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shootout time! (ssl)

Discussion in 'Backline' started by aramism, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. aramism

    aramism Member

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    waves ssl g series buss comp. vs. ssl fx g384 "greyface" hardware buss comp.

    i always hate when i was on the other side of these blind shootouts but now it's my chance to hopefully throw some people off. once the compressors are revealed i can discuss my thoughts on them because there are some noticeable differences. about the technicalities, this was summed in analog and recorded with x series apogee converters. these are just some incomplete parts of a mix i was working on. lead vox and some other instruments are missing. the mix was started before i purchased the 384 with compression on the mix buss from the start but with the waves. these are wav files i uploaded to soudcloud.

    i did my best to match levels and sound. they are set nearly identical with threshold and makeup gain. ratio is 4.1, 30ms attack, auto release on both.

    with the almost same meter movement and virtually identical threshold setting there is a drastic difference in the sound and the amount of compression. on the most active parts there is about 6.5db peak compression and the average on kick and snare hits the meter is hitting 4.5db approx gr.

    again, i did my best to match them as closely as possible. took me a little while. also did the same test with other mixes and sources and had the same differences in reactions where it was difficult to really match them exactly.


    you guys can be the judge


    http://snd.sc/x1YG86
     
  2. tempe

    tempe Captain Midnight

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    I'm going to go out on a limb and say B is the hardware, just the way it clamped down on the toms with a little more snap. I actually prefer mix A though, its got the vibe of bus compression but without so much of the snap.
     
  3. A-STAR

    A-STAR Disco Superstar

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  4. DanLights

    DanLights Santa Hat Forever

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    I prefer A, but wouldn´t know which is which. There is a big difference not only in the amount of compression but even the sound, everything sounds kind of darker and more boomy in B. I´m curious to know which is which, thanks for doing this!
     
  5. crillemannen

    crillemannen Member

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    I did allot of A/B testing when i bought my SSL hardware compressor. I was really surprised that it wasn't bigger difference between the 2. Tested the glue, Waves SSL, SSL duende against the hardware. Im gonna run some more tests when i get my new converters, but hardware comps does really sound better when you start to hit the source really hard like you do on vox, not that much if you peel off a couple of db's
     
  6. Nimvi

    Nimvi Member

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    I think B is the hardware. It seems to grab the transients in a smoother way than A. With that said, I do prefer the way A sounds for this particular thing. The way the kick pops makes it a bit more upfront on A, and I like it.

    Very nice music btw :)
     
  7. PhilTheBeard

    PhilTheBeard "The Beard"

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    I like A the best out of the two
     
  8. Sloan

    Sloan Sounds like shit!

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    I like both. There were times when B sounded a small bit more 'dull' but not enough to really matter to me.
     
  9. Charles J

    Charles J New Metal Member

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    A has to be the hardware...B has that 'pillowy' attack that's oh so common with ITB comps... hope im right, hahaa
     
  10. aramism

    aramism Member

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    sometime later tonight or worst case tom afternoon i will post which is which, and my thoughts associated with it.
     
  11. professorlamp

    professorlamp I are Joe

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    Didn't like B. Seemed too boomy, liked A the most because the of the way it emphasised the attack. Whatever gets the job done I suppose
     
  12. akbeda

    akbeda himself

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    i prefer A .
    maybe i´m deaf but there is just little difference.
    but yes B sounds a little duller - a tiny little
     
  13. Wisheraser

    Wisheraser Member

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    ^ This. B seems to have that extra vibe and thickness (especially noticeable on the kick) that I would associate with hardware. Both versions sound good though, just a little different.
     
  14. Empathy

    Empathy Bulging Member

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    Have to say I overall preferred A for this sample. Going to call B the waves plug.
     
