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How do you use your Fatso Jr.?
Old 31st January 2003
  #1
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
How do you use your Fatso Jr.?

I'd like to hear from anyone using Empirical Labs Fatso Jr.

So far, I've used it just for tracking. The compressor works great for me on acoustic guitars, and I've been experimenting with the Tranny on the output a bit.

Thing is, I can't really hear the difference in the Saturation (which occurs just by going through the unit) or even the Warmth settings. It's probably too subtle for me, and maybe one day I'll get it. All I can hear in bypass mode is that it was louder before bypass.

Maybe that's the deal.

Anyway, I'm kind of taking it on faith right now and using it for everything I track. Anybody else have ideas on this? Is there a particular instrument or vocal where I'd be more inclined to hear the Saturation?

And is anybody trying this on the 2 buss?

Jasper
Old 1st February 2003
  #2
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vtone's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: How do you use your Fatso Jr.?

Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Jasper
Thing is, I can't really hear the difference in the Saturation (which occurs just by going through the unit) or even the Warmth settings.
warmth and saturation are affected by the compressor and input settings. crank up the input if you want to hear an exageratted effect of what it's doing. record a track with it in and with it bypassed and match the levels on the output so there is no volume difference and you will hear a subtle difference; rounder, fuller... meaty if you will.

it's an excellent tool that has definitely made mixing a lot easier when I track with it.
Old 1st February 2003
  #3
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groundcontrol's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In my book, it's pretty much mandatory on kick and snare, hand percussions, acoustic gtrs and a lot of vocals when going straight to digital. Be careful not to overdo the "warmth" though, it's best used in moderation. It definitely helps to get tracks that gel better and require less limiting comes mix time.

If you want to hear what the saturation circuit is doing, try passing a sine wave (or a pedal steel!) thru it, taking care of matching levels, and toggle between bypass and on.

I'm even considering getting a second one...
Old 1st February 2003
  #4
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
vTone writes:
Quote:
warmth and saturation are affected by the compressor and input settings. crank up the input if you want to hear an exageratted effect of what it's doing. record a track with it in and with it bypassed and match the levels on the output so there is no volume difference and you will hear a subtle difference; rounder, fuller... meaty if you will.
I knew saturation was affected by the input (although maybe not at the time of my post, since I reread the manual right afterward) but I didn't realize compression affected it -- but that kind of makes sense.

Good idea. I'll try that out.

groundcontrol also writes:
Quote:
If you want to hear what the saturation circuit is doing, try passing a sine wave (or a pedal steel!) thru it, taking care of matching levels, and toggle between bypass and on.
A sine wave is definitely a more controllable and accurate input, so I'll give that a try too. Probably sine wave, acoustic guitar and vocal will be the tests and I'll report back here.

groundcontrol, I notice you don't mention tracking electric guitars through the Fatso. Is that an oversight or do you not prefer it? I'm inclined to track everything through the unit, for continuity sake, but that might be a mistake.

Thanks for the feedback, guys.

Jasper
Old 2nd February 2003
  #5
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groundcontrol's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Depends if I want to add still more grunge to the sound. Since I usually use "dirty" (new buzzword around here! heh ) pres and comps (i.e.: Neve, Telefunken, Helios, Urei...) + ribbons for e/g, I have plenty of fat to start with... Sometimes it messes with the tone too much for my taste (more saturated tracks), sometimes it's just what the doctor ordered (cleaner tracks). It's best to check on a per track basis and try not to overdo it (especially on vocals!), lest you want a closed in and undistinct pile of mud comes mix time...

It's a great unit for the DAW age still. Have fun with it!
Old 2nd February 2003
  #6
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Jules's Avatar
Most signals I record get between 2 and 5 warmth settings (custom auditioned per overdub)

I very rarely use any of the FATSO Jnr's compression funtion.

Old 2nd February 2003
  #7
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I have been experimenting with the Fatso compression, especially on acoustic guitars. So far, the GP setting seems to be working out.

I will take heed about overusing it for vocals. I kind of looked at the Fatso as a counterpart to the Apogee PSX-100 converters, in that I wouldn't ever track without it. While the converters job is to convert analog to digital as pure as possible (well... that's it's job, anyway. Whether the Apogee's take an occasional smoke break is another topic of discussion).

