Analogue Compression

So ya. I want my stuff to sound a wee bit less computerized. I’m a poor college kid so I can’t afford some badass studio setup.

I was looking into adding a piece or two of analogue hardware into my arsenal. A logical place to start seemed analogue compression, as decent units could be acquired for relatively within my price range and compression is used often on individual tracks as well as on mastering.

^ I like this, price-wise, and gearslutz has nice things to say about it.

Anyone used it? Anyone on here do any analogue mastering that could give me some tips as to where to start?


First question - do you fully understand compression? If not, don’t buy a compressor.

Second question - why ‘that’ compressor in particular? Do you know other electronic music producers who use it? Does it give a certain sound that you want?

Third question - what needs do you have that your current software compressors aren’t specifically fulfilling? (if you can’t answer this one, return to question one and start again)

1 BigUp

Yes I know what compression is, yes I know how to use it and how it works. This compressor has good reviews. People on other forums say it has a good gate and it sounds good on bass tracks especially, but it’s not recommended for master tracks, hence why I wanted more opinions.

My FabFilter Pro-C meets all of my compression needs.

What they also do, however, is give all of my tracks an electric “sheen” that makes it sound less organic.
I like the natural organic feel that comes with sound running through some transistor resitence, a side effect of anything analogue. I figured compression was as good a place as any to start working my way into the analogue world. Is there somewhere else you would start?

Right, so you don’t actually want a compressor, you just want something to make things sound less digital?

Personally, I’d get a cheap cassette deck and try playing around with bouncing stems (for example, drums) and recording direct to tape, then recording back in.

Sort of thing would turn up at a yard sale or thrift shop for next to nothing.

Okay. Yeah. That would probably do what I want, and I have one of those lying around, I’ll go order some cassette tapes and try it out.
Good advice. Thanks.

Okay. So I want to start getting into analogue mastering. If I can’t afford an entire analogue studio right now, where is a good place to start as far as equipment goes? Does anyone here own analogue studio or analogue equipment, and what did you start with?

P.S. I ate a lot of tobasco sauce with my breakfast this morning. Good stuff. #represent

Honestly, best advice is find a mastering engineer close to you who already has a studio, get him to master a couple of his tracks and then ask if you can sit in with him to understand more what he does.

Then take it from there.

I got to do that once, I was speaking to friend about how to make growl basses sound real, not organic but live, as if someone was standing in from of it. He recommended me to a engineer that he know who lived by me.

I live in the middle of nowhere. There are no mastering engineers near me that give a rats ass about me enough to answer my questions. That’s why I like forums.

Does anyone on here own any analogue mastering equipment that they like/hate/recommend? Preferably in the compression and noise gate catagory. I want to do a combination of analogue and digital mastering.

I know R3B has some stuff, try joining the artfx studio chat and asking him ;D

1 BigUp

That’s why I suggested paying one to master a track for you and then sitting in on the session.

I would say some fx pedals would take the sound further away from the box. Whereas just a compressor itself might just be very anonymous tbh, espcecially if done ‘correctly’.

Another would be a mic. And you might see that as ‘cheating’/'half assed- way of making your sound ‘analogue’, but it does make it physical when you think about it. And gets it out of the software box, but it’s a demanding approach for sure. But so is the idea that mastering will have that effect tbh and that route is much longer in my oppinion/experience.

Ahh. I see now what you meant. Your use of pronouns confused me.

Also a great suggestion.

Check Craigslist in your area, guarantee they’ll be a Big Muff on there.

Though make sure you’re in the Musical Instruments section, rather than Encounters.

1 BigUp

I made an edit ^ up there too.

I’ll do my best, although I guess there are worse things than encountering a Big Muff.

Modern hardware emulation is fucking peng. Sort yourself out on PSP’s online shop for like 2 bills and wait until you understand what you’re looking for enough to want a pair of distressors:

or a good hardware EQ to polish your mixes.

1 BigUp

First, the FMC RNC is zero character. Clean as a whistle. I’ve owned one for years and I use it to put a little squeeze on dynamic synth patches when recording from hardware. The RNC gets good reviews because it is software cheap and is really clean sounding.

As stated, if you want character, don’t worry about “character compressors”. I’d highly recommend starting with something like an EHX LPB 2UBE. It has serious grit and overdrives sounds quite nicely. The fact that it isn’t a starved plate design gives you really nice harmonics. Also, you can change out the tubes to vary the character if you get tired of it.

But unless you are already using a lot of hardware, honestly, most effects in your price range aren’t worth the hassle and noise floor build up of running signal out of your computer and back in. Maybe if you are talking a Culture Vulture distortion unit or something…but those are ten times your budget if you are looking at RNC.

To be perfectly frank, if your budget is only in the range of a few hundred building an analog mastering studio is a bit of a pipe dream…that being said, the first step would be sorting room treatment and getting top end monitoring or all the fancy compressors won’t mean shit.

After that you’ll need a really good interface so the signal going in and out of your computer won’t build up noise. Speaking of computers, you’ll need a beast to reduce latency so you can use your outboard FX live.

After all that it might be worth talking about thousand dollar compressors and EQs.

You would be way better off at least giving FabFilter Saturn and something like U-he Presswerk a try.


surprised that no one has even mentioned that the RNC isn’t even analog lol (not that it doesn’t sound good).


Why get in the way of a fool trying to part with his money?

1 BigUp

It’d be cool if a forum existed where I got more useful information than smart-ass replies that don’t answer my question. Fragments is my man. I’ve been using FabFilter Saturn, and it’s great. U-he Presswerk looks promising. I’ll look into it.
I honestly have a beast PC and a sound treated room at my disposal. I even have some monitors that I can’t complain about.

I think the EHX is a lot closer to what I want than anything else suggested. I can dream about Distressors and Culture Vultures all day, but when you have no college degree and pay bills, and live in America, land of infinite debt, dreams are just dreams. Maybe one day.