Hardware compressors

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lowpass
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Hardware compressors

Post by lowpass » Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:51 am

Soooo... I've been looking at the distressor which is selling for about £750 at some places. Is it really worth that much? some people say it isn't because it's digital.

This got me thinking, are there any analog compressors that will really make a difference to my sound for this price? will the distressor really make that much of a difference? or would I be throwing my money down the drain?

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Re: Hardware compressors

Post by macc » Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:56 pm

£750 is for one channel (mono) :)

As for whether you NEED an analogue comp, probably not. But they can be very useful creative tools, just by virtue of being hands on and 'real'. something like the TL Fatman - a cheap, pretty rubbish tube comp - could be really good for you in that sense. Get them for about 200 notes on ebizzle.
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Re: Hardware compressors

Post by Mad_EP » Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:43 pm

lowpass wrote:Soooo... I've been looking at the distressor which is selling for about £750 at some places. Is it really worth that much? some people say it isn't because it's digital.

This got me thinking, are there any analog compressors that will really make a difference to my sound for this price? will the distressor really make that much of a difference? or would I be throwing my money down the drain?

To risk sounding snide (cos it is NOT my intent)... once you start getting into the higher end of the spectrum of hardware (and believe me, £750 per mono channel is nowhere near the top end), it becomes a different game all together. It's not that it wouldn't add benefit, but more that if you don't know exactly why you need it (because you have truly maxed out the abilities of your current gear and your mixing is superb, etc)... the price probably won't be worth it.

To be honest, I don't know if dropping £1500 on a stereo channel distressor would benefit me that much either. I have worked hard for years developing my ear, my knowledge and my technique, and still know there is SO much more I can do better with even my modest setup. For instance, if someone were to magically drop £5000 in my lap to spend on gear - a distressor wouldn't be even close to getting on the list. For me, I would probably focus on getting a couple good mics (better than nice, but again- no need for me to be buying £2k mics right now), a couple good pre-amps, and better D/A. Even just getting decent gear (rather than great), I probably would have already spent my £5k already.

As Macc said- it never hurts to have some outboard gear that provides extra color - but you can do it for much cheaper.
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Re: Hardware compressors

Post by macc » Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:14 pm

I'd agree with all that. It's a matter of the purpose as much as anything. I wouldn't use a TL fatman on a customer's master (!) but I'd spank the balls off it in a mix or something.

Distressors are fecking wicked though, has to be said :lol: But remember that UA have already modelled the Fatso (and it is ridiculous), and the distressor is rumoured to be coming...
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Re: Hardware compressors

Post by Mad_EP » Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:40 pm

macc wrote:I'd agree with all that. It's a matter of the purpose as much as anything. I wouldn't use a TL fatman on a customer's master (!) but I'd spank the balls off it in a mix or something.
What?! Raaaasclat.
My mate Trevor uses a TL Fatman on his masters and they sound mad phat.
Get me?

macc wrote:Distressors are fecking wicked though, has to be said :lol: But remember that UA have already modelled the Fatso (and it is ridiculous), and the distressor is rumoured to be coming...
Yeah- and I am not saying I wouldn't love to have one... maybe if someone dropped 20k in my lap instead of *just* 5. :i:


Oh shit! I just realized you did a part 2 to that movie!!
Trevor's mom took the laptop to get on Facebook. HAHAHAHA
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Re: Hardware compressors

Post by lowpass » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:30 pm

Cheers, yeah I would only be using it for mix purposes on mono channels (even if I would get the stereo there is no way Id stick this sorta compressor/noisefucker on the 2track :D )

I was lookin into the uad, I mean for £100 less I could get the duo which comes with some pretty nice neve emulations,

I saw the fatso but didn't know they had the distressor coming out :) will have to keep an eye out for that

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Re: Hardware compressors

Post by macc » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:32 pm

I'm not sure if they have confirmed the Distressor, everyone just took it as a given when they did Fatso :D
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Re: Hardware compressors

Post by lowpass » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:44 pm

macc wrote:I'm not sure if they have confirmed the Distressor, everyone just took it as a given when they did Fatso :D
ahh, are fatso and the distressor pretty much the same?

from my own assumption I'd say that fatso came from people liking the fuckupthesound of the distressor so they decided to make a model that was less subtle

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Re: Hardware compressors

Post by cryptic » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:56 pm

I dont know much about analogue gear, but im currently want to get some hardware but ive been told i would need a good adc(analogue to digital converter). Im a complete noobie to this side of music, anyone know much about this?

