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Author Topic: Chandler Germanium Compressor  (Read 7888 times)

J.J. Blair

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Chandler Germanium Compressor
« on: September 23, 2008, 12:39:53 pm »

Can somebody give us a review and overview of this box, please?
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

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ryan streber

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Re: Chandler Germanium Compressor
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2008, 10:00:27 am »

I've had a pair now for about a year and have used them mostly on acoustic music mixes (lots of "new-music" / experimental classical stuff), and I'm honestly pretty ambivalent about them at this point.  They're weird boxes. The feature set is great with lots of tonal variety and interestingly interactive controls.  I like the novel approach to the control of the gain structure. The mix control and sidechain filter are also very simple and extremely useful controls which were in a way my main attraction to the design.  There are a number of other interesting features and design elements that are unique and noteworthy, but I won't give a full book report here.

All of that being said, I've come to feel pretty unenthusiastic about the way the units sound when actually really compressing something!  Well, that's far to general a statement.  But, I guess what I mean is that most of the time, it begins to sound wrong to me as soon as you start to hit more than 4db of reduction.  It starts to sound dark and closed in fast as it works harder and harder.  I thought that these would be great for heavier compression and had hoped they'd have a bit of the TG1 sound; not at all.  In my limited experience with them, the TG1s are pretty magical when they're smashing the crap out of certain things; the germs, not so much.

One factor in this is that, to my ears, the attack and release characteristics are weird.  It can attack very quickly, but set to slow it doesn't really snap the way I look for in a parallel comp situation. Given the inclusion of the mix control, I thought this would be perfect for parallel compression on a drum sub, but it just doesn't pop the way, for example, a 2500 or 33609 does.  On the other side, the release always seems a bit too slow for my taste. Set to "fast" it still gets pretty sluggish when doing even medium gain reduction.

FWIW, I don't think I've ever used it with the "mix" control set more than 50% wet.

My final gripe about them is that, contrary to what Wade has insisted elsewhere on these boards, they are in my experience quite noisy. I keep the input permanently at 11 (cute, right?) because that's really the only way to keep the noise down to a useable level. (The input control is an attenuator - if I'm not mistaken - so setting it at max actually inputs the signal at unity, requiring minimal amount of makeup gain.)   This is not a matter of "well you know, compressors tend to bring up the noise" kind of thing.  If I set them up so that bypassed and processed levels are basically matched and there's virtually no compression happening, the noise is still very noticeable when you switch the units "in".

This is especially true if you try to be aggressive with the "germanium drive" and "feedback" controls.  This is one of the most interesting features of the unit - the way that its makeup amplifier can be pushed for a more colored sound and then attenuated by the feedback control which also imparts a certain characteristic.  But getting creative with this quickly yields noise problems, and I guess you just have to figure out what's more important in a give situation - whatever tonal variety you get from tweaking these controls or the added noise that will result.  Don't get me wrong - this is an issue which would likely never pose a problem in a rock or pop mix.  I just tend to be sensitive to this stuff due to the nature of the material on which I typically work. Still, these are the only boxes in my rack for which that is the case.  Maybe after a year, I'm still not using them correctly or something, but honestly if that's the learning curve on a compressor, something's wrong with the design.

In the end, I'm keeping them, and I use them pretty often for various things.  I think that for the money they're very cool and flexible boxes.  They definitely have a sound of their own, and I guess one can either love or hate that sound.  They're definitely not my favorite sounding compressors by a long shot, but I do think they have a place and do things that no other designs do.  If anything else, it's nice to see some unique and original designs out there.

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Chris Moore

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Re: Chandler Germanium Compressor
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2008, 03:20:51 pm »

I've used one a bit at a studio I work at sometimes and I find Ryan's comments to be accurate. I have used it as parallel compression for snare and/or kick. With the input and drive cranked up, it does make for a nice and aggressive sound. However, with the input and drive turned up (which often sounds best), the output level is often high enough to overdrive the ADC or whatever it's connected to. Also, the self-noise becomes loud enough that I need to gate or expand its output as well.
I've also tried it briefly in more traditional compression applications, and always ended up switching to an 1176 instead. I imagine it would probably be pretty useful for someone who was making or mixing aggressive guitar music of some sort. I do often end up using it when I mix at the studio that has one, but I don't think I would get one myself.
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Chris Moore

wwittman

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Re: Chandler Germanium Compressor
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2008, 10:07:35 am »

ryan streber wrote on Fri, 26 September 2008 10:00

... But, I guess what I mean is that most of the time, it begins to sound wrong to me as soon as you start to hit more than 4db of reduction...




but isn't that true with MOST compressors?


