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compressor to choose?

Postby vetsdiggy » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:53 pm

Hey all I'm looking to get a new comp to be a good all rounder. My main uses will be vox, drums, bass and as a 2buss for main mix at the end.
I need dual mono or linkable, SC would be nice but not essential.
My price range is up to 800 (ex VAT) ideally not more, I love vintage gear (most of my kit is 20 odd years old) and I don't mind the second hand market if it brings it into my range.
I'd like somthing which isn't tooo colorful but I like a bit of character.
I've been looking at a new JDK R22, or I've got the chance at a Drawmer 1968 second hand for the same price.
Any experience of them??
Anything else I should be looking at?
Cheers guys
Happy new year!!
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby The Elf » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:46 pm

After all these years the compressor I turn to most often is my Drawmer M500. The user interface sends people screaming in the opposite direction, but they don't know what they're missing. It truly is one of the most used items of hardware in my studio and I'd love a rack full of 'em!
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:24 pm

Take a gander at the SafeSound Dynamics toolbox. (no affiliation by the way)

Not quite a character piece but very flexible, they do an online trial where you send them audio
they process it with your desired unit and sent it back, sounds like a good thing to be doing.

cheers

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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby Jack Ruston » Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:33 pm

I think you're going to need to be realistic about the flexibility one compressor can provide. Typically you're looking for different behaviour on the drums and mix bus than you are on say vocals and bass. I'm concerned that if you try to cover too many bases in one unit you'll be compromising on all of them. It might be better to prioritise your application and go from there. What's the most important thing?

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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby chavernac » Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:52 pm

With all these applications, you will need something versatile.
So you most definitely need something entriely tweakable: attack, release, ratio at least.
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby * User requested deletion 2 * » Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:24 am

+1 on the SafeSound Dynamic Toolbox - it'll do everything you need plus more. Certainly it's not a character compressor (but then neither is the Drawmer 1968, valve or no valve - certainly not in the API / Sta Level / SSL character ballpark) but it's versatile as hell, and will deliver you a good pumping if set up right. Built in SC + eq, built in parallel compression (which I've found to be invaluable for drums and classical ensemble work) and a shed load of tweakability. It's built in the UK by a guy who worked for AMEK and (I think) Neve, so you're looking at a properly sorted bit of equipment. You shouldn't have a problem finding one second hand in your price range.
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby Mixedup » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:01 pm

+1 to what Jack said. You might be looking for too much from one compressor.

However, with that in mind...

+1 to the Safe Sound recommendation, but I prefer the Stereo Toolbox to the Dynamics Toolbox. In fact, I was very taken with the Stereo Toolbox, and loved the switchable M/S and L/R modes. You'd need to factor in the cost of an API Lunchbox rack for that one, but if you plan to acquire more outboard any time soon you'll save money going down this road.

TK Audio BC1 MkII should fit the bill — and the budget — nicely enough, and is standard 1U 19" rackmount. Another 500-series/Lunchbox one to check out would be the Serpent Audio SB4001. Both of these are along the lines of an SSL 4k Buss compressor, but with a few functions added that make them rather more versatile. The parallel compression and high-pass side-chain filters on these make them pretty versatile, which sounds like the sort of thing you're after.
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:11 pm

Just a heads up on the TK it seems not to be able to do dual mono
as would be anticipated for an SSL type clone.
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby Mixedup » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:25 pm

SafeandSound123 wrote:Just a heads up on the TK it seems not to be able to do dual mono
as would be anticipated for an SSL type clone.

Yes. Sorry. Missed that part of the OP.

A pair of GA Comp 54 may be worth a look. Not exactly clean-sounding, but very nice for the price nonetheless, particularly with the Carnhill option which would take you up to around the budget.
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby . . . Delete This User . . . » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:04 pm

Ted Fletcher's rather excellent TFPro P8 "edward the compressor" (which AFAIK predates the marshall pedal of the same nick name)


flexible, quality piece of kit, that you might find second hand for your budget.....

it has the ability to behave like several different classic types of compressor, so gives you as much flexibility as it is reasonable to ask for in a single hardware unit.



sounds great.....
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby EnlightenedHand » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:13 pm

The FMR Audio Really Nice Compressor is quite good as an all around workhorse and for 175.00 (US) it doesn't break the bank. Don't let the price fool you. It's actually as good as multi-thousand dollar units and is well known and respected.
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:02 am

Yes, if you don't have one already, an RNC is a good option. However, it doesn't do characterful or coloured - just straight quality compression. I would always suggest that a newbie to hardware compression buys an RNC to start with but possibly adds something more coloured later once they have more of an idea of the sound they want.

