looking for a compressor

Discussion in 'Compressors / Limiters' started by ob1027, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. ob1027

    ob1027 Active Member

    I would like to get an external compressor to use while recording. I dont have very much experience with them but I am liking for something that does a good job without a whole lot of bells and whistles. Is it possible to buy one that can degrade the sound signal? Anyone have any suggestions for a compressor and anyone know of any god tutorials or practice places that can teach how to really utilize one? I've gone and found a bunch of stuff about how to use then online but a lot of places seem to give the same information, in looking for something that says do this this and that, hear what you get and then explains why its doing what its doing, that way I can better understand what's going on so I can be more efficient when usinh it instead of turning knobs wondeeing what its going to sound like. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well, there are simple compressor/limiters that can make effective compression and limiting rather simple. Such as a DBX 166/266/160, Alesis 3630, which are all relatively simple to use. Then there are the compressor/limiters that offer both a choice of RMS & Peak detectors and also variable attack and release times. Along with the prerequisite ratios ranging from 1.1:1 to infinity: 1 and everything in between. Some also offer a short timed hold before release. Some are digital and because of that can allow for lookahead. That means that the detector can operate again reduction element at or before the event as opposed to after the event which normal analog dynamic range controllers do. Most analog dynamic range controllers cannot change again reduction until after it is sensed.

    When you get a dynamic range controller that has variable attack & release times, it allows for changes in density and apparent loudness. Speeding up the release time will create more of a sense of urgency and apparent loudness level. Increasing the attack time will crush any transients. Slowing the release time will allow for a more natural sounding bit of gain reduction control by allowing transient peaks through. Slowing down your release times will make a dynamic range controller less aggressive and obvious. Utilizing low ratios such as 1.5:1 will allow for smoother almost imperceptible gain reduction control. Utilizing higher ratios such as 8:1, 12:1, 20:1 means that for a broader range of decibel input there will be a corresponding smaller range of decibel output. Turning your release times up too fast can create excessive apparent loudness and distortion artifacting that can be used as an effect.

    Then there are those different types of dynamic range controllers. Some utilize electronic circuitry to detect the incoming circuitry in which to work upon. There are also the optical types that utilize electroluminescent panels, LEDs and even light bulbs. These optical types and their differences generally dictate the ballistics of the control of the incoming dynamics. Devices such as the $4500 Universal Audio LA 2 don't have any attack or release controls. They are designed to sound smooth and they utilize an electroluminescent panel along with a light-sensitive resistor element to smoothly control all dynamics. The transistorized version that came after that, the LA 3 utilizes the same device but the unit utilizes transistors instead of tubes. That too changes its perceived acoustic signature. Later units such as the LA 4 & 5 utilized LED light sources which have yet a different ballistic nature again in combination with light-sensitive resisters. Whereas DBX units and other similar ones utilize no optical devices. Instead, those devices utilize sophisticated electronic sensors along with VCA (voltage controlled amplifiers) which can vary the amplifiers gain structure utilizing a control voltage derived from the electronic sensors.

