Last year I started to work on a series of videos that focus on portable “mastering” devices for live use.
Thought I’d make a dedicated topic for these videos but also to discuss various options of course!
Part 3: OTO Machines Boum
Part 2: Elektron Analog Heat
Part 1: Doctron & @stimming Instant Mastering Chain
The goal for these devices and the way to set them up is to control/lower the peaks, glue the mix together and maybe add a hint of saturation. This way we can play out live sets louder without any issues and the perceived loudness will be closer towards what DJs are playing at. In each video I thoroughly A/B check by making sure the dry and wet levels are exactly the same. That way we can really hear what the devices do to our sound. So far I have been using the same track in every video so it’s east to cross reference. But I might add another track in a different style in future videos.
If you’d like me to check a specific unit out for this purpose, let me know
And also curious on your own findings of course, discuss !
I’m currently considering the EHX Platform as it happens, not so much as a mastering compressor but for some heavy ‘character’ compression for the output of a Model:Samples. For the price there doesn’t seem to be much competition: Stereo I/O, compression/limiting, hi-cut filter, drive, and even an interesting “swell” control for gating/envelope effects.
Using an Alesis 3630 for my OT which I rather like the character of.
I managed to snag an EXH Platform a few years ago for $89 or so when there was a vendor-wide blowout discount sale. I didn’t quite gel with it at first, but after leaving it in the box for a while, I pulled it out again and found my first impressions were all wrong. I really like it now.
It’s really a surprisingly versatile unit. There’s an upper frequency rolloff starting somewhere between 15-16K, but in practice my ears don’t miss it.
Great value for a stereo unit that includes configurable compression, drive and some EQ control, and the swell thing is kind of cool too.
I’m using an Electrix EQ Killer which allows you to split off any frequency range of your stereo signal out through an effects send and return. I run my “low-end only” through the OTO Boum and mix that back into the main signal with no phasing or artifacts (also have gotten some interesting effects compressing only the mids and the highs)
Then everything is run through the Endorphin.es Cockpit 2 which ducks everything to my kick drum coming in input 1, and blends the kick in with everything else post compression. It’s dope.
Guess you also add the octatrack compressor on the master channel here too, isn’t it?
I have used it for a while to try to see if I could get sense of this “gel” effect.
At the end of the day, on a given fixed set of track playing together you can get some nice results.
On the other hand, if you try playing live, adding or removing tracks it can totally fuck up your mixing in no time. I remember the hats going through the roof after cutting the main kick for instance. But maybe it was just poorly set. I have the same issue with the compressor on the rytm. Maybe it’s the nature of the tool.
Is someone using it regularly with success?
I personally have stopped or only with ultra mild settings.
I think doing a little eurorack sidecar for performance mastering could be an interesting to touch on, I suppose the only trouble is you get into far more options… still generally going to run cheaper than the stimming box for a small set of tools. I suppose I would be also curious to hear how they compare to some bigger high end boxes. I love the ALM MFX compressor makes it easy to work a mix pretty worry free imo, I have this coming early next week which I am planning to try out post compressor BaxandallEQ - Konstant Lab E-shop thought being I can balance stuff for my normal recording even better but in a live setting it should let you play to a room better also. I suppose you could always hope to rely on the house mixer for post compressor EQing though.
The last time I had an album “mastered”, it was in a two-million-dollar, sound-treated room full of high-end Manley and Focus gear, through speakers I’d never seen the likes of in my life, all engineered to perfection with that one task in mind…
I didn’t see anything by EHX in there anywhere.
Anyway, just kidding around. I realize Dave’s post was pertaining to live sound.
Yeah I put it on the list. That’s a perfect contender indeed
500 series like Elysia also added.
RNC is on the maybe list @JohntheSavage . (although I’ve owned this in the past and even though it’s Really Nice, it didn’t really control peaks mainly because there’s no saturation circuit.)
Yeah the OTO mixer is also on the list. Would love to check it out. Bestie is an interesting idea but I don’t hink it will be suited for this specific purpose (for me anyway) because it lacks actual compression or a way to compress. But I’ll put it on the ‘maybe’ list
Yeah that’s also on the list. Maybe for the next vid.
If it has that effect when removing the kick you are pushing it way too hard :). Threshold probably way too low and/or ratio too high. It has been a while since I used the comp on the octa but I remember the settings being incredibly sensitive and what I’d consider a useable range for gel compression was a very very narrow range of values. But it is doable.
Ok thanks for the feedback.
I had tried a few of my owns plus a couple sets found on the mighty web with mitigated results.
If you manage to nails down a generic baseline preset I m a taker.
PS: pushing the compression was pulsing nicely : D
kind of forgot this was a thing but it is also a fx + compressor box… not sure if it totally fits the bill.
I have to say I found your stimming box video just to be a nice general guide to setting up a compressor for master on a live signal… used basically the same flow to get my compressor to a place where I am happy for it live.