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Major Investment Pending - Need Recommendations

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Skeetch, Dec 11, 2003.

  1. Skeetch

    Skeetch Guest

    First off, I want to apologize for another "what to get?" post. I won't, however, be asking what sub-200 dollar mic is best.

    I'm about to give my humble little studio a fairly major upgrade. One which, if I do it right, will not require another major upgrade for some time to come (yeah right). The first part of this will be a Radar24 system - specifically the Project series and I'll be adding the session controller and meter bridge. Sometime down the road I'll get the Nyquist converters, but for now this'll do nicely I think. Next up is a Brauner Phantom C mic. This will become my "uber" mic for voiceovers and probably most pop/rock/altrock vocals.

    What I need recommendations for is a two-track compressor that can also do occassional duty for other things - vox, instruments, etc. My primary mode of operation will be to do the initial tracking, overdubs, and mixing then send clients off to a pro mastering house. However, on those occassions when they insist on some kind of mastering at my place, I'd like to have a decent two-track comp to send the mix through.

    The most important priority for the comp must be versatility. I realize there's no such thing as a "do everything well" box, but getting the most versatility for the buck is important here. The type of music I'll be doing most of the time is the standard rock/pop/altrock fare, with occassional forays into solo acoustic and choral jobs. From my research thus far, I've narrowed the choices to the API 2500 stereo bus comp, and the EL Distressors (without the Brit mod). My budget is $2500 to $3000.

    Does anyone have any experience with either of the aforementioned units, or, have recommendations for suitable alternatives given the above criteria? As always, your time and thoughts are greatly appreciated.

    [ December 11, 2003, 03:20 PM: Message edited by: Skeetch ]
     
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    The API 2500 is an awesome and flexable box but is stereo only. The Distressor is another great tool but I would't want them on my 2-bus or for any Mastering chores. I was first thinking of the Focusrite Blue 230 or the Manley Vari-Mu, but then for the very most flexable, verstale and multipurpose workhorse I've heard or used would be the dbx 160SL. It has an option for digital output. See their website for details. I liked the 160SL so much I got two of them. And if I was forced to only have one comp, it would very likely be the 160SL. Whether it would be best or great for your use is something I don't know, but I doubt you would regret having it.
     
  3. Skeetch

    Skeetch Guest

    Thanks AG. That 160SL sure looks sweet. It's a tad beyond the budget and wouldn't leave me any room for an outboard FX unit (which I'll be sorely needing soon - mid level Lex or TC probably). Still, it does indeed look like it'd be a handy unit to have and will go on my list of items to keep in mind for future acquisition.

    BTW, the API apparently can be run as two different units. From the API website:

    "With its dual channel design, the API 2500 is primarily set up for stereo compression, but can be used as two separate units via single compression settings."

    Not exactly sure how that would be accomplished as there's only one set of controls for the various settings. Wonder if that's marketing jive or for real. I was also giving some of the Langevin boxes a look. They've got an ELOP version of the Manley ELOP that looks interesting - though I'm not sure if the ELOP nature of the beast would make it a bit less versatile.
     
  4. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    You could also consider a pair of Crane song Trakkers...they'd track way better than distressors on a 2-bus app, and would be killer tracking compressors (as the name suggests).

    Also, the Crane Song STC-8 is nice...quite nice, and is a mastering quality compressor. Both peieces are a little out of budget, but really killer gear.

    Another popular 2-bus choice is the Alan Smart C2 (SSL type comp). It's more in budget, but less versatile.

    Cheers,

    Kris
     
  5. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    I don't see how you get two channels with one set of controls on the API 2500 and it was designed for 2-bus and mastering use.

    And with a little shopping you should fine the 160SL for under $3000. Even less on ebay. The Trackers are real good, but don't have seperate limters like the 160SL does.
     
  6. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    The API2500 can be used dual mono if you set the stereo coupling knob down to zero, but there's still only one threshold, ratio attack/release, and output control, so there's really not much control there. It seems to me that this knob is really designed for stereo image control...set it to 100% and you're guaranteed equal gain reduction on both channels, and less and the image can shift (but overall loudness increases).

    Interesting, after checking out the information on API's site, they say that the SSL compressor is a feedforward design (like dbx boxes tend to be)...which might be true of the channel compressors, but the bus compressor is definitely a feedback design.

    I don't think I'd want an ELOP on 2-bus...there's no control of attack and release, as you're subject to the vactrol characteristics.

    The trakkers don't have peak limiting...but if you're not really doing the mastering house role I think you should be able to get away without it. Depends on how you work though, doesn't it? FWIW, the STC-8 does do peak limiting.

    My money would still be on the trakker pair...but it's not my money!

    Cheers,

    Kris
     
  7. Skeetch

    Skeetch Guest

    The Trakker's sound most interesting - and I wouldn't be doing peak limiting anyway. If that needs to be done, I rather a pro mastering house did it. If I ditch the Brauner for now, I could get either the DBX or a pair of the Trakker's. Either look like they'd do the trick nicely. Ah, decisions . . .
     
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Skeetch...How much of a hurry are ya in? A couple of weeks from now my local "Perfesshunell Audee-o Deeler" is going to have a Dbx 160SL coming back from the factory after being gone through over and under and calibrated like it oughta be.This is a 'used' unit....but it has gone back to the mother ship for a wash and wax....PM me and I'll tell ya just much its gonna cost and what you can buy with the change.

    He's also got some bitch'n deals on new TLA tube gear...
     
  9. Skeetch

    Skeetch Guest

    Yo D-Dog

    Check yer PM. The Radar won't arrive for a few weeks so I'm still in research mode.
     
  10. slicraider

    slicraider Guest

    I have used the Alan Smart (SSL) compressor followed by the API 2500 for a couple of years now. The Smart definitely gives the mix that modern punch and sheen. With the API I can make the Empire State Building 3 stories high while having a slamming bottom and with no breathing and a silky yet punching top. This box has sooooo many sounds. Recently though I have gone back to using a Neve 33609 across one stereo bus on the console for my mids and highs while using something else on the low frequency stuff. Then maybe the SSl Compressor if I really want things to stand tall. The 33609 is two channel and can work completely independently on each channel. I love how it sounds across the bus.

    :p:
     

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