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Modular Mastering Chain Modular Synthesizers
Old 10th January 2018
  #1
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Derp's Avatar
Modular Mastering Chain

Let's get the obvious out of the way: Yes, I know this is impractical. Yes, I know that this is a job best done by software, standalone hardware, and/or a professional mastering engineer. I am also aware that this is a very expensive way to do things.

That being said, who else has thought about setting up a mastering chain in their eurorack cases? That new AJH module has me thinking about how to pull this off. I'm thinking a chain of stereo EQ, compression, additional processing, and a recording module at the end.

For compression/limiting, there are a lot of stereo compressors out, but I'm planning to try this with Streams since I already have it and it sees no use currently. The WMD MSCL catches my eyes for future use as a final compressor. If I wanted to take this further, I've got an EMW 3-Band Splitter; it could be interesting to buy another one and use the pair for multiband compression going back into a mixer.

Equalization is going to be a bit complicated as I've yet to find a stereo EQ in Euro. The Finaliser started all of this, but even that is only mono at the EQ section. For now, I've got a pair of Zlob THEQ's just to try this concept out, but later on I do want better equalization. I've got an ALM PE-1 that I'll try out in mono, and if I like it, they're cheap enough to buy a second one.

For additional processing, the Finaliser is the obvious choice, but it feels like a bit much when I'd mostly be using the enhancer section. I do have the Dave Smith Character. The 'Girth' and 'Air' controls are described as enhancers, but I've always felt they were more like fixed-frequency EQ's. I'll try it anyway since I have it.

And the final component is an Alyseum Record, though I could probably use Disting if I wanted.

So any thoughts on all this or any contributions you want to make to this idea good, bad, or indifferent?
Old 10th January 2018
  #2
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void23's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
Let's get the obvious out of the way: Yes, I know this is impractical. Yes, I know that this is a job best done by software, standalone hardware, and/or a professional mastering engineer. I am also aware that this is a very expensive way to do things.

That being said, who else has thought about setting up a mastering chain in their eurorack cases? That new AJH module has me thinking about how to pull this off. I'm thinking a chain of stereo EQ, compression, additional processing, and a recording module at the end.

For compression/limiting, there are a lot of stereo compressors out, but I'm planning to try this with Streams since I already have it and it sees no use currently. The WMD MSCL catches my eyes for future use as a final compressor. If I wanted to take this further, I've got an EMW 3-Band Splitter; it could be interesting to buy another one and use the pair for multiband compression going back into a mixer.

Equalization is going to be a bit complicated as I've yet to find a stereo EQ in Euro. The Finaliser started all of this, but even that is only mono at the EQ section. For now, I've got a pair of Zlob THEQ's just to try this concept out, but later on I do want better equalization. I've got an ALM PE-1 that I'll try out in mono, and if I like it, they're cheap enough to buy a second one.

For additional processing, the Finaliser is the obvious choice, but it feels like a bit much when I'd mostly be using the enhancer section. I do have the Dave Smith Character. The 'Girth' and 'Air' controls are described as enhancers, but I've always felt they were more like fixed-frequency EQ's. I'll try it anyway since I have it.

And the final component is an Alyseum Record, though I could probably use Disting if I wanted.

So any thoughts on all this or any contributions you want to make to this idea good, bad, or indifferent?
DivKid just released a video on the Hexmix today ... Probably more than you need, but it's got a full EQ section on each channel along with a master EQ.
Old 10th January 2018
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by void23 View Post
DivKid just released a video on the Hexmix today ... Probably more than you need, but it's got a full EQ section on each channel along with a master EQ.
It's not quite what I was looking for regarding mastering, but holy crap does that fit the bill as a possible replacement for my Blue Lantern BMX as a master mixer. Three aux send and returns? Six direct outs in addition to stereo out? Seven EQ's? Headphone outs? Not as expensive as a Performance Mixer? Dude, I think this mixer was made for me. Thanks for pointing this out!
Old 11th January 2018
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
It's not quite what I was looking for regarding mastering, but holy crap does that fit the bill as a possible replacement for my Blue Lantern BMX as a master mixer. Three aux send and returns? Six direct outs in addition to stereo out? Seven EQ's? Headphone outs? Not as expensive as a Performance Mixer? Dude, I think this mixer was made for me. Thanks for pointing this out!
I just wish I had the space for the full setup, VCA, Mixer, Expander. No, I will not build a new case ... no, I will not build a new case ...
Old 11th January 2018
  #5
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WMD MSCL is nice. I still prefer running into an external mixer with RNLA on the mains, but the MSCL comes in handy if you need to travel lite.
Old 11th January 2018
  #6
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Derp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by void23 View Post
I just wish I had the space for the full setup, VCA, Mixer, Expander. No, I will not build a new case ... no, I will not build a new case ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by richardisabelle View Post
WMD MSCL is nice. I still prefer running into an external mixer with RNLA on the mains, but the MSCL comes in handy if you need to travel lite.
Thanks for the info there. Can't wait to (one day) try it!
Old 11th January 2018
  #7
Audio Damage Kompressor is a tight little package. Lots of useful ratios, but it lives on my WMD PM 2-buss. It Smith’s everything out and can make it like twice as loud.
Old 13th December 2018
  #8
Gear Nut
With apologies for the thread resurrection, I feed all my drums into a stereo pair in the ER301 for panning and EQ duties (seperate EQ in each mixer unit/drum voice) and then send that out to the WMD MSCL as a master compressor. Its possibly the cleanest approach I have to getting a decent cleaned up sound out of the rack.
Old 13th December 2018
  #9
From the videos I've seen that WMD MSCL is a nice "DBX" overeasy sound compressor. Great for shaping rhythms.
For the master bus I'd also consider the L-1 Microcompressor. It's a very capable and unique stereo dynamics processor, same pricerange.
Old 13th December 2018
  #10
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Both are very good suggestions. To the wishlist!

