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Crane Song STC-8 Shape Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 27th August 2008
  #31
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24-96 Mastering's Avatar
With good tools, time and skill, you can always get good results. However, if the STC-8 didn't sound significantly different to you than the Fairchild, I would suggest that whoever set up the STC-8 probably used it in a very subtle way to do GR with minimal sound. If used to give its "sound" to a mix, I find the STC-8 sounds very very very different to a vari-mu tube design or an emulation thereof.
If the STC-8 was set up to do its GR as transparent as possible and the Fairchild plugin was set up to do the same, I can see how you would say that the difference isn't groundbreaking in your eyes. If both units were set with adding character in mind, they're as different as night and day, to me at least.

Also, 1-2 dB doesn't tell the whole story here. As I discovered earlier in this thread, while I tend to do more than 3 dB of GR with a slow attack, others do 1-2 dB at a much faster attack time, both with a high shape value. But the "amount of character" that is audible, i.e. how much you hear a difference in sound to the uncompressed signal, is comparable between the two. With the STC-8, I can easily do 6+ dB of GR while sounding pretty neutral if I want that. With the Fairchild, that is very hard. Both will give you character if you want it, but the character, when pushed (and 2dB of GR on the STC-8 with a very fast attack can - if you want it - sound pushed already), to my ears, sounds and behaves very differently. When comparing the 2 compressors, try to apply character. That's after all what people pay $ 4500 for. I don't think many people get either of those two boxes _just_ for transparent gain reduction. If that's what you want, digital parallel compression will likely provide better results.

Either way, my initial thought was that, whoever demonstrated the STC-8 to you, might not be that familiar with the box. Or they only used it in that setup to be very transparent. I can definitely say that the decision whether to use the Mu or the STC-8 here in the studio is usually immediately very clear when hearing an incoming mix. That's how radically different I perceive the two compressor types. If you don't, I'm pretty sure it'll be down to the demonstration you got.

PS: You say there was a slight difference, but the STC-8 wasn't necessarily better. Who says it has to be? Different units suit different mixes with different aims. If you think the fairchild emu sounded better on a particular mix, then that's the way to go. On some material, the STC-8 will sound better. That's why most MEs have a bunch of compressors around to have more different flavours available. Most of the time for me, it's less about wanting to do some GR, but more that I have in my mind what I want to do with the sound and then using a compressor to get it there. And most of the time, only one compressor in the rack can achieve the sound I have in my mind for the mix. If the STC-8 is just right, nothing else (that I know of) will do. And the same is true for vari-mu tube, or my opto.
Old 27th August 2008
  #32
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Tube World's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
With good tools, time and skill, you can always get good results. However, if the STC-8 didn't sound significantly different to you than the Fairchild, I would suggest that whoever set up the STC-8 probably used it in a very subtle way to do GR with minimal sound. If used to give its "sound" to a mix, I find the STC-8 sounds very very very different to a vari-mu tube design or an emulation thereof.
If the Mu was set up to do its GR as transparent as possible and the Fairchild plugin was set up to do the same, I can see how you would say that the difference isn't groundbreaking in your eyes. If both units were set with adding character in mind, they're as different as night and day.

Also, 1-2 dB doesn't tell the whole story here. As I discovered earlier in this thread, while I tend to do more than 3 dB of GR with a slow attack, others do 1-2 dB at a much faster attack time, both with a high shape value. But the "amount of character" that is audible, i.e. how much you hear a difference to the uncompressed signal, is comparable between the two. With the STC-8, I can easily do 6+ dB of GR while sounding pretty neutral, if I want that. With the Fairchild, that is very hard. Both will give you character if you want it, but the character, when pushed (and 2dB of GR on the STC-8 with a very fast attack can - if you want it - sound pushed already), but that character to my ears sounds and behaves very differently. When comparing the 2 compressors, try to apply character. That's after all what people pay $ 4500 for. I don't think many people get either of those two boxes _just_ for transparent gain reduction. If that's what you want, digital parallel compression will likely provide better results.

