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Drawmer 1969 Mercenary Edition Condenser Microphones
Old 2nd December 2002
  #1
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Drawmer 1969 Mercenary Edition

This morning, I reread the Drawmer 1969 manual twice. I'm pretty sure my lips were moving.

I've used the 1969 as a preamp for guitar and vocals, and the DI for bass. But I've yet to use it as a standalone compressor.

Here's what I think I know:

If you run a 2 buss to the line input of the Drawmer, the preamp is disabled but the compressor is active, provided of course the switch is on normal and not bypass.

I think that's one way of using the Drawmer as a standalone compressor. What confuses me is the sidechain. In the manual it says, "The intended use of the audio insert jacks would be to patch in EQ... reverb or similar processing."

What I want to know is if this works both ways. In other words, if I run the sends and returns to my Pro Tools rig, can I then use the Drawmer compression as an insert?

So I guess this is my ballpark question: How can you use the Drawmer 1969 as a standalone compressor?

Jasper
PS -- I'm well aware that a perfectly reasonable answer to this question is, "Why don't you just hook it up and find out your ownself?" But right now I haven't got hardly anything hooked up, because I've been doing some upgrades.
Old 2nd December 2002
  #2
Jax
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Re: Drawmer 1969 Mercenary Edition

Patch the compressor section inputs and outputs to the back of your patchbay. If you have the i/o of your PT rig also on the patchbay, the rest should be self explanatory. You need only tell PT what channels to use as the insert for the compressor.
Old 3rd December 2002
  #3
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Thanks, Jackson. I think I understand totally now.

Jasper
Old 3rd December 2002
  #4
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Here's something I've noticed about the Drawmer 1969 Mercenary Edition. Hardly anybody owns one, and hardly anybody wants one. (This observation is based on posts to the 3d Audio forum, Digidesign forum and here.)

Strange. Doesn't bother me much, although it would be nice to talk to other owners about what they've tried using it on.

I know one guy in Austin who uses the 1960 version and I guess they have a 1960 in use at the Austin Community College recording studio, but the only one I know for sure who owns a 1969 is a guy on Gearslutz, Dave Martin. And I don't know him very well. Too bad for me, because he seems to really know his stuff.

On the other hand, I don't consider it a bad thing owning something most people don't have.

Or maybe I'm just wrong. If so, post here and set me straight.

Jasper
Old 3rd December 2002
  #5
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I own a 1960. I use it as a compressor all the time. It's very popular in the UK -- there are some who consider it one of the best compressors around. I'm not as happy with the mic pres; I understand that the 1969 includes modifications that improve the mic pres and fidelity. Even with the 1969's mods, some still prefer the 1960.

I find the 1960 to be a bit moody, and I know other 1960-owners who also find that their units can perform erratically.

Overall, though, it's great.

-MattiMattMatt
Old 3rd December 2002
  #6
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Fletcher's Avatar
From the Mercenary website... http://mercenary.com/19vactubcomm.html

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Based on the Drawmer 1960, (not really, it just looks like the 1960…sorta), the 1969 employs an entirely new topology for lower noise and improved depth of tone and clarity. Pretty much, all we kept from the original 1960 were the meters, connectors, and power transformer… everything else is different. The stuff with the 'gold' screen is the stuff we did...the rest is from the original.

This is why when you are about to ask "can my 1960 be modified to be a 1969?" the answer is 'NOPE, 'NYET', 'NUH- UH'...'Fuggedaboudit'.

Burr-Brown op-amps have been chosen for a 'silkier' sound for the mic amp. The 'DI' input has limited 'tone control' function as well…for 'minor touchups' [or real radical alterations ].

A polarity reverse switch was added, let's face it, a piece of "pro" equipment should have one.

The compressor works on a 'J-FET' compression cell, which sounds a bit smoother than a VCA, and has the potential to be faster than an 'opto-attenuator'. There's a whole new tube path in the compressor as well, which nets a "warmer","richer", "fatter" [your favorite buzzword here] tone.

