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Distressors as MIX Compressors????
Old 2nd May 2003
  #1
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Mad John's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Distressors as MIX Compressors????

Hello Dave and welcome to Gearslutz!

My qestion surrounds a common myth that the EL8s absolutly suck as mixing Comps!

I do not share this view, as I have had great luck combineing my two EL8s with the Manley MU (gasps from concerned crowd!)

Why are they not considered apropiate for this aplication?

Also, many people seem to not favour them on vocals and I was wondering if you might explain why that is.

Peace & Dreams,
Old 2nd May 2003
  #2
Hey I don't know who's told you this, but the Distressor built its reputation in the mix.

I personally use mine mostly on Kick and Snare sub-parallel channels, bass parallels,guitars and room comps.

I am one of the guys who doesn't like it on vocals(tracking or mixing). But that's more of a preference thing. I have other things that I reach for when mixing vocals first.
Old 2nd May 2003
  #3
The Distressor's "daddy"
 
Dave Derr's Avatar
 

BUSS COMPRESSORS

Thats actually a good question, Mad John, and I think I have an answer... might not be a good one but...

First, you are not alone in using the Distressor as a mixdown buss compressor - others may chime in here on that. The main limitation or gotcha of using the Distressor for a mixdown compressor is the attack time - its extremely fast. This will give a "squashed" sound unless you keep that knob on 10.5 probably... or else use one of the tricks below.

Second, the original link, the "Phase Link" didnt lock the left and right image together, to prevent Image shifting between the left and right channels. As most of you know there is the option now of the "Image Link" which does indeed lock the image of the left and right channels by keeping the gain reduction on both channels identical. The EL8X version comes standard with this, as well as coming with the British "Animal" mod.

A couple of tricks that I have seen used for Buss compression with the Distressor.

1) Use 2:1 ratio with the slowest attack and a fast release (under 5 on the release). 10:1 Opto may be usable some.
2) Submix the Distression in gently underneath the "dry" mix to keep the transients
3) Use the Det HP to keep the mix from pumping with the sub frequencies
4) Dont overdo the compression unless you submix it up under the dry mix. More than 2 - 3 dB of compression will start to sound squashed.
5) Dont be afraid to use 1:1 with no Gain Reduction to add the soft clipping "heat" of the Distressor

The Fatso has a dedicated ratio called "BUSS" that specifically slows the attack up above 100mS. This is key I think.

Anyone else have any tips or experiences with one compressor over another for bus compression. I loved the SSL or Alan Smart compressors when I had them available, which wasnt often enough. Conversely, these were really great cause of the slow attack on the whole mix, I think. The opposite extreme would be an LN1176 which also destroys mixes because of the fast attack. The Digital compressors are also pretty good in Pro Tools for buss compression, but then, often lacked the character most folks love for individual tracks. Comments?
Old 2nd May 2003
  #4
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Mad John's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Dave,

Thank you for the great suggestion! I will certainly try them. I find that when the EL8s are used correctly in conjunction with my Manley MU, that I get "Bite" from the EL8s and warm clue from the MU!

One method I use even more tham the 2 buss for the Comps is useing the main outputs of my Trident - 65 console directly into my outboard equpment.
Old 2nd May 2003
  #5
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Albert's Avatar
 

I don't have any brilliant technical insight on how to use the Distressors on the mix buss, but I have done it myself as experimentation and have some thoughts.

As far as stereo image the image link mod is dramatically better than the "Detector: Link" setting. I think that some who discuss reservations about the Distressor as a buss compressor may not have done this mod yet.

The Distressors are certainly clean enough for buss work, in my opinion. It seems they have a reputation as a distortion or warmly box, but it can be audiophile clean.

I've found my distressors to work beautifully well on some material and not as well on others on the mix buss. It worked wonderfully on some synth mixes, but less well on a very exposed acoustic piano recording. However, I could see the Distressors working well on a piano recording of a different style, or perhaps guitar, although I haven't tried that.

