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Option number one, two or three? (empirical, thermionic, tk audio) samples inside
Old 16th February 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Option number one, two or three? (empirical, thermionic, tk audio) samples inside

Hi guys,

I have a question.
I want something to hook up to my new orpheus, for routing/warming up itb and otb synths and for buss mastering flavour/compression. My style is house, a bit minimal/progressive? Sometimes I do pop with my guitar too. A link to a track is here. I also like to record alot of vocals on my tracks with my tm1 mic.

After a TON of reading on these boards, I've concluded that dance benefits from a bit of harmonic distortion gear, and a good compressor. Budget is around 2000€. This is my first bit of outboard gear and I'm not planning on buying a whole bunch of different flavours. I don't have the funds for the "buy all in the end" approach, so I'm moreso looking the best value I can get with my budget for tracking AND mastering. For other flavours or finer details I'll just turn to plugs. So here are the options I've come up with:

- Option1: Get a culture vulture for colour and TK CB1 for good transparant compression on the buss, since I've coloured it already with the CV.

- Option2: Sell my GR-ME1NV to expand my budget, and get a Rooster + TK CB1!
Advantage: 2 pres/di's, but then again, I already have 4 orpheus pres. EQ is a bonus though, and it'll probably have enough of the CV distortion to fullfill my warming needs. Would give me more options for mastering.

- Option3: Get a fatso (ubk perhaps?), which supposedly does great harmonic distortion and can achieve more flavours of compression (api, ssl, emi) than the CB1.

Any help would be most welcome! But please remember, I have to stick to my budget, it has to be stereo, and has to fullfill my tracking/mastering needs on this budget. So suggesting a TC phoenix for instance is a bit out of my reach.

Nicolas
Old 16th February 2009
  #2
70% Coffee, 30% Beer
 
Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolasmasset ➑️
Hi guys,

I have a question.
I want something to hook up to my new orpheus, for routing/warming up itb and otb synths and for buss mastering flavour/compression. My style is house, a bit minimal/progressive? Sometimes I do pop with my guitar too. A link to a track is here. I also like to record alot of vocals on my tracks with my tm1 mic.

After a TON of reading on these boards, I've concluded that dance benefits from a bit of harmonic distortion gear, and a good compressor. Budget is around 2000€. This is my first bit of outboard gear and I'm not planning on buying a whole bunch of different flavours. I don't have the funds for the "buy all in the end" approach, so I'm moreso looking the best value I can get with my budget for tracking AND mastering. For other flavours or finer details I'll just turn to plugs. So here are the options I've come up with:

- Option1: Get a culture vulture for colour and TK CB1 for good transparant compression on the buss, since I've coloured it already with the CV.

- Option2: Sell my GR-ME1NV to expand my budget, and get a Rooster + TK CB1!
Advantage: 2 pres/di's, but then again, I already have 4 orpheus pres. EQ is a bonus though, and I'll probably enough of the CV distortion to fullfill my warming needs. Would give me more options for mastering.

- Option3: Get a fatso (ubk perhaps?), which supposedly does great harmonic distortion and can achieve more flavours of compression (api, ssl, emi) than the CB1.

Any help would be most welcome! But please remember, I have to stick to my budget, it has to be stereo, and has to fullfill my tracking/mastering needs on this budget. So suggesting a TC phoenix for instance is a bit out of my reach.

Nicolas
Great Track!! I really like the arrangement dude. Nice sequencing!!

Anyway; you'd be happy with any of these aforementioned boxes with the Orpheus. Namely the EL FATSO [or perhaps a couple of EL9 Mike-E's!!!] and the Thermionic Rooster. The CV seems a bit too much, given the way your track sounds. Its a destroyer, but also able to achieve some amazing density and warmth when lightly using it over program or synth. The Rooster is a bit more mellow and really fitting for the tones your to be working with. I think that unit will give you some serious options on the way in, and the way OUT.

The TK BC-1 is a much more transparent device, so it really doesn't have the MOJO these others do, but what it DOES do REALLY well, is compress without artifact and distortion. Its a great box for gluing dynamic mixes together without losing ANY tone from the DAC, or the analog equipment in question. I find that I can really build a dense arrangement, do TONS of compression and processing all over the context of my mix; throw the BC-1 over the buss and SMACK everything together as a cohesive UNIT without losing the life to my audio. It can really get the production moving when building a mix from scratch. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess the Rooster to be EXACTLY what you need.
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Woot woot! Now that's nice to hear! Glad you liked my track, and even more glad you're kindof affirming my gut on this decision. But are you saying the Rooster WITH the BC-1? The thing I really like about the BC-1 from reading other posts is what you've just said yourself, that it does clean compression well without losing image and depth. I figure I could just add colour beforehand with the rooster or a bunch of plugs.

