Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Key To A Great Audio Compressor/Limiter

I've thought this ever since I was young studying electronics and acoustics.  There have been many good compressor and limiter designs over the years.  For me, the key to a great sounding compressor/limiter is it's ability to grab the early peaks and get out, without causing any undesirable distortion.  There are three units that I have used that are capable of grabbing these early peaks VERY quickly.  The Fairchild 670, Spectra Sonics 610, Universal Audio 1176LN and the Aphex 661. 

Fairchild 670 attack time.  "The attack time is very fast - 50 microseconds (1/5000 of a second) - and catches short transients that can, in other limiters, negate the limiting effect."

Spectra Sonics 610 attack time.  "100 Nanoseconds to 2.0 Microseconds."

Universal Audio 1176LN attack time. "20 - 80 microseconds".

Aphex 661 attack time.  "Attack: 0.05 to 100 mSec"  .05 = 50 microseconds.  mSec = milliseconds.