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Pete's Place BAC-500 compressor review
Old 3rd February 2009
  #1
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BLueROom's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Pete's Place BAC-500 compressor review

I’ve been into the 500 series stuff for about 5 years now ... I originally got into this format because I was doing 'on location' stuff and really wanted something that I could pick up and carry out of the studio and still get the quality I was used to. I started off with just the pres, but then some nice looking EQs started coming out and more recently… compressors… my favorite vibe equipment Now, the 500 series stuff is slowly becoming my main source of processing, simply because of all the great options.

So, a new option I’ve been using is the Pete’s Place BAC500 compressor. I’ve been beta testing it for a few months now and feel like I should give you my impressions of it. I’m sure you’ve seen my posts where I was raving about it, but let me get you some specifics.

**FWIW, I AM NOT affiliated with, or an employee of Pete’s Place or A-Designs Audio. I am, however, a fan of their gear because a lot of it has worked for me for several years. I purchase their gear like everyone else.**

There are really 3 things I look for in a compressor so keep these in mind when you read my review, they might not be the same things you look for…

1. versatility (& useability)
2. a sonic imprint
3. vibe (puts a smile on my face)

Here’s how I think the BAC500 adds up in those areas…

Versatility

I’ve used the BAC on everything from percussion to vox , bass and guitar. There aren’t many things this comp CAN’T do, although there are some things you might like to use other options on because it’s is not really a “set it and forget it” compressor.

---On percussive sources, the BAC was fast enough to really let me tailor the transients in any way I wanted. The release also has a wide range (no specifics, but I think the longest is somewhere around 3 seconds) allowing me to liven up rooms sounds and sustain bass tracks appropriately. These things rule on tom tracks and kick tracks… I think they definitely shine on the low end. I can get great snare sounds as well, but it took more tweaking to find that sweet spot. Most recently I’ve tried it on some stereo room sounds (drums) and I was more than satisfied with the results.

--- I really like the BAC on vocals… really for one reason... I can smash the living daylights of them and still get smooth results. If I don’t want smoothness… maybe a little bite, I can simply switch the “dist” button and gain some edge…which is perfect for screamers and I do lots of screamers Something else that really defines the sound of the BAC is the fact that I can tweak it and get the vocals to SIT BACK in the mix… something I really like for certain material. The only strange part is that even though I smash the vocals, I feel like I could get away with smashing them even more... TWO trips through, maybe

--- Bass! The BAC shines on anything in the lower freq territory. Bass guitar is no exception. Just perfect. I can’t wait for other folks to hear it because what it does to low freqs is the most exciting thing about this comp! Think thick and muscular. Definitely some harmonic enrichment going on. On guitar, I was able to let just enough of the guitar attack through and release it quick enough to give me the nice chunky rhythm tones I was after. The distortion button is also really nice to try out on guitars. The more I try the “dist” button, the more I like to use it. Maybe that is good, maybe it’s bad I haven’t tried the BAC much on clean stuff, but I would imagine it would fair just fine.

Sonic Imprint

I feel like there is the typical A-Designs sonic imprint on MOST things I run through the BAC. Where you really notice it is in the bass frequencies. From the high mids on up, it’s harder to hear it. Because I like my comps to give me their imprint, I tend to throw all the things in the bass freqs at it for it's mojo. This is not to say it doesn’t work on other sources… I just think it’s a bit more transparent up in the higher freqs. The side chains on here are also really nice to have. I threw the “high boost/low cut” on some “essy” vox and it really smoothed things out... worked really well de-essing them. I think people will really gravitate toward that option with the whole tape saturation craze. I’m not saying it will give you that character, necessarily, but it will add a little thickness and smooth out the highs a bit. The flat and HP options are also super useful , but they are nothing you aren’t used to and they are a bit more subtle. The distortion option will really give you another set of possibilities. Like I said, the more I use it the more I like it.

Vibe

You know when you play with a piece of gear and you turn a few knobs and you can already tell you are going to dig it? Well, the first thing I threw at this was kick drum and I immediately got that grin. Because of that, I always go back to it and try something new through it… that to me is what vibe is all about. If I hear something in the mix and immediately think, ‘hey, I want to try this through that comp/EQ/ etc…’ I know I want to keep the piece. I really think the BAC is going to make a lot of people happy because you are going to want to try a lot of thing through it. Some things might not give you instant gratification, but then again, some things will. I don’t use this on everything, because sometimes I AM the “set it and forget it’ guy and on some sources it won’t give me that. That’s not to say I can’t get great results, that just tells you I am impatient with things some of the time

Finally, this is not a ‘set your typical comp settings’ kind of compressor…. this is a use 'your freakin’ ears' compressor! Turn the knobs and enjoy.

I hope this helps some folks that may have been thinking about this compressor. I am really excited for people to be able to use it and get the same grin I get.