One last thing though: I'd have to sell my GR to be able to buy the above combo. Any thoughts on the difference between the GR and Rooster? I sometimes find the GR a bit sibilant (2-4k) in a dark sounding way on vox when drived too hard with the input knob, but then again, perhaps that's the pearlman's colour and the GR just boosts it too much. What I like the most about it the round bottom end. Would I be missing something if I do the trade in?

Anyone else have an opinion on those options?
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolasmasset ➑️
Woot woot! Now that's nice to hear! Glad you liked my track, and even more glad you're kindof affirming my gut on this decision. But are you saying the Rooster WITH the BC-1? The thing I really like about the BC-1 from reading other posts is what you've just said yourself, that it does clean compression well without losing image and depth. I figure I could just add colour beforehand with the rooster or a bunch of plugs.

One last thing though: I'd have to sell my GR to be able to buy the above combo. Any thoughts on the difference between the GR and Rooster? I sometimes find the GR a bit sibilant (2-4k) in a dark sounding way on vox when drived too hard with the input knob, but then again, perhaps that's the pearlman's colour and the GR just boosts it too much. What I like the most about it the round bottom end. Would I be missing something if I do the trade in?

Anyone else have an opinion on those options?
They are different. Measurably different. Words can't describe how different they are. Totally different sports brother! I was not suggesting getting both BC-1 and Rooster; I was merely giving you my take. I would advise trying all these units so you can make a valid estimation about what they offer. Getting them all would be nice right! That's certainly the reality when hoping gear is going to be interchangeable. Its not at all. If you want these textures, you've got to get em all!!!!
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell ➑️
If you want these textures, you've got to get em all!!!!
I hate that, getting them all
I want a less is more approach!
Old 16th February 2009
  #6
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
nicolas, if you have a track you'd like to hear thru the UBK Fatso, pm me and we'll make it happen.

i'm currently working on a track where they want it to bang like Justice; the UBK Fatso is doing a killer job of squeezing and fattening, and punching it up in the process.

if nothing else, post a drum loop for me to abuse, you gotta hear the different ways this box can spank to extremes.


gregory scott -'ubk'
Old 17th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k ➑️
nicolas, if you have a track you'd like to hear thru the UBK Fatso, pm me and we'll make it happen.

i'm currently working on a track where they want it to bang like Justice; the UBK Fatso is doing a killer job of squeezing and fattening, and punching it up in the process.

if nothing else, post a drum loop for me to abuse, you gotta hear the different ways this box can spank to extremes.


gregory scott -'ubk'
Throw his mix [link provided above] through it and post it......Or, I'm sure you guys have already sussed this out. Its just a thought.
Old 17th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell ➑️
Throw his mix [link provided above] through it and post it......Or, I'm sure you guys have already sussed this out. Its just a thought.
Yeah I know, I was planning on doing that, but I think it'd be best to provide a cleaner version, don't you think? This one's already pretty compressed! In any case, thanks for the opportunity ubk, I'll send you the file in the next couple or days!
Old 17th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
yeah, it needs to be as clean as possible, definitely no level maximization or 2 buss limiting... i need to have something there to compress. thumbsup


gregory scott - 'ubk'
.
Old 17th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
pieter's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
For the me the Culture Vulture is more something you run in paralel as opposed to strapping it over the mix bus. It really gives too much color for that I would say.

The Phoenix compressor is great for a lot of things but I doubt it might be slightly too slow for Dance/Electro stuff.

If you are only looking for one outboard box, make sure you get something as versatile as possible. My first purchase in that came was the Cranesong STC 8 which you really can use for everything.
Old 17th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by pieter ➑️
The Phoenix compressor is great for a lot of things but I doubt it might be slightly too slow for Dance/Electro stuff.

.
The mastering version addresses this point with its sc hpf options (and a quicker release than the original)
Old 17th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
+1 for the stc8, it's an amazing box. it's tone and color are on the subtle side, but it sounds good on everything.


gregory scott - 'ubk'
.
Old 17th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks guys, but the phoenix or cranesong are both out of my reach! I'm beginning to wonder if I can achieve the "warming" stuff of the CV in the box with perhaps my soundtoys bundle.
Old 18th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I certainly don't understand the details of how the Culture Vulture works, but I never could get the distortion I wanted out of plugins. But the CV always seems to come through for me. I guess I just like that sound.

