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Compressor/Limiter/Gate Strip - For Live Use

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Compressor/Limiter/Gate Strip - For Live Use

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:44 pm

I could put this in the "Live section", but I suspect I'll get more joy here.

I'm after a channel strip, with compressor, limiter (and EQ and gate would be nice) to perform the following function.

I have a West End show where the lead singer has sections of the show where their vocal is run from track rather than their live mic; it has to be this way, that's a production constant that cannot be altered. So, in certain sections it's live, and certain sections the tracked vocal is being heard. The tracked vocal has been recorded with the same mic that's used live, it has no effects and it hasn't been edited so as to sound consistent with the live mic. However, there are times when over-exuberance with the live mic means that matching levels between tracked/live is tricky.

So, I want a channel strip, with limiting and compression (EQ and a gate would be great too), that'd allow me to bus the live mic and the tracked mic together to create a consistent sound. This would then be fed to the desk for the normal effects processing/in-ear etc. Obviously, both signals would already be pre'd so line-in is necessary.

I don't have a budget, I want a unit that's as neutral sounding as possible, and although it's in a fixed location it could well be moved around venues so rack-mounted is mandatory. I don't want to use plug-ins, or anything "in a box", it has to be a hardware unit as it needs to be set and left for other MDs. For my own selfish purposes, a nice pre on it would be good as I could then use it for my own vocal projects too.

Any ideas?

edit - I don't mind second hand/vintage, I'd rather buy used quality than a new unit that's not quite as good.

edit edit - I don't have to spend high just because I have the budget, if a DBX 166s will suffice then I'm happy to use it. Transparency and sound quality are a must though.
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Re: Compressor/Limiter/Gate Strip - For Live Use

Postby jodaki » Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:13 pm

The Focusrite ISA 430 MKII does all that.

- VCA or Opto compressor or a limiter if you prefer.
- gate
- de-esser
- band pass, shelving and parametric eq
- more holes on the back panel than you can shake a stick at.

Also has a soft limiter on the output. I could be wrong but I think this one only affects the digital output. This output limiter doesn't have any controls but it doesn't really need any - it just prevents overs and works really well.

The preamp is very nice too...

Ive had mine for years and so far (with admittedly limited experience compared to the folks round here) Ive never used a better vocal channel.

It's all explained much better here: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/focusrite-isa430-mkii
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Re: Compressor/Limiter/Gate Strip - For Live Use

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:01 pm

jodaki wrote:The Focusrite ISA 430 MKII does all that.

I don't suppose you know what the latency is, I'm guessing negligble but I have to check as that's going to be one of my biggest issues; that's why I'm not doing it in the box, amongst other reasons.
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Re: Compressor/Limiter/Gate Strip - For Live Use

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:21 pm

If you're working with an analogue desk there is no latency.

If you're working with a digital desk the latency depends on the sample rate -- the higher the rate the lower the latency...

But the latency is essentially only that of the A-D and D-A conversions, which would typically be around 1ms at 44.1kHz for one pair of conversions. That's equivalent to standing about a foot further away from a speaker... So really not noticeable!

If you connect the channel strip into the desk as an insert then you'll obviously have two pairs of converters in the signal path and so double the latency.

H
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Re: Compressor/Limiter/Gate Strip - For Live Use

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:36 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:If you're working with an analogue desk there is no latency.

If you're working with a digital desk the latency depends on the sample rate -- the higher the rate the lower the latency...

But the latency is essentially only that of the A-D and D-A conversions, which would typically be around 1ms at 44.1kHz for one pair of conversions. That's equivalent to standing about a foot further away from a speaker... So really not noticeable!

If you connect the channel strip into the desk as an insert then you'll obviously have two pairs of converters in the signal path and so double the latency.

H

The channel strip would be an insert from my RME UFX, to the "compellor" (or whatever I get to do the job), back to the RME and then separately out to IEM and FOH (IEM controlled by the RME not FOH, to decrease latency).

Someone has just suggest the Metric Halo, which is in the box, but it does everything in one plugin unlike the current setup which is 3-4 plugins (and had a little too much latency).
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Re: Compressor/Limiter/Gate Strip - For Live Use

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:55 pm

TheChorltonWheelie wrote:The channel strip would be an insert from my RME UFX...

If you're worried about latency I'd suggest plugging the live mic straight into the ISA430 to avoid another pair of D-A/A-D converter latencies, and route the output of the ISA into the RME for IEM routing etc....

H
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Re: Compressor/Limiter/Gate Strip - For Live Use

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:21 am

Drawmer MX60 would appear to deliver everything you need. All analogue path.

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