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R/E/P => R/E/P Archives => Budget? Budget? We Don't Got No Steekin' Budjet => Topic started by: blueboy on June 15, 2006, 03:33:43 pm

Title: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: blueboy on June 15, 2006, 03:33:43 pm
I'm thinking about getting the RNC to use while tracking as I am not totally happy with using only software compression.

The plan would be to compress lightly on the way in, and then use additional software compression (if needed) during mixdown.

My questions are:

Is this a good idea to work this way?

Is the RNC transparent enough not to mess with the audio too much during tracking if used with discretion?

Would it be advisable to use the "Supernice" mode while tracking vocals?

Thanks for any feedback.

JL
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Vertigo on June 15, 2006, 04:02:58 pm
It's a great idea to work this way, and the RNC is well suited for this task.

Just keep in mind that compressing a signal on the way in sounds a great deal different than compressing a signal on the way out. Unless you're compressing for effect (which the RNC isn't great at anyway), be conservative with your settings, especially while you're getting the "hang" of operating the RNC. It's VERY easy to ruin a track with bad use of compression.

"Supernice" mode is very transparent, and I really like it for tracking vocals. I'll usually comp about 6-9db at a 2:1 ratio (sometimes a bit higher) on the way in, just enough to smooth out the track without really being noticable and leaving plenty of room for additional comping at mixdown. Someone here once posted that compression is like paint - several thin coats are better than one thick coat. This is great advice!

I also love what the RNC does for tracking electric guitars. I'll use it in "Normal" mode, 2:1 ratio, fast attack and fast release, with about 3db of compression on the peaks. It sucks a bit more tone out of the cabs and makes the guitars sound nice and full. Again, be very careful with your attack/release times or you'll wind up with flat, "dead" sounding tracks.

And I think it's great for acoustic guitar, bass DI's, and sometimes the bass mic. But I don't like the RNC on drums at all, although I've heard that some people do.

Definitely a great tool for tracking - good luck!

-Lance
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: blueboy on June 16, 2006, 01:38:10 pm
Thanks very much for the response Lance, I guess you have the definitive answer on this one.

I have to say I am leery about something so "affordable", but it seems to get a lot of positive reviews so I guess I'll give it a try. I'm trying to resist the urge to spend some real bucks on a higher-end compressor until I produce something worthy of the expense.

I figure if the RNC doesn't give me what I want for my recordings, I can always use it in my home theatre system to tame the level of those annoying loud commercials!

JL
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: McAllister on June 16, 2006, 01:44:53 pm
Quote:

I have to say I am leery about something so "affordable", but it seems to get a lot of positive reviews so I guess I'll give it a try.


Do not be put off by it's affordability - it is a fantastic piece. Mark McQ (the designer) made a conscious decision to keep the price low so that more people can use quality tools, rather than selling it for what it's worth. For your stated use, it would be my go to compressor for the fact that there is very, very little coloration or pump.

And if it doesn't work out, I am sure you can sell it for close to what you paid for it.

Good luck.

M
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: kitchener on June 16, 2006, 05:50:17 pm
I have to agree - the FMR is a great little compressor and a FANTASTIC value. I use it on vocals going in, as described by Vertigo, as well as on bass DI, acoustic gtr, etc. Plus, it's stereo, so if you want to strap it across a buss in "supernice" mode, you can...
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: compasspnt on June 16, 2006, 06:18:12 pm

Actually I know someone who has put an RNC across his home entertainment system outputs, just for that purpose!
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: blueboy on June 16, 2006, 09:48:00 pm
People are going to start thinking that I am an audio snob (which I'm not), but I just picked the RNC up and unfortunately it's not going to work for me.

I really wanted to like the RNC as I felt that it would lessen the DSP used on critical tracks like vocals and leave them a little more natural sounding.

While I like the basic sound of the compression this unit offers, the problem is that it seems to filter most of the harmonic richness that I paid for recently with my Rode K2 and GT Brick. It's not bad sounding by any means, but it doesn't preserve the qualities I'm listening for in comparison to using a good quality plugin (or several plugins) after tracking.

My engineering skills probably don't deserve better at this point, but if I can't get my mixes to sound the way I want yet,  I want to at least make sure that I have the best quality source tracks to work with until I improve.

I'm really bummed about this.

I hate to ask, but what is the next step up in quality in compressors that will take me to an equivalent level that the GT Brick is at (i.e. no fancy features, just good "harmonically rich" sound at a reasonable price)?

Thanks again for all the input, I appreciate it, but I guess my personal expectations were too expensive for my budget.

JL

Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: compasspnt on June 16, 2006, 11:28:58 pm

To be brutally honest, of the units that I know well, you can only get what you seek amongst the EAR 660 , Manley Vari-Mu, Lucas, Pendulum ES8, or a vintage UA 176.  Probably the Fearn and Thermionic will do it, but I don't know them as well.

For any of these, you will pay more than $200.

That's my opinion, based on what I perceive that you want.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: blueboy on June 17, 2006, 02:07:27 pm
Thanks for the reply Terry (and the unfortunately brutal honesty).

I don't want to give the impression that I was expecting the level of performance of the units you mentioned from a $200 piece of gear.

As I'm not familiar with the sound of all the models, I can't say at what level I'd be satisfied with, but you are most likely right in terms of perceiving the quality level that I would ultimately prefer (given unlimited funding of course). That's why I was afraid to ask!

I was thinking that a lot of the high dollar models were sought after primarily for their "character", and not necessarily their ability to preserve the original signal. While I would love to have a palette of colours to choose from, I would be happy with a basic uncoloured compressor that retains all the harmonic content of the original signal. What I'm hearing with the RNC is  kind of like going from brand new strings to month old strings the instant that I switch it in (even without any compression). I'm not knocking the unit at all as I think it is a great little compressor, but the qualities that are important to me personally are lacking.

