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buying time!! $1000 for one compressor...or 2-3 other things?
Old 14th October 2013
  #1
buying time!! $1000 for one compressor...or 2-3 other things?

so guys,
im looking to buy new gear. and am having trouble deciding
how to spend the money.

given a budget of $1000, would you rather buy one piece of gear,
(compressors mainly) .... which costs that amount, or 2-3 different
units?

I understand it depends on the use of the item, but basically, lets put it
this way: I've been working in the box mostly, and am growing tired of the
digital stuff. need to spice things up a bit :D

all the gear that ive tried and would like to get, i cant afford.


for example: either i can go for JUST a LA-4, OR get a joemeek comp,
a dbx comp along with that i can get some guitar pedals as well
with the saved money.
(yeah not a fair comparison, the LA-4 is probably much better, but
my question being, bunch of decent stuff, or 1 really nice thing)

would like to use this on every instrument/channel.

what would you advice?
Old 14th October 2013
  #2
oh and to add to that... it will be the first outboard i own, if that changes anything.
Old 14th October 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Dutchy15's Avatar
What's the quality of the rest of your setup? Getting a $1k compressor and connecting it to a behringer desk or interface isn't a good idea. Using a $100 behringer comp to compress a signal that was recorded with a vintage U47, a $2500,- mic pre and black lion modded 192's isn't a good idea either. Find out what the quality range of your current gear is and make sure the new gear matches or is slightly better. $50k worth of gear is able to make a beautiful recording of a horribly out of tune piano, whereas $1k worth of gear is able to make a perfectly fine recording of a very good piano.

Have you ever worked with outboard before? If you haven't, start out with something slightly more simple (like an FMR compressor, or the VLA II), just to get an idea of what it'll do for you, and what you're actually doing. Then you can decide wether you actually need the outboard and what kind of outboard you'd like. For example, for tracking a channel strip will be more useful, but for mixing a nice buss compressor and EQ will be a better match, or maybe you could make your own passive summing device for $100 and spend $900 on one or two nice compressors and an EQ. Think about a rack to put your gear in as well. As long as your gear stays in your studio you don't need any top-dollar shockmounted racks or anything, a simple $125 Thomann multiflex rack is going to be just fine, or build your own furniture if you're able to. Don't forget about cabling either. A $1k budget quickly becomes a $1200 budget if you forgot a 19" rack and some cables...


Dutchy
Old 14th October 2013
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchy15 View Post
What's the quality of the rest of your setup?
got a duet, which has no provision for inserts.. :(
gotta be using the main outs.

umm as far as the recording goes, right now im managing with
plugin sims for guitar and bass, last upgrade was the instruments, to get
a nicer tone, which im borderline happy with for now.

other bands, i'll track in a studio then mix at home.

The stuff i'll buy will be lying at home for now so i can mix and run the
different stuff through them, mainly to get a different sound
than the plugins i got now.

the units will be used during mixdown, not tracking.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchy15 View Post
Have you ever worked with outboard before?
yeah, worked with some decents units... which, as mentioned, i cant afford...
mostly neve, ssl, tla n stuff... the ones i have my eyes on now, i have no experience with though, (joemeek mc2, LA-4, LA-5), have to decide based on reviews.

i've had beautiful experiences with the outboard i've used just by simply running stuff through em,
so im keen on getting outboard rather than more plugins.
Old 14th October 2013
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchy15 View Post

(like an FMR compressor, or the VLA II), just to get an idea of what it'll do for you, and what you're actually doing. Then you can decide wether you actually need the outboard and what kind of outboard you'd like.
makes sense...
thats why i was thinking go for a few budget ones to try out different stuff..
the FMR was on my list, but only unbalanced ins and outs, so cant use it with
the duet unfortunately.

any thoughts on the joemeek stuff?
Old 14th October 2013
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Dutchy15's Avatar
Using the Duets main outs means you can't really monitor what's going on. You'd have to play a track/stem/mix through the outboard and record it and then play it back again to listen what actually happened... I'd get something with some more I/O, like a small MOTU or Focusrite interface, and use that to create hardware inserts in your DAW, like most people seem to do nowadays. Having an interface with a bunch of outputs also enables you to use a summing device or mixing desk of some kind. Going D-A to a passive summing mixer and then to a pair of nice mic pre's and back into your DAW might be the option for you, to get some colour and character going. It also makes it a lot easier to add things like compression and EQ on the way in (to the summing mixer) or on the way out (to the DAW, right after the mic pre's).

