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I need a Compressor

Discussion in 'Recording' started by 6APTAWEB, Jul 8, 2007.


    6APTAWEB Guest

    What would be the best bang for the buck?

    No set limit, but nothing ridiculous.
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Need more info please.

    6APTAWEB Guest

    I need a rack mounted compressor to record...

    No more then say..500 bucks.

    What do you recommend?
  4. Jeremy

    Jeremy Active Member

    2 RNC's and a funk logic rack! Sweet sweet necta!
  5. tifftunes

    tifftunes Active Member

    Agreed. Though a better partner instead of the second RNC would be the FMR RNLA (Really Nice Leveling Amp), which offers a little more "color" to it's sound.

    Also recommended would be a JoeMeek SC2 stereo comp, though unlike the very clean RNC and slightly colored RNLA, it adds quite a bit more color (which I actually prefer).

    However, you could also use the much maligned Alesis 3630 and learn a great deal with it, possibly even be quite satisfied. I could name drop many pros who use it for a variety of things from TV/radio jingles and voice-overs to Hip Hop. I believe Tape-Op mag also offered a simple mod to improve the sound of the 3630, though at the cost of losing its gates. Used properly, it performs well in most situations. Otherwise it would not be the best selling compressor on the planet for the last couple of decades.
  6. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    You really didn't answer Cucco's question. There are LOTS of reasons to use a compressor, and many needs have different requirements.
    What are you recording? A live mic'd up drummer ? A singer/guitarist? A stereo MIDI rig? Are you wanting to spank a mix or individual tracks?
    Jeremy's suggestion is fine, I have an RNC and an RNLA racked together. This offers more color choices, IMHO. But these are both simple stereo boxes that can only process ONE source-mono or stereo- at a time (per box).
    If you need multiple channels for, say, a drum kit, there are better choices. You might look at a "dual-mono" box like the dbx 166, where you can have 2 independent channels of processing (think "snare and kick").
    If you want this for vocals, a dbx 286a mic processor works pretty well, as it has a "de-esser" and a downward expander to help with that application.
    In fact I just went on e-bay and found these:
    RNC $175 (new...who wants to sell theirs?)
    RNLA $225 (new...these do great on bass and guitars, more "color")
    dbx 166 $100 (used...these are an industry standard)
    There's your $500. BTW, the 286a can be found for around $150.00
    FWIW: The Alesis 3630 (I've had the miserable fortune of owning 1-it does have a lot off flashing lights) is certainly not quality. Black Lion USED to have a mod kit for them (the one discussed in Tape Op) to keep them from mushing out when GR'ing. It hasn't been around "for decades", and it sold well for a while because Alesis dumped it on the market for $99.95 NEW through mailorder houses. Save your $$.

    6APTAWEB Guest

    I'm new at recording, so I didn't know there was THAT much to compressors.

    Thanks for the info!
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The surface has barely been scratched. My suggestion is this....IF you are so new that you arent sure what to do about a compressor, then you need to learn a lot more before attempting to use one. The overuse as well as using the WRONG type of compression for different tasks has ruined many many many recordings.

    Its unfortunate that the word compressor is bantied around like so much chaff and a LOT of people have no idea about the proper use of one. But the freedom of this information highway makes it a household word and puts the idea that one NEEDS a compressor to make recordings with. Using this same information highway as a learning tool into the secrets and the depth of the use of compression in recording music is a much better task than simply spending money to discover ones lack of knowledge.
  9. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I have the specs on the 3630 mod if anyone wants them. Pretty simple just a few chip changes, and power supply mod.

    As for the RNC my only complaint was that it broke up if it saw too much low end (60-120Hz). I had a few bass tracks that it could not handle very well. But for most things its just fine.
  10. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Amen brother Dog!

    I've been doing this a while and rarely do I reach for the compressor knob unless I know I need it going in. (Mostly on bass and occassionally on drums.) If you're unsure on how to use one, don't use it.

    In the mean time, buy a dbx 266XL and practice and learn what all the parameters mean and do. That way when you say you need a compressor, you'll know exactly why and what for. Otherwise, it's too dangerous of a tool in the inexperienced hands.

  11. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    If you are new to using compressors I would not buy an outboard. Use both compressor and limiter plugins in your DAW and play with them on looped sound samples of drums, vocals, and acoustic guitars. I learned to use compressors by doing live sound, but one afternoon of playing this way with a compressor on a DAW taught me more than I learned in months working live sound. You have all kinds of time to experiment in a nondestructive way. Once you know how to use one and know what you are listening for, you may want to go for an outboard compressor. Or, like many others, you may decide to just record full range and use the plugins. But the plugins are definitely the way to learn.
  12. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    I've got my own recipe of mods that make it a very useable compressor...dare I say nice sounding?!?

    I was considering offering 'em to the public, but I don't want to catch any crap from people since BLA already did it.
  13. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Art, I have one sitting on the shelf.....It needs something......I dont even use it live anymore, but that would be its function...kick and snare in a live situation.....My drummer sub-mixes from his position and has a board with inserts.......PM me..K?
  14. cathode_ray

    cathode_ray Active Member

    yeah, me too. Much appreciated.
  15. tifftunes

    tifftunes Active Member

    The Alesis 3630 compressor is much maligned here, and elsewhere. However, I learned on it (MANY years ago), and still find it useful when I need something that will knock a signal down a couple dB and be mostly transparent...

    As I mentioned previously, I know of other "players" using them to make a living, and have NO OTHER comp/limiters in their system. You hear them on a daily basis (on TV), and only those that use 'em can say for sure they are using 'em. Certainly no one on this forum can tell. If they could they'd name the TV commercials, and/or movie soundtracks they heard them on!

    If your recording software has no compression built in, the next best thing to learn with is the venerable Alesis 3630. It STILL out-sells other compressors on the market, and is far from has-been status.

    Finally, it is how you use it that matters. Even the lowly Alesis 3630 can do what you need if used properly. Though it is NOT a good comp/limiter to use for color, it can be used effectively in a nearly transparent manner. In spite of the comments on this forum, it is still a viable and affordable comp/limiter. Don't let the compressor snobs get to ya!!

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