    So how are you to know which one is right for your purposes? No one can give you that answer. That's why people train as audio engineers to be able to understand the different applications of said dynamic range control devices. Some of these devices even work in reverse and can actually increase dynamic range rather than decrease dynamic range. Some of these devices are known as upward expanders. Some are known as downward expanders which are frequently also commonly referred to as noise gates which is a slightly different type of downward expander. At one point, DBX made a unit called the 163 " one knob squeezer ". This device at a single control. As you increased the control, it increased both the sensitivity, the ratios and associated attack and release times with a single knob. It was generally goof proof for the entry level user. Nothing much to understand except for how much you wanted. And they were great little devices for most general-purpose applications in the studio. They really sucked when you tried to utilize them with a PA system. That's because they didn't have all of the other important controls one finds on more sophisticated devices. To complicate things even further, many dynamic range control devices offer what is known as a " side chain " input. What that allows you to do is to insert an equalizer. The equalizer can then be adjusted so as to affect what the gain reduction control sensor sees and hears. This would allow you to control what the dynamic range control element would work upon. So when you had a signal with excessive low frequency interference coming from bass guitars and bass drums, you could roll off the low frequency sensitivity to the sensor. This would mean that the dynamic range control would only work upon higher frequencies while not changing the actual frequency response of the signal passed through the dynamic range controller. Adding a huge boost on the equalizer in the upper midrange between 3-6 kHz is used to control semblance on vocals. It made the dynamic range control element more sensitive to those sibilant frequencies and so, it would work harder on just those frequencies. In the land of FM broadcasting, TV broadcasting, vinyl record cutting, high frequencies would have a tendency to distort. So in the side chain, you would boost the high frequencies so that the dynamic range control element would work harder to tame excessive high frequency energy while again, not changing the frequency response of the input signal passing through. And that's because FM, TV, record cutting and slower speed analog tape such as cassettes utilized a high frequency preemphasis boost with a corresponding high frequency de-emphasis roll off to create a flat response with less high frequency noise. The high frequency preemphasis in the recording circuitry would have a tendency to overload the high frequencies causing a splattering of distortion. Not only couldn't you have that, the FCC wouldn't allow that. So devices to control that were created for that specific purpose. I modified some of my own limiters to have a high frequency boost in the sensor. This way, I can add all sorts of extended high frequency equalization to the signal to give female singers a nice S E X Y and breathy quality without cutting through your eardrums like a hot knife through butter. It would also allow me to add more air to accentuate certain qualities of other instrumentation without fear of high-frequency overload. OMG! Is this TMI? You bet it is. But you asked. And those are your answers to your questions.

    So when you just need some simple dynamic range control, you just need a simple dynamic range controller. When you want all of that other gobbledygook, you're going to be spending $1500-$5000 on a device, of which, you may never quite understand how to correctly utilize. Thankfully, most of what I've described can be accomplished in even some of the simplest and least expensive software. In that way, you wouldn't have to pay one red cent to get what you want. It's all doable in software and we all do it in software because of its convenience and inexpensive nature.

    Quite personally, I find that outboard hardware dynamic range controllers during the recording process can actually be quite advantageous to the sound I want to get. Some folks will vehemently tell you to never do that. To record everything without affecting anything and to do it all after the fact in the software. I don't agree with that. I've come from the analog era way back to the earliest of the 1970s and actually earlier. We utilized the dynamic range controllers while recording to analog tape so as to keep the signal much higher from the noise floor. I found no reason to change my technique even when I graduated to digital recording back in 1983. There are still advantages to doing it that way even in the land of 24/32/64-bit recording at 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 192 kHz & single bit DSD sample that nearly 6 MHz. And so that comes down to engineering technique which takes time to gain that experience. Personally, I think a lot of folks going to universities and coming out with PhD's in the recording arts and sciences don't know squat. They only know what they been taught by other ill-informed people, that teach it but have never really done it.

    So now you know what to do. Right. Check. You are probably completely confused by now? Maybe not? Go for it.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  3. ob1027

    ob1027 Active Member

    Hahaha this is prob the best reply I've ever had, thanks a bunch. That is the kind of info I'm looking for. Funny you mention audio engineering, I've really been throwing that idea around, recommend any places?
     
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    While there are audio engineers and then there are knob twiddilers. In my business, every video engineer thinks they can do audio. They can't. They can flip faders up and down and believe themselves to be audio engineers. The best audio engineering school I can recommend is the University of Hard Knocks. You would be taught by two of the finest professors. Prof. Left Ear and Prof. Right Ear. Sometimes they agree on what you're doing right other times they tell you what you're doing wrong. If you don't listen to them carefully, you'll flunk. But I'm really not being fair here.

