My Compressor Has More Mojo Than Yours or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jonathan

The whole trend with trying to emulate analog gear or selling plugins as having, “10× the MOJO of the next leading brand” has me disenfranchised to the max. I mean, it’s a God damn compressor, right? It pushes the volume down if it crosses a set threshold. Do these harmonics and overtones and MOJO and warmth really matter? Same with EQ. You’re adjusting the frequency spectrum. It’s an EQ. Having it based of the way a neve does it won’t turn you into Mike Shipley over night. Can we have some sanity? This business model in which companies try to see who has the bigger analog penis is really soiling the entire business.


I tend to agree with you. ReaEQ (REaper) …or whatever it’s called, has as many frequency bands as you choose…and it’s a free plugin that seems quite flexible. I have heard engineers say that certain big name EQ’s impart a particular, “special” colour and vibe to the sound, but so far I haven’t experienced or heard anything that does that, though I’m still pretty inexperienced with plugins. If there’s an EQ or compressor that has the ability to improve my recordings significantly, I want to know about it. I think the onboard plugins in Reaper are likely to take me about 80% of the way to my ultimate mix…BUT, I kind of hope I’m wrong, because it would be easier if I could find those “magic plugins”.

I said analog tennis too but now my post was flagged as inappropriate. :slight_smile:

I agree I use the stock comp and eq in protools 90 percent of the time
also think that when it comes to Neve type eq its more about the frequency points

I remember when I first got into mixing that everything seemed pretty magical to me. Like you’d take some regular sounding tracks and pass them through plugins until they sparkle and you have an incredible sounding song.

What I’m realizing is that mixing is a pretty small part of the overall finished product. You’ve got to have a great recording of a great performance of a great arrangement of a great song first. That’s where the magic happens. It doesn’t happen in the mix, and it certainly doesn’t happen in your choice of compressor or EQ plugin.

It’s a lot easier to buy a new plugin than to put in hours of practice though (if you’ve got the cash.) So it’s no wonder that sort of marketing works. It’s not the company’s fault. They’re just giving the people what they want, haha.


There is no magic plugin. Gear means nothing if you can’t use it properly. However, some gear is more equal than others for sure.


I just realized how hypocritical that is coming from me. It’s an interesting topic. It isn’t what you use, it’s how you use it. Every once in a while you get a @bozmillar who sweats his ass off to make plug-ins that solve problems, not ones that merely exist to do what a million other people are doing.

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This depends on how much certain details matter to you. There are some significant differences in compressors, and those differences start to matter at a certain point. There are a GREAT deal of things a hardware Distressor and 1176 can do that a stock Reaper compressor simply can not.

If you’re talking about analog emulation, then this is a gross oversimplification. Dude, the interface, the attention to the circuit, the behavior of the slew rates, the way it distorts…this stuff isn’t put in there because programmers amuse themselves with it. They put it in there because the guys who use it care about it.

Yes. The use of additive harmonics can be the difference between an above average vocal and a stellar standout one. Just a properly used transient designer can be the difference between a flat kick drum and a punchy one.

Not all EQ’s are capable of adjusting it the same way. It may not matter to someone who is just trying to get their tracks sounding decent, but it does very much to someone who needs every edge they can get because competing studios will beat the living shit out of you if you get lazy and fall back into this mindset.

That isn’t what UAD claims its does. Nor Slate, nor Waves. There are certain plugins that give you a distinct sound that you can’t get any other way. No one plugin is gonna work for everyone. Nor does it compensate for a lack of overall mixing technique. When one plugin doesn’t work, hopefully you have a different one that does better.

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I believe this a false dichotomy, and one of the biggest fundamental fuck ups that I had a continuous problem with at Recording Review (the old site that most of us came to IRD from). It was the unwillingness to acknowledge certain tools can be an integral part of one persons process but insignificant to another persons process (of tracking, producing, editing, or mixing).

The ass-backwards logic there goes like this: Mr. Golden Ears engineer A can not hear the difference between a real 1073 and a digital one in a blind shootout. Therefore, the digital 1073 is the right choice because it’s the cost efficient one.

The error in reasoning is it necessarily assumes that the use of the real 1073 was not integral to the process, because it can not be detected in the result. It presupposes that the process and the result are synonymous. Or the result and process are not related.

Incase this isn’t clear, finishing a mix, THEN going back and REPLACING one element IN the mix (which is exactly how Brandon did his summing test) is not the same as using a different element to actually DO the mix. Brandon ran a mix. Then he went back and made his summing mixer (on his Toft) match the mix he’d already made. This isn’t how you do a fucking shootout.

Nor does it work if you pump a sine wave into a summing mixer and go LOOK! IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE! No shit. That doesn’t tell you anything because we don’t push sine waves into summing mixers in real life.

So what I’m saying is that when it comes to ‘mojo’, it doesn’t matter if * you * think your compressor has more mojo than mine. What matters is if * I * think your compressor has more mojo than my other ones. Or in the marketing peoples case, if they can convince me, that their new v2.0 compressor has more mojo than my legacy ones.

That was uncalled for. Raw passion.

