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Hardware compressor with beefy low end?
Old 20th January 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 
xcevinx's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Hardware compressor with beefy low end?

I'm looking for a hardware compressor that retains a beefy low end. I shall be using it for tracking - mostly vocals and occasionally other mono sources.

Ideally, I would love to get my hands on an API 2500 that incorporates the 'thrust' circuit, but the price tag (even used) is causing me to see what else is out there. Will the detector HPF on the Distressor EL8X produce a similar sound? Any other suggestions - preferably at/less $2000 USD? Thanks!
Old 20th January 2013
  #2
Gear Guru
 
NathanEldred's Avatar
 
7 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
The Distressor is a great choice. I don't think it will necessarily add bass if that's what you are looking for, but like you were thinking with the onboard side chain it won't make it thin sounding (unless you set it that way, it's very flexible with its tone shaping).
Old 20th January 2013
  #3
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
 
18 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I can't help but guess the LA2A and boutique equivalents might be good, or other high end valve opto compressors. I do know that on the cheap the ART Pro VLA II is a good candidate, from personal experience.
Old 20th January 2013
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
API have an offshoot company called JDK Audio formerly Arsenal Audio and have a R22 compressor with the thrust circuit for around 995 at vintage king.

JDK Audio R22 2 Channel Compressor

Search results for: 'jdk audio' - Vintage King Audio

Cheers
Old 20th January 2013
  #5
Gear Head
 
xcevinx's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks for the replies. The JDK R22 definitely caught my interest - unfortunately the fastest attack time is 10 ms. The LA2A fastest attack time is also 10 ms. I would like the option for attack times around 1 ms if necessary.

I'm still on the fence between the API 2500 and the Distressor EL8X
Old 20th January 2013
  #6
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Lee Cardan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I find longer attack and 'retaining beefy low end' go hand in hand

LA2As are fantastic
Retro STA is maybe even better

Personally, API2500 and distressor strong points aren't really in the bottom end.
Old 20th January 2013 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx ➑️
I can't help but guess the LA2A and boutique equivalents might be good, or other high end valve opto compressors. I do know that on the cheap the ART Pro VLA II is a good candidate, from personal experience.
Have read some other threads that talk about swapping out tubes on the VLA II. I too am looking for something to beef up the low end of my vocals, inexpensively... And you are suggesting this unit. Curious, would you consider swapping out tubes if I got it, or would the swap cause the unit to lose some of the beefiness? If there is a way to improve the unit sonically, yet keep the beefiness, what tubes would you recommend?

Thanks
Old 20th January 2013
  #8
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mamm7215's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Well my Drawmer 1968ME with the big switch on keeps the low end of the source material fairly intact...
Old 21st January 2013
  #9
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Deuce 225's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Compressors under $2000 USD

Quote:
Originally Posted by xcevinx ➑️
I'm looking for a hardware compressor that retains a beefy low end. I shall be using it for tracking - mostly vocals and occasionally other mono sources.

Ideally, I would love to get my hands on an API 2500 that incorporates the 'thrust' circuit, but the price tag (even used) is causing me to see what else is out there. Will the detector HPF on the Distressor EL8X produce a similar sound? Any other suggestions - preferably at/less $2000 USD? Thanks!
You may find this thread auditioning the API 2500, Drawmer 1968, RND 5043 and SSL G384 interesting:

Gearslutz Compressor Listening Comparison

Used, two of the 4 Compressors are near your price point. I agree with mamm7215 in his post above about the Drawmer. The Drawmer 1968 (stereo) can frequently be found used for $1100 is a lot of bang for the buck.
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Beefing up the low end of vocals and other sources?

To my thinking, a comp isn't the tool I'd be looking at for that. Instead, I'd focus on:

1) the space the vocal is in

2) the mic (including placement and use of proximity)

3) the pre

The 2500 will cream the top and grunge the mids, it's a great sound on vocals, but it won't add beef. Distressor excites the upper mids and pushes things forward.

I'm curious what your front end currently is --- mic, pre, converters --- and how you'd describe the sound of the space you record in. That's where 95% of the meat of your tone comes from, everything else in the rack is just gravy.

I'd also suggest, based on nothing more than a hunch, that what you might want to hear is less of something higher up the spectrum, rather than more of something down below. Sound is tricky like that.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Head
 
xcevinx's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamm7215 ➑️
Well my Drawmer 1968ME with the big switch on keeps the low end of the source material fairly intact...
Hmmm I'm liking what I am reading about the Drawmer 1968
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k ➑️
Beefing up the low end of vocals and other sources?

