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Which compressor best for both vocals tracking and mastering? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 12th March 2014
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Which compressor best for both vocals tracking and mastering?

Hi all,

Currently, I have U87ai , BAE 1073 , Mytek Stereo 96 AD/DA and Mbox Pro interface.

Can I add a compressor to improve vocal tracking and mastering job?

My budget is around $2K, can any body show me which compressor can do best both jobs above?

Thanks,
Best Regards,
Old 12th March 2014
  #2
Maybe I'm wrong, but I wouldn't personally bank on purchasing an outboard compressor that can be used for everything, especially mastering. Not one I can think of in the 2 grand range. Doesn't mean you couldn't pursue this, but I guess I just haven't seen many mastering engineers using compressors that I'd want to use tracking. I just feel that there are plenty of plugins that would make way more sense for the job with that rig. My friend's been digging the Slate stuff for that lately, and I think I'm going to try that sometime.

As for what compressors are good and versatile... there are a lot of them.

Lately, I've been using less compression to track vocals for some styles of music because it just sounds more natural.

But it does depend.

I own a 2-1176 that I'm pretty happy with, and many of my friends use Distressors. I also owned some Daking FET 2's at one point, but swapped them for the 2-1176. Sometimes, I miss them, as they were a bit more transparent. But I do also like the color/vibe that the 1176's add.

Any of the above mentioned (as a single channel) will likely do you well in a lot of situations, but it really comes down to what you want to pursue most.

My advice would be to try a few of them out--borrow a friend's or rent them. You'll end up learning a lot before you buy, and that's worth the extra expense to me.

Two more things--and again, this is if you don't pursue the mastering route:

1) You don't necessarily need two channels of compression, and the used market for compressors can save you a ton of cash. Having one Distressor, as an example, can be a really great and versatile option without spending all that cash.

2) There are some other compressors out now that are also very affordable, such as the WA76, which I would personally not be opposed to trying, even though it's cheaper. 600 bucks for an 1176 style compressor? What more could you ask for?

Anyway.

Give Warren at ZenPro a call about the WA76, and/or rent/borrow some others locally if you can. Some dealers even send out options for you to choose between.

Equally important to getting good vocal takes is a controlled space, especially using a condenser. *I've also found that out the hard way! =)

Sorry for the long reply!

Best of luck.
Old 12th March 2014
  #3
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maxhype's Avatar
 

My Rupert Neve Designs Master Buss Processor is stellar on vocals. I absolutely love it for that purpose. And it's obviously designed with buss compression and mastering in mind. 4k though...at that price there are many worthwhile options.
Old 12th March 2014
  #4
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well, maxhype beat me to it. I was gonna say that the RND compressors are nice for both of these applications. There is a bit of a problem for mastering if you use a pair of them *other than* the master buss processor in that, while linking two channels is possible, it really only links threshhold; you have to match release times etc. manually. But it can definitely be done, and all their compressors sound great if you dial them in right. Definitely nice compressors for vocals.
-synthoid
Old 12th March 2014
  #5
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emrr's Avatar
FCS P3S. Used by many mastering houses, super flexible tracking compressor.
Old 13th March 2014
  #6
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Thank you all, FCS P3S is very charming in the price range. RND is great but cost alot. I think I will do some more research on FCS P3S, API 2500 and Distressor they look so good.
Old 13th March 2014
  #7
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TheBrightSide's Avatar
I use the Avalon 747 for tracking vocals and mastering. Excellent unit.
Old 13th March 2014
  #8
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NoEgo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundian View Post
Hi all,

Currently, I have U87ai , BAE 1073 , Mytek Stereo 96 AD/DA and Mbox Pro interface.

Can I add a compressor to improve vocal tracking and mastering job?

My budget is around $2K, can any body show me which compressor can do best both jobs above?

Thanks,
Best Regards,


Firstly what kind of things are you recording?
Secondly do you mean mixing rather then mastering. Mastering is a process after the mix is done and is usually handled by a third party. Getting things radio ready etc. The two ..tracking/mixing are different in most every way.
The mix can require a stereo buss compressor for sure. For mastering its a whole other ball game. I am just thinking you may be referring to mixing not mastering. Am I right? It just seems that someone who is looking for a vocal comp for his small setup would not be also looking to use the gear for mastering.

I have many many compressors.

I would love to give some advice but I have to know what it is you are recording. What genre? How many piece or is it just for quick arrangements you do yourself.
Its no different then a mic or a preamp or for that matter a guitar or keyboard ....