...also, I still haven't actually tried it. But to be fair, I haven't done an all-modular composition in FOREVER. I just sample and tune everything like some kind of a godless savage.
Old 13th December 2018
  #11
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Summer Of Nebula's Avatar
 

I just thought about modulating attack and release of a compressor but I can't find a single reason why I ever should do that if I just want it to behave like a compressor.

When would you guys modulate attack and release?
Old 13th December 2018
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Summer Of Nebula View Post
I just thought about modulating attack and release of a compressor but I can't find a single reason why I ever should do that if I just want it to behave like a compressor.

When would you guys modulate attack and release?
If you were using the compressor as an effect rather than a tool then you could modulate the attack to manage the onset of the effect, or in the case of pumping you could enhance or alter the rhythm of the pump by modulating either or both. Would you want to? Should you? That’s something only the end user can know.
Old 13th December 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughtrhaus View Post
If you were using the compressor as an effect rather than a tool then you could modulate the attack to manage the onset of the effect, or in the case of pumping you could enhance or alter the rhythm of the pump by modulating either or both. Would you want to? Should you? That’s something only the end user can know.
This sounds useful, right. But not really different from using a VCA + envelope?
I should try this in VCV to verify if I am just narrow minded =)
Old 13th December 2018
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Summer Of Nebula View Post
This sounds useful, right. But not really different from using a VCA + envelope?
I should try this in VCV to verify if I am just narrow minded =)
On the contrary your solution only demonstrates that there’s more than one way to skin a baby (cat). I think at that point it’s all personal choice balanced with experience.
Old 14th December 2018
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Summer Of Nebula View Post
This sounds useful, right. But not really different from using a VCA + envelope?
I should try this in VCV to verify if I am just narrow minded =)
sure you can use a VCA & Envelope, but also you'll need a good envelope follower and voltage inverter, and amp for the make up gain. and then maybe a few filters to shape the sidechain .
and then still it will sound different for sure. then again, you can use a vactrol instead of the VCA.

I sold my UREI 7110 pair which I used for live performance, with an external Rane mixer. those were good but wayyyyy too heavy. eurorack is less weight and cheaper, especially if you compare it to regular outboard. the UREIs found a new home in a cool dub studio in the UK, so that's nice. I think I've decided on the Microcompressor. the plan is to use this with an MPC and a Yocto drum machine. that's just enough to carry around: top two rows for some FX
Modular Mastering Chain-screen-shot-2018-12-14-23.44.06.jpg

@cane creek owns one so maybe he can shed some light on this?
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Modular Mastering Chain-screen-shot-2018-12-14-23.44.06.jpg  
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post

@cane creek owns one so maybe he can shed some light on this?
Yes Reptil I built the L-1 Microcompressor a few years ago, back then there was only the Mono version, I used it a lot on drums at the time and like it

I know I’ve mentioned this before however as they’ll be some newbies around its probably work mentioning again. A lot of Euro Compressor modules contain a THAT4301 chip this chip will perform all the dynamic processing of the module.
The last time I checked the L-1 Micropressor, Mutant Hot glue, WMD Compressor and there were others all contained 4301 chips, so they will all perform the same.

The Audio Damage Kompressor that Slaughtrhaus mentioned will perform differently from the 3 listed above as its DSP, from memory I think it was made with the code from the old AD ruff rider software plugin.

The compressor that caught my eye was the Intelligel Jellysquasher, simply because of the 3 analog circuits that can impose character on the signal TUBE/TAPE/XFRM which to me makes it a kinda Elektron analog heat in your rack. I asked Dan if this module was build around the 4301 chip and he said no, so its has its own thing going.

I’ve been distant from Eurorack the last year so I’m sure they’ll be plenty of new compressors on the market, just remember though if it contains a 4301 it going to perform the same as the rest that have that chip, that isn’t an issue as the 4301 makes a fine compressor.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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I like the idea of a compressor in my next drummish case (far away 2019 ). I like compressed drums, even when I just jam a little bit away. I don’t like to produce my songs afterwards itb, I always end up not..