  15. aramism

    aramism Member

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    ok so here is the deal... A is waves. B is the hardware.

    shocked? there's a reason. i wrote an email to someone so will just copy and paste it:


    "ok so here's the deal. i did this version of the shootout as an "apples to apples" technical comparison. this song was mixed initially with the waves compressor.

    so i set the hardware ssl to match the obvious (ratio, attack, release) but this is where the similarities ended.

    at the same threshold level, and the same GR level on the meter, they sound different. what you are hearing is like 99% matched with the meter and the threshold. however the "B" is more squashed thus the transients are not as slappy or bright. in order to achieve the same level of transients on the hardware i'd have to back down quite a bit where it is no longer a 1:1 settings comparison. so in order to keep it to a true apples to apples i allowed this differential to occur.

    the conclusion drawn is that the hardware ssl is more sensitive. however something interesting happened. by pushing the waves harder to get this level of squashing, the mix broke apart more and sounded less pleasing than the hardware in version "b".

    however, by backing down on the threshold a bit and allowing those transients to pop through on the hardware, it kicks the waves ass lol.

    even in these versions as they are, you can hear how the hardware is a bit darker, has a more crunchy vibe to it, more even and open through the midrange, and allows SIGNIFICANTLY more low end to pass, and this is at all levels of compression.. more, less, and equal.

    i will post this same clip but with backed down compression on the hardware to match the sound and by matching transient response the whole mix will sound much better.

    again, this shootout was not a 1:1 sound comparison. it was 1:1 setings. but same settings do not yield the same sound."




    so i basically backed off on the hardware comp so that it sounds more similar to the plug in but shows a little less compression on the meter:

    http://snd.sc/yTNBQn

    as you can see. the transients are more similar now but the hardware still sounds slightly different. to me, i like it more, it's much more stable and balanced, a bit "warmer" and also the low end passes A LOT (like a lot a lot) more so the mix is much fatter. keep in mind this song was mixed a few years ago (never 100% finished for varying reasons) with the plug in. on newer stuff i can hear the value of my investment with the hardware much more as i usually mix through the compressor.


    just for shits and giggles, here is the whole song passed through the hardware:

    http://snd.sc/zv5J9J


    ps: i never got to finishing this because there were a few bad vocal lines, and i didn't finish some automation, effects, and making the kick a bit brighter. the kick mic i think was an LDC like a foot away lol.
     
  16. Ermz

    Ermz ¯\(°_o)/¯

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    There you go. Always gotta mix through it from the start.
     
  17. Melb_shredder

    Melb_shredder Orpheus: Melodic Death

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    ^^ This..
    Learned that the hard way with your old comp. Wanted to use it on a session I had left behind, threw it on to match the SSL Styled comp I was using ITB and BAM... Did not work at all. Ending up spending 2 days changing shit and just went back to the ITB version in the end because it was easier.

    But after using the hardware on a recent mix, which I started from scratch, yeah, it's apples and oranges, I love it. Even if I don't shift to more outboard eventually, the outboard comp is just juicy enough and appealing for that analogue flavor we all seem to be yearning for again :p

    Great thread dude, purpose served and a cool outcome/ reasoning to go with it! :)
     
  18. Ermz

    Ermz ¯\(°_o)/¯

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    Yeah, when I switched to the newly built GSSL on a mix I was using yours on it just didn't work. I lost the glue across the low frequencies, and had to rebalance a lot of stuff.
     
  19. DanLights

    DanLights Santa Hat Forever

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    Nice, very interesting analysis.
     
  20. aramism

    aramism Member

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    yeah mixing from the start is key, or at least in the earlier stages. good to turn on and off once in a while just to check the uncompressed balance. some people say the mix should fall apart when off some say it should still be balanced. i don't think there's a rule perse. whatever yields the best result. sometimes if you dial in the compressor to really spank from the getgo and you get a compressed mix it doesn't sound as compressed as you would expect because you've mixed and compensated all the mix elements from the start to be slammed into the comp. this yields more of a color and character than it does just "over-compression"

    some mixes just a touch (barely moving the needle) works, others, 8-9db GR
     

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