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Old 11th August 2011
Q & A Guest
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Originally Posted by Mho View Post
First of all, a big thank you. This is BY FAR, the best Q&A on GS ever, and I have read all of them. It shows how passionate you are and how you really enjoy talking about your stuff. I have 2 questions: -Being a huge distressor fan, wich ratios/modes do you like?
On the distressors I mostly use the 4 highest ratios (6:1, 10:1, 20:1, nuke). On the drum buss I almost always have both the HP and the peak engaged on the side chain. Attack times are always slowish 10-8, release times are always fastish 0-4. I only own one pair that has both the brit mod and the stereo link mod. I never use either. I have played with the brit mod but it has never worked better for me than the original regular old distressor mode. The original "link" mode I think is better as well. It is more forgiving when you have a really loud floor tom panned to one side of the drum mix.

I have a further question about your use of Distressors on the drum bus:

I have been using them in this application for as long as I can remember but I often struggle with attack times. I find it hard to balance the amount of transient I want to hear vs. the overall "loudness" of the mix. Just curious how you approach this with ratios and attack settings.

Thanks again,

Willie Samuels
The character of the attack on the drums is something I seem to be very sensitive to and have struggled with over the years as well. The best I can figure is that it seems to have more to do with the source material than the distressors them selves. I find that if the attack time on the distressors gets much faster than about 8 the sound really starts recede to much. Unfortunately, with some drum sounds the slower attack times leave to much of that clicky sound at the beginning of the hit. This has been way more of a problem for me when trying to mix digital recordings. Analog recording tends to soften that initial transient click sound and blend it into the body of the sound better. I find in general it is easier for me to really stomp on a drum recording with compression when it is coming off of tape. All the attacks just sound more natural to me. I pretty much just stick with the 10-8 range on the attack time and play with adding just enough distortion (beyond what is inherent in the distressor itself) before and/or after the distressor to help the compression sound more natural. The best is always analog tape. I also will push the channel strips on the UTA console to get a little even order distorion, and sometimes I use a chandler tube drive on an effects send to blend back in with the compressed signal to help smooth things together.

Aside from drums, do you use it on guitars/bass?
I do! I like it a lot on guitars and vocals. I haven't had as much luck with it on bass but occasionally if I am doing something very extreme compression wise on the bass the distressor has worked. I mentioned a particular example of that in this post:

-Extremely geeky question: what kind of mics you use on AC30s? You always seem to get amazing tones out of them. How is your approach to back micking the cab?
I did find a mic that has really become a favorite for me on AC30s. it is the Neumann M-582. I put one on the front side and one on the back side. I would say 80%-90% of Johns guitar on the recent TBS record went through that setup. Also pretty much all of the guitar on the Persephonee's Bees record used that setup. that was the album on which I discovered it. I usually put the front mic 6"-12" away at a little bit of an angle pointed at the center of the speaker. This avoids having the mic pointed directly at the wooden diffuser brace that sits right in fron of the cone on AC30s. The back mic is always a mirror image of that to try to have the phasing somewhat relevant between the 2 mics. Sometimes I HP the front mic and pull out some of the real nasaly mid range on the back mic before I blend them together.

- sorry, I gotta make a third question! How was the GREAT bass tone on Losing a Whole Year made?
I put all of the 3EB bass info in this thread.. including the Losing A WHole Year sound.