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Stam Audio - SA-4000 - Stereo Buss Compressor (459.00 - 590.00)
Old 30th September 2017
  #991
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuanaconda View Post
I would give it 3 weeks to Russia
That is how long it takes to Australia and the route is probably even longer
It's already cleared customs in Russia and on it's way to my town. There was a delay on tracking info update and seems like it took the package 8 days to reach Russia.
Old 1st October 2017
  #992
Lives for gear
 
funka's Avatar
 

Mine arrived. It took roughly two weeks to France.
Great build quality. And firsts tests are promising, it sounds great.
Old 2nd October 2017
  #993
Just got out of the customs office. Never underestimate german burocracy... had a blast. I had to pay 78,33€ for EU import taxes and that was it. Can’t wait to try that baby out!
Old 3rd October 2017
  #994
Gear Nut
 
BT Mastering's Avatar
 

the unit has arrived today.
I confirm it's built like a tank, the knobs "feel" is the same you can find on expensive gear.
I opened the chassis and I found a professionally assembled unit. I mean, no DIY things inside.
Real PCB board, resistors, capacitors, integrated circuits etc..everything soldered and wired professionally.
The transformer is sealed in a metal box and the unit doesn't heat up during usage, a positive thing when you have a crowded rack.

About the sound.... eheh I can't make a full review yet, I have to test it in depth and compare with the rest of
my gear before making any final judgment. so stay updated
Old 4th October 2017
  #995
Gear Head
 

Hey BT mastering,

Transformer? You mean you have the 4000+ already?
Old 4th October 2017
  #996
Lives for gear
 
jacko's Avatar
My tracking says: 2017-10-02 09:54 AEROPUERTO, ENVIO DESPACHADO AL PAIS DE DESTINO



Although I am a bit worried that the tracking shows Destination Country: US when it should show up as Poland!
I'm hoping for a silly mistake in the tracking system.
Old 4th October 2017
  #997
Gear Nut
 
BT Mastering's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kriptik8 View Post
Hey BT mastering,

Transformer? You mean you have the 4000+ already?
No, my unit is a standard one.. the 4000+ has 2 Carnhill Transformers inside..

The standard SA4000 has only 1 transformer to feed both channels..
BUT, as I told, it's sealed so I can't tell much about it..

Last edited by BT Mastering; 6th October 2017 at 11:51 AM..
Old 4th October 2017
  #998
Ive got the standard one as well, but never bothered to open it. Thanx for posting that pic, Im really impressed on the build quality! Now I can't wait for my sa76 to arrive!


*** sorry just noticed that you wrote that the pic is one of a real ssl?***
Quote:
Originally Posted by BT Mastering View Post
No, my unit is a standard one.. the 4000+ has 2 Carnhill Transformers inside..

The standard SA4000 has only 1 transformer to feed both channels..
BUT, as I told, it's sealed so I can't tell much about it..

something like this I guess.. (Here a real SSL design)
Old 4th October 2017
  #999
Lives for gear
 
Cgbravo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacko View Post
My tracking says: 2017-10-02 09:54 AEROPUERTO, ENVIO DESPACHADO AL PAIS DE DESTINO



Although I am a bit worried that the tracking shows Destination Country: US when it should show up as Poland!
I'm hoping for a silly mistake in the tracking system.
Reach out to them because the same thing happened to me apparently the postal service gave them the wrong tracking so then they provided the right one, Destination country was Canada but I am in Florida, USA.
Old 6th October 2017
  #1000
Gear Nut
 
BT Mastering's Avatar
 

Quote:
*** sorry just noticed that you wrote that the pic is one of a real ssl?***
Yes the pic it' s a real SSL..it was for "kriptik8" user to help him understand what's inside a VCA compressor.

Of course the SA hadn't all that electronics inside, it's an easier design.. but the build quality is as good as that.

Last edited by BT Mastering; 6th October 2017 at 11:58 AM..
Old 6th October 2017
  #1001
Gear Head
 

Post

i just thought i was forgotten, as i ordered the sa4000+
Old 8th October 2017
  #1002
Lives for gear
 
jacko's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cgbravo View Post
Reach out to them because the same thing happened to me apparently the postal service gave them the wrong tracking so then they provided the right one, Destination country was Canada but I am in Florida, USA.
I have reached out to them.
But they know as little as I do at this point.
Yesterday the package was logged in Miami US customs.
So it doesn't look like I got the right tracking number.
Attached Thumbnails
Stam Audio - SA-4000 - Stereo Buss Compressor (459.00 - 590.00)-screen-shot-2017-10-08-16.12.35.jpg  
Old 8th October 2017
  #1003
Gear Addict
 

Just put my $100 down for the next batch
Old 9th October 2017
  #1004
Gear Nut
 
BT Mastering's Avatar
 

David vs Goliath

Review
As I said it sounds pretty good, it has the “snappy thing” on the low-mid the vintage SSL has.
I think the SA it's pretty close to a SSLG384, maybe not close at actual SSL XLogic compressor.
Setting the unit at 4:1 ratio, attack between 10-30 m.sec and short release (0.1-0.3) you will get the famous clean punchy sound.
Also: the more the ratio, the harder the knee (as on the real SSL unit).
it really shine on drum bus, guitars, overheads and it is also useful on stems.