I'm probably a little more hypersensitive about what I'm hearing as well. I have never had any problems with my hearing in the past and had always been very aware protecting my ears when playing in bands. But a while back I had a totally unexpected "headphone accident" that left me with incredibly loud tinnitus for over 4 months. I thought I was going to go insane as it was so loud that it affected my ability to sleep. Fortunately the tinnitus has subsided (except when I am under stress), but I now have 1000 times the appreciation for my hearing. I do have some very minor high frequency loss, but I am not sure if it was caused by my "near deaf" experience, or from previously playing in bands, or even if it is age related. All I know is that I am going to enjoy every last second of my hearing for the rest of my life, and that I am extremely grateful to still have relatively good hearing. The whole experience has definitely "opened my ears".

Anyway, I'm sure there are lots of mics that are better than the K2, and many higher quality preamps than the Brick, but they sound pretty good together to me, and they are reasonably priced. I was hoping for an equivalent price/performance ratio in a compressor. Realistically, I would want to spend less than a grand. If I fell in love with something, I might push it out to $1500, but I can't justify higher than that without some expectation of return on investment (of which there is none).

If I can't find any reasonably priced hardware that works for me, maybe I will break down and get the UAD-1 as their compressors seem to be considered the best overall in terms of software options.

Again, thanks for your input. This forum is always a great learning experience.

JL



Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: hargerst on June 17, 2006, 05:44:53 pm
blueboy wrote on Sat, 17 June 2006 13:07

What I'm hearing with the RNC is  kind of like going from brand new strings to month old strings the instant that I switch it in (even without any compression).

Then there's something wrong with that RNC or your setup; even with 6 dB of compression, the RNC should be flat out to about 200 KHz.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Vertigo on June 17, 2006, 06:14:54 pm
Quote:

 the problem is that it seems to filter most of the harmonic richness that I paid for recently with my Rode K2 and GT Brick


That doesn't sound like any RNC that I've ever used. Granted, it's not the best on every source, but it's not a unit that's known to make a source sound bad or detract from the original content of the signal. Could this possibly be an impedence issue due to the RNC's unbalanced operation?

-Lance
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: blueboy on June 17, 2006, 08:55:02 pm
I'm still playing around with it and I haven't ruled out user error or a defective unit, but everything appears to be setup and working correctly.

The Brick has a transformer balanced out and I am using the proper XLR Female to Unbalanced 1/4" Male cable with PIN-2 to TIP, PINs 3 and 1 to SLEEVE (ground) as recommended by FMR. I had wired my own originally, but purchased a premade one recently and have been using that. The RNC unbalanced output goes directly to my converters/software mixer/powered monitors or headphones.

The A/B comparison I'm doing is with the bypass function on the RNC itself. With bypass in, the signal is fine. As soon as I switch the bypass function off (even without compression) the richness that I listen for disappears. It doesn't sound "bad" or that the frequency response has changed dramatically, it's just that the "chime-y" quality of my acoustic guitar, or the immediacy of a breathy vocal for example is dulled slightly. I'm assuming that if there were a problem with the way that I have it hooked up, it would sound wrong even when the bypass function is engaged, but that's not the case. Does it sound like there is anything wrong with the way I am hooking things up?

As I said, I may just be hypersensitive to this, or it may just be my inexperience in using hardware compressors combined with unrealistic expectations. I have been used to capturing the audio raw and then using software compression, and that has retained the signal quality I'm looking for. I've never been totally happy with compressor plugins though, and I find that I have to use several of them in series with only a small amount of compression on each in order to get close to what I want.

Anyone reading this should definitely not put my opinion on the same level as any of the experienced engineers around here (or even consider it at all), as I don't consider myself to be one. While I think that I have a pretty good ear, it doesn't mean that I know what I doing, or even that I could take advantage of the quality that I'm looking for by mixing the recorded audio properly. I'm still learning.

As with anything, people need to listen for themselves, and heed the advice of the pros.

Somehow I have a feeling that I would be very happy with the EAR660 though....just no longer married...

JL

(I'm not an engineer, I just play one on the internet!)





Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: maxim on June 17, 2006, 09:10:05 pm
"I would be very happy with the EAR660 though....just no longer married..."

it will keep you warm at night (especially, if you leave it on)

Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: xonlocust on June 20, 2006, 01:04:33 pm
blueboy - i've noticed the same thing with my RNCs, i've thought it was sort of like putting piece of gauze over the signal.  they still definitely get use, but aren't always my first choice.  

of the stuff i've used and like that you might look into:

- dbx 160x (probably in your budget)
- valley dynamite (probably in your budget)
- urei LA-4 (a little more)
- manley elop (probably too expensive)

they all have thier own character, but i don't find any of them putting the "gauze" i feel w/the RNC.

Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: theo mack on June 23, 2006, 02:18:46 am
xonlocust wrote on Tue, 20 June 2006 10:04

blueboy - i've noticed the same thing with my RNCs, i've thought it was sort of like putting piece of gauze over the signal.  they still definitely get use, but aren't always my first choice.  

of the stuff i've used and like that you might look into:

- dbx 160x (probably in your budget)
- valley dynamite (probably in your budget)
- urei LA-4 (a little more)
- manley elop (probably too expensive)

they all have thier own character, but i don't find any of them putting the "gauze" i feel w/the RNC.




Blueboy,
Here's my .02 take it or leave it.
From your own posts it appears (forgive me if I'm wrong) that you are a relative novice at this art vs. science thing we call recording.