Three coupling positions allow for dual mono, stereo link, and a new "Big" position which puts the hi-pass filter in the side-chain to keep the bass and kick drum from 'driving' the compression. The high pass filter gently rolls off the detection signal at 100Hz to minimize undesirable 'pumping' which can be caused when the 'bottom' drives the compression.

The unit goes into "true stereo" compression…in other words, in 'stereo link', you control both channels with one set of controls.

The compressor's 'attack & release' functions were based on the timing selections available on the 670. Unlike the 670, we separated the 'attack' & 'release' controls so you can pick different attack and release times [on the 670 they work in pairs]. We started with the 670 timings, then "tweezed" them by ear. It's a completely different circuit than the 670, and while the buzzword of having the 670 timing parameters makes for great 'buzzwords'…the reality is they didn't sound really good…so we started with the 'buzzwords', and moved on from there.

Built around the 12AX7 tube, the gain-makeup section rounds out the 1969 supplying more punch and definition…and gives credibility to the "tube" buzzword so necessary as a marketing tool. They actually add to the sonic character of the unit, but they were originally put in the design as a 'marketing tool'.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Most people don't fully understand the unit because it says "Mercenary Edition" on the faceplate... it seems that many dealers feel threatened by that so they fail to present the unit.

For what it's worth, we don't make a dime off the unit unless we sell one. No royalties, no gratuities, no nothin'... but a lot of dealers feel threatened that they're feeding their competition that they actively avoid pimping it.

Their loss actually.... most folks who've tried one really seem to dig it... but as always, YMMV.
Old 3rd December 2002
  #7
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
Built around the 12AX7 tube, the gain-makeup section rounds out the 1969 supplying more punch and definition…and gives credibility to the "tube" buzzword so necessary as a marketing tool. They actually add to the sonic character of the unit, but they were originally put in the design as a 'marketing tool'.
That's pretty funny

Quote:
Most people don't fully understand the unit because it says "Mercenary Edition" on the faceplate... it seems that many dealers feel threatened by that so they fail to present the unit.
That's not the answer I was expecting at all. But it makes perfect sense.

I love it for in-the-face rock guitar and vocals. It's kind of dark... at least the way I'm using it. For me, that's a good thing.

Jasper
Old 3rd December 2002
  #8
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Renie's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by MattiMattMatt
I own a 1960. I use it as a compressor all the time. It's very popular in the UK -- there are some who consider it one of the best compressors around. I'm not as happy with the mic pres; I understand that the 1969 includes modifications that improve the mic pres and fidelity. Even with the 1969's mods, some still prefer the 1960.

I find the 1960 to be a bit moody, and I know other 1960-owners who also find that their units can perform erratically.

Overall, though, it's great.

-MattiMattMatt
MattiMattMatt,

It is curious isn't it? Many UK producers I like swear by it - Rae and Christian/Roni Size/Talvin Singh/ William Orbit.
I like mine alot too except I agree the mic-pre's aren't great....
I'd like to hear the 1969. But then again it sounds like such a different beast from what Fletcher says. It baffles me how Fletcher and Drawmer arrived at the 1969 concept.
Old 3rd December 2002
  #9
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Renie, I'm baffled that all the people you mentioned are avid 1960 users 'cause i dig most of their stuff and when I'ved used it found the 1960 quite the dog... Go figure! BTW, what do you like yours for?n
Old 3rd December 2002
  #10
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Fletcher
For what it's worth, we don't make a dime off the unit unless we sell one. No royalties, no gratuities, no nothin'... but a lot of dealers feel threatened that they're feeding their competition that they actively avoid pimping it.
This kind of short sighted attitude is really too bad because they are doing their users a disservice. For example a Great River NV is a fantastic mic pre and I don't believe it matters whether is has your logo on it or if you get any royalties or not.

Dan is a great guy, the product is outstanding and most importantly my customers are making great recordings, and after all that's what it is all about.

Fletcher I applaud your efforts and I wish I had my logo on half the gear you do. And if you can make a few extra $$ on some kind of royality then you are a genius. As I tell most of my customers, I do this more for passion than I do for profit. You know better than anyone that the margins are pretty slim.

