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Author Topic: Moving into the Analog World  (Read 2514 times)

mmarra

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Moving into the Analog World
« on: November 30, 2011, 08:32:31 AM »

Hello,

I am current looking into getting my first analog EQ & bus compressor. Currently I master ITB and I now have saved up enough money to start building my analog chain. I first want to start with 1 EQ & 1 compressor. I do quite a bit of EDM and Hip-Hop masters but I would like my chain to be as flexible as possible for all types of music....I know that is hard with just two pieces of analog gear but I have many digital plugins that I will still use for now. Also just to let you know my budget is about $7K to 8K as I do have more but it is revered for acoustic/room upgrades and the A/D D/A converter(s).

For my first EQ I have narrowed it down to Sontec MEP 250, Build my own Sontec MEP or Millennia NSEQ-2 w/FF. I leaning towards the NSEQ-FF but the price is a bit out of my range. The Sontec MEP from Vintage King seems right in my price range but I'm just worried about the maintenance of the Sontecs.

I am not too worried about the EQ decision as the comp decision is bugging me more. I would like a vari-mu and have been read that the TC Phoenix is better and faster responding than the Manley but the Manley has a bit more character....and that is what I would want out of vari-mu is some character but not too much

So my question is how does the Manley Vari-Mu compare with the T-bar & HPF? Is the TC Phoenix still better for modern music?

Thank you very much,
Mike
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Mike Marra (P.Eng)
Joćo Carvalho Mastering
http://www.joaocarvalhomastering.com & http://elitemastering.com
Toronto, Canada

bradsarno

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Re: Moving into the Analog World
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2011, 03:34:07 PM »

I strongly recommend having tubes as an option in the analog path somewhere. And good stuff. If you're gonna go analog, take full advantage of what's harmonically possible in that realm. 


Brad

djwaudio

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Re: Moving into the Analog World
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2011, 03:51:40 PM »

Ha! I was just going to recommend stretching the budget to Prism MEA-2 and MLA-2s.  I love my tube stuff, but a high quality clean analog chain can take you very far.

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mmarra

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Re: Moving into the Analog World
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2011, 04:35:38 PM »

Thank you for the feedback....I would love to get the Prism MEA-2 and/or MLA-2 but right now they are a bit too far out of my budget as both would run me about $12k.

The reason I was thinking the Vari-Mu was to get a compressor that can add some character and glue the mix together well.

What I do want out of both my first EQ & comp is to be able to be building blocks in my future chain and not just gear that I will get rid of once I move to mostly analog.

Thanks again,
Mike
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Mike Marra (P.Eng)
Joćo Carvalho Mastering
http://www.joaocarvalhomastering.com & http://elitemastering.com
Toronto, Canada

djwaudio

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Re: Moving into the Analog World
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2011, 09:45:35 PM »

Right, somewhat future proof gear makes sense.  The vari-mu does an excellent job of giving a project a finished sound, and I see they are selling them with switched input gain controls now.  With that I think I could live without the mastering version.
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KAyo

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Re: Moving into the Analog World
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2011, 05:40:38 AM »

Ha! I was just going to recommend stretching the budget to Prism MEA-2 and MLA-2s.  I love my tube stuff, but a high quality clean analog chain can take you very far.

I agree, the Maslec stuff is something else.
For many, it's too sterile and flat and not much character, but, that's exactly what I like about Maslec gear, claen and sturdy sound, all the way. Flattens the mids in a beautiful way..

Expensive stuff.. Yes.


Good luck with your choice.
KAyo
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mmarra

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Re: Moving into the Analog World
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2011, 08:07:37 AM »

Right, somewhat future proof gear makes sense.  The vari-mu does an excellent job of giving a project a finished sound, and I see they are selling them with switched input gain controls now.  With that I think I could live without the mastering version.

That was my thought as well...as I can't justify, at this point, to spend the extra $1500 on the mastering version when I can just take a picture or note on a recall sheet my settings.

Thanks again everyone for help and I'm going to keep the Maslec EQ & comp in my mind for when I purchase more gear in the future.
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Mike Marra (P.Eng)
Joćo Carvalho Mastering
http://www.joaocarvalhomastering.com & http://elitemastering.com
Toronto, Canada

mmarra

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Re: Moving into the Analog World
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2011, 08:19:47 AM »

Does anyone have any experiences and/or feedback on the SPL Kultube compressor? How does this compare, sound wise, to Vari-Mu?

I have read that the Kultube with the Lundahl Transformer upgrade sounds better.
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Mike Marra (P.Eng)
Joćo Carvalho Mastering
http://www.joaocarvalhomastering.com & http://elitemastering.com
Toronto, Canada

djwaudio

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Re: Moving into the Analog World
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2011, 09:27:59 AM »

The SPL specs indicate a "gain cell" is used to control compression. I assume that to be a version of an opto compressor like you would see in a Pendulum OCL2.  The Vari Mu uses vacuum tube rebiasing to achieve dynamic control.

I'm sure both are nice, but will sound different in use. Listening to them both in your setup with some of the mixes you work on is the best way to know what you like.

I'd also consider thinking in terms of an overall mastering system. Once you get into analog processing you can go off the deep end trying all kind of combinations.
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mmarra

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Re: Moving into the Analog World
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2011, 04:42:56 PM »

Thank you for that Dana as I must of over looked the "gain cell" in the description.
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Mike Marra (P.Eng)
Joćo Carvalho Mastering
http://www.joaocarvalhomastering.com & http://elitemastering.com
Toronto, Canada

OneUpMastering

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Re: Moving into the Analog World
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2011, 01:44:42 AM »

The VariMu was one of the first pieces I got for mastering, and at times it has taken a back seat to other units but always winds up pushing its way to the front of the line. The t-bar mod is optional if you are really pushing the unit or use it in "limit" mode, neither of which I do- other than that, in my opinion, you don't notice it at lesser settings. However the HPF is almost a must if you are trying to keep the unit from jumping with bass heavy material. I've also swapped out the tubes in mine and it seems to have more of a "sheen" now - many of my clients mix ITB so the color and sheen helps, some people may not like it for a workhorse. also, the pots on the non-mastering version drift slightly so I got in the practice of checking the cal throughout the day.
A Foote Control P3S ME may also fit well within your budget too (in the $2k range for a mastering compressor)
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mmarra

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Re: Moving into the Analog World
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2011, 07:06:44 AM »

Thank you and yes I don't need to push the compressor hard as it will mostly likely be my glue for mixes. As most of my client mix ITB as well. What tubes did you swap out for to that sheen?

Also yes the Foote P3S ME has been getting great reviews but I pretty set on a variable mu type of compressor.....at least I think...LOL
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Mike Marra (P.Eng)
Joćo Carvalho Mastering
http://www.joaocarvalhomastering.com & http://elitemastering.com
Toronto, Canada
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