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Stereo Bus Comp VCA Hardware under $1200
Old 11th March 2021
  #1
Stereo Bus Comp VCA Hardware under $1200

I am looking for opinions on stereo bus comp VCA - SSL-style to add to my hardware. I have been using software bus comps up until now. I don't feel like waiting for a Stam, and have been looking at some others. I mix electronic, pop, and some gospel. I don't need too much coloring on the compressor, although a THD option would be nice. Also looking for a sidechain filter and possibly a wet/dry know. Any thoughts on these or anything else?

- Warm Audio
- WesAudio Dione
- TK BC501

Thoughts on these or any others?
Old 11th March 2021
  #2
ccg
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Audioscape Buss Compressor. I might be the first to say it but I won't be the last.
Old 11th March 2021
  #3
Was hoping for a wet/dry knob, but if Audioscape is that much better than all others in that price range, you've got me thinkin....
Old 11th March 2021
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I think the SERPENT AUDIO SB4001 sounds pretty nice.
Old 12th March 2021
  #5
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🎧 15 years
I have a bugbrand ssl style comp that I got last summer and it’s serving me really well. No wet/dry, but it does have the side chain filter.
Old 13th March 2021
  #6
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Aphex Compellor 320A, but its slightly 200USD over your budget. Try to buy a used one withouth the AD-Converter for around 400-500 Euro. Super transparent compressor.
Old 13th March 2021 | Show parent
  #7
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GYMusic's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolleum ➡️
Aphex Compellor 320A, but its slightly 200USD over your budget. Try to buy a used one withouth the AD-Converter for around 400-500 Euro. Super transparent compressor.
Shhhh. Don't tell anyone.
Old 13th March 2021
  #8
Gear Addict
i would only get the warm if you're mixing punk rock. it sounds a little trashy with the transformers in, and bland with them out. the chameleon labs 7721 on the other hand is a bit of a sleeper. i've posted some sound examples of it on gs. it has all the features including hard/soft knee switch. it's just not as heavy sounding as the x-logic on music (but none of the clones are). on drum bus i think any clone will do, but the TK strikes me as having an undesirable transparency and softness to its action. a little less exciting, less pumping. you might like that, but i don't.

if you want THD, you could get the looptrotter sa2rate for only $600. it actually sounds legit from what i've heard of it.

but truth be told, i think your best money would be on a kush tweaker. because the mix bus compressor as a first compressor is arguably a red herring. you're gonna want to compress a lot of things with your hw compressor because plugin compressors really suck. (yeah, i said it.) that's part of why i was drawn to the chameleon (which is also a great value). but i thought with the soft knee and peak/rms detector option, i might be able to use it on vocals. it still beats plugins on vocals, but the tone is slightly wrong. the tweaker, however, will slay on vocals and anything else. color for days if you want it or not if you don't. and you can bounce your mixes through it in dual mono, one side at a time until you get a pair (if you decide to get a pair). there are more important things to compress with hardware than the mixbus, and that is the main point. used ones usually go for right around $1200. i think it would have been an even better purchase than the one i made. but it's going out on a limb, i know.
Old 14th March 2021
  #9
I have the TK on the mix bus and love it. Big, open and punchy. I doubt you want a lot of pumping on the mix bus but it can do it. Has a nice sheen to it. I like the kush a lot too though I only have one atm. May grab another at some point, can def get grittier.
Old 15th March 2021
  #10
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s.d.finley's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thetizzler ➡️
I am looking for opinions on stereo bus comp VCA - SSL-style to add to my hardware. I have been using software bus comps up until now. I don't feel like waiting for a Stam, and have been looking at some others. I mix electronic, pop, and some gospel. I don't need too much coloring on the compressor, although a THD option would be nice. Also looking for a sidechain filter and possibly a wet/dry know. Any thoughts on these or anything else?

- Warm Audio
- WesAudio Dione
- TK BC501

Thoughts on these or any others?
Have you considered Heritage Audio Successor bus comp? I know its a diode instead of VCA compressor but does have multiple side chain functions and wet/dry blend. Also sounds wonderful. I have the Successor and the TK. I like the TK on drum bus and Successor on the mix bus.
Old 15th March 2021 | Show parent
  #11
Will def check some youtube videos on this one--thank you!
Old 15th March 2021
  #12
Gear Addict
I've heard the successor has a little bit of a noise floor. True or untrue?
Old 15th March 2021
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Audioscape buss comp !!!! I sold my Smart C1 comp for the Audioscape and absolutely no regrets
Old 15th March 2021 | Show parent
  #14
@ Dirk Churlish , I would tend to agree with you that another compressor may be better as a first compressor, but most of my music is ITB so bass, for example, is for the most part already compressed. I thought about that for a bit, but it seems my hardware chain seems best suited starting at the mixbus and just using hardware for analog enhancement and mastering duties.

FYI - I do already own an SSL Fusion, so I get the coloring from there.
Old 15th March 2021 | Show parent
  #15
I emailed the Audioscape team and they seem good. Leaning in that direction now. I'm still curious about the Chameleon 7721 though but Dirk Churlish (above) comments are giving me second thoughts on it. I'm willing to be convinced on any compressor still however. Decisions, decisions....
Old 15th March 2021 | Show parent
  #16
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s.d.finley's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk Churlish ➡️
I've heard the successor has a little bit of a noise floor. True or untrue?
I have heard of some QC issues on early runs but mine is quiet
Old 15th March 2021 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk Churlish ➡️
i would only get the warm if you're mixing punk rock. it sounds a little trashy with the transformers in, and bland with them out.
I was taken back by how material-sensitive the transformer button is on the Warm! It sounds great sometimes and other times ruins the imaging and/or adds something nasty. This effect varies wildly depending on the materiel - even the same kind of material!

