Best 2 bus compressor

Discussion in 'Compressors / Limiters' started by Tim Lynch, Jan 7, 2002.

  1. Tim Lynch

    Tim Lynch Guest

    I need opinions on the best 2-bus comp. The manley seems to have a good rep but I'm concerned with the tube issue and the questions of low end mud. The cranesong seems to be where I'm leaning. I do mostly Alt rock. Just got off the phone with the Smart distributor. I respect the SSL sound and the people who have scored with Lord-Alge but it might have too much of a distressor like crunch. Any comments welcome.
  2. erockerboy

    erockerboy Member

    I'm really diggin' the Smart C2. I also have the Cranesong STC-8, which is certainly a nice piece... it's just that the Smart box gives me the 'flavor' I like on the 2-bus, more often than the Cranesong.

    Horses for courses though. To me the Smart is definitely a 'color' piece and the Cranesong is more of a 'transparent gain control' piece. More often than not the Smart is the right choice for the pop/R&B/hiphop stuff I work on. I could see the Cranesong being preferable for someone whose focus was more organic/acoustic stuff.

    Repeat after me:




  3. subspace

    subspace Guest

    Veering slightly off topic, the Smart always struck me as a flavorful mix or drum bus compressor. Anybody like it for tracking certain instruments?
    And now back to our regular mix bus programming... listen to a 1969 yet?
  4. noelhartough

    noelhartough Guest

    It's funny that you mention Lord-Alge..he mixed four songs on my record...I carefully studied what he has in terms of outboard stuff.He doesn't like to have people in the control room when he's working(understandably I guess) That's why all the biggies that are sending baby bands to corporate radio use Chris...He really "distresses" the hell out of the mix which makes the A&R people shout with joy because it sounds "more agressive". I have to say, our mixes sonically whipped some ass...sound PHENOMENAL on radio. I wondered what the actual mechanism of that "colored sound" was. He has a lot of gear. But I thought when I was in L.A. in the studio, wouldn't it be funny if he has all this outboard stuff and it's really going through some ART unit or something! He has a pretty distingushable style. I would love to understand the nuts and bolts of it.
  5. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Non mix bus use.....

    I have an SSL hardware comp, (basicaly Alan Smart ish) Anyhoo I use it on OH, Bass tracking sometimes, & acc gtr sometimes...

    And now back to the mix squashing.

    To use the SSL or Alan Smart you kinda become a slave of its own unique action.. (and you gotta say it's a pretty good one)

    IT - mixes -YOU

    It's a very particular 'thang'

    If you are looking to 'commersh up' your sound
    that could be the box for you & your clients. For alt rock you could do a lot worse.

    FWIW - when I bought one, I used it for bass or overheads (only in a very dead room) while tracking, than come mixdown - on drum comp group - I got that cymbal decay ala pearljam, drummers LOVE it. That got me QUITE ENOUGH of it's sound on my mixes...

    Now I am all PT I use it on OH while tracking and (now rarely) as an analog insert across the PT mix bus.

    The Cranesong represents perhaps the smarter 'all rounder' buy. I bet it is MUCH more use at tracking time due to it's versatility.

  6. John A

    John A Guest

    Originally posted by Noel Hartough:
    It's funny that you mention Lord-Alge..he mixed four songs on my record...I carefully studied what he has in terms of outboard stuff.He doesn't like to have people in the control room when he's working(understandably I guess) That's why all the biggies that are sending baby bands to corporate radio use Chris...He really "distresses" the hell out of the mix which makes the A&R people shout with joy because it sounds "more agressive".

    What do you mean by "distresses the hell out of the mix? Do you mean he has a lot of El8's and uses them on lots of stuff?
  7. Nimrod

    Nimrod Guest

    Pendulum Audio ES8 Vari-Mu limiter is excellent for 2-bus work, very Hi Fi and adds valve warmth to Pro-Tools with broad stereo image and very transparent compression at gentle thresholds, remember there is no ratio on a vari-Mu but the slope changes with degree of threshold reduction. It has transformed some of my mixes and is good for tracking

    James Cullen

    Nimrod Audio
  8. Irene

    Irene Guest

    Does anyone else have experience of this Vari-Mu?

  9. wiggy

    wiggy Guest

    AHHHH 2-bus compression... my favourite topic

    I too like many others am still in the honey moon period of the C2...... i hope io dont get sick of it cos it really is fantastic. It really is the bizzo for the
    2-bus compression and also a bit of tracking. As Jules so rightly said you really need to know how an why this compressor operates(like all good compressors) becuase it can be rather savage to your mixes if you really are not too carefull will flatten your mix before u know it and make it sound like it has been through a whole chain of FM radio limters.. but having said that it is THE sound of a comercial 'polished' record. U must know this compressor inside out o make it work best for you, only then will all the tumblers on the 'compression safe' open up the vast potential of this compressor and the results will then speak for themselves.

