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If you had this gear....what would your chain be? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 10th September 2007
  #1
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If you had this gear....what would your chain be?

1. 2 Manley VoxBoxes Stereo linked
2. Manley Vari-mu Stereo Limiter/compressor
3. 2 UREI LA-4's stereo linked
4. Joe Meek SC2.2 Photo Optical Stereo compressor
5. 60's era Ampex tube line mixer (perhaps for a touch of mojo)
6. Also have a Studer A820 and various 1/4" tape machines at my disposal.


Just looking for opinions on how I should configure a solid mastering chain with what I have available.
Old 10th September 2007
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dropblacksky View Post
1. 2 Manley VoxBoxes Stereo linked
These being recording devices would not be in my mastering chain. They're really nice mic pre's and di boxes though so I think you should hold onto them anyway.

Quote:
2. Manley Vari-mu Stereo Limiter/compressor
Very nice piece for some compression chores when needed.

Quote:
3. 2 UREI LA-4's stereo linked
4. Joe Meek SC2.2 Photo Optical Stereo compressor
All sold in order to finance a nice analog eq.

Quote:
5. 60's era Ampex tube line mixer (perhaps for a touch of mojo)
Or more likely a touch added noise. I'd leave this out of the mastering chain.

Quote:
6. Also have a Studer A820 and various 1/4" tape machines at my disposal.
Good stuff that you'll need for clients that mix to tape - I'd get a 1/2" headstack for one of the machines as well.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 11th September 2007
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cellotron View Post
These being recording devices would not be in my mastering chain. They're really nice mic pre's and di boxes though so I think you should hold onto them anyway.
They are great recording devices, but they also work great with line level signals. Smooth compression and pultec eq...so why not good for mastering?

None of this gear is "mastering" gear specifically....just trying to build the best analog chain I can with what I have at my disposal. Gotta be better than in the box regardless....
Old 11th September 2007
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dropblacksky View Post
They are great recording devices, but they also work great with line level signals. Smooth compression and pultec eq...so why not good for mastering?
In general you want to avoid any unnecessary circuit paths in any piece of gear you use for mastering - so while you can in fact bypass some of the Voxbox's sections it still doesn't seem to me to be a great choice for the mastering chain. As far as the eq section of the Voxbox - a quick survey of the vast majority of mastering studios will show they rarely use Pultec style eq's as "go to" devices - as they can tend to be a little drastic and not very versatile to be the best choices for the majority of any mastering applications. As far as the compressor section - again the Voxbox is designed more for vocal applications - and as such I think your VariMu will work much better for any compression chores across the 2-buss. I haven't used the de-esser on the Voxbox so I can't comment whether it would work as a mastering de-esser or not - it's just that I've never seen it used in any mastering studio for de-essing.

Anyway - it's been a long time since I last used a Voxbox (think it was when I got one of the best di e-bass sounds I've ever gotten with one about 10 years ago). So - if it works great to your ear across the 2-bus then by all means go for it. I'm just trying to answer your question as to what I would personally do . If you're just looking for confirmation that you can master with the gear that you have then the best place to look for that is with your own ears experimenting and doing a/b tests in your studio and not on a forum.

Again - if I was given the choices you have I would use the VariMu and then look into aquiring a great analog eq, and probably not use any of the other processor choices you listed except for in very rare circumstances. But that's just me - you should do whatever you like using whatever you want as long as it sounds good to you and your clients.

Quote:
None of this gear is "mastering" gear specifically....just trying to build the best analog chain I can with what I have at my disposal. Gotta be better than in the box regardless....
Actually great digital processors can often work better than mediocre analog processors. For mastering most often the decisions you make as to what processing to apply have a greater effect on the end result than the actual processors you use to carry out these decisions - which is why most people who have a lot of experience suggest focusing on improving the monitoring chain first before worrying about the processors.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 11th September 2007
  #5
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6. Also have a Studer A820 and various 1/4" tape machines at my disposal.

That would likely go first in the chain.
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