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Top vocal compressor choices

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by audiokid, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    • Which compressor made the most impressive impression on vocals?
    • Which 2 would be your top picks
  2. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    I'm not a pro, but I'd like to chime in on this one.

    For my voice, it's the API-2500 VST, hands down. It puts the "big bottom" on my voice. Who knew I had such a skinny bottom and needed to fatten it up? :biggrin:

    My second choice is the "Fishfillet Blockfish" compressor, the free VST from Digital Fish Phones. Perfect when gooey-colored compression is desired. Can't beat the price, either.
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    LA-2A. If not a 'real' one then the UA card version. Not perfect for everything or everyone. I really like what it does to a lead vocal. Since I dont need compression to 'fix' something I use it primarily as an added vibe.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Agree. UA LA-2A is on my list today. I was debating the 1176 but I want this for mainly lead vocals.
  5. rocksure

    rocksure Active Member

    Depending on whether I want a fat lead vocal or a more cutting in-your-face one, I find the 1176 ( fat) or dBX 160vu ( in-y-face) do pretty well.
  6. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Any real work done by compressors is done ITB for me, although I deploy a few dbx units (and an RNC) for massaging incoming signals.

    And you've named my top 3: various models of the 1176, LA2A, and 2500. I use Antress versions for the first two, and the Waves API.
    Can't say how they compare to the real thing, but I use them a lot, and on almost everything besides vocals, too.
    I find the LA2A struggles w/ really dynamic vocals - the quietest and loudest parts don't seem to sit right in the mix.
    2500 takes the cake for that - and it's why I use it on a lot of group buses.
    I use the 1176 often on drums and bass, but also like it on vocals - it has a tendency to make things "pop".

    Again, using freeware versions of some of these, so the accuracy of my experiences might be tainted.
    Either way, I like what each of those does, and almost always use them as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices, depending on source.
  7. Paul999

    Paul999 Active Member

    For aggressive vocals I like the 1176 hardware. I use the API 525 a lot. After using the LA-610 into a distressor combination for years I find that the API makes things just sit nicer. I do often compress a very small amount and automate ITB before I go into my hardware where I finish the job. I wish I was good at fader rides but I am not. Combining more then one compressor has been what I've found works consistently.
  8. rocksure

    rocksure Active Member

    Yeah chaining two compressors can work well.....a fast attack one and a slow one, and with different ratios. One set as a light limiter perhaps, and the other one compressing more gently
  9. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    What do you guys think of Waves "Vocal Rider"? It's not a compressor, it rides the fader for you. It has made a tremendous difference for me, but I'm a rank amateur at this. Does anybody use it for anything creative? I use it on the channel and then send it to paralell compressors.
  10. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Oops...killed another thread.

  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    ROTFLMAO! smoke

    Here, I'll get it back on track. I should have my LA2A by the end of this week. 1176 shortly after.

    I've read good things about that John. I stopped supporting Waves 10 years ago for a variety of reasons..
  12. rocksure

    rocksure Active Member

    I should also have mentioned the Valley People 440 compressor is another good one for helping put vocals in your face, it can be quite aggressive and somewhat in the vein of the 160vu. While at the other end of the scale, for a softer compressor, the ART Pro VLA used gently works quite nicely on vocals too and is well priced.
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    LA-2A rocks!

    Wow, just got my LA2A today and I am in love. What a difference just plugging into this. Its very easy finding the sweet spot. For years I've tried to get vocals to sit in a mix like this and its instantly there. Looking forward to the 1176LN next.

  14. Paul999

    Paul999 Active Member

    I have the 1176LN and it is AWESOME IMO. I'll be getting some more 1176's. Right now this one has been stuck on kick an snare. I liked my 1176 so much that I sold my distressors.
  15. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Glad to hear you're loving it. Love the bombfactory LA2A plug-in, haven't sprung for the real deal hardware yet - but sure would like to.

    The Avalon 747 my buddy has is another one of those pieces of hardware that makes everything sound better just by being in the chain - before you even touch any of the controls.
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Paul, I was thinking of getting two 1176's before the price increase. Sounds like I should have. I love this so much I can't imagine how the 1176ln sounds with this and with other instruments.
    When you say kick and snare, are you running them both into it?
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Dave, its so right on. I'm just thrilled. I'm only using it for vocals though. Its a pretty expensive piece for just that but the way I figured it, if the vocals sit nice it makes it all easier to mix, so I took a chance and did it. No regrets at all, I can see its going to make life better. I have it as an insert with the MixDream. Works like a dream.
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I use the Transient Designer (hardware version) for drums and wow, an amazing box, a hidden secret IMO. Have you checked it out?

    Here are some tesimonials:

    Joe Chicarelli: Sound Performance Lab
  19. Paul999

    Paul999 Active Member

    I use the plug in version. With the 1176 I find that with All buttons in (most of the time) and the needle barely moving is brings up the room sound and the thickness while giving a nice mid forward push. My chain is, Snare->ITB plugs including TD->console with API 550b eq on insert. My kick has an identical channel. Next these both go to the 1176->Focusrite 2802 analog automation channel.

    The API eq's are punchy as ****. The 1176 brings up the room and glues things together. The TD does the initial shaping of the tone. I used to use 2 distressors.

    Are you using anything else on kick and snare?
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    My chain is: kick panned L, snare panned R OTB> MixDream channel 1&2 set to mono> insert TD L&R > Dangerous Master . I am experimenting with the A-Designs Nail with it too but its so awesome I want it on the 2-bus and why I'm thinking I need a few 1176 or the API 2500 with the drums. I'm thinking about a few differnt EQs and the API sounds pretty right on yes?

    I use the SPL Passeq right now, inserted in my Dangerous Master MS bus after my MixDream. Its amazing.

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