Alan Smart Research C2 



  • Characteristic sound of this unit comes from the fast response at the onset of compression. When delayed to occur around the midrange (after 0.3-3 milliseconds) it results in a window by which transients are still able to pass. 

  • When used across a mix or any dynamic program, it has the effect of adding ‘punch’, as the sidechain ‘breathes’ around these transients while still controlling overall levels. 

  • A developed extension of this ‘musicality’ is called CRUSH mode which enables exaggerated compression effects and also contributes to its characteristic sound. 

  • Great for creative compression effects as well as routine gain levelling


Focusrite Dual Compressor Limiter 


  • Known for its single, fully discreet VCA that’s fed by 3 VCAs in the Class A side chain electronics, allowing it to separate compressing and limiting rather than blending the two functions together, AKA excellent transient response
  • Unique because you can have very distinct compressing, limiting, or both. You can run either side independently, run it as dual mono, or a linked stereo unit
  • Sound is proprietary to Focusrite
  • This particular compressor was the winner of the 1995 Technical Excellence and Creativity (TEC) award in the signal processing category. 
  • Offers superb low noise and distortion and excellent common mode rejection

"I think my whole legacy of mixing has basically been through the Focusrite red 3. You can listen to 10,000 mixes i’ve done through this." 

Chris Lord-Alge (Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Green Day, Muse, Daughtry, etc.)



Neve 2254/E Compressor/Limiter 


  • Designed in 1969
  • The original 2254/e is still sought after, decades after production stopped. It remains one of the milestone pieces of studio equipment
  • 2254/e is the most valued compressor/limiter of the series
  • Has genuine vintage Neve sound. Its compression is gentle and benign. Limiting is also very gentle, unless you go for ultra fast attack settings, in which you’d be presented with obvious transient distortion
  • Designed to meet the needs for flexibility and comprehensive instrument control of the dynamic range 


Urei Model 1178 Compressor/Limiter 



  • Introduced during the “Revision H” era of the 1176
  • Excellent for use across the mix or any back busses (drums, guitar, vocals,  keyboards and more) and for stereo or mono tracking
  • Essentially two 1176s combined into one stereo unit.  1176s are ‘famously funky’ when it comes to stereo operation.
  • Unique circuitry permits extreme limiting without added distortion. The gain structure also maintains excellent signal-to-noise ratio at normally used control settings. 
  • Exclusively a stereo unit
  • Best known for a fast attack

Used By:

Chris Lord-Alge, Michael Brauer, and Rich Costey.   Lorde-Alge used the system for its ‘sonic flavor with slower attack settings’. Rich Costey prefers to use a parallel processing set up with this compressor, suggesting the tonality of the Urei, especially when driven hard, was of more importance than its ability to catch transients. 



Inward Connections Tube Stereo Limiter Model TSL-1 

Model TSL-1.jpg



  • Discreet Class A equalizers
  • Has Pultec-style equalization and TSL-inspired discreet limiting.
  • Superb on bass and perfect for HD Separation Mastering on vocals.

Used By:

Eddie Kramer and Chris Lord-Alge


Neve 33609/C Compressor/Limiter



  • Based on the 2254 circa 1969
  • Most widely known as a stereo buss compressor
  • Compression curves and nonlinearities are modeled to exacting detail
  • Full, rich sound that can be used for recording, mastering or broadcasting  
  • Excellent for post production use
  • One of the most famous two buss mastering compressors ever made. 
  • Released in 1985



Altec 438A Compressor/Amplifier 



  • Designed in the late 1950s
  • Roots go all the way back to the advent of sound reproduction, developed by the earliest motion picture audio company, Western Electric.
  • Just after the depression, Altec was named the number one manufacturer of professional and consumer audio equipment in the world
  • Its timeless sonic characteristic is not duplicated by today’s digital equipment
  • Useful for a gentle, vintage compression.



LA-3A Leveling Amplifier 



  • Bright sounding compressor
  • Excellent for "shine" or "brightness" on drums, electric guitar and vocals
  • Good for holding a mix together
  • Introduced in 1969
  • The reissues are very transparent and sought after. 
  • Delivers unique character to tracks thanks to its electro-optical attenuator.  It's the signature sound of 1970s rock and roll.