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is the 3630 good for anything?
Old 9th May 2006
  #1
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uptheoctave's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
is the 3630 good for anything?

I'm winning an ebay bid, against my better judgement I bid on an Alesis 3630.
I've had a few before.
It IS pretty cheap, but I know they are not much cop- have anyone used a 3630 succesfully for er, um, anything?

James
Old 9th May 2006
  #2
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Tibbon's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
There's a Black Lion Audio mod for it, that's supposed to help.

Things that you could use it for

1) Giving it to someone to get them on your good side, and they think it's the ****
2) Putting in a live rack
3) Doorstop
4) Rack space filler
5) Something to A/B against your Manley/UA/etc compressors that easily impresses clients
6) Strip the case, and build another compressor/preamp/eq and put it in that box
Old 9th May 2006
  #3
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Dave Peck's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I tried one on keyboards, drum samples, and bass. Absolutely terrible on all of them. I never got a useable sound and therefore never actually recorded anything through it. The bass sounded like it was going through a cheap distortion box with a HPF. Kinda fuzzy with no bottom end at all.

DP
Old 9th May 2006
  #4
no ssl yet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richmondjames
I'm winning an ebay bid, against my better judgement I bid on an Alesis 3630.
I've had a few before.
It IS pretty cheap, but I know they are not much cop- have anyone used a 3630 succesfully for er, um, anything?

James


DEMOLITION
Old 9th May 2006 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Nut
 
mavertron's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I read an interview with Daft Punk who professed a love for this compressor.
its all over their first album apparently.

maybe its good for dirty drums.
i dunno, i never used one.
i have got an alesis nanocompressor tho.
i reckon its a load of total crap.

imho.
Old 9th May 2006 | Show parent
  #6
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superburtm's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
a paper weightheh
Old 9th May 2006 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
aetucker1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
i believe it is on the guitar tracks on one of the smashing pumpkins albums.....boy i am a lot of help aren't I.
Old 9th May 2006 | Show parent
  #8
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Chucho's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
black lion mod

cheap,
sweet,
do it,
do it.

it's kind of unbelievable what happens to it. I track nearly everything thru it.
Old 10th May 2006 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
uptheoctave's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chucho
black lion mod

cheap,
sweet,
do it,
do it.

it's kind of unbelievable what happens to it. I track nearly everything thru it.
You rock!
Done and done.
Old 10th May 2006 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Addict
 
synthetic's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
There's a much cheaper mod you can try: You clip two wires, and it takes the gate detection out of the circuit. Much less distorted this way. I wrote a how-to article for Tape Op. PM if you want the diagram.
Old 10th May 2006 | Show parent
  #11
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dave-G's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by superburtm
a paper weightheh
I don't think it weighs enough.

Lighter than paper.

-dave
Old 10th May 2006 | Show parent
  #12
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superburtm's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave-G
I don't think it weighs enough.

Lighter than paper.

-dave

heh thumbsup
Old 10th May 2006 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
guid0's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I was at a friend's home studio on night and we decided to do a stupid "radio play" just for s**ts and giggles.
It was your typical alien invasion parody and the main character gets digested by some awful 10 foot alien at the end.

To "illustrate" our hero's passage through a venusian digestive tract, we used the 2 3630's he had in his rack. We patched one 3630 into the other, turned all the knobs to the max and recorded the most painful human sound I've ever had the displeasure to hear.
Old 13th September 2006 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chucho ➑️
black lion mod

cheap,
sweet,
do it,
do it.

it's kind of unbelievable what happens to it. I track nearly everything thru it.
which mod did you have done, the clean one or the dirty one (both were options from black lion)? I contacted black lion but they're not doing the mods any more, so I asked if they offer the plans any longer and am awaiting a response. I'll source the parts and build it myself happily, but I need to know it's worth it and which way to go with it.