Last edited by Grahamdwc; 16th September 2013 at 01:19 PM..
Old 4th February 2009
  #2
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years

awesome!


funny, i really liked this thing ( THE BAC ), on vocals a well ( never thought i would have ), i used it on a folk / country track ( dark deep vocalist ), with the distortion in: )O~ and i loved it!!!!!!
Old 4th February 2009
  #3
Gear Nut
 
lmontessi's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
BlueRoom -
What an amazing - well thought-out and written review. Thank you very much.
Old 5th February 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 
BradM's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Good thorough review there Eric! I don't think I've ever seen you write so many words in one post before. It's a milestone achievement. heh

I'm looking forward to checking this thing out. I should just drive up to your place. It sounds like need to hear it on vocals and bass. How well would you say it does transparent compression? By that I mean: is it the type of compressor where you always hear it working? I think of the 1176 or Distressor as that kind of compressor. Or can it be more invisible in the way it controls gain?

Brad
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gm5k ➡️
so how many FET comps are there in the 500 series now? enough to have a pretty cool little shootout methinks heh
this is not just another FET compressor!
as i have a prototype i am not going to get into it.

but dude, not even in the just another FET comp camp.
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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BradM's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm ➡️
Hey Brad, I got to be one of the beta testers for this unit and I love it. I would not let them take it back and I will be buying another when they do the full manufacturing, but if you are looking for something transparent, this really is not the box to do the job. The BAC500 really brings some character to the party. It really alters the sound when it starts to do its job. I do not say this as a bad thing at all.

If you want nice transparent compression, you might really like one of the Crane Song comps, but if you want something that will add some really cool vintage-y mojo and character the BAC500 is great for that.
Hey Ronan,

Thanks for the reply. I'm quite enamored with my Daking for transparent compression. I'm still very curious to hear the BAC--I was really impressed by those bass clips that Tony posted some time ago. Good to see you and chat at NAMM by the way!

thanks,
Brad
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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gm5k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm ➡️
Hey Brad, I got to be one of the beta testers for this unit and I love it. I would not let them take it back and I will be buying another when they do the full manufacturing, but if you are looking for something transparent, this really is not the box to do the job. The BAC500 really brings some character to the party. It really alters the sound when it starts to do its job. I do not say this as a bad thing at all.
Ronan,

im sure you've used an MC77 before so...how do you think they compare? not asking which is better or anything, just differences if you've had enough time with the unit to think of any. i mention the Purple because it seems to be the general consensus that it's king of the colored fet comps.

thanks for the review OP. great job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pan60 ➡️
this is not just another FET compressor!
as i have a prototype i am not going to get into it.

but dude, not even in the just another FET comp camp.
i wasn't insinuating that it was "just another FET comp"...puttin words in my mouth Mr. Guru!
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Nut
 
lmontessi's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hi, Group,
I know I am new at this, but the BAC 500 incorporates both FET and Iron transformer. So, putting it in a FET category, I don't think would truly apply, here. But, I could be wrong. I'm sure someone could correct me on this, and I am open to that.
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
gm5k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmontessi ➡️
Hi, Group,
I know I am new at this, but the BAC 500 incorporates both FET and Iron transformer. So, putting it in a FET category, I don't think would truly apply, here. But, I could be wrong. I'm sure someone could correct me on this, and I am open to that.
"the BAC-500...is a feedback-style FET compressor built around two discrete op amps and a custom wound output transformer."

sounds fair to me to put it in the FET category. the fact that it uses a transformer wouldn't change that. FET is the gain reduction element used in the comp.
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gm5k ➡️
"the BAC-500...is a feedback-style FET compressor built around two discrete op amps and a custom wound output transformer."

sounds fair to me to put it in the FET category. the fact that it uses a transformer wouldn't change that. FET is the gain reduction element used in the comp.
I look at circuits a little differently, A FET based could be from low end to high end, same for an Opto based compressor, from a $29.00 stomp box to the Tube Tech CL1, both use a Opto to accomplish reduction but are VERY different sounds ect...

It's all about the how's where's why's...


Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
as i said, i would not call it just another FET comp.

when you you say FET, people automatically think FET, as in IC input, IC voltage regulation, and FET output.
this is defiantly not, the BAC.
just because the BAC is a feedback-style compressor, would not in my view classify it as just another FET?
that's trowing the baby out with the dishwater isn't it, you are defiantly lumping a lot of stuff in one basket with a statement like that?
the BAC is IC based input, IC regulated, and yes two very very nice, discrete op-amps, driving one honk-in monster output transformer!

sorry gm5k, but this AIN'T just another FET compressor!

i did not mean to stir you their but hay, if people want to trow this in a shoot-out with a bunch of FET based compressors, i say GO FOR IT!

this is very very, nice compressor, one that is not like anything i have ever used, it has MOJO out the you know what, it drips with VIBE, and cooth!
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Pete's got one waiting for me to try.
looking forward to having the time to play w/ it
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
gm5k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio ➡️
I look at circuits a little differently, A FET based could be from low end to high end, same for an Opto based compressor, from a $29.00 stomp box to the Tube Tech CL1, both use a Opto to accomplish reduction but are VERY different sounds ect...

