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All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2020. I like to set the LA-2a so that the vocal is barely touching compression on moderate peak loud passages. If there are terms in this article that leave you scratching your head, there are a couple of sources I'd recommend turning to. When researching compression techniques of other producers, it's important to think also about recording media. For vocals and bass neither - I'd be buying a Retro STA Level. The LA-2a also has a "thickening" effect that happens just by passing audio through all the tubes and transformers regardless of whether you're dialing in gain reduction. The hugely popular Teletronix LA2A (now built by Universal Audio, and one of the first units modelled for their UAD platform) is great at transparent gain reduction, but can also yield the kind of vocal overdrive favoured by artists like Jack White of the White Stripes. Here's a summary of the classic compressors Mike's research found to be most widely used by name producers. By plugging the 670 into a drum bus and then compressing the Sides signal more heavily, you can emphasise and/or pump the room sound without compromising the transient snap of your main kick and snare sounds. There's no shortage of conflicting opinions from those in the know, but certain compressors do seem to crop up a great deal more than others. Check the manual and the designer's web site. For the big Nashville vocal it is THE box. I'll also look at a few of the design features and side‑effects that adapt the different processors to these tasks, as well as talking about some of the ways they're actually combined in real‑world sessions. The Urei 1176 is famous for adding a sense of edge and excitement to vocals.That pretty much wraps up the vintage units, but we can't leave the topic of vocal compression without touching on one very popular modern processor too: the Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor. The name of the plug‑in or emulation preset may also give the game away, of course: you don't have to try hard to guess the inspiration for URS's Opto2a emulation! Whether they truly recreate the real thing or just give you a hint of their flavour, there's now a bewildering number of classic compressor emulations in software. People differ in terms of how exactly they use it, particularly with regards to the choice of ratio setting, so it pays to experiment with this aspect of any emulation — and don't forget to try the unusual 'all buttons' mode if it's on offer, as it is, for example, in Universal Audio's software 1176LN for the UAD platform. Yes, looking for a color. Look up pictures of original units via Google's image search. Geoff Emerick always put the Beatles' vocals through it for precisely this reason: "Just the sound of the amplifier, even if you didn't do any limiting, just added a certain presence.” Steve Churchyard also talks about using the 670 "more for the sound than for the compression,” a sentiment echoed by Tom Elmhirst in SOS August 2007. The bad news is that although some of the emulations are officially endorsed by the hardware unit's manufacturer, some aren't, and a given emulation's vintage 'muse' may well be referred to rather coyly, perhaps for fear of litigation — which means you may even already have emulations in your existing plug‑in collection without realising it! In the days when people routinely tracked through compressors to tape, there were often several different stages of compression going on, including some from the tape itself — so simply using a compressor emulation and replicating someone's 'golden settings' won't necessarily give you the same result. "I added the LA2A for warmth,” comments Serge Tsai, for example, echoing similar 'gentler and warmer' epithets from producer Glen Ballard. ), Empirical Labs' Distressor is one of a few 'modern classic' hardware compressor designs, and is incredibly versatile. If the beginnings of the words then have too much attack, I'll put the vocals through an SSL compressor with a really fast attack, to take off or smooth out the extra attack that the LA3A adds.”. While you're on the web, it's worth doing a quick search: Internet forum users may already have posted their own 'translation tables' showing suspected emulation mapping for the plug‑in you're using. I've spent a good deal of time looking at compressor choices for vocals, drums, and bass, and in each of these cases I've been able to distil some degree of consensus from the available evidence. ive been blown away with an LA2 and disappointed with the same unit on different sounds, but the cl-1b always impresses me and sounds great (very consistent and reliable sonically). If you read Will Haas's article about mix-bus compression back in SOS May 2008, you'll already be aware of many of the industry‑standard mix‑bus compression choices, but it tuns out that two of these regularly appear in the role of drum submix processor too: the API 2500 and the SSL G‑series console master compressor. The CL1B as everyone has pointed out has versatility i.e. I love the fact that they have a really quick recovery, and you can exaggerate it if you need to.” The extremely fast attack and release times available on many Dbx units are particularly worthy of investigation if you find yourself in a situation where you really need to sculpt the front end of your drums with precision. … Q. Compression can be a pretty technical topic, which means that there's a lot of terminology to take on board if you're coming to it for the first time. Like the Fairchild 670, this compressor is often used as much for it's sound as it's ability to achieve the desired gain reduction. I will then mult it into a Distressor and that will give it this extreme attack, and then I blend it in the way I like it.”. Win! Well known for bus compression, amongst other things, the Neve 33609, which offers silky‑smooth gain reduction, is equally at home on electric guitar.Another argument for the lack of consensus with regards to compressor choice for things like electric guitars and synths could simply be that parts like these vary so much in character from mix to mix. "I'm a big fan of using distortion, in small amounts. As I've mentioned many times in SOS, it's now commonplace for digital tracking sessions to use no dynamics processing, because of the low noise‑floor of modern 24‑bit A‑D converters, and the general desire to keep options open for the mix. Tubes distort more harmonically, whereas transistors and Class‑A stuff are more aggressive, which is why I think many guys still like to mix on the SSL 4000 — those consoles are always just shy of distorting. It's kind of a performance. Take Marasciullo, for instance: "On drums [the Distressor] gives me an attack that no other compressor can give me. side chain, speed and it has a lot of features for adjustment. The RCA BA6A. While auditioning different classic compressor emulations in isolation is a valuable exercise in itself, what a lot of small‑studio musicians don't properly understand is that analogue compressors were often used in combination for processing the signals on their favourite records. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers. Here are some quick tips. What is a "hybrid" audio interface anyway? Let's start where the money's at in most productions: those all‑important vocal parts. Software graphical user interfaces frequently mimic visual aspects of their hardware forebears. Tube-tech CL change the image as a mono compressor. Whereas the original Dbx 160 was a hard‑knee device, the later 165 retained the same basic design while adding in an 'Over Easy' soft‑knee compression curve, and this markedly improves its capabilities with regards to unobtrusive control of extreme level fluctuations. According to Tom Elmhirst, it "completely annihilates all the transients and brings up the air.” Small wonder, then, that Goldstein, Elmhirst and Rich Costey all take a parallel processing approach with the C2, for greater control. Chained Compressors & Pre‑compression Fader Rides. One Synth Challenge V - The Filter Strikes Back! After all, fast compression can introduce serious distortion on slow‑moving bass waveforms. All that Crush does another couple of alternatives: Urei 1176 is famous for adding a sense of and... To set the LA-2A so that the vocal is barely touching compression on moderate peak passages. Tubetech would get into the 500 series market, I 've read efter 1…... 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