Help: Identify vintage quadraphonic compressor
Old 24th April 2011
  #1
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Help: Identify vintage quadraphonic compressor

Hi,

This compressor just came in, found it on ebay. Unfortunately the seller knows nothing about it's origin. And I wonder if someone here might know more about it.

There is a sticker on the top from Deutsche Grammophon Ges. (DGG), so maybe it was made for them. It's a four channel compressor build around black can DBX 202 chips. Although these chips are known (according to wiki) for noise and distortion, I didn't notice this during a short test.

The cool thing about this comp is that you can link channels 1+2 and 3+4, but also all four together! I would reckon that this would only be useful for quadraphonic recording/mixing/mastering.

There is no bypass on the unit, the signal always runs through the circuit. Setting the ratio to 1:1 eliminates the gain reduction. The output control is boost only, which is nice.

The PSU is from a company from the Netherlands. Also on the inside is some writing in dutch. So maybe someone in the Netherlands made it (for Deutsche Grammophon), resided in Germany and is now back in the Netherlands.

Only for a couple of minutes I've test the unit. It sounds fine and the compressor works good. On a good solid mix it sounds like a bootstrap comp where the high level stays intact, and the low level audio is brought up. Very nice!!! On spiky mixes it reacts to the peaks as expacted. The attack and release are very useful and both go from (very) fast to reasonably long.

What stands out is that it's not really sensitive to low end. There is no pumping caused by a big low end on a kick!!! Which is a big plus (I sold an original P38 because it was way too sensitive and had no side chain options). Someone really did their best during the design to keep it from pumping! This might be a valid wish for a mastering comp for classic music, which would explain the DGG sticker. There is also some info on the net about DGG doing some tests with quadraphonics.

So, anyone any ideas? Could it be a one off build in the Netherlands for DGG? Any idea on it's era of birth?

All pics can be viewed at www.tubefreak.com/pics/quadcomp/

Kind regards
Maarten van Helden



Old 24th April 2011
  #2
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wado1942's Avatar
 

I wouldn't guess that to be a custom job, but maybe a limited run. Either way, great find! I'd love to have a unit like that.
Old 25th April 2011
  #3
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Mo Facta's Avatar
The meters, knobs and writing remind of an Orban 424a compressor:



Pinch of salt, all that.

Cheers
Old 25th April 2011
  #4
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Perhaps used for disc cutting since it is 4 channels and made as alternative to the two pairs of mono u4733s in germany?
Old 25th April 2011
  #5
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I think Dietrich is right

probably it cames from a cutting room...
Old 25th April 2011
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yann Dub View Post
I think Dietrich is right

probably it cames from a cutting room...
That would make a lot of sence. But I would expact the compratios to be more subtle, like 1:1.5 like the U473. It's on my list of future ugrades for the unit.
Old 25th April 2011
  #7
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Verified Member
Thanks for sharing. It's got all the necessary adjustment knobs, hasn't it?
What do the three toggle switches do?

Joe Y.
Old 25th April 2011
  #8
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Left and right link two the channel, center switch links all four.

I wonder if that last function is useful for quadraphonics or just normal stereo operation when you switch channels for vinyl mastering...
Old 27th April 2011
  #9
What are you selling it for please?
I still work with Quad files an awful lot, and this would be wonderful to have.....
Old 27th April 2011
  #10
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Hi,

Just found out it's a Philips/Polygram unit made in the Netherlands. If I have more info, I'll post it.

I'm not planning on selling the unit, I think it's a wonderful (sounding) piece and would like to keep it. But if you are seriously interested you can always PM an offer I can't refuse
Old 27th June 2011
  #11
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Mono-Peter's Avatar
 

I have also one and love it. It was a small series produced by / for the Polygram studios. To me they sound a little like the SSL bus compressor, they can be very squeezy and just glue the mix together, at least that's my experience.



they have also been in the master section of the Polygram consoles. Take a close look on the mid of the console...

Old 28th June 2011
  #12
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Nice, well looks like you have an interesting find.
Old 28th June 2011
  #13
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COOL. Great to know that another beast is still alive. It sure sounds VERY nice. I've added a true bypass circuit and some background lights for the GR meters.

Killer unit.
Old 6th September 2011
  #14
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fivepoundmusic's Avatar
 

I once saw these Polygram comps as a stereo version, went for next to nothing on ebay. Several years ago there was a thread about them here.
It is also pictured on the HE Studiotechnik webpage.
Old 6th September 2011
  #15
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You mean this one?


There are some differences in the circuit, don't know how much they differ in sound though.

For mastering I found the minimal setting of 2:1 too heavy handed, so modified them. It's now something like 1.2:1 / 1.5:1 / 2:1 / etc. The subtle ratios work great, very nice glue!

Maarten
Old 28th December 2012
  #16
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toulcit's Avatar
 

For what it is worth I got the mono version. Which I think sounds really nice.
Only controls are different, also works as a de-esser.
Old 28th December 2012
  #17
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Cool, got some pictures?
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