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2 bus, master hardware compressors on a budget
Old 9th March 2014
  #1
SEED78
Guest
2 bus, master hardware compressors on a budget

hi all,

for months I've been looking for cheap options for HARDWARE compression on my master bus.

am mainly looking of the SSL style comps

So far I've boiled it down to these options:
Klark Teknik DN500 £200-350
Overstayer VCA £550 + shipping from USA to UK
TF Pro P38 (2nd hand) £400ish maybe
SPL Kultube (with swapped out tube) £?

of the above the Overstayer is the most versatile with blend control and 2 band EQ.

Apart from those will keep eye out for used cheap Roll Music/Foote P3S/Serpent Audio SB4001 on ebay. Or a Revive Audio MSL, or a custom comp from RJR.

I've excluded the Drawmer 1968 because I think it might be too coloured or wooly for my tastes.

Anyone want to add anything below £800 to this list?
Old 9th March 2014
  #2
Gear Guru
 
SWAN808's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Drawmer 1968 really isnt that coloured...certainly not wooly...its not that far off of a SSL style with slightly different grab and more timings....slightly warmer...better for tracking...

Best low cost SSL style option is the chameleon labs 7720 second hand...Ive seen them as low as £250...or a gyraf clone you can pick up for around £300...
Old 9th March 2014
  #3
Deleted User
Guest
I haven't looked at prices, but an old Joe Meek SC 2 could be interesting, if you learn to use it. Applied conservatively, they can be subtle and "gluey".

Playing devil's advocate, I have to ask (assuming it's an option, as I have no idea what your setup is), why not just get a really good plugin, or two? Do you want hardware for the sake of hardware?
Old 9th March 2014 | Show parent
  #4
SEED78
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 ➡️
Drawmer 1968 really isnt that coloured...certainly not wooly...its not that far off of a SSL style with slightly different grab and more timings....slightly warmer...better for tracking...

Best low cost SSL style option is the chameleon labs 7720 second hand...Ive seen them as low as £250...or a gyraf clone you can pick up for around £300...
I'm not sure the drawer is for me - too many people are devided on its use on the 2 bus, its literally 50/50 on GS.

Chameleon Labs with additional mod's are something I've considered, even with postage from USA they are affordable. But I recon the Overstayer VCA or the TF Pro P38 might be better sounding for not far off the same price - Chameleon Labs might get love on the drum bus though.

Have seen Gyraf clones, but if they are not built by someone I know I don't really want them on my master bus - I have considered getting my mate to build me a Serpent Audio SSL clone, as they have transformer option and blend control option.

on the REALLY cheap tip - Overstayers original Stereo Dynamics Prosessor (trimmed down version of the VCA comp) will likely come up very cheap soon I recon
Old 9th March 2014 | Show parent
  #5
SEED78
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User ➡️

Playing devil's advocate, I have to ask (assuming it's an option, as I have no idea what your setup is), why not just get a really good plugin, or two? Do you want hardware for the sake of hardware?
I've tried all the usual suspects - Waves SSL, Glue, Waves API2500 etc etc etc - while decent they are not great.
Old 9th March 2014
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I have the overstayer vca and it's really very impressive. With the hi and low band eq I've gotten away with just using that in place if a "proper" eq many a time. Many cool features such as the grab and behaviour knobs which do a whole lot of background things with the slopes. All in all I'll never sell it if that's any indication.
For 2 buss I'm surprised you can pick up the 1968s so cheap -'they have a very good rep and tube based with the big switch sounds like a lot of fun.
Picos and tonelux txc are def worth a look if your 500
Old 9th March 2014 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Guru
 
SWAN808's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEED78 ➡️
I'm not sure the drawer is for me - too many people are devided on its use on the 2 bus, its literally 50/50 on GS.

Chameleon Labs with additional mod's are something I've considered, even with postage from USA they are affordable. But I recon the Overstayer VCA or the TF Pro P38 might be better sounding for not far off the same price - Chameleon Labs might get love on the drum bus though.

