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Author Topic: Buzz Audio  (Read 2940 times)

judah

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Buzz Audio
« on: September 17, 2004, 03:07:00 am »

Hi folks,
anyone care to tell me something about Buzz Audio comp and pre?
I see Atlas has them in his shop.
Anyone?

R.
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Ronnie Amighetti
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Fletcher

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Re: Buzz Audio
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2004, 06:53:14 am »

We had them at our shop for a while... and while they're good, clean units, they're just not all that exciting.  

There is nothing about the 2.2 preamp that I didn't think a John Hardy didn't do with a good measure more excitment, as well as a good measure of greater depth and dimension... for a few hundred bucks less... which is why M-A took a pass on the Buzz pre-amps.  There's nothing wrong with the Buzz that we found, it just wasn't special enough in our opinion to stick out from the crowd... they make a smaller 1 RU one that I haven't tried that is a measure less expensive than the 2.2, I don't know how they achieved the price reduction, but if it sounds like the 2.2, it's probably not a bad deal for the money.

The compressor... I had a couple of issues with the compressor.  This unit I definitely felt lacked the depth I look for in a compressor, especially an optical attenuator based compressor.  To me, the best reason to use a compressor that is based around an optical attenuator is because of a seeming depth of audio that can be achieved, as well as the obvious dynamic range reduction aspects.  A well implemented "opto" circuit should leave me with a sense of intimacy, a sense of closeness... two examples of compressors I really love that are based around optical attenuators are the Pendulum Audio OCL-2 and the Manley Labs "Dual Electro-Optical" compressor.  These units impart a depth and musicality to the sound that other compressor don't.  They don't quite have the control over the audio that a FET based compressor or even delta-MU based compressor might have, but they do have a sweetness to the sound that is very often a welcome event.

With the Buzz compressor I felt it lacked that depth, that dimension.  It was very clean sounding, which is a wonderful thing in some regards, but to be perfectly honest, the Pendulum can be run as cleanly as the Buzz... but can also be made to get down and dirty as well as aggressive and urgent in a manner where the Buzz was just a bit to "polite" for my taste.

From what I have heard, Tim Farrant is an excellent designer who has come up with some good, serviceable products.  The products turned out by Buzz seem to be professionally built, good, servicable items.  They also seem to be quite affordable which is indeed a welcome thing to our industry... but on a sonic level, I just didn't find them to be my cup of tea.  

Clean is fine, but I like a level of "excitement" to the clean audio in my world... and for not that many dollars more that would be spent on the Buzz stuff, I think there are units that do "clean" in a better, in my opinion, more musical manner than the Buzz equipment.  Leave it at if I walked into a gig and all that was available was Buzz equipment I wouldn't turn around and walk out of the studio... you can definitely make a very nice sounding recording with the stuff... but if I were making up the equipment list for a studio, the Buzz stuff wouldn't be on it.

I know I'm a pimp, and the store where I pimp doesn't carry the stuff... but please realize that it was an active decision based on the texture of the tonal character of the units... that the Buzz stuff didn't stand out above the other stuff that was already on our roster is why the shop doesn't carry it.  It's not that it's not good stuff, because it is... it's because it wasn't able to add a tone, texture, or dimension to the audio that wasn't already available to us in what we felt was a 'deeper and more musical' event.  I hope this makes some sense... the bottom line is I'm certainly not "dissing" it... it just didn't knock my socks off.

Peace.
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch.  
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

judah

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Re: Buzz Audio
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2004, 08:35:27 am »

hey, nice reply. I think I'll go forward and add a couple M1 to my Hardy frame. It will be lot less money. Regarding the compressor, which application you use it for? I'm looking for a stereo comp to be used on drums, maybe bass, vocals, and maybe on the 2bus.
please enlighten me.