So I kind of looked at the Fatso as the opposite. If it's the converters job to make the sound pure, then it's the Fatso' job to make the sound real or analogish.

I tried vtone's advice with just my own vocal, cranked it, and then hit bypass. Yeah, it definitely makes things rounder, fatter I guess, but I guess the danger is if it's overused it can take away the high end. Or flat make things muddy.

I'm getting a lot of good ideas from you guys. But I still have two more questions.

1) Anybody using this on the two bus for mixdown?
2) Has anybody ever compared that sound to Analog Channnel? Or should I undertake that experiment myself?

Hopefully, someone with more experienced ears has already tried that.

Jasper
Old 2nd February 2003
  #8
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
ok here's a question, how does cranesong hedd's tape & tube fx's stack up to fatso jr ? thanks
Old 2nd February 2003
  #9
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
Yobo say yoh!

I have both.

Fatso for tracking + Hedd convesion + a little tape simulation

Hedd on the mix - for that 1/2 inch sound..

Old 3rd February 2003
  #10
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six_wax's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by xqtion
ok here's a question, how does cranesong hedd's tape & tube fx's stack up to fatso jr ? thanks
I would like to know the answer to this too... that is, how does the sound differ? [compression aside, obviously]
Old 14th March 2003
  #11
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Gie-Sound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
FATSO?! The Devil don't need it!

Quote:
Originally posted by Jules

I very rarely use any of the FATSO Jnr's compression funtion.
Allright... I'm considering the FATSO for recording to my Pro Tools setup.... but.....

Let me play the Devil's Advocate/Layer

*Why would I need / use it?*

1) Don't really need the compressor (I already have a Distressor)
2) Harmonics?! Doesn't my tube-gear and my Distressor offer me enough harmonics?!
3) Tranny??! If I want a Tranny, I'll track with a 1073pre or an GR-NV.
4) Warmth?! Yes... Can use that.... but $2500 for just the WARMTH feature?! (maybe I can even emulate this with a plugin de-esser used in split-mode only on the very top)


Allright... enough of the Dark Devil ****...

I wanne know why you Fatso lovers still think I should consider (and I do) buying one... What makes this thing standout, even when I have all this other tools
Old 15th March 2003
  #12
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Hell, I don't think I'd get one if I were you. I sometimes use the Tranny on the Fatso, but I'm probably the only Fatso owner who also uses the compression, specifically for tracking acoustic guitars. (I use the 1176emulator/tracking comp with input at around 3).

As to warmth and saturation, I don' really hear it unless I set the warm setting too high. I usually set warmth at two or three -- still in the greenlight mode -- and assume it's working. But I'd be lying if I said I could hear it.

Jasper
Old 15th March 2003
  #13
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
Yobo say yoh!

Hedd on the mix - for that 1/2 inch sound..

Which half inch is this Jules?heh
Old 15th March 2003
  #14
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NathanEldred's Avatar
 
7 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
It's pretty much essential for me on vocals. I'll hit a Trakker first very lightly, and then hit the Fatso with 'bus' compression hitting on the first green light of gain reduction. I won't let the warmth go past 2 lights on peaks. Also essential on electric guitars and Bass DI. I'll use it on master bus in conjunction with two Trakkers if the band doesn't want to pay for tape. It's also nice having around for rough mixes, so the client gets a better idea of what the mix will sound like in the final stages. Most rock and country clients get worried if the average level isn't quite tight (even though a rough mix that's made in 2 minutes means absolutely nothing). Monkey and the Banana. rollz
Old 15th March 2003
  #15
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Jules's Avatar
BTW in mix mode it allmost allways gets used across the lead vocal.

With the other side free for any troublesome signal needing "help"

Old 15th March 2003
  #16
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Albert's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Gie-Sound, I bought a Fatso last year and after using it a bit sent it back to the dealer and put the money toward a pair of Distressors with the mods. The Fatso is great at what it does, is super solidly well-built, and IS indeed unique in its features and capabilities. The real standout feature on the unit in my opinion is the "warmth" section, really wonderful. I used it on an high pitched synth part that got screechy, and the Fatso softened it up beautifully in a way that an eq couldn't quite do. Very nice. But it is a lot of money if that one feature is the only one you really need.

