REVIEW

Pro Tools stock vs Logic Pro stock Pt 2 Digital Compressors

In the second part of this mini series we will be comparing the digital compressors that come with Pro Tools and Logic Pro
In the first part of the series we compared the stock EQs that come with Pro Tools and Logic Pro 
If you missed the first part and want to catch up on it - check it out here

The compressors we are comparing in this segment are the Avid/Pro Tools Dynamics III and the Logic Pro compressor set to Platinum Digital.

 

Here’s what they look like -  If you want to go directly to the SHOOTOUTS CLICK HERE

Pro Tools Dyn III

Logic Pro Compressor (Platinum Digital)

SHOOTOUTS

Here they are for your listening pleasure.   If you find this review useful, can we ask you to like our Facebook Page or Sign up to our Newsletter at the bottom of the page so we can let you know when new ones are available?

SHOOTOUT 1 - Ratio 4:1 - Vocals and drums

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First listening through on the fast attack and release setting on vocals we think that the Pro Tools compressor sounds a bit more forward and harmonic - but there is an interesting harmonic reaction on the tail of the last note he sings - listen out for that.
If you listen to the slow and medium attack and release settings on the Pro Tools Compressor this same problem on the tail does not exist - maybe it is just a problem on faster attack and release settings on the compressor. A thing to note, if you have not already read/heard it yet is that when you go to faster attack and release settings on compressors you are not just changing the style of the compression, but also the sonics of the compression; when you move to faster attack and release settings compressors it tends to pull up more harmonics). So here you should not only listen to how the Pro Tools and Logic Pro compressors sound against each other but also how they sound against themselves on different attack and release settings. The harmonic difference between the Pro Tools and Logic Pro Compressor become less apparent as the attack and release settings get slower - both of these turn into very clean compressors with similar sonic character..
On drums the same characters are exhibited - just in a slightly different way for you to listen to. On the fast attack and release on the Pro Tools compressor listen to how the cymbals move forward and become more present, and same listen to the top end on the kick drum. The Logic Pro Compressor stays a lot cleaner and consistent through all settings and sounds very similar to the Pro Tools Compressor at the slow settings.
This is all at a nice mild relatively low level of compression - lets stop being so conservative and crush some stuff……..

 

SHOOTOUT 2 - Ratio 8:1 - Bass and Drums

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The compression characteristics that were exhibited using fast attack and release settings in the last test are only further exaggerated in this test. A serious amount of harmonics are pulled up in the Pro Tools compressor, it could be argued whether these are pleasant harmonics or not, but regardless they are there (we wonder if by specific design choice or not). These characteristics are not as obvious for the Logic Pro Compressor, it stays clean and consistent. We think at this point it also also important to know that our fast attack and release settings are not the fastest these units can go so those harmonics are not the most that the Pro Tools compressor can pull up.   If you speed up the attack and release even more and it can only get better right? (or worse).
At the medium and slow attack and release settings on bass these compressors sound very similar - there is no real difference to how they react to a program with a large amount of low end. At the slow setting the Logic Pro Compressor does sound everrrr so slightly warmer to our ears.

Next to drums - again with the fast attack and release the Pro Tools Compressor forces up harmonics. But it sounds far more tasteful on this drum sample as opposed to the bass sample...maybe it is not so bad after all, or just better suited to some things rather than others. Because of the increased harmonics on the Pro Tools Compressor the cymbals are bought up and forward and with the overtones and midrange introduced above the kick the kick gets a bit ‘woolly’ when compared to the Logic Pro Compressor that retains its tightness in the low/low mids and keeps the transients very well. Again overall the Logic Pro Compressor is cleaner and on the slow settings it retains more punch than the Pro Tools Compressor - listen to the difference in the kick drum.

 

SHOOTOUT 3 - Ratio 20:1 - Song and Drums

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In this test we decided to include a full song. It is very rare to ever compress a full track this much, let alone with a stock compressor (can't think of a reason you would to be honest apart from doing it to deliberately and sending it to your mastering engineer to wind them up...YMMV), but we included it in this test to give an extreme idea of how the compressor react to full frequency spectrum programs with a large amount of peak and RMS signal.

So….
The Pro Tools Compressor shows up the true extent of its harmonic push here. There are some very nasty harmonics creeping in there as well. Not super smooth harmonics, more like 3rd order aggression with a hint of digital error.

The Logic Pro Compressor at these settings does bring in some distortion but it is a lot more ‘mulled out’, smooth and the kick still punches through. All the elements in the mix although they are super crushed are relatively well retained through the pumping mess.

At the medium setting the compressors settle into sounding a bit more similar. The Logic Pro compressor sounds a bit more consistent across the frequency spectrum and stays a bit more constant, whereas the Pro Tools Compressor has a bit more of a pumping and pushed feel to it - listen to how the guitars change when the kick and snare hit. At the slow setting these compressors are very very similar.
Listening on the drums the same can be said as in the 8:1 test, it’s just far more exaggerated (as expected). On the fast setting listen to how the Logic Pro Compressor retains the transients on the kick and snare and how the Pro Tools Compressor really blows out and crushes the low end on the kicks and the transients get really swallowed. Listen to how the tails on the cymbals vary between the Logic Pro and Pro Tools compressor too.


What we think.
So overall the Logic Pro Compressor is a lot more consistent clean sounding compressor - even when you push it to hell it does not exhibit a lot of pumping and stays nice and true to the original program. The same can be said for the Pro Tools Compressor on slow settings but if you push this compressor to faster attack and release settings harmonics push up and your transients set seriously compromised at higher settings. If you use the Pro Tools Compressor watch out how hard you push it especially at VERY fast attack and release setting - it can get pretty nasty (great if that is what you are looking for).



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Handy Links -

Check out the Avid/Pro Tools Dynamics III

http://www.avid.com/plugins/dynamics-iii

Check out the Logic Pro Stock Compressor

https://documentation.apple.com/en/logicstudio/effects/chapter_5_section_1.html



Extra info for those interested in how we make our calls on what stuff sounds like -

Listening tests and assumptions are determined, double checked or signed off at Gearshoot HQ on ATC110ASL Pro monitors.   We reckon that they give us a pretty good chance at getting it pretty well in the ballpark of what it is going to sound like on most other people’s monitors.   We also headphone check on Extreme Isolation EX-29’s to hear what is going on in that spectrum and to hear what the world of headphones can show us.

** Shameless plug - if you have any mastering you need done please consider us so we can buy a puppy and spend more time writing reviews and making shootouts for you ;)

 

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