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2010: Analog compressor for electronic music or better stay with plugins
Old 29th November 2009 | Show parent
  #31
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airmate's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor ➑️
My advice is to hire a professional mix engineer to mix your project.

There is no one piece of gear(s) that will give you what you want. That "sound" is a combination of things, including how the mixer interprets what sounds work best for your composition. When you buy something and marvel at the "sound" is a combination of these things at work. The gear are just choices of tools one can use to possibly get it done.
great suggestion!

people always seem to look for the "one" thing to fulfill their desires. in my experience there is no such thing as a "magic bullet" that will turn an okay-ish mix into a great one.
and ifthere was something like that, i would not necessarily buy a mix buss compressor, but rather a really great reverb/room processor.

it's like somebody who feels ill and who wants to swallow a pill to make him feel better. but sometimes it's just not that easy, and only a change of habits could be an effective cure.
Old 29th November 2009
  #32
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Before shelling out so much money, why not try some nice analogue comps on your mixes first by booking 1-2 hours in a professional studio with some of your favourite toys?
There are some I could recommend you in berlin.
Old 29th November 2009 | Show parent
  #33
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kosmokrator ➑️
Before shelling out so much money, why not try some nice analogue comps on your mixes first by booking 1-2 hours in a professional studio with some of your favourite toys?
There are some I could recommend you in berlin.
ok, could be an option. Can you send me a PM?

by the way, very nice studio.
Old 29th November 2009 | Show parent
  #34
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by airmate ➑️
and ifthere was something like that, i would not necessarily buy a mix buss compressor, but rather a really great reverb/room processor.
I have enough hardware reverbs here and good software too
(PCM 91, Rumour, Wizooverb, Fireworx, DP/4).
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #35
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robot gigante's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Fletcher, so you are saying that for electronic music this outboard compression is not as necessary as for natural sources.
If that is what he is saying I have to disagree.

Daft Punk for example is one of the more successful electronic groups out there, and they use heavy compression all over their stuff. It's a big part of their sound.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #36
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher ➑️
The great electronic music I've experienced has had way more to do with the mind behind the music than the sonics. The sonic portion elements have always been ancillary to the vibe of the programming... that said, focus on the music and use the tools that float through your world to create the sounds that DO NOT occur in nature.

Those sounds that do "occur in nature" need to be manipulated to bring out the emotion in the music and as that occurs within the reality of your composition, the tools will become apparent to your reality.

The "electronica" that sends me to a new level has sounds that are so foreign to nature [even the sounds that might occur in nature] that whatever compression device may be employed is absolutely tertiary to the overall experience.

If you're doing it right the **** you do is so experimental that the sounds you create should be sounds that push the envelop beyond anyone's experience on this forum [which goes double or triple for me as I'm old... but am totally blown away by great composition in electronic music].

Peace.
Listen to this guy , re-read it couple of times if necessary ....
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #37
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Strobian's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Yeah really most of the records I grew up listening to were mostly produced on inexpensive mixers, old drum machines and Alesis compressors. Being this is gearslutz, we go overboard sometimes, but hey I still prefer the API2500 I have . I agree with fletcher a little here, but I think it goes to all types of music, put a little heart and soul into it, and you can do anything. A nice compressor really puts some icing on the cake , but it doesn't make the cake...
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #38
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bass man ➑️
Listen to this guy , re-read it couple of times if necessary ....
hmmmm....still doesn't detract from the reality that especially with electronics the added 'behaviour' some well chosen compression can bring is definitely not to be underestimated. Electronic sounds need building into living breathing things in a way regular, say stringed instruments do not, to come alive. Compression I'd say is a large part of it. Not necessarily on the mix buss, but more on the 'instruments' to pump them into life/envelope them into the suck of the groove. Thereof the suggestion for some Drawmers or such, basically a handful of 'push and pull' tools to whack some behaviour into the separates.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #39
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by airmate ➑️
it's like somebody who feels ill and who wants to swallow a pill to make him feel better. but sometimes it's just not that easy, and only a change of habits could be an effective cure.
I really don't need an outboard compressor as a first aid. I use my plugins and I am more or less happy. But I often notice some "gap" in the principle tonal character of my (and many other's) ITB mixes compared to some of my personal reference mixes with that special glue. It's not a question of frequency spectrum. And I personally don't think that a high end reverb is mainly responsible for that, although a high end reverb has its merits of course.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #40
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer ➑️
I really don't need an outboard compressor as a first aid. I use my plugins and I am more or less happy. But I often notice some "gap" in the principle tonal character of my (and many other's) ITB mixes compared to some of my personal reference mixes with that special glue. It's not a question of frequency spectrum. And I personally don't think that a high end reverb is mainly responsible for that, although a high end reverb has its merits of course.
Get yourself some hardware compressors! The first time you plug one in you will understand what plug in ones CAN'T do .........good idea to go to a studio to try some out. Take a song of yours and slap it up the desk channels in separates and try as many different ones they have Pick a place with a whole bunch of different ones, not just a couple of expensive ones!) on YOUR sounds to see what vibes they give you. Then go shopping.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #41
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 ➑️
Electronic sounds need building into living breathing things in a way regular, say stringed instruments do not, to come alive. Compression I'd say is a large part of it.

