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Upgrading to outboard compression & saturation
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Upgrading to outboard compression & saturation

Dear All

Forgive the noob post.

I’ve been searching these forums for opinions and comparisons. I wish there was a place we could all go to directly compare these units for ourselves, especially when about to shell out so much $$$$. Thanks to all those that post informative answers and experiences.

I’m upgrading the studio at home finally to get some nice outboard compression and saturation. Everything else, instruments, interface, effects, speakers etc is where I want it to be.

I am a huge electronic music fan of artists like Tangerine Dream, NIN, Underworld, DM, Alessandro Cortini, Vatican Shadow, Ben Frost, Joshua Eustis This is the sort of music I love to make.

I really dig my plug ins for Shadow Hills MC, VSM-3, Fatso, EL8X-S Distressor, Culture Vulture, BBHG-2, ST Decapitator. I love hearing quality harmonic distortion, color and saturation. It gives me a pant tent.

I read many posts that have alot of love for these plug-ins but hardware tends to win in the end and its time for me to invest in this area. I have the money and excited to take the next plunge.

I am leaning towards

2 x Empirical Labs EL8X-S Distressor’s with BM & UBK Fatso

or

Vertigo VSM-2 & UBK Fatso

or

Shadow Hills MC & Culture Vulture

Other notable hardware I am reading and hearing good things about

LOOPTROTTER AUDIO MONSTER COMPRESSOR 2
Black Box Analog Design HG-2
API 2500

I would love to hear any thoughts and experiences on the above gear combos or similar combos. I know its all a matter of taste and preference. Just always interesting to hear opinions from as knowledgable bunch as yourselves.

best wishes to you all

Bobby
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Amsoily's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyroberts View Post
Dear All

Forgive the noob post.

I’ve been searching these forums for opinions and comparisons. I wish there was a place we could all go to directly compare these units for ourselves, especially when about to shell out so much $$$$. Thanks to all those that post informative answers and experiences.

I’m upgrading the studio at home finally to get some nice outboard compression and saturation. Everything else, instruments, interface, effects, speakers etc is where I want it to be.

I am a huge electronic music fan of artists like Tangerine Dream, NIN, Underworld, DM, Alessandro Cortini, Vatican Shadow, Ben Frost, Joshua Eustis This is the sort of music I love to make.

I really dig my plug ins for Shadow Hills MC, VSM-3, Fatso, EL8X-S Distressor, Culture Vulture, BBHG-2, ST Decapitator. I love hearing quality harmonic distortion, color and saturation. It gives me a pant tent.

I read many posts that have alot of love for these plug-ins but hardware tends to win in the end and its time for me to invest in this area. I have the money and excited to take the next plunge.

I am leaning towards

2 x Empirical Labs EL8X-S Distressor’s with BM & UBK Fatso

or

Vertigo VSM-2 & UBK Fatso

or

Shadow Hills MC & Culture Vulture

Other notable hardware I am reading and hearing good things about

LOOPTROTTER AUDIO MONSTER COMPRESSOR 2
Black Box Analog Design HG-2
API 2500

I would love to hear any thoughts and experiences on the above gear combos or similar combos. I know its all a matter of taste and preference. Just always interesting to hear opinions from as knowledgable bunch as yourselves.

best wishes to you all

Bobby
Go German, https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...pha-compressor

https://youtu.be/cu9GWD-82Jk

After you have then look at saturators.
Old 6 days ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amsoily View Post
Thanks for the arrow - will check that beast out - noticed there is a plugin version too that I must try
Old 6 days ago
  #4
Lives for gear
For lots of analog control in a small amount of rack space the EL7 and EL8 are not a bad way to go. Add and remove "Smack" from the tracks as desired. They were the first hardware compressors I purchased.

The UBK fatso will be a larger step up from plug than the Distressor. The distressor has very good software emulations, not a gigantic leap. Both hardware and software disitressors sound oval and plasticky in a good way.

If you are tracking vocals, it's the 1176, LA2A, and Variable Mu style compressors that will be a huge step up. Especially the 76. There are many 1176 compressors on the market for that very reason

I suggest the UBK fatso and a pair of 1176 flavor since you appear to want stereo pairs.

Take a look at the following. The quality and price goes up as you go down this list.
Revive Audio
https://www.reviveaudio.com/
Audio Scape
https://www.audio-scape.com/
Retro -rave review on this site. I have not used.
https://www.retroinstruments.com/
Chandler
https://chandlerlimited.com/

And here is one relative unknown:
Locomotive.
https://www.locomotiveaudio.com/




The API 2500 I have not used, but from what I have listeded too, its a case where the plugs are not near as good as the hardware.