R.
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Ronnie Amighetti
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Re: Buzz Audio
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2004, 08:45:14 am »

judah wrote on Fri, 17 September 2004 09:35

 Regarding the compressor, which application you use it for? I'm looking for a stereo comp to be used on drums, maybe bass, vocals, and maybe on the 2bus.
please enlighten me.

R.


For the money it is certainly not a bad choice!
I prefer the STC-8 but again, for the money.
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Fletcher

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Re: Buzz Audio
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2004, 09:51:29 am »

I dunno... in my twisted little world I have found the Drawmer 1968 to really be a "go to" box for me in so many applications it's really getting a bit silly... it has great control, great flexibility and overall a very maliable tone if you're willing to put in a few minutes to really tailor the sound to the application... I know it's a FET controlled gain reduction cell as opposed to the optical attenuator... but with the tube output section and the way the FET GR cell is controlled, I have found it to really be an extremely versatile all purpose while very affordable piece of gear... but as always... YMMV
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch.  
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

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Re: Buzz Audio
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2004, 01:16:28 pm »

You know Mr. DeSalvo I have to admit that I have a prejudice against Drawmer that is really quite silly. A few years ago I used a Drawmer DL 241 for a summer doing live gigs, it did not impress me at all. I also own a pair of Drawmer DS 201 gates which I hate, my cheap Aphex gates sound better! This aside maybe it is time I grow up and give the 1968 ME a try, my favorite pimp in Montreal is a big fan so are a few of my friends.
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Nathan Eldred

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Re: Buzz Audio
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2004, 03:29:41 pm »

Well, since Fletcher's comments will inevitably sway many now from even giving Buzz audio a fair shake, I feel it's necessary to interject with my opinion.  All of the stuff Fletcher mentioned is great excellent stuff; Hardy, Pendulum, Drawmer.  Wonderful.  Absolutely floats my boat and makes me jump for joy when I hear it.  And so does Buzz Audio.  Depth?  Yes, it's got depth plenty of it.  Coloration?  Subtle, but never sterile, especially now that Sowter transformers are an option on the units.  Their new ARC will be their first to have transformers on the ins and outs if you are looking for that specific kind of sound.    

Even without the transformers, it has a very slight 'euphonic' character that isn't sterile in the slightest.  There is a place for this preamp in the context of a professional mix, where it does certain special things that other things cannot do, and vice versa with the tools that Fletcher mentioned.  Like Slipperman said (and this applies to all pieces of gear and recording technique)...if everything sounds big, then nothing sounds big.   If you can't get mind blowing tracks with any of these high quality pieces, then that engineer should go back to the drawing board of 'engineering 101'.

Although I may be totally wrong, I think part of Fletcher's "excitement" comments derive specifically from transformer based designs, or those with a little 'toob sag'.  That's all fine, but it isn't necessary for a design to sound great, as all of these things are completely different but equally as good on a subjective level, otherwise you would see a lot more lukewarm reactions to Buzz Audio's gear, and one doesn't see that in the public domain.  Hopefully my opinion is warranted here, it's always nice for someone who asks a point blank question to get two sides of the coin, even when those opinions are both hopelessly biased.  And to Fletcher, I'm not looking to turn this into a publicity campaign for Buzz nor am I criticizing your opinion, I've said my side of things as related to my experiences and my philosophy on recording technique.  
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Nathan Eldred

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Re: Buzz Audio
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2004, 05:11:05 pm »

Nathan Eldred wrote on Fri, 17 September 2004 16:29

...it has a very slight 'euphonic' character that isn't sterile in the slightest.


Speaking only for the SOC 1.1 .

I have to agree with "it has a very slight 'euphonic' character" phrase while underlining the 'very slight' part. While using it on stereo bus duties I discovered that with all the controls at their nominal positions with no gain reduction the SOC imparted a sound which was pleasant yet difficult to describe. The Distressor also exhibited this phenomenon although of a different sonic flavour. There was definitely some "depth" there, again underlying the word 'some'.
Maybe Tim planned this, designing the unit with 'subtlety' in mind, this is OK.

