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Compressors and Synths - yes or no?

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Compressors and Synths - yes or no?

Postby BillB » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:46 pm

I have been wondering about applying a compressor to synth outputs, especially the wilder resonant monos, in order to stop any filter sweeps or sub-bass booms freaking out the mixer/fx/amp/recorder that follows.

Do folks do this as a matter of course? Are guitar pedal compressors up to the (mono-only) job? Googling turns up favourable comments for small rack units like the FMR Audio RNC, but I am mostly a cheap hobbyist so would like to find solutions under say £100. I have a few cheap units which I can experiment with: Alesis 3630 - I know, much derided; and an ART Tube MP V3 - probably equally derided!

But I wondered whether fellow synth-nerds take compressors as read for controlling wilder sounds, and worth investing in, or just watch levels carefully when recording and perhaps use ITB options. Or would maybe use a compressor live. Or....

Your thoughts, as always, would be very welcome.
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Re: Compressors and Synths - yes or no?

Postby resistorman » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:06 pm

If you're playing live, a good brickwall limiter would be best. I've almost lost speakers when tweaking synths! You need something with super fast response.
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Re: Compressors and Synths - yes or no?

Postby nathanscribe » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:32 pm

I've never found compressors very useful for that job, and have had very little joy with stompbox compressors on synths generally. I do like the EHX White Finger though, that's a good sounding pedal.

Don't bother with the Boss CS-3 unless you want everything to sound like a 4th generation C90 that used to have the chart show on it. No doubt there's a market for that now.

In related news, I used to run a Little Phatty through a Radial JDI and a UA710, which did chunky things to the bottom end. Before that, I tried the same trick with a cheap ART transformer DI and Tube MP, the little blue one, and I thought the ART gear was good fun to play with for the money. Noisy though. Their rackmount VLA stereo compressor is good value as well.
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Re: Compressors and Synths - yes or no?

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:01 pm

It's funny you should post this query Bill, as I found myself having to reach for a compressor plug-in to tame some filter sweeps on my Prophet 12 recordings only yesterday.

I did try quite several candidates in my plug-in arsenal before I settled on the elysia mpressor, which leveled things out without squashing things too much.

I suspect the hardware version of this would probably be overkill for your purposes though :headbang:


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