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Golden Age Project COMP-554 MKII 500 Series Compressor
Single-channel vintage-style compressor for the 500 series format with a signal path the uses only discrete components like resistors, capacitors and transistors
The Golden Age Project COMP-554 MKII is a single-channel vintage-style compressor for the 500 series format. The signal path uses only discrete components like resistors, capacitors and transistors. The input and output are transformer balanced and the unit also uses a third interstage transformer.
This is the way audio components were built before integrated circuits became available. ICs are small and cheap and they are widely used in most modern designs. It is clear though that audio components built with modern technology does not always provide the best perceived sound quality or character that the modern user desires.
On the contrary, the subjective sound quality delivered by vintage equipment is often preferred over the one delivered by modern units. This is the reason why so many vintage audio components are cloned and produced again and also why the vintage originals are often very expensive on the second hand market.
The Class A circuit used in the COMP-554 MK2 is similar to the one in the classic 2254 compressor that was designed in 1969. It quickly became a legend due to its totally unique sound character that is warm, smooth, sweet and musical.
These characteristics have been heard on countless recordings through the years and it is a versatile sound that works very well on many sound sources and in many genres. The essence of this sound is now available at a surprisingly low cost, making it available to nearly everyone.
Improvements from COMP-554:
Upgraded knobs and switches
More robust design
Vintage style electronics with no integrated circuits in the signal path
Based on a classic diode bridge design
Transformer balanced input and output
Flexible control range for threshold, ratio, attack and recovery
All controls except the gain make-up one are stepped
Three selectable sidechain filter frequencies
Three flexible sidechain options; Internal, Insert and External
The external sidechain I/O is electronically balanced @4 dBu and appears on the right slot rack connections
Separate switches for hardwire bypass and compression out
Two insert connectors for inserting the EQ-573 in the main audio and/or sidechain signal path
Meter selectable for output (two reference levels, +4 and +12 dBu) and gain reduction
Possibility to link two units for stereo operation
Three position Air EQ switch, Flat, +3 or +6 dB @ 30 kHz
Two position output termination switches for different tones
A soft start circuit that ramps up the supply voltage slowly (about 10 sec.) to avoid a power-on current surge
A great sound that suits most sound sources and genres
Stepped frequency controls that offers a wide selection of frequencies from 20 Hz to 24 kHz
The Low and High frequency bands are shelving and the mid frequency band is of the bell type
The control range is ±15 dB for the two lower bands and ±18 dB for the high frequency band
There are separate bypass switches for all three bands
Thanks to the advancement of technology, it’s easier than ever to record professional-sounding audio on any budget. It may sound like hyperbole, but it’s not. The current crop of gear has completely leveled the playing field, giving you the option to record and mix with the same setups as the best engineers without going into bankruptcy. Continue reading →
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