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Which compressor do you suggest?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Nick_Ch, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. Nick_Ch

    Nick_Ch Guest

    I have already a preamp (Behringer Ultragain Pro),
    a condenser mic (B-1),
    pc and sound card.
    I want to invest on a compressor to be able to record "something"right...
    i dont want to spend a fortune i just want to get something to do my "job-hobbie" which one do you suggest?

    the music i want to record is metal/rock/alternative etc. with very dynamic guitars and vocals.
  2. artgug

    artgug Guest

    DBX makes some decent low cost (under $400) options.

    Check out samash.com or sweetwater.com
  3. sproll

    sproll Active Member

    Check out the RNC from FMR Audio... it's apparently one of the better compressers in the budget range, and there is usually a few on ebay.

  4. vaibhav dewangan

    vaibhav dewangan Active Member

    UAD LA2A it gives the tight and smooth tone, as far as i know, a best one which i suggest.
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    There's no way anyone can say which compressor is "best". There are different kinds that are more - or less - useful for different tasks, and it will always be dependent on the the style in which you are mixing, and what it is that you want to do.
    An LA2 ( or an emulation in plug in form) might work well for certain things, and maybe not so well for others. As far as providing a "tight and smooth tone", this is a misnomer, particularly with plug processors, because any of these will only ever be as good as the audio that you feed it, and is also completely relative to how you set it.

    There are times when you may require a type of gain reduction that is "faster" than the LA2's opto/tube circuitry provides, such as a FET style, like an 1176. Other times, the stock compressor in your DAW will often work just fine... as long as you know how gain reduction works - particularly with the type you are using at the time - and what the results will be.
    pcrecord likes this.
  6. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I agree with Donny, classic comps have a certain sound and their own ways to affect the signal. I feel that unless you have a collection of compressors, having just one of them is kind of limitting because I might just not be the sound you want for everything you do.

    Are you saying you want to tame a too dynamic performance or keep dynamic in the recording ?
    I say, a lot could be done while tracking.. Working the mic and/or automating volume changes, is a lot better than using a compresor..7

    In the end, not using a compressor when tracking is also a great way to avoid introducing noises in the signal (common with budget gear).
    Unless aiming for a certain sound, there are cleanner plugin compressors available now.
  7. DM60

    DM60 Active Member

    I agree with PC and take the opinion of avoiding a compressor when recording the source if possible. When I first started I used a compressor because I didn't know how to track. Now, I track at a lower input, turn up tracks I want to hear (like vocals) in the DAW and then increase use gain if required during mixing.

    I am sure there are exceptions, but a compressor for tracking shouldn't be required.
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    It isn't as important anymore to use a compressor in your input gain chain - -unless, as PC mentions, you are using one for a certain tonal "character".

    We no longer have to worry about "peaking the needle", because we can now record at much lower volumes, giving us much broader headroom... and, we can record at lower volumes, because we don't need to worry as much about SNR to mask tape noise anymore.

    Now, if you are looking for tonal character, that's different, and there are some that will provide that - 1176's, LA's, Focusrite Red's, some DBX's ( and others) can offer different sonic textures to your input signal - if that is something you are looking for.

    But... you can also add that "character" after the fact, once you've got the signal into your DAW, through the use of various GR processors... and the good thing about doing it that way, is that you can control how much of it you end up using, or, decide to not use it at all, as opposed to dealing with a track that was originally printed with GR, and which you can't undo... it's a bit like trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube once it's been squeezed out - and if you find throughout the course of the song that you don't like it as much as you did originally, you're hosed. ;)
  9. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    My instinct would be to say that the (Behringer Ultragain Pro) and a condenser mic (B-1) are already undermining the quality of the recording. If I was the OP, I wouldn't take chances to degrade the signal further by using other budget gear.
    I'm not saying they can't do good recording, but it would be futil to put an La2a with them...
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    LOL.. I'm also looking at the date on the OP, and seeing that the post is now over 10 years old... so we can only hope that he was able to upgrade his gain chain by now...