Steps up, but still in the box for recall.
UAD is another rout worth considering. Unless you get there converters or MADI live, it's only useful for mixing, not tracking.

SSL Native plugs are worth a look or rent.

There are so many options out there.

Very common vocal chains are: 1176-LA2A or 1176-Varible MU

The distressor gets close to the 1176 and LA2A. Depends on where you want to be in the long run and how much space, IO, & Patching you want to take up with hardware in the long run.

Last edited by elegentdrum; 6 days ago at 03:36 AM..
Old 5 days ago
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
For lots of analog control in a small amount of rack space the EL7 and EL8 are not a bad way to go. Add and remove "Smack" from the tracks as desired. They were the first hardware compressors I purchased.

The UBK fatso will be a larger step up from plug than the Distressor. The distressor has very good software emulations, not a gigantic leap. Both hardware and software disitressors sound oval and plasticky in a good way.

If you are tracking vocals, it's the 1176, LA2A, and Variable Mu style compressors that will be a huge step up. Especially the 76. There are many 1176 compressors on the market for that very reason

I suggest the UBK fatso and a pair of 1176 flavor since you appear to want stereo pairs.

Take a look at the following. The quality and price goes up as you go down this list.
Revive Audio
https://www.reviveaudio.com/
Audio Scape
https://www.audio-scape.com/
Retro -rave review on this site. I have not used.
https://www.retroinstruments.com/
Chandler
https://chandlerlimited.com/

And here is one relative unknown:
Locomotive.
https://www.locomotiveaudio.com/




The API 2500 I have not used, but from what I have listeded too, its a case where the plugs are not near as good as the hardware.

Steps up, but still in the box for recall.
UAD is another rout worth considering. Unless you get there converters or MADI live, it's only useful for mixing, not tracking.

SSL Native plugs are worth a look or rent.

There are so many options out there.

Very common vocal chains are: 1176-LA2A or 1176-Varible MU

The distressor gets close to the 1176 and LA2A. Depends on where you want to be in the long run and how much space, IO, & Patching you want to take up with hardware in the long run.
Appreciate the insight and recommends. I do love the LA2A. I won't be tracking vocals in the foreseeable. I do love using the UAD plugin on synths, I can imagine the hardware sounds even nicer.
Old 5 days ago
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Amsoily's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyroberts View Post
Appreciate the insight and recommends. I do love the LA2A. I won't be tracking vocals in the foreseeable. I do love using the UAD plugin on synths, I can imagine the hardware sounds even nicer.
psst...Alpha German undce undce undce, en espanol poonches poonches poonches
Old 4 days ago
  #7
Be sure to check some well made comparisons with audio in order to be sure you hear a difference that is worth thousands of dollars.
If you're sure I think a pair of Distressors is a great starter because you can use them as a pair or completely separate and they can cover so much ground in terms of compression and saturation.
The Api 2500 is really great and versatile, too, but not as versatile as Distressors.
Also check out Drawmer's 1978. Very flexible, great sounding comp with saturation and unique sidechain/shaping EQ for very little money.
Old 3 days ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 
SmoothTone's Avatar
 

API 2500 is a great choice for electronic music. I use one all the time. With its different modes and and thrust circuit it's more than the one trick pony it's often made out to be. You can get some nice saturation by driving the output transformers as well.

You might want to check out the HendyAmps Pollock which is an interesting beast.

For saturation, I don't think you'd be disappointed with the VSM-2. HG-2 wouldn't be my first choice for electronic music.

How's your conversion? You will want this to be decent to get the most out of these boxes.

These threads should give you something to chew on:

mastering compressor comparison test

Mastering Compressor Comparison (Audio Samples)

Last edited by SmoothTone; 3 days ago at 11:15 AM.. Reason: Added Pollock
Old 1 day ago
  #9
Nice recommendations so far! Let me give you mine: SPL Kultube (especially the premium version with Lundahl transformers). Not a very famous or hyped unit, actually quite underrated, but it does sound incredible and it's very versatile. It also has adjustable tube saturation so you can dial in what you need. The (kind of) auto attack and release settings are magic. Demo it if you have the chance.
Old 22 hours ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
badmark's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyroberts View Post
Thanks for the arrow - will check that beast out - noticed there is a plugin version too that I must try
For a 'newbie' the Elysia Xpressor (which I have) probably make more sense.
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