here's a quick update from the studio!
I've been working on a bunch of different projects and with a bunch of different artists and that meant working on lots of different styles of music, from jazz to folk to rock and electronic music. A lot of different material means a lot of different processing steps needed.
I noticed that I don't really have a unit in my rack that works in a clean manner. All of my outboard gear colors the sound in some way, some more, some less, but all of it has a certain color.
-A quick note about color in analog equipment: We all want it, we all need it, but not for everything and not all the time! It needs the right song and situation!-
Sometimes, I just want to process material in a clean manner, with no color, because the mix already came with a certain color or the coloring just doesn't work/fit the track. I didn't really have a unit for that... I usually do a lot of that kind of work with plugins in the box but I'm using analog gear for a reason and so I wanted something that's versatile, clean and high quality, starting with a compressor.
I spent some time looking through the devices on the market today and the first thing I noticed was how many copies and clones of classic analog compressors there are. Tons of Fairchild-like compressors, 1176s, SSL style units and so on... All of them are known for a certain type of sound but none of them are really known to be "invisible" (more like inaudible).
After some research I was looking at Weiss, Maselec and GML. I have a Maselec console that I really like, making the MLA-2 an interesting unit. Weiss devices are digital and very clean and high quality, but just too expensive, even used. I've heard of GML and the genius of their designs and I've seen an 8900 before so that was the target. 8900s aren't easy to find and can be very expensive too, since they don't build them anymore but I got very lucky and found one in very good condition for a very good price.
I spent most of today getting to know the sound better and the more I use it, the more I love it. It seems like it's made for almost every situation. They call it a "Dynamic Range Controller" and I have to say it makes sense, because it doesn't really do anything else.. It's incredibly transparent even at hard settings and it can balance mixes very nicely without messing with the tone in any way. I'm very happy with the purchase and I hope it will stay with me for a long time.
Stay tuned for more updates! :)