Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell
Trying to find the most transparent compressor, is kinda like "voting for the lesser of two evils",
I gave up years ago,
It's been an interesting search. This is an excerpt from a SOS article on the Charter Oak SCL1 that is from the Charter Oak website.
"Having set the SCL1 up as a bus compressor, dialled in reasonably sensible starting positions for all the controls, and achieved gain reduction dipping healthily down to -8dB or so on the meter, I initially wondered what was wrong, because I couldn’t hear any typical compression artifacts. I even wondered if I had mis-plugged something, so that I was still hearing the original signal rather than the SCL1’s output! However, further investigation revealed that I really was listening to the compressor’s output, but that the compression is just incredibly clean and natural sounding — even with apparently extreme settings. There just is no indication of pumping or breathing, no loss of HF detail and no nasty transients, just a slightly higher average energy level and a more controlled output signal."
That last sentence summarizes the OP pretty well I think.
From the same article - here's some retribution to all you automation guys!
"This remarkable feat can be explained partially by the fact that the SCL1 is really a gentle automatic gain control system, with some dynamic compression added on top, rather than a conventional compressor. As a result, it doesn’t generally apply as much total dynamic range reduction as other bus compressors might do with similar settings — but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t do a superb job, especially as a bus compressor."
There you have it. The perfect box for someone who wants automatic transparent automation!