    But, what PC is saying is still valid today, in fact, never more-so.... because so many people still go the budget route with their input chain, and then wonder why they aren't happy with the results... so, whether it's a Behringer B1, or any other budget level pre or mic, it should be mentioned that there have been great leaps and strides made in quality in the last ten years, and that there are far better-quality options available now - a level of quality which is also more affordable than it was over a decade ago.

    pcrecord likes this.
  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    This is all very good advice, at least for studio recording. When you are recording live where the principal purpose of the concert is to record a "live" CD, then other factors come into play. Taking separate tracks for all the sound sources is a given, and it's usual to include ambient tracks for audience reaction, applause and some reverb. In addition, in any live situation, there will be bleed between all the tracks (except DIs), and you have to work with that in the mix.

    However, when mixing down, applying compression to the vocal tracks can be a real problem since it leads to a "pumping" effect in the bleed. This sound is very characteristic and is not pleasant, a least to my ear. If I know after the sound check that the vocalists are going to need some compression when it comes to the mix, I have been known compress in real time and use a compressed version of the vocals to feed the PA. I will then record both compressed and uncompressed vocal tracks, as this allows me some flexibility at mixdown. It's not an easy judgement to make.
    pcrecord likes this.
  12. AudioFan

    AudioFan Active Member

    you can buy a less expensive clone of the vintage LA2A :

    the ADL 1000

    or the Stam Audio SA-2A
  13. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    The initial post about this topic is over ten years old, so I'm not sure that the OP is even around anymore, but the comments made regarding the LA2a weren't regarding the original hardware unit, they were related to the LA2 plug in processor made by UAD. And, considering that the OP listed gear that was at best budget/entry-level, I think it's probably safe to assume that a real LA2 was way off of his radar screen. ;)

    Regarding the LA2 clones - I've never personally used any of them, so I can't comment, but I've heard from a few colleagues of mine who have used some of the various knock-offs that they sound really good, but that they aren't the same as the original LA2's that they've also used... then again, there are real LA2's that don't sound exactly alike, either. I never worked with one that sounded bad, but I've worked with several that, probably for a variety of reasons - tube age, condition, etc., - did sound and react slightly different from the others.

    As far as I know, most of my colleagues who are using real opto-style compressors these days, are doing so more for a certain sonic character than they are for the originally intended purpose of the LA2A, which was for simple gain reduction.

    I don't think that James Lawrence was thinking as much about "glue" and "character" when he built the original model(s), I think he designed a compressor/limiter, and he built what he felt would best serve studios and engineers, based on the technology and parts available at that time. The fact that the LA2 eventually also became known for its unique "sonic signature" and pleasing harmonics came later, after engineers started experimenting with them, pushing them to see what they were capable of.

    One of the things that they found out later, was that you could add some of this texture simply by inserting it into a channel/bus at Unity Gain... that even when it wasn't really "doing" what it was designed to do, it could still add pleasing texture to sonics.

    I'm pretty sure that Bill Putnam's 1176 had a similar background.
  14. Leopoldo Lopes

    Leopoldo Lopes Active Member

    Hi Nick!
    May I suggest on spending that money on acoustics of your room and not on a compressor. Use a plugin stock compressor of your daw! A low-end preamp with a low-end MIC and you want to add even more noise to the chain! If you use a compressor plugin you're still recording that "right", but with better acoustic perhaps!
  15. DM60

    DM60 Active Member

    You can never go wrong with room treatments. With some research, and a DIY mentality, best bang for your buck.
  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    hey there! as far as "recording something right", i recommend you get away from the sound card as a way to get your audio in and out of your computer. you can find used interfaces for very little on CraigsList. a very simple interface like the UC-202 is only $25 new and will provide much better conversion than your on board card. i'm not recommending the UC-202, just saying even it would be better.

    as to the compressor, there are plugs included with just about any DAW. it's not necessary to compress when recording any more. that's a hang over from analog days when compressing after tracking brought up tape and line noise, so we would squish it on the way in to; 1. get max gain without overloads to overcome tape noise (sound masks noise) and 2. for effect, which you can now get compressing after the fact.
    pcrecord likes this.
  17. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    It never hurts to apply good logic to any post even if it is 10 years old. Makes for good reminders and perhaps something for anyone interested might be needing or wanting to know.

    I have a new LA2A reproduction. Havent tried it yet. I bet its killer. Anyone tracking vocals through a good pre and an LA2A type of comp will reap much benefits throughout the production of their sessions. There's a reason they are still viable.

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