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  • Compressors

    Looking for some thoughts about these compressors specifically, with hip-hop/r&b vocals in mind, not necessarily for tracking instruments. Thoughts from experience not hearsay.

    Urei 1176 vs DBX 160VU vs EL8X vs Any 500 Series compressor

    Pros/Cons

    Good looks
    But I've heard his beat "beats", and he really goes in like a monster... So yo, Castro, stop frontin', and post that heat! -Sa'id
    www.castrobeats.bandcamp.com

  • #2
    Sup cas....I'm quite familiar with the first two you posted. The dbx 160x is a compressor that I was introduced to when I first started engineering and assisting. It holds pretty good for doing vox whether they're Hip-Hop or R&B. A simple setting of 3:1 ratio along with the threshold at 0 deems well. The output may start at 0 also and can go up or down depending on the level needed going to tape (DAW). The threshold may also slide back (counterclockwise) if it needs to be compressed more. This may go as far back as -10 dB before you start to get into troubling sounds of too much compression. So be careful with that.

    The 1176 is an oldie but goodie!!! Many have and still rely on it to this day. This compressor will wipe the floor with the 160x. I guess the age old phrase is true (you get what you pay for). The 1176 is much more expensive. But having a simple setting on it will hold anyone steady w/o "over compressing". And it will not matter who steps in front of the mic. Even a heavy voiced individual such as a busta rhymes.
    Leaving the input roughly at 11o'clock and the output at 1o'clock , one may start their journey. The attack and release is what usually sways as how much you'll be compressing. So set the meter at GR or gain reduction so you can read the meter properly. And just tweeking these knobs will get the right pocket for you. Also...if you need more level to tape, use the output and not the input. The input being changed will affect the compression, not the output.
    A Kid Named Cus
    Writer for Beattips.com
    twitter.com/kidcus

    Comment


    • #3
      I see that you wrote DBX 160X, which after some lite research would appear to be different than the DBX 160VU, http://www.vintageking.com/DBX-160VU...um-VK-Serviced

      Nothing on the Distressor though? Figured that was a staple in most studios. Didn't expect to hear anything about 500 series compressors. Thanks for the info as usual.

      Oh yea, the 1176, Urei and not UA, the next question then becomes which version; blue stripe, black, silver etc?
      But I've heard his beat "beats", and he really goes in like a monster... So yo, Castro, stop frontin', and post that heat! -Sa'id
      www.castrobeats.bandcamp.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Great reply Cus!

        I don't have any where near as much experience as Cus but I have a had chance to use a bunch of those compressors.

        The regular style DBX 160X/A is a standard in a lot of studios because its a clean utility compressor that has a very proven track record. I have never seen the dbx 160vu it looks like a vintage version of a 160a/x I wonder if that is the original. I have never used a vintage Urei 1176 but I have used a newer universal audio 1176 and it has a lot more character/color than the 160 and has been around for decades. It sounds amazing.

        If you are going to buy only one compressor I would get the Distressor that compressor is probably the most versatile and sounds great. Download a pdf of the manual and you can see the different classic compressors it emulates. It emulates the 160 and 1176. I have used the Distressor a number of times and I was extremely impressed.

        The 500 series has some nice options with api and chandler etc. I have used a few 500 series api compressors which were pretty nice but I would get the Emperical Labs Distressor or the 1176 over the api I used.

        Depends on how much you want to spend the dbx 160a/x is the cheapest option then probably the 500 series, then the Distressor and the 1176 is probably the most expensive one of the bunch.

        Comment


        • #5
          My bad cas....i thought it was the 160x. My bad. And I didnt realize the distressor was mentioned. the distressor IS the truth. It will also hold a vocal well. Just be careful as to how much you use for the input. It seemed easy to flood the signal when juiced up too much. The urei 1176 is thee dopest actually. Just used the grey one tonite actually. The UA is a monster as well, but the quality of how compressors of yesteryear were created, trumps those of today. The urei just seems overall warmer than the UA...although the UA is warm.
          A Kid Named Cus
          Writer for Beattips.com
          twitter.com/kidcus

          Comment


          • #6
            I appreciate the info but you're killin' me Cus! They can't all be dope! I'm playin' obviously, I'm sure they all have their own level of dopeness to them, but I'm trying to narrow the playing field. After a considerable amount of research, the common answer is the Urei 1176.

            I am definitely interested in the differences between the 1176 versions; black face, silver face, blue stripe, even the Purple Audio MC-77. Any info on this is appreciated.

            Also, Brandon was writing about how the Distressor is capable of "1176" and "160" modes, can you verify if it accurately replicates them or is just the Empirical Labs sound-alike.
            Last edited by Castro Beats; 02-02-2012, 03:16 AM.
            But I've heard his beat "beats", and he really goes in like a monster... So yo, Castro, stop frontin', and post that heat! -Sa'id
            www.castrobeats.bandcamp.com

            Comment


            • #7
              i heard about that on the distressors....not sure. i believe it's the "opto" switches next to the attack and release knobs. but am not certain.
              (going into 1176/dbx 160x mode)
              A Kid Named Cus
              Writer for Beattips.com
              twitter.com/kidcus

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Castro Beats View Post
                I appreciate the info but you're killin' me Cus! They can't all be dope! I'm playin' obviously, I'm sure they all have their own level of dopeness to them, but I'm trying to narrow the playing field. After a considerable amount of research, the common answer is the Urei 1176.

