Compressors : Software vs. Hardware

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by housefukr, Jul 22, 2004.

  1. housefukr

    housefukr Guest

    So I have the Avalon 737 and I've discovered that the compressor is a little weak. I currently use the UAD powered plugins (an LA2A on every track) and the TC Powercore. They both have some pretty amazing plugins. But I'm wondering is there really a major difference between the hard and software ? UAD has the 1176 the Fairchild and tons on other classic gear. The TC also has an awesome voice strip. Should I be looking at hardware ?
  2. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I'm a big fan of hardware - HOWEVER, if I have to stay in the box, the UAD stuff is the first (and many time the ONLY) stuff I'll reach for without question.

    They captured the "escence" of that gear very well. VERY well.

    Personally, I don't think you can ever have "too many" compressors... Such a banquet of flavor out there...
  3. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Yes there is a big difference. But many might not agree or are even capable of hearing the difference for many reasons. Great sounding hardware is unique in sound and tone, and is also in most cases prefered.
  4. Ben Godin

    Ben Godin Active Member

    someone please post: what are the top 5 software compressors...
  5. iznogood

    iznogood Member

    hardware still beats the crap out of plugs!!!!

    personally i'm a manley man but my studio owner loves his new 1176's after our two 737's for vocals

    please do yourself a favor and get a good comp... as you did get an excellent pre....

    regarding plugs i would recommend some bombfactory...

    although i never really heard the uad plugs :wink:
  6. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    It all depends. I have the UA 1176 and LA-2A plugins. I had a real vintage LA-2A in here for a while and I generally prefered the plugins BUT!

    None of my plugins comes anywhere near the sound of my Cranesong Trakkers, Distressors, SSL or Daking compressors.

  7. huub

    huub Guest

    anyone familiair with the sintefex replicator? it's awesome!!
    i use both hardware ureis and the sintefex digital one daily, and the sintefex sounds even better than our real ones! i guess they sampled a better sounding unit..
    anyway it's a completely genius device..
    i've tried the bombfactory unit, and although it sounded fine, its sound was nowhere near the originals..
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    What do you mean by weak? Does it sound bad? Is it not holding the levels down as much as you would like (overshoot)? Please tell us what it is you don't care for with the Avalon?
  9. housefukr

    housefukr Guest

    It doesnt sound bad at all. In fact, If my house was burning down, Id grab my computer and my avalon. Then try to save my wife. But the compressor when doesn't smash the levels like I thought it would. Either way, Its amazing and I can't believe I went this long with out it.
  10. julien_a

    julien_a Active Member

    There is no choice to make. Some kind of compression sound better in analog domain and others sound better in digital. Analog have qualities and defaults and vice-versa. The best thing is to use the qualities of both worlds. In final, understand that there is some digital compressor that work better and better than some analog compressor.
  11. JeffreyMajeau

    JeffreyMajeau Active Member

    Sounds like you're looking more for a limiter than you are for a compressor. What you'd probably want to do is use the compressor and then follow it up with the limiter.

    You'll probably be pretty satisfied with a solid-state unit like an 1176. You want something with a harder knee, IMHO to really get the levels slamming.
  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    OK ... this is because the compressor in the Avalon is an EL OP type, with a very soft knee (attack) charactaristic. You will experience "overshoot" with this type of compressor but you can pull up to 10dB out of the signal without a lot of audible artifacts.

    As Dan said in the prior post, what you are looking for is a limiter, something like an 1176.

    A compressor will employ a lower ratio and a softer knee (attack) than a limiter will. It is common to use both compression first and limiting second in a chain to the recorder. Try using an 1176 in line after the compressor section.
  13. JeffreyMajeau

    JeffreyMajeau Active Member

    And I should say that while I love hardware and the tactile interface, I use mainly software compressors and limiters. When I'm in the analog domain, I'm usually using the compression or limiting for extreme effects. I've got a pair of dbx 163's that make decent DI boxes and are pretty versatile compressors. They're too soft to really "slam" the levels, though. For that, I usually use the Waves C1 followed up by the Waves L1. Digidesign's Maxim is pretty good at it as well. TC Electronics Master X is a good slammer plugin with great presets.
  14. Blueberry

    Blueberry Active Member

    They all have their own character. I personally like the LA2 A plug in on my UAD. However it adds softening (warmth) to the signal which can be a good thing. My optic compressor on the Langevin DVC is transparent and adds nothing to the sound if done right, and I love it. The Fairchild plug in, adds even more fullness to a bass or vocal track. I think the UAD compressors are very good. They may not be the same as the hardware units, but 90% is close enough for me. Especially when you can add 10 different compressors in a mix which you can’t do with one hardware piece.

    I also have a Focusrite Compounder which is more like a 1176. It is punchy and can help a bass or drum kit have a crisp tight sound. Due to it’s flexibility, I can control the sound a lot better than the 1176 on my UAD and gives me a much preferred sound over the 1176 plug in. The 11766 plug in I use to push things a little, but again have not found it to give me what the Compounder gives me. Of course I think we all would prefer a nice hardware compressor, but going A/D, D/A, A/D to just run a hardware compressor has bad points to with all the conversions going on. That is why for me, once I am in digital, I usually stay in digital with the exception of the mastering stage. No plug in can give you what some nice analog mastering tools can give you.

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