If you want to use it on a mix you have to be very very gentle, no more than 2-3db of gain reduction. The response of the SA seems to be pretty fast and it's easy to overdo hearing “pumping” effect on the mix.

Personally, I found it really good on music genres that have short bass transients. I tested on several genres and the best results are on funk/funky styles, french house, urban/hip-hop beats (only drums&percussion), minimal/techno, pop/rock/indie drums and guitars. It's a “funk-o-matic” machine..

The sweetspot of the SA4000 is receiving a mix (or a stem) that seats around -6 dbfs average peak, it seems to fatigue handling signals that exceeds the -6 dbfs peak average. I mean, the compression effect becomes very obvious and not useful. Also, if you are producing music with heavy bass content then using the external side-chain is a MUST to avoid pumping (a 65-70Hz cut on the sidechain will work)

I also tried the SA4000 in M/S mode (using a m/s plugin) and it seems to be a nicer option if you want compress your mix more than 3-4 db. This way you can preserve integrity of the stereo image.

Concluding
I think Joshua really made a great work on this unit.

I surely recommend it to users that are buying their first pieces of gear and want a better sound than their plugins. I also recommend it to studios or project studios that can't afford expensive gear. I mean, it's a great bang for the buck.
Also, if you produce any of the music styles I listed you will love it.

I wouldn't recommend it to users that already own expensive gear such API2500, XLogic comp, Alan smart C1/C2 or similar.

Hope this helps!
Peace, and have fun!
Attached Thumbnails
Stam Audio - SA-4000 - Stereo Buss Compressor (459.00 - 590.00)-api-vs-sa4000.jpg  

Last edited by BT Mastering; 10th October 2017 at 01:46 PM..
Old 9th October 2017
  #1005
Lives for gear
 
jm2c's Avatar
 

For someone who almost exclusively deals in funk music styles, this is music to me ears! Thanks for your thoughts. I'd buy your unit but mine is already shipping...
Old 9th October 2017
  #1006
Quote:
Originally Posted by BT Mastering View Post
Well guys, after testing the SA4000 I decided it's not the right piece of gear for my actual setup.
Anyway I tested the unit in depth and I can say it sounds pretty good for the price.
Definitely better than any plugin I tried, but not as good as the rest of the gear I own here in my studio.

So I decided to re-sell my SA4000. If there are interested European members I can make you the same Stam price (490$+ shipping).. You will save money avoiding to pay the custom office tax and receive it in around 3-4 days..(versus 2 months or more ordering it from Chile)
Just private message me if interested..

Review
As I said it sounds pretty good, it has the “snappy thing” on the low-mid the vintage SSL has.
I think the SA it's pretty close to an old SSL compressor design but far away from actual SSL XLogic compressor.

Setting the unit at 4:1 ratio, attack between 10-30 m.sec and short release (0.1-0.3) you will get the famous clean punchy sound.
Also: the more the ratio, the harder the knee (as on the real SSL unit).
it really shine on drum bus, guitars, overheads and it is also useful on stems.

If you want to use it on a mix you have to be very very gentle, no more than 2db of gain reduction. The attack and release response of the SA is pretty fast and it's easy to overdo hearing “pumping” effect on the mix.

Personally, I found it really good on music genres that have short bass transients. I tested on several genres and the best results are on funk/funky styles, french house (“daft punk” style), urban/hip-hop beats (only drums&percussions), minimal/techno, pop/indie drums and guitars. It's a “funk-o-matic” machine..

The sweetspot of the SA4000 is receiving a mix (or a stem) that seats between -12 and -6 dbfs average peak, it seems to fatigue handling signals that exceeds the -6 dbfs peak average. I mean, the compression effect becomes very obvious and not useful. Also, if you are producing music with heavy bass content then using the external side-chain is a MUST to avoid pumping but you risk to lose some of the SA4000 punch..(anyway a 65-70Hz cut on the sidechain will work)

As a comparison, hi-grade compressors I own doesn't have this behaviour and can handle high-dynamic mixes with no problem preserving a deep bottom-end and having tons of headroom.
But this is normal, we are talking about a 490$ unit vs 3k$ compressors! (that's why "David vs Goliath" )

I also tried the SA4000 in M/S mode (using a m/s plugin) and it seems to be a nicer option if you want compress your mix more than 3-4 db. This way you can preserve integrity of the stereo image.

