Academy Dashboard Forum Studio Gear Talk Outboard Compressors

  • This topic has 29 replies, 12 voices, and was last updated 7 years ago by aka setkya.
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  • #3131
    Kaleb Treacy

      Hey Friends!

      I'm looking at getting a rack compressor just to have to occasionally hit things slowly on the way in, i.e kick, snare, vox. I was looking at an ART Pro VLA ii as I've heard good things about them and is in my price range. Is anyone familiar with them or knows of something better? I mainly mix digitally so I'm not looking for anything like an LA-2A, just something that goes alright but isn't crappy around $400-$800.


      Warren Huart

        Hi Kaleb, I haven't personally used them, however my friend Ulrich Wild is an amazing Producer/Engineer and Mixer and he uses a lot of ART stuff and rates it really highly!! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren

        Lee Hawkins

          Hi Kaleb, Have you considered a Warm WA-76. I have one and it's based on a Low noise Rev D 1176 version. It's a fantastic compressor.

          You could of course wait a few months for the Warm WA-2A which was announced at NAMM. $899. At the top end of your budget but well spec'd.

          WARM WA-2A YouTube

          • This reply was modified 8 years ago by Lee Hawkins.
          Kaleb Treacy

            Cheers Lee! That's the first time I've heard of Warm Audio actually, looks unreal! Over here though the WA-76 is a little out of my range at $1100 AUD, starting to think that I won't get a decent compressor for under a grand. Might need to invest a while longer.

            Christopher Feeney

              I have an ART Pro VLA II with upgraded Tung-sol tubes. I am a home recording hobbyist with 3 kids in college. I wouldn't say I'm cheap, but I am frugal by need. But I also believe in what have you saved if something doesn't work? I researched A LOT and heard so much good feedback on many ART products. Even pros using them - that was a tipping point. And while they are very affordable, the pros say they are a great value "for what they are." So I guess that mean they have their place, work but are no $5,000 unit. I found my using Search All of Craigslist. I found it for $225 shipped to my home in NC from MN. So I think it was a good deal. Mint condition.

              I am still learning compression but I can say it is very effect on bass and seems to tame acoustic guitar and vocals. It is built very, very well. I am thinking about getting an ART Pro channel strip if I can find a good deal.

              The other affordable compressor I almost got and bet would have been very happy with is the FMR Audio's Really Nice Compressor. Like the ART Pro, pros and home recorders both use and praise it.

              So for what it is experience.

              • This reply was modified 8 years ago by Christopher Feeney.
              Lee Hawkins

                Kelab, apologies as I didn't realise you were talking Aus$ rather than US$ for your budget. Based on that I agree with the consensus above that the ART is a good place to start and probably the best solution for your budget. DBX do some cheaper Compressors too, however, quality is not great with models like the 266XS. They are functional and work fine but I find they do not impart any 'Analog' magic to the audio.

                Great idea from fezzler in swapping out the tubes to Tung-sol's. I have been impressed with the Tung-sols used in my matched stereo Warm EQP-WA's (Pultecs).

                Kaleb Treacy

                  Thanks Fezzler, I did hear about swapping the tubes out which was kind of what got me interested in one. They're $670 over here as I've just realised which is starting to make me re-think things. I have an ART XLR Patchbay that I am super impressed with, I know you can't compare it to a compressor but I'd imagine it'd be of the same quality.

                  Lee, that's no worries mate. I get ahead of myself and tend to not explain correctly. I have found a Warm WA-76 for $870 so you're getting me pretty keen on one. I hardly have any hardware gear so I apologise if I sound like a beginner in terms of technical specs. What's your go to instrument to use on it? Or do you use it on everything?

                  • This reply was modified 8 years ago by Kaleb Treacy.
                  Lee Hawkins

                    Kaleb, I use the WA-76 for all things including tracking or within the mix. For tracking I will us it on bass and very subtly on vocals. If If use it in the mix I may commit and render the track so I can then use it on more than one, but that depends on how it's going. It is particularly good on Bass and Vocals but in reality it is good on most things. Unlike most plugins, the hardware does impart a depth/thickness to the audio. Its subtle but noticeable.

                    Hardware is not essential though. Its nice to have a few select items but I wouldn't fill the studio with the stuff. A hybrid approach to me is the best of both worlds. I have about 6 bits of hardware that I use when needed but in truth mostly for Tracking. I'm all for recording the best possible audio I can at the source. Likewise, I like hardware on the back end too. I have been experimenting with the Elysia Xpressor for mix buss 'glue' compression (0.5 - 1 dB tickle) and the stereo pair of Warm EQP's which are a pultec design. More for shaping the mix rather than anything surgical. They are more for tome shaping and it allows the mix to run through tubes and transformers which I like anyway.

                    Hope that helps. Lee

                    Kaleb Treacy

                      Yeah ok! Sweet to know. I was going for something to use as a little 'glue' to have that extra flavour on hand that plug-ins can't give. Agree with you 100% that hardware isn't essential, I've just got a little rack unit with a couple of guitar processors that I'd like to finish off with a compressor. Other then that I mix in the box as it's been working for me so far.

                      Cheers for all your help Lee! Guess it's between a Warm WA-76 and an ART!

                      Johnny Sommerer

                        hi guys,

                        i always thought that i'd be pefectly happy with working itb, but when i heard the recorded tracks for "save me" (thanks warren), i realized that i need a change in my recording chain before mixing to take it to the next level. since i use the uad 1176 versions a lot i'm thinking of getting a warm audio wa76 as well. it does get raving reviews and it seems like a lot of bang for the buck. i'm glad someone else in here is using it too! i think there's no sense in using outboard if it doesn't add the extra "analog magic", cuz' then you can use a plug in anyway. but it's all about this depth lee is talking about. and it's nice to just turn some real life knobs instead of clicking 😉

                        cheers, johnny

                        Lee Hawkins

                          Johnny, haha yes there is a pleasure in turning a knob and having a proper meter too.

                          Nick D.

                            I like the ART VLA, but i would not say its my go to. I have the WA-76 and its well worth the price. Some other options to look for are JBL Urei 7110. Its pretty versatile and can be had fairly cheap. The Black Lion Audio AGB compressor is a little higher but sounds great and is their version of the Neve 33609, i have used it everywhere and it does a great job. Daking makes a great compressor in the upper end of your range as well.

                            • This reply was modified 8 years ago by Nick D..
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