    In today's economy along with the huge shift in the recording, record & broadcast industry it's not only foolish but almost insane to spend $40,000 to get a piece of paper that will insure you a career of waiting tables or fixing cars. Some of the biggest and most successful studios might be happy to hire you at minimum wage to answer the phones, clean the bathrooms and empty the trash cans. Some will even take you on as an intern so that you can work for them for free. Which is a great business plan if you are them. I'd be happy to hire you for free. But then I don't even have enough work today to sustain myself after having done this for over 40 years. It doesn't matter that I have 3 major music award nominations. It doesn't matter that I had 20 years working for NBC network television. It only matters how wealthy you are support your habit. Community colleges make more financial sense and you'll still learn what you need to know. There are also recording studios trying to keep their doors open by turning themselves into private recording schools. Then there are those other engineers who aren't getting enough work audio engineering who are actually very fine and accomplished engineers that are now taking on private students. And then there is another way. It's still an investment you have to make. You would get your friends together in a band or you would go out and find a band you believe would be worthy enough to record in the studio. He would then book time at the largest and finest studio you can afford. You'd request the best engineer they have and present yourself as the producer. Then you tell the engineer to work their magic. The whole time, you'll be picking their brains. You'll be rolling your camcorder. You'll be taking notes. You'll be taking pictures. Once you do that, you'd have a better working understanding of what's involved. Then you go out and purchase yourself some general-purpose mixers such as Mackie, Allen & Heath, Behringer and others. You would invest in a bag full of $100 each SHURE SM57/58's and a decent pair of inexpensive small diaphragm and large diaphragm condenser microphones. A few headphones and headphone amplifiers. A couple of inexpensive near field monitors such as KRK's, JBL's. You purchase a couple of DBX 166's/266's, Alesis 3630 and/or Behringer's. And you'd be ready to make some fine recordings. Don't believe that you have to have the expensive stuff to make a fine recording. That's poppycock. I have the best equipment in the world but I didn't start with that. I acquired that through the years and also got quite lucky with certain purchases. So I have the Neve 36 input console from the early 1970s that's all transistors and no chips. I have a rack full of API all transistorized microphone preamps. But I've made recordings just as lovely at my friend's basement studios who have the inexpensive equipment. They want to know how to make good sounding recordings on the cheap stuff. So they hire me to come over to show them. Of course many of them come back to me with comments like " we tried to do what you showed us but we still can't make a recording as good as you made on our equipment." Which really proves it's the experience and technique and not the stupid requirement. And that takes time just like anything else to become good at something. I used to love on the Beverly hillbillies when Jethro Bodine said he was going to become a brain surgeon! And that's what a lot of people like yourself think they are going to do as soon as they purchase of equipment from Guitar Box. And then when their recordings sound like crap, it makes it very easy for them to blame the equipment. It's not the equipment's fall. So you are already on your way to discover how easy or how involved it can be to produce a professional sounding recording. With the equipment available today along with the sophisticated software that is frequently bundled with much of the equipment you purchase, it goes well beyond my over $150,000 investment I've made. Of course, sometimes, my clients will ask me to bring over some of my own equipment. There are audible differences. And when I do a back-to-back comparison they begin to salivate uncontrollably. But then there are even low-cost alternatives in obtaining high cost equipment at a fraction of the cost. There are numerous companies such as Warm Audio that are actually making API microphone preamps for much less money than an actual API microphone preamp. And it's every bit as good. I had another couple of audio consoles some years ago made in Memphis Tennessee by a company called Auditronics. These legendary boards were a low-cost alternative to API & Neve. Many of these modules from these old consoles can be found on eBay for between 150-$250 each. And when you consider their API & Neve cousins go for between $600-$3500 each per module, it's a no-brainer. So you obtain a couple of those Auditronics modules and combine it with a Mackie or Behringer, you'll be in heaven. Your friends won't believe their ears. It's also a good thing to learn how to solder. You start with a couple of cheap kits from Radio Shaft to learn how to solder correctly. It's OK if you screw those up since they are only a learning tool. It will then teach you enough so that you learn how to wire up your own control room. So why waste $40,000 on a dumb ass college degree when you could waste your $40,000 on some really fine equipment. Most people that own studios had enough money to build their own studios. Others may have had some hits which provided them with enough money to purchase their own studios. Folks like Full Sale started off as a crappy 8 track studio with a business plan to make lots of money since they could not get the clientele to book their studio to stay in business. The business of owning a studio today does not work with the same business plan from yesteryear. It's something we do out of the passion and love for what we do. You really can't go into this business expecting to get rich from it anymore. Even after being in this business for more than 40 years, I am faced with the prospect of having to don a blue vest and greet people as they're walking into Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, value to me is not an option. So I'm constantly trying to come up with other ways to market my CROWmobile.com venture. And a lot has to do with another saying people frequently use which is location, location, location. While I did well in the Washington DC Baltimore metro area in the 1990s, it ain't happening today. I went to Nashville recently for the past five weeks and while I was told there is nothing quite like my truck in Nashville, maybe that's because, nobody's interested in a truck like mine in Nashville? Though I haven't given up. I can't. I won't. Not till my dying breath or perhaps breast, whichever comes first.