Concluding
I think Joshua really made a great work on this unit.

I recommend it to users that are buying their first pieces of gear and want something better than their plugins. I also recommend it to “entry level” studios or project studios that can't afford expensive gear at beginning.
Also, if you produce funk music styles you will love it.

I don't recommend it to users that already own expensive gear such API2500, XLogic comp, Alan smart C1/C2 or any professional compressor in general.


Hope this helps!
Peace, and have fun!


I think there is something not right with your unit.

This is a high grade compressor, it uses the same high grade parts as the Xlogic and C1, in fact, same quality capacitors, THAT VCA, knobs, etc... It is no different, you are paying for a name, not components. Making an Alan Smart or Xlogic comp is probably as expensive as making an SA4000 (more or less)

Secondly, this units is used by the biggest producers and engineers in this world, calling it an entry level compressor is also wrong, I would not get email from people as big (most of them with their own Waves plugin signature series) requesting one if it was.

I would be happy to review your unit.

Joshua
Old 9th October 2017
  #1007
Gear Nut
 
BT Mastering's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuanaconda View Post
I think there is something not right with your unit.

this units is used by the biggest producers and engineers in this world, calling it an entry level compressor is also wrong, I would not get email from people as big (most of them with their own Waves plugin signature series) requesting one if it was.

I would be happy to review your unit.

Joshua
My review wasn't meant to offend your brand, as I told it sounds better than any plugin I tried (you talked about Waves signatures).
This means that is an improvement to the sound.
I compared it side by side with some "branded" compressors and these are the main differences I listened. I never said it sounded BAD, I said it doesn't fit my current setup.


For this price I surely recommend it for people that are out of budget to afford expensive gear. I mean it's really a big bang for the buck and it sounds good..
To the "real thing" owners? honestly I don't know..I seen more than one SSL or c1 owners that are re-selling it on ebay and other places..
(ps. I'm talking about the sa4000, not the SA-2A, SA4000+ or other of your products)

Last edited by BT Mastering; 9th October 2017 at 05:16 PM..
Old 9th October 2017
  #1008
Quote:
Originally Posted by BT Mastering View Post
My review wasn't meant to offend your brand, as I told it sounds better than any plugin I tried (you talked about Waves signatures).
This means that it's an improvement to the sound.
I compared it side by side with some "branded" compressors and these are the main differences I listened. I never said it sounded BAD, I said it doesn't fit my current setup.


For this price I surely recommend it for people that are out of budget to afford expensive gear. I mean it's really a big bang for the buck and it sounds good..
To the "real thing" owners? honestly I don't know..I seen more than one SSL or c1 owners re-selling it on ebay and other places..
(ps. I'm talking about the sa4000, not the SA-2A or other of your products)

BUT, if you say that there is something wrong with my unit, then I'll be glad to send you back for a review..
I am not saying you did, I appreciate your review
I am just saying that it has no difference in components with other "branded" units and it is not an entry level piece.

I make very little money on each unit, it's my flagship product for clients to know the rest of my product line.

Last edited by joshuanaconda; 9th October 2017 at 02:24 PM..
Old 9th October 2017
  #1009
Gear Nut
 
BT Mastering's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuanaconda View Post
I am not saying you did, I appreciate your review
I am just saying that it has no difference in components with other "branded" units and it is not an entry level piece.
Alright,
to avoid any misunderstanding I removed that word from the review.
Just to be clear, it was referred only to studios or people that couldn't afford expensive gear NOT to the unit itself.

Last edited by BT Mastering; 10th October 2017 at 12:52 AM..
Old 10th October 2017
  #1010
Lives for gear
 
Cgbravo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacko View Post
I have reached out to them.
But they know as little as I do at this point.
Yesterday the package was logged in Miami US customs.
So it doesn't look like I got the right tracking number.
That tracking info looks awfully identical to the new one I got! No kidding btw.

I tried DM'ing you but I don't think it went through let me know.
Old 10th October 2017
  #1011
Lives for gear
 
jacko's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cgbravo View Post
That tracking info looks awfully identical to the new one I got! No kidding btw.