Either way, my initial thought was that, whoever demonstrated the STC-8 to you, might not be that familiar with the box. Or they only used it in that setup to be very transparent. I can definitely say that the decision whether to use the Mu or the STC-8 here in the studio is usually immediately very clear when hearing an incoming mix. That's how radically different I perceive the two compressor types. If you don't, I'm pretty sure it'll be down to the demonstration you got.
You could be right, but when I have heard a Manley MU or Pend. OCL-2, on a 2 bus mix, there was no doubt that the magic it added to mixes (in my eyes) is well worth it. I have a harder time hearing it with boxes that are more transparent. But to be fair, my friend was just adding a transparent reduction of the mix which the UAD Fairchild did as well. I agree 100% that if you want color, they both will sound completly different.
Old 27th August 2008
  #33
Audio Alchemist
 
Lagerfeldt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by S75 View Post
Thank you!

and about make up gain what about?

Do you like to push?
No, it actually usually stays near to no make-up.
Old 11th September 2008
  #34
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matucha's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tube World View Post
Ok, first I am not a matering engineer.
Second, I understand that at the mastering level, it's the subtle things that you guys do to help mixes. What my lack of experience (which I admit) you are using a $4,500 transparent compressor to reduce a mix in the -1 to -2 db range. For the subtle touch your doing, I dont' understand how much better it could be than a Waves Ren compressor (or for more transparent work) their mastering compressor or using a Waves SSL compressor for a little more attitude if needed.

My friends studio, he has the STC-8 and I spent 1/2 an hour getting my UAD Fairchild to give me very similar results on a mix. With less input gain, the Fairchild allowed some of the bass to go through without pumping and I was able to get a subtle gentle reduction of the top dynamics and helping gel the mix. Yes there was a difference between the two, though is was questionable if the Cranesong sounds better to everyone who heard it. Maybe I would pay $1,000 to get that difference, but $4,000 more?? I just don't understand it. Now perhaps for a home studio guy like me, yes it does not make sense to spend that much money on a compressor when most people would not notice any difference unless they were in a studio with acoustic treatment, great monitors and a A/B box. I do understand for many this is your profession and the subtle improvements do make a difference that you are willing to spend money on. But I really don't see enough of a difference that would really justify the cost. Please enlighten me on this.

Thanks


Well, I can't imagine using UAD Fairchild for 2buss, it just takes the bass out. I like it in parallel though.

Reciently I bought my 1st analog compressor, manley vari-mu. It uses the similar topology to fairchild, but comparing to the UAD Fairchild, I can't think of bigger difference. Manley is very very subtle on 2 buss, it adds lowmid thickness to the signal. UAD Fairchild removes the subbas and sounds dirty in the high mids and makes things sound lighter in a good way.... and I can continue...

I don't know of any plugin that behaves like vari-mu. But similarily as you wrote, it is no instant wow magic, just a tool that fits or doesn't fit the situation and most of my friends who only know plugs were saying "that's it? ".

I've sent some samples of the Mu to my friends who only know plugins... a
Old 11th December 2009
  #35
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mixerguy's Avatar
bump to an old, but cool thread.... anyone else wanna chime in?
Old 22nd February 2010
  #36
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mixerguy's Avatar
hmmm... no more comments to this nifty thread?

Old 22nd February 2010
  #37
pan
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pan's Avatar
 

I'd like to hear about your findings regarding the Ki-Hara-switch and shape.

btw since this is mastering, you talk about 1-3 dB reduction.
- in recording, this unit lets you get away with much higher GR and still being transparent.
Old 22nd February 2010
  #38
Audio Alchemist
 
Lagerfeldt's Avatar
I almost always use Hara mode.

People use it differently I suppose and the "2-3 dB of GR" is just what I personally often end up with. Somestimes I'm not even using the STC-8/M, sometimes it's just 1 dB, a once in a full moon it's a lot more.
Old 23rd February 2010
  #39
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A bit off topic, but I very easily get distortion and the PK led when going a bit agressive.
Old 23rd February 2010
  #40
Audio Alchemist
 
Lagerfeldt's Avatar
I don't think a lot of people use the peak limiter during mastering, I don't at least.
Old 30th September 2010
  #41
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mixerguy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
I don't think a lot of people use the peak limiter during mastering, I don't at least.
I don't.. i think it is the only weak part of the box.

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