    I'm not dead yet
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  5. pan60

    pan60 Active Member


    you graduated to digital recording back in 1983 : O~
    LOL
    i am still trying to graduated to digital recording.
    i think i am going backwards.
     
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I purchased a Sony PCM F-1 back in 1983. It was actually designed to work with the Beta Max video recorders since those recorders had a switch to shut off the color dropout compensator. But I used it with VHS without any problems. There was no digital editing capability back then but I worked out a method where one could actually fade out and fade in. No one believe that was possible until I demonstrated it. So while making a digital transfer, I would switch back to analog via the loop through and do the fade. Then switch back to digital. It was a crazy method that actually worked. Since I specialized in live recording, it made life a lot easier to trim applause and spacing between acts/movements. I still have hundreds of VHS masters that I have yet to archive. OMG! So I still have a bunch of VHS recorders. I used to have a dedicated VHS deck, one of the first from 1981. The machines I have today do not always track these tapes properly. And so that's the reason why I have a bunch of VHS recorders. I'm going to lose my mind before my archive project is over. And there is no real way for me to transfer any of this digitally. So I actually have to take the analog output to the analog input of a computer audio interface. It's a nightmare! One that I will be happy to wake up from some day. If I live that long?

    The F-1 was actually considered to be a consumer product. It was never intended to be a professional product. But the professional product was $20,000 for the 1610 processor. This unit was only $2000 and was generally adopted by a lot of professionals. The difference between this and the professional product was that there was an 11 ┬Ás delay between the left and right channels and that's because the data was multiplexed. And it's wild to watch a video monitor of the data. You could actually discern, visually, differences in certain sound. It actually looks like a series of moving and oscillating barcodes. And that recorded signal was black-and-white and so no need for color dropout compensation. This apparently caused more data errors but with the Reed Solomon error correction, it never proved to be a problem.

    So there you go, all the information you never needed to know.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  7. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

    Very cool!
    I had a friend that work at a TV Radio Averting conglomerate back then, was just chatting with him about some of the changes over the years.
    I just picked up an old Soundcraft I am planning on going through for my new room.
    Still working on the new room so plenty of time but I am really looking forward getting it together.
    I just do not like in the box for the most part. Great to have and an awesome tool but I just do not enjoy the mouse for mixing.
    A tool, much better served for those much younger then me.
     
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Having a good old Soundcraft, is a decent sounding desk. There is still something lovely about the tactile sensation of grabbing at knobs and tweaking them. No doubt that the power of computer processing can also work quite nicely in a hybrid fashion with your analog mixer. I worked both ITB & OTB in different ways. For instance, I really prefer the Neve & API stuff in which to track with. Then the power of the computer comes into play when those tracks are transferred to the computer. Incredible processing not possible in the analog realm can then be accomplished. If that that point I decided that the computer mix sounds killer, it's fine. If it's missing some of that special luster, it will go back and be mixed through the Neve. So with your setup, you'll have that fabulous option also. This is also where my Alesis HD 24xr, also works to my benefit. Something you may also want to look into as I personally do prefer having purpose built recorders as opposed to tracking everything into the computer directly. It still works jury much like an analog recorder with the advantage of hard drives and optical digital I/O. Of course I also have the pair that with my MOTU 2408 to get it from the computer back into the HD 24. Otherwise I could also feed out from the 2408 as 8 analog stem channels. Which can also work quite well. But I like playing with all of the faders, not just 8. And then there is also my analog dynamic range processors where it's hard to be a UA/UREI 1176's & LA-3 A's, DBX 165's and my antique 8 KEPEX 1's. So I'll frequently do mixes both ways and sometimes I have trouble picking which one I like best. Actually, sometimes I can't even tell which one I did ITB or, OTB, as my technique is quite consistent. Some of the crazy things I do in software when utilizing dynamic range processing is to disable any " look ahead ". That's because some of the uniqueness of the analog dynamic range processors is the fact that they cannot look ahead. And you want that millisecond of overshoot to mimic the analog units. Something a lot of people don't quite understand. I think look ahead is for beginners that don't have a clue about what they're doing.