What do you recommend?
Old 14th September 2006 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
http://www.prodigy-pro.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8690 might just try this

Andy
Old 14th September 2006 | Show parent
  #16
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Marlowe's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Keep it in the car. They're great to put under your tire if your stuck in ice or snow.
Old 14th September 2006 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
FalconerHK's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Well, I ran out of toilet paper one evening and had a 3630 laying around...

The knobs are NOT engineered for your comfort!!!
Old 14th September 2006 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Peck ➑️
The bass sounded like it was going through a cheap distortion box with a HPF. Kinda fuzzy with no bottom end at all.

DP
You're not going to get anywhere with it that you would with any of the high $ squeezers that get mentioned here often...but if you want what's above you may find a use for it. Think of that Daft Punk mention. Also it was VERY widely used in the mid 90's UK drum and bass scene. Probably because it was cheap but it also helped define that genre's gritty midrange drum sounds. If you got the space for it and it doesn't cost you any money you wouldn't otherwise spend on hookers and gin go for it.
Old 14th September 2006 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Guru
 
tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years


I must have got a good one. Everyone dogs this box.

Mine worked great in my bass rig. Used it for a transient enhancer with a light touch.

I'm not sure how it sounds squezzing vocals to hell, but I don't like that type of effect anyway.




-tINY

Old 14th September 2006 | Show parent
  #20
hrn
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hrn's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Mine is not as bad as often mentioned at this forum. Bought one of the first coming at the market when I used to have a porta studio back in the late 80's I think.

I think mine is a box which is quite colored in sound giving me a kind of "blanket" over the sound when I want it, taking the edge of things.

Hans
Old 14th September 2006 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Mine sees occasional use in my live sound rig - where it doesn't matter much. Sometimes if I'm totally out of compressors and I just need to take a dB or two off I'll use one. But I don't like them. The compression part does what you expect. Threshold, attack, release, etc. But there's something that it does to the attack (and a bit to the release, too) that isn't very pleasant.

Another issue with the 3630 is that there is a significant amount of crosstalk between channels if you are hitting one side hard. The control voltage noise and some of the audio from one side manages to get its way into the other side, which indicates poor grounding from my experience.

There are a few design problems with it. One of the early laws of analogue design that you learn (when you get bit by it) is that you never should use an op-amp when you need a comparator, and you never should use a comparator when you need an op-amp. They broke the latter one of those rules. That can generate high frequency hash in the control voltage line, and they try to get rid of it but it doesn't really work.

I have a special mod for them but it's not pretty and it takes hours to do, but it sounds quite a bit better. All of the capacitor mods in the world does not really change the fact that they used a comparator where they should have used an op-amp. Their design was 'clever' but too clever, maybe. The box sounds fine in bypass and when not in gain reduction, so that really pinpoints where the problem is. The various 'mods' that you see on the various pages tend to mask that problem. There are a few spots that Alesis did not follow dbx's application notes. Anywhere where there is a problem on that board, that's where the problem comes in.

-Dale
Old 14th September 2006 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Guru
 
tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years


Do you have any schematics to share?

I think I have some original That Corp app-notes somewhere. I don't have a schematic of the ugly box, though.



-tINY

Old 14th September 2006 | Show parent
  #23
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Chucho's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelley ➑️
which mod did you have done, the clean one or the dirty one (both were options from black lion)? I contacted black lion but they're not doing the mods any more, so I asked if they offer the plans any longer and am awaiting a response. I'll source the parts and build it myself happily, but I need to know it's worth it and which way to go with it.