In general, I found that using lower compression ratings, no distortion, and lighting up only the first 3-4 gain reduction led's kept the Distressors sounding very very clean indeed.
Old 2nd May 2003
  #6
Gear maniac
 
Neve Sucks!'s Avatar
 

I don´t wanna be a crackhead, but is it only me that doesn´t like the Distressor??

This is why:

Kick: Just sucks all the bass out of the kick? Everything under 50Hz.
Bass: Same as Kick.
Vocals: It brings the noise floor up very much. Why? Even if the vocals are digital recorded with a noise free preamp.
Mixbuss: Just to much
Drums in general: I think it sounds a bit to compressed, not (please don´t kill me) dynamically enough.


Dave, please see this as a real life feedback. I know you sold 7000 units, so.....

The Fatso looks really interesting though. I will borrow one and give it a "real life" run through.......
Old 2nd May 2003
  #7
The Distressor's "daddy"
 
Dave Derr's Avatar
 

Neve Sucks! said:

I don´t wanna be a crackhead, but is it only me that doesn´t like the Distressor??
==============================

LOL NO you arent the only one who doesnt like it! But thank god no one has asked for their money back yet. (Laughing). We even had someone with a client who hated the name so much they had them cover the word "DISTRESSOR" on the front panel when they used it.

Have you tried keeping the attack well above 5, and using it a little more gently? The beast can attack in a few microseconds which is really squashing. If its bringing the noise floor up on vocals or other digital recordings, it sounds like you may be using a whole lot of compression? Not sure though?

Also the Detector HP can keep it from compressing the sub frequencies too much. The box is flat down to a couple HZ, so it shouldnt be losing frequencies.

It is definitely not the best compressor for all occasions and not everyone's cup of tea. You are not alone. What is interesting is that you picked some sources that others say they use the Distressor for many times.. especially those low frequency sources you mentioned. Im glad you brought this up tho. Thanks!

Since Im new here I have to ask... Do you really think Neve Sucks, because Im a pretty huge fan of Rupert and think he was the master of musical transformer designs. He also was one of the first guys to make a transistor work way below .01% distortion. Im dying to sit down with him sometime and ask him a bunch of things. So what's the story on your name?
Old 2nd May 2003
  #8
Gear maniac
 
Neve Sucks!'s Avatar
 

Thanks Dave,

What I´ve experienced regarding the bass lost is, when you´re compressing alot (which everbody´s doin) the bass seems to be thinner. I watched the spectrum analyzer and the bass did drop quit a bit, both on kick and live bass.

Also on vocals, I did compress the hell out of it...... and it did get a bit noisy.....

And I don´t think that Rupert suck that much.....I´m not a tech guy, so I have no idea about his designs and solutions. I´m just not a big fan of his EQ´s. I do love his compressors however......
Regarding my user name, I´m not very proud of it. But when I signed on to gearslut I was so tired of everybody´s doing copy of Neve stuff. Neve this, Neve that.....So a better name for me would be "Copy Sucks".......heh
Old 2nd May 2003
  #9
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subspace's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Derr
Neve Sucks! said:

I don´t wanna be a crackhead, but is it only me that doesn´t like the Distressor??
==============================
Since Im new here I have to ask... Do you really think Neve Sucks, because Im a pretty huge fan of Rupert and think he was the master of musical transformer designs. He also was one of the first guys to make a transistor work way below .01% distortion. Im dying to sit down with him sometime and ask him a bunch of things. So what's the story on your name?
Only here for a day and Mr. Sucks has already lumped you in with that Neve and Massenburg gear...
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showthrea...assenburg+neve
...don't get too down on yourself, those guy's probably built some stuff that sounds okay....
Old 3rd May 2003
  #10
Gear Head
 

Distressors on the mix buss

Dave's recommendations for using the distressors across a mix are the only way it has worked for me (and we came to this independently). Absolutely slowest attack and, for me fastest release (or close). Only light a few lights, tops. This also works well across a drum buss. When it works right, it can really bring forward a lot of smaller (especially percussive) details. Try it on a track w/ lots of percussion. It really can make it snap! It also lets you get a few extra db to dig, if you're mixing back to PT or something.

