Alesis 3630

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sfd
KVRian
1331 posts since 14 Jul, 2013 from Sweden

Post Tue Jun 25, 2019 2:47 pm

Has anyone here any experiences regarding the Alesis 3630 compressor ?

I'm thinking about buying it, second-hand. and would like to know what you've to say about this compressor ?
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ghettosynth
KVRAF
12045 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Re: Alesis 3630

Post Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:02 pm

Whether or not it's generally good, it was cheap so it got used on a lot of early techno/house records in the 90s and is often associated with some aspect of that sound.

I recall using one in a studio once, but it was long before I really knew anything about compressors. Back then, if you were on a budget you didn't really think about different flavors of compressors much, you just got a compressor to solve problems and whatever you got was what you used. I never had a 3630 because I had a DBX-166 which was considered "premium" by comparison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lghMIEbzzwo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGRCd_Q90bA
Last edited by ghettosynth on Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

surferman
KVRist
307 posts since 27 Mar, 2008

Re: Alesis 3630

Post Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:04 pm

I loved mine, Still have it. Never had anything else to compare too, but it worked great for my live and vocal recordings.
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bill45
KVRAF
2367 posts since 15 Jun, 2006

Re: Alesis 3630

Post Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:38 pm

They are notorious For a snap sound When the attack is set fast.
People are modding them by changing a diode.They say this turns them into a high end compressor

ghettosynth
KVRAF
12045 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Re: Alesis 3630

Post Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:55 pm

bill45 wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:38 pm
They are notorious For a snap sound When the attack is set fast.
People are modding them by changing a diode.They say this turns them into a high end compressor
Um, it's more than a "diode." There are parts kits that replace caps, parts of the power supply, and the VCA chips. Whether or not these yield dramatic improvements sufficient to turn them into a "high end" compressor is debatable. People have a mod fetish for anything that's cheap.

I think that attack magazine gets the balance right and explains why they've become notorious, basically, Daft Punk.

https://www.attackmagazine.com/reviews/ ... ever-made/

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Benedict
KVRAF
2824 posts since 5 Mar, 2004 from Gold Coast Australia

Re: Alesis 3630

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:54 am

I was around when they were. They were never good. Whatever is in your DAW is probably better.

However they were cheap compared to anything else. They would do the job of compressing - so long as they weren't faulty (plenty of Alesis gear could be a bit sketchy - 1622 anyone!). Maybe if it was $20 and you don't mind if it turns out to be about useless (or just to hammer your M1 into submission) then go for it. Otherwise buy something from Klanghelm for about $3 more and get something that is actually useful.

:-)

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justin3am
KVRAF
10757 posts since 7 May, 2006 from Southern California

Re: Alesis 3630

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:21 pm

ghettosynth wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:55 pm
Um, it's more than a "diode." There are parts kits that replace caps, parts of the power supply, and the VCA chips. Whether or not these yield dramatic improvements sufficient to turn them into a "high end" compressor is debatable. People have a mod fetish for anything that's cheap.
Rebuilding the PSU around lower tolerance 25v or 50v caps reduced the noise floor quite a bit. Changing out the VCA chips didn't make much of a noticeable difference, to my ears. The circuit doesn't provide enough headroom to be called high-end, regardless of mods.

However, one doesn't always need high-end. I use my 3630 all the time, though I have much nicer compressors. I totally recommend using a HPF or low shelf, to cut low frequencies before hitting the key input. It sounds great on drums and electric bass, that way. It can also do some of the most brutally ugly squashing I've ever heard (but the noise floor is part of that brutal sound).

I do like modding cheap gear, though not usually with the aim of making stuff sound more expensive... I just don't have any anxiety about breaking the cheap stuff. :lol:

JCJR
KVRAF
2668 posts since 17 Apr, 2005 from S.E. TN

Re: Alesis 3630

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:24 pm

Maybe there were multiple generations of the thang subtly different. Dunno. The boxes were manufactured for so many years. I didn't have much problem with the 3630s I used. Had several for individual vocal mic compression on a long-term gig I played (owned by the dinner theater) and had a couple of my own at home. I still have my pair and they still worked last time I hooked em up, which was a few years ago.

3630 isn't special but there were worse compressors made with higher pricetags from the usual suspects big sound companies. Off the top of my head, both Peavey and Yamaha sold lots noiser, worse-sounding and more expensive compressors contemporaneous with the 3630 heyday. Given time I could think up a few more.

The thang with any box is that you ain't sposed to set the knobs so the box sounds bad. If you set the knobs so that the device sounds bad then its yer own dam fault. :) Any box, especially compressors, will sound bad if set wrong in context of what the box can do.

Actually the 3630 was a little easier to dial in to something acceptable than some others. Just if the attack release threshold or ratio is set wrong sure it will suck.

For some reason I consistently had problems getting what I wanted out of DBX compressors over the years. Strange thing setting up DBX compressors, it was easy to get in the situation where there was too much compression and not enough compression AT THE SAME TIME. Weird. Some parts of a song would pump too much, too heavy gain limiting, while other parts of a song would sail right thru with inadequate squashing. Couldn't increase control of the out-of-control sections without even more heavily ruining the parts which the DBX was in control of. Strange description, just the impression I frequently got.

I tested the software compressors and limiters in my DBX Driverack a few years back after I first got it, and got the same impression, easy to get "too much" and "not enough" compression the same damn time. I like the driverack and would probably use the limiter and maybe compressor modules in a live sound setting, but not necessary nor desirable for studio monitor crossover/EQ/controller.

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