mastering compressor

Discussion in 'Compressors / Limiters (analog)' started by Newatthis, Jun 28, 2003.

  1. Newatthis

    Newatthis Guest

    Anyone have a suggestion or recommendation for a good stereo mastering compressor. I'm a HS music teacher that makes lots of tapes of choral performances and also a number of backround tapes for vocal cabaret performances. I know things like the Manley Vari-mu is quite often recommended for this but is there something a little cheaper, if possible. My budget is not the greatest so I guess I'm asking to find a unit that would give good results for the least amount of money.
  2. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Hm. There's a big hole in between the RNC and the $2K and up crowd. I'd just get an RNC, believe it or not. That, or perhaps an Aphex Compellor. There's not a whole lot more comps out there in that price range that are really neutral.

    The middle ground is pretty covered by software, although, come to think about it, not many of the good software comps are that neutral, either.

    Irritating, isn't it?
  3. Newatthis

    Newatthis Guest

    So, there's nothing between the RNC and say a Manley Vari-mu that would be worth the investment? Say around a grand?
  4. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Not that I'm aware of, for mastering, anyway. Weird, huh? Maybe a Compellor, maybe some of the offbrand stuff that has some people that dig it, like Sebatron, or more probably Buzz Audio.

    Dave Collins once took apart an RNC to see if he could improve it, and while he tried a bunch of things, he ended up building his own compressor that he liked very much, and was along the same lines. He felt it was a noticeable improvement. Parts cost was like $1700.

    There are plenty of $800 to $1500 mono compressors, and plenty of 'color' compressors that are quite useful, but as far as mastering goes, I'd say you'd have a VERY tough time beating a pair of RNC's in series with anything less than two grand. Not that you'd use both all the time.
  5. Newatthis

    Newatthis Guest

    Thanks Jon, The RNC that I used for live choir recording didn't seem to work all that well for that application, so I sold it before I ever really gave it a chance at anything else. Maybe it's time to try it out again for stereo bus mastering. You said two in series? How might this be better?
  6. StuartMac

    StuartMac Guest

    Newatthis, were you using the RNC in Super Nice mode?
  7. Recording Engineer

    Recording Engineer Active Member

    Mar 4, 2001
    Maybe a Toft DC-2 when it's released? Otherwise, Aphex Compellor or the RNC might be good to try, as already suggested. They all fit that grand range... So does the DaviSound TB-2.
  8. Newatthis

    Newatthis Guest

    Thanks! I guess I'll try the aphex or RNC. I haven't really heard of the others. I could spend more than a grand if it's really needed. I really don't want to keep looking for the right tools. I'd rather get focused back to the music project on hand.
  9. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    You might be better off clarifying for us exactly what you're doing, and what gear you're using right now. Also, what you expect out of a bus compressor.
  10. Newatthis

    Newatthis Guest

    Well, I have actually two different set ups. A
    dat /Adat to record the choirs live at various performances and A Mac G4 using Digital performer & MOTU 2408 with a variety of preamps and mics for Cabaret type performance accompaniment sequences. So, I think for now my mic's and preamps are ample but when trying to master a mix I need to get some sort of Stereo Bus Compressor. Please don't missunderstand, I'm not trying to compete with the big boys but would like to make a decent investment for a little over a grand if this is possible. Please respond. MIke
  11. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    If you're not going to spend a decent chunk more on converters, then you're probably better off finding something that works for you in the box. Waves Renaissance comp works pretty well, as long as you've got a decent software eq to knock out a db or so in the middle and add a db or so on top after the compressor (usually- that's what seems to counter the tone of the Rcomp if it's not right for what you're doing. Take with big grains of salt, and use your ears more than you listen to some asshole on some website! :) .

    I haven't really found a *great* software compressor in a plugin, but some of them will definitely beat midline converters and a sub-$1K compressor.
  12. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    I have to agree, with your setup and your budget, your probably better off sticking with plugins. by going through several A/D and D/A conversions with your converters and then a compressor that's not going to be very good, I don't think you're going to be happy with the results.
  13. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    You can´t go wrong with Compressor Bank (Stereo models) and TC MAster X, MC 2000 and Vintage Warmer for some multiband squeezing.
    Nice plugs, use daily!

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