I like versatile gear (which is why I like the Looptrotter gear - but many people find their gear to be too flavoured (not me!!))

A good versatile compressor that goes from gentle to nasty is the tfpro P38 - in "VCA" mode it does a pretty good job as a SSL-like compressor.

https://tfpro.com/product/p38ex-mk2/
Old 15th March 2021
  #18
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jdier's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have the stam sa4000 compressor and have been very happy with the sound.

I have never used a proper ssl, so I am not comparing.
Old 16th March 2021 | Show parent
  #19
TFPro P38 - I wish I had the budget for that thing!
Old 16th March 2021
  #20
Here for the gear
 
Out of those three, I’ve only tried the Warm Audio bus comp. it was kinda cool but in the end I returned it, saved up and found a used SSL 500 series which I’m much happier with. The Warm was cool but definitely dirtier and kinda blurred the image, whereas the SSL sounded exactly like what I imagined in my head.

Before finding the SSL I was very interested in the Wes Audio unit. Looked super badass and pretty reasonably priced for how modern and functional it is. As you’ve seen, people rave about the Audioscape stuff. Haven’t tried but people really seem to love them.
Old 16th March 2021
  #21
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
The Warm Audio Bus Comp is way underpriced for what it does. I have a Manley Vari-Mu and three Revive-modded stereo comps (7720 with Cinemags, 7720 without trans, ART Pro VLA II with Carnhills). I probably use the Warm more than all the others combined. The Warm is easy to use and hard to make sound bad. I like the transformer switch and use the transformers about as often as I don’t use them. I don’t miss the wet-dry control as my Dangerous Liaison allows me to easily add that feature if needed (which it seldom is).
I have some limited past experience with the original SSL comp. Memory is not an AB test, but I don’t have the feeling that I’m “settling” for a lesser version of this type of comp. It gets the most use as a bus comp on stereo program, but I’ve used it on keyboards, vocals, acoustic guitar and once on bass guitar. It isn’t fussy.
Old 16th March 2021 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman ➡️
I have some limited past experience with the original SSL comp. Memory is not an AB test, but I don’t have the feeling that I’m “settling” for a lesser version of this type of comp. It gets the most use as a bus comp on stereo program, but I’ve used it on keyboards, vocals, acoustic guitar and once on bass guitar. It isn’t fussy.
Yes it's certainly not bad - I like it. As well as the applications you listed (it is excellent on bass) I like it as a drumbus compressor too - although I usually use my ART PRO II for that (have fitted hotter valves just to dirty it up for drumbus duties) but when I want tight and fast the Warm does it better.
Old 16th March 2021
  #23
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BrentA's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The Dione has every feature you’re asking for, is in your price range, sounds fantastic, and is the only one that has automatic plugin-based recall. Seems like an easy choice.
Old 16th March 2021
  #24
Here for the gear
There’s the warm audio https://www.googleadservices.com/pag...BAgCEB0&adurl=

Neko makes one

But ime You want the ssl clone(ish) comp from ee
High voltage https://www.highvoltageaudio.net/4000.html#main

You could also save a bit more and buy an actual ssl g comp for 2200

https://www.googleadservices.com/pag...BAgFEBo&adurl=
Old 16th March 2021 | Show parent
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ktmonahan ➡️
There’s the warm audio https://www.googleadservices.com/pag...BAgCEB0&adurl=

Neko makes one

But ime You want the ssl clone(ish) comp from ee
High voltage https://www.highvoltageaudio.net/4000.html#main

You could also save a bit more and buy an actual ssl g comp for 2200

https://www.googleadservices.com/pag...BAgFEBo&adurl=
The High Voltage Audio looks nice. Have you tried it?
Old 16th March 2021 | Show parent
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentA ➡️
The Dione has every feature you’re asking for, is in your price range, sounds fantastic, and is the only one that has automatic plugin-based recall. Seems like an easy choice.

Why have I never spotted this? What a great looking bit of kit! Digital recall is such a boon - of course it would only be in the OP's price range if they already have a 500 series rack to slot it in.
Old 16th March 2021 | Show parent
  #27
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BrentA's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scragend ➡️
Why have I never spotted this? What a great looking bit of kit! Digital recall is such a boon - of course it would only be in the OP's price range if they already have a 500 series rack to slot it in.
Yes, the Wesaudio gear is brilliant! Besides the automatic, instant recall when you open a session, you can also control the hardware via the plugin if you want.

I also have their Hyperion EQ and just picked up their Prometheus EQ. It's pretty cool to drag the dot on the frequency plot like you would with the Fabfilter EQ or similar, except it's controlling a hardware EQ to give you that curve!

With my recall hungry clients, digital recall is the only way I can use hardware on a mix or master. Bettermaker and Tegeler are doing something similar.
Old 16th March 2021 | Show parent
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentA ➡️
The Dione has every feature you’re asking for, is in your price range, sounds fantastic, and is the only one that has automatic plugin-based recall. Seems like an easy choice.
How's the sound on the WesAudio Bus Comp?

I have the WesAudio Hyperion EQ but am on the fence about it. I've only had it a week though so I haven't had a whole lot of time to play around with it.
Old 16th March 2021 | Show parent
  #29
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by thetizzler ➡️
The High Voltage Audio looks nice. Have you tried it?
Yeah I own one. It’s awesome. And really reasonable. Prices on the site are in aud. I have their eq too. It’s also great.
Old 16th March 2021 | Show parent
  #30
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BrentA's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thetizzler ➡️
How's the sound on the WesAudio Bus Comp?
It’s awesome. Compares favorably to the SSL and beats the Bettermaker.
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