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William Wittman
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Silvertone

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Re: Chandler Germanium Compressor
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2008, 01:03:00 pm »

wwittman wrote on Mon, 29 September 2008 09:07

ryan streber wrote on Fri, 26 September 2008 10:00

... But, I guess what I mean is that most of the time, it begins to sound wrong to me as soon as you start to hit more than 4db of reduction...




but isn't that true with MOST compressors?






I found that true with most all analog compressors (and many plug in ones as well). Personally the only exception to this I've found is the Weiss DS1 Mk2 on the digital side.
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Larry DeVivo
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To see some of our work please click on any of the visual trailer montages located at... http://robertetoll.com/  (all music and sound effects were mastered by Silvertone Mastering).

ryan streber

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Re: Chandler Germanium Compressor
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2008, 05:19:14 pm »

Sure, it's true with most compressors, but certainly not all.  I have a Pendulum OCL-2 which stays pretty damned open and nice-sounding  even when working very hard (like even with 10db of reduction, the sound's basic balance remains intact - not that I ever come close to that kind of gr, but it's pretty impressive to hear nonetheless.) On the other hand, I think there's no question that, on occasion, the sound of certain compressors or limiters compressing a signal pretty drastically (or at least more than 4db of gr) is a desirable effect, no?  

I guess what I was specifically expecting from the Germanium was, if not total transparency, at least an interesting compression "effect" when pushing it harder.  I rarely end up compressing more than 3db on anything in the end, so this is actually not that important to me - which is why I still have and use a pair of Germaniums (germania?).  
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J.J. Blair

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Re: Chandler Germanium Compressor
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2008, 11:28:59 pm »

If you run a tone through a compressor, analyze the frequency spectrum, you will notice that as you increase the reduction, the harmonics start getting louder and louder.  The cleanest compressor I tested in this regard is my Inward Connections Vac Rac compressor.  Some, like the LA2A also start getting dark with increased compression.  But this would tend to explain this thing you are hearing.  I guess that depending on the circuit, some compressors have more harmonic coloration than others.
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

Ross Hogarth

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Re: Chandler Germanium Compressor
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2008, 02:54:55 pm »

If someone is interested in trying mine
and you are in LA
please let me know
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maarvold

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Re: Chandler Germanium Compressor
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2008, 11:11:56 pm »

wwittman wrote on Mon, 29 September 2008 07:07

ryan streber wrote on Fri, 26 September 2008 10:00

... But, I guess what I mean is that most of the time, it begins to sound wrong to me as soon as you start to hit more than 4db of reduction...




but isn't that true with MOST compressors?






I DO NOT feel this is true with my GML 8900--not at all.  But it took me a lot of thought and fiddling before the design concept of that box snapped into place for me.  I think its detectors must work very much like our ears (and loudness perception) do.  
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Michael Aarvold
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George_

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Re: Chandler Germanium Compressor
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2008, 05:05:35 pm »

you can squash something to death with a lot of color. it's absolutely cool to compress a distortet vocalsound (for example an already overdriven vocal sound by a Phoenixaudio DRS-2...). It brings the voice in front of the mix.. separation is king.

I don't own one myself, but had a lot of time to mix and play in my friends studio..

I like it so far on voice and bass. you can compress the shit out of a bass like with a distressor.

cheers
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Brian Kehew

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Re: Chandler Germanium Compressor
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2008, 11:19:06 pm »

Silvertone wrote on Mon, 29 September 2008 09:03

wwittman wrote on Mon, 29 September 2008 09:07

ryan streber wrote on Fri, 26 September 2008 10:00

... But, I guess what I mean is that most of the time, it begins to sound wrong to me as soon as you start to hit more than 4db of reduction...



but isn't that true with MOST compressors?




I found that true with most all analog compressors (and many plug in ones as well). Personally the only exception to this I've found is the Weiss DS1 Mk2 on the digital side.



The PYE, RS124 Altec and some JBL compressors sound great when hit really hard, especially the weirdo Altec 1612A; One reason I like them so much, and not a huge fan of LA2's and 1176s. But in this world, backing noise and whoosh is an issue.
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