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Connect compressor to insert on preamp or daisy chain?

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Connect compressor to insert on preamp or daisy chain?

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:38 pm
by dickiefunk

I’ve recently bought a Klark Teknik KT-2a compressor to use with my Warm Audio TB12 preamp and noticed the TB12 has insert input and output sockets.

What is the best practice when using outboard compressors with preamps when tracking? Should I daisy chain them so that the TB12 output goes into the KT-2a then to converters or should I connect the KT-2a to the insert of the TB12?

Re: Connect compressor to insert on preamp or daisy chain?

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:12 am
by Hugh Robjohns
In terms of the signal flow, it doesn't really matter; you'll end up with a compressed mic signal either way. Although the TB12 inserts are unbalanced, so you're more likely to suffer ground-loop hums or interference if connecting the compressor as an insert.

However, the different arrangements may well produce different sound characters if you like to 'drive' the TB12 as that preamp is specifically designed to deliver some character when 'pushed', and a large part of that effect comes from stressing the output stage / output transformer. If you insert a compressor into the preamp signal path ahead of its output stage -- and the insert point is between the input and output stages -- you'll typically reduce the signal level going into the output stage, and thus struggle to achieve the desired overdrive effects.... Unless you crank the make-up gain, of course!

Personally, I'd wire the main balanced output from the TB12 into the compressor, and save the insert for an EQ... ;-) ...but it really is horses for courses. The two connection arrangements will simply deliver different effects when driven, but neither is categorically better or worse than the other.