What do you recommend?
I got the dirty mod which to me sounds pretty clean !
I never heard the clean one.
rest assured that either mod will stop it sounding like a smelly blanket has descended upon your head (or something)
Old 15th September 2006 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
The only thing I found it was good on was smoothing electric guitars. I'm sure theres a lot of units that do it better, but the 3630 did the job a couple times. Got rid of it though, and replaced it with a Symetrix comp. World o' difference.
Old 15th September 2006 | Show parent
  #25
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Fajita's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
keeps my TV from getting too loud during the commercials. it's between my DirecTV and my Amp.


heh
Old 15th September 2006 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
AdamLazlo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In 1994 or so I remember when people (at GC) listened to my complaints regarding my lack of this-and-that and suggested a compressor... specifically the 3630. At that time I couldn't wrap my mind around what a compressor did or how to use it. It did come with a nifty little pamphlet called "How To Use Compression". Well, I must've read it a good 2 to 3 dozen times and still didn't "get it".

It wasn't until I started to experiment with a compressor that wasn't the 3630 before I started to understand the benefits of compression.

Seriously, the 3630, is the worst example of a compressor I've ever used. If I were starting out, new to compression, I'd rather suggest a dbx 266XL, at least you'll have some control and practical usage.

I still have the same 3630 I originally bought and after years and years or not using it I thought I'd give it another shot (knowing what I know now) and it's too haphazard and out of control. I even tried to side-chain it in order to have a little more specific control but it was still too all-over-the-place.

I don't really care about the mods... I don't want to plop down any more money toward this piece of crap. The only useful thing I found it good for is an in-line effects loop on an amp for either a bass head or guitar head. To me it's the same unpredictability as the BOSS Comp/Sustain pedal I still cling onto, for some reason.

Although, there are those that really like the 3630, and I can't condemn them for that. All I'm saying is as an introduction to compression, it's not a very good teacher.

You said you've owned a few before and you just bought one on the cheap? If anything else, yes, I've heard good things about the Black Lion mod but what is that... around $125? Might be worth it if it does make a monumental difference. I guess it depends on what you've already used/exposed to.

Like I said, as a raw/stock compressor it's volatile -- I don't think it's a very good example of "controlled" or "practical" compression. I've found better use out of a Behringer Composer than the 3630, back in the day.

-- Adam Lazlo
Old 16th September 2006 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
There's a schematic posted somewhere, probably at the prodigy-pro group. I remember googling it. Anyways, one thing you can try which can make it more controllable is to convert it to a feedback design. That's easy. Make a cable that takes the output and feeds it back to the sidechain return. You don't even need to take the lid off. It has a different character that way.
Old 18th September 2006 | Show parent
  #28
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RusRant's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Gate mod

Hey guys,
This thread got me wondering about my 3630. I did some research and tracked down the diagram from Tape op. The mod just disables the gate. I tried it yesterday morning before a session and used it all day yesteday on various things (vox, drums, acoustic guitar, mandolin, lap steel and bass) with very good results. I recorded a few things before without the mod to be able to A/B. This thing is night and day now. Very clean and musical, especially the limiter settings. No more hercky jerky pumping even on low settings, and the low end mud has disappeared. It's also a very simple mod, just two jumpers clipped. PM me if anyones interested I'll send a pick of the jumpers to cut. Now that that's done, back to real gear sluttery. heh Rus
Old 18th September 2006 | Show parent
  #29
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RusRant's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I had a few requests for this so I'm posting a pick to show what to cut. Cut the two jumpers circled in yellow. I went to the trouble to add two swith's to add turn the gate back on to A/B. Also, once you cut the jumpers make sure the gate knobs are all the way counter clockwise/off position or you will mute the comp. Good luck and hope this helps. Again thanks to Tape op for this mod. Rus
Attached Thumbnails
is the 3630 good for anything?-gatedisable.jpg  
Old 20th September 2006 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
bcgood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mavertron ➑️
I read an interview with Daft Punk who professed a love for this compressor.
its all over their first album apparently.

maybe its good for dirty drums.
i dunno, i never used one.
i have got an alesis nanocompressor tho.
i reckon its a load of total crap.

imho.
Daft Punk used it on such hits as "Around the World" and "One More Time." Those guys study compression like many others study guitar tone so don't expect that sound to come easy. From what I understand they use the sidchain function...

bcgood
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