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If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sun May 12, 2019 5:17 pm

Very nice. Console 1 looks more and more interesting the more I read about it.
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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby G-Doubleyou » Sun May 12, 2019 6:07 pm

UAD LA-2A is my first choice, Logic emulations are very good, and i use them also.

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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby desmond » Sun May 12, 2019 6:47 pm

I could get by with Logic's Compressor, as it has a bunch of different compressor types, but it looks like that's against the rules.

Really, the minimum I'd want is a dirty smashy 1176-type (lots of options for this), and a smoother more general type - I'm still partial to the old Waves RenComp for this.

But given the choice I prefer other options for bass (LA3A-type) and piano and bus stuff...
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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sun May 12, 2019 7:40 pm

I could get by with Logic's Compressor, as it has a bunch of different compressor types, but it looks like that's against the rules

Most definitely. Although I'd be interested in what your favourites were from the emulations. I don't really understand why Logic's LA2A emulation has all the additional controls, though, whereas the DBX160 model, for example, doesn't.
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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby desmond » Sun May 12, 2019 7:49 pm

Because Logic's models are not direct models of any particular compressor, they are instead composite types based on the circuit characteristics of various models of that type - so they are not constrained to the original hardware's controls in the way strict models are... so many of these things are the designer's choices as to what's useful to offer...
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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sun May 12, 2019 8:01 pm

I wonder if there's a patents/IP/trademarking etc issue too? Whereas 1176 emulations seem to be two a penny, there seem to be very few (if any) LA2A emulations out there that aren't seemingly or actually licensed? So by keeping the additional controls etc it's harder to accuse them of ripping off Teletronix patents etc?
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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby The Elf » Mon May 13, 2019 8:02 am

There's so much mystic nonsense surrounding all things audio that you would think choosing a compressor like choosing a court wizard.

The one built into Cubase's channel strip is perfectly good for 80% of what anyone might need, and I suspect that's probably the case for most bundled compressors.

As long as a compressor has sufficient attack and release ranges, and does the maths properly then anything else is not about compression.
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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Mon May 13, 2019 9:34 am

There's so much mystic nonsense surrounding all things audio

Well you're pushing against an open door on this one, with me. I started this thread because increasingly I just use Logic's DBX160 emulation for all my compression other than the stereo buss, simply because it seems to work without having to spend time fiddling with knee/attack/release. But, being an amateur practitioner, I start to worry I'm missing something vital by not using the emulations that are, I guess, swathed in the mystic nonsense of which you speak. And when a pro on the forum accuses you of being stupid for merely raising the topic, your confidence in your sonic choices is, of course, further undermined.
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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby CS70 » Mon May 13, 2019 9:45 am

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
There's so much mystic nonsense surrounding all things audio

Well you're pushing against an open door on this one, with me. I started this thread because increasingly I just use Logic's DBX160 emulation for all my compression other than the stereo buss, simply because it seems to work without having to spend time fiddling with knee/attack/release. But, being an amateur practitioner, I start to worry I'm missing something vital by not using the emulations that are, I guess, swathed in the mystic nonsense of which you speak. And when a pro on the forum accuses you of being stupid for merely raising the topic, your confidence in your sonic choices is, of course, further undermined.

A lot of the good emulations (or good real compressor) add something beyond the compression functionality.

For example the LA2A changes the sound a little beyond what the compression setting actually does, creating a result that (for me, at least) is much harder to reproduce in, say, FabFilter's C Optical mode (surely my own limits, tough :D).

Lots of the revered boxes do just a little more than what's written on the tin - due, I guess, to the electronics designs involved.

Beyond that, given the same attack and release times, the attack and release curves can (and are, insofar I understand) different among different compressor, even in the same class,; which brings audible changes in timbre, especially with longer settings (it's easier to make any compressor pump for example, so long it has fast enough release and attack capabilities). It's a bit the same difference of using a "slow" or "fast" fade outs - the time's the same but the curves produce noticeably different sonic results.

Ultimately tough they're tools, and as with any tool, if you understand what it does and how, you can get a long way just with one.
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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby Dave B » Mon May 13, 2019 9:54 am

Luke W wrote:Fabfilter Pro C2 for me. Useful set of controls, decent metering and just generally does exactly what it needs to do.

+1.

I am so far away from 'golden eared' (more like cloth) so I just want something that does the job and gives me a few options to try.

Of course, I could be really sneaky and say "my old Focusrite Liquid Mix" and get all of the models in there as options.... ;)
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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Mon May 13, 2019 10:39 am

Haha, definitely not allowed.

