How do you use your Neve 33609 compressor / clone?

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weiss

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I would be interested to hear your techniques of using the 33609 compressor from neve or similar clones.
Because of the combination of limiting / compression and the different time constants i find it it not as straight forward compared to my other compressors. Is there a special approach you follow? What material do you use it on? Do you omit one of the sections? Just looking for some ideas.
Thank you  :)
 

kambo

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my Igor staff are back home... but i use to get dc voltage from the power supply's adjustment/calibration out! and feed that to where ur control voltage going in... works really good, especially if u have a quiet part in the song, and kicking back in loud... so that DC voltage is setting an external threshold! measure and apply so ur compress,/limit thinks song is only dropped a bit!
Igor was so crazy surprised with it  ;D


edit: and if your diodes and transistors in specific section ( i forgot now) are not closely matched, dont even bother  building them, Igor told me!


 

weiss

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kambo said:
my Igor staff are back home... but i use to get dc voltage from the power supply's adjustment/calibration out! and feed that to where ur control voltage going in... works really good, especially if u have a quiet part in the song, and kicking back in loud... so that DC voltage is setting an external threshold! measure and apply so ur compress,/limit thinks song is only dropped a bit!
Igor was so crazy surprised with it  ;D


edit: and if your diodes and transistors in specific section ( i forgot now) are not closely matched, dont even bother  building them, Igor told me!

Interesting trick. What does it do exactly to the signal? I was more asking about the general settings and the type of music or tracks you're using it on. My unit sounds fine as it is now..
 

ruairioflaherty

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My Igor kit sits unbuilt, maybe someday.  But I used to rent a stunning original for mix work when I first moved to L.A.  I never got anything good out of the limiter section, but I have seen friends use it on drums with good results.

On the comp I found it excelled on the mids.  If a sound needed to be snappy, modern or had fast lows it didn't work.  But on mids like acoustic guitar, vocal etc it was glorious.

 

weiss

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ruairioflaherty said:
My Igor kit sits unbuilt, maybe someday.  But I used to rent a stunning original for mix work when I first moved to L.A.  I never got anything good out of the limiter section, but I have seen friends use it on drums with good results.

On the comp I found it excelled on the mids.  If a sound needed to be snappy, modern or had fast lows it didn't work.  But on mids like acoustic guitar, vocal etc it was glorious.

Nice! I made similar experiences. I'm not sure about the limiter section either. Still trying to figure out how it interacts with the comp section threshold-wise.
 

Rob Flinn

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To understand the 33609 it is useful to examine the circuit diagram.    I think that the limiter takes it's sidechain from a different point than the compressor.    The limit s/c is fed from a point just before the output transformer obviously so that it is capable of preventing an overloaded signal being passed on to the next piece of gear.    The compressor s/c is taken from a point just before the BA640.  Since the gain make up seems to be done by changing resistors on the BA640 one can conclude that the gain make up won't affect the compressor but it will affect the limit. i.e the compressor takes it's sidechain BEFORE the make up amp & the limiter takes it's sidechain AFTER the make up amp.  This makes sense because the limiter is there to stop overloading the next unit down the chain, whereas the compressor is there to reduce the dynamic range or increase the average signal level.  Or at least that's what the unit is designed for rather than pummelling the living daylights out of a drum signal.

The limiter is actually really good at holding things at a level.  If you scope it on the bench & you have the unit calibrated properly you can see that if you have the thresh set at +4dB & you wind a massive signal into it (maybe +30dB) it will hold it at +4dB perfectly.    If you want to get the limiter pumping you need to crank up the make up gain and it then starts to sound funky.  Personally I don't use Neve compressors for this function because things like the TG limiter I find have a preferential sound  in this capacity.

I quite like using the compressor to even the signal level out a bit & use the limiter to keep transients in check.    This is particularly useful if you use a bit of compression when tracking like I sometimes do.
 

Whoops

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weiss said:
I would be interested to hear your techniques of using the 33609 compressor from neve or similar clones.

That's a quite good question, also relevant to myself.

I have had some 33609 in different studios over the years and was never able to make it work for myself.
Unlike other compressors with this one I always prefer the bypass signal than with the 33609 on, being it on a mix or individual instruments I was never able to make it work for myself.

There are some high mids that get more pronounced with this unit that I never enjoyed or never really fit the program I was working on at the time.
 
