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Safe Sound Audio "Dynamics Toolbox" Dual Mono / Stereo Comp Limiter Ships Nov 30th
Old 20th November 2007
  #1
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warhead's Avatar
 

Safe Sound Audio "Dynamics Toolbox" Dual Mono / Stereo Comp Limiter Ships Nov 30th

November 2007

Press Release

New ‘Dynamics Toolbox’ analogue processor from Safe Sound Audio ships.

UPDATE: Safe Sound Audio is now sold in North America by ZenPro Audio (ZenPro Audio: Gear Now & Zen).

Introduction

Safe Sound Audio’s first product, the P1 analogue processor, has gained a strong reputation in music studios for its open sound and very smooth multi-sideband ‘peakride’ compressor. The new ‘Dynamics Toolbox’ is a line level, dual channel stereo-linkable version which preserves the purity and warmth of its predecessor and adds a whole set of new features including a second dynamic tracking compression mode and the fabled ‘New York’ parallel compression with built-in sideband EQ all in one 2RU x 19” package.

Switchable compressor formats

Peakride compression uses three linked sidechains each with different ratio, attack, and release characteristics, which in tandem allow for very musical dynamic control of source material, especially on vocals and acoustic instruments which can often suffer badly from over compression in an effort to bring fast transients under control. Peakride compression is very easy to dial in when tracking and evens out levels in a very musical way without robbing the sound of life, so bringing the performance a new energy whilst remaining
transparent and not sounding overly effected.

Dynamic tracking compression was developed primarily for use during stereo submix and final mix duties. It allows the attack and release times set by the user to be dynamically modified by analogue processing which tracks the dynamic content of the audio material being processed. It’s capable of working in two very distinct ways; with moderate settings of ratio and attack time, and set to auto release, it helps quickly glue elements of the mix together, but push into fast attack and short release time territory and you have access to a real in your face compressor which can pump and fizz drum tracks and anything else which needs some added character.

New York Compression

‘New York Compression’ became a trademark sound of many New York based mixing engineers and uses a form of parallel compression which mixes in a small amount of very heavily compressed stereo submix, usually drums or rhythm guitars, back into the main uncompressed submix. The beauty of this technique is that since you have full control of the blend between compressed and uncompressed submix strands, you retain the timbre and dynamics of the original submix whilst adding gritty texture via the heavily compressed element. We thought it would be nice to offer this feature ‘right out of the box’ rather than having to set up separate aux busses in your mixing console or DAW. The Dynamics Toolbox provides a fully variable blend between dry (uncompressed) and wet (compressed) audio, can be used with the compressor or limiter, and offers New York compression in both mono and stereo modes of operation. Parallel compression also has other ‘more gentle’ uses particularly as a subtle form of 'bottom-up' compression widely used in classical music.

Compressor sideband

Reaching further into the toolbox you’ll find sweepable hi and lo pass sidechain filters which add huge flexibility to both compression modes so you can easily add low end punch into the mix and dial in top end sparkle and air on demand. If that’s not enough then the balanced sidechain insert and listen facilities allow additional sidechain processing to be added and monitored.

And a brand new limiter design

A new variable threshold limiter combining programme related elements of ‘look ahead’ dynamic threshold control with dynamic adjustment of attack time. Again a tool with a dual personality; very fast clipping protection when tracking but also very useful as a creative tool in its own right during mixdown.

Fully stereo linkable

The two channels are fully linkable with channel 1 controlling all dynamics functions in ‘link’ mode, so there’s no need to match left and right settings manually. To the mix we’ve added VU level and gain reduction metering which can operate at nominal levels of +6dBu during tracking, or +18dbu during mixdown and mastering, so optimising noise floor and headroom for the job at hand.

Another trick in the box With many recording systems now offering +24dBu audio handling capability we decided to go one better and designed the Dynamics Toolbox’s electronically balanced output stage to handle +27dBu signals, so typically 3dB of additional headroom above most prostudio set ups. Plugging in one of the optional classic output transformers from Lundahl, Sowter, Jenson or Cinemag, whilst retaining the same +27dBu high signal handling capability, opens up a whole additional palette of tonal shaping for the professional audio engineer.

Manufacturer site with full White Paper and details: -= Safe Sound Audio =-

Front End Audio is the distributor for Safe Sound Audio products in the USA, Canada, Mexico and Australia.