No offense taken…haha. I hope it doesn’t bother you that your response made me laugh a little. Look, I do realize its just an opinion. And I’m perfectly, honestly, 100% ok with people not agreeing with me on some of these things. No one would learn anything here if everyone agreed with everyone on everything all the time. I did try and stick with facts relevant to mixing…nothing in there was attacking you personally.

Ha! And would it not be hilarious if we got into an irreconcilable feud over a compressor? Gotta love this place.

I don’t hold grudges unless you’re one of my ex-girlfriends. Sometimes I wish I was gay. It would make things easier and I could offend the overly religious without opening my mouth, unless it was opened to intake a peninsula of masculinity. Fellatio fillet.


Why’s that? Am I a joke to you? Or was it the thighs comment?

Here it sounds like you’re calling me an ignorant fuck-up. That’s what was grinding my gears. I know it wasn’t your intent, and my original post was most certainly a gross oversimplification. See, I’m sick of substandard products being hyped and shelled out for $3,000, while the developers get rich pleasing each other with moon rock dildos. Now I’m sure your original post was about as malignant as a cupcake on a circus midget learning to piss in a urinal by standing on the yellow pages, but it was my peripheral that was wrong in initially examining your post about why I’m a repressed black girl.

Analog gear can color the shit out of the sound, I guess I’m trying to say I’m sick of the rehash. If I wanted rehash, I’d simply make hash browns, wait a day, then reheat the fuckers. Now I’m sick and tired of clients asking me to perform chiropractic services. I run a recording studio. I’ve seen real life 1176 compressors built with my own eyes since before you were the age that you currently are, Jonathan Kuehling. Da da da da da DA DA DA DAAAA! Tears are on the keyboard, it makes it hard to type. Excuse me while I get the kleenex.

Ok. I understand. Wasn’t toward you.

I think this community has moved passed my biggest peeve with Recording Review. Namely getting called an gullible idiot if you believed there was legitimate value in paying $6k for a microphone. And it didn’t stop there. Several of those same buffoons on RR took it to the extreme of claiming EVERY pro engineer (especially the top guys in the business) were equally mindless for using what they believed was unnecessarily expensive stuff.

One issue can be looked at in 2 different ways. The ineffectiveness of plugins, and the illegitimacy of facts when it comes to how they’re marketed.

But instead of harping on hardware manufacturers and plugin devs for selling this stuff, why don’t we look at what the pro users are doing with it? If those results are noteworthy, than why are we attacking devs and manufactures for supplying the product?

I disregard the hobbyist end of the consumer spectrum in this regard for two reasons. First, because the marketing premise of the $3000 ‘moon rock dildo’ is almost always purported on pro engineer user testimony or directly from video demos. Second, because very few hobbyists buy $3000 moon rocks. I don’t disregard the hobbyist consumer spectrum out of disrespect to hobbyists, but because that market doesn’t give an accurate assessment of the price-to-performance value (which is really what this debate is about) of a $3000 hardware unit.

I don’t hear as much ‘analog = god’ hype as I did 8 years ago. Maybe the market is finally getting over it. I hope so.

On a different note, when the hell did “mojo” become a word people use for audio? Kind of a stupid word.

Ha ha My compressor is 7 1/2 hp, 60 gallon, 175 psi

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I think there’s a compressor in my freezer lol.

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Its music, I dont normally buy into the hype of advertising. Most of the times I like transparent compressors but If I like a sound of a compressor for instance a tube compressor on a section of french horns I use it. if I want to compress based on RMS instead of peak, I use a different analog modeled compressor.

I never personally felt the pressure of analog vs digital. They all sound like music with different colors to me :smiley: I also dont have the same enthusiasm or a bias towards a certain type of sound as most who grew up in the era of heavy analog so I just cant relate at the same level.

To me its all data and sound.

When you turn everything into raw data, you have truly entered the world of digital “perfection”, which unfortunately to me will never be perfection. When you mention a tube compressor sounding different and desirable in some situations, you’re really saying you like the color the compressor adds. Unfortunately, in the digital world, color is a polite word for distortion.
That, to me anyway is where all the confusion comes from. Why are there 50 coveted compression emulators out there? Why wouldn’t the magic of digital allow for one perfect algorithm to fix the dynamics of our raw data?
The answer is we like distortion, and even use it to “fix” things in our perfect digital recordings, because they don’t distort in a pleasing way.
Analog is long gone, and the delivery of music in any analog format is long gone too. What’s not long gone are an endless variety of options to emulate color, warmth and distortion to rid us of the sterility of a digital delivery system that was grossly under engineered in the beginning so we all could say Wow! about certain aspects and ignore the crap they got wrong. Sorry about the rant, it is certainly not directed towards you in any way. I just think that there aren’t enough people out there who have experienced what things can sound like regardless of the format if it is all done properly.

what I was saying if I like the sound of a compressor on a section of french horns, I will use it regardless of what domain it was modeled on. I might not use it on anything else at all or maybe it will sound horrible on a cello ensemble who knows. My point was that I don’t try to bias my decisions on “analog vs digital” arguments.

Too generic for me, distortion is a field the size of Texas, maybe more. Everything is a distortion. If we could generalize something to a point that easily, life would be too simple.