Need to know some things first.

Also the compressor is this. .....to control your dynamics and make everything come through through your mix in the end. yes before mastering.
That is the most basic description. Do you need for vocals etc.. yes...and bass and other things simply because dynamics if not controlled somewhat can be unpredictable and trample all over each other.

So.....what are you doing?
Old 13th March 2014
  #9
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Rick Sutton's Avatar
 

One compressor I've used for both duties (vocals in mix, though) is the Smart C2.
Old 13th March 2014
  #10
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KRStudio's Avatar
 

DBX 160SL or the 162SL.
Old 13th March 2014
  #11
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nickelironsteel's Avatar
 

Vocal tracking: urei la3a, teletronix la-2, tubetech cl-1a, urei 1176 bluestripe or black face

I had pretty good results tracking vocals with the following bus/mastering compressors: shadow hills mastering compressor, focusrite red 3, neve 33609 metal knob
Old 13th March 2014
  #12
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swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundian View Post
Hi all,

Currently, I have U87ai , BAE 1073 , Mytek Stereo 96 AD/DA and Mbox Pro interface.

Can I add a compressor to improve vocal tracking and mastering job?

My budget is around $2K, can any body show me which compressor can do best both jobs above?

Thanks,
Best Regards,
I use the Pendulum OCL/2 for vocals and mastering (and 2 bus and acoustic guitar and bass and piano.)
Old 13th March 2014
  #13
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NoEgo's Avatar
see there are a thousand answers to the question. Unless you specifically say what you want to accomplish. Just saying. What you will get is a list of what everyone owns now. Which is cool but everyone will have different answers.
Old 13th March 2014
  #14
Gear Head
 
VibeFactory's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nickelironsteel View Post
Vocal tracking: urei la3a, teletronix la-2, tubetech cl-1a, urei 1176 bluestripe or black face

I had pretty good results tracking vocals with the following bus/mastering compressors: shadow hills mastering compressor, focusrite red 3, neve 33609 metal knob
Did you read the original post at all?
Old 13th March 2014
  #15
Some months ago I've got a CharterOak SCL-1.

And it is VERY good at both tasks... vocals and mastering. It is an incredibly transparent compressor mostly free from the typical artifacts most compressors have. It even works on acoustic guitars and pianos, which most compressors will be too evident.

It's a bit above your budget, but it's worth it....
Old 13th March 2014
  #16
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nickelironsteel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VibeFactory View Post
Did you read the original post at all?
i bought 2x la3a for 1000 2 months ago
a matched pair of 1176 a month before that for 2200

do you know that there is a used marked, “at all”?
Old 13th March 2014
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickelironsteel View Post
i bought 2x la3a for 1000 2 months ago
a matched pair of 1176 a month before that for 2200

do you know that there is a used marked, “at all”?
I call BS. Where are you finding a pair of UREI LA3A's for $1000? You can't even get 1 on eBay for that price. How about a matched pair of Rev. A or Blackface UREI 1176's? $2200?

If you're pulling these deals, I gotta know where!

A pair of UREI LA3A's or 1176's aren't really mastering tools either though. How about rereading the original post and contributing something useful.

To the OP, I would suggest checking out the Elysia Xpressor. It is a stereo unit with stepped controls and a clean sound that would be desirable in a mastering situation and could also be used to cleanly track a vocal. It's worth looking into and leave some room in your budget for another piece.
Old 13th March 2014
  #18
Foote P3S. Although for mastering, compressors are sometimes setup differently for tracking/mix duties as compared to mastering duties. Usually the former will have more extreme settings (like higher ratios) and the mastering versions will have some or all switched parameters for repeatability.

With the Foote P3S they have different versions, but if you are doing mastering yourself and you aren't on the clock for revisions then you could get by with the bus version which is well under your max budget. I wouldn't master with a pair of 1176 anything, the attack is far too fast. For mastering you need something that will go out to 30 milliseconds minimum, not a compressor that only has attack in *micro*seconds.
Old 13th March 2014
  #19
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nickelironsteel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoutu1 View Post
I call BS. Where are you finding a pair of UREI LA3A's for $1000? You can't even get 1 on eBay for that price. How about a matched pair of Rev. A or Blackface UREI 1176's? $2200?

If you're pulling these deals, I gotta know where!

A pair of UREI LA3A's or 1176's aren't really mastering tools either though. How about rereading the original post and contributing something useful.