Have seen Gyraf clones, but if they are not built by someone I know I don't really want them on my master bus - I have considered getting my mate to build me a Serpent Audio SSL clone, as they have transformer option and blend control option.

on the REALLY cheap tip - Overstayers original Stereo Dynamics Prosessor (trimmed down version of the VCA comp) will likely come up very cheap soon I recon
I have tried:

Gyraf SSL
Overstayer VCA and FET
Drawmer 1968
TF Pro 38

2x FMR PBC06a
Art VLA

On the 2 bus in my studio

Personally I like the 1968 most followed by a SSL clone (but you get sub loss with gyraf ssl so you need to mix in to it...)...1968 retains lows with big switch. Not everyone likes the 1968 but of the low-mid range of stereo bus comps I'd say its close to the most popular...and its more versatile than an ssl style also...

The overstayer stuff sounds a bit cheap to me. Very clean sometimes plasticy. TF Pro has unlikeable opto characteristics which feel slow and the compression curve is a bit pinched...timing not ideal-the 1176 etc style switch is a gimmick...FMR and VLA not good enough.

The only others to consider IMO are the portico 5043 or the Xpressor...or possibly 2x GAP Comp 54...yes serpent is nice - basically its a gyraf clone with a few of the optional extras included (sidechain filters and oxford mod I think). If you listen to audio demos you will find the chamaleon 7720 sounds pretty good - whatever the suspicion about the components. The reality is most SSL clone builds are very clean. The 7720 will not be massively different to the serpent esp when you just do 1-3 db on master.
Old 9th March 2014 | Show parent
  #8
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEED78 ➡️
I've tried all the usual suspects - Waves SSL, Glue, Waves API2500 etc etc etc - while decent they are not great.
If you're on a PC, check out the comps in the Liquid Mix 32. The API 2500 might bring a tear to your eye.
Old 9th March 2014
  #9
SEED78
Guest
am mac only, and I completely 100% am not looking for a software solution.

When I really need the loudness and software is all that is available I just use Voxengo Elephant limiter.
Old 9th March 2014
  #10
Gear Guru
 
SWAN808's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I wonder what the Klark DN500 is like...
Old 9th March 2014
  #11
SEED78
Guest
I've heard its decent, clean and quality - certainly cheap!

Aphex had a few options I was thinking about a year or so ago - forgot about them a bit though, would have to read up on them again.

I might need to raise my budget for a Foote P3S - would really like to get something I don't need to upgrade from in a year.
Old 10th March 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
The foot would certainly be the best of what you've listed - by a long long shot. It does ff and fb and a blend of the 2. So many options.

I certainly wouldn't call the os vca plastic sounding. It's a very versatile comp but always sounds in the pocket to me. It's fantastic.

It's on my 2 buss but I'm thinking about getting a pye pwm for the 2 buss and putting the os on drum buss.
Old 10th March 2014
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Heard very little about the Klark - if they're any good they're very reasonably priced. Def worth a look.
If you can't afford the Fcs have a look at his pico 502 but quickly as they're being discontinued - $300 ish each and they link for bus compression. I'd list it second just in front of the overstayer
Old 10th March 2014
  #14
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Having owned most of those I honestly think the UAD 33609 would be a very cost effective option - seriously good bit of software.
Old 10th March 2014
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Op doesn't want a software solution.
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #16
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogma ➡️
Op DOESNT want a software solution.
Could you REPEAT that?

If you're going to shout, consider spelling correctly.
Old 10th March 2014
  #17
SEED78
Guest
I really REALLY don't want a software option
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #18
SEED78
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogma ➡️
If you can't afford the Fcs have a look at his pico 502 but quickly as they're being discontinued - $300 ish each and they link for bus compression. I'd list it second just in front of the overstayer
nice one - will check the Pico - and its good to hear another vote of confidence on the OS, the VCA is very cost effective and has all the features I want, and most of the features of the more expensive Serpent SB4001
Old 10th March 2014
  #19
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mdoelger's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Personally, and yet I'm a bit biased, I'd go for the Drawmer. For its price point, it is incredibly versatile. It is a beast on vocals, as well as on bass and acoustic GTRs. And on the master it has an amazing glue factor, which pulls the mix and the low end especially together like its nothing. Usually it gives an instant sounds-like-a-record vibe to any mix I do with it on the 2 buss.

