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Aphex Compellor 320A
Old 29th March 2006
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
Shandy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Aphex Compellor 320A

While rummaging around in my new studio space (formerly broadcast studios) I came across an Aphex Compellor 320A. I know basically what it does (sorta...) and that it's not exactly cheap junk. But I also know that it's used a lot (even predominantly?) in broadcasting... do any of you have any experience with it in the recording studio?
Old 29th March 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Bob Ross's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I love Compellors in the recording studio. I have a 300 (original Compellor circa 1985, same basic idea as the 320A except the limit ratio is more extreme, it won't do dual mono, & all those handy front panel switches were originally jumpers on the PCB) and I use the 320A in a lot of the places where I freelance.

It's really cool for those times where you want what a compressor was originally designed to do but you don't want what compressors all wound up doing...i.e., it'll compress your dynamic range without sounding "compressed". I've been able to nearly freeze the VU meters on the 2-track when playing a full rock mix through the Compellor and still have visiting engineers ask "is this thing working? I don't hear it at all." It's about as invisible as a compressor can be without involving lookahead or offline (non-realtime) processing.

I use it a lot in series with (after) a more overt, colored compressor, just to get more compression without more compression artifacts, and to make the track "sit" resolutely. Nice for pulling up low level detail in ambiences and atmosphere tracks too.
Old 30th March 2006 | Show parent
  #3
Registered User
 
Rick Sutton's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I use them all the time for acoustic instruments (acoustic guitar, mandolin etc) and also on choirs. handy on grouped BGV's.
Old 30th March 2006 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Shandy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Y'know, actually it sounds perfect for a few things around here... my primary focus is acoustic-based music, with lots of mandos, guitars, simple percussion (I'm up to my ears in singer/songwriters). I really like the transparency aspect of it, as I try to keep things as natural and uncolored as I can on some tracks.

I'll load that baby in the racks tomorrow morning. Thanks for the info!
Old 30th March 2006 | Show parent
  #5
Lowdbrent
Guest
Love them! Bought two used for about $500 not long ago. Awesome for what they do. I use them inserted into a matrix send to DVCam audio inputs and a send to a duplication room. You really have to be a moron not to get good smooth levels with these.
Old 30th March 2006 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Shandy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lowdbrent
You really have to be a moron not to get good smooth levels with these.
Ha!

.::rolls up his sleeves::.

We'll see about THAT!
Old 30th March 2006 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
I've found most of the aphex pro level gear to be excellent...really good compressors, expanders, mic pres, limiters, and car washers. I bought a compellor maybe 20 years ago to use for school dances. If only I could have afforded to put a dominator behind it back then!


Sean
Old 30th March 2006 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Frost's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Its great glue and a simple to use compressor. It wont give hard 2 buss effects like an ssl or 2500 but its smooth for days and really can help a mix gel on the 2 bus. Unfortunately, if they break, aphex cant necessarily fix it.

Frost
Old 30th March 2006 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Guru
300 compellors are no longer serviced, 320 compellors are.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 30th March 2006 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Albert's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Love my Jim Williams modded Compellor 320A. However, I've never liked the Dominator nearly as much, and I've owned a couple of them. The Expressors are excellent, great gear, I have four of them.
Old 30th March 2006 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I've got one if anyone wants. make an offer via PM.
Old 30th March 2006 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
bjornson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
are these more desireable than the 9000 rack compellors/dominators?
Old 30th March 2006 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 
Songhead's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Love the compellor on BG Vocals, Acoustic Gtr and Flute, very transparrent and like someone else said, hard to screw up. On the mix bus it's great for unplugged acoustic type material. Funny thing with the compellor is that it's hard to hear what it's doing, but easy to hear something missing when it's put into bypass... sounds deflated, like someone let the air out of the mix.

heh
Old 9th October 2017
  #14
Here for the gear
 
The big plus about all of the compellors is that they are very transparent! You can dial in in 10db of compression and it does not sound compressed. Yet you look at the meters and there it is... I have not used the 320 D but the 320 A is awesome... The earlier models are also quite good. There is just more flexibility on the a model.

Ron Middag
Old 9th October 2017
  #15
Gear Addict
 
Dan Popp's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I'm going to throw in a contrarian view against the conventional wisdom that Compellors don't have a sound. They do have a sound; it's just not the sound we normally associate with compression. When you play with a Compellor long enough and push it hard enough, you'll learn its sound. It's not a sound that I like, since it reminds me of some radio stations in the 80's - a bit overly smooth, the opposite of punchy. I haven't heard the modified ones. (Or have I....?)
Old 28th October 2019
  #16
Gear Addict
 
BeHappy's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Hey, new question here.

I red that the Compellor is very "transparent" and to me it means that there's no distortion/saturation that usually mean "color". But what can you tell me about the "size" of the sound? Usually clean compressors use to make everything tighter (example RNC) but the levelling amplifiers use to sound big and "large" (this happens 'cause of many technical reasons that you know). Apart from this, Compellor has also a separated dynamic setting for the low frequencies to make them sound always full and uncompressed.

I mean, this levelling amplifier should be transparent but form a "dynamic" point of view it should sound big and 3D. Am I right?
Old 28th October 2019 | Show parent
  #17
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dlmorley's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeHappy ➑️
Hey, new question here.

I red that the Compellor is very "transparent" and to me it means that there's no distortion/saturation that usually mean "color". But what can you tell me about the "size" of the sound? Usually clean compressors use to make everything tighter (example RNC) but the levelling amplifiers use to sound big and "large" (this happens 'cause of many technical reasons that you know). Apart from this, Compellor has also a separated dynamic setting for the low frequencies to make them sound always full and uncompressed.

I mean, this levelling amplifier should be transparent but form a "dynamic" point of view it should sound big and 3D. Am I right?
I like them BUT they add a sheen to the sound. I wouldn't call them transparent (in the purest sense) or big and 3D, but they can be useful on the right material.
Old 28th October 2019 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Addict
 
BeHappy's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlmorley ➑️
I like them BUT they add a sheen to the sound. I wouldn't call them transparent (in the purest sense) or big and 3D, but they can be useful on the right material.
Thanks for the additional info. BTW a leveller amplifier adds fatness if pushed, not because of tubes or transformers, but because of simply dynamics reasons. Can't even imagine a leveller amplifier that keeps a sound tight
I need to try this bad boy
πŸ“ Reply

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