    One of the other crazy things I do is to occasionally set my Alesis HD 24 to 16 bit because I am one of those people that not only pushes the envelope, I push the gain, just like we had to in the early days back in the early 1980s. Why should I change my modus operandi? It takes up less disk space and speeds up your processing in the computer.

    I really have never used a mouse with a computer. It always seemed so backwards and counterproductive. All you have to do is watch some military videos dating back quite some years and you'll discover that they never used a mouse. A trackball makes so much more sense. You can place it on your lap. You can hold in your hand. You can use it on the toilet. Not sure why so many people are so backwards in their use with a stupid mouse? You can learn a few things from the military. Imagine guys rocking on the heavy seas trying to utilize a mouse. It's laughable. It's ridiculous. Besides, these are the only balls I have to play with. It was fun when I had gerbils as a kid. But I don't need to play with gerbils anymore.

    Not a gerbil user
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  9. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

    yea the Neve & API stuff is really hard to beat, i really have that covered as for get into the box, and truly some very great advantages to have these computers we have today, the tek is far then we had when i start. i am mostly look for mixing. i the Neve API & other really had some mojo do to the discreet op amps verse the ICs, ICs not good or bad but they lack the mojo. and they are not good at pushing a 600 ohm load.

    One of my dear friends ( not going to say but he does advertise here ) has been kind enough to offer some help with a spare master section I have not sure what all we can do, but the soundcraft is a very nice design just a bit lacking in component choices.

    I have thought about adding some discreet op-amp and a few of the channels direct outs but I think that will just get insane costly very fast. So just think for now.

    i am going to have to deal with monitoring as this is a live board really not set up for studio monitoring at all: (
    But I think we have some cool solutions for the issue.

    I'll start a thread and post some pics as I go.

    I am getting one master section cleaned and ready for use now and boxing the other one up.

    A trackball LOL that is what I have actually I think it is a must.
    if i had more faith in some of the control surfaces i might conceder that, but it is just hard to beat the feel of real faders, knobs, and buttons: )
     
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    While some consoles relies strictly upon IC chips, others combine IC chips with discrete output transistors. Those particular consoles have no problems driving 600 ohm loads. Good examples would be the Memphis Tennessee built Auditronics. While I don't have any schematics in front of me I believe some of the Soundcraft Boards also did that. Perhaps not some of their smaller boards though? Still, they come from that great British heritage. The British have always generally done everything right. Their broader Q in their equalizers has always made them more musical than most others. Their head room has always been quite good. Though I have found some of their microphone preamps have not delivered as much gain as some others but for rock 'n roll, you don't need that much gain.