Indeed, and I gotta say that the idea that production is somehow ancillary to electronic music does not align with my own experience. When I think of some of the records that struck me hard enough to change my tastes and influence my own writing/engineering/production, I come up with music where the production is essential to my experience and enjoyment of the vibe.

Portishead - Dummy

Daft Punk - Homewerk

Fourtet - Rounds

LSG - Into Deep

Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole

Massive Attack - Mezzanine


I'd have to say that for electronic music like the above, there is no music without production, because there are no performances being captured. Everything is manufactured, everything is produced.

And with the possible exception of Fourtet (which sounds itb to me), all of the above sounds like analog. Chemical Brothers and Massive Attack reek of ssl pushed to the limits, Portishead and Daft Punk sound like midgrade consoles and affordable outboard, LSG sounds like a Mackie 8bus abused with extremely good taste.


Gregory Scott - ubk
.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #42
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k ➑️
Indeed, and I gotta say that the idea that production is somehow ancillary to electronic music does not align with my own experience. When I think of some of the records that struck me hard enough to change my tastes and influence my own writing/engineering/production, I come up with music where the production is essential to my experience and enjoyment of the vibe.

Portishead - Dummy

Daft Punk - Homewerk

Fourtet - Rounds

LSG - Into Deep

Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole

Massive Attack - Mezzanine


I'd have to say that for electronic music like the above, there is no music without production, because there are no performances being captured. Everything is manufactured, everything is produced.

And with the possible exception of Fourtet (which sounds itb to me), all of the above sounds like analog. Chemical Brothers and Massive Attack reek of ssl pushed to the limits, Portishead and Daft Punk sound like midgrade consoles and affordable outboard, LSG sounds like a Mackie 8bus abused with extremely good taste.


Gregory Scott - ubk
.

thumbsupthumbsuphehheh

All that stuff pumps like mofo....that didn't happen without plenty squashing! While you don't necessarily need the expensive types (although the SSL rubber band thing is hard to replace!), some analog squeeze juice is definitely called for.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #43
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larry b's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer ➑️
I really don't need an outboard compressor as a first aid. I use my plugins and I am more or less happy. But I often notice some "gap" in the principle tonal character of my (and many other's) ITB mixes compared to some of my personal reference mixes with that special glue. It's not a question of frequency spectrum. And I personally don't think that a high end reverb is mainly responsible for that, although a high end reverb has its merits of course.
Who said an analog compressor was "first aid"? That to me implies "emergency quick fix". If anything i would call ANY software compressor a "first aid" device compared to a real, physical compressor of good quality (net necessarily high-end, i.e. expensive).

While working strictly in software-land is all well and good, it is no replacement (IMHO) for some good solid analog signal paths.

I said it earlier in this thread and i will say it again: Some of the most breathtaking electronic music i have ever heard was produced on analog recording consoles and with racks full of outboard gear. In fact, i have been surprised in the past, while reading publications such as Electronic Musician, at just how "analog" some of these electronic "super-producers" setups actually are.

Personally i have been making my own electronic music since long before the DAW-centric era that we live in now. I started out with a room full of MIDI sequencing gear, an analog console and a Tascam MSR-16 1/2" 16-track machine sync'ed with some JL Cooper SMPTE-to-MTC deal. I eventually moved complete ITB, and then slowly moved back into the current "hybrid" setup i use now.

For the record, drum & bass is my first love, but i also do house, some techno, some intelligent/IDM type stuff, and lots of more avant garde, experimental stuff.

At my studio, i record rock bands, indie rock bands, metal bands, some hip-hop and r&b, and basically all sorts of stuff OTHER than electronic music so i'd say i'm fairly well-rounded in terms of musical genres that i work in.

And no matter what im working on, whether its my own music or a session for a client, i woulndt be able to work without at least a few of my outboard comps and other analog devices.