With that in mind, you do appear to have a natural ear. and have made some decisions you are happy with as far as your recording chain goes.

Here's the thing:
The RNC is inexpensive and arguably the best value out there as far as quality vs price + functionality.

It has a couple drawbacks for the relatively new engineer:

1, the unbalanced / balanced connection thing.
If you mess this up you will immiediatly get a weak signal and be unhappy. It seems like you have this sorted.

2, Too much control for a novice.
The power of this comp is the high degree of control you have with attack and release. The RNC has the possibility of really fast attack and Rel control. More than most comps out there. If you have these controls set too fast you will certainly get a undesirable sound. even in super nice mode.

It's unfortunate that the few bad reviews out there for the rnc (seem to me) are related to these two issues. Search bass RNC threads.

Even the big time producers and engineers out there use a much simpler comp for tracking.
Such as: LA-2a LA-3a for tracking. Both being no attack / release control. Just look for a few db of GR and let it go.
Or, if they use a 1176 or disstressor it is with slower at/ rel times for tracking. Or for the cool pump you get with faster settings.

Anyway, Bottom line. Keep your RNC and if you can afford it get a reissue LA3a or a LA2a for tracking. It's really hard to fuck it up with those.

Regarding the quote:
160x Yeah maybe, but still too fast.
Dynamite, too much color and hard to control (no threshold control)
LA4, yes go for it, Make sure its in good shape and terminated right.
Manley elop, If you can afford it Yes.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Vertigo on June 27, 2006, 11:07:40 am
The resulting sound of a compressor is always going to be source dependent - if you don't like the sound of the RNC on a particular source then use something else. But you WILL find a source you like it on. Just keep working with it.

-Lance
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: rankus on June 27, 2006, 06:38:21 pm
xonlocust wrote on Tue, 20 June 2006 10:04



blueboy - i've noticed the same thing with my RNCs, i've thought it was sort of like putting piece of gauze over the signal.  



This was my experience with the rNC as well.

I could hear a definite loss of harmonic content in the signal even in bypass.  

I had taken one to try and returned it the next day... then took my old DBX 160 in for repair and never looked back.  (note the DBX's are a little "grainy" but I kind of like that.)

I even tried one of the newer DBX multi channel (1060?) units and it went back in mere minutes... They just don't make em like they used to. Get an older unit IE: the "160x"


EDIT:  It appears that I may be mistaken about this unit... Please ignore my post, and see Harvey and my comments below...
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Vertigo on June 28, 2006, 10:56:13 am
I actually don't mind the DBX 166's - grainy (like most of the DBX units I've used), but I find that a very good thing on certain sources. I used to use one in parallel on drums and liked it a lot.

I've got a pair of old 163's that are pretty cool on some things too. Thinking about sending them in to Jim Williams for an upgrade. Hmmm...

-Lance
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: hargerst on June 28, 2006, 02:43:21 pm
Okay, I just got off the phone with Mark McQ about this.  If you hear it with bypass in, there's something wrong with your cabling or terminating equipment; the RNC is hardwired in bypass mode. He did say that if your next piece of gear is designed for 600 ohm sources, that can roll off the top end, but it ain't the RNC's fault - it's flat out to beyond 100 KHz (down 0.5 dB @ 120 KHz).  

If you're having problems with the RNC, he asked that you call him and he'll do his best to solve the problem.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: spoon on June 29, 2006, 12:03:33 pm
hargerst wrote on Wed, 28 June 2006 13:43

Okay, I just got off the phone with Mark McQ about this.  If you hear it with bypass in, there's something wrong with your cabling or terminating equipment; the RNC is hardwired in bypass mode. He did say that if your next piece of gear is designed for 600 ohm sources, that can roll off the top end, but it ain't the RNC's fault - it's flat out to beyond 100 KHz (down 0.5 dB @ 120 KHz).  

If you're having problems with the RNC, he asked that you call him and he'll do his best to solve the problem.


That's interesting.

I only have a small personal studio but I still made a sheet with all my device I/O options.  With pertinent info like maximum level and ohm requirements (among other bits).  

This helps me identify areas of potential overload and any interface issues (like the ones apparently encountered above).

I did this with my mics too.

I has helped me attach some science (empirical evidence) to the things I hear as I experiment with my setup.

I'm sure others do this...but I wanted to bring to light what a useful tool it can be.

Regards,
David
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: hargerst on June 29, 2006, 03:03:36 pm
Good points. Mark also mentioned that a few people who had Neve preamps (or clones) complained about the low end dropping out when hooked to an RNC.  It's not the RNC's fault.  Just make sure the neutral wire of the Neve/Clone's output transformer is tied to ground.  Simple solution.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: rankus on June 29, 2006, 10:57:13 pm

Thanks Harvey.

I retract my complaints about this unit... I must have had an impedance issue that I missed in testing (although I was pretty carefull)... dang!

Perhaps worth noting:  I was coming out of a Brick Pre into the RNC, and I notice one of the neg posts above was also using a brick... It may be that this is a similar issue as with the Neve? (I was going into an RME Multiface card.)

I was careful to have the correct cabling etc.

Crawls away with egg on face....
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: blueboy on June 30, 2006, 12:19:04 am
As mentioned above, I was coming out of the Brick using the proper cabling into the RNC, then out to an EMU 1820M.

The 1820M has an input impedance of 10k ohm, and is servo balanced so that it can accept a balanced or unbalanced input. I was using a 1/4" unbalanced cable to go from the RNC to the 1820M.

Also as mentioned, I only heard a problem when the RNC bypass mode was "off". With the bypass function "on", it was fine. Some people may find the difference really subtle, and I probably wouldn't have noticed it as quickly if they hadn't put a bypass mode switch on the unit.

