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Army Man Compressor
Old 30th January 2014
  #1
Lives for gear
 
henge's Avatar
Army Man Compressor

Hi Sylvia. Thanks a ton for doing this. What exactly is the Army Man compressor?
Old 1st February 2014
  #2
Radiant Being
 
SylviaMassy's Avatar
Name:  ArmyMan-200px.jpg
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The "Army Man" is a crusty old Western Electric frankenstein broadcast tube compressor I dragged out of an old radio guy's garage in Pasadena around 20 years ago. It has exposed wiring which I have not covered up, making it extremely dangerous when children or certain drummers are around. (hah!)

I have not done any maintenance to make this ancient compressor work properly. In fact, I don't want it to work properly because it makes anything you run through sound furry and explosive. For example, I'll route a mono drum room mic through it for extreme compression. Doing this makes the drums feel exciting without accentuating the high end on the cymbals. I might also go for the same effect on vocals and guitars, but in these cases it must be pushed to the absolute extreme to deliver the goods!

During a session, Serge from SOAD stuck a little toy army man in it, thus the nickname "Army Man" was born. That little toy soldier has has lived in there ever since and he must be doing a great job of guarding those precious components, it has never let us down.

This compressor was used all over the System Of A Down record, so much so that it probably would have been impossible to create the overall sound of that album without it.
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Old 1st February 2014
  #3
Lives for gear
 
henge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SylviaMassy View Post
Attachment 382887
The "Army Man" is a crusty old Western Electric frankenstein broadcast tube compressor I dragged out of an old radio guy's garage in Pasadena around 20 years ago. It has exposed wiring which I have not covered up, making it extremely dangerous when children or certain drummers are around. (hah!)

I have not done any maintenance to make this ancient compressor work properly. In fact, I don't want it to work properly because it makes anything you run through sound furry and explosive. For example, I'll route a mono drum room mic through it for extreme compression. Doing this makes the drums feel exciting without accentuating the high end on the cymbals. I might also go for the same effect on vocals and guitars, but in these cases it must be pushed to the absolute extreme to deliver the goods!

During a session, Serge from SOAD stuck a little toy army man in it, thus the nickname "Army Man" was born. That little toy soldier has has lived in there ever since and he must be doing a great job of guarding those precious components, it has never let us down.

This compressor was used all over the System Of A Down record, so much so that it probably would have been impossible to create the overall sound of that album without it.
Thanks Sylvia. I'm off to the toy store to score some little plastic army guys for my gear....;-)
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Old 3rd February 2014
  #4
Gear nut
That's interesting!

Does it have any knobs on it or it has one setting? Any guesses what this setting might be?

Can we get some higher resolution photos from it?
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Old 14th February 2014
  #5
Radiant Being
 
SylviaMassy's Avatar
Army Man Compressor-armyman1.jpg

Army Man Compressor-armyman3.jpg

Army Man Compressor-armyman2.jpg

Here are some detail photos of the Army Man compressor. It was modded by a previous owner with a separate input/output meter and adjustment. Otherwise the original unit has only two knobs on it. To be honest, I don't really fool with the settings. It sounds like it is going to rip your face off, and I don't want to change that!
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