Not really great for r n' b type of stuff where you want the kick to lead big. Then again, heavy program compression NEVER has worked real well for me on that type of stuff.
Old 3rd May 2003
  #11
The Distressor's "daddy"
 
Dave Derr's Avatar
 

I totally know what you mean about trying to compress dance, rap, RnB stuff thru any normal compressor. Right off the bat the Kik drum starts to push back and pump the mix. Ive had some luck with multiband stuff, just compressing everything above like 200 on it... but cant say I remember it really making anyone jump for joy... verrrry questionable.

Any folks or mastering guys have any experiences trying to compress bottom heavy music like Dance HipHop Rap etc and keeping the mix from losing it, and pumping like Arnold at Golds Gym?

PS Guys Im in Delaware with a new Apple Laptop and Im trying to learn how to use it without hurling it thru my sisters window, while still keeping some kind of flow goin here
Old 3rd May 2003
  #12
Hey Dave,

The secret for RnB and rap compression is to do a lot of parallel/sub compression in the different frequencies in a mix. That way when it comes to strapping a stereo comp on the mix, you don't have to squeeze it as hard.

I've noticed lately a lot of the rap/rnb mixes here in the NYC that are mixed on a 9000J have a Crane STC-8 on them. It retains the size without changing too much of the color.
Old 3rd May 2003
  #13
jho
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jho's Avatar
 

I'm going to try some of your suggestions for the mix buss.

I happen to love my distressor on female vocalists (strong vocalists usually) on the opto 10:1 setting. But that's just me. Male vocalists usually on 6:1....

It is the **** for sure on kik, snare (pull down that fader when the tom rolls come in tho!), bass and apparently mix buss too!!!!

Thanks for joining us Dave!!
Old 3rd May 2003
  #14
Registered User
 
malice's Avatar
 

I was not thrilled by Distressors on 2buss, but I had the occasion to play a couple of hours with a fatso, and I kinda like what it did in that application.
Of course I should do more test, but is there some posters that used the Fatso for two buss ?

would love some feedback

malice
Old 3rd May 2003
  #15
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Tim L's Avatar
 

I'm not a big fan of straight 2 mix compression. It always seems to work out nicer doing the parallel thing (tucking a compressed version of the mix under the dry), at least for me anyway. Alas, I only have one Distressor at the moment (shame on me) but I would love to try them on the 2 mix.
Old 3rd May 2003
  #16
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e-cue's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
Hey Dave,

The secret for RnB and rap compression is to do a lot of parallel/sub compression in the different frequencies in a mix. That way when it comes to strapping a stereo comp on the mix, you don't have to squeeze it as hard.

I've noticed lately a lot of the rap/rnb mixes here in the NYC that are mixed on a 9000J have a Crane STC-8 on them. It retains the size without changing too much of the color.
This happens more and more these days because producers (aka, glorified drum programmers) are printing stereo instrumentals and not splitting the instruments on seperate tracks. I hate this like a mofo, esspecially when the tracking engineer did a poor 'rough' on the instrumental stereo track (even worse if they overcompressed). So you HAVE to do this with the music just to get some type of useable program material. The distressors opto setting is good for this because I can slightly mimic the LA2A in a stereo setting with more control. I usually do this across 3 mults (hi, mid, low) with different compressors with the distressor on the mid. Sort of like multiband compression.

So Mr. Derr, this is why we need the EL9, the Dismultibandor. (under $1,000 street price of course so I can buy 10 of them).
Old 3rd May 2003
  #17
Quote:
Originally posted by e-cue
This happens more and more these days because producers (aka, glorified drum programmers) are printing stereo instrumentals and not splitting the instruments on seperate tracks. I hate this like a mofo, esspecially when the tracking engineer did a poor 'rough' on the instrumental stereo track (even worse if they overcompressed). So you HAVE to do this with the music just to get some type of useable program material. The distressors opto setting is good for this because I can slightly mimic the LA2A in a stereo setting with more control. I usually do this across 3 mults (hi, mid, low) with different compressors with the distressor on the mid. Sort of like multiband compression.