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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby vetsdiggy » Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:02 pm

Wow thanks all for the info!
Just to update, it won't be my sole comp, I have a pair of dbx 903's racked in an fs900 which are great, but I cant link them of coarse!
It's mostly I want something I can link which can hold its own (and hold it well) on all those sources!
The tfpro looks good, but Ive heard mixed things, and it wont go dual mono!!.... any other thoughts from anyone?
Also, I'm leaning towards the JDK, has anyone any experience with these?
Thanks again everyone!
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby Mixedup » Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:19 am

Have you tried using the dbx in an M/S configuration? It's not linking exactly, as you still have to set controls on each manually, but at least you do't end up with a shifting phantom image, as both 'sides' work of the same sidechain that way.

It's a long time since I used the JDK (Arsenal as it was then) stuff. I remember the EQ sounding lovely, and the mic pre and compressor sounding nice but nothing special. Personally I'd choose the Comp 54 pair over the JDK, but we're getting into personal taste territory here...
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby vetsdiggy » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:12 am

Hey man thanks, I do like the idea of the 54 pair being based on neve and having a nice color to it.
If I was to go for that I think I'd look at the transformer kit if you think that would be worth it?
The only thing which still sways me to the JDK over that is that I know the JDK has much better components inside, certainly the 'THAT 2181' vca. I know the GA units have been made on the cheap, but it's guess its the sound which matters most!
Have you much experience with them (GA 54 units)
Cheers

p.s. I've never found the 903's to be well enough matched to try an M/S..... maybe just the units I have? I love them though!!
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby Mixedup » Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:06 pm

I reviewed the Comp 54 and have a pair here. I like them and they get quite a bit of use. I've also got SSL clones here THAT2181a chips in. They get a lot of use too. They're totally different creatures and as I said, it's a question of taste.

Is the Comp 54 Carnhill upgrade worth it? Probably. It will get you closer to the Neve sound if that matters to you. But to my ears they sound good enough as they are. I don't really care whether they sound like something else as long as they do what I want/like!

Another one to check out if you up the budget a bit (1220 Euros) would be the IGS Audio Wolfram Limiter. It's basically two linkable 1176 clones in a 2U rack. Again. a different sound. I've not used that one, but was impressed with the sound and build quality of their Tubecore compressor that I had here a couple of months ago.
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby vetsdiggy » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:05 pm

I like the look of there stuff!
Nice one
Can't seem to find anywhere selling for that price though where have you seen it?
Cheers!
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby vetsdiggy » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:09 pm

Also.... on the topic of the 54.... I imagine they sound great on vox buss, drum buss, bass, guitar ect, but have you tried it over the mix bus? how does it fair?
I'm looking for more of a glue than anything in that area.
Its not a case of warming up a digital mix, I'm all hardware synths and drum machines, tracked to logic then summed out to 16 tracks on tape.
The comp would be put across my stereo master coming back from tape to my hard drive..... if that helps...
Cheers again!
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby Mixedup » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:31 pm

vetsdiggy wrote:I like the look of there stuff!
Nice one
Can't seem to find anywhere selling for that price though where have you seen it?
Cheers!

It's the price given in the price list on the IGS Audio page. I think they sell direct, but suspect they'll have distribution soon...
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby Mixedup » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:24 pm

vetsdiggy wrote:have you tried it over the mix bus? how does it fair?

Yes, it's fine on the mix bus if you use it gently. Much as you'd expect from a 2254 or 33609 sort of thing. I preferred it to the UA 33609 plugin, for example, but definitely the same sort of character.

I'm looking for more of a glue than anything in that area.
Its not a case of warming up a digital mix, I'm all hardware synths and drum machines, tracked to logic then summed out to 16 tracks on tape.
The comp would be put across my stereo master coming back from tape to my hard drive..... if that helps...
Cheers again!

Difficult to say without hearing the stuff, but what sort of sound do you want? Do you actually *need* to compress here? Sounds like you should have enough 'gluiness' going on already, but the classic for 'glue' is the SSL 4k mix bus comp. The TK I mentioned earlier is great for that. But as others have pointed out that design is stereo, not dual mono. You might pick up a second hand DIY GSSL for about £400, but obviously quality control is an issue there!

A secondhand Focusrite Platinum Mixmaster if you can find one is a bit of a bargain. I've seen them going for around £250 and they're rather better than the rest of the range... though I actually rather liked the Compounder too. We're talking less money and less esoteric here, but it really depends what results you're after from what material.
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby Tartaruga » Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:13 am

Hi
I would try a Compressor with an ‘EQ’ in it.It will aloud you to suit your different tasks and you can change it’s character.
If you can,try the Joemeek ‘TwinQ’…Good sound for the price and ‘flexible’…

Good Luck!
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Re: compressor to choose?

Postby czar » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:23 am

sounds like the JDK would be a winner for you. I have the R24 and absolutely love it. So I've been looking at the r22 as a do it all compressor as well.
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