Just looking at these three units. Thoughts? Experiences?
Stam Audio SA-609 (Neve 33609 clone)
Heritage Audio Successor (I think they claim it’s 1073 type color)
Tegeler Creme (VCA + Pultec EQ)
They’re all relatively the same price. Tegeler is obv more bang for buck AND easier to find 2nd hand out here in Berlin, naturally. But I would prob try to go buy direct from their office/showroom. Of course the Creme also comes in a recall-enabled version sooooo that’s pretty cool for a couple hundred extra. But yeah… an “affordable” 33609 sounds like a good thing to have at home
I have the HA Successor. I use it as a drum bus for drum machines and I also use it as a de-esser for vocals. I don’t have much to compare it to except the Bugbrand StereoCompress, but here is my quick pros/cons
Sound - It has character, but it’s a compressor so don’t expect it to be drastic.
Simplicity - most of the controls are detented (not continuously variable) so its range is focused allowing you to quickly dial in some thump
Blend wet/dry - allows you to bring back some thump if you totally squash something.
Sidechain Filter - Has unique settings, like the mid hump and the high shelf. The hi shelf is great for de-essing. The other settings work as intended. It also has a side chain input but I haven’t used it.
Price - pretty affordable for how good it sounds. But again, it’s a compressor so don’t expect massive change to your sounds - you can expect a noticeable improvement in clarity and depth though.
Make-up gain - is a little noisy (but not bad) this maybe the source/contributor of the character from the transformers but I’m not sure really - it’s not really a con, but be aware it isn’t dead silent.
Power supply - external brick, switching type. This is probably why this is more affordable, and may be the cause of the noise floor on the make-up gain.
XLR in and out - You’ll need 1/4" TRS to XLR cables to interface with a patchbay or interface.
In summary, HA Successor is easier to dial in and has a much lower noise floor than BugBrand StereoCompress.
I have the Successor, it’s one of my favorite compressors. The Stam and Tegeler are vca based SSL ish compression so they should be pretty different characters than the diode bridge character of the successor. The compression can be suuuuper fast and grabby, but can also do subtle really well. The side chain filters are really useful, they can tailor the compression to whatever source you throw at it. The real magic and mojo of this unit though is in the make up gain. Based on the 1073 output stage. It’s not a transparent gainstage at all, the more you turn it up the more it does. Soaks up transients and adds harmonics, it’s like a combo of make up gain and density control. MixBusTV did a good video review of the unit where he does some peak matched samples just using the makeup gain without compression, really demonstrates how powerful this control is.
The tracks I uploaded in the Syntakt stand-alone music thread were run through the Successor for some parallel compression if you want to hear it on electronic music.
thanks all for the thorough feedback!
I have not tried those on your list yet, but I have used the Audioscape Bus Comp, and it is was great if you are looking to add another SSL style comp to your list. Heard good things about the Stam S4000 MK2, but haven’t tried it yet.
Stam is diode-bridge type also.
SSL style compressors are made with feedback topology and high quality VCA chips. Feedback topology is a kind of less predictable, “adaptive” dynamic processing with more character than modern feed forward topology compressors.
I prefer SSL on stereo bus. I had 33609 based comp (Black Lion AGB) was more suitable for solo processing than bus glue.
Ah, yeah, I should have read more carefully. When I was replying I had it in my head that they were referring to the Stam 4K comp, my bad
interesting. good to know. never been one for ssl stuff, but will add to the list of things to check out
It’s all subjective, but I agree, the 33609 is not a great mix bus compressor. I’ve had some nice results with it on piano and other individual instruments, but was never happy with it on a mix.
Thanks all. I’m kind of leaning towards Tegeler Creme (probably paired with their TSM), and maybe eventually add a Heritage HA73EQx2 or something like that - instead of a bus compressor. Think I may better get the sauce and diversity of application i want with a preamp+eq vs bus compressor. Still super curious about the Successor, given the love for it here and many other forums/reviews.
now if only i could afford a stereo pair of Distressors. UAD will have to do for now.
Would add another option to the compressor table.
WES Audio Dione in 500 rack. SSL style compressor with 4 THAT VCAs, all the options you know from SSL bus comp + 5 sidechain filters, dry / wet mix + 3 options to add THD. And its all controlable via usb inside your DAW. And it has 2 preset slots on the unit and 3 in the controler plugin for excellent A/B comparission.
Not sure if you would also go with a 500 rack. The Dione costs 1200 EUR new from Thomann. Add a benso 6s rack for 350 and its still cheaper then a creme. And you can add eq (or what ever 500 module you want) later.
I did a lot of comparrision between the Dione and UAD SSL and PA Shadow Hills. The dione sounds more open then both of the plugins and can do more gain reduction without really hearing it.
i’m a bit scared of getting into 500 series what with all those empty spaces in the rack staring at me and my wallet. lol
still will check this out, sounds intriguing at least!
i love the PA shadow hills class a btw. i don’t do my own mastering but i put a suuuuper slight touch of sauce on my 2bus (paired with massive passive almost always).
Class a is the one with the green or the red knob? I think its great for the simulation of the output transformers . Its similar how the THD on the Dione works. Med THD gives a nice little boom on the bass and a little shizzle on the top end. But you can also go with No THD, which ofcourse sounds cleaner.
I get what you mean about the free slots. But there is even a small 4 slots case from Heritage.
UAD Massive Passive or hardware? I used the UAD MP also on my 2bus to give some magic sweet sauce. But I found out, that some how it also removes a bit of punch and clearity and I liked the overall sound a bit more without it. Now using the PA bax eq on the 2bus
Do you have personal pros and cons about SSL Fusion? When you talking about pre-amp / saturation and eq for the 2bus, the Fusion seems the unit a lot of producers going for.
But I also heared of people selling the fusion after a while, because the saturation brings also out some noise (which can be ofcourse nice for some dubby / lofi stuff)
red lights = class a.
massive passive = uad. couldn’t ever afford the hardware. hard enough to get the stuff i want in the original post “i shouldn’t, it’s stupid, but i’m gonna”. never noticed it reducing punch, personally. i don’t hit it that hard though.