To my thinking, a comp isn't the tool I'd be looking at for that. Instead, I'd focus on:

1) the space the vocal is in

2) the mic (including placement and use of proximity)

3) the pre

The 2500 will cream the top and grunge the mids, it's a great sound on vocals, but it won't add beef. Distressor excites the upper mids and pushes things forward.

I'm curious what your front end currently is --- mic, pre, converters --- and how you'd describe the sound of the space you record in. That's where 95% of the meat of your tone comes from, everything else in the rack is just gravy.

I'd also suggest, based on nothing more than a hunch, that what you might want to hear is less of something higher up the spectrum, rather than more of something down below. Sound is tricky like that.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Would the Electra be of any help with this? From what I've been reading, it seems to be the answer for getting the bottom end right. Does that extend to vocals?
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
 
18 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jroode ➑️
Have read some other threads that talk about swapping out tubes on the VLA II. I too am looking for something to beef up the low end of my vocals, inexpensively... And you are suggesting this unit. Curious, would you consider swapping out tubes if I got it, or would the swap cause the unit to lose some of the beefiness? If there is a way to improve the unit sonically, yet keep the beefiness, what tubes would you recommend?

Thanks
I never swapped the tubes in mine. I like JJ tubes and I think that's what comes in these. I don't think a tube brand swap would affect the frequency response terribly much, but, it would probably be a subtle change. Using lower gain tubes, like 12AT7 or etc, would probably make a more drastic change in tone, but, I'm not sure what it would be.

I think JJ Audio (not the tube company--confusing) has an extensive mod they do on these VLA II. But the price is so steep, you'd probably be better off buying a used Universal Audio unit or something similar, a Peavey maybe.

I would try a stock VLA II and see if you like it. I really liked it on certain sources. It didn't like being pushed hard, but other than that, was very usable.
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #14
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Cardan ➑️
I find longer attack and 'retaining beefy low end' go hand in hand

LA2As are fantastic
Retro STA is maybe even better

Personally, API2500 and distressor strong points aren't really in the bottom end.
Exactly this. You need that longer attack time
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
johnnygri's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamm7215 ➑️
Well my Drawmer 1968ME with the big switch on keeps the low end of the source material fairly intact...
Me too, love it.
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Head
 
xcevinx's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k ➑️

1) the space the vocal is in
Fully treated with GIK Traps. I've spent a huge amount of time and money on treating/acoustically testing the room for mixing and vocals.

2) the mic (including placement and use of proximity
When I'm going for proximity effect I use the SM7B, flat settings, no windscreen and have a pop filter between

3) the pre
Empirical Labs EL9 or Focusrite ISA 220, depending on my mood. The interface is a MOTU HD192.
Thanks for replying Gregory! I can usually achieve decent results with the gear/techniques listed above, but always in search of doing it better. I figure right now the weakest link is the voice itself (me!).

I use heavy compression (in dual stages) to achieve a nice low end punch ITB, but I know when I use compression during tracking - I always get better results. Thus my search for a comp that retains 'the beef'.

p.s. I use the UBK-1 a fair amount once ITB as well
Old 21st January 2013
  #17
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
La2a
33609
1176
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Cardan ➑️
I find longer attack and 'retaining beefy low end' go hand in hand

LA2As are fantastic
Retro STA is maybe even better

Personally, API2500 and distressor strong points aren't really in the bottom end.

So Correct.
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Head
 
xcevinx's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman ➑️
Exactly this. You need that longer attack time
I'm not disagreeing with this at all. I merely said I wanted the OPTION to use faster attack settings - as in when I'm not going for the beefy low end.
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx ➑️
I never swapped the tubes in mine. I like JJ tubes and I think that's what comes in these. I don't think a tube brand swap would affect the frequency response terribly much, but, it would probably be a subtle change. Using lower gain tubes, like 12AT7 or etc, would probably make a more drastic change in tone, but, I'm not sure what it would be.

I think JJ Audio (not the tube company--confusing) has an extensive mod they do on these VLA II. But the price is so steep, you'd probably be better off buying a used Universal Audio unit or something similar, a Peavey maybe.

I would try a stock VLA II and see if you like it. I really liked it on certain sources. It didn't like being pushed hard, but other than that, was very usable.
I'm actually thinking of using it in parallel with this chain to get the beef. Cause this chain gets the high mids and fowardness that I want. But I'd like to get some beef. I actually use the UBK-1 once I get it ITB. But I'd like to see if I could get it through some HW. Just searching... ya know.