I skipped electronics 101 so forgive me if it sounds like I've hooked it up wrong, but as far as I can tell, this setup should work properly.

Does it sound like I may be overlooking something?

JL
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: hargerst on June 30, 2006, 12:44:44 am
At this point, why not give Mark a call?  He knows the insides of that beast way better than I do.  His number is: (512) 280-6557

Tell him about this thread and maybe he can explain some stuff to all of us.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: hargerst on July 06, 2006, 08:19:26 pm
blueboy wrote on Thu, 29 June 2006 23:19

As mentioned above, I was coming out of the Brick using the proper cabling into the RNC, then out to an EMU 1820M.

Does it sound like I may be overlooking something?

JL

No you're not overlooking anything.  I just got off the phone with Mark, and yes, there can be a problem using the Brick with an RNC, but it ain't eggzactly the RNC's fault.  

It gets pretty technical, but here's the simple version:

There is a certain range in the Brick's output where the output of the Brick becomes asymmetrical, and produces some nice 2nd harmonic overtones that ain't present in the original signal.  It's distortion, but it's a very nice sounding distortion.

Now, let's move to the RNC for a moment.  Mark has spent most of his life fighting distortion and figuring out ways to get his equipment down to absurdly low levels distortion. Asymmetrical distortion is one of those distortions and Mark has a pot inside the RNC that he hand trims on each unit to reduce asymmetrical distortion in the RNC.  That makes the RNC VERY linear, as many people here have already verified.

So, what happens when you run this signal from the Brick (with it's added asymmetrical distortion) into the RNC?  The RNC basically quotes Shaksphere, and says in effect, "Out, damn Spot", and makes the signal linear again.  

"But" you say, "I like the distortion (or 'rich harmonics')".  "Isn't there a way to keep them?"

Maybe, I don't know for sure, but the RNC isn't the soul problem here; you're running an effects generator when you're using the Brick in this particular range, and the RNC (thinking the incoming signal has a problem) is cleaning up the problem it perceives.

It's a weird situation; both the Brick and the RNC are doing exactly what they're both designed for, but the RNC didn't know that people were actually gonna like and use this type of distortion from time to time.  

If you turn the gain down on the Brick just a little bit, the asymmetrical distortion will disappear and the RNC and Brick will play together happily.  But, since the asymmetrical distortion is something you like, Mark is trying to find a way to let it thru the RNC in some kind of workaround.

It's a one in a million occurance, and it happens only when the Brick is in one particular spot.  

I expect to hear more from Mark on this shortly, and I'm hoping he'll honor us by posting here directly and fielding any technical questions.

And for those of you who are oldtimers here will recall, Mark is well respected by people like Rupert Neve and Dan Kennedy, so insults, name calling, and disrespect will not be tolerated here if Mark does choose to respond.

Keep it civil, speak of what you really know, and maybe we can get a few more manufacturers to visit here and answer questions about their products.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: blueboy on July 06, 2006, 10:39:20 pm
Thanks very much Harvey.

I had sent an email to Mark with a link to this thread a few days ago and I was hoping for a reply soon, but it looks like you beat me to it.

I returned the unit a few weeks ago, but if there turns out to be a solution for the problem I had when using it with the Brick, I'd definitely reconsider the RNC. In fact I would love it if it would work for me.

Hopefully Mark will post a reply on this thread. If not, I will keep you posted with any email reply I receive.

Thanks again.

JL
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: rankus on July 07, 2006, 06:41:54 pm


Awesome Harvey!  No wonder you are an "Internet Legend" it's well deserved... you are diligent generous and patient!

It would have been too easy to say "these guys are hearing things" or "what do they know"... etc.

Thanks for tackling this for us Brick users, and for FMR who I'm sure are very appreciative as well... I may very well try this unit again, if we can find a workaround...

And the best part of all this, is the confirmation that my ears work as well as my ego thinks they do. Rolling Eyes

What a great thread from the "lets share knowledge" perspective. This is what this place is all about!
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: ricknroll on July 07, 2006, 08:59:19 pm
hargerst wrote on Thu, 06 July 2006 17:19


So, what happens when you run this signal from the Brick (with it's added asymmetrical distortion) into the RNC?  The RNC basically quotes Shaksphere, and says in effect, "Out, damn Spot", and makes the signal linear again.  

"But" you say, "I like the distortion (or 'rich harmonics')".  "Isn't there a way to keep them?"

Maybe, I don't know for sure, but the RNC isn't the soul problem here; you're running an effects generator when you're using the Brick in this particular range, and the RNC (thinking the incoming signal has a problem) is cleaning up the problem it perceives.


Maybe I'm missing something, because that explanation doesn't make sense to me.  How could the RNC "know" that part of the signal is asymmetrical distortion?  I'm thinking of how a basic distortion analyzer works...you run a sine wave through the piece of gear you are testing and take the output of that device back into the distortion analyzer.  The distortion analyzer combines a reversed polarity version of the sine wave with the incoming signal and you are left with just the distortion (kind of like the opposite of what balanced cables are designed to do).  But that measurement is predicated on having the original sine wave with which to compare the distorted signal.  How can the RNC "know" there is distortion when the signal going into it already contains the distortion?

Rick (owner of two RNCs and one RNLA)
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: hargerst on July 08, 2006, 12:55:19 am
It doesn't "make sense" because that's the simple explanation - without all the techy stuff.  Not super accurate, but good enough, hopefully, until Mark gets here and explains it better.

