Valley People Dyna-mite is a multi-function dynamics processor designed for problem solving and creative effects. It is not for the faint of heart. The unit originally came out in the 1980s and to this day, no other limiter/compressor/gate/expander can perform in a similar way to the Dyna-mite. With multiple functions, it is a highly versatile dynamics processor, full of unique character and possibilities. It allows you to transform your sounds in many different ways. Described below are five great uses for the unit.
When you set the Dyna-mite’s function switch to Limit and the right detector switch to peak (marked Pk), you will get one of the fastest and most ruthless limiters that exists. It will obliterate the transient of any sound, and bring out the sustain as well as any room sound that is captured with the sound source. Try it on drums, and it becomes very apparent how the unit got its name. But it can be very useful for taming transients of any instrument that needs to be softened.
Sure, all compressors can to a certain extent be used to emphasize the transients of a track, but you’d be hard pressed to find anything that does it in the same manner as the Dyna-mite. Keep the function switch set to Limit but flick the detector to average (Avg), and the transients will start popping out at you from the speakers so intensely it will make you blink involuntarily. This setting is great for bringing out the smack of a drum or making an acoustic guitar more percussive and attention-grabbing.
The extreme responsiveness of the Dyna-mite is intact when you set the function switch to Gate. You can hard gate your sound source while leaving your transients untouched. Great for metal guitars where you want dead silence in between the chugs, for getting rid of roominess in a sound and of course for cleaning up background sounds leaking into drum mics. Set the detector to Pk for a hard gate and to Avg for a gentler, more musical response.
The Range knob is very useful when the Dyna-mite is in Gate mode. Here, it basically works as a volume knob for the material that was gated out. So if you for example use the Dyna-mite to gate out the background sounds from a close-mic’ed drum, and you find the result too unnatural, you simply use the Range knob to mix the background sounds back in at a level that is low enough to not mess up your mix, but strong enough to not make the sound unnatural. This is also great for altering the mix balance in drum overheads where the cymbals got too loud, and similar situations.
Set the left detector switch to de-ess (Ds) and hear how the Dyna-mite starts responding more strongly to
s-sounds. If you use the unit in Limit mode, it will dampen s-sounds from vocals, cymbals and string squeaks from acoustic guitars—things that otherwise tend to be brought forward with hard compression. Setting the detector to Ds will bring sounds like these back to unobtrusive levels. When you set the switch to Ds with Dyna-mite in Gate mode, the unit will again respond more easily (thus opening the gate) to s-sounds, or sounds in that frequency range. This can be useful when you’re trying to isolate a sound with a lot of energy in that frequency range, such as a close mic on a hi-hat.
The plug-ins have similar features and basic operation. However, the UAD version of the Valley People Dyna-mite does not currently support External sidechain.