blinddrew wrote:I have a much simpler question: what's a Listen Mic Compressor (LMC)?
I kept waiting for a break out box or further explanation.
As I said in the review (transfer plot caption), it's a misnomer is what it is! ;-) Its Not really a compressor at all, it's actually a hard limiter with fast attack and release times, a very low threshold, and a shed load of make-up gain. So it provides a lot of fast and heavy squashing!
A 'listen mic' is a reverse talkback mic hung up somewhere in the studio with the aim of picking up conversation and comments from the performers so that the engineer/producer can have a two-way conversation over the studio talkback when necessary.
So the control room talkback mic feeds into a studio loudspeaker and/or the cue headphone system in the studio. Meanwhile, the studio listen mic is routed through the listen-mic compressor into a reverse talkback speaker in the control room. The compressor is there to make sure that any studio conversation is audible, no matter how close or far the musicians are from the mic, while also keeping a lid on things when the band strikes up.
SSL's LMC subsequently became infamous when it was used during a Phil Collins drum session for a Peter Gabriel track (Intruder) in 1979, and it was an effect discovered by accident -- as these things always are -- by engineer Steve Lillywhite (and producer Hugh Padgham). Collins was rehearsing and the listen mic was on so Steve and Phil could discuss what they were doing. Needless to say, when Collins started hitting the kit the heavy limiting gave a massive room sound, which they thought was rather special.
However, the reverse talkback signal only went to the reverse talkback speaker in the desk, and couldn't be recorded, so Padgham had the resident studio engineers modify the SSL4000E console overnight to split out the heavily-limited reverse talkback signal and put it on a spare hole on the patchbay, from where it could then be patched into a channel and routed to the multitrack for recording.... Which they did the next day!
The rest is history and, as you'll be aware, the uber-compressed room sound effect subsequently became a key part of Collins' signature drum sound (Think 'In The Air Tonight'... and all that).