Old 21st November 2007
  #2
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Coyoteous's Avatar
 

Very nice! How much?

added: found it - out of my current budget, but still looking good:

Safe Sound Audio Dynamics Toolbox
Old 21st November 2007
  #3
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Update, Feb 2009: $1599 in N America

Lundahl output transformers option (en route with first batch for Nov 30) is $499 for the pair if requested (user installed, very simple plug and play). More transformer options will be available soon but I gotta say, the Lundahl is so sweeeeeeeet I'd have to hear anything else to believe it could be beat.

When the Lundahls are installed the unit has 2 left and 2 right outputs simultaneously, the electronically balanced outputs and transformer balanced, so wire it into the bay and choose whichever output you prefer as the need arises. This makes the unit even more all-in-one as you could do for example:

Channel 1: Vocal tracking with "Peakride" compression mode for clear and stealth compression with auto release, electronic balanced outputs

Channel 2: Bass tracking with "Dynamics Tracking" compression mode with high ratio and fast attack release for a big pumping, aggressive sound and pushing the output hitting the Lundahls for some subtle sweetening

Of course as a sweetening box you could engage the compressor with 1:1 ratio (no compression) and use the make up gain to drive the Lundahl outputs for effect.

The unit was designed to be one compressor, reasonably priced (yet UK built) that gives you more sonic choices throughout your project from tracking clean or agressive, to submixing of drums / gtrs / vox, to final mixdown glue using lower ratios with the new "Dynamics Tracking" mode.

In today's DAW world everybody can get by with 2 stellar channels of compression for all hardware needs in a project, but nobody wants to spend over $2000 for a single flavor and feel limited.

The Dynamics Toolbox is designed to fill that need!

War

PS: You have GOT to hear this thing on drum busses also, the BLEND mode is mind-blowing. I don't know if James Lugo and the guys at the shootout got to use on drums but I know the initial feedback I've had is very good. It took many months to get this box right.
Old 21st November 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
so obvious question for anyone who might know, how does it sound? looks very nice btw
Old 21st November 2007
  #5
TRW
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Price of the unit seems fair for the feature set and the white paper really spells out the operation / signal path of the unit. Seems like an interesting sidechain design and all THAT Corp I.C signal path. I'm eager to try one, £999 seems to offer quite a lot of functionality and we know SafeSound are all into the engineering of the device, so it should be a solid implementation with good mechanicals.

However $499 for a pair of Lundahls? Thats £250...erm ripoff! Considering I can buy one at £26 from Canford, and cheaper in bulk from a number of other suppliers...seems outta whack guys?

It's not like they are hard to find Triads/UTCs or anything. Even with a PCB mount...provide the pin-outs and mechanicals so we can put all sorts of transformers in there...also are the 1539s used in a balanced drive config? They are often used that way to minimise transformer distortion?

Thanks T
Old 21st November 2007
  #6
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warhead's Avatar
 

I realize by the time the transformers are bought, configured and worked onto the cards and marked up for resale that they cost. Also, if you read the literature Robert is certainly releasing other "plug and play" transformers setup, and ready to go. On the list is Sowter, Jensen and Cinemag. If the cost is out of your range, stick with the electronic balanced outputs. They sound incredible on their own! The Lundahl is that nice extra "ahh" for those who want it.

I will pass along your more technical questions to Robert. My ears and needs contributed to the design but I don't build 'em...!

War
Old 21st November 2007
  #7
it has the same knobs than my old ashly comp :D

I don't like the look... but I am a safesound p1 fan value/price killer.

will test this unit of course, but maybe use some paint firsthehheh
Old 21st November 2007
  #8
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warhead's Avatar
 

Yeah, a coincidence but it turned out the knobs are the same as the Rupert Neve Portico series.

I love the off white finish! It is unique. Love the P1 also (owned 2 for 4 years now) but it does look like a ham radio.

War
Old 21st November 2007
  #9
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True North's Avatar
 

Hey Warren

Can you get us some audio samples to listen to - looks pretty cool. The transformer does seem to prices little out of whack but I am sure there is a reaon.

Good luck with this launch
Old 21st November 2007
  #10
TRW
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TRW's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
I realize by the time the transformers are bought, configured and worked onto the cards and marked up for resale that they cost. Also, if you read the literature Robert is certainly releasing other "plug and play" transformers setup, and ready to go.
Thanks War...I read the white paper. I understand there has to be mark-up on the transformers and it may take a bit of thinking to get them on a plug-in card, however even if they have a few supporting components like zobel or load networks, they are still an expensive option.

