 0.6, 1.2, and 2.4 seconds.
Old 25th January 2007
  #19
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phild's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bump Music View Post
Hey Robot,

I'm sure you're right (cuz you actually have one), but according to the spec sheet (which could very easily be wrong), I don't see an auto release. Did they just leave it out of the sheet?

Thanks!

Operation:


Fast attack and limit settings for protective limiting.
Crush mode gives f.e.t 'overcompression' with tailored frequency response, and higher distortion, for 'huge' dynamic effects.
External sidechain inputs, (for ducking etc.)
Power fail bypass for broadcast or live sound.
Ratios 1.5:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1, 10:1 and Limit.
Attack 0, 0.1, 0.3, 1, 3, 10, and 30 m/sec.
Release 0.1, 0.3, 0.6, 1.2, and 2.4 seconds.
Stop breaking his balls, will ya?
Old 25th January 2007
  #20
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phild's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Boyd View Post
I had a Alan Smart C2 for a few years and that honeymoon is definitely over for me. I've got plenty of options for that type of compression in software and especially with the release of the SSL bundle, a lot of mixes already have that stamp. The other thing that really started to bug me was the lift in the top end with the C2. It's not even really 'euphonic' it's just brighter. I think it's cool as a mix compressor but found better options for the mastering room.
I own the SSL bundle... maybe it's time to open up the box!

Some of the feedback so far has been gold!
Thanks all!
Old 26th January 2007
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phild View Post
Stop breaking his balls, will ya?
LOL! I'm breaking his balls so I don't have to break yours, Phil!

Andrew
Old 26th January 2007
  #22
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robot gigante's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by phild View Post
Stop breaking his balls, will ya?
It's cool. I don't know why it's not on the spec sheet. I can see how that could be confusing.

I did a comparison of the C2 to the Waves SSL FWIW and the C2 stays in the rack fwiw- the C2 sounded more open and the grab that I like wasn't there with the plugin. Bob definitely has a point though- the C2 definitely does lift the upper mids a bit, and you may or may not like the sound of what it does for mastering.

Here's a thread where Alan Smart talks about the C1 vs. the C2 if you haven't read it already.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/2648-c1-vs-c2-alan-smart-compressors.html
Old 26th January 2007
  #23
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Old 26th January 2007
  #24
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Steamy Williams's Avatar
 

I had my Smart C1 modified by Alan himself to include side chain inputs. I'm not sure how he has responded to requests for the mod since I got mine done, as I've mentioned it on the forum a few times now, but it's probably worth contacting him about it if it's a deal breaker for you.
Old 26th January 2007
  #25
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by phild View Post
No room in my rack for that! (except for a 1RU there and there)

Plus it looks like my grandmothers old tube radio!
I have one thumbsup
since getting it,my C-2 is occasionly on the drum buss..
but more often not even turned on
Old 26th January 2007
  #26
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Rick Sutton's Avatar
 

Verified Member
My C2 gets a lot of use. When I get hard rock in for mastering it usually gets used in the chain. When mixing, I like it on background vocals, elec guitar and some parallel duties.
Glad I have one.
Old 26th January 2007
  #27
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MJGreene Audio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
I have one thumbsup
since getting it,my C-2 is occasionly on the drum buss..
but more often not even turned on
Then RoundBadge its time to pull it out of the rack and sell it to me!!!heh

Michael Greene
Old 31st January 2007
  #28
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ulysses's Avatar
Phild,
If I understand correctly, you want something like the C1 but with a cleaner signal path, a sidechain option that lets the compressor ignore the kick drum a bit to prevent pumping, and a slower attack time. Maybe something like the Shadow Hills thing, but you want a 1RU box and you don't want to spend so much on the cosmetics that you don't care for anyhow. Please take a look at this:

It isn't cheap, but it's priced very well and it fits with what you're asking for.
Sorry for the egregious pimping, but I think it's in line with what you're asking.
Old 31st January 2007
  #29
Registered User
 

Looks very very nice
Old 31st January 2007
  #30
Gear Head
 
trilliumsound's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ulysses View Post
Phild,
If I understand correctly, you want something like the C1 but with a cleaner signal path, a sidechain option that lets the compressor ignore the kick drum a bit to prevent pumping, and a slower attack time. Maybe something like the Shadow Hills thing, but you want a 1RU box and you don't want to spend so much on the cosmetics that you don't care for anyhow. Please take a look at this:

It isn't cheap, but it's priced very well and it fits with what you're asking for.
Sorry for the egregious pimping, but I think it's in line with what you're asking.
Any specs available such as attack and release speed, ratios etc.?? Could not see anything on the website.
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