Improving the signal chain


Very much this. Like, Analog Heat or BOUM is pretty affordable in the scheme of things, but would I actually get much more from dropping double that on something like MAS? I know this is all very subjective, but that’s why opinion threads like this are pretty useful.

Also, I get that this is essentially a question of Mastering — but I guess I make a distinction between “mastering” a thing myself via end of chain sweetening and working with a person who has that as a focus. This is more of a tools thread, so my inquiry is on the first bit with the full acknowledgment that the latter is vastly preferable when possible.


thanks @gregory.bell for the encouragement to update – things seem to be working pretty smoothly with the beta. I updated my earlier response.


I ran across this article while reading about transformer distortion and saturation earlier today. A bit antithetical to the proposed topic here but I think also fits very well with the general ethos of the thread.


I am just chasing a workflow that i find fun, rewarding where everything contributes to leaving you with a finished in the moment creation. One that compels me to interact with my tools and really learn them and then have them surprise and wow me in return. Its been a pretty great journey so far with synths drum machines and effects. In the past 2 years ive been focused on getting that system nailed and now I feel ready to have some fun with the really focused mixing and mastering tools.

As far as the topic of more expensive vs the very usable results of cheaper things. I mean sure its good to start somewhere rather than nowhere. But I think with pricier stuff you do get what you are paying for when you understand what you are paying for.


This looks really great, but way out of my budget for the moment…

Thanks for the URL!


Agreed. It looks very interesting but I’ve always wanted a Thermionic Culture Vulture and at that budget, there are a lot of options. I should be able to get a lot of mileage out of the Chroma and a few colour modules though.


I feel like the Vulture is really the top piece of studio distortion gear for most people—I’d of course love to have one as well. I haven’t checked out the UAD version yet, but I’m tempted, as I’m not likely to spend 2K on a color-adder. I don’t expect it to sound the same, but then I think it’d be worth a look.


Thought it might be interesting to share an excerpt of a mix ran through Mannequins RIP (cinemag transformers)

Here’s no RIP:

Here’s RIP dialed in based on my preferences:

And here’s too much RIP (and also some pushing of Veils’ VCA chips. I exported everything before listening to it, got in my car and then was disappointed when nothing popped).

EDIT: update to make have the same left/right amplitude as the other two for a/b’ing

Definitely subtle, but I think there’s a bit of smoothing and “glue” they do. Or maybe it’s a placebo.


Those all sound great, but I definitely prefer the two with the RIP. And yep, I like the subtlety—I’m not a huge fan of a lot of gain/fuzz/etc on synths, as I feel like it kinda tends to round off too much of the edges and you just get this sort of uniformity. That said, a little bit does wonders.

As I mentioned a while back, my fave setting on the BOUM is just the boost, which gives it just enough color to feel a bit more glued in, but without losing filter detail etc. Pretty similar results to what you’ve done above.


Thank you! I similarly enjoy the Heat for the clean boost (as well as saturation/enhancement modes) for this kind of thing.

I think the most useful technique I’ve learned recently in terms of this kind of thing is A/B’ing and listening. I think that being able to listen to things A/B’d (important they are gain staged identically) helps to allow your brain to understand the differences rather than just blindly adding more junk on top to give it “mojo” that’s not really serving the recording.


any experiences w/ these recording channels in pedal-desktop format? (mainly for guitar-bass-mic use):

pd: considering also the ssl fusion. a bit pricey, but looks like an all-in-one alternative to 500-series modules.



I was trying to figure this out - maybe you would know. What is the best way to drive RIP using DC voltages? Can I do this with Cold Mac? I was thinking the L/R inputs and outputs and adding DC to Offset.


that would work! you could even just stackcable it, although stackcable mixing can behave a little strangely sometimes.


The way I’m doing this in the second one headphone out of my interface -> y-splitter -> into 1/4" of rip -> out of 3.5mm of rip -> back into interface.

The third one was the same but each channel was boosted with a channel of veils and then attenuated with a channel of veil (and the signal going into rip was hotter).

I still had it set up so here’s a pic


Well, here’s what I’ve gathered after the research and previous experiences with some of this (the FMR at the top is what I’ve had and I’m hoping a rack will eventually arrive so I can slide it around a bit easier). Thanks for all of your input. I hopefully have a new CD due out in a few months and I think tinkering with those songs through some of this will be a good exercise to getting a feel for it, though it’s not particularly sonically traditional :slight_smile:


especially because increasing drive on the boost setting starts to introduce very subtle harmonics that lend a lot without making it easy to overdo the effect


Will definitely be curious about your impressions!


Ya sick one im just checking out the chroma now(and more into the whole ltlo lineup)…Looks proper!
The FET module says it has some eq on it but where are all these controls? Do let us know how ur using it.


The “controls” are really jumpers on the card itself. Straight forward enough even if a little time consuming to adjust. They are very subtle but sound very good. Still learning - will post more once I’ve had a proper breaking in.


I wanted to improve my signal chain a couple of years ago and decided to go the 500 series route and ive been very happy. I noticed a massive improvement with the audio i was able to record into my apogee interface.

Ive had a pair of Rupert neve 543 for a while that i absolutely love. They are the cleanest compressors ive come across. The newest compressor i have is the Docderr by ELI. Its an amazing compressor/EQ/Saturation unit. Its similar to a Distressor in its saturation and comp but it can be used as just an EQ. As far as preamps go i went for the MONO Gama, TG500, and 73 JR by Heritage. I use the Gama on vocals, synths guitars, basically on anything i want clean but to have girth. I use the 73 on audio i want to have an little more of an edge and to cut through. I use the 73 almost always on electric Guitar. I use the TG500 on sources that i want to have an edge and cut through but warmer and tighter than the 73. Ive also gotten to use a pair of Inward Connections Brutes, and those were spectacular on vocals and guitars esp electric guitars. As ive played more with these beasts ive explored many different uses and combinations for sounds but these are all my starting points.

Id love to try out some API gear next :slight_smile: esp the 512 and 525 or 527