So Mr. Derr, this is why we need the EL9, the Dismultibandor. (under $1,000 street price of course so I can buy 10 of them).

E-Cue,

Excellent point!!

Hey maybe this EL9 can have a phase checker(adjustable of course) in each of the bands(very important when doing splits with stereo program material). Add some kind of mid/side processing feature.

Also how about a glorified "midband expander" on it. So you can suck out the room out of badly tracked vocals(recorded in sh*tty vocal booths and bedrooms) or tune into the leakage of a snare or kick?

Hey you can put me down for (2) of them...maybe(3).heh
Old 3rd May 2003
  #18
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20to20's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Derr
We even had someone with a client who hated the name so much
they had them cover the word "DISTRESSOR" on the front panel when they used it.
That's funny, I have a piece of electrical tape over "FATSOjr"...
Old 4th May 2003
  #19
jho
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jho's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by e-cue
So Mr. Derr, this is why we need the EL9, the Dismultibandor. (under $1,000 street price of course so I can buy 10 of them).
While you're at it, can you make the rest of us an EL999 which makes everything run thru it NOT suck. thumbsup
Old 4th May 2003
  #20
jho
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jho's Avatar
 

New Avatar in EL / Dave's honor!!

hehehe

(basically more buttering up to make that EL999)
Old 4th May 2003
  #21
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Neve Sucks!
I don´t wanna be a crackhead, but is it only me that doesn´t like the Distressor??

This is why:

Kick: Just sucks all the bass out of the kick? Everything under 50Hz.
Bass: Same as Kick.
i dont have a problem with that. i HP kicks all the time... usually at 30-50hz, sometimes as high as 120hz with a bumpQ down at 60-70hz. i HP bass guitar at 40hz too.

a pair of distressors is at the top of my purchase list. i need to own 2 of them at least. i love when i have them available to me to work with... i want them on a permanent basis.
Old 4th May 2003
  #22
Registered User
 
malice's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
i dont have a problem with that. i HP kicks all the time... usually at 30-50hz, sometimes as high as 120hz with a bumpQ down at 60-70hz. i HP bass guitar at 40hz too.

I know who you really are then, yer Bob Clearmountain ! heh

malice
Old 4th May 2003
  #23
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jazzius's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by e-cue
I usually do this across 3 mults (hi, mid, low) with different compressors with the distressor on the mid. Sort of like multiband compression.

.
E-cue, what (device) are you using for the crossovers?
Old 4th May 2003
  #24
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jazzius's Avatar
 

One device i'd love to see is a multiband (3) unit with insert points on each band so you could treat each band with a different device. I guess there are some live-sound units that could do this but are they "2-buss" quality?
Old 5th May 2003
  #25
no ssl yet
Guest
Parallel compression?

Thrill and E-cue, What are the benefits of placing parallel compression on the entire mix (I never have) does it help to increase the apparent dynamic of the mix? One of my problems in mixes is getting my Kick/Snr to hit as hard as major label mixes. I have been using mults and parallel comps on my drums but never on my entire mix. I notice the drums in mixes that I like seem to hit sharply and get out of the way quickly. I have experimented with compressors/gates but It's a rough process using plugins sometimes. I try to implement sound replacer and layering to solve the problem along with mults and parallel comps
So you say a parallel comp onn the entire mix?

Would this help? or any other suggestions?


And what damn fool - blithering idiot would expect someone to mix a stereo mix? LOL

I'm crying laughing because I also get em all the time from people who want to complain about the mix. I have had folk to complain that I take mixing my own stuff more seriously than what they pay me for and therefore there mixes don't sound as good. As if It has nothing to do with the terrible sounds they bring me and the drum kits they try to use directly out of the Tritondfegad

Hip Hop kits in keyboards are about as close to real as the Guitars and Basses are.

