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Choosing opto-compressor

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Marcus Black, Feb 25, 2005.

  1. Marcus Black

    Marcus Black Guest

    I´m about to get an opto-compressor for vocal-tracking as it´s primary use. I have lots of comps but not one with an optical gainreduction element. My most commonly used mic/pre combination is my vintage Neumann bottle with M7 capsule and 1073 pre.

    First, do you think I should go for a discrete LA-3 style compressor like the Langevin LOP or a LA-2 style tube design. I´m looking at:

    - ADL 1000 or 1500
    - Manley ELOP
    - LA-2A reissue
    - Langevin LOP

    What are your experiences of any of these units ? And which one do think I´d love the most ? Or other units that I should know about ?
  2. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    Not sure what you already have, but for the ultimate vocal comp try the Neve 33609. But if your stuck on buying an opto, I have the langevin and it works pretty well on vox. It's not good for much else though unless used very sparingly. My friend has the ADL 1000 and The Neve 33609. He never uses the ADL for Vox. ALways the Neve.
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I currently own a Manley EL OP and a pair of LA4's and I have owned vintage LA3's (solid state) and a LA2a in the past ...

    I like them all very much. The LA2a has a full band and hi band switch on the back that the Manley doesn't ... but other than that the LA2a and EL OP tend to be very similar. I think the Manley may be a bit more agressive sounding due to the Pultec type output amp, but just a little. When it came to sizing my rack down for my home studio, I had to make a choice and I let the LA3's and the LA2a go in favor of the stereo Manley and LA4 units. I now wish I had kept the LA3's but I was in a tight financal situation at the time, so they had to go. The ADL is a LA2a clone so 3 out of 4 of these units you mention, are more alike than different.

    I usually use these comps to knock 3 or 4 dB off a signal while tracking ... and when used like that, these units can be very transparent sounding IMO. You actually can take up to 10dB out without really noticable pumping and breathing artifacts although, with very heavy use they may tend to "steal" some of the mids and highs ... but it is usually easily eq'ed back in ...

    For the way that I work, compressing a little at tracking and then sometimes a little more when mixing, I love these types of compressors.
  4. Marcus Black

    Marcus Black Guest

    Thanx guys. Kurt, that´s exactly how I like to do it aswell, compress a little at tracking and more when mixing. That´s why I want something clean on the way in. Glad to hear you like the ELOP since I´m getting the impression it´s a very well made unit and I think I'll get that one.
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    It's hard to go wrong with anything Manley ... built like a tank, sounds great and holds it's value. Pro stuff!

    Sometimes it's cool to just run a signal through the EL OP without compressing, just to add a little "tube tone".

    YOUNGMOE Guest

    do me a favor and check out the Pendelum Audio opto-compressor
    or the buzz audio
  7. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Got a chance to play with the new Groove Tubes, Glory tube opto. Very, very nice. The Manley El-Op has one of the best values as far as tube sound quality to price ratio.

    Nothing like a real LA2A though. It is only tube opto that I wish I had several of. Never been a fan of the ADL comps. For a more transparent but full tone I've always liked and relied on the Tube-Tech CL2A which gets a lot of use by me in the front end.
  8. Ohmio

    Ohmio Guest

    Hey Marcus, I have the Pendulum OCL-2 Opto compressor, and simply love it
    It´s a versatil, good sounding and amazing piece of gear.

    It is a dual mono/stereo compressor, with selectable threshold, ratio, attack and release, which makes it special and different from de Manley, Langevin and LA-2A units, where you have no control of this aspects.

    Actually, it has 3 operations modes:
    1.- FAST (fixed fast attack and release settings) that you use when want to compress without notice the compressor working (ideal for tracking);
    2.- PRESETS which offers some options for pre-determined fast and release settings, including signal dependent release, and;
    3.- MANUAL.- Where you experiment with de attack and release knobs, and set this to taste.

    This compressor has a very transparent and accurate sound, which also is kind of warm and rich (not boring sound), because of its tube based output amplifier.

    Again, I love this unit. I use it for tracking voice, acoustic guitar and even for 2-bus drums compression, all with excelent results.

    In my opinion its a superior and serious contender opto compressor, and I think it worth to take consider it in your list.

    Hope this helps to make your final desicion.


    Yuri A. Robles

    PD.- Sorry for my poor English, hope you dont have problems to understand this post.
  9. Marcus Black

    Marcus Black Guest

    Thanks for the tips ! I will check them all out before deciding. Again, thanx.
  10. lek

    lek Guest

    Which compressor would someone recommend for electric guitar - heavily overdriven or clean, for a warm fat sound. (micing a strat through either a '68 marshall plexi - marshall basketweave 4x12 or fender 65 deluxe through jensens
  11. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

    Ive recorded a bunch of tracks using my simple Alesis comp-----sounds great!------------Just have to really understand how to use it!--------------------------a SM58 placed at the right location-----------------with the "affordable Alesis comp---------------and there you have it---BAMM!!!!-------------------a great sounding guitar.
    In my opinion--------------------less volume at the amp-------gives better tones at the "Tape"-------------its all about SPL :wink:
  12. Recording Engineer

    Recording Engineer Active Member

    Mar 4, 2001
    I use an LA-3A to track probably 85-90% of the vocals I record. The remaining 10-15% I record don't get tracked with any compression. Of course, if I had an LA-2A reissue, the remaining would probably get tracked with that...

    I have a DaviSound TB-3 (the model with no option to put a tube in the path is the TB-2) and without the tube "In" it works as a great "no added character" compressor for tracking vocals or anything else!

    I also wouldn't hesitate on buying the Buzz Audio SOC-1.1 and Pendulum Audio OCL-2 for tracking vocals or anything else without ever hearing it first!

    I've always wanted to try an ADL O/S/L 1600, but at $2500 and with a lot of people's opinion about other ADL products, I can't convince myself to actually give it a try.
  13. Marcus Black

    Marcus Black Guest

    I ended up buying the Buzz Audio SOC-1.1 and I'm very happy with it. Feels like it's gonna stay in my rack for a long time :) Thanx for your input !

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