I guess they aren't buying in high bulk for each as they are keeping four brands in stock...

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
I will pass along your more technical questions to Robert. My ears and needs contributed to the design but I don't build 'em...!
Thanks, it would be cool if they provided the pinouts so someone could knock-up their own daughtcard for the transformers - that way I could do it cheaper than £250!

Gonna try one of these though.
-Tom
Old 21st November 2007
  #11
Gear Head
 
SafeSoundAudio's Avatar
 

Just to answer the tech question about how we drive the Lundahls in the Dynamics Toolbox. Yes we use a balanced drive circuit with an additional current sensing feedback loop which reduces distortion at low frequencies.

Robert (Dynamics Toolbox designer)
Old 22nd November 2007
  #12
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warhead's Avatar
 

Robert and I spoke today about the transformer option card, there is more involved beyond the raw cost of components of course to putting this stuff together and bringing it to market. However, the good news is we're going to start out at $349 US for the pair of transformer cards for now and see if we can roll enough volume to purchase in bulk and keep costs down. Costs in this first batch are quite high as there was no bulk purchase of components but maybe this will spur more transformer output sales.

I am updating our site and Robert is updating the Safe Sound Audio website now.

War
Old 22nd November 2007
  #13
TRW
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TRW's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SafeSoundAudio View Post
Just to answer the tech question about how we drive the Lundahls in the Dynamics Toolbox. Yes we use a balanced drive circuit with an additional current sensing feedback loop which reduces distortion at low frequencies.

Robert (Dynamics Toolbox designer)
Thanks for the reply Robert.

I wondered if you went the whole way with the feedback loop. Are you doing that for all of the transformer installs?

I know Cinemag have CMO models that will work excellently in this manner also.

Great news on the pricing guys! Thanks for listening...I almost feel bad now ;-)

Tom
Old 22nd November 2007
  #14
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Tim Farrant's Avatar
 

Hi Robert, welcome to Gearslutz !!

Quick question, why did you use 1/4" jacks instead of XLRs' for the I/O? Seems that could be a little inconvenient for some folks.

Cheers
Tim.
Old 22nd November 2007
  #15
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warhead's Avatar
 

Tim, I'll send you some adapters if you need.

War
Old 22nd November 2007
  #16
Jax
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It's boxes like this one that make me rethink my choice of going almost completely ITB. The flexibility offered here is really cool. Very refreshing to see a design NOT based on cloning or copying.

I may have to go slightly more hybrid again.
Old 22nd November 2007
  #17
Gear Head
 
SafeSoundAudio's Avatar
 

Hi Tom

Some of the tranformer types lend themselves to the current feedback sense circuit and some don't so we'll do what's best for each type. Don't feel bad: but do feel like purchasing!

Kindest regards

Robert
Quote:
Originally Posted by TRW View Post
Thanks for the reply Robert.

I wondered if you went the whole way with the feedback loop. Are you doing that for all of the transformer installs?

I know Cinemag have CMO models that will work excellently in this manner also.

Great news on the pricing guys! Thanks for listening...I almost feel bad now ;-)

Tom
Old 22nd November 2007
  #18
Gear Head
 
SafeSoundAudio's Avatar
 

Hi Tim

Well I haven't come across any studios short of 1/4" jack cords but if we find one I'm sure Warren will come up with the adapters!

Cheers

Robert
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Farrant View Post
Hi Robert, welcome to Gearslutz !!

Quick question, why did you use 1/4" jacks instead of XLRs' for the I/O? Seems that could be a little inconvenient for some folks.

Cheers
Tim.
Old 22nd November 2007
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
Tim, I'll send you some adapters if you need.

War
adapter causes less signalflow.. and it's a professoinal standart (XLR).


I really wanna hear that box. (with adapters)

:D
Old 22nd November 2007
  #20
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Farrant View Post
Hi Robert, welcome to Gearslutz !!

Quick question, why did you use 1/4" jacks instead of XLRs' for the I/O? Seems that could be a little inconvenient for some folks.

Cheers
Tim.
i wonder the same
Old 22nd November 2007
  #21
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax View Post
It's boxes like this one that make me rethink my choice of going almost completely ITB. The flexibility offered here is really cool. Very refreshing to see a design NOT based on cloning or copying.