    Putting in some discrete operational amplifiers does not have to be a costly proposition. There are numerous companies making knockoffs of API & Neve discrete operational amplifiers. All are quite good and amazing. Warm Audio is a good source for those at very reasonable prices. Sticking a few of those into the microphone preamp section could make numerous inputs on your board quite cool. Sticking a couple into your stereo summing and output bus would also be a nice inexpensive touch and provide for gobs of head room and a sweet sounding output. And that won't set you back but a few hundred extra dollars. Though most of those boards lack microphone input Transformers. And I happen to like microphone input Transformers. Some of the older ones can be had quite inexpensively such as the Beyer's. Those were practically the de facto standard prior to the Dean Jansen 110 series Transformers. Many fabulous microphones were all designed to load into those Beyer Transformers. I still have 8 API preamps with those Transformers and I still love their sound. The Auditronics boards utilized a similar microphone input transformer into an IC chip with a pair of output buffer transistors for greater current drive into 600 ohm loads. And they still sound fabulous. Though again, they can't quite be pushed to the extreme like a discrete transistor operational amplifier. But that's where those Warm Audio discrete operational amplifiers could also come into play. The biggest hassle you would have to contend with will be the extra space required to squeeze in those modifications. Some things like the Transformers may have to be mounted on the rear outside of the chassis? But when one has a vision, passion and determination along with an active imagination, incredible things can be accomplished. It already sounds like you are well on your way to having one heck of a beautiful console. It's already a beautiful console but some of these small additions can turn it into a console that would ordinarily cost many of thousands of dollars more. When you consider the fact that just 4 API microphone preamps would normally set you back more than $2000 and your modifications may only cost you $500, it's a no-brainer. You'll get fed API sound for the cost of a few gumballs. I like the pink and blue ones best, my favorite flavors. I always get upset when I turn the crank and get a white or a green one. Thankfully the bubbles all come out the same. And they still get stuck on the tip of your nose if you're not careful. Just don't stick your used gumballs under your console so as not to get them on your clients pants leg. They don't like when that happens. Although I do think it's pretty funny when it does. So it was easy for me to stop recording bubblegum rock 'n roll. Now I like Slim Jim's because they go crunch when you bite them.

    I knew I shouldn't have had tacos so late for dinner. My client sure wouldn't appreciate me right now.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  11. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

    I will take a look at the schematic again, but I did not notice any transistors on the direct outs, the master section I think is fine except the faders do not feel to good. See how they feel after they are clean and lubed.
    I will let you know what I find on the transistors, probably go look at hat today now that it is on my mind, maybe it was the inserts?
    Yea I do plan to add some input transformers on at least a couple channel as well as some other minor mods. I need to get a thread started just for this topic.

    I have a LOT out outboard pres so I am not sure if I will do much to the channels ( other than maybe a small few ), as I just have no real need for it in that capacity. Although it would be nice at times I think.

    Really trying to think out just what I need at the moment.
    The lack of a studio monitor section is really something I need to put so thought into. Decide just how I want to manage that. More or less a balance of what do I need, want and cost. For the moment I figure I am going to have closer to a grand into some of what I am looking at. But for a nice little board like this I think it is still a bargain.
     
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    It is most definitely a bargain. It's also possible that the output section utilizes a pair of 5534 or a single 5532 chip to create a balanced differential output. This can still be quite good and one shouldn't turn their nose up at it. A pair of those differential output IC chips can drive the output to +24 but not necessarily into a 600 ohm load. But then, unlike analog recorders of yesteryear, not much equipment today loads anything down to 600 ohms. In fact most equipment today as an input impedance, generally, around 10,000 ohms. Meaning that the output section will never have to work all that hard. This was more of a factor when we were plugging into Ampex's, Scully's, 3M's, Studer's. But most everything today is what is referred to as a bridging input and generally around 10,000 ohms and even higher. And those previous specifications about 600 ohms were based upon a lot of telephone circuitry in the days of analog telephones on long copper runs. The best analogy might be asking what kind of horse shoes should I put on my car? Answer... rubber ones. Which flies in the face of what we all mostly know what horse shoes were made from.

    Regarding your monitoring: monitoring into and out from a computer audio interface can go directly through a passive potentiometer/volume control and directly into powered monitors or a monitor speaker amplifier. Because the more straight wire you can have without circuitry will be superior sounding than going through superfluous circuitry. Of course, if you want to have that special little pushbutton that allows you to " talk back " to the studio headphones & studio speakers, that's where a relay with a resistor audio pad would be required. Otherwise, you would get terrible feedback. But even that circuit can be completely passive without the need for extra active circuitry. Sure, there are all sorts of external boxes now available by numerous companies to allow for a variable input and talk back monitor section for your control room. And they don't sound bad and they don't screw your audio badly. Though because of their active circuitry, they all do present a different sonic signature of their own. But those devices are not a 100% necessity. Over the years, I have built most of my own monitor and talk back sections as passively and with as little circuitry as possible. In fact, it's one of the simpler things for a DIY project.

