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Serpent Audio SB4001

Serpent Audio SB4001

4.65 4.65 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

The SB4001 is the 500 series version of Serpent Audio's VCA stereo bus compressor.


26th January 2016

Serpent Audio SB4001 by chinesewhiteman

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use N/A
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.25
Serpent Audio SB4001

The SB4001 is a fantastic bus compressor. I do not know if it's really like x, or y, because I'm no bus compressor guru, but I love this thing on drums and master bus duty. It's very flexible, but I usually grab it for snap and mid forward tone. It gets down right AGGRESSIVE while not getting harsh and somehow staying transparent, if that makes sense...

Extra points in the features category for having mix, "grind," and plenty of side chain options. All of which are excellent and extremely useful to have. (Grind being fairly subtle, which is a good thing)

Easy to use for those who know their way around a compressor.

29th January 2016

Serpent Audio SB4001 by Strangeland

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Serpent Audio SB4001

I was in want of an outboard bus compressor for forever, then I was able to afford one of the less expensive big boys, the SB4001. I've had experience with a lot of great plugins like The Glue, Waves SSL, and Duende. But nothing quite compares to a real analog unit.

The SB4001 can tighten up the low end in a way that software cannot, transforming a mix into a even handed listening experience. I have to admit that I really really really like this thing on vocals. It snaps the vocals into place in a mix really well with not a lot of color, even with moderate to heavy gain reduction. It's just as a good a tool for mixing individual instruments and voices as it is over an entire mix. Plus the SB4001 is tweakable to no end! There are added ratios 1.5:1, 6:1, 8:1, and additional attack and release times to more accurately dial in the tone you want. The HPF is incredibly useful on vocals and instruments and the Mix knob is an invaluable feature as well.

If Serpent wanted to make a great piece of gear even greater, they might want to look into incorporating an output transformer or a transformer somewhere in the path to give the unit a little extra weight and color but as is the SB4001 is very easy to use and fun to experiment with on a variety of sources. And also, it sounds great! If you only have one compressor (like I do presently) then this can fulfill a lot of different duties on individual tracks and busses.

2 weeks ago

Serpent Audio SB4001 by roy_mattie

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Serpent Audio SB4001

This stereo compressor is a hidden gem in the 500-series market. It's one of the best SSL-style bus compressors out there, and bang-for-buck you won't find anything else like this unit.

Double-wide for the API 500-series format, it's an easy install. It has that SSL sound in 4:1, 10 or 20 attack, auto release...but it has a TON more options that the SSL units don't have...

- HPF (60, 90, 120, and 2 additional preset curves called 'Boost' and 'Slope')
- additional ratios (1.5, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10)
- additional attack times (0.3, 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30)
- release times (0.3, 0.6, 1.2, A1 - SSL auto release, PLUS an additional auto release setting unique to the SB4001, PLUS a user-assignable setting on a separate variable panpot from 0.4-1.2)
- Dry/Wet Blend
- Key input for an external sidechain input
- Grind - another bonus feature adding tube-style harmonic overdrive

My ONLY complaint for this is that the pots for threshold, gain and dry/wet are variable, not stepped. This is a pain for hardware recall if you like to make changes to your compressor from song to song, and also annoying because the pots are pretty close together. I send tone through it to calibrate the output gain and threshold for a preset amount of gain reduction, and then use a VU gain plugin before the external plugin to control how much level I feed the compressor.

I use this almost exclusively for mix bus duties, but look forward to using it for drum bus duties as well, especially with the dry/wet blend option.

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