Chandler Germanium Compressors vs Zener Limiter

Discussion in 'Compressors / Limiters (analog)' started by dennisfrazier, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. dennisfrazier

    dennisfrazier Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2019
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Hi All!

    So this is my first post. Long time forum viewer, newly active poster.

    I need opinions. I recently was given a Zener Limiter from a good friend in exchange for some work done. His studio was no longer being used quite as often, so he didn't mind parting with such a great piece of gear. I already own a matched pair of Germanium Compressors, which have a Comp Curve zener diode setting. My question is, should I sell the zener or germanium comps to get something with a different flavor? I don't need 4 channels of similar sounding dynamics if I can trade or sell to get something that will give me more options. I don't own anything opto or variable-mu so I was thinking of going that route. Which would you sell or trade if you had both or would you keep both? If you'd keep both, can you tell me why? Thanks!
     
  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Home Page:
    I like the idea of keeping the matched pair. If for no other reason than you've owned them their entire life span and know how they were treated. Not saying your friend mis treated his, just that you know what to expect from yours.

    Interesting post, Cheers!
     
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    UK
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    Welcome!

    You'll first have to tell us what you envisage using the limiters for. Are they, for example, to be slapped across a stereo mix bus, or perhaps used for controlling transients on mono vocal channels?

    Diode limiters, such as your germanium and zener units, although effective, have a fairly hard sound. If you were to swap one of them for an active electronic compressor/limiter, you might find yourself turning the ratio knob well up and the threshold low to get something like the sound you are used to, when their function is best employed for more subtle effects, even when wound up to their "limiter" settings.

    I've recently been doing some more development on one of my limiter designs for use with vocalists who naturally exhibit an explosive release of breath on leading syllables. Conventional hardware boxes tend not to react fast enough, so I've been experimenting with hard limiters acting with a short time-constant variable limit level. Initial results are very encouraging, and I hope to post some results here when I've done a bit more work on them. This type of fast limiter is easy to implement in a DAW where negative time-delay in the side chain is possible, but negative time techniques are not easy to implement in live events.
     
    pcrecord and kmetal like this.
  4. dennisfrazier

    dennisfrazier Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2019
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I've used the germanium comps for anything from smashing room mics to taming an inconsistent kick drum. I find that bass sounds really good through these units as well. Even with little db reduction, the THD switch adds fantastic tone/grit to signals. I don't use them on busses very often, and I don't master. I have distressors for vocals, and an SSL G Comp 500 series for most buss compression. Really, I guess my question should be, are the Germanium Comps and the Zener Limiter too similar or can I find enough differences between the two to facilitate rack space for both of them?
     
  5. dennisfrazier

    dennisfrazier Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2019
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    That's a good thought. I baby my gear, and you never know how other engineers treat their stuff when people aren't around.
     
    pcrecord likes this.

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