I think I've narrowed it down to two finalists. The flucti-mew and the fenix. Which one of these comes to mind when I say I'm looking for an open, smooth sound with a finishing sheen on it? Eventually I'll have them both but I can only afford one at this time. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
check out doctor mix on youtube, he has a demo of the hardware phoenix processing a soul funk mix which reveals the tonal colour if you're not familiar.
If you're familiar with the tone and it is your taste then I will say that the fenix does everything you're looking for but not sure about 'sheen'. To me that's more of an equalizer task. If you just mean 'final polish to a mix' then yes, while putting your dynamics in place the phoenix can make audio 'sound like a record' for lack of a better phrase.
Alexb's fenix has sampled 2 models with 2 tubes each which offer noticable variation and saturation. If you're limited, this seems like the more practical option over the flucti.
Really, you can't lose between the Fenix or the Flecti-Mew. The Flecti-Mew is thicker, gooier, and has a really nice compacting effect. The Fenix bundle offers several flavors of what sounds to me like a more transparent compressor. It can really help to add some sheen, or can subdue it based on the tubes or unit (Red or Black) used.
These 2 compressors are my goto choices on the mixbuss these days. Full disclosure here, I usually follow with either Murano or Titanium, but I use them more as mastering compressors than mixbuss compressors... if that makes any sense
Thanks for the reply. Really? I just demoed that one and loved it but I never thought of it as a mixbuss comp?
Of course. Why not? What is special about "targeted" mix bus compressors other than "marketing"? Folks use hardware pairs as a 2-bus comp for both mixing and mastering.
It's all I use on my 2-bus now. YMMV, but this thing sounds amazing to me so I'm not at all concerned about what I "should be using". Been doing this long enough now that "should" never matters to me anymore.
My opinion of the Chandly as a buss compressor is that it should be used if you really want to change the sound, rather than transparently control it. It does a really colorful thickening with it's flavor, depending on the mode selected. Given that it has 6 different knee settings, it is really versatile.
The A5D is also worth a look. It brings things forward and tightens the bass in the usual A*I way. Plus, the ceiling control gives you a different spectrum of harmonic distortion.