TLM49>Vintech x73i>Distressor>
Old 21st January 2013
  #21
Lives for gear
 
travisbrown's Avatar
 
9 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Slate Dragon. The best of 1176 and Distressor in one sexy box.
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Head
 
xcevinx's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown ➑️
Slate Dragon. The best of 1176 and Distressor in one sexy box.
This is another comp that is on my short list. I do like that the side-chain HPF has selectable frequencies for cutoff. If you own the Dragon - does it do nice things on the low end?
Old 21st January 2013
  #23
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littlesicily's Avatar
 
16 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
STA level
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
travisbrown's Avatar
 
9 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by xcevinx ➑️
This is another comp that is on my short list. I do like that the side-chain HPF has selectable frequencies for cutoff. If you own the Dragon - does it do nice things on the low end?
I do and it does.

If I'm being indulgent, I throw it in my bass rig for live gigs.
Old 21st January 2013
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I'm curious what your front end currently is --- mic, pre, converters --- and how you'd describe the sound of the space you record in. That's where 95% of the meat of your tone comes from, everything else in the rack is just gravy.

Nice analogy Gregoire.

Cheers
Old 21st January 2013
  #26
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Heyho!
The Chandler Germanium Compressor for sure is one of the thickest sounding items I ever had!!
You should check it you
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
illacov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx ➑️
I never swapped the tubes in mine. I like JJ tubes and I think that's what comes in these. I don't think a tube brand swap would affect the frequency response terribly much, but, it would probably be a subtle change. Using lower gain tubes, like 12AT7 or etc, would probably make a more drastic change in tone, but, I'm not sure what it would be.

I think JJ Audio (not the tube company--confusing) has an extensive mod they do on these VLA II. But the price is so steep, you'd probably be better off buying a used Universal Audio unit or something similar, a Peavey maybe.

I would try a stock VLA II and see if you like it. I really liked it on certain sources. It didn't like being pushed hard, but other than that, was very usable.
Just to clarify its JJ Audio Mics, USA. For some reason its expressed as JJ Audio and the Mics is silent LOL

As far as the pricing, the mod starts at $250.

The Peavey units are superb but are definitely a bit closer to 1k on the used market when I see them (r).

The LA2A is not what the Pro VLA in its stock or modded form is designed to emulate. Our goal is to offer an opto compressor that has super fast release times (for an opto), ultra broad dynamic range, super quiet noise performance, higher voltage to the tube section, properly loaded tubes and increased utilitarian usage.

As you've experienced yourself, smart application of quality parts begets quality results. Your adventures in mic modding completely prove that (quite handily I might add). We applied the same philosophy to the Pro VLA.

Peace
Illumination
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
 
18 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov ➑️
As you've experienced yourself, smart application of quality parts begets quality results. Your adventures in mic modding completely prove that (quite handily I might add). We applied the same philosophy to the Pro VLA.

Peace
Illumination
Thanks for noticing my mic mods! They are so rewarding, it's true. And addictive as well, I'm not stopping any time soon. JJ Audio Mics has been a definite source of inspiration. I wish I had been able to visit your shop when I was still living in northern Virginia.

I've actually been recommending JJ Audio to people based on how great your work appears to be, and the examples posted around, and how close it is to what I think I would want myself. I really do appreciate the attention to detail regarding component quality, for one.
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by xcevinx ➑️
I figure right now the weakest link is the voice itself (me!)

Well, I've had that feeling more than once myself.

Honestly, looking at the factors and the stuff you've listed, I'd be looking at those converters with a suspicious eye. MOTU stuff offers tremendous bang for the buck, but when your ear is looking to maximize tone, I think you'll find they're filtering a lot of it out... quite literally. All the caps in their boxes are filtering out your bottom end, and what's not filtered is phase smeared.

I'm partial to the warmer converters, I use Burl, but even something squeaky clean but musical like an api a2d would go a long way towards where you want to be. I think the more you try to beef up the low end on less-than-ideal-converters, the less tight and defined the whole picture gets as the smear gets amplified.

I know folks stress out about eq curves when chasing tone, but phase and transient integrity are the keys to the kingdom imho.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Head
 
xcevinx's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k ➑️
Honestly, looking at the factors and the stuff you've listed, I'd be looking at those converters with a suspicious eye.
The converters are next in my plan - Lynx Aurora 8. Thank you for all your insight Gregory - much appreciated

I'm currently mulling over all the compressor suggestions before I make a purchase. Thank you to all the gearslutz for helping me drain my bank accounts!
πŸ“ Reply

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