I know a lot of you dont like to compress vocals while tracking, but still... Can anybody recommend a good compressor for tracking (mostly) vocals?
I always use a comp while tracking
Seb's choices are very good and very typical of the music biz
Urei 1176 - FET and discrete with some models being all transistors and transformers throught to some models being transforerless and contain opamps.
Teletronix LA2A - Tubes and opto based and use a T4B which contains the translucent element.
both units have copies and clones ... some are even very good.
Some people swear by dbx (VCA-based) and Aphex units for specific types of vocals and styles.
I think Kev summed it up (no pun intended). The only inaccuracy in his comments were regarding the UREI/Universal Audio LA 2 and LA 3 which use an electroluminescent panel with light-sensitive resistors in an enclosed module. The other optical limiters out there frequently use LEDs with light-sensitive resistors, or VACTECs, which have totally different ballistics to the electroluminescent panels and thus has a completely different compression characteristic. You can't beat an 1176. Now that utilizes an FET as a variable resistor along with a peak detector circuit. The LA 2, LA 3, et al. are not as well suited for limiting as they are more similar to the DBX, RMS detectors. The latter compressor limiters have more of a " soft knee" whereas the 1176 has a hard knee. The soft and hard knee indicate how smoothly the limiting/compression starts. Each one has its own character and you can only tell what you want through experimentation and experience.
I hope I have confused you enough here or is that hear???
Ms. Remy Ann David
I'm a compressor jukie so I don't thnk I could suggest ony one compressor, way to hard. The ones I use most often for vocals (tracking and/or mixing) is usually a 1176, LA2A, 160SL, Red-7, Elop & Var-iMu, Groove Tubes CL1s, Tube-Tech CL2A, API 525, Meek VC1Qcs. Many times it takes some combo of them to get what I am after.
As many as I have, I still find that I wish I had more such as either offering from Chandler. the new Fearn compressor, Atomic Squeeze Box, GT Glory, Daking, Avalon, Neve or clone of a 2254 and/or 33609, the all mighty Fairchild or anyting close to it, La-La or EAR units. One of them is gonna be mine this year.
- AudioGaff -
RO Pro Audio Moderator
That dude on that board came up with a PCB version of the LA2A, which is what I am currently working on. I think it will work out cheaper (total approx $600) than the Bloo, but require more work. Might look into it. I haven't heard anyone complain about the Bloo though. G1176 is on my list of things to kill as well. 8-)
If you're going to do an optical, don't use LEDs. Go with the original electroluminescent panel's. You've seen those nightlights for your children that are completely flat and look like little TV screens. That's an electroluminescent panel and what is inside the L. A. 2 and L. A. 3. Now the nightlights are larger than they need to be but you can just cut them down with a scissors. Then you'll probably want to order some of the light sensitive resistors that Universal Audio is currently using. They are different than your run-of-the-mill types. I have rebuilt a number of LA 3s that way. I wasn't sure if the electroluminescent panel would work once I cut it? I put a little clear cellophane tape around the edges where I cut it. It's been working great for years. Now of course you will need to mount that inside a light proof can. You may need to also put a piece of paper with an iris like hole, to bury the amount of light striking the light-sensitive resistor for proper operation. You must do this all in very low subdued lighting. Once you believe you're finished, you should wait about 24 hours while this thing is in the dark before firing it up and seeing how it does.
Remy Ann David