Lee
Old 3rd December 2002
  #11
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Drumsound's Avatar
I love my '69. I haven't done a project since I bought where I haven't used it somewhere. I like to track with the pres. I often use the pre and comp for bass. It's often my second vocal comp, or sometimes my first.

I bought it for 2-mix (big switch) and have not been disappointed. Like any other piece it's not right for everything, but it's very useful on may things.
heh
Old 3rd December 2002
  #12
Jax
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This thread has some tidbits about the 1969. I find what I wrote there still holds true regarding kick drums. On bass I find it is very smooth, with the BIG switch really opening up the width and depth of a bass track. With the '69, I haven't figured out how to add any kind of grit to bass or guitar tracks, but plenty of heft. I don't know that this thing does grit. Meanwhile, that makes it great for taming edgy guitar tracks, like smoothing concrete.

I have yet to try it on vocals... for whatever reason I just haven't yet.

My only wish is that '69 could perform the BIG switch sound on each channel separately. Instead, it's a linked function, so I'd need two units to do that.

Oh yeah, btw the DI is great for bass.
Old 4th December 2002
  #13
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The D.I. is REALLY good on bass. One of those deals where *later* you say to yourself, "Wow...that's got some fur on it. What did I use?" Then you go dig out the track sheet.

I have owned mine for about two years, I think. I bought it for use as a 2 buss compressor and have only used it in that capacity. Fletcher gave me some setting suggestions which I faithfully adhere to (I'm a cheap date!). In the last 18 months I have had three records mastered by Scott Hull and one by Doug Sax. Neither of them said a word regarding the 2 buss compression. [I'm sure we've all had some experience with a mastering engineer giving you **** for doing something he can't 'undo'.]

Benjy
Old 4th December 2002
  #14
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barforama's Avatar
1969 / 1960

I have a 1969 and I had a 1960 for some time too.

The 1960, which I bought without trying it, basically just sat there in the rack rarely being used. Someone called the comp moody .. I'd describe it closer to muddy :-(
I didn't like the pre's either. Kinda like the pre's in the dbx silver-crap.
However, I used the DI a lot cause its nice for basses. Especially the tone-controls were nice :-)
I sold the 1960 a couple of months later and I'll never regret it.

This spring I bought the 1969 and I must say it's a different beast :-)
The DI is the same as the old design and the pre/comps are completely new designs. The compressor is actually VERY useful. The 1969 is almost hard-wired to a MD421 for snares. I LOVE it :-)
I use it constantly on drumsub's/ambience. Not used it very often for mixbus, thou.
Clean singlecoil-PU guitars that needs sustaaaaiiiinnnnn: GTR > DI/comp is heaven.
I have also used the pre's for overheads w/ AT4051's or C451's. Very nice.
I have yet to find something I don't like about it.......Oh yes, It only has two channels.
Haven't really fallen for it for vocals...yet, I assume :-)

I find the 1969 a REALLY usefull tool :-) the 1960 didn't float my boat...not at all!

/torsten/
Old 5th December 2002
  #15
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Renie's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by groundcontrol
Renie, I'm baffled that all the people you mentioned are avid 1960 users 'cause i dig most of their stuff and when I'ved used it found the 1960 quite the dog... Go figure! BTW, what do you like yours for?n
hi groundcontrol

I like it for roughing up tame or too clean samples, particularly drums, on tracks that need a deeper rougher energy. It's a good gelling agent too for various samples to sit together better.

I haven't used it across the whole mix yet, can't see that I would often either.

We recorded bass and guitar through it last week and they sounded great.

Mine was broken when I first bought it and it had to be replaced, maybe they can be unreliable..?
Old 5th December 2002
  #16
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I might see why it would be better for such a job than trying to get pristine audio out of it. Did you try the Fatso yet? Seems you could like what it can do.

Cheers!
Old 5th December 2002
  #17
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Jax writes:

Quote:
My only wish is that '69 could perform the BIG switch sound on each channel separately. Instead, it's a linked function, so I'd need two units to do that.
Right, you can't use Big separately. That is, you can't use Big on one channel and then deselect it on the other channel when using two channels.

