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Sans comp ?

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by Kurt Foster, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jack White recently did a record all analog (Ampex440 - some recorded at 7.5 ips!). He had it mastered at Gateway asking Bob Ludwig to not use any compression. none .... nanda. the record was mastered to vinyl with a different master for hi res digital.

    what do you think of that?

    i would love to hear some of your tracks where you turned off all the dynamics plugs.

    what i'm chewing on here is the thought, " what if when recording was first invented, it was digital hi res digital instead of tin foil / wax cylinders? would anyone have even thought to build a compressor? point being, other than for color / flavor do we even need compressors or limiters to record?
     
    kmetal likes this.
  2. mberry593

    mberry593 Active Member

    I have a LARGE amount of experience recording speech with Ampex 440s and no dynamics. The quality was excellent except for one thing. The noise was something that today people would consider unacceptable. Granted we were using Scotch 111 and a better oxide would have given at least 6 dB lower noise, but I still don't think the results would be good enough. Popular music is another thing. The continuous nature might mask enough of the noise to make everyone happy but for speech or classical music, IMO it just wouldn't cut it today.

    OK, that was sort of off-topic and didn't really answer your question. Let's move on. The first time I used a compressor in the studios (other than for disc cutting & transmission protection which is irrelevant here) was 1972. The problem was trying to stabilize the announcers. Everyone worked the microphones very closely to get prox effect. The problem was that when you are close, even a small movement can result in a drastic level change. The older announcers were real good at close talking but the younger guys didn't get it and were not improving. So we needed compression irregardless of the recording/broadcast medium not as a flavor or effect but rather as a tool for stability.
     
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    IMHO, no compression doesn't sound as good. I love the tool but I also use them in a midside or in sidechaining to control the less than desirable use of EQ curves people do.

    We'll never know.

    When tracking, there is nothing I love more than my LA2A/1176 combo for vocals. I never set them to hear compression though, I set them for a sound that has a bit of valve grit and tone/ever so slight compression.
    I've never been able to duplicate this combo after the fact like I can tracking. I do hear an improvement, or a pleasing sound that I personally like when using that combo hybrid mixing, but nothing compares to tracking with those.

    When did they start using LA2A's tracking? I'm guessing around the time radio started and someone thought, hey, I should try tracking with these!.

    They are also deadly on my analog midside console so my answer is, I love them but I don't use them to pump or slam. They are tools to reduce or smoothen out something I can't achieve any other way.

    I've also had a fair amount of "raved about" comps here and to my ears (I never used to think this), but most of them can all be replaced ITB today.
     
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I understand why White would have wanted to avoid the the over-limiting that is so prevalent in mastering these days - the "over limiting" has really torn up the sonics of music, dynamics in particular - but that's quite a bit different than using ( or not using) compression on the track level(s). The right GR added on some tracks can actually make some instruments and performances sound better.

    Depending on what you use and how you use it it, there's a very nice 'glue" that can result, if it is used with common sense.
     

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