I tried DM'ing you but I don't think it went through let me know.
You’re gonna get my SA4000 then
Old 11th October 2017
  #1012
Gear Nut
 
roystone's Avatar
 

I received mine 10 days ago it's exactly what I excepted, love the sound!!
But I have a very strange behaviour in the sidechain, it pumps like hell...
I sent a mono out prefader of the masterbus, and whatever level I send it reacts very stangely. Am I doîng something wrong?
Old 11th October 2017
  #1013
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by roystone View Post
I sent a mono out prefader of the masterbus
Why would you send mono out of the masterbuss into the unit's detector instead of the masterbuss itself? What kind of music do you send through it?
BTW, as far as I understand sidechain is unbalanced stereo input.
Old 11th October 2017
  #1014
Here for the gear
 

I don't know about previous units but my understanding is that the sidechain input on the new one that I just acquired is balanced mono.
Could someone please confirm one way or the other?
Old 11th October 2017
  #1015
Lives for gear
 
jm2c's Avatar
 

bal unbal mixup would create mad phase issues and could explain the anomalies..
Old 11th October 2017
  #1016
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattbroiler View Post
I don't know about previous units but my understanding is that the sidechain input on the new one that I just acquired is balanced mono.
Could someone please confirm one way or the other?
Well, obviously it's best to ask Joshua about it to be 100% sure but I've recently opened my SA-4000 and noticed 'St. Unbal. Ext Input' or something like that on the PCB.
Old 11th October 2017
  #1017
Lives for gear
 
jm2c's Avatar
 

Ok, so mine finally arrived. Ended up paying 105$ for the shipping and 119€ for the VAT at customs (the customs fee was only 15€ tho ). So there was about 220€ worth of extra cost to getting one unit shipped to Finland / EU.

Can't wait to get the SA4k installed into the rack!
Old 15th October 2017
  #1018
Gear Maniac
 
smallstonefan's Avatar
 

Joshua,

I have a few emails into you about the invoice on my SA4000+. I would love to get this wrapped up - if you're reading could you check on that and get back to me?

thanks!

James
Old 16th October 2017
  #1019
Gear Nut
 
Rafter Man's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by vsthalion View Post
Which version of cubase are you using? Cubase 9 has the auto ping for outboard latency
I have Cubase 9 Pro, and yes, you're correct about the auto ping. But the problem is that in order for it to work, it needs to go both ways. When i'm setting up a piece of outboard gear like the SA4000 to create a hardware insert that I call SA4000 SC, your ping will show 0.0 unless it can return the signal. Remember, for this SC hardware insert, it's only going one direction.

But since I have several pieces of outboard, it indicates to me what it should be (as they're almost always all the same, except for my Yamaha spx2000 box), and then I just enter the outboard latency manually for my SC hardware inserts.

To clarify, getting this to work requires having two (2) external hardware inserts created in the F4 menu. So although the SC insert has no return, only a send, i'm able to stick it on an Aux bus (or Group Channel, in Cubase), leave it's output unconnected, and just have it receive the signal from (for ex the sends of my vocal bus.

Then, on the bus i'm wanting to attenuate to what's triggering the external SC signal, I just insert a regular stereo hardware insert that I simply call SA4000. That then takes care of the return signal.

At least, that's how it's been working for me, and I'm really loving it. But i'm by no means a pro or even a halfway seasoned engineer, so if anybody see anything wrong with this, please chime in and correct me.
Old 16th October 2017
  #1020
Gear Nut
 
Rafter Man's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BT Mastering View Post
I know I'm going out of topic, but..did you tried the Paul Wolff mod? There is a dedicated thread here on GS..it's very easy to do and your API will sound better, also for master bus duties..

I did it on mine and I won't regret, you get better detailed low-end and also sound very open on the high frequencies..I've personally found it perfect for modern sounding mixes.. before doing the mod I was in the same situation as you, using it in parallel or only on bass & drums bus..occasionally on guitars and synths..

Now I can put the API on the master bus and do wonders..I usually couples it with a Dangerous compressor or a maselec mla-3..
Yes I did! I did that a little over a year ago, and I love it. It really opened up the stereo image, at least for me. Unfortunately, the damn knob on the Link control broke off, but it was already on IND, which is where i'd prefer it most of the time, anyway. Still need to send it in, as it's under warranty a few more years.

and you're totally right about all that. When I first got it, it lived on the master bus. Then I got other high end outboard, and started to experiment with how I use it, and just fell in love with it running parallel with my guitar bus on a particular song I was doing. I kept it in this setup for a good 6 months, but then very recently, I decided to mix it up again after getting an API 5500, and found myself really liking the 2500 and 5500 combination, and now it's back on my master bus again, and might use the Neve MBP elsewhere.

I just try to remember that when my mixes start to not sound right to me, it could be something as simple as moving things around to best serve that particular situation. Can be a real pain in the ass for workflow, but using my two MOTU 16A's as a patchbay to digitally control my hardware inserts in Cubase doesn't seem to make things sound worse to me, but i'm still pretty inexperienced at this stuff compared to most of the guys around here.

As for the SA4000, i'm only now, about a year later, starting to discover that it's way versatile, and I seem to find a use for it a good 3/4ths of the time, which works for me.
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