Basically, in this one very small range of the Brick (Brick gain set around -32 to -35dB), it's putting out exactly the same kind of asymmetrical signal the RNC is tuned to eliminate.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Andy Peters on July 10, 2006, 05:55:20 pm
hargerst wrote on Thu, 06 July 2006 17:19

Asymmetrical distortion is one of those distortions and Mark has a pot inside the RNC that he hand trims on each unit to reduce asymmetrical distortion in the RNC.


I haven't opened up an RNC to see what's inside, so I'll guess that they use a THAT VCA.

Is the pot you mention the symmetry trim pot recommended by THAT on their 2181 VCA data sheet?

Seems to me that every manufacturer using this device has to trim it (or use the laser-trimmed 2181 part).  IOW: whoop-de-do.

-a
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: hargerst on July 10, 2006, 05:59:07 pm
Andy Peters wrote on Mon, 10 July 2006 16:55

hargerst wrote on Thu, 06 July 2006 17:19

Asymmetrical distortion is one of those distortions and Mark has a pot inside the RNC that he hand trims on each unit to reduce asymmetrical distortion in the RNC.


I haven't opened up an RNC to see what's inside, so I'll guess that they use a THAT VCA.

Is the pot you mention the symmetry trim pot recommended by THAT on their 2181 VCA data sheet?

Seems to me that every manufacturer using this device has to trim it (or use the laser-trimmed 2181 part).  IOW: whoop-de-do.

-a


Yes, Mark hand trims all RNC's before they get packed up.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Trumpetman2 on July 11, 2006, 08:02:55 am
rankus wrote on Tue, 27 June 2006 18:38

xonlocust wrote on Tue, 20 June 2006 10:04



blueboy - i've noticed the same thing with my RNCs, i've thought it was sort of like putting piece of gauze over the signal.  



This was my experience with the rNC as well.

I could hear a definite loss of harmonic content in the signal even in bypass.  

I had taken one to try and returned it the next day... then took my old DBX 160 in for repair and never looked back.  (note the DBX's are a little "grainy" but I kind of like that.)

I even tried one of the newer DBX multi channel (1060?) units and it went back in mere minutes... They just don't make em like they used to. Get an older unit IE: the "160x"


EDIT:  It appears that I may be mistaken about this unit... Please ignore my post, and see Harvey and my comments below...



Well, you guys are not wrong...I have had 3 RNCs, and each time I end up selling it or giving it away to a friend.  I currently have one and made some comparisons with a Yamaha GC 2020C compressor I just got on e-bay....and the RNC does sound like it muffles the sound.  The overtones of my recorded trumpet were gone with the RNC - they are there when I use the Yammie (hook-up is the same). So, I'm sorry to say that I don't think the RNC works for me...if it does for you, great!
Smile
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Trumpetman2 on July 12, 2006, 07:52:28 am
 Cool So, does anyone else have a Yamaha compressor they love...?
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Jack Schitt on July 12, 2006, 09:57:20 am
I have an Alesis compressor that sucks.....
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Andy Peters on July 13, 2006, 05:37:55 pm
hargerst wrote on Mon, 10 July 2006 14:59

Andy Peters wrote on Mon, 10 July 2006 16:55

hargerst wrote on Thu, 06 July 2006 17:19

Asymmetrical distortion is one of those distortions and Mark has a pot inside the RNC that he hand trims on each unit to reduce asymmetrical distortion in the RNC.


I haven't opened up an RNC to see what's inside, so I'll guess that they use a THAT VCA.

Is the pot you mention the symmetry trim pot recommended by THAT on their 2181 VCA data sheet?

Seems to me that every manufacturer using this device has to trim it (or use the laser-trimmed 2181 part).  IOW: whoop-de-do.


Yes, Mark hand trims all RNC's before they get packed up.


I would imagine that someone on the dbx assembly line trims their compressors, too.

-a
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Vertigo on July 14, 2006, 10:33:35 am
Yes, you're all correct - the RNC is terrible. You'd be better off buying a DBX or a Behringer and contributing your RNC to my non-profit shelter for wayward comps. PM me for the address.

-Lance
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Trumpetman2 on July 14, 2006, 11:37:44 am
Vertigo wrote on Fri, 14 July 2006 10:33

Yes, you're all correct - the RNC is terrible. You'd be better off buying a DBX or a Behringer and contributing your RNC to my non-profit shelter for wayward comps. PM me for the address.

-Lance



You jest, but I'll tell you I just picked up a Yamaha GC 2020C and it is so much better than the RNC it isn't funny.  If you want the RNC I'll let you have it for $100..... Cool
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: hargerst on July 17, 2006, 01:06:49 pm
Trumpetman2 wrote on Fri, 14 July 2006 10:37

I just picked up a Yamaha GC 2020C and it is so much better than the RNC it isn't funny.

Well, I introduced Mark McQuilken to Aspen Pittman at the NAMM show this weekend, and they spend several hours discussing the problem of using the RNC with the Brick.  They think they came up with a possible solution and Mark is working on testing it.  

The problem is caused by the Brick acting as an effect box in a particular range.  While the RNC may not work well for Trumpetman2, it is still an incredible value, and will a great addition to most peoples equipment lockers. As Fletcher would say, "YMMV".
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Jim Williams on August 02, 2006, 10:34:21 am
I had a chance to repair and test one last spring. The repairs were the power supply reg's fried and the wart jack was damaged.

It uses an AD OP-275 dual opamp and other "stuff" for gain reduction. A dbx rms chip is there, but no dbx vca.

On the Audio Precision, I got to test all it's parameters.
THD+noise was poor, averaging around .1%, too high for a solid state comp. The THD vs amplitude shows a strange jump in THD above +6 db, sort of like a jump up of 10 db of dirt above +6 db. This could be a problem for those feeding A/D converters that need high levels.

