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Compressor @$500 / channel? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 15th July 2011
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Compressor @$500 / channel?

Seems like there's a slight hole in the market at $ 500 per channel for a decent quality recording compressor that's versatile enough to do both smooth and color. Leaving out the used market, I've found the DBX 160A (mono), JDK R-22 (stereo), FMR PBC-6A (mono) and Drawmer DL-241 (stereo). Not sure about the SPL Dynamaxx (stereo).

There's a ton of stuff at higher price points (> $800 / channel). A few decent things lower ($200-250 / channel) that may do something well, but not versatile.

So, I have 2 questions for you slutz:

1) What is it about compressor designs / construction that causes a comparatively "peaky" market? (Mics, preamps, EQs, etc. seem to hit just about any price in someone's budget.)

2) "Versatile", for my needs, covers light/smooth compression up to "all knobs up, damn that sounds cool". Primarily for recording vox, ac/elec guitar, bass, keys / synths, hand percussion, but not trap drums. Styles tend toward roots rock / country / jazz-blues / folk sounds - not metal, rap, or smooth highly produced pop. At present, I'm ITB, so mono works for me (no need for buss compression), but I do occasionally record multiple tracks so could use stereo for that. That's my needs and budget - who's used and can compare any of the compressors I've mentioned, or suggest others?

(BTW, I've searched the forums. Posts either discuss a single device or specify uses different from what I need.)

Thanks in advance!
Old 21st July 2011
  #2
I have the JDK R22 and R24 and they are both very good at being versatile for all instruments as well as stereo bus. The JDK compressor and EQ add subtle warmth... clean, but still fun to use and punchy... and if you hit the compressor real hard you can get some color and pump out of it that has the API slam to it. I have a Prism Orpheus, MA5, and 1073LB preamps and these JDK pieces fit right in without compromising my signal. Transparent when you want it, vibe when you want that too... from transparent acoustic tracks to bombastic drums, you can get a bit of everything from the JDK R22 and R24.

Check out a sample on my website-- listen to ":::::Example of spacious rock drums recorded in the live room"... you can read all about how I processed the sound. media :: piercerecording.com
Old 21st July 2011
  #3
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maxwelldub's Avatar
 

Elysia xpressor 500, its amazing
Old 21st July 2011
  #4
All the overstayer stuff gets pretty rave reviews, they have a new VCA compressor which might tickle your fancy:

Overstayer Recording Equipment - Stereo VCA Compressor

Also Chameleon Labs

Chameleon Labs 7802 Stereo Opto-Tube Compressor
Old 21st July 2011
  #5
Gear Nut
 
tomat's Avatar
 

The TK Audio BC1 compressor is $1200 for stereo and is really underrated, I think ! It is really designed for master buss and sub group as stereo can not be split into individual channel, but lots of features and lots of versatility in sound (from slow low ratio parallel comp to ultrafast direct smash box !).
Old 21st July 2011
  #6
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dickiefunk's Avatar
I'm also looking to get something at some point and have been recommended the following :-

ART Pro VLA mkii with upgraded NOS tubes
DBX 160 XT
FMR RNC or PBC-6a
Golden Age Comp54

I'm waiting for one of these to come up secondhand in the UK (at a bargain price).
Old 21st July 2011
  #7
Lives for gear
 

There is a reason the big boys have racks full of comps instead of just a few that cover more ground. These boxes each do their own thing and they like that "thing" over a "jack of all trades, master of none" box. So you will discover many great comps if you don't limit yourself to "versitle". You will also notice it's hard to do a cheap FET comp (the Overstayer guys have one though). You will get better guidance here if you list what hardware comps you own now. What your budget is, and what ground you want it to cover, otherwise your thread will have every comp ever made listed. There is also a wealth of comp threads here already to search through. If you are just making a list of $500 per channel comps add the AMR VC/L-2 at $900 used ($450 a channel). Great comp but not versitile.
Old 21st July 2011
  #8
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beau_mckee's Avatar
A little out of the budget, but that Elysia Xpressor looks promising. I havent heard any feedback with this compressor on vocals, and being mono, not sure if it would really come into use for me if it wasnt cutting it with vocals. maybe someone can offer some sweet feedback here!
Old 21st July 2011
  #9
A used Aphex 651 for under a couple hundred bucks works for me. That way you will have $300 to blow on ?
Old 21st July 2011
  #10
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minor_glitch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beau_mckee View Post
A little out of the budget, but that Elysia Xpressor looks promising. I havent heard any feedback with this compressor on vocals, and being mono, not sure if it would really come into use for me if it wasnt cutting it with vocals. maybe someone can offer some sweet feedback here!
The Xpressor is stereo.
Old 21st July 2011
  #11
black Lion AGB at 1000 for 2 channels is a nice box, also the Aphex 651 for less is a good tool.
Old 21st July 2011
  #12
I would also recommend the ART Pro VLA II for smoothing things out and adding some color. I find it quite good for vocals, ac guitars and synths. Though I don't own it, many says the Joemeek MC2 is an awesome pick too and it is usually characterized as being "versatile".
Old 21st July 2011
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by peter.m.junior View Post
I would also recommend the ART Pro VLA II for smoothing things out and adding some color. I find it quite good for vocals, ac guitars and synths. Though I don't own it, many says the Joemeek MC2 is an awesome pick too and it is usually characterized as being "versatile".
I have a Joe Meek MC2 and I would not call it versatile, but it does impart color. It has some excellent uses and offers some stuff no one else does, but take care with this compressor. It will do some serious pumping and breathing effects... sometimes too easily.

I know the OP mentioned new, not used, but please consider the DBX 160X. I do not have a 160A, but I can say the 160X is a good purchase. Many folks claim the 160A is not as good. If they are right, then the only way to get the 'good' DBX sound is on the used market. And yes, it is worth having.
Old 22nd July 2011
  #14
Gear Nut
 

I have the Overstayer FET and the new 1/2 space VCA compressors and love them both. Each of them go for around 500 or so. Check them out.
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