Additionaly in a mastering environment it can be used very effectivaly to boost the levels a bit. Pad the output and drive it into clipping, saturate the tubes and get a couple of dbs basically for free.
Old 10th March 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I had a Drawmer and regret selling it, mostly because it was a kick ass drum and other submix compressor. But it can work on mix bus too depending on the music.

The lower cost SSL types have always left me disappointed on mix bus, the clarity seems to be lacking. In your price range I would much rather have a Drawmer on the 2bus than some of the SSL clones.
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #21
SEED78
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdoelger ➡️
Personally, and yet I'm a bit biased, I'd go for the Drawmer. For its price point, it is incredibly versatile. It is a beast on vocals, as well as on bass and acoustic GTRs. And on the master it has an amazing glue factor, which pulls the mix and the low end especially together like its nothing. Usually it gives an instant sounds-like-a-record vibe to any mix I do with it on the 2 buss.

Additionaly in a mastering environment it can be used very effectivaly to boost the levels a bit. Pad the output and drive it into clipping, saturate the tubes and get a couple of dbs basically for free.
I'm not 100% against the Drawmer - but The Overstayer VCA gives me more of what I'm after for less cash (behaviour and blend knobs, and simple EQ), and if I was going to go to a larger budget I would go Foote P3S or Serpent I recon.

The Foote doesn't have a blend control, but it does have universally good feedback and other very Pro options that interest me.

I've discounted the TK BC1 because people often say its a bit too polite.

I'm really mainly going to be using on 2 bus - and the occasional recording of stereo sources - I have a ACME XLA-3 I can use for all my mono recording needs. SO ideally I want a stereo bus comp with jsut 1 set of controls - the Drawmer has 2.
Old 10th March 2014
  #22
SEED78
Guest
any P38 users?
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEED78 ➡️
I really REALLY don't want a software option
Oh sorry I was just going off how they all sounded!
Old 10th March 2014
  #24
SEED78
Guest
my current setup is largely hardware dominated, I'd like to keep it that way for now.

IN hardware samplers + vintage synths > Revive Audio M73 (stereo 1073 clone) > ADM EQs >ACME XLA-3 or DBX 160XT > Lio-8 > Logic (will add a transient designer in there at some point)

OUT Logic > Lio-8 > D&R Vison Mixer > ADM EQ > compressor > Lio-8 (will add either a Fatso or a Overstayer Saturator in there at some point)
Old 10th March 2014
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Seed are you a member of the elektron forum? There's some good deals on there ATM and one is a well priced drawmer 1968 - lots of well priced stuff over actually.mjust sign up and like here access the forums.
You've got a couple of nice comps there - another is the portico! I'm actually thinking about getting on myself as my dream comp is a 2254 and or a 33609 and bla do a stereo one for a bit over a grand but how close.......
Old 10th March 2014
  #26
SEED78
Guest
I'm not - do you have to have a elektron kit to join, or can anyone join?

I'll check it out, thanks for the heads up - I just do the usual Ebay/Soundonsound/GS classified/Gumtree at the moment.
Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #27
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 ➡️
...Best low cost SSL style option is the chameleon labs 7720 second hand...Ive seen them as low as £250...
7720 lives on my master on my console. Wanted to switch it to drum group/ parallel drum group and use software seeing i have a LOT of plugins... but couldn't work with it off. It's my favorite (and cheapest) piece of gear.
Old 11th March 2014
  #28
SEED78
Guest
I'm def open to Chameleon Labs, would prefer to get one with some enhancement mods from Zen Pro or Revive if I can. Even with shipping from USA it still comes out as one of the cheapest options out there.
Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #29
SEED78
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogma ➡️
Seed are you a member of the elektron forum? There's some good deals on there ATM and one is a well priced drawmer 1968 - lots of well priced stuff over actually.mjust sign up and like here access the forums.
You've got a couple of nice comps there - another is the portico! I'm actually thinking about getting on myself as my dream comp is a 2254 and or a 33609 and bla do a stereo one for a bit over a grand but how close.......

this forum? some great stuff for sale there - just seen the Drawmer.
Elektronauts - News
Old 11th March 2014
  #30
Gear Nut
 
conflict151's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I really like the SSL Buss come from TK Audio, The BC-1. They are stereo units that cost less than 1400.
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