It's all about the how's where's why's...


ill take your word for it! heh

pan, i already told you i never said "just another" or whatever. i dont know why you're losing your mind over this. Brad Avenson called his comp a "feedback-style FET compressor" so i called it a FET compressor drop it, por favor!
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I've been cutting acoustic guitar all day with the BAC 500 and it sounds great!
It has a unique sonic character all it's own.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hey yawl, I tracked acoustic guitar yesterday for an artist I am producing.

Here's the down and dirty...
AKG C12VR > Pacifica > EM-PEQ > BAC 500 to Pro Tools 192.
Except for the actual tracking, there are no additional plugins on the guitars for EQ or compression.
Michael Ripoll is playing all the guitars.

Also Reggie Hamilton is on bass.
Reggie is playing his custom Fender Bass using the REDDI as the DI.
Attached Files

I'll Never Let You Go_02.mp3 (4.58 MB, 14348 views)

Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmontessi ➡️
Hey, RoundBadge! I hope everything is okay. Give us a shout when you are ready! We are looking forward to your input, as well. It looks like Tony and Ronan are enjoying this, so I am hoping you will too.
Cheers Lisa.you and Pete are sweethearts!thanx
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
RawBeanZen's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge ➡️
Cheers Lisa.you and Pete are sweethearts!thanx
They are indeed.

(Lisa and Peter, I see some Italian food in our not-so-distant future!)

Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
BLueROom's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd ➡️
Hey yawl, I tracked acoustic guitar yesterday for an artist I am producing.

Here's the down and dirty...
AKG C12VR > Pacifica > EM-PEQ > BAC 500 to Pro Tools 192.
Except for the actual tracking, there are no additional plugins on the guitars for EQ or compression.
Michael Ripoll is playing all the guitars.

Also Reggie Hamilton is on bass.
Reggie is playing his custom Fender Bass using the REDDI as the DI.
Tony, sounds great!
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
gm5k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm ➡️
I have actually never used any of the purple audio stuff, even though I have heard tons of good stuff about it. I have certainly used plenty of 1176s. the funny thing is, that despite my very rock and roll aesthetic, I have actually never been a big 1176 fan. I like them fine, but in my mind and piece of gear that costs more than $1000, I gotta love to keep around.

I actually like the BAC500 more than 1176s. As you said in your post not a matter of better or worse, but I find the BAC 500 to be a little more fun to me. Easier for me to wind up and get interesting and cool sounds out of. I think it can be a bit more aggressive.

I have not A-B'ed the BAC500, so all my comments are from memory and guy reactions.
thanks so much for the response, Ronan. interesting for sure im thinkin i gotta get my hands on a BAC-500...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BLueROom ➡️
Hey guys, play nice heh

Let's just call it a mojo-fet and move on

Roundbadge, I'm excited for you to try it, man!
good solution BR thumbsupheh

and again, thanks so much for the review! anyone who does one on this site is putting themselves out there for the wolves, so you got my respec it was an insightful and helpful review to boot.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Nut
 
lmontessi's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLueROom ➡️
Yea, Lisa... what about me?

Sorry, BlueRoom! I didn't mean to overlook you! I thought you were having a great time, based on your review. Of, course...To you too!!!

Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
BLueROom's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks gm5k! I appreciate that.

Lisa, I'm just messing with you
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
A LaMere's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Great review... it's got me intrigued I'll admit..

Thanks for posting it.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gm5k ➡️
thanks so much for the response, Ronan. interesting for sure im thinkin i gotta get my hands on a BAC-500...


and again, thanks so much for the review! anyone who does one on this site is putting themselves out there for the wolves, so you got my respec it was an insightful and helpful review to boot.
you should yes!
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
BLueROom's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by A LaMere ➡️
Great review... it's got me intrigued I'll admit..

Thanks for posting it.
Thanks and you're very welcome! thumbsup
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
BLueROom's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hey Tony, I was finally able to try out the BAC on some acoustic tunes... f***in' rocks man! Your tune had me intrigued and oddly enough I had an acoustic rock band in which NEVER happens over at my place.... I'm the "metal" guy... anyway, it killed!

The more I use this thing the more I dig it... it's becoming my goto comp for fatness
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #26
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd ➡️
Hey yawl, I tracked acoustic guitar yesterday for an artist I am producing.

Here's the down and dirty...
AKG C12VR > Pacifica > EM-PEQ > BAC 500 to Pro Tools 192.
Except for the actual tracking, there are no additional plugins on the guitars for EQ or compression.
Michael Ripoll is playing all the guitars.

Also Reggie Hamilton is on bass.
Reggie is playing his custom Fender Bass using the REDDI as the DI.
Tony you freak! heh
gear aside, amazing work as always!
Old 24th February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years

i need another one of these!
Old 25th February 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
when you guys on here say fatness are we talking anything in the size of a STA-Level fatness?
Old 26th February 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
BLueROom's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by pan60 ➡️

i need another one of these!

Pan, you have to try these on a drum bus... sTUpid good. I'd say you definitely need another
Old 26th February 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
BLueROom's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistaD ➡️
when you guys on here say fatness are we talking anything in the size of a STA-Level fatness?
Well, unfortunately I haven't used the STA-level yet so I can't compare the two... but the BACs certainly have the low end thing locked down!
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