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taking the plunge - compressors
Old 26th January 2009
  #1
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taking the plunge - compressors

after upgrading my conversion (lavry blue for A/D & D/A and benchmark dac-1 for monitoring), i am finally delving into analog processing. i am thinking of going with either a compressor or the anamod ats-1 as my first analog unit. any advice? it needs to be something that i will use on almost every project...i like the sound of api 2500s and smart C1s...any advice?

thanks,
tw
Old 26th January 2009
  #2
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Both of those are nice compressors, but I don't think I would call them 'every project' compressors. I would also put the Anamod as a nice thing to have down the road, but if you are just starting to build an analog processing chain, I would definitely start with compression and EQ (and probably in that order).

For a first compressor, especially an 'every project' one, I think you would want to lean to the transparent side, with just enough vibe to 'liven up' a project.

What kind of budget are you working with? Out of the comps I've heard, the Elysia Alpha is really amazing, and easily an 'every project' tool. It just costs 10 grand.

Coming down out of the price stratosphere, I would take a good look at a Crane Song STC-8 which does transparent with a bit of vibe really well, or a pair of Trakkers if you are looking for something with more color but still a lot of options. In my old room my STC-8 was pretty close to an every project part of the chain.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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thanks matt, the crane song would be a really good move and is more in my price range - thanks for mentioning that one. my natural inclination would be to go with something that is a lot more colorful (that's why i mentioned those other units) - but i think the STC-8 may be way more utilitarian and ultimately, more appropriate.

maybe chad could chime in about the C1? is it your main "go-to" compressor?
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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MASSIVE Master's Avatar
 
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+1 on the STC-8. The only compressor I can hardly imagine not having in the rack.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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Well, the thing about colorful is that if it's all you have and it's the wrong color, you're up a creek. I have a Requisite L2-M that I love to death and probably use 75% of the time, but for that other 25%, it's just wrong even just being in the signal path. Over time, you can build up a palette of processors so that you have something for everything but right now I think you'd get the most bang out of laying a good foundation of gear that is almost always OK.

Like I said, both the API and Smart are very cool compressors, but I would think they would be more '75%' choices rather than 'every project' ones.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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very good advice - thanks guys.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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+1 on the STC-8.

Use it regularly.

Thor
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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After a similar converter upgrade, I also began checking out hardware comps. I went for the API 2500 (at the time I got it, the Waves emulation wasn't out yet). I don't use it always, but it's great for mastering a lot of hip hop mixes. I really like the tone controls and having the feedback/forward modes; this comp can get some nice character going on stale mixes.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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i do mostly rock and some folky stuff - i love the API and i think may work in as much as 90% of my records. i'm making up my mind between that and the stc-8 (the probable winner)
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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You're in Boston, talk to Mercenary and/or Parsons and see if you can set up demos of either (or preferably both).
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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There isn't any reason why the API2500 can not be used as a great tacking compressor. Anyone who says otherwise haven't spent enough time with it.
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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ended up with an STC-8 (normal). 2 jumper mods were done on it (threshold and brightened K1 mode). wiring it up tonight.
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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Do you get any funny metering issues with the brightened Ki jumper? Like your GR meters are always on or they're off by a dB or two...?

Just curious - Had that issue, so I put that one back to stock...
Old 5th February 2009
  #14
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Cranesong STC8 is a very very great clean compressor that will help just gel things in a very nice way without affecting the sound of your mix. The DW Fearn VT7 is another clean compressor but it adds a more organic sound if you would like it to.
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MASSIVE Master ➑️
Do you get any funny metering issues with the brightened Ki jumper? Like your GR meters are always on or they're off by a dB or two...?

Just curious - Had that issue, so I put that one back to stock...
there is something funny going on with the metering - i need to do more testing. but i upgraded my soundcard, added 8 channels of conversion and the cranesong all at once so i'm still sorting it out a bit.

HOWEVER i really like the sound so far. definitely the most pleasant "transparent" compressor i've heard.
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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Great choice, TW! If I could have only one compressor, that would be it. Get's used on probably 75% of the projects I receive that require compression.

PS -- Maybe you can get detented knobs retro-fitted. Is worth having!
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlsaff ➑️
Great choice, TW! If I could have only one compressor, that would be it. Get's used on probably 75% of the projects I receive that require compression.

