I recently picked up a blackface Orban 424A with factory installed XLR ins and outs (which I totally dig) in addition to the standard channel strips. I'm used to seeing the blue faced Orbans and even though I need another compressor like I need a hole in the head, I had to have it.
Couple of questions after fiddling around with it a bit... Keep in mind that I use it for VO only. So that could be a factor...
PO claimed it had been serviced by Orban and that it is in tip top, which it appears to be. But I find it curious that I can hear no discernable difference in the comp ratio when adjusting it from 2:1 to infinity.
Additionally, when I take the comp/limiter out with the defeat switch, the unit still imparts a vibe in the chain, so clearly this cannot be a hardwire bypass, correct? BTW, I do like the warm, creamy vibe this thing imparts on occasion, and the de-esser is actually one of the few I actually don't mind using. The gating circuitry and the choice of linear or expansion compression recovery is pretty cool, too.
Anything else I should be aware of? Is it normal for me to not be able to really hear a difference in the different comp ratios and still hear it coloring the chain when bypassed using the switches? Is there some way I can test the comp ratio using the meters and test tones or something? Thanks in advance.
Thanks for the reply. See, that's the thing. I can hear the comp working from the get-go even at the lowest 2:1 setting. I can hear it squashing the signal. It's just that I can't really hear any difference as I turn the knob clockwise to infinity:1. And that's what seems sort of odd to me. I think I need to lay down some audio with it and pay closer attention to both the levels on the gain reduction meters while recording, and in the waveform after recording. Thanks.
I actually agree with OP - the knee is SOOOO soft there's very little difference between 3:1 and 10:1 both in sound and in the amount of gain reduction. At extreme ratios compression becomes a tiny bit more pronounced but I would probably fail the blind test. I would actually go as far as saying this is the softest, most gentle, and most invisible VCA compressor I've ever encountered. I can't get it to pump even if I want to. And it does add a very smooth sheen to the programme without changing the overall frequency balance which makes it perfect for 2-buss duties...
If only the mother****er wasn't so noisy . I tried all sorts of wiring and grounding configs and I can't get rid of ~110Hz hum fir the life of me. Is this a common problem with these units? I kinda assume it is 'cause even the manual says so. How do you guys deal with it?
Never heard any hum or noise with mine. I wound up removing it from service a LONG time ago. Probably a month or two after creating this thread. The fact that I couldn't get it to go gnarly when I wanted it to sort of turned me off to it. Actually, getting my hands on a bargain basement LA-2A from a local studio going out of business is what turned me off to it.
I played around with one of these too, and noticed the same things. Read up on it, and it's fairly quirky: It was made for radio use, so as you adjust attack time or ratio, it adjusts the threshold to attempt to maintain the same output level. That's why it's hard to hear differences in the sound. It's basically designed to NOT make the sound noticeably different as you adjust the parameters. Kind of an odd compressor. I haven't ended up using it hardly at all.
424A / 422? - is a feedback compressors.
Response threshold is determined by their output level.
Accordingly, all the adjustments affect the threshold.
essentially similar to LA2-A, Spectrasonic 610, Altec 436, Urei LA3, API 525, old DBX 160/165...
I agree that 424 A is very clean sounding ( no hum or whatever) and has very little impact on the overall sound of the source. I use it on drums and as de-esser, but it is definately not a hard squasher or a pumper. You have to really dig into it to find how it really affects the sound, it is not an easy one to start with. It does a good job and it is a fine product. I agree that the function "defeat" is not a bypass, it has something to do with the gate maybe, but I am not sure..just never used it.