Building an opto compressor from a kit

Discussion in 'Compressors / Limiters (analog)' started by DonnyThompson, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
    Home Page:
    I've got enough VST compressors to choke a horse. And yes, I use various comp plugs frequently. But front-loading through a nice FET into a great Opto is sweet sounding. I have plenty of experience with hardware, been at this a while now... started in 1979, so over the years I've worked sessions as a hired gun cooker at many nice studios that had a lot of great gear. The aforementioned gain-chain is fantastic for vocal tracking. I'd use it more for that than actual mixing, which I'll stick to ITB VST's for. But if you can track a vocal - or guitar, or bass, or whatever - through a chain like that then chances are you won't need the plugs on those tracks during the mix. I used to track vocals through an LA2 ( or other Opto like the Focusrite Red) many times simply at unity gain, just to grab the "vibe" of the "iron"... VU needle wouldn't even move - and if it did it was barely doing so. Most of the actual transient reduction was the 1176. Many times The Opto section was just for character ;)
    kmetal and pcrecord like this.
  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

    Jul 21, 2009
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Home Page:
    If I can I’ll compress and eq on the way in almost every time in vocals, snare, and bass. Some voices just love compression and tons of it. I found the 1176 to be absolutely perfect as a dynamic based distortion box for vocals, all buttons out, no compression. Basically the louder the singer goes, the more it overdrove, in such a great 70’s / early 80’s way. I’ve never achieved a sound like that any other way.

    I find DBX stuff to be cool too. Not for distortion but for punch. They’re color isn’t necessarily as universal as an 1176 but I’ve liked the 163x better than on my old bass for my old lies rock band.

    Nothing I’ve used is dark and silky like a TLA 100. At first I was like “this is all it does for 3 grand!?” But grew to love the way it handles bright singers. You can really grab brightness with the vocalist and mic, without harshness.
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