PS -- Maybe you can get detented knobs retro-fitted. Is worth having!
you know, i love plugins but this is definitely opening a new world up to me. i'm not that familiar with the unit, but i've been using a-mod preset C at -1 to -3 db GR in (modified) K1 mode and it just sounds so nice. i'd like to get familiar with VAR mode...it's a bit strange to move from ms to "numbers" on attack and release settings, but i'll get used to it.

can't say i love the limiter on the thing, but it comes in handy for those 2 to 3 really peaky transients per song.

carl, are you using A or D saturation on your blues? i've experimented but don't love the sound...i clipped the thing w/o saturation once or twice and it sounded just fine.
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tube World ➑️
Cranesong STC8 is a very very great clean compressor that will help just gel things in a very nice way without affecting the sound of your mix. The DW Fearn VT7 is another clean compressor but it adds a more organic sound if you would like it to.
You ain't kidding!!! I love the VT7, its sounds unbelievable!
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twwalsh ➑️
you know, i love plugins but this is definitely opening a new world up to me. i'm not that familiar with the unit, but i've been using a-mod preset C at -1 to -3 db GR in (modified) K1 mode and it just sounds so nice. i'd like to get familiar with VAR mode...it's a bit strange to move from ms to "numbers" on attack and release settings, but i'll get used to it.
Yeah -- just use the numbers for logging, and your ears for the settings. :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by twwalsh ➑️
can't say i love the limiter on the thing, but it comes in handy for those 2 to 3 really peaky transients per song.
I have never once used the limiter on a master. I'm sure it can be used with OK results, I just haven't encountered a situation where my other limiters didn't do a better job, so I stopped trying it out altogether.

Quote:
Originally Posted by twwalsh ➑️
carl, are you using A or D saturation on your blues? i've experimented but don't love the sound...i clipped the thing w/o saturation once or twice and it sounded just fine.
Neither. I was into both for different reasons when I first bought the Blues, but found things I didn't like about both modes pretty quickly. Both change the sound, A moreso than D, but I find that both modes off, with or without clipping, sounds much better than either or both on. I'd much rather get color/density/level other ways that aren't as gritty sounding.
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlsaff ➑️
I have never once used the limiter on a master. I'm sure it can be used with OK results, I just haven't encountered a situation where my other limiters didn't do a better job, so I stopped trying it out altogether.
so you stay out of A-Mod mode altogether?
Old 4th March 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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after about a week of use, i discovered that the unit i purchased only worked in linked mode...the threshold control on channel two was broken, so i sent it back. i'm not sure i want to replace it with another stc-8.

i'm so used to working with plugins that's how my workflow is structured. i can go back and eq a track at any time without having to re-print it. it's much easier for me to do a record this way...how do you guys go about getting a song exactly right in the context of a whole record the first time!?!?
Old 4th March 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twwalsh ➑️
it's much easier for me to do a record this way...how do you guys go about getting a song exactly right in the context of a whole record the first time!?!?
Well, lots of practice and knowing your playback well enough you can make the right decisions. And a willingness to go and reprint a track or two when I need to.
Old 4th March 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twwalsh ➑️
after about a week of use, i discovered that the unit i purchased only worked in linked mode...the threshold control on channel two was broken, so i sent it back. i'm not sure i want to replace it with another stc-8.

i'm so used to working with plugins that's how my workflow is structured. i can go back and eq a track at any time without having to re-print it. it's much easier for me to do a record this way...how do you guys go about getting a song exactly right in the context of a whole record the first time!?!?
I think you may have your own answer:

Quote:
you know, i love plugins but this is definitely opening a new world up to me. i'm not that familiar with the unit, but i've been using a-mod preset C at -1 to -3 db GR in (modified) K1 mode and it just sounds so nice. i'd like to get familiar with VAR mode...it's a bit strange to move from ms to "numbers" on attack and release settings, but i'll get used to it.
I got mine on monday and have been playing with it for the last couple of hours... I'm really liking, it does seem very clean and "posh" sounding... The modes will take some getting used to, but once you learn them, you have lots of options. I also got an IBIS (EQ) and that just blew me away in 5 minutes...
Old 5th March 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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in the end, the STC-8 had minimal compression artifacts but tons of tonal flavor/color. not sure it would be my fave if i had a pristene unit.
Old 5th March 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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Quote:
but tons of tonal flavor/color.
I wouldn't ask this if you had it longer - Is there a chance you were in "Ki" mode?

Or maybe the thing just got banged around...
Old 5th March 2009 | Show parent
  #26
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MASSIVE Master ➑️
I wouldn't ask this if you had it longer - Is there a chance you were in "Ki" mode?

Or maybe the thing just got banged around...
i was using it in both modes...KI was more "offensive" than HARA, but the thing i disliked happened in both. i think i would just prefer something different.
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