Top vocal compressor choices

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Gear' started by bigtree, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. bigtree

    bigtree musician, mixer, music producer Has Studio Services

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    • Which compressor made the most impressive impression on vocals?
    • Which 2 would be your top picks
     
  2. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd

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    I'm not a pro, but I'd like to chime in on this one.

    For my voice, it's the API-2500 VST, hands down. It puts the "big bottom" on my voice. Who knew I had such a skinny bottom and needed to fatten it up? :biggrin:

    My second choice is the "Fishfillet Blockfish" compressor, the free VST from Digital Fish Phones. Perfect when gooey-colored compression is desired. Can't beat the price, either.
     
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Moderator

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    LA-2A. If not a 'real' one then the UA card version. Not perfect for everything or everyone. I really like what it does to a lead vocal. Since I dont need compression to 'fix' something I use it primarily as an added vibe.
     
  4. bigtree

    bigtree musician, mixer, music producer Has Studio Services

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    Agree. UA LA-2A is on my list today. I was debating the 1176 but I want this for mainly lead vocals.
     
  5. rocksure

    rocksure

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    Depending on whether I want a fat lead vocal or a more cutting in-your-face one, I find the 1176 ( fat) or dbx 160vu ( in-y-face) do pretty well.
     
  6. soapfloats

    soapfloats

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    Any real work done by compressors is done ITB for me, although I deploy a few dbx units (and an RNC) for massaging incoming signals.

    And you've named my top 3: various models of the 1176, LA2A, and 2500. I use Antress versions for the first two, and the Waves API.
    Can't say how they compare to the real thing, but I use them a lot, and on almost everything besides vocals, too.
    I find the LA2A struggles w/ really dynamic vocals - the quietest and loudest parts don't seem to sit right in the mix.
    2500 takes the cake for that - and it's why I use it on a lot of group busses.
    I use the 1176 often on drums and bass, but also like it on vocals - it has a tendency to make things "pop".

    Again, using freeware versions of some of these, so the accuracy of my experiences might be tainted.
    Either way, I like what each of those does, and almost always use them as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices, depending on source.
     
  7. Paul999

    Paul999

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    For aggressive vocals I like the 1176 hardware. I use the API 525 a lot. After using the LA-610 into a distressor combination for years I find that the API makes things just sit nicer. I do often compress a very small amount and automate ITB before I go into my hardware where I finish the job. I wish I was good at fader rides but I am not. Combining more then one compressor has been what I've found works consistently.
     
  8. rocksure

    rocksure

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    Yeah chaining two compressors can work well.....a fast attack one and a slow one, and with different ratios. One set as a light limiter perhaps, and the other one compressing more gently
     
  9. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd

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    What do you guys think of Waves "Vocal Rider"? It's not a compressor, it rides the fader for you. It has made a tremendous difference for me, but I'm a rank amateur at this. Does anybody use it for anything creative? I use it on the channel and then send it to paralell compressors.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  10. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd

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    Oops...killed another thread.

    Sorry.
     
  11. bigtree

    bigtree musician, mixer, music producer Has Studio Services

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    ROTFLMAO! smoke

    Here, I'll get it back on track. I should have my LA2A by the end of this week. 1176 shortly after.

    I've read good things about that John. I stopped supporting Waves 10 years ago for a variety of reasons..
     
  12. rocksure

    rocksure

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    I should also have mentioned the Valley People 440 compressor is another good one for helping put vocals in your face, it can be quite aggressive and somewhat in the vein of the 160vu. While at the other end of the scale, for a softer compressor, the ART Pro VLA used gently works quite nicely on vocals too and is well priced.
     
  13. bigtree

    bigtree musician, mixer, music producer Has Studio Services

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    LA-2A rocks!

    Wow, just got my LA2A today and I am in love. What a difference just plugging into this. Its very easy finding the sweet spot. For years I've tried to get vocals to sit in a mix like this and its instantly there. Looking forward to the 1176LN next.

    thumb
     
  14. Paul999

    Paul999

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    I have the 1176LN and it is AWESOME IMO. I'll be getting some more 1176's. Right now this one has been stuck on kick an snare. I liked my 1176 so much that I sold my distressors.
     
  15. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk

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    Glad to hear you're loving it. Love the bombfactory LA2A plug-in, haven't sprung for the real deal hardware yet - but sure would like to.

    The Avalon 747 my buddy has is another one of those pieces of hardware that makes everything sound better just by being in the chain - before you even touch any of the controls.
     
  16. bigtree

    bigtree musician, mixer, music producer Has Studio Services

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    Paul, I was thinking of getting two 1176's before the price increase. Sounds like I should have. I love this so much I can't imagine how the 1176ln sounds with this and with other instruments.
    When you say kick and snare, are you running them both into it?
     
  17. bigtree

    bigtree musician, mixer, music producer Has Studio Services

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    Dave, its so right on. I'm just thrilled. I'm only using it for vocals though. Its a pretty expensive piece for just that but the way I figured it, if the vocals sit nice it makes it all easier to mix, so I took a chance and did it. No regrets at all, I can see its going to make life better. I have it as an insert with the MixDream. Works like a dream.
     
  18. bigtree

    bigtree musician, mixer, music producer Has Studio Services

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    Paul,
    I use the Transient Designer (hardware version) for drums and wow, an amazing box, a hidden secret IMO. Have you checked it out?

    Here are some tesimonials:

    Joe Chicarelli: Sound Performance Lab
    http://spl.info/en/users/peter-walsh.html
    http://spl.info/anwender/benjy-king.html
     
  19. Paul999

    Paul999

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    I use the plug in version. With the 1176 I find that with All buttons in (most of the time) and the needle barely moving is brings up the room sound and the thickness while giving a nice mid forward push. My chain is, Snare->ITB plugs including TD->console with API 550b eq on insert. My kick has an identical channel. Next these both go to the 1176->Focusrite 2802 analog automation channel.

    The API eq's are punchy as ****. The 1176 brings up the room and glues things together. The TD does the initial shaping of the tone. I used to use 2 distressors.

    Are you using anything else on kick and snare?
     
  20. bigtree

    bigtree musician, mixer, music producer Has Studio Services

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    My chain is: kick panned L, snare panned R OTB> MixDream channel 1&2 set to mono> insert TD L&R > Dangerous Master . I am experimenting with the A-Designs Nail with it too but its so awesome I want it on the 2 buss and why I'm thinking I need a few 1176 or the API 2500 with the drums. I'm thinking about a few differnt EQs and the API sounds pretty right on yes?

    I use the SPL Passeq right now, inserted in my Dangerous Master MS buss after my MixDream. Its amazing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2012
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