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Hi End "Best For" Processors Question

Hello everyone,

I've been reading the last couple of weeks all reviews i could find regarding hi end track/instrument and mastering processors like Manley, Universal Audio, TUBE TECH, AMS Neve, Avalon etc.

They all look and sound great(according to the reviews) and cost like a fortune. In case someone wanted to buy some of them or even invest to a certain piece, i think he would have this very simple problem : Which one in the end? They are all great, but there is one one of them that is better that all the others for a certain task.

So, i came up with the following "Best For" list which could help a lot of people out there, if the audio gurus in this forums wouldn't mind sharing their experience with these hi end machines.

Best Mastering EQ -

Best Mastering Compressor -

Best Mastering Limiter -

Best Vocal Mic-Pre -

Best Vocal EQ -

Best Vocal Compressor -

Best Instrument EQ -

Best Instrument Compressor -

Best Drum EQ -

Best Drum Compressor -

Just copy/paste this list and fill in what you think best for the job. Price is not an issue.

I have split the "Best For" list in so many categories because from what i've read until now, one unit is very good for vocal compressing, one is superb for drums, another for electric bass and so on.

I hope you'll find this post worth replying. It would be a great help at least for me to start with.

Thank you all in advance.

Kind regards,


AudioGaff Sun, 02/25/2007 - 23:20
I am going to take a chance that you are not a troll and just not aware that your not going to get much of a worthwhile reply or feedback from such an large, vauge and open ended posting.

Better learn right now that there is no one BEST of anything yet alone to believe any list that would only be subjective even if some people agreed on what they felt was best. What is best today may very well not be best tommorow or anytime soon. It is not like the old days when there was only a few choices and the best list was short. There are more choices than ever before to compete with best. Keep reading, keep searching. The outstanding or best of gear gets results. And gear that gets results gets talked about more, and with more respect. Start your journey there...

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 02/26/2007 - 00:50
Thanx for the reply.

I understand what you say and i totally agree. I do exactly what you suggest anyway.

The reason of this post was to get the very personal choices of pro mixing and mastering engineers around here, that have experience in pro studios with any hi end processor that they consider essential for their work.

And my basic problem is that all the gear i mention(and more) are already outstanding and get a lot of results, but if i want buy one what would it be?

I just wanted a reference point to start by comparing choices that come up more than once.

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 02/28/2007 - 19:32
Yeah, Mr. Gaff hit the nail on the head. The best gear is the gear that gets the desired result. For example, if I'm doing a rock song with a vocal thats supposed to sound like a telephone, then a Manley/Neve/Avalon/etc. is not the best choice. In that situation, the best choice is, frankly, a cheap telephone. Example 2; the "best drum compressor" would really have to depend on the style of music, and the kit, and the room its recorded in, and the mix, and all kinds of other stuff.

If you are looking for lists, pull out some cds from your collection that you like the sound of the recordings on. Check the liner notes to see what studios were used. Then go online and see what gear those studios have listed on their websites. You might notice some similarities, or you might just come up with a big long list of stuff. And theres no replacement for experience; good gear maintains it's resale value, so you should be able to buy a good used piece, record with it for a while, if you don't love its sound, then sell it and buy something else.

Good luck.

JoeH Wed, 02/28/2007 - 23:27
No such thing, nothing to list here. What works for me probably wont work for you, or anyone else on the list. Can't do it, sorry.

I have my "bests" and so do others. I assure you they probably won't correlate for what you need, and could provoke a lot of needless flaming about what is worthwhile and what is a pointless expense.

The only way you're going to learn this is on your own, one experience at a time. What you learn between now and, say, the next 10 years will astound you. But you wont' get that from a survey, you'll only get it from real-world, hands-on experience.