The "super nice mode" switch really messes things up, THD goes up to about 4%, higher than what I measure with tube compressors.

The compression knees are not linear. They do a strange gain jumping, up 2 db, down 2 db as levels increase. I've never seen this before in any compressor I've measured.

I would not place this design into the class of clean compressors, but rather into a specialty class of color comps.
Let's hope these issues are addressed in the next revision.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: hargerst on August 02, 2006, 01:27:11 pm
Jim, this flies in the face of all the measurements I took on a Neutrik A2 test station, or watched Mark make on his Audio Precision test station.  You might wanna call Mark - it sounds like that unit still has some problems.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Kurt Foster on August 04, 2006, 07:15:26 pm
This is a first for me. I've never seen this one before. Even the cheapest pieces I have used would at least play together in some sort of a reasonable fashion.

Are there any other pre amps that exhibit these same "asymmetrical distortions" that will not play well with the RNC? More important, are there any other compressors that don't play well with the "Brick"?  If not then I would submit that these issues are more with the RNC rather than the "Brick" ... at least that's how it appears to me.

For what it's worth when I had a pair of the Bricks here for testing they worked fine with all my compressors and limiters, (Dyna-Mite, 1178, Manley El Op and UREI LA4's)  ... including the plugs in my music software. In all my yeas in the production biz, I have never seen a compressor mic pre combination that had this problem.
________________________________
Kurt Foster credits include: Brownie McGhee, cult following guitarist, Kenny “Blue" Ray, Jackie Payne (Johnny Otis Band), "Broadway" John Tucker, Nik Turner Space Ritual (with other members of Hawkwind) Jeff Larson, Paul "Polo" Jones (of Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, Whitney Houston) and individual members of The Doobie Brothers, Tower of Power, Huey Lewis and The News and The Tubes
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: jdier on August 18, 2006, 08:36:08 pm
blueboy wrote on Sat, 17 June 2006 02:48

People are going to start thinking that I am an audio snob (which I'm not), but I just picked the RNC up and unfortunately it's not going to work for me.

I really wanted to like the RNC as I felt that it would lessen the DSP used on critical tracks like vocals and leave them a little more natural sounding.

While I like the basic sound of the compression this unit offers, the problem is that it seems to filter most of the harmonic richness that I paid for recently with my Rode K2 and GT Brick. It's not bad sounding by any means, but it doesn't preserve the qualities I'm listening for in comparison to using a good quality plugin (or several plugins) after tracking.

My engineering skills probably don't deserve better at this point, but if I can't get my mixes to sound the way I want yet,  I want to at least make sure that I have the best quality source tracks to work with until I improve.

I'm really bummed about this.

I hate to ask, but what is the next step up in quality in compressors that will take me to an equivalent level that the GT Brick is at (i.e. no fancy features, just good "harmonically rich" sound at a reasonable price)?

Thanks again for all the input, I appreciate it, but I guess my personal expectations were too expensive for my budget.

JL




I am not all that bright, but I have a feeling you are either using it wrong or your unit is broke.  I think that the RNC should shine for the little amount of control you are looking for.  

I would work with it some more and see if you can make it work.

I have three RNC's and one RNLA and just cannot say enough good things about them (but I am not one that uses compressors heavily, just for some control.)
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: dunc on August 26, 2006, 04:43:45 am
I set up a shootout file with 8 different compressors in the price range of the RNC. The winner was the SafeSound P1, which seemed to be transparent and rich at the same time. I did notice a slight change in the sound through all the other units. Most of them thinned the sound somewhat, some added grain, or a glassy high end (Bellari RP583). The loser was the Focusrite Trakmaster, which sounded like it had a cardboard emulator in the circuit. But that's another story. With the RNP/RNC, the sound seemed slightly veiled. It wasn't unpleasant. In fact, in my notes it says 'yellow rich sound'. Curious, I set the RNC threshold so that no led's were lit, tried the bypass switch, and the sound cleared up. What does it all mean? Could've been a level issue. Could be it specs out perfectly but sounds different. After reading Jim Williams comments about the RNC, I don't feel so bad about preferring the SafeSound unit. I just hope he never specks out that unit. I'd hate to find out that my  new 'golden' comp is crap. Especially now that I have two.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: d gauss on September 08, 2006, 01:05:20 pm
any updates on the brick/RNC issue?  having just bought a brick, i was just about to record an albums worth of vocals via a laptop at the client's house, and the brick/rnc combination is what i was considering...until i read all this Smile

-d. gauss
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: compasspnt on September 08, 2006, 01:42:47 pm
blueboy wrote on Fri, 16 June 2006 21:48


While I like the basic sound of the compression this unit offers, the problem is that it seems to filter most of the harmonic richness that I paid for recently with my Rode K2 and GT Brick.

...I hate to ask, but what is the next step up in quality in compressors that will take me to an equivalent level that the GT Brick is at (i.e. no fancy features, just good "harmonically rich" sound at a reasonable price)?





Hi Jeff,

The more I think about this, the more it seems you are right.  There really is a "missing link" out there, as compressors go.

Both the K2 and The Brick do give a higher level of sound quality than you have a right to expect for the cost.

But so far I haven't seen a compressor that does so, in a reasonable price range.  There may be one, but I don't know of it.

And I'm also afraid that my very first response to your first post is really holding true.

As we do build our own tube compressors here, and use them every day, on every session, I am very familiar with the sound I like, with what goes inside of them, and with what those materials cost.