I felt the Fatso was the thing for people that already have tons of high end of everything else already. That's not me, as I'm still assembling the essentials of my collection of high quality outboard. The Distressors have been much more useful for me for that reason.

The Fatso is a great box and I don't want anyone to misconstrue this post as knocking it in any way, just that you should make sure to listen to it in advance and see if it is going to do magic for *you*.
Old 15th March 2003
  #17
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bassmac's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I mostly track through my FATSO, but lately I'm really liking it on my drum sub-mix, especially the way the WARMTH is softening up the cymbals and hats.

rollz
Old 15th March 2003
  #18
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Renie's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Albert


I felt the Fatso was the thing for people that already have tons of high end of everything else already. That's not me, as I'm still assembling the essentials of my collection of high quality outboard.
.
This is where I'm confused, what exactly is it offering that a smorgasbord of high end gear can't muster?
Is it to compensate for recording to a digital medium instead of tape?
Is this the elusive 'warmth' concept we're talking here?

I feel overwhelmed with all the warming/tape fake devices I've got already..
Old 15th March 2003
  #19
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Albert's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
What it's offering in my opinion is the warmth feature, but especially how the warmth, compressor, distortion and tranny interact. That is what is special about the unit. The internal interactions between the different sections are complex and quite interactive as far as the user making adjustments, as well as the interactions with the music. I'm not sure how possible it would be to create the same thing out of seperate outboard units.

The "warmth" feature to me seems like an eq filter that is triggered like a compressor. Normally, an eq is always on once enabled, but in the Fatso it only kicks in when a threshold is reached. It is *really* nice, as the warmth filter gets out of the way when you don't need it.

If I've got that wrong, I hope someone will correct me. (No need to worry about that)!
Old 15th March 2003
  #20
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Gie-Sound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
BTW in mix mode it allmost allways gets used across the lead vocal.

With the other side free for any troublesome signal needing "help"

Jules,

You seem a big fan of the Fatso, cause you mention it in almost all your posts. Specially when the topic is recording to digital/PT.

Could you react on my last entry, where the devil's layer summed up 4 "options" and tell me where he went wrong?!tutt


and Bob,
I just found your Fatso review for 'MIX' on the internet... You also seemed to like the 4 (/7) compressor presets... so the devil's layer is probably wrong.... Please make him burn in hell if that's the case, and flame the Mofu dfegad


Old 17th March 2003
  #21
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Screws's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Lemme see, how did I use my Fatso Jr. this week...

Tracked a guitar D.I. and Marshall 1/2 stack with 57 thru a tube pre and Fatso with Tracking comp. Hit it hard, 10 to 15 db of GR. Added the Tranny to the D.I. Smooth and in yo face at the same time.

Tracked a vocal (Marshall MXL67 to VMP tube pre) with Tracking comp, 5 to 7 db GR. Nice, present and full.

Fixed a bass track with the Tracking Comp and Tranny. It had too much variation in gain and tone. Fatso fixed it.

Mixed few songs through it, this time the Buss Comp, 1 to 3 db of GR. Mixed some other songs without the Comp, using Fatso just for the Tape Sat.

Last week I also "Spanked" a snare track, "Warmed" some really ugly cymbals and "Tracked" a kick drum.

I use it alot.
Old 18th March 2003
  #22
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Gie-Sound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Screws

Last week I also "Spanked" a snare track,
Can it be used to tame some "killer transients"? (U know the ocasional over-shoot?)
Old 18th March 2003
  #23
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Screws's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Since part of the elegance to the Fatso is the simplicity of its controls, you have no attack or release. As such, it's not the best weapon for intricate compression duties or fixing severe problem tracks. However, even the trusty old RNC is fast enough for those quick transients you're talking about.
Old 2nd May 2011 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Head
 
alban1975's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Fatso Input gain

I have a FATSO jr connected after my Harrison C32 channel Mic preamp (this is a modified mic preamp taken from an Old Harrison C32 Console).I have little problem with fatso input gain, it is very loud, I’ve put the input Gain at 1 db and again is loud. Please can someone help me with this? Thank you very much in advance.
Old 2nd May 2011 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I love using the fatso for bass gtr. It just seems to get the bass where I want it in a rock mix fast.

The model that UAD has did a good job with the warmth feature. Worth checking out sometime.
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