    With what you have indicated, with a couple of external modules, you really don't need to make any modifications to your mixer. What you do need is an old fashion patch bay/Jack Field. This passive device merely requires a series of patch cords in which to route your external modules directly into your recorder/computer audio interface inputs. And that's what professionals utilize for that application. Sometimes I don't want my Neve preamp on the guitar, while tracking the entire band in the studio. So I will plug the guitar microphone into the API and through the patch bay route the output of the API directly into the track of the recorder to the channel I want to lay it down on. And that only requires 1 or 2 patch cords. In my control room, all of my microphone inputs first go into the patchbay which are then normaled, into the Neve microphone inputs. So then a single patch cord can then be inserted into the patchbay from the microphone output and patched into my API preamp. Then the output of the API preamp is plugged into another patchbay Jack that feeds the input to the multi-track recorder. Which makes that kind of routing a very simple thing to do. So invest in a couple of patchbay's and some 1/4 inch TRS patch cords. TRS patch cords in combination with TRS patch bays are necessary for the continuity of a balanced signal and also to carry it through the Phantom power for condenser microphones. If your computer audio interface or multi-track recorder only has unbalanced inputs, the necessity of a TRS patch cord would not necessarily be necessary to take the output of the balanced preamp into an unbalanced input. Unless, of course, you have inadvertently set up a ground loop situation which could cause HUM. And that's a grounding issue you would then also want to locate and correct. Good grounding is even important when dealing with balanced circuitry. Even though you may never hear the HUM. And that's because the HUM can actually modulate the signal which could cause an unnatural distortion component in the audio. So not all balanced audio actually requires connections of the ground in which to correct that issue. Many balanced wiring schemes already have the grounds lifted at certain strategic points as in this sleeve of the 1/4 inch patchbay. And if that's not an option, one could just accomplish that by listing the ground sleeve of the patch cord and in turn, marking that cable as a ground listed cable for uses in such situations. I even have XLR Y patch cords where one XLR connector does not have the ground wire connected to pin 1 and is marked as such. It's for situations where I need to take an XLR feed to 2 different inputs. So these are simple patch cords I have made myself which are easy to do.

    Just some things to think about
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  13. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

    I did look and you are correct the Direct out look fine it is only the inserts that seem a bit lacking.
    I was thinking about pulling a signal just ahead of the headphone potentiometer and adding a potentiometer and some sectors as I have a few monitors here. I think I need to decide how to manage to input section maybe and a single a/b switch and have the boards monitor sect and the record in and couple that with the patch-bay.

    My patch-bay is already to large but I am move things so it will probably get all reworked.
     
  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    It's always fun rewiring control rooms. It gives us something to do in our spare time LOL. I've rewired my entire control room in my truck about five times in the past 21 years. It was so much easier in my younger years. Now it's almost starting to feel like work. And that spoils all the fun. Maybe it's time I close down and sell off the truck and just become a Bastering Engineer?

    I actually had two parents.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  15. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

    I will start a new thread and post some pics and some schematics.
     
  16. Tom Fodor

    Tom Fodor Active Member

    Don't go buying anything until you have a basic understanding of not only the types of compressors available, and their application. Try and book a bit of time in a studio and get the engineer to talk you through using a few different types so you can get a feel for what they do and why. It might cost you a little cash now, but it could save you a bucket load in the long run.
     
  17. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    I track with compressors all the time, but the two statements above don't bode well for getting good results. Secondly, anything that can be done with your run of the mill compressor can be done as well or better with a plugin, mainly because of the undo option. I recommend getting really familiar with compressing different kinds of signals first, then getting something more upscale when you're ready for hardware.
     
  18. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Boulder is rock solid on his advice. There's a reason why he carries that moniker.