                I am definitely interested in the differences between the 1176 versions; black face, silver face, blue stripe, even the Purple Audio MC-77. Any info on this is appreciated.

                Also, Brandon was writing about how the Distressor is capable of "1176" and "160" modes, can you verify if it accurately replicates them or is just the Empirical Labs sound-alike.
                It does a pretty accurate 160 emulation but 1176 emulation is good but I am not going to say it sounds like a real 1176 but it does respond to transients very similarly. There are plenty of threads on gearslutz talking about the two.

                I believe the black face units are often the most common. Check this link comparing all the different 1176s. http://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-...ff-switch.html

                Take a look at these links. The second link has audio clips comparing the 1176 and the Distressor.



                Last edited by BrandonF42088; 02-02-2012, 09:18 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is from the Distressor manual:

                  CLASSIC EMULATION

                  Since the unit is based on the oldest compressor topology, the unit can be made to sound very similar to older classics. The nonlinear nature of the older gain control elements of opto-couplers, FET's, pentode (or triode) tube bias or "mu" modulation, etc., can be closely emulated if proper settings are used. A special "Opto" mode has been provided in the 10:1 ratio.

                  Some Examples:
                  *To simulate the opto-VCA tube models of old (the LA2, LA3, LA4, DeMaria, Meek units), try 10:1 "Opto" ratio, with attack on 10, release on 0, Det HP on. Adjust input and outputs to your taste. Remember our LED metering deflects much faster than the old VU's so don't be afraid to hit the unit quite hard (10-20 dB of compression on peaks). Try Dist 2 & 3 mode, but let your ears be your guide. Try faster attacks (4-9) for more aggressive sounding compression.

                  *DBX160 2:1 (for over easy) on up will do, att 9, release 2, clean mode.

                  *LN1176 6:1, Att 0 - 3.5, rel 1 - 10.5. Use ratios 3:1, 4:1, 6:1, 20:1 to emulate 4 LN1176 ratios. Clean mode is appropriate (Dist 2 or 3 off). Remember that the LN1176 attacks extremely fast and you must keep attack under 4 max. A familiar sound is 6:1, att2, rel 4.

                  *Old Fairchild IGFET - 6:1 att 3-5, rel 2 - 7 (start with att 4 and rel 4)

                  Due to the transformerless design, you will maintain a low transient intermodulation distortion, but will get the warming grunge of 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion, if distortion modes are enabled. Also, unlike the older units, the Distressor is uniform and predictable from one unit to the next. Precise factory calibration assures that if you go from one Distressor to the next, these settings will all sound the same.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the info Brandon. I have been through those gearslutz articles, and while there is information on that site, there is also a lot of pretentious audiophiles talking shop. Sometimes I could really care less about the miniscule differences from one transformer to the next, but regardless, knowledge is power.

                    Anyway, while I am intrigued with the Distressor's ability to emulate other machines, I am concerned about what you said that each Distressor is the same. Nothing wrong with uniformity but I'd prefer some individual character. I'd like to buy something for "its own" sound, not its ability to emulate others. Then you have to wonder, if other compressors are trying to emulate the 1176 and 160, what is the reason for that? I smell marketing ploy, trading on a classics' name to sell units to people who know that those compressors are revered as the best.

                    Everything I have read leads me to believe that the Blue Stripe 1176 is the top dog. Nothing bad was said about the other 1176s, I didn't read anything about the Black Face being second best or the Silver face for that matter, but I did also see that Butch Vig used the Blue Stripe.

                    Any info on the upkeep for these vintage units, does anything need to be done specifically i.e location, meters etc
                    But I've heard his beat "beats", and he really goes in like a monster... So yo, Castro, stop frontin', and post that heat! -Sa'id
                    www.castrobeats.bandcamp.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You most definitely have made a great choice! People seem to generally agree that they like the classic sound of the 1176 over the Distressor. Cus says its better and he knows his shit; so I greatly doubt you will be disappointed.

                      I use the waves 1176 plugin all the time it is certainly one of my go to plugins in my audio tool box. I have also had a chance to shoot out this plugin verse a UA 1176 and though they sounded similar the real 1176 smoked the plugin as expected.

                      Anyway good luck with your hunt for a nice 1176!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for your insights Brandon. Wish I could come across a good compressor for the 500 series though, was hoping that Empirical Labs would make the Distressor for it, only because of some of their recent 500 format related products, but I don't know if the components are capable of being compacted to that size. Thanks again
                        But I've heard his beat "beats", and he really goes in like a monster... So yo, Castro, stop frontin', and post that heat! -Sa'id
                        www.castrobeats.bandcamp.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Any thoughts as far as the Purple Audio MC-77 or API-525 or 527? I'm concerned that some of the good reviews I read about them are not related to hip-hop/r&b use.


                          Also, I've been looking for reviews for this thing everywhere and I can't find anything, so if anyone has any information on the Neve 2264ALB for the 500 Series I'd appreciate it
                          Last edited by Castro Beats; 02-29-2012, 12:34 AM.
                          But I've heard his beat "beats", and he really goes in like a monster... So yo, Castro, stop frontin', and post that heat! -Sa'id
                          www.castrobeats.bandcamp.com

                          Comment

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