I may have to go slightly more hybrid again.
I'm glad Robert (even with his design experience with Neve) doesn't do clones also. The "peakride" compression is the whole reason I fell in love with the original P1 model, as well as that limiter on board. I couldn't believe how nicely it could control things without sounding too obvious. It's nice to have obvious too though, and that new "dynamics tracking" mode goes from smooth glue in lower ratios, to fizz and pump with higher ratios and faster attack / release times. On drums etc it is very tasty.

War
Old 22nd November 2007
  #22
TRW
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Thanks again Robert and Welcome BTW!

The PeakRide function and triple stage sidechain reminded me somewhat of an RNC and a GML 8900...yet different. I'm sure its cool.

Hadn't noticed the Jack only input - thats a bit of a bummer for me too but who cares, I'll forget about that after a few weeks of not going behind the rack!

-T
Old 23rd November 2007
  #23
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War,

I'm looking for a bottom-up compressor to put in a mastering chain for classical, choral, and chamber music. The features and transformer option make this unit attractive.

Question is whether it's clean and quiet enough for mastering classical music?
Old 23rd November 2007
  #24
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warhead's Avatar
 

It's very quiet, and is clean in the lower ratios. I would suggest "dynamics tracking" mode with a lower ratio to start but actually "peakride" mode might prove best for classical. We offer a 100% money back guarantee, there's nothing to lose I suppose.

War
Old 23rd November 2007
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
it has the same knobs than my old ashly comp :D

I don't like the look... but I am a safesound p1 fan value/price killer.

will test this unit of course, but maybe use some paint firsthehheh
If this has the same kinda wonderfulness that the P1 has, I'll have to have one or I'll die.

heh
Old 24th November 2007
  #26
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Quote:
adapter causes less signalflow.. and it's a professoinal standart (XLR).
With your avatar, I can't help hearing all of your comments in the dr. strangelove voice.
Try saying this that way. I got a kick out of it.
Old 24th November 2007
  #27
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Hey Warren

I know I can get adapters or resolder some of the connecting ends on my harness to accomodate a 1/4" connection but I think the question is still a valid one.

It appears to me that this brand is attempting to make a professional product with professional features and a fair but still professional price. When I pay $400 for an RNC I kind of know what to expect but when I pay 2 g's........

I would really be interested to hear the resoning behind that decision

AND

Can you post any samples, thanks.
Old 25th November 2007
  #28
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warhead's Avatar
 

Honestly, Robert and I never really discussed XLR over TRS and none of the engineers involved in testing the unit and giving feedback mentioned it as an issue. Having said that:

A) most pro studios have an iron and TRS connectors if needed, and the skills to integrate this box in about 2 minutes

B) most project and home studios have little to no soldering skills and are likely interfacing with TRS recording interfaces that are computer based

I see it as a 50/50 issue myself now that I think about it. It's not that it isn't a legit question, but TRS is growing in the computer interface market and in fact dominates it. Many who use these types of interfaces aren't using patchbays etc. I didn't build the box but that is my point of view.

There are ground lifts on every input and output by the way! So as far as integration goes you have a balanced connection that you can avoid ground issues at the push of a small switch by each channel i/o. There is some forethought on integration that goes beyond what many are offering on similar boxes.

It's real hard making samples of compressors that make sense to the end listener, without some sort of context. There is one single unit in existence in North America and it's not in my hands and hasn't been for a few weeks now unfortunately. I have plans and a game plan in place for clips, I have clips of course that I've made along the way but there is no context to present them in so some planning is needed on my part. In about a week from now I will have a batch of units to use one as a demo to get started on this.

So sit tight for clips! I promise they are coming in the near future.

For now remember: you cannot lose with our return policy on this box. I believe that strongly in it.

War
Old 25th November 2007
  #29
Jax
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IMO it is a little weird that they went TRS on the back, especially with all the extra room on the panel. However, the i/o is fully balanced, so it shouldn't really make a difference.

Why exactly is the TRS i/o an issue?

Yes, with an RNC you do have to think about how you're integrating and unbalanced box into your setup, but with any higher end device, I would expect the i/o to be balanced. And it is...
Old 25th November 2007
  #30
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warhead's Avatar
 

The only issue is connectivity out of the box on an individual basis. It's an issue that each individual buying the box would either prepare for with the correct cable or by simply soldering new 1/4" connects in place of XLR. Anybody using TRS in their studio who encounters an XLR only box has the exact same issue! Again, that TRS user base is growing and growing.

I hope nobody thinks this is anything more than that. It is not, this is a professionally built and designed box with amazing sonic palettes to choose from, and has received amazing feedback from all who encounter it.

You gotta hear this box.

War
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