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Metal Guitar Compression Shootout

Brandon Drury —  August 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

metal guitar compression

Recently I had a pending client go, “Wow! Dude! Alright!!!!!” after I mentioned I had a Universal Audio La3a.

RED FLAG!!! When a person gets excited about a tool, it’s a good sign that it’s impact is being blown out of proportion and it’s time for some blind tests. In other words, if a person is thrilled about one of my toys, it’s a good sign I need to cash in and sell that toy.

So my assistant, Ruprect, fired up the Axe FX and ran it through the front input of my API 3124. We’ve got a clip with zero compression, Distressor, Univeral Audio LA-3a, Chameleon Labs 7802, UAD 1176 plugin, and the stock Cubase compressor.

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dwhalen8 – 08-21-2012, 02:44 PM
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I got over it a long time ago when people compare the UAA (compressor) to the Digi-1176 to a real 1176. Who cares? I don’t care. Is it compressing? Does it do what you want it to do? – Joe Barresi
Great engineers brute force the sound to what they’re hearing, they’re not limited by anything including the equipment they’re given – Dave Pensado

These quotes about sum it up for me

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brandondrury – 08-21-2012, 05:14 PM
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I got over it a long time ago when people compare the UAA (compressor) to the Digi-1176 to a real 1176. Who cares? I don’t care. Is it compressing? Does it do what you want it to do? – Joe Barresi
Yup, that’s my feelings, too. Unfortunately, there’s so much hype out there that the marketing has scared some of us into thinking that we are screwed if we don’t have “magic” boxes. It’s all bs. Since I’ve done scientific experiments on myself by shelling out HUGE bucks for some of this crap I figured I could do the same so a person can figure out any potential benefits in real world settings themselves.

Brandon

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dwhalen8 – 08-21-2012, 09:22 PM
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Unfortunately, there’s so much hype out there that the marketing has scared some of us into thinking that we are screwed if we don’t have “magic” boxes.
Psh. The magic is in my head.

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adorian – 08-22-2012, 01:44 PM
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The test involves an AXE-FX? That’s where objectivity ends for me

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John Lance – 08-22-2012, 03:42 PM
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1. as reference – subjectively nice overall body & attack. Chiffs nicely present.
2. subjectively louder than 1. More low mids than 1. Pleasing overall thickness. Nice chiffs.
3. subjectively louder than 1. More mids than 1, yet thinner than 2. Chiffs a bit muted. 2 so far wins.
4. forward mids compared to 1. Thinner than 2. Highs seem to be muted. Smoothish. 2 so far wins.
5. nearly equal to 1 but just a touch ever so much phatter but sounds flat as a pancake. Chiffs are there but not standout – dissapointing here. 2 still wins.
6. sounding a bit muddy and inarticulate compared to 1. Chiffs are reserved but there.
7. Most well rounded with depth and very in my face. Full sound with body, standout chiffs. Maybe overcompressed, but 7 wins, or, maybe 2.

I like the attack with 2 (and the chiffs in the sound) but 7 sounds good to me here too. The chiffs just come forward, but maybe too much and may be overcompressed for the application.

I would likely use 7 in a heartbeat and would probably keep it in mind often. 2 has a nice alternate sound to me and would also be kept in mind.

And I some SO tired of listening to that riff.

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DemonicTempest – 08-23-2012, 07:13 PM
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Interesting shootout. Really difficult to distinguish and MAJOR differences. With something thats not really that dynamic in the first place, and that is very harmonically rich it makes it tough… And maybe irrelevant. So long as its compressing I guess.

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jrod9900 – 09-24-2012, 02:38 PM
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May have to check out these results. Compressing the overcompressed metal guitar could be interesting…

JROD

Brandon Drury

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Brandon Drury quit counting at 1,200 recorded songs in his busy home recording studio. He is the creator of RecordingReview.com and is the author of the Killer Home Recording series.
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