I hope people someday realize good sounds lead to good mixes

OK I'm finished ranting and I'm back off to study for exams
Old 5th May 2003
  #26
Re: Parallel compression?

Quote:
Originally posted by no ssl yet
Thrill and E-cue, What are the benefits of placing parallel compression on the entire mix (I never have) does it help to increase the apparent dynamic of the mix? One of my problems in mixes is getting my Kick/Snr to hit as hard as major label mixes. I have been using mults and parallel comps on my drums but never on my entire mix. I notice the drums in mixes that I like seem to hit sharply and get out of the way quickly. I have experimented with compressors/gates but It's a rough process using plugins sometimes. I try to implement sound replacer and layering to solve the problem along with mults and parallel comps
So you say a parallel comp onn the entire mix?

Would this help? or any other suggestions?


And what damn fool - blithering idiot would expect someone to mix a stereo mix? LOL

I'm crying laughing because I also get em all the time from people who want to complain about the mix. I have had folk to complain that I take mixing my own stuff more seriously than what they pay me for and therefore there mixes don't sound as good. As if It has nothing to do with the terrible sounds they bring me and the drum kits they try to use directly out of the Tritondfegad

Hip Hop kits in keyboards are about as close to real as the Guitars and Basses are.

I hope people someday realize good sounds lead to good mixes

OK I'm finished ranting and I'm back off to study for exams

Personally I don't parallel compress the entire mix, but I have done it in the past and I know guys that do it all the time.

I spend more time getting the sounds to happen on their own so i can compress less at the end.

Drums is actually one of things that's easiest for me to get right.

I have a lot of tricks for getting drums to "bang" "knock"or "hit in the chest".

Most of the good hiphop tracks are mixed on analog. It helps the kick and bass stand on their own(especially when its made up of complex layers). Also mixing to half inch helps the bass stay huge.

Most of the processing I do on drums and bass is strictly analog.
Old 5th May 2003
  #27
no ssl yet
Guest
Ok so where's e-cue when you need him? I know he has some "in the box solutions"

and Thrill would you care to share tricks? (drum tricks of course not some newfangled form of prostitution LOL)
Old 5th May 2003
  #28
Quote:
Originally posted by no ssl yet


and Thrill would you care to share tricks? (drum tricks of course not some newfangled form of prostitution LOL)
I guess I could, but i need an example case.

To just start suggesting stuff can get a little crazy.

And the other thing is I don't use plugs for processing drums, so I don't know if my suggestions would help any.
Old 5th May 2003
  #29
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jazzius's Avatar
 

I'm not e-cue or Thrill but i am very interested in mixing Hiphop......so let's get this ball rolling.

In my limited experience i've found that compression and limiting of certain sounds is the key to getting that bangin' sound.....i've got Dynaudio M3's here but i actually find my small Dyn's (contour 1.3mkII) and pc speakers more important......they can play loud, but only after some certain transients have been dealt with......otherwise they break up before they can play loud....so i can tell by the way the speaker is reacting if i've got it right yet......to me it's sorta like finding a way to jam more energy into the speaker cones than seems morally decent!.......when it's right the speaker distorts more slowly than just that "splatt" sound...

.....also i like to set up layers of compression.....to me that's an expensive sound.....like bussing the kick/bass......and compressing the instrumental than dropping the vox on top of that and compressing again......also, ducking some sounds with the vox.......the more layers the better......creating subtle dynamic threads between the different sounds

....c'mon, chaps........spill it!
Old 5th May 2003
  #30
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Nutmeg II.'s Avatar
 

Well in my book, you need:
-a sampler with ADSR-envelope
-a dbx 160 (vu/x/xt/a)
-a good eq

Console could be analog or digital, so as the 2track.
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