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weiss

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Whoops said:
That's a quite good question, also relevant to myself.

I have had some 33609 in different studios over the years and was never able to make it work for myself.
Unlike other compressors with this one I always prefer the bypass signal than with the 33609 on, being it on a mix or individual instruments I was never able to make it work for myself.

There are some high mids that pronounced with this unit that I never enjoyed or never really fit the program I was working on at the time.

Interesting, which style/instruments did you try it on? I find myself tweaking a lot as well.
Sounds rather discouraging for such a well-known piece of equipment.
 

Whoops

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weiss said:
Interesting, which style/instruments did you try it on? I find myself tweaking a lot as well.
Sounds rather discouraging for such a well-known piece of equipment.

from what I can remember...

Mixes: pop, rock, acoustic

instruments: Drums, Piano, vocals, Stereo Backing Vocals

never worked for me and other compressors always work, but maybe it's my problem
 

dmp

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I built Igor's 33609 and it is a really nice sounding piece. I agree it's great on acoustic guitar.  I just use the compressor - haven't used the limited much on anything.
I have been thinking of adding a HPF to the sidechain signal, for using on a drum bus.
I've been doing heavy compression in parallel on stuff -using compressors as effects more than mixing.
 

fazer

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There are some high mids that pronounced with this unit that I never enjoyed or never really fit the program I was working on at the time.
.

Is that in real Neve 33609s?  I used one on a NPR music show for 6 years.  Mostly acoustic instruments and the real neve had a great glue as well as a sheen up high.  The real transformers are beautiful sounding to me.  I wanted to clone but got cold feet about how well it would match up.  I never did the parallel compressor on drums back then but I know engineers that would patch them into the effects send and return and put that on snare and kick and vocals like adding reverb.  I would love a clone if it sounded like the original.  Mostly for lightly touching the main mix with that sheen. 
 

C_F_H_13

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I know this post is super old, but thought I'd throw in my 2 cents.

33609s are really cool compressors, but I've found one singular use I like them for: Drum Bus or Drum Parallel

Settings I use:

Limit Section Bypassed / Not Engaged

Compressor

- Threshold : usually full blast
- Recovery : by tempo 100ms for fast stuff, 400ms for most stuff
- Gain : just enough to compensate for reduction
- Ratio : 2:1 or 1.5:1
- Attack : fast generally, slow sometimes.

For parallel I'll do fast attack and then get 8-12 db of reduction
For main drum bus I'll do 1-3db of reduction on the snare hits.

I know some people who use it on their master bus, but I never got it to work how I wanted.

 

Whoops

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Is that in real Neve 33609s?

My personal experience was only with original Neve 33609, 2 different units.
I never used a clone.

But maybe thats the problem, the units are old so I don't know how well they are maintained or not, maybe they are not in the best of their habilities due to age.
Maybe a clone would be better because it would be built of completely new componentes
 

jensenmann

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I´ve had my Igor 33609 clone next to a current AMS-Neve 33609 model at a friends studio. The sonic difference was devastating for the original. It sounded midrangey und was lacking punch. I´d maybe use it on room mics if there were no better suited compressors available while I use my clone on most everything, from drum/mixbus, bass, guitars, vocals, you name it. The compression behaviour of both units was similar, though.
 

Whoops

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The units I used were original vintage Neve and not AMS-Neve stuff.

Although they were also Midrangy, but in the High-Mids area.
I didn't like them.

So 3 possibilities, or I personally don't like these units, or the units I tried are not up to specs, or I don't know how to use them...

Next time I'm with one of these units I will try again with the tips recommended in this thread.
 

soapfoot

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33609 is not subtle. I only use it when I want to really hear it.

Most often It's a parallel drum bus for me, doing a fair bit of gain reduction. On our mix room SSL I'll use the group outputs/short faders to send a little submix out a pair. Then I'll send that to the 33609 and return it to a pair of faders further down the desk; blend to taste.

Can make things feel a bit more energetic/animated/exciting.

Though lately I've been using my DIY home-made Roger Mayer RM58 for that function at least as often. Very different flavor, but just as effective.
 

weiss

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Though lately I've been using my DIY home-made Roger Mayer RM58 for that function at least as often. Very different flavor, but just as effective.
Nice one. Are there schematics available from this unit? It seems like a perfect way to smash the drums 😄 I just saw that the stereo version also has a tape simulator.

Edit: just found your thread. Amazing build!
 
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