    Many of us track/record with compressors and limiters. Knowing which one to use is a prerequisite to good recordings. Back in the day, we didn't have many choices. Our choices were extremely limited to a couple of manufacturers and a couple of different types. We all quickly learned that no single compressor will do everything you want it to. Unless, you had no choice. In which case, it worked well on everything. I mean do you want RMS or peak sensing? FET, VCA, Opto, variable mu-tube? Automatic volume control, Peak limiting, multi-band spectral control? With or without noise gating? Going to analog tape or digital? Only then will you know what kind of dynamic range control you might want? When I only had a single DBX hard knee, RMS compressor/limiter, that's all I used. And it worked great on everything. And now I'm knee-deep in different kinds of hardware based units and plug-ups. Because I want the right kind of nests to plop each one of my birdies in since we all love variety.

    So assuming that your equipment works, and you have recorded dry tracks, you should start working the different kinds of software dynamic range processing already available within your software. Get a feel for how each plug-in was designed to emulate different hardware units. Then when you are willing to make that compromise, obtain a unit you best feel suits your needs. Some will be affordable and others will cost you dearly. It doesn't matter if we all want Fairchild 660/670's. Some of that is like wanting to own a Stradivarius violin or one of Paul McCartney's guitars. Virtually in obtainable except for knockoffs, imitations i.e. plug-ins. It doesn't matter if I want a LA-2, my LA-3's will have to do. And that's when I want Opto sound from electro-luminescent panels and not from LED's different ballistics. When I want average sensing and not Peak or RMS. But then sometimes I want that FET gain reduction and not a VCA. Sometimes I need to have attack and release controls and other times I don't.

    So saying that you need a compressor brings with it a plethora of decision-making necessities. For those of us not flush with cash, when we need a new car, it usually means a used car. It doesn't matter if it's a Chevy or a Ford as long as it gets us there and back. And most any compressor will do that for you. It's which one gets you there in the right style that's a really difficult question to answer. So an Alesis 3630 or a similar Behringer might be the first on your list of hardware based units? Then when you are ready to take a $1500 plunge, there is still a lot to choose from. Only the rich guys have everything made by everybody. Thankfully, you already know where to start. And that's right within your software. I find myself utilizing Adobe Audition's included dynamics processing more often than I've used anyone else's plug-ins. And that's because of their huge amounts of adjustments they already have available when you really start getting into the dynamical range of dynamics processing. I utilize mine for compression, limiting, gating, downward expansion, all that stuff and more. And even " look ahead ", which is only possible in the digital realm of sensing. And most of the time, I turned that feature off since I like the way my non-real time, real-time processors work. No gain sensing can tell a sensor to reduce its gain before it ever happens in the land of real-time hardware devices. So all of your attacks occur after the actual attack. Plenty of these goof proof digital dynamics range algorithms automatically include such features. Features that cannot always be disabled. I don't want my software to outthink what I want to hear. And a lot of manufacturers don't want to give you the opportunity to think anymore. They want you to think less. And I think what comes with lesser thinking recordings being thought through is a recording that I don't think really applies to the thinking? It only applies to those that have no thought in the thinking process or lack thereof.

    Professionals are actually bitching about such products from companies like WAVES. Companies like this are starting to create plug-ins with only a single adjustment. Based only upon what most nonthinking morons want and beginners need. Leaving nothing to the professional who needs to work professionally. Some of this might be important if you want to create audio productions like hamburgers at McDonald's. We all know they're not the best hamburgers even though their advertising keeps telling us they are. And even though there are others to choose from such as Wendy's, Burger King, they are all on a par with McDonald's. Though if you go to a fine steakhouse and order a burger, you might find a substantial difference? Both in cost and quality. That comes to your car, you get the choice of good, better, best, octane ratings. But it's certainly not AV GAS which starts at around 100 octane. And with high compression sound you might need high compression gasoline? Which is really not economically feasible when commuting to and from work. So purchase any common and affordable compressor. You'll always find a reason to use it... occasionally or invariably.

    An inadvertent variable that varies with diversity
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     

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