But I am still not convinced of having a eurorack format compressor, because;
a) I have no plans to cv the parameters
b) good ‘traditional’ compressors have another pricetag. Probably not without a reason. The classics seem worth the price. But what do I know... not much at the most.....
Reasons for me to buy a eurorack version could be:
a) less space
b) cheaper ( if the quality IS good)
c) mixing and making music at the same time (not gonna happen with software, see below)

Than there is the software solution. But then I have to start up my pc if I want to make music. Sometimes no problem, sometimes not wanted. And I just dislike looking at the screen while making music. (Actually, the screen looks at me )

It looks like there are not many of us that have a ‘sort of’ end of chain solution in their rack or a dedicated rack. One that can replace the ‘traditional’ and the software solution. Well, for an amateur musician (and with bad mixing skills ).....
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
I ended up selling my AD Kompressor. I found that I preferred the sound of the master bus without it. I’m not sure I need a compressor at all.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
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TMT75's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughtrhaus View Post
I ended up selling my AD Kompressor. I found that I preferred the sound of the master bus without it. I’m not sure I need a compressor at all.
My ears like compressed drums (and sometimes bass).
For all the other parts I prefer only some eq if needed.
But it depends on the sort of music I guess.
With the only modular ‘one patch’ music I make I never use compression, but when the drums get heavily involved.....
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMT75 View Post
My ears like compressed drums (and sometimes bass).
For all the other parts I prefer only some eq if needed.
But it depends on the sort of music I guess.
With the only modular ‘one patch’ music I make I never use compression, but when the drums get heavily involved.....
Well you are pretty aware of my output. I ran a few comparisons for a month or so, using it and not using it and listening to the recordings. The recordings without it were cleaner and louder to my ears so I got rid of it. I think it does kinda boil down to me not liking compressions very much, I've sold every compressor I've owned because I wasn't satisfied with the sound.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
hmmmm I have some here I really don't want to part with (ever). tastes differ I suppose and I use those for mixing and mastering. software is really good now but not that good.
also I'm planning to use that box in performances in a Club environment to have some competative sound. mainly that's what it's for but it's nice to have a compressor close to the synths and not on some patchbay across the room if you want to do some form of sounddesign with it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMT75 View Post
drums (and sometimes bass).
sorry for OT
probeer deze. really good (and close to original hardware 525)
LSR audio plugins - VST AU RTAS AAX - VLB 525 compressor
(best is to wait for a nice discount (it was half price last month with Black Friday)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
Gear Addict
 
TMT75's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
hmmmm I have some here I really don't want to part with (ever). tastes differ I suppose and I use those for mixing and mastering. software is really good now but not that good.
also I'm planning to use that box in performances in a Club environment to have some competative sound. mainly that's what it's for but it's nice to have a compressor close to the synths and not on some patchbay across the room if you want to do some form of sounddesign with it.

sorry for OT
probeer deze. really good (and close to original hardware 525)
LSR audio plugins - VST AU RTAS AAX - VLB 525 compressor
(best is to wait for a nice discount (it was half price last month with Black Friday)
Thanx man!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
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void23's Avatar
I have an RNLA on the master bus adding just a touch of "glue" type compression. It's small enough you could probably velcro one to the top of a Deopfer case.

In the rack, I probably have way too many compressors or compression type effects this point. For side chaining, I could use Mutable Blinds, Streams, Optimix, or upgrade my Disting for the new compressor algorithms. Lo-Fi Junkie also sounds great sampled on drum loops.

Love the idea of using EQ3 on the ER-301 for eq, hadn't thought about that one yet.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #24
Noticed this: God's Box Lollipop
anyone using it???
single channel module but it's got some nice sounds. (maybe useful on an aux - NY style parallel compression)
YouTube
Old 2 weeks ago
  #25
So, for this I have a six-space Fredenstein Bento with some Colour modules from diyrecordingequipment.com, a couple of their pres, and a couple of CAPI 312DIs too (I want to record instruments and stuff as well). IMO 500-series modules are the pro audio equivalent of eurorack, and there's all sorts of stuff for that space that is focused on various audio duties and could be used for "mastering" tasks.

I also have an older location mixer (PSC M4 MKii) and/or (depending on how light I want to go) a Sound Devices MixPre3. Basically, if I hook everything together I have a 4-channel desk with various amounts of transformers, tubes, and tape emulation stuff in hardware, along with multiple limiters. Everything (including my modular keyboard thing I built for eurorack modules) can run on batteries, with the exception of the Bento rack (now that I have my modular running on battery power, I will attempt this next). The PSC has hardware limiters on all channels, plus input and output transformers. The MixPre3 also has limiters (I'm not sure if they're hardware or software, but they work as well as hardware). Anyways, these are all the bits I have for "mastering" and it's all portable. My philosophy is synths don't need EQ, because they're synths and that's what they do (among many other things), but that's about the only thing I don't have in hardware that I might want to create "finished" tracks.
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