Dream Big with Focusrite - Win a dream recording weekend at Air Studios. Click here to enter

Compression

08/12/2010

The Compressors featured in OctoPre MkII Dynamic are a new VCA-based, feed-forward design, derived from the celebrated Focusrite Red 3. 

With just a single dial, these eight 'recording' compressors allow you to get to the desired amount of compression for each channel, fast, providing a natural but loud sound. The single dial solution decreases the threshold, and increases the makeup gain simultaneously, the result of which is a sound that gets progressively more compressed but retains a good output level. 

The compressors uses a soft-knee progressive compression curve, modeled on the properties of the Red 3 compressor, and featuring a fixed Attack time of 1.2 ms and Release time of 28ms. The circuit has been tuned by ear at Focusrite and these settings were chosen after critical listening and analysis of the Red 3. Bass guitar and drums were put through the Red 3 compressor, and the threshold, ratio, attack and release envelopes were modified until the desired 'controlled' sound was achieved. These settings were then applied to the new VCA circuit where the soft knee and ratio curve had been duplicated. A further listening then helped to tweak the settings and ensure that the compressors behaved as expected.

The compressor has two modes: Normal and ‘More’, which let you change the behavior of the compressor to suit different instruments. Whist the Red 3 is well known and loved for its sympathetic approach to compression, it’s not regarded as an ‘effect’ compressor. However, with the OctoPre MkII Dynamic’s 'More' button, found on each compressor, you can bring a bit of aggression to your sound. The More button doubles the ratio from 2:1 to 4:1 and shifts the threshold range, so you have more sensitivity on control. The threshold is closed down, working across a smaller range, as you’re applying threshold control over a much louder signal.