    RE: Lord Alges ..... i met TLA recently when he was in Melbourne mixing a few tracks for some buddies of mine and boy does he dig compression... yeah i know he has like 51 compressors back at his studio in Miami but he LOVES distressors they are the signature component of the LA sound for both CLA and TLA... they are serious EL8 slutz. But it still sounds great so who cares?

    As for other faves on the stereo bus. I recently got a manly variable MU. VERY NICE..... no where as agressive or 'upfront' as a smart C2 but its like smothering a mix completely in a fine layer of swiss choclate 9 or soemthing else that is refined and sweet sounding whilst addding a glueing or compounding fucntion) It has a slight euophonic and Hi Fi sound and is pretty damn transparent and has a quality 15dB makeup gain ouput amp. Just adds that glue to make the mix sit and gell. Tres` Bien!!!!

    Avalon 747 is not too bad either but definately from the subtle camp like the variable MU. The compression charactersitics are very slow and gentle and the same goes with the attack and release, so much so that i genreally find it to be relagated to tracking instruments with gentle parts rather than doing any severe 'taming'. I have had great results from setting up the C2 to get the mix all punchy and vibey and then piping that into 747 for more gentle gain redultion, level and Eq..... the EQ is the best thing about the 747, i use to do some gentle sculpting and adding a bit of air to mixes , whilst removing some 'offending' frequencies.

    BTW: has anyone tried the new API 2500 stereo comp... i have read that it is meant to whoop some major ass but i cant find one locally and the local oz ditributor does nothave one in stock yet.....opinions pls..... :D

    ALSO.... i have about to move my studio in with a mate who has a neve baby and another variable well as enough outboard to reach the moon and back...I am going to do a mix out of both Alishad and 2" through first variable Mu into smart C2 then into second variable Mu to 1/4" ATR100. I will let you know how it goes and may even put up some MP3's or something if enough people are interested?

    Wiggy :D
  10. Irene

    Irene Guest


    Vari interested!
    Great idea.
    Have you tried Produceher's "SSL" ChannelStrip plug-in setting?

  11. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    I have a Summit DCL-200 that I like a lot for the 2-mix. The Smart is cool if you like that "radio" sound, I wanted something with less color and I got a good deal on it. The Drawmer 1969 is another good 2-bus comp. If I was only going to own one two-bus comp I'd want something without a strong signiture.
  12. coldsnow

    coldsnow Active Member

    There was an article in Elect. Musician were Lord Alge discussed all his compressors and where he used them. I'll look it up, but I know that he said he always used 1176 blue stripes on vox, 1176 black on bass, and Distressors or SSL on drums. I think SSL on 2-bus. He said he has like 4 blue's that he keeps set certain ways so that he doesn't have to reset them with each mix, he just picks the one he like best. Must be nice.
    I use a Avalon 2044 on bus and really like the warm sound it gets.
  13. coldsnow

    coldsnow Active Member

    It's April 2001 page 96. Has Crhis Lord-Alge,Mark Needham, and Ken Kessie. Very interesting.
  14. Irene

    Irene Guest

    Do you have a link for the article or the full name of the magazine or site?
  15. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    SSL was rockin today on the mix!
  16. coldsnow

    coldsnow Active Member

    It's in Electronic Musician magazine. Sorry I don't have a link. There was another interview in either Mix or Eq as well, I'll try to look it up.
  17. Irene

    Irene Guest

    Thanks Coldsnow
    I did manage to work it out eventually, doh!
  18. brad

    brad Guest

  19. Mad John

    Mad John Active Member

    Renie, Zythum Studios has a Manley MU and it is a majior piece here! The trick is to have it modified w/ thier new Tubes (sorry I forgot the type, but if you call Manley, ask for Paul, that is who did the job on mine)

    The improvement on the sonics for one, the tight Bass end is even clearer and not "muddy" at all!

    With all the Compressors in my life that I will get, The Manley MU will always be in the altilary and will always be considered a prize piece!

    Good luck to you in your hunt for a Compressor and let us know what you decide!

    Mad John
    Zythum Studios
    1st Take Productions

    "The present day Composer refusese to die!" - Edgar Varese - 1921
  20. anonymous

    anonymous Guests


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