Compressor pre or post mixer?

Discussion in 'Consoles / Control Surfaces' started by detlef, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. detlef

    detlef Active Member

    Sep 3, 2006

    I have a question that may sound naive for many here.

    Since I felt that I needed something to control excessive signal peaks during tracking (especially while recording vocals),
    I thought a compressor was the tool I needed.
    The thing I bought is an Aphex Compellor 300, that should act as compressor, limiter and leveller in an unique piece of gear.

    So here is the question:
    Would it be better to place the compellor pre or post mixer?

    My signal chain is the following:
    microphone--> mixer--> audio interface

    In the pre-mixer case (mic straight to compellor), would I still be able to power the mics with phantom power?

    I have a question for the post mixer case too:
    Since the compellor has XLR connections only, and my mixer outputs are TRS, is this just a matter of XLR/TRS cable or is there
    something else that I should be aware of?

    I know I should try both and listen what sounds better, but I haven't the compellor avaible yet :p
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    The Aphex Compellor is a line-level device, and has to go inline after a pre-amp. The closest you have to this is the mixer, so you would have to insert it between the mixer and the audio interface using the relevant cables (TRS-XLR).

    However, what you should be asking yourself is whether you should be tracking with the Aphex in circuit or tracking raw at a lower level and using the compressor as a mixdown effect.
  3. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    You could also try it on the mixer's insert.

    If you think you need to correct "excessive signal peaks" then I would suspect you are tracking too hot. In that case the best thing to do is track at a lower level. There is plenty of headroom in modern digital recording to accommodate very dynamic signals without having to resort to compression before the ADC. But for adding "tone" to your recording I could see that unit being useful, either during tracking (where you'd be stuck with the effect) or during mixdown.
  4. detlef

    detlef Active Member

    Sep 3, 2006
    Thanks for the answers, much apriciated.

    You are right bouldersound, there is plenty of headroom in DAW recordings, but when dealing with not much experienced singers
    I must ask them to step back when screaming, so a costant level of signal is what I hope to get from this unit, if set properly.

    Using the compressor as a mixdown effect? I'm not recording on tape (I wish I was).
    So there is no final tape or dat mixdown (did I get your point right Boswell?).

    Perhaps there are mixdown processes I'm not aware of? of course there are :]
  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    If the problem is that it's clipping at the converters then turn down the preamp stage. If it's not clipping the converters then edit/process in the DAW to even out the volume.

    You posted in the hybrid forum, generally meaning digital recording and analog mixing. That means you should be able to put an analog compressor on signals during mixdown. Even doing it all in the DAW you can still use the compressor by looping the signal out to the Compellor and back to the DAW. Some versions of Compellor even have AES3 interface.
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    The "Good-u-lator"

    patch the compressor after mic pre before converters. dial in 4 dB of gain reduction at 2 to 1 ratio medium attack quick release.
    this is the good-u-lator setting. if you need it compressed more later fine. but this is enough to even things out a little on the way in. do not tell anyone else. it's a secret. no one else has ever done it. original intelectual property. subsequent steps of gain reduction is the order of the day. this is on the test. (is this thing on?)

    don't be reticent to make decisions when recording. print w/ eq / compression. pre mix. go ahead! what's it going to hurt? it's free!

    try doing a song using only 8 tracks. live musicians. one track for drums. whole sections on one track. no virtual takes. keep or wipe it. comp, eq, add verb while printing. bounce, wild fly tracks .... when your finished tracking, the mix is half done.

    don't like it? do it again. just don't get stuck sifting through playlists, re amping , plugs and overwhelmed at mixtime. make a frikkin decision now and live with it.

    View attachment 2484 go boldly ....

    now; if anyone asks, i wasn't here.
    suicide aghhhhguhh!
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    It will interesting how you respond to the Compellor... not the other way around. Its a fine device. All Aphex devices are. They are very very specific in what they do and they do it in a way as to not get in the way of the goings on around them. Sometimes its hard to tell if they're actually doing anything.

    Before you get yours and start fooling around with it, I suggest you download the manual for this unit and really read the part that tells about just what a "Compellor" is and what it was invented for. Then when you have it to put to use, you'll know just what it can or can't do.

    Also there are internal level switches that allow its operation to be +10, 0, and -4. These will determine the amount of 'box' you get from it.

    I own two and these are my second and third ones. I only use it occasionally but when it works its really magic.
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