Are 'vintage' type compressors relevant in today's music?

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KennyLusk
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Post by KennyLusk » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:13 pm

goose134 wrote: There is a certain alchemy that occurs when you run a signal through gizmos a certain way.
I love this statement. :^:
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Post by rocksure » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:04 pm

I still love vintage compressors, and I still record lots of things using compression on the way in. Done right, compression is a great tool to get good mixes. I wrote a tutorial recently on the compressors and their use, and understanding all the controls etc. It's not strictly about vintage compressors but some people may find it helpful. You can find it here:

http://rocksuresoundz.com/2012/03/12/un ... mpressors/
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Post by sessionsatstudiom » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:07 am

Vintage gear is still totally relevant. It is the sound many are trying to get even using modern technology. If I use a waves emulation or a UAD emulation I am just trying get the sound of yesteryear on my modern recording. As already posted most vintage equipment was developed not necessarily to sell to others but fix a particular problem they encountered.

You had capital studios building one thing, and another doing the same thing differently. People learned to love the sound of each particular room. Modern business turned it into easy access for the masses to get compressors, eq's, etc...

I know when I started 26 years ago at 14 with my first 4 track, I would have loved to have the current technology. I could have had so much more for my money then back then. But I still use the mic technique I learned so many years ago, I use the gain staging I learned, and I learned how to maximize on fewer tracks. I do not have to do that now because I can have 256 tracks if I desire. But I still buss drums down to fewer tracks. I still make decisions about blending instruments before my recording device. I am just old school at heart.

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Post by lefthanddoes » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:55 am

I think about this all the time. For example, one thing I always wonder is, why do people go nuts about guitar amp tone? It was the best Jim Marshall/Leo Fender etc. could do at the time, and it was pretty low fidelity. Now, people try to dial up a specific amount and type of distortion to get a sound like that. We live in a world where you can have clean distortion. I think that's crazy. (Don't get me wrong, I have my tastes, I am a Mesa guy.) What I mean by crazy is that it's amazing how the brain gets attached to things and sees them differently.

I think to say that vintage things aren't relevant or are just antequated, is to discount the value of using context artistically. For example, you can't have the greatest rock song ever if people are still learning what a rock song is. Nobody listens to Free Bird and thinks, "It's got a backbeat, you can't lose it." You have to understand where we are with music to understand the impact of someone trying to do something fresh with it.

I still think though that you can appreciate stuff like vintage equipment without factoring in context. The reason is, that it adds detail. Nobody really wants something to be transparent cause character and detail are pleasing to the ears (although, I like modern linear phase software EQ, because I'm usually trying to make something sound like it wasn't eqd.)[/b]

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Post by leigh » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:35 am

lefthanddoes wrote:We live in a world where you can have clean distortion.
What is "clean distortion"?

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Post by vvv » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:48 am

leigh wrote:
lefthanddoes wrote:We live in a world where you can have clean distortion.
What is "clean distortion"?
Reminds me of a kid saying he wants a "clean lead tone, you know, like Santana."
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Post by lefthanddoes » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:44 pm

vvv - that's exactly what I meant

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Post by leigh » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:35 pm

lefthanddoes wrote:vvv - that's exactly what I meant
Like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BrLEuzVCVQ

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Post by leigh » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:40 pm

In seriousness, though, I just had a little listen through some Santana tracks, and the lead tone isn't always all that clean...

If you have the Spotify, have a listen through the Top 5 here:

http://open.spotify.com/artist/6GI52t8N5F02MxU0g5U69P

But that's a matter of opinion, what sounds clean to one person vs. another.

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Post by lefthanddoes » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:09 pm

To clarify (and also to keep on topic), Santana's tone is an example of taking something that was originally intended to give an impression of pushing the equipment to its limits/adding an uneasy edge (i.e. distortion), and removing that intention by making it smooth and creamy-sounding. It's just cool because it sounds old and vibey, but it's also cool because it just sounds cool. Vintage compression - same thing. The specifics of what 'warmth' is, was never really the original intent.

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Post by vvv » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:13 pm

I think the humor implicit in calling Santana's stuff "clean" is that, while he might have a clean touch and his notes can be focused and clear and his soloing typically single-note and linear, he's most famous for his overdrive lead sound.

I mean, "clean" for me evokes something by, say, Chet Atkins or Brian Setzer (altho' he'd be a reverb'd clean), Knoffler, Sco, DiMeola, Gatton, etc. Nobody really seems to use "clean" all the time, but it would be an almost-acoustic sound, without overdrive or distortion, and not even like an acoustic being played hard. For me, it's a jazzier type sound, or mebbe a country thing (think, mebbe, Albert Lee or Willie or even Hags). Or mebbe even Andy Summers, to the extent he seldom uses gain, but even then is usually heavily time-based processed.

I mean, a Tele into a Fender at 1/4 volume is "clean", a Strat into a JC120 (chorus off) is clean, etc. I can't think of a clean Gibson example, unless you speak of 335-type stuff, and then there's plenty, but Les Pauls seem to be almost always OD'd and/or distorted ...

Ever listen to Albert Collins? Ice-pick clear there, but again ...

I nominate this for my most OT post, ever. :twisted:
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