I find this whole issue very interesting. So many great records have been made using just the basic compressors built into the desk with none of the fancy outboard ones at all, or with barely any compression at all, I find it odd that so many people seem to obsess about using the Right Compressor (or indeed the Right EQ). Is much of this simply a result of marketing by the manufacturers?

I imagine that LA2As or 1176s etc were often used on what are now considered classic recordings simply because that's all the studio had? And is a lot of this not just part and parcel of the current obsession with all things 'vintage' which seems to say "If it was designed in the 50s with great steaming valves it MUST sound better!"
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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby Guest » Mon May 13, 2019 10:39 am

The Elf wrote:There's so much mystic nonsense surrounding all things audio that you would think choosing a compressor like choosing a court wizard.

That's inevitable, there are a lot of non-functional rituals and superstitions around the creative arts. It's nonsense to be scared of flying and spiders but lots of people are. I know from session players that famous producers will have their own inflexible methods of working, favourite instruments and equipment, which is irrational but it makes them feel secure - it worked for them before so they keep using it. We are fallible, imperfect humans, not microprocessors.

When I write text for spoken voice to be played back to an audience as part of a concert I go to the same studio, by the same route, and take the same chocolate to have with coffee, and ask the engineer to use the same valve compressor and analogue eq etc. Sure it is "mystical nonsense" and if I spent sometime under psychotherapy I could probably be cured of it, but as yet it doesn't worry me. My wife who studied psychology thinks these things are perfectly normal.
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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon May 13, 2019 10:52 am

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:I find it odd that so many people seem to obsess about using the Right Compressor (or indeed the Right EQ). Is much of this simply a result of marketing by the manufacturers?

Partly, yes -- but also the copious amounts of unfounded nonsense spouted as absolute fact on so many forums (and magazines). And it covers everything from the type and model of microphone, to cables, to consoles, to all manner of outboard, to converter chips, to software, to monitors and so on...

You can't record vocals without a U67, or record drums without API preamps, or track a bass without an 1176 compressor, or mix without an SSL G-series bus compressor...

It is all complete nonsense, and anyone who really knows what they are doing can deliver great results with whatever comes to hand -- as evidenced by all those fabulous recordings from the days when the equipment choice was very restricted.

But it's an easy excuse to fall back on when things aren't working out as you'd hoped. This would sound so much better if only I had a U67... or an 1176.,.. or a Neve console....
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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby desmond » Mon May 13, 2019 10:59 am

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:So many great records have been made using just the basic compressors built into the desk with none of the fancy outboard ones at all

Sure (with a "generalisation" warning) - the SSL desks were the first big pro desks with inbuilt compression/gates per channel and bus compressions, and certainly a lot of records were made this way. SSL had a kind of "pop" reputation, and the compressors certainly have a sound in themselves. SSL comps don't really sound like 1176/LA2A/Fairchild/Neve stuff.

The more rocky crowd often preferred the Neve type consoles, darker/warmer, and those records often used a lot more 1176/LA2A type stuff for rock-centric instrumentation. (Again, generalisations remember, but there is some kind of truth in there...)

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:, or with barely any compression at all, I find it odd that so many people seem to obsess about using the Right Compressor (or indeed the Right EQ). Is much of this simply a result of marketing by the manufacturers?

People obsess about all kinds of things - and no, everything is not the fault of marketing, it's more a fault of being human! ;)

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:I imagine that LA2As or 1176s etc were often used on what are now considered classic recordings simply because that's all the studio had?

Studios had them because they were desirable and useful tools that people wanted.

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:And is a lot of this not just part and parcel of the current obsession with all things 'vintage' which seems to say "If it was designed in the 50s with great steaming valves it MUST sound better!"

There is certainly some of this going on, for sure. The audio industry is full of people using stuff because other people use them, or they were used on other records, but I don't think this is a problem as such. People use what they want to use, and what gets them the desired results. There are always people that only look-backward, people that prefer to only look forward, and every kind in between when it comes to tools.

We are spoilt for choice - choose your own path. :thumbup:
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Re: If you could only have one compressor plugin to use for everything, what would it be?

Postby desmond » Mon May 13, 2019 11:02 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Partly, yes -- but also the copious amounts of unfounded nonsense spouted as absolute fact on so many forums (and magazines).

Might I suggest a sig update?

Hugh Robjohns
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound
Quasher of Unfounded Audio Nonsense

Or, maybe just, "HR (QUAN)"... :tongue:
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