On the other hand I would have to disagree with the "isn't sterile in the slightest" quote. The main reason why I did not purchase the unit was a feeling of sterility indeed. NOT THAT THIS IS A BAD THING! Sterility has its place just like any other tangible sonic character. To me sterility equals cleanliness to a degree. Sterility may even be construed by some as 'subtlety' when speaking of the SOC (see above paragraph).

For me, the application and my needs, demanded a palet of sounds from sterility to full on dirt and every nuance in between. Enter units like the Distressor, the Trakker and the SLAM.
Tim asked me what I thought of the SOC 1.1, I told him I found it 'monochromatic', I have a feeling he may not have been fully able to digest the meaning of my description but I was out of  adjectives. I would have used the word 'sterile' but I feared misinterpretation (again see above paragraph).

As far a build quality, serviceability, specifications, componentry, layout and so forth I found the unit beyond reproach. I think Fletcher obviously felt the same way, its just that neither of us had to call for help to pick our jaws off of the floor. This did happen to me however with the first time I used the Trakker and all consecutive times i might add!

Hopefully this clears up my opinion.

After having read my post I fear it may just actually "muddy' things up!
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Nathan Eldred

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Re: Buzz Audio
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2004, 08:19:05 pm »

 
Quote:

This did happen to me however with the first time I used the Trakker and all consecutive times i might add!




Interesting...


It's no secret that I'm intensely thrilled with the Trakker, I don't disagree with you on it being the pinnacle.  But on that note it's apples to oranges considering what the two brands cost in comparison.  I've done quite a few comparisons during one on one demonstrations. At least 10 total people that I've been in the room with on multiple occasions have felt that the Trakker's regular 'clean optical' mode sounds very similar to the Buzz SOC 1.1 with both of them sitting next to each other.  Considering a Trakker costs more than 2x's the SOC (per channel), I would highly expect the Crane Song to be a lot more flexible.  If we are talking about $2000 per single channel, we're getting into a whole different conversation.
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Nathan Eldred

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Re: Buzz Audio
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2004, 08:45:37 pm »

Nathan Eldred wrote on Fri, 17 September 2004 21:19

 I don't disagree with you on it being the pinnacle.  But on that note it's apples to oranges considering what the two brands cost in comparison.  I've done quite a few comparisons during one on one demonstrations. At least 10 total people that I've been in the room with on multiple occasions have felt that the Trakker's regular 'clean optical' mode sounds very similar to the Buzz SOC 1.1 with both of them sitting next to each other.  Considering a Trakker costs more than 2x's the SOC (per channel), I would highly expect the Crane Song to be a lot more flexible.  If we are talking about $2000 per single channel, we're getting into a whole different conversation.



EXACTLY!!!
You,ve pretty much summed up my statement. I was leaving out the financial factor as an obvious given (see my first post). So to re-iterate if I would pay 2.00$ for the SOC sound does it not make sense to pay 4.00$ for two Trakker's offering me the SOC sound plus a dozen more? Maybe it's just my logically driven "Virgoism".
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judah

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Re: Buzz Audio
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2004, 04:59:12 pm »

Thanks to all of you for your precious infos. I decided to spend my money for a couple more Hardy M1 channels. I already have the frame and two channels and use'em on almost everything. That will cover my ass for a while. But I remember speakin with Tim from Buzz Audio a couple years agho and he was really nice. He told me it was possible to get a unit to evaluate for a short while and I'll contact him to get this opportunity. I'm interested in the SOC and right now the price is attractive to say the least. We lucky european should take advantage of teh actual exchange rate between euro and USD. Prices are so low. It won't last long. I'd better hurry up. Maybe there will be some cash left for a Trakker or an STC8. I hope.
Thanks again to all of you. Usefull as usual.

R.
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Ronnie Amighetti
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Re: Buzz Audio
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2004, 06:46:18 pm »

Don't be surprised if you end up keeping the SOC after demo'ing it!
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