I would love to find a way to build a really good valve one at a low cost though...
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: blueboy on September 08, 2006, 11:29:40 pm
compasspnt wrote on Fri, 08 September 2006 10:42



There really is a "missing link" out there, as compressors go.

...

I would love to find a way to build a really good valve one at a low cost though...



I definitely would be the first in line to buy one if you could make it affordable, as I haven't found any other alternatives yet.  

I'm kind of regretting starting this thread though, as it may have been interpreted in the wrong way by some. Everyone hears things differently, and some things are more important to some than others. Whatever the cause is for what I heard with the RNC, I think people just need to try the RNC for themselves to see if it works for them. To me, the K2 and Brick seem to offer sound quality that is in a different league than the RNC.

While you're working on the compressor Terry...I could use a nice (affordable) EQ as well...

Unfortunately, I have a feeling I will be shelling out big bucks to get what I want.

Thanks again for your input on the K2 and Brick. I am still extremely happy with both.

Regards,

JL
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Bill_Urick on September 10, 2006, 11:31:19 pm
compasspnt wrote on Fri, 08 September 2006 18:42

blueboy wrote on Fri, 16 June 2006 21:48


While I like the basic sound of the compression this unit offers, the problem is that it seems to filter most of the harmonic richness that I paid for recently with my Rode K2 and GT Brick.

...I hate to ask, but what is the next step up in quality in compressors that will take me to an equivalent level that the GT Brick is at (i.e. no fancy features, just good "harmonically rich" sound at a reasonable price)?





Hi Jeff,

The more I think about this, the more it seems you are right.  There really is a "missing link" out there, as compressors go.

Both the K2 and The Brick do give a higher level of sound quality than you have a right to expect for the cost.

But so far I haven't seen a compressor that does so, in a reasonable price range.  There may be one, but I don't know of it.

And I'm also afraid that my very first response to your first post is really holding true.

As we do build our own tube compressors here, and use them every day, on every session, I am very familiar with the sound I like, with what goes inside of them, and with what those materials cost.

I would love to find a way to build a really good valve one at a low cost though...



Terry,

Would you be willing to share any info on the compressors you are building?

Thanks!
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: compasspnt on September 11, 2006, 01:21:44 am
Bill Urick wrote on Sun, 10 September 2006 23:31

 
Terry,

Would you be willing to share any info on the compressors you are building?



Here's the basic spiel.

http://members.aol.com/lucaseng/
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: CHANCE on September 11, 2006, 09:23:42 pm
Trumpetman2 wrote on Wed, 12 July 2006 04:52

 Cool So, does anyone else have a Yamaha compressor they love...?



I've got a GC-2020B that I use on occasion
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Trumpetman2 on September 18, 2006, 10:31:22 am
so what do you think..? is it more "usable" than the RNC? Cool
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: CHANCE on September 18, 2006, 10:44:33 am
Trumpetman2 wrote on Mon, 18 September 2006 07:31

so what do you think..? is it more "usable" than the RNC? Cool



I don't have an RNC
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: neustation on February 04, 2007, 03:48:11 pm
Hello All,

I also thought the RNC put a gauze type sound over the tracks I used it on. My solution was to mod the unit by replacing all the electrolytic caps (which are xicon brand, not really great for high frequencies) with panasonic FM caps (105C,low ESR,high frequency). The veil was gone and I find the RNC to sound more transparent. It was worth while to do. It would be nice if FMR would just put Panasonic FM's in it stock, but I bet it would cost them a lot more money to do so on a large scale.

I spend about $10.00 on the panasonic FM caps, you can get them from digikey. Also the bi-polar eletrolytics (these would be the dark blue colored caps, the xicon's are light blue colored caps with a polarity strip on them) in the RNC are pretty good panasonics so no need to replace these.

Out Here,

Robert

p.s. I am not an audiophile weirdo, I just recapped my whole studio in November and I did the RNC as an experiment.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: TB-AV on February 05, 2007, 01:27:51 pm
I'm not doubting your results so please don't take my question that way, but since you recapped your entire studio, is there a chance the change you heard was from other areas in the signal chain?

If not, and you feel certain you have removed that veil by the caps, can you describe the difficulty in doing so. I have never had the cover off. Is it a pretty straight forward / easy replacement?

TB
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: hargerst on February 05, 2007, 01:41:59 pm
I'm still at a loss to explain the "gauze effect" you guys are hearing.  When I checked my RNC with a Neutrik A2 audio test station, the damn thing was flat out to about 200 KHz - with 6 dB of compression going !!!

Is this signal coming out of the GT Brick, then into the RNC?  There is a known problem there.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: TB-AV on February 05, 2007, 03:16:08 pm
I have not used mine in a while but I never recall hearing anything either. I have 2 and can remember fiddling around with both of them when I first got them because I wondered if they were working as they were so transparent.

TB
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: jimmyjazz on February 05, 2007, 04:13:46 pm
Harvey, did Mark ultimately decline to come on board and discuss the RNC?
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: TB-AV on February 06, 2007, 12:45:28 pm
Yes, I always wanted to hear the final word on that issue.

I just can't for the life of me understand how one electronic device ( RNC ) can distinguish it's input from another.

In my way of thinking, if it has an issue with the output waveform of one item ( Brick ) it should have it with others no matter what they are.

TB

Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: hargerst on February 06, 2007, 01:14:11 pm
No, it's strictly a problem with specific asymmetrical wave forms that are nulled out in the DSP processing of the RNC. And it's not a problem with the Brick, unless the gain control is set to around 2 to 3 o'clock.

I'll call Mark and see if he'll come here and explain it a lot better.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: neustation on February 15, 2007, 05:15:45 pm
TB-AV wrote on Mon, 05 February 2007 13:27

I'm not doubting your results so please don't take my question that way, but since you recapped your entire studio, is there a chance the change you heard was from other areas in the signal chain?