Edit: why won't the FMR stuff work with the Duet? Connecting a balanced output to an unbalanced input and vice versa doesn't usually introduce any trouble, especially when using a very simple and uncluttered rig like yours (DA->outboard->AD) there aren't that many things to go wrong. Even in a 32ch setup with an analog desk an loads of outboard it doesn't really matter, unless you start measuring signal/noise ratios and so on (but hey, if it sounds good...)


Dutchy
Old 14th October 2013
  #7
Gear Addict
 
DSPDiva's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikhil Suresh View Post
makes sense...
thats why i was thinking go for a few budget ones to try out different stuff..
the FMR was on my list, but only unbalanced ins and outs, so cant use it with
the duet unfortunately.

any thoughts on the joemeek stuff?
I've never heard anything GREAT out of a Joe Meek. I've heard a lot of okay things, but nothing that every made me say "OMG, is that the Joe Meek on the lead vocals??" My advice, if you have to go with a DBX, get a 160A, don't go for the ones that end in XS. But the LA4 is probly the better option, just keep in mind that it's not an 1176, not by a long shot.

Edit: And +1 to Dutchy, you should probly invest in an interface with some more I/O. Plenty of options there, if you want to include that in your budget.
Old 14th October 2013
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchy15 View Post
Using the Duets main outs means you can't really monitor what's going on. You'd have to play a track/stem/mix through the outboard and record it and then play it back again to listen what actually happened... I'd get something with some more I/O, like a small MOTU or Focusrite interface, and use that to create hardware inserts in your DAW, like most people seem to do nowadays. Having an interface with a bunch of outputs also enables you to use a summing device or mixing desk of some kind. Going D-A to a passive summing mixer and then to a pair of nice mic pre's and back into your DAW might be the option for you, to get some colour and character going. It also makes it a lot easier to add things like compression and EQ on the way in (to the summing mixer) or on the way out (to the DAW, right after the mic pre's).


Dutchy

yeah its been just 2 months since i bought it, and just a week or two ago i realized the rme ucx wouldve been a much more solid investment in terms
of expandable i/o haha

anyways, yeah i mean at the moment im monitoring through headphones,
my mixing room has a giant ceiling fan which needs to be on or the room
gets quite hot! yeah absolute ****e conditions. i know

i was thinking about the mic-pres as well before, and this dude told me
what suit me better is outboard, mainly analog comps, to get that
"analog sound" and spacing, so been looking at those now! haha

now im thinking look for a decent summing mixer! too many options! haha
Old 14th October 2013
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSPDiva View Post
I've never heard anything GREAT out of a Joe Meek. I've heard a lot of okay things, but nothing that every made me say "OMG, is that the Joe Meek on the lead vocals??" My advice, if you have to go with a DBX, get a 160A, don't go for the ones that end in XS. But the LA4 is probly the better option, just keep in mind that it's not an 1176, not by a long shot.
hmm...

ok lets put it this way...
main use for this comp would be:
(in order)

1. snare
2. kick
3. full kit
4. bass


and maybe guitars

... keeping in mind im mainly doing metal, sometimes other stuff
but mostly metal. so i need an agressive, punchy sound.

what would you suggest?
budget $1k

cheers
Old 14th October 2013
  #10
Lives for gear
 
G-Sun's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikhil Suresh View Post
anyways, yeah i mean at the moment im monitoring through headphones,
my mixing room has a giant ceiling fan which needs to be on or the room
gets quite hot! yeah absolute ****e conditions. i know

i was thinking about the mic-pres as well before, and this dude told me
what suit me better is outboard, mainly analog comps, to get that
"analog sound" and spacing, so been looking at those now! haha
How's the tracking done?
Maybe you should look at your mixing-environment first?
I'd say get your room in shape, monitors in place, then you may think about outboard.
If you think you need outboard-compression for your mix, then why not leave that for the mastering-house. m2c
Old 14th October 2013
  #11
Gear Addict
 
DSPDiva's Avatar
 

Ok for the snare and kick, I'd still stick with the DBX 160A. Under $500, you could get 2 and run the drum buss through it. It could work with the bass too, but I'd probly run the bass through a plugin compressor. I'd say it's a pretty punchy compressor.

