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Vocals through dbx 160

Member for

21 years 2 months
I love the ease of use of the dbx 160, and I love its sound on lots of things like drums, bass and guitars. Can I use them lightly on vocals as well?

Comments

Member for

20 years 5 months

Jon Atack Sat, 01/19/2002 - 08:37
I've got four dbx 160 comps (and two 160x's as well) and use them all the time. They are in my personal comp A-list along with 1176/1178s, LA2A/LA3As, CL1Bs, 33609s, EL8s, 660/670s, etc.

I find the 160 to be somewhat harsh on lead vocals, but if that's what you're after, then go for it. It might be worth a try on BVs, though I often use a Tubetech SMC2B or an 1178 for that.

But what we write here matters little. If you like the way it sounds, just do it.

Jon

Member for

20 years 8 months

Hack Mon, 01/21/2002 - 01:06
Is it common to use two comps on a lead vocal? Could you fill me in on ratios and reduction ideas for this. The sound company I work for has 12 160X's. So thats what I use.

I usually end up with 3 - 8 lead vocal tracks. You know...
Scream
Sing
Wisper
Spoken
Stack

All the layering shit. Anyway should I be treating these individualy and then busing them to one or two more group comps?

Understanding that preformance has got to be the trick, what are some of your methods for getting all these to sound like one bigger than life track?

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 01/21/2002 - 05:58
I can say that alot of pro's have said that they would not use it on vocals. You have to like it's colored sound for yourself because at the same token there are a few who use and swear by it:
Humberto Gatica-Celine Dion's only vocal engineer
Ray Bardani-Luther Vandross (Mix Mag 2001)
Tony Maserati-Everybody (R&B, hip-hop)(mix mag 2001_
Glen Ballard as previously stated
Dr.Dre-Emenim (Mix Mag June 2001)

You get the point. This list suggest to me that it is worth trying out.

Member for

20 years 5 months

Jon Atack Mon, 01/21/2002 - 12:15
Hi Kev,

It's been a few years since I last used a Neve 33609, but I recall putting drum subgroups, bass guitar, and room mics through it with good results. It wasn't bad on the 2-bus, as well.
I believe AMS Neve are making 33609 reissues now. We'll have a vintage one in great condition coming into our new room starting in March, and I'm looking forward to it.

Coldsnow,

The 160 is the old 2U-high, half-space dbx compressor with the VU-meter. They are normally racked up as two comps side-by-side in a 2U rack space.

Jon

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 01/21/2002 - 19:09
To be fair, I'm actually talking about the DBX 162, which is just the stereo version of the 160. Even cooler!

The "color" it adds is kind of yellow/orange. This to me equals "hot" and "harsh" but obviously not too much so, or the above mentioned engineers would not touch it.

Thanks for all the responses. Though as always, ears matter most.

Member for

20 years 7 months

RecorderMan Tue, 01/22/2002 - 14:09
Originally posted by groundcontrol:
I've worked with Humberto on several mixes some years ago, and he never used 160 VU's on vocals. He was always using an original 33609 as far as I can remember. He might have put a snare or kick thru them once in a while though.

Eric ;)


...oh yeah (rolling up his sleaves)...well I worked with "Hum" on Streisand and (I think), some of the earliest stuff he did of Celine. And he always used a 160 in his vocal chain. I've got a few of his chains written down somewhere...like i care anymore...not my cup of tea as an engineer. But i won't take much away from him...when he nails a ballad...no one can do it better...only different.

...so...if he wasn't using a 160 in canada...maybe he was bored or there wasn't a good sounding unit in the house.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 01/23/2002 - 10:24
It was not in Canada, (although he was in Montreal working on the new Celine Dion album some months ago). It was down in LA at Westlake and at the plant when had just got their first 9k.

What I appreciated most on those session was the rest days when I would go climbing at J-Tree NM and around town.

Eastern Canada can't compete with SoCal for the climbing weather that's for sure!

Eric

Member for

20 years 8 months

Dave McNair Sat, 01/26/2002 - 17:08
JoeQ,
The 160,(sometimes refered to as a 160VU cause of the VU meter), is a very different beast to a 160x or 160a. To my ears the 160VU has more color and gives a lot more punch to things like drums and basses. The 160x and 160a might be a little more transparent but for me pretty unthrilling. To weigh in on the vocal comp question, my first choice these days is a Distressor or one of my trusty LA3a's. I'll use a 160 on vocals if I have to, but not my first choice. Jon, I used a 33609 on 2-bus for years, but these days a Smart seems to float my boat.

Member for

20 years 7 months

mixfactory Sat, 01/26/2002 - 17:33
I have to disagree with MCsnare on the 160X. I think the two things the 160X works great on are Drums and bass. Sometimes on a vocal. It does emphasize the high mids though, but for this application nothing beats it. I think the closest would be a Distressor, but you have to mess around with it. There are different versions of the 160x(XT and A), the 160X is the best of the bunch though. The 160Vu is a total different animal all together. It has its own sound that you can't get anywhere. I think it works on vocals and acoustic guitars. Drums is a toss up. I think if you want that "70's" drum sound, the 160Vu is perfect. The other one people use is the 165. It is ok, sometimes great, sometimes not, but I guess that goes for everything.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Sun, 01/27/2002 - 14:09
It's just a name that evolved from doing my first sucessful recordings from a friend's basement with some pulled together equipment. The record company wanted a flashy studio name to put on the jacket so I just came up with that.

Since then I've mostly been carting my gear to any odd location that's practical for the project at hand and the name has stuck. So almost all of the records I've done were done at "groundcontrol studio" although none have been recorded in the same place... :w:
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