If not, and you feel certain you have removed that veil by the caps, can you describe the difficulty in doing so. I have never had the cover off. Is it a pretty straight forward / easy replacement?

TB



Hi,

It pretty easy. take off all the knobs on the front, and the little screws on the front and the back, also take off the nuts for the 1/4" jacks on the back, the board slides out of the case. de-solder with some de-soldering braid and clean the board with some 94% alcohol (or the highest you can get up to 99%), then solder in new caps, then clean again with 94% alcohol.

I only tested with the RNC between my DA, to pre-amp, to amp, no changes were made in the pre, the amp or the DA. The high frequencies sound better.

Out,

Robert

p.s. don't mess with the little pots on the board, which have little screws. These are for calibrating the compressor chips.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: TB-AV on February 19, 2007, 12:24:32 pm
Thanks!
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: refd on March 01, 2007, 04:47:57 pm
hargerst wrote on Tue, 06 February 2007 12:14

No, it's strictly a problem with specific asymmetrical wave forms that are nulled out in the DSP processing of the RNC. And it's not a problem with the Brick, unless the gain control is set to around 2 to 3 o'clock.



eh?

the FMR RNC is digitally controlled, but it has a totally analog signal path.

DSP has nowt to do with the "gauze" as there are no converters handling audio.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Vertigo on March 11, 2007, 01:09:48 pm
How hard are you guys hitting these things? I can get that "gauze" effect from the RNC, but only by slamming it. I find the RNC to be a fairly aggressive compressor, which is why Supernice mode comes in so handy. A little goes a long way with the RNC.

I'm a bit skeptical about the Panasonic FM caps "clearing up the gauze", unless there was something wrong with the original caps in the first place. Then again, I've seen stranger things - I'll give this a try on one of my RNC's and see what happens.

-Lance
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: compasspnt on March 12, 2007, 12:00:44 am
Then do it to two, so you have that "Matched Pair."
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: Vertigo on March 12, 2007, 12:46:20 am
A handful of caps and a can of red Rustoleum... Good times!!

-Lance
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: zekmoe on March 15, 2007, 10:20:06 am
Harvey,
have you used the RNC with a Soundtracs Topaz24? I wanted to get one or two for use and wondered if there was any issue or compatability in this setup.
Thanks
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: hargerst on March 15, 2007, 11:59:02 am
zekmoe wrote on Thu, 15 March 2007 09:20

Harvey,
have you used the RNC with a Soundtracs Topaz24? I wanted to get one or two for use and wondered if there was any issue or compatibility in this setup.
Thanks
I have 4 RNC's and 2 RNLA's hooked up to our Topaz 32 right now - and have used all of them that way since they first came out.  No problems whatsoever.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: johnR on April 06, 2007, 08:53:57 am
It is possible in theory for a compressor to reduce asymmetry (and the associated even harmonics) in a waveform, but only if the attack and release are so fast compared with the signal frequency that the peaks of the waveform are individually compressed.
The RNC can be set to much faster attack and release times than a lot of compressors. I'm wondering if too-fast settings are causing the problem discussed here, but nobody has given details of the settings they are using.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: hargerst on April 06, 2007, 11:51:14 am
According to Mark, the problem occurs only when the Brick's gain is set to around 2 to 3 o'clock, where the output wave becomes asymmetrical.  Other settings on the Brick do not cause the problem.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: johnR on April 09, 2007, 09:46:20 am
That's a little worrying. Asymmetrical waveforms occur fairly often. Basically anything containing significant amounts of even harmonics will be asymmetrical. That includes a lot of common signal sources, eg. electric guitar. I was thinking of buying a couple of RNCs, but I think I'll delay on that decision until I can find out more about this.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: compasspnt on April 09, 2007, 11:24:13 am
Without a really good explanation, and possible solution, this is cause to pause.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: doc willie on April 10, 2007, 11:58:33 am
NOt to worry. The Brick problem is  a special situation.

The RNC works great on guitars, and just about everything else. The only exception is electric bass. Mark says that that is pecause the RNC has a much faster attack than most compressors, and this affects the bass, and is easily solved by increasing the attack time. Users have varying opionions on this.

Th Brick is a problem at some settings.

The bass maybe a problem. Everything else is beautiful. Understanding this, you will love this little box.
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: johnR on April 11, 2007, 04:12:07 pm
I just got an email from Mark McQ explaining the problem. To summarize, the slight non-linearity in the RNC's VCA exactly mirrors the non-linearity in the Brick at a certain setting, and the distortion added by the Brick is cancelled out. This is pure unlucky coincidence (if you regard removal of distortion as a problem). Anyway, Mark's explanation has removed my doubts and the RNC is back on my shopping list.

BTW any other compressor that uses a properly trimmed Blackmer VCA is likely to cause the same problem (dbx anyone?).
Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: rankus on April 11, 2007, 06:13:35 pm
johnR wrote on Wed, 11 April 2007 13:12



BTW any other compressor that uses a properly trimmed Blackmer VCA is likely to cause the same problem (dbx anyone?).


Nope.

I use Brick into the DBX 160x all the time and do not have the same issue as I discovered with the RNC.




Title: Re: FMR Really Nice Compressor
Post by: rankus on April 11, 2007, 06:15:19 pm
hargerst wrote on Fri, 06 April 2007 08:51

According to Mark, the problem occurs only when the Brick's gain is set to around 2 to 3 o'clock, where the output wave becomes asymmetrical.  Other settings on the Brick do not cause the problem.


My favorite settings on the Brick (2-3 o'clock)