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Best comp under 1k
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Head
 
JimiPeg's Avatar
Best comp under 1k

Hi all!

Which mastering compressor do you recommend for under 1K?

After mastering ITB for quite some time (I know, I know) I’m gonna make a shift to hybrid. However i’m not doing this professionaly, its just a hobby. For this reason (and Covid) i’m on a tight budget.

At the moment i’m making use of the Elysia Alpha Comp plug-in. It does it job acceptable but I would like some more colour.

Ive been looking at the RNC, WA Bus-Comp and Drawmer comps. They are all products that you can buy new today. Maybe there are better choices second hand? Ive seen the Chameleon Labs 7720 mentioned somewhere. Cheaper the better!

Or are the modern plugins (like Unisum) a better bang for the buck?

Let me know, thanks!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Many of the biggest mastering engineers in the world are ITB box only (despite what you may read here and elsewhere). There is no shame in working that way and given the onslaught of compression, saturation, clipping and limiting in mixing these days there is much much less call for compression.

On a separate note I bought the Elysia Comp plug in when it debuted and used it for a few weeks, I strongly disliked it, I don't even know where the license is. So I wouldn't consider that a good expression of what's possible in the box in 2021.

When I do compress digitally I like TDR Kotelnikov GE a lot, there's a lot of love here for the Weiss DS1 too but the licensing/install/demo stuff is nightmare IMO.

As for analog, cheap analog is short term thinking. If you are buying hardware, wait and buy pieces that you will use forever. Nothing on your list above would be preferable to a good plug in compressor to me (I've heard 3 of the 4 above).

Good luck.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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loji's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
with $1k buy :

Oxford Dynamics
Flux Solera
Unisum


will do FAR better than an analog compressor.

you NEED stepped controlled (actual switches, not detented pots) for a stereo mastering compressor... otherwise the image will shift during gain reduction.

It'll be $3-5k for anything decent ... and you'll need another $2-5k minimum for the converters to make it worth-while doing out of the box and back in

Once you understand the 3x ITB processors above, you'll be well on your way to 'mastering' compression.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Head
 
JimiPeg's Avatar
Thank you guys very much for the nice responses! I'm gonna go with Unisum instead first. As i thought, plugins these days are pretty darn good compared to cheap compressors. Cheers! I will also demo all the other's you guys mentioned!
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #5
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 
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5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruairi ➡️
...given the onslaught of compression, saturation, clipping and limiting in mixing these days there is much much less call for compression.
Oh boy, you can say that again! I have a rack full of fancy mastering compressors that stare back at me asking for attention. They are invaluable when needed, but they are needed less now than ever when so many people pummel their mixes with compressors and distorters and saturators and simulators.

Less is a whole lot more when it comes to compression, especially in mastering.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #6
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Virtalahde's Avatar
 
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13 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson ➡️
Oh boy, you can say that again! I have a rack full of fancy mastering compressors that stare back at me asking for attention.
This, although I have just 3. These days it's more about EQ and overall tone, which locks in to the sound of the mix the best possible way.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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scraggs's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Just +1ing everything here.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #8
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Surbitone's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson ➡️
Oh boy, you can say that again! I have a rack full of fancy mastering compressors that stare back at me asking for attention. They are invaluable when needed, but they are needed less now than ever when so many people pummel their mixes with compressors and distorters and saturators and simulators.

Less is a whole lot more when it comes to compression, especially in mastering.
For about 5 years + now, I reckon compression is used on 10% of masters here...partly due to my own changing tastes, but equally as much for the reasons you stated - there's often way too much compression/saturation being added at the mix stage to warrant yet another layer. If anything I'm automating dynamics back in more than I'm compressing.

Edit:

OP If I had to specifically choose 1 hardware compressor under £1000? It would be the FMR RNC. Not stepped, no stereo-unlink, and it sports a wall-wart... but I think it sounds pretty damn good in Super-Nice mode. If it's any compressor for under £1000, then as others have mentioned: Unisum, without a doubt.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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nick b's Avatar
 
The few times I’ve needed ultra-clean compression Ive loved kotelnikov. It’s delta listen option alone is worth the $50 license.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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tengu's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
if you can pick up a TK Audio BC1 second hand you'll have something you can use on masters.

It's not the be all and end all by any stretch but it's definitely useable. It's a nice place to start if you're just looking to get into analog.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Verified Member
Build, or pay someone to build, a Gyraf SSL with the super side chain that adds the API 2500 thrust filters. Going with the nicest parts possible, and paying someone $150-200, still costs less than $1,000.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Addict
 
Verified Member
i'm really not a fan of compressor plugins when it comes down to it, but i love my chameleon 7721. i wouldn't describe it as more colored than the alpha plugin but it definitely sounds better, even with my inexpensive converters. unisum has a nice feature set but i was never blown away by the sound personally. downsides of the 7721 are no true bypass (just compression off style bypass), not stepped controls, not as heavy sounding as the x-logic, and the small sized meter is not super responsive to GR. great feature set and great sound though.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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TurboJets's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
The RNC is nice and sounds good IMO, the RNLA is nice as well and adds a hint of sweet/color to the signal. The PBC-6A has even more color and is a really good compressor IMO.

I would suggest a demo of TDR's Molot GE. I think on the master or mix bus it's a really nice compressor, with features that give you the opportunity to add even more color if you want in ways that are way beyond just some cheesy saturation gimmick you find from other developers. The midrange attenuation feature alone is worth it. I have been a fan of Kotelnikov GE for years and find my self using Molot GE on almost every mix now. Give it a listen
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
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jpanderson80's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
I wouldn't spend 1K on a mastering compressor without first completely exhausting the TDR Kotelnikov and/or Unisum Compressors.

I agree with TDR Molot GE too. It's not "officially" in the mastering category, but don't let that stop you. It's good for adding depth and has tremendous flexibility, as well as being clean or dirty as needed.

Switches are important, as previously stated.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
Verified Member
I want to use Molot, I tried it on an aggressive techno album and still worked better. It had a bit of transient loss on the kick that sounded flat. To be fair, I could need more time with it, but I really exhausted all my approaches to make it fit - Kotelnikov worked in a minute of tweaking.

I do use Molot GE just for the saturation, I disable the compressor and turn up saturation to 9dB or more depending on the track. It’s very subtle and I never leave any hint of clipping or distortion, it just makes everything feel a bit more present when enabled
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