Just my two cents

thumbsupthumbsup
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #44
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airmate's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer ➑️
I really don't need an outboard compressor as a first aid. I use my plugins and I am more or less happy. But I often notice some "gap" in the principle tonal character of my (and many other's) ITB mixes compared to some of my personal reference mixes with that special glue. It's not a question of frequency spectrum. And I personally don't think that a high end reverb is mainly responsible for that, although a high end reverb has its merits of course.

I was not speaking of a "first aid". In my experience it's just not that easy to obtain an "analogue" sounding sonic picture without making a "real analogue" mix. Strapping an analogue comp across an ITB mix might help a bit, but it will only get you so far.

In most cases that "special glue" does not come frome a single piece of gear on the mix buss, but it is a result of the whole approach towards mixing. and that does not just include some pieces of gear on the mix buss (or anywhere else in the signal chain, for that matter), but also - and perhaps even more importantly - the way how you are actually making the mixdown.

i don't want to be unfair, but to me this whole "analogue comp on an itb mix" craziness is one of the typical misconceptions that you can read all over this board.
there is just no such thing as an "instant analogifier". a mix buss comp and a well maintained tape recorder with a reel of gp9 might help you to some extent, but nothing beats a real analogue mix, at least in my book.

and: if we're talking "glue", a (great) master reverb might indeed be the ticket. a very short ambience program that only consists of early reflections applied to the key elements of the mix can do WONDERS if you want glue. i would take this (and printing to tape) over mix buss compression any day.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #45
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Steab's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Digital is not hard nor gritty. YOUR MIXES are.

You have to realize that the problems you're describing are not gonna go away with even the greatest outboard.
That's the ugly truth and it's also easy to think "Oh that mix sucks, I'm gonna drop 2.5k on a compressor and turn that **** into gold!" but that's just false.

You have (or did u just test?) a great arsenal of plugins (waves api is more than "not bad"), learn how to use them, mix MIX mix. THEN choose whatever you think will give you something more or different. But then you won't probably be searching cuz you won't need it.

Learn how to really mix, learn how to use your tools, and your mixes will sound as much superb or as warm or as dirty as you want.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #46
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steab ➑️
You have to realize that the problems you're describing are not gonna go away with even the greatest outboard.

eeeergh, yes they do. Provided you know what to do with it of course.

If you seriously believe plug in compressors can do what even cheapish but good analog ones can, you have an awakening before you.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #47
Deleted User
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A great mix bus comp or two or three makes a world of difference. Just the other day a lady friend was rolling her eyes at my gear enthusiasm. To demonstrate, I took just the api 2500 anf fxg384 off drum and 2bus respectively - she was silenced. She nodded her head and said "woooooow."

I started off with mix bus comps for stems: vocals, bass, guitars, drums (this includes synth tracks as well). I then started comp'ing individual channels and the using the mix bus comps for glue.

You really need to try out some comps to find your tones. Could be api, could be manley.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #48
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steab ➑️
Digital is not hard nor gritty. YOUR MIXES are.
actually, at the end, they are not. But I know certain libraries especially from Native Instruments where some drum programs in Battery sound harsh by nature. Like every sound went through a transient designer. Listen to a lot of Massive presets! Arghhh! WTF!!! I always have to fight against their sound. When I use my analog sources (synths, drummachines) they cause less problems. My mixes would sound harsh if I couldn't hear it. Just a question of how much time you have to invest to fix it.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #49
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer ➑️
actually, at the end, they are not. But I know certain libraries especially from Native Instruments where some drum programs in Battery sound harsh by nature. Like every sound went through a transient designer. Listen to a lot of Massive presets! Arghhh! WTF!!! I always have to fight against their sound. When I use my analog sources (synths, drummachines) they cause less problems. My mixes would sound harsh if I couldn't hear it. Just a question of how much time you have to invest to fix it.
lol....stuff made for adverts. To take your eyeball out. No good for music.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #50
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
other sources are Vengeance CDs (often too annoying claps, snares), "raw" lofi hiphop sample libraries (never understood the idea behind these toyish snares) and so on ... they must be tamed.
Old 1st December 2009
  #51
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carlheinz's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
...more "vintage" or "real" sounding, more round, polished, and which really HAS A TONE and not something transparent

Having worked in the box recently on an electronic project,I've had really good VERY EFFECTIVE(not fully automatic) results using

T-RACKS
....Waves C4
...wAVES SSL....really nice and very effective cutting or boosting...and adding punch

Just some ideas in the analog world

Alan smart>Avalon 747>UA converter back to D.A.W.

Rent a D.W. fearn mic pre with pads and run the mix through that and hit some tape?