I've not tried it yet on the master out for a little warming up, but my crappy converters might limit me on that...hmmm, have to give it a try.
Old 18th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolasmasset ➑️
I'm beginning to wonder if I can achieve the "warming" stuff of the CV in the box with perhaps my soundtoys bundle.

the answer is an unqualified, unmitigated 'no'.


gregory scott - 'ubk'
.
Old 19th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
let us know if any equiptment makes your track better.
its sounds fine as it is.
Old 20th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
UBK and Roc, I pmd you guys!
Old 20th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
i'm sending you 2 files. thumbsup


gregory scott - 'ubk'
.
Old 20th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k ➑️
i'm sending you 2 files. thumbsup


gregory scott - 'ubk'
.
Thanks a ton for the effort Greg! Truly appreciated!!

Your settings:
- The first is the Glue compressor doing 5-7db reduction and laying in pretty good with the Warmth.
http://www.mediafire.com/file/nmcyto...o Glue 7db.aif
- The second is the Smooth compressor doing 7-10db reduction. You'll notice that even though this one is technically doing more reduction, it has more transient snap.
http://www.mediafire.com/file/jzqhiq...Smooth 9db.aif

I must say that with my untrained ears, I didn't notice any immediate difference. But then again, the mix is dense and cluttered, so probably not the easiest to listen to compressor subtelties. But after about a half hour listening with my sony 7509's, I did start to notice things.

I liked the glue the best aswell, although I did find it a bit too flat. It had the tightest bottom end and the snare came through the punchiest, but I would have liked it to pump a bit more, just a bit! I find the "warmth" hard to hear though. There's a bit less high, perhaps that's the warmth?

The smooth setting: overall it had a looser bottom end, was less cohesive. But I did like the way it pumped abit more. The glue in comparison, was more of a "good dog!".
I think in the end, I wanted kindof a mixture of both, the bottom of the glue, and the pump and sparkle of the smooth. Does that mean I don't like the warmth setting on 2bus?!

Which settings are modelled to which compressor brands if I may ask? I know the splat is an api, but what about the ones you posted here?

One conclusion I can make after this and other sample shootouts, where I took the raw file and tried to reproduce it with software, is that software kindof looses the stereo image along the way.

Nicolas

PS: Anyone else want to give it a go with what they's got? I'd really like to hear a BC1! Or distressors, or an api 2500!
Old 20th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolasmasset ➑️
I think in the end, I wanted kindof a mixture of both, the bottom of the glue, and the pump and sparkle of the smooth.

this is what i would call ludicrous squeeze, i sometimes forget just how much you club guys want to hear the very things that most non-club guys don't.

i'd say if you want more pump than this you need to feed the sidechain with a kick-enhanced mix. or buy an mpressor and spend a year learning how to really tame that beast. heh


gregory scott - 'ubk'
.
Attached Files

UBKFatsoGlue12db.mp3 (3.79 MB, 3068 views)

Old 20th February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k ➑️
this is what i would call ludicrous squeeze, i sometimes forget just how much you club guys want to hear the very things that most non-club guys don't.

i'd say if you want more pump than this you need to feed the sidechain with a kick-enhanced mix. or buy an mpressor and spend a year learning how to really tame that beast. heh


gregory scott - 'ubk'
.
That is in fact ludicrous heh
Is it possible to get a similar pump with the unit (perhaps a bit less), but cleaner? This one starts to break up the kick and snare a bit.

Damnit, this makes me even more curious about the Bc1 in comparison!
Old 21st February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Ok; I figured, that I would add more examples for you guys; since I was in the studio anyway; I thought they all sounded cool in one way or the other; but the TK comp was really holding its own next to these more expensive boxes.

EDIT: Signal Path; Logic 8 ----- DA16x ------ AD16x ----- Export 48K/24 Bit.

Here are the details.

TK BC-1
Threshold: 8 O'clock
Ratio: 10:1
HPF: IN
L/R: OUT [not linked]
Attack: 30ms
Release: 300ms
Make up gain: 11 O'clock
Blend: 50/50 [High Noon]

Dramastic Obsidian
Threshold: 2 O'clock
Ratio: 10:1
Attack: 30
Release: LO-FI
Make up gain: 7.5 [High Noon]

Empirical Labs Fatso JR
[linked: matched both channels]
COMP: Out
Warmth: 5
Input: 6
Output: 7
TRANNY-Linked

Chandler Germanium Compressors

[x2 linked: matched both channels]
Input Gain: 6 [EDIT: we adjusted the threshold internally on our units to suit our needs]
Side Chain Filter: 150HZ
Ratio: 10:1
Comp Mode: Germ Medium
Wet/Dry: 2
Attack: 5ms
Release: 3ms
Drive: 7
Feedback: 6.5

Alan Smart C2
[De-linked and matched channels]
Threshold: 0
Ratio: 10:1
Attack: 30ms
Release: Auto
Out Gain: 6.5

Pendulum Audio PL2 Peak Limiter
JFET-Link
Input: 4
Output: 0
Ceiling: +19

Original File:
Nicolas Original

Enjoy!!!
peace
Old 21st February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Roc! Seriously! I feel like a prince! You guys ROCK for doing this! Many many thanks!
Going to listen to everything now...
Old 21st February 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolasmasset ➑️
That is in fact ludicrous heh
Is it possible to get a similar pump with the unit (perhaps a bit less), but cleaner? This one starts to break up the kick and snare a bit.

