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Which compressor is the VCM 376 effect based on?

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Michel
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Which compressor is the Yamaha VCM 376 effect based on? Bad Mister says it's a "leveling amplifier" but I don't know of any such devices that had input/output/attack/release/ratios controls. Is it a mashup between an LA-3A and an 1176?

Also, how similar is it to the Steinberg/Yamaha "Compressor 276" VST plugin from here - which has been reported to be a model of the 1176?

https://www.steinberg.net/yamaha-vintage-plugin-collection/

 
Posted : 12/11/2021 8:24 am
Bad Mister
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Michel
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Yes, I've read those articles. I'm still confused because the 1176 is a "Limiting Amplifier" and the LA-2A/LA-3A are "Leveling Amplifiers" - and you referred to the VCM 376 here as a Leveling Amplifier:

https://yamahasynth.com/learn/synth-programming/vcm-compressor-376-workflow

 
Posted : 12/11/2021 7:50 pm
Bad Mister
Posts: 12304
 

Both limiters and compressors are in a category of audio processors called “amplifiers” They are amplifiers that influence level. It is a matter of degree. Compressors are used to hold signal back from exceeding a level - ratios 2:1 through 8:1… this Gain Reduction is useful in corralling unruly levels. When the Ratio of reduction exceed 10:1 and certainly at 20:1, the signal exiting the amplifier will get virtually no louder.

See the following explanation of limiters and compressors:
1176LN Owner’s Manual —page #19

They call it a Limiting Amplifier, I’m fine with that — read the explanation and you see very much they are describing an amplifier that instead of just increasing signal output like most amplifiers, along with compressors, limiters have the distinct role of leveling signal (controlling signal, specifically keeping it from exceeding excessive levels)… they are both in a category of amplifiers generally called Leveling Amplifiers.

How unity gain is restored can be different in different classic models of compressor/limiters… the evolution of these amplifiers from tubes, transistor, solid state, and beyond can be looked at now and we can marvel that each was a snowflake. The question as to which actual model it is taken from, is for the engineer to say… I believe the concept was to capture the behavior and the essence, as close as electronically possible, to how ‘classic’ compressor/limiters worked in the late 1970s. Not just to mimic a single product (if that was goal, I’m sure they would have named it accordingly). The eye-candy leads you to think it’s modeled after the Teletronix LA-2A but that is not outlined specifically. It certainly wasn’t promoted as replica of any specific piece of gear.

The interesting thing about the Rupert Neve part of the story is in the ‘sonic result’ achieved with VCM technology. I got to talk with Mr. Neve briefly at an AES event where they were giving him an award… I asked him about the whole analog vs digital thing, and what about Yamaha’s VCM caught his fancy… and I found enlightenment in his answer.

He talked about gear back in the day (today we call it “classic” gear) and how with those items, which were not perfect, but were our attempt to get as good a sound as we could… no matter what else, the goal was to get the sound. That is still the case, we are looking for the best way to get that best sound. Nothing’s changed as far as that is concerned, other than with technology today, we now can recognize and exploit what made things unique and now classic; we can attempt to maximize those thing that help, and at the same time, attempt to minimize those things that prevented us from obtaining the goal. But the search is for the sound.

So from that, I got the idea that what impressed him about VCM was its flexibility and therefore its potential for directions yet unexplored.

From conversations like that, and my years of knowing Mr. Kunimoto, I would conclude that the VCM Compressor 376 is composite of classic 1970-1980s technologies - seeking to reproduce the behaviors of the circuitry… looking to expand the sonic lexicon.

 
Posted : 12/11/2021 8:49 pm
Michel
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Eminent Member
Topic starter
 

I've built my own compressors so I'm familiar with the theory of operation of VCA, FET, opto, diode and vari-Mu devices 🙂

I asked the original question because historically the LA-2A/LA-3A were always referred to as leveling amplifiers whereas the 1176 was often referred to as a limiting amplifier.

So it seems clear though that what you're alluding to (but perhaps not outright stating due to intellectual property concerns) is that the VCM 376 is modeled after the 1176.

 
Posted : 12/11/2021 10:26 pm
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