But you can use Big Link on one channel alone, right? Run it in stereo, but only hook up one channel to it, say a Bass into the DI or whatever. I'm just clarifying here (for my sake, I guess). Obviously, you know this -- since you said it would take, as you say, two units to run two channels with the Big Link on, two off.

Benjy King writes:

Quote:
The D.I. is REALLY good on bass. One of those deals where *later* you say to yourself, "Wow...that's got some fur on it. What did I use?" Then you go dig out the track sheet.
I'd really like to have this fleshed out a bit more. That is, what settings did you use. Was the Big Link employed? And do you use DI alone or DI and miked cab?

Here's an interesting quote I found on the Mercenary Audio site:
Quote:
The compressor is seriously badass mofo at any speed! I have to say, I've not spoken to 2 engineers that use it the same way, so I reckon it's pretty flexible.
I can't tell exactly who the quote is attributed to the way it's laid out on the page there (Steve Albini?) but it seems to be true. I'd like to hear every application of the Drawmer 1969 you guys have come up with.

One thing I really like about the 1969 that rarely gets mentioned -- it has VU meters. It's the only unit I can use in my small setup to calibrate my D/A converters. I run a -16DBFS tone from Pro Tools into the Apogee PSX-100 D/A, then run the D/A out into the line input of the Drawmer. Then I turn the screws on the front of the Apogee until the VU meters register zero on the VU meters.

"But how do you know the VU meters are accurately calibrated?" Well, I don't. But so far it seems close enough for... you know.

Jasper
Old 5th December 2002
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Hey Mike,
Fletcher says the D.I. hasn't changed from the 1960 to the 1969. With that said: several years ago I was producing/engineering a bunch of songwriting demos for a guy who wanted sort of a 'Stones' feel to his "countryish" songs. I would whip up some simple charts and run into this rehearsal studio which had a pretty good room with a Hammond. The control room had some ADAT's, a Scorpion console, one 1176, one LA-2....you know. There was also a 1960. In running around trying to set up and knock this thing out I said, "What do you have for Bass?" "Try this" said the assistant. So, old Spector Bass into the D.I. of the 1960. [I don't recall using any of the EQ. It's not something I would normally do]. Now, a little side note: I am a FIRM believer in what real *time* can do for your listening awareness. I honestly can't really tell you how I feel about a record I mixed until....jeez, I don't know----two years later!? So....we cut three tunes in a few hours (live four piece) with a few overdubs. Throw a vocal on...Boom, demo. Several days later I throw up the tracks at home to mix. Instantly I'm saying, "Whoa...what's up with the Bass?" It's furry and just plain rockin' (granted the Bass player is way bad). None the less, a real ear grabber. So, I think "Cool". Whatever. Two or three months later the whole process was repeated, with me having done a million sessions in between. A few days later...put up the tracks...hit play...."Whoa...what's up with the Bass?"

Years ago I bought an Altec 1567A tube mixer right at the end of an album project. I bounced the lead vocal though it and printed it to another track on all except two songs (no available tracks). Two months later I invited the artist (26 year old singer/writer/player) to come over and hear the glass master from Doug Sax. The kid sits on the couch, we start listening. Several measures into the fifth song he says, "Gee, I don't know. This vocal isn't doing it for me like the others?" I get up and find the track sheets. Sure enough...no Altec. I walked over and put my hand out to shake his and said, "Congratulations. You just heard one of those things that you can't hear!!"

Benjy
Old 6th December 2002
  #19
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Great stories, Benjy. Thanks!

Jasper
Old 6th December 2002
  #20
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You're quite welcome. Thanks for reading.
Benjy
Old 7th December 2002
  #21
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adam_w's Avatar
I use a 1960 quite a lot. I find the mic pre's very dark and middy, but I like the DI and compressor.

As far as the unit being temperamental..I had a bit of that, but I think I've found the cause..Open up the unit..mash down the IC's at the front into their sockets. It'll work properly again !
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