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Inexpensive gate? Used/eBay OK

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Goldenvoice, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. Goldenvoice

    Goldenvoice Guest

    I'm wondering about an inexpensive gate - what might be recomended that won't interfere with the signal path once opened.

    Reason is, I'm recording on a Tascam 388, and mixing to stand-along CD burner 24/96. It's near impossable to start the 388 at the right time, without either cliping the first hit, or get the inevitable hiss/noise for a split second prior to the first hit...(did I say that right????) Must be dual channel (or stereo)

    Anyway, of the cheap older units one can find on eBay, which would be my best bet?

    A quick search reveals:

    Alesis 360 Dual Channel
    ALESIS 3630
    Behringer Composer Pro MDX 2200
    Behringer Composer Pro-XL MDX2600

    Other ideas???
    Should I try my old DBX 3-band expander? (not)

    Oh, and if it has some useable limiting capabilities - just to catch that occasional spike, that would be a good thing, too.

    I don't really need the compression, as I'm running just a tad with an RNC (I know, not the best, but it's what I've got). If / when I do something really cool, the ME gets to use real compression. I'm not trying to master, just to get good, full, clean mixes to disk.

  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    You say that the RNC is "not the best"...having owned a couple of them, and a pair of 3630s, plus a few (1 was too many) Behringers, you are barking up the wrong tree! The 3630 is a TERRIBLE gate (and a dull compressor)! It will cut everything to bits, has no "slope", it's a dog.
    I don't like Behringer for ANYTHING, but even the gate on the Composer was better than that 3630...
    If you are on a tight budget, try maybe a dbx 363X gate, a dbx 172 Supergate,or a 166 comp/gate. Stay clear of anything that says"Project One"! You might also look at a Rocktron Hush IIcx...all of these are currently on e-Bay. Good luck!
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The 363 is a nice little gate. Its nowhere near the high-end as far as gates go but it kills everything else you've listed.....and I do mean KILLS.

    You will have to spend a moment tweeking it but it will do what it sounds like you need.
  4. Goldenvoice

    Goldenvoice Guest

    Exellent! The 363X looks direct, and to the point.

    And if I want to add in limiting capabilities, what models of DBX might add limiting, without loosing a decent gate?

    Looks like the 166a is the least $$$'s
    Then the 166 and the 166xl are near double.
    Input on these?

    Thanks for the input - mucho appreciato!


    Davedog, what's your 20?
  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Goldenvoice....I'm in the micro-brew capital of the world....ie portland or.

    There I've said it! My beer can beat up your beer! :lol: :!:
  6. Goldenvoice

    Goldenvoice Guest

    So... I've always considered Widmere Hefe "my beer" - even before it caught on...

    So... If I'm out southwest of town, am I stuck with Golden Valley????
  7. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Drawmer for not much money. It's not a 201, but it ain't at a 201's price. You might wanna' jump on it.

  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    There are different applications for Gates as opposed to "downward expanders". The difference being that the gate is generally on or off. That generally sounds very unnatural but may be fine for things like gating TomToms, snare and bass drums and other percussive instruments, certainly not voice. Generally, I find them awful for vocals. For vocals, I prefer a "downward expander". How does this differ from a gate? It only differs from the standpoint of how much you want to "duck" the level down. I don't gate the vocal. I just lower the voice by a few decibels. When I'm cutting vocals, I frequently use a compressor/limiter (UREI 1176, LA3, DBX165, 166, etc.) first after the microphone preamplifier, with a compression ratio starting at 4:1 and up to 20:1 and up to 10 to 15 DB of gain reduction on average. This will generally smooth out the vocal but increase the background noise (if any) along with breath noise. Hearing people gasp in a song is not a pretty sound. (it was even worse when Brenda Vaccaro did her Playtex tampon commercials!) So I will follow the compressor with a downward expander and duck the level only about the same amount as the compression or around 10 to 15DB! You must set the threshold very carefully (and individually for each vocalist as opposed to the general compression settings that can be used with most any vocalist) on the downward expander so that it only ducks when the singer is taking a breath. And voilĂ ! You now have a beautifully compressed vocal with completely natural sounding breaths! No gasping, no pumping. I use some old downward expander's made by Alison research called "KEPEX 1". Now these were not available in stereo although they can be modified, if you can find them.

    Few people sing in stereo, even though there are a lot of people that talk out of both sides of their mouth. The only time I'll record a stereo vocal is when I'm utilizing the MS style of stereo so in a sense the vocalist is still on a single cardioid microphone that may include some stereo room ambience. I don't like recording stereo vocals because as the singer sings, they frequently move their head back and forth which really screws with the stereo image and I think sounds like amateur hour.

    Ms. Remy Ann David
  9. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I, too, prefer a "downward expander" on voice. It can be adjusted to minimze breath noise, room reflection pick-up, etc. I have found that the dbx 286a as a "mic processor " does that pretty well, and the compressor and de-esser aren't bad, either. But it's a mono unit. You can find those on e-Bay, too. I have a couple of them, but I now use them for my live gigs. An upgrade to those would be the Valley Audio 'Air Force One'. Cleaner, quieter, even easier to quickly adjust to the talent. I keep that, along with a Drawmer Front End One in my studio. I personally like the VA over the Drawmer, but that's my personal feeling. The Drawmer wasn't cheap, and I'm not sure it was worth the $600+ I paid for it.
    As for the dbx 1066 vs 166vs 166XL, they're all OK, but I'd have to say that the 363X has a better gating function. Stay away from the 266 series...cheap, no better than the Alesis, IMHO. Lots of lights, definitel NOT transparent.

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