Damnit, this makes me even more curious about the Bc1 in comparison!
I think all you would have to do, as with most compressors, is reduce the input and jack up the source volume. That would clean it up nicely.

Russell
Old 21st February 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
very cool adam, and nice job turning the knobs.

it's fascinating to me how different the tone and grab is with all these boxes. some of them bring some cool stuff to the party, some are very 'meh'. i know which one i prefer, but i'll hold my tongue until others chime in.

to me, the most critical differences were in how the comps treated and reacted to the high freqs; they ranged from 'pulling it completely together and smacking it up' to 'hyping it crappily and falling apart'.

then there's the different 'weight' on the bottom end of each, how and where each one did things to the bottom 2 octaves, and whether things got 'tight' or 'loose'.

and last, there's the elusive 'glue'. only 2 of these compressors glued the mix they way i like to hear for this style of music.

curious to know how others hear it.


gregory scott - 'ubk'
.
Old 21st February 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Addict
 
Barry Lird's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Great track, Nicolas!

As for the comps, I strongly preferred the Dramastic Obsidian. And not because I just got one. Second choice is the Pendulum. After that, eh...
Old 21st February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Lird ➑️
As for the comps, I strongly preferred the Dramastic Obsidian. And not because I just got one.
LIES

Just kidding.

I was wondering where Adam was at lunch...
Old 21st February 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Addict
 
Barry Lird's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon ➑️
LIES

Just kidding.

I was wondering where Adam was at lunch...
I was obviously pulling for it, but seriously, that box rocks.
Old 21st February 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
My thoughts so far.
Of course, I know it isn't fair to dismiss certain comps by tests like these, as most of them have lots more settings to play with, but still, it does provide a sample and perhaps a gut feeling about a comps flavour. So anyways, please put "with these settings on this song" at the end of each comment

Chandler: has a flavour in the mids. I guess that's what you call vintage? I'm not sure I'd want the same flavour on everything I make. But very nice nonetheless. Nice focus. Nice openness. Kick not fully there yet.
DA Obsidian: juk! Did I put distortion on the kick?! Ouch!
Empirical EL7: another juk! Way too dark for this track.
Pendulum PL2: I like it's upfrontness, but it's not as tight or glueing everything together as good as...
Smart C2: listen to that snare! Nice 'n focused. Kick still not completely there yet.. Would be nice if it were a teenie bit brighter and/or louder.
TK BC1: listen to that snare! And an even tigher kick!!
UBK Glue 7db: there's something enchanting about the tail of that snare! And the kick is just insanely focused. But it does sound less alive than the smart or bc1 and too dark for my tastes.
UBK Glue 12db: you were right ubk, this is too much
UBK Smooth 9db: ok, but you can hear that flavour in the mids again that I'm not sure I'll keep on liking. Also not enough glue.

I guess my favourite so far is the TK BC1! Although I did like a certain directness of the Pendulum, but I'm guessing I could get that on the BC1 by making the attack a bit slower or eq-ing it up a bit.

In any case, many many many thanks to both UBK and Roc for the efforts! I'm curious to what others prefer!

Now does anyone have an api2500 or roll stereo comp to run the mix through? heh That would totally make it sweeter than hell!
Old 21st February 2009 | Show parent
  #30
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Guest
first impression

  1. TK BC-1 best of the lot
  2. Chandler Germanium Compressors probably too snappy, but cool
  3. Pendulum Audio PL2 Peak Limiter a more conservative option
  4. Alan Smart C2 i'm starting to yawn
  5. Dramastic Obsidian definitely yawning
  6. Empirical Labs Fatso JR too tubby, pilot error, wrong settings

the big thing i seem to be liking here is going too far with compression then bringing the snap back with the wet/dry knob... my 2 faves both have wet/dry while the others dont... the pendulum being the slickest of the remaining 4.

the UBK fatso tracks are much better than the original fatso... 100x more usable. i think i like the "glue" setting on this particular track a lil more than smooth.
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