Mix to cassette....last resortheh
Old 1st December 2009 | Show parent
  #52
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer ➑️
other sources are Vengeance CDs (often too annoying claps, snares), "raw" lofi hiphop sample libraries (never understood the idea behind these toyish snares) and so on ... they must be tamed.
The last thing you want to do with vengeance samples is process them even more...they really over-processed already, utterly limited and excited

If you think your mixes sound harsh and 'digital', I would suggest digging a little deeper than vengeance samples.
Old 1st December 2009 | Show parent
  #53
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delta Heavy ➑️
The last thing you want to do with vengeance samples is process them even more...they really over-processed already, utterly limited and excited

If you think your mixes sound harsh and 'digital', I would suggest digging a little deeper than vengeance samples.
yes yes you are right. Look, I have lots of possibilities, tr909, jomox airbase, motif ES, akai s6000 with nice library, a couple of sampling CDs, jv2080 (outstanding tr samples on the techno card). There are better samples, indeed. "Overprocessed" is the right word.
Old 2nd December 2009 | Show parent
  #54
Lives for gear
 
OurDarkness's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher ➑️
focus on the music and use the tools that float through your world to create the sounds that DO NOT occur in nature.
Guitars don't exactly grow on trees.
Old 2nd December 2009 | Show parent
  #55
Gear Addict
 
rydan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer ➑️
Listen to a lot of Massive presets! Arghhh! WTF!!! I always have to fight against their sound.
Yeah. What's up with that? Massive is a very deep but still fast to use synth that I like A LOT. It sounds excellent to my ears, especially when it comes to modulation. So, why are ALL the presets of the "we're gonna impress everybody with this huuuuuuge unusable sound"-variety? (not that I use a lot of presets, but, massive has gotten a bit of bad rep due to this...)
Old 2nd December 2009 | Show parent
  #56
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 ➑️
Disregarding "one off cure" mix buss thoughts for a minute, you could do a lot worse than get a (second hand?) Drawmer 241 for separates. It will make your drums spank in a way that none of those plugs will ever get near......also very nice for riffs, to shape the groove. Very exact for that, as the envelope is super fast. Parks a snare beautifully. Friendly tone, too.


Just a few thoughts......
I might get a cheap Drawmer 241. Do you recommend it for tracking or just squashing tracks/groups? Does it work in 2-buss also?

peace
Old 2nd December 2009 | Show parent
  #57
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by huima ➑️
I might get a cheap Drawmer 241. Do you recommend it for tracking or just squashing tracks/groups? Does it work in 2-buss also?

peace
Wouldn't be my 2 buss choice, but can work on groups. For some reason I find it most useful on separate instruments though. Possibly as to me its strength lies in two things: The extremely accurate aatack and release.....you really want to set this thing up EXACTLY before it does its most magic, and every millimeter left or right on those two knobs makes an important difference. Once you have it dielaed in, it can make an instrument weave through the mix in shapes that few other comps can. The other thing is its musical tone. However the tone isn't particularly bass full, so on mix it's a bit too small. On separates its perfect very often. Even used it on bass with great results, although mid range stuff without the full sub extension is where it excels. Also perfect for snare or lighter (non subby) kicks and generally percussive stuff/synth lines, as it can really make hard hits in a very appealing manner.

If you get one, I can virtually guarantee that you will love it. Also the expander on the end is very good indeed, and without trace make s this thing shut super quiet. Kind of thing you'll use on every mix.

It is a great utility tool which gives balls and dynamic behaviour to instruments. Not so much for vocal or 2 buss.

You could use it for tracking, but to me the touchy attack/release which are so great when mixing would be a bit twitchy. I have used it for tracking, but you really want to get the envelope exactly right in one go, as you'll be stuck with it, and at that point I don't like that decision much. For tracking I'd rather use something like a dbx160xT and just 'hold' the signal a little....then grab it with the Drawmer in the mix and sculpt the envelope into the context then.....

rant rant rant....
Old 3rd December 2009 | Show parent
  #58
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks a lot for the information.
Old 3rd December 2009 | Show parent
  #59
Lives for gear
 
GYang's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Couple of comps (even not very expensive ones), EQs and analogue synths, as well as, analogue summing revived my attempts to make nice sounding (from sonics point of the view) electronic music songs.
VST brought me close, but never enough to be satisfied.
Analogue does it. Really. Not 5-10%, but 50-70%, although all these figures mean nothing.
Old 3rd December 2009 | Show parent
  #60
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
In my opinion, compressors and electronic dance music don't go well together. Big club p.a.'s love uncompressed, super dynamic material. You want those speaker cones to move freely and push a lot of air. Your best compressor might just be no compressor at all.

Just a thought.
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