To the OP, I would suggest checking out the Elysia Xpressor. It is a stereo unit with stepped controls and a clean sound that would be desirable in a mastering situation and could also be used to cleanly track a vocal. It's worth looking into and leave some room in your budget for another piece.
ebay? are you being serious?
they are f.

oh im sorry, if im not mistaken, the opamp section of my SHMC “is” modelled after a pair of LA-3a.

forget it. done with this thread. happy getting screwed over on evilbay
Old 13th March 2014
  #20
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emrr's Avatar
I wouldn't attempt mastering with a Distressor either. You can do it, but far from ideal. Great tracking piece in many circumstances.
Old 13th March 2014
  #21
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NoEgo's Avatar
I don't think he means mastering .I think the op means mixing. Hes going to need a lot more then what he has for mastering!

Old 15th March 2014
  #22
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Thank you all, too many options

@NoEgo: I mean mastering as it is. Currently, I'm totally mixing in software. Sure, mastering is another ball game and I did not much on it, I beleive that a hardware compressor, EQ can help alot to make my mix sound better.
Maybe I'm wrong, I found that 3rd party mastering maybe good and maybe not, they can help your mix sound best but sometime it was lacking spirit or feeling. I just need my mix sound good enough but maintaining spirit and feeling.
Old 15th March 2014
  #23
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Sgalb's Avatar
 

I feel like I'm the only person not using a compressor for tracking..

I don't get it.
Old 15th March 2014
  #24
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janjaal's Avatar
I had great reaultz mastering trackz with a pair of chandler little devil comp on germanium modes. Always record vocals with on set on zener mode fast attack slow release , going into the other one with germ mode slow attack, fast release.
Old 15th March 2014
  #25
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NoEgo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundian View Post
Thank you all, too many options

@NoEgo: I mean mastering as it is. Currently, I'm totally mixing in software. Sure, mastering is another ball game and I did not much on it, I beleive that a hardware compressor, EQ can help alot to make my mix sound better.
Maybe I'm wrong, I found that 3rd party mastering maybe good and maybe not, they can help your mix sound best but sometime it was lacking spirit or feeling. I just need my mix sound good enough but maintaining spirit and feeling.
Then my apologies, however, running your mix through a stereo eq and compressor is no more then having them on your mix buss. Not mastering at least from a studio owner's standpoint. Maybe that is what you guys call mastering now...then I stand corrected.

Having a compressor on your mix buss with a little kiss of maybe 1 or 2 db is quite common and helps glue things together. I totally agree. You can mix into it with your DAW and what comes out the other side of the compressor EQ is your mix...Not your master. You have to decide what you are looking for in your sound though. Either a tube or iron unit for colour like your BAE unit falls in the iron or transformer category, in fact one more and you have stereo EQ, or you can get a very transparent compressor like Charter Oak, or something subtle like a TK Audio ..at a great price, or a Smart C2 or a 2-1176 used ..all great units, or a tube unit like Drawmer 1968 or an..... . Anyway. You will always get 500 answers all different if you don't say what you want the sound to be in the end. I work a hybrid studio. Bascially I use all analogue preamps and run through analogue gear, tube stuff, iron stuff, clean stuff....comps, eqs, all depends.....or not, if the mic/pre combo just works...then nothing....then I mix through an SSL console with all my analogue gear on the inserts including the busses. Plug ins are great but analogue is still around for a reason. Maybe you want a small board like an SSL XDesk. Amazing piece. That alone will spice up your mix before you start inserting goodies. I have a Matrix now and also a XDesk I used to use with my old board. The sound is exact. Powerful and punchy. For the price you can't beat it in my opinion. Once you have a board like that it becomes your centre piece to the outside world. Think about it. Third party mastering is supposed to give you samples to approve first. If they don't then don't deal with them. Flattening music without intent with a cheap compressor will damage your music long before you get it to a mastering house. Even a bad one.
Just trying to help.
Cheers
Old 15th March 2014
  #26
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emrr's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
I wouldn't attempt mastering with a Distressor either. You can do it, but far from ideal. Great tracking piece in many circumstances.
I wouldn't mix through a Distressor pair either. Clear? : )
Old 15th March 2014
  #27
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Slug1's Avatar
A pair of Chandler LDT2s, or a pair of Crane Song Titans. LTD2s have the Neve character, great on vocals with the right preamp. I don't have the Titans (I want a pair), but these would probably be incredible for vocals because of their versatility.
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