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Compressor Channels?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by music293, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. music293

    music293 Active Member

    So I am thinking about purchasing a rackmounted compressor, and all different flavors aside, I am wondering about their channels. It seems that the max amount of channels I can find on a unit is two channels. This seems fine for compressing the occasional vocal or two, but what if I want to compress a drum kit while tracking? I like to mic the kit to my liking and then run each mic into my Pro Tools on separate channels so I can blend them as I see fit. How can I maintain this separation if I am looking to compress the whole kit with only two channels? Is this even a good idea, or should compression really only be used for a kick or snare? I'm still pretty new to the finer points of compression, so I'm just wondering if any of this is possible, or even a good idea. Any insight is much appreciated!

  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Presonus makes a decent 8-channel compressor/gate.There are also 4- and 8-channel models from:
    SM Pro Audio
    Others, I'm sure. Google those brands for starters.
  3. music293

    music293 Active Member

    Alright, I'll check them out, thank you!!
  4. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Perfect timing!
    Just got back from Church where I spent a moderate amount of time thinking I could use some compressors.

    I've found the Samson gear at what seems to be a decent price.
    The rest of the gear in the chain isn't awesome, but isn't Behringer level. Sound quality isn't paramount, so would anyone recommend another brand over Samson gear?
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    So are we discussing quality or quantity? Generally they don't both go together.

    I like tracking with compression and/or limiting. I've been doing it since the analog days of tape, when we had to. Just to keep things above the noise floor of the tape. Some, we did on mix down, which frequently also included downward expansion or gating? That would help to also control the noise. This is in addition to Dolby or even DBX, which was a totally different animal.

    Why compressed drums, it's frequently some on the kick with EQ & some downward expansion. Same with the snare. Overheads? Sometimes? It really depends. On the toms? Not always compressed but frequently gated. Sometimes done while recording (not often). Most done upon mixing. But since I like to create a sonic image, I'm always trying to envision, what the final product may sound like? In that respect, I am always mixing even during the tracking process. So my workflow changes depending upon the job or the client. It's not always done my way. But I'm flexible. Because I'm experienced. I can do it right side up, upside down, inside out, right side in. It doesn't much matter. But consistently producing a quality product is always a challenge. And things don't always quite turn out the way you envision them to be. Oh well. No sense in crying over spilled tracks. You work with it. You work it. You make it work. That's what we do as a whole.

    Cut and dried? I think not.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  6. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    "So are we discussing quality or quantity?"

    Shall we say, as much quality as I can get 4 channels for under $500.
    I'm currently trying to work out how many channels I'd like to have. However I hope some other gear is on the cards (interface/EQ) and consequently there isn't going to be masses of money spent on this.
    The outboard hardware market doesn't seem to change much (not as rapidly as PC hardware anyway) so I'm scouting around just now, and it should translate well to later on in time.

    So far I would like at least four channels. Perhaps a quality 2-ch, and a cheaper 4-ch. Either or just now really...

    ==== Back to reality ====
    Are many-channel compressors a good thing? Obviously a tight budget is going to make things less than great, but do you feel the functionality is too crippled in a 4 channel unit? (most seem to be 1U)
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    As you know all limiters are not created equally. Having a limiter just for limiters sake makes you sound like you don't trust your own skills or judgment? Limiters are nice. But certainly not a 24 channel necessity. Some interfaces have 8 inputs with 8 peak limiters so as to never to cause a digital overload. But I know plenty of people who've gotten into trouble with similar equipment. It gets overused, abused, mangled. If your clipping out that bad? Your engineering chops must suck? An occasional peak isn't unusual. And it may not even be audible? If you want a limiter to impart a particular tonality of flavor? You are talking about a serious piece of equipment not generally found in numbers greater than 1 or 2. So your question is rather broad ranging. I have a 4 channel limiter with gates, made by Loft. It sucks. It's horrible. I hate it. I maybe used it three times in 18 years. I was actually considered throwing it out? So, what is it that you are looking for? Peak limiter? RMS compressor? Optical compressor? VCA compressor/limiter/gate? It doesn't sound like you even know what you want and for what purposes? I want a yacht. Doesn't matter what kind of yacht. Doesn't have to have an engine, or portholes. It doesn't matter if it's 10 feet long or 100 feet long I just want it to float. Same kind of statement. Really doesn't say anything except I want I want I want. So think about that question a little further? Think about what exactly it is you want. Then think about how much money it's really going to cost for something good?

    You could build your own limiter? Just go to Radio Shaft, get yourself a couple of Operational Amplifier IC chips, a FET transistor, a +-15 volts power supply. And the book by Walter Jung entitled "Op-Amp Cook Book". Then you could build plenty of limiters that will all sound like 1176's. Well not exactly. But actually accomplish pretty much the same way. If you build enough of them you might want to go into the business of it?

    I can see it now. "CODEMONKEY Chomper Upper" The best upper downer you'll ever own.....

    Chomp chomp
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  8. BRH

    BRH Active Member

    "Perfect timing!
    Just got back from Church where I spent a moderate amount of time thinking I could use some compressors. "

    I always am thinking about compressors while at church on Xmas eve......
    right after the wine... oops, I mean blood of .......
  9. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately I think we use some sort of cranberry juice. Still nice.

    What I believe I want is at least one channel of good compression, along with up to 4 channels of cheaper compression which sounds a notch better than "crap".
    VCA? Opto? To be honest I have no preference. Or clue, as you guessed. The choice is going to be driven a lot by price and functionality as opposed to the quality.

    As I said this is going be bought in stages, along with outboard EQs, maybe some mics, cables, an interface, so on.

    So no worries about advice just now I guess.
  10. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    The FMR RNC is a really nice compressor (to coin a phrase) at a nice price - $175 - if you are running stereo channels. It's still a good price if you are running mono, but not such a bargain. I've found it to be well built, reliable, clean, pretty transparent, and what color it does add is pleasant. Downsides are stereo only, the wall wart, and the fact that you need a rack tray or some other way to mount it.

    A point to consider for codemonkey's situation is that I find running compression in a church situation (multiple, shifting sound sources, gain before feedback problems) to be a good deal of work. The only set-and-forget dynamics control that you can do is set a limiter that kicks in every once in a while. If you are adding any significant amounts of compression, you will have to ride the threshold knobs and keep a keen eye on things. Loosing track of a compressor and letting it squash things into a mud pie is a very common newbie soundguy trick.
  11. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    I already sit every Sunday riding faders.
    The only difference is I would need to ride a knob instead of a fader.

    I'd also need to work out where to put (and get) a rack and power it.
  12. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    ...more like "in addition to" than "instead of." Not a big problem, just more to do. And more to teach if you are not always that one doing the pushing.

    Also: that rack has to be where you can see it and adjust it regularly while you are pushing the faders.
  13. music293

    music293 Active Member

    I was looking at the Presonus ACP88 and I think it might be what I was looking for. It would allow me to have several channels on which I could gate or compress to my liking on a drum kit or anything else my little heart desires. So maybe I mic up a kit and gate some toms but add a little compression to the kick all while I track and I can keep the mics seperated out in my PT session. From what I can tell this unit is pretty good, and seems pretty affordable, however I have seen it noted more than once that the ACP88 is used mainly with Live sound...does this matter? Won't it still allow me to do what I described? Please let me know what you think?!

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