The thing is, to be able to run more than one mono thing through it at a time, you have to buy a stereo compressor or 2 less-than-$500 compressors. Your options are pretty limited there, but I've used a Drawmer DL241 (2 channel/stereo compressor) and it's not their top of the line compressor, but it worked pretty well on drums for me. That's about $800 so you can use the rest for cabling, and stuff.
Old 14th October 2013
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Sun View Post
How's the tracking done?
m2c
Depends on the project, other bands, random studios,
my stuff, DI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Sun View Post
Maybe you should look at your mixing-environment first?
I'd say get your room in shape, monitors in place, then you may think about outboard.
m2c
Cant agree more, but the issue is,
Im not 100% sure if i want to continue staying here, or move
to a different place. (not too stocked about the audio scene here)
just dragging out a few months to get a bit more experience before
hopefully making a more serious start elsewhere.

Mostly, I'd hate to finally spend X-amount on treating the room,
then having to relocate.



Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Sun View Post
If you think you need outboard-compression for your mix, then why not leave that for the mastering-house. m2c
So it can sound better going to the ME,
and his remaining job is to enhance it even more!!


its a very hard situation to explain...

but in a nutshell, i've just finished my audio school
came back home to see what the situation is like here... not fully happy
basically no1 cares about the audio quality, and the people who do get
it done from studios outside the country.
im hesitant on making a big investment in terms of setting up
a mix space here (in terms of building the room) coz i dont feel its the right
scene for me... but at the same time, i feel i've reached my limitations
in terms with the gear i currently have, so am looking for a suitcase-size
investment, which i can possibly carry with me when relocating.

hope it makes sense.
Old 14th October 2013
  #13
Lives for gear
 
SighBorg's Avatar
 

Distressor el8s can be found for 800. Dbx 160s can be found for about 250. That pair would go a long way.... Distressors are extremely "metal" on kick and snare, 160 would be useful on bass, kick, vox. People use em for snares too but it can be a little pokey. Personally I'd rather have a 160x rather than 160a, but its a preference thing.

With this pair you're buying 2 industry standard units.
Old 14th October 2013
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSPDiva View Post
DBX 160A. Drawmer DL241.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SighBorg View Post
Distressor el8s can be found for 800. Dbx 160s can be found

cool, cheers guys...
so far, it seems dbx160 should definitely be on the list..

and yeah btw... el8s is like $2700 dude!
even the single is 1300! unless ur saying i could pickup a used one for 800?
which would be a nice deal!

Empirical Labs Distressor EL8-S - Vintage King Audio
Old 14th October 2013
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Sun View Post
If you think you need outboard-compression for your mix, then why not leave that for the mastering-house. m2c
more than the mix bus, i'd like to have it on the individual tracks..
mix can be dealt with by the ME as u said, but i need to make the individual
sounds awesome :D
Old 14th October 2013
  #16
Lives for gear
 
SighBorg's Avatar
 

Quote:
and yeah btw... el8s is like $2700 dude!
even the single is 1300! unless ur saying i could pickup a used one for 800?
which would be a nice deal!
All 3 of my Distressors I've found at 900 and under. 2 of them at 750 each. An El8x at 900.

Which imo is a fair price for them, I wouldnt pay more than 900 for one.
Old 15th October 2013
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SighBorg View Post
All 3 of my Distressors I've found at 900 and under. 2 of them at 750 each. An El8x at 900.

Which imo is a fair price for them, I wouldnt pay more than 900 for one.
Would you happen to remember where u picked em up?
cheers
Old 15th October 2013
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Vintageidiot's Avatar
I think a Urei La4a and Summit TLA50 tube compressor could be had used for 1k total......
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