Thanks.

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Re: Hardware compressors

Post by macc » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:57 pm

ahh, are fatso and the distressor pretty much the same?
Nope, quite different. Just made by the same company ;)

http://www.mercenary.com/empiricallabs.html

:)
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Re: Hardware compressors

Post by lowpass » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:02 pm

macc wrote:
ahh, are fatso and the distressor pretty much the same?
Nope, quite different. Just made by the same company ;)

http://www.mercenary.com/empiricallabs.html

:)
Ah okay, I saw two being compared in a vid once so maybe that's why I thought they were similar

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Re: Hardware compressors

Post by macc » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:04 pm

cryptic wrote:I dont know much about analogue gear, but im currently want to get some hardware but ive been told i would need a good adc(analogue to digital converter). Im a complete noobie to this side of music, anyone know much about this?
It certainly won't hurt - your returning analogue audio will get captured better - but you'd also need an equivalent quality DAC as well to send the audio. In this way the analogue loop becomes truer/less 'lossy' (put simply). But the benefit of going out of the box (ie whatever your hardware gives you) may well outweigh that anyway. In fact, it probably will when you're just having fun mangling audio.

In an ideal world of course, you want as invisible an ADDA loop as possible - but that gets extremely expensive :cry:

Really? if you want a hardware box for fucking up audio and having fun, I wouldn't worry about it in the slightest.
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Re: Hardware compressors

Post by cryptic » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:34 pm

Thanks for clearing that up for me macc :)

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Re: Hardware compressors

Post by Sharmaji » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:45 pm

couple of things:

#1. music is music and audio is audio. They co-exist, but you'll write better songs and mix better if you keep that distinction-- while a well-sung and composed melody may make a song, a compressor doesn't.

#2. the distressor's digitally-controlled, but chock full of (extremely sexy) analog components.

i love the distressor. love, love, LOVE the distressor. Like all good recording/mixing equipment, it can help you capture (recording) or define (mixing) the sound that takes something from sounding 'good' to making the hairs on the back of your next stand up, it's so exciting. that's what it does best--- controlling the dynamics and getting some 'edge' via saturation to really get things to pop/sparkle/crack/etc.

if you're relatively new to mixing audio, don't have great a/d conversion, aren't recording vocals/instruments/synths, and are on a budget-- i wouldn't get a distressor. if you want to learn about compression hands-on, get an RNC. they're $200 and they hold their own with anything up to 4x their price. The distressor is more of an artistic tool in that it gives you a sonic pallette to work with, rather than a straightforward tool to control dynamics.

there's plenty of plug-ins to practice compression on, too. Logic's internal compressor is extremely flexible, modeling a bunch of different kinds of compression (opto, FET, VCA, etc)-- that alone can keep you busy. the free rough rider plug is definitely worth a look-see, too--- and free.

if you want to get into commerical plugs, the 1176 and fatso emulations on the UAD card are fantastic. and the fairchild... mmmmm... fairchild. has anyone heard anything true about teh distressor emulation? or is it just the same old rumors as always?
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Re: Hardware compressors

Post by safeandsound » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:41 pm

I have a few hardware compressors, (2 valve, with Telefunkens in and 2 solid state) they do get used for specific purposes
in mastering. I may go as far as saying they are not essential items of equipment.

Warning : You may buy one and be very disappointed(especially if you have not got a money bottomless sack), there is a large amount of bull spoken about hardware IMO. (it will not transform bad mixes into great mixes) 99pct of hardware is replicable in digital form.

As mentioned you need to either....

1) Hear the item in question before plonking the dosh.

2) Know what you want and be specific (refer to point 1)

Hardware is not a magic wand.
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