I’ve been experimenting with sending sterile clean perfectly groomed church choir singers into a nasty ass distortion plugin like the SoundToys Devil-Loc deluxe, Empirical Labs Distressor, or Slate Monster.
Instead of trying to tune the return, I just leave it on a bus with an EQ before, and an EQ after, and use my aux sends to roll the source into it.
Kick drum -> 2 bus
Snare drum -> 2 bus
Overheads -> 2bus
Choir -> 2 bus
Kickdrum aux send -> Crush bus (fader stays at unity) -> 2 bus
Snaredrum aux send -> same
Overheads aux send -> same
Choir aux send -> same
I realized that once you have some basic EQ on that crush bus, it doesn’t give a rip what you throw at it, so it can actually be counter-productive to set up a dedicated parallel crush track for every individual source. This is also better (for me) than instating 10 instances of a DevilLoc on every single instrument then using the wet/dry because this thing generates noise cumulatively like the tape saturation and summing sims. Its just a hell of a lot easier for me at the end of the day, to balance one source fader + an aux send to one plugin, than to manage 10 of them.
What plugin do you guys use to smash the hell out of stuff?
I have been using the manic compressor by boz digital but i don’t know that i am getting the distortion that you are looking for. It has been a while since i have done any mixing though so i can’t remember.
Waves CLA 1176 but will try UAD or NI 1176 and Cubase 9 1176 ALL Buttons in.
Same here (surprise surprise).
If I want to use it as distortion, I’ll just bring the attack and release down to 0, or very near zero for a lighter distortion. Then EQ and blend to taste.
I would actually prefer to have a plugin with 3 parallel paths. One for compression, 2 for distortion. All 3 paths would have pre and post EQ.
Cool. Hey all 5 of you - @bozmillar, @SoundCandy, @AJ113, @ColdRoomStudio, @redworks what else do you guys do before and after the compressor?
Andrew, are you using all 3 buttons in, with the warmth ramped up to 7? How hard are you hitting it?
Aj, that’s a really interesting choice. I wouldn’t have thought of using a relatively clean comp for this. Are you using it in limiter mode?
Boz, I was don’t have a copy of the manic yet…I was thinking about the features in it, and possibly running a multi-band saturation plugin either before or after it. One of the things that makes a Distressor great for a crush track is the distortion is already parallel with a blend knob, and it has also has a built in side chain EQ.
Chris, interesting you mention the 1176. I grabbed the Slate VMR to try the Slate version to see what it sounded like, then remembered he doesn’t give you an all buttons in option haha. So I grabbed the Monster, since it’s a full nuker 1176 style compressor, in permanent all button mode. But its more extreme. It worked well.
I haven’t spent enough time experimenting with the crush track in depth to know what works best for myself yet. I’ll probably end up throwing 3 different chains on the same aux track, then using the console to activate/deactivate them quickly to do side-by side comparisons. Cool stuff guys.
Well, I don’t use it in the way you describe in the OP, I don’t use sends, everything is inserted. You asked what limiter we use so I replied. As far as I am aware Elephant has no mode other than ‘smash the crap’. It’s marketed as transparent and I guess it is if you don’t go crazy but like anything else, turn it up to 11 and you’ll get your distortion. Especially good on bass guitars and vocals. I don’t usually parallel either, I think it’s overrated as a technique.
I assume you mean limiter?
EQ (31 band graphic)
Reverb glue (sometimes)
UAD one does an All buttons in by “Shift Click” The NI has an All buttons too.
On my Stereo Crush on that channel im not doing anything else to it. Sounds Great.
If I want compression, it’s normally UBK-1, Molot, Waves SSL Channel (now that I have it for $29 or whatever it was), or ReaComp. It kind of depends on what I’m going for. Sometimes I need an over-accentuated transient and sometimes I need something to lift the low-level stuff. Sometimes it’s both so I’ll set up a couple different busses and blend them.
If I want distortion/clipping, it’ll be one of the UBK Omega Plugins, UBK-1’s saturation section, Melda’s MLimiter, Softube Saturation Knob, or one of Reaper’s saturation plugs.
I’ll often EQ some top out before the distortion/compression. I’ll also try to pre-EQ out some resonances the distortion or compression brings up.
One thing that’s yielded some good results for me has been using a transient designer in harmony with my processing on these busses. If I’m trying to bring up the low-level stuff, I’ll decrease the transients a little and lift the sustain a little before hitting my compressor/distortion/clipping. If I want to accentuate the transient and smack, I’ll go through the compression then add a transient designer with increased attack after it.