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Sebatron SMAC

Sebatron SMAC

4.65 4.65 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

Stereo Class A Optical Compressor


18th April 2017

Sebatron SMAC by zarven kara

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Sebatron SMAC

This is a linkable, class A, stereo optical compressor.

I purchased the SMAC after dealing directly with Sebastian from Sebatron in Australia. After having a few experiences with audio equipment that despite the price tag feels a little "cheap" for loss of a better word, I was nicely surprised to see this product doesn't fit into this category. My first impression were it was well built and everything felt solid, as it should for something in its price range.

In use the SMAC is easy to get a grip with a fairly simplistic design with all the typical controls you would expect to use from a stereo compressor.

It has 3 main setting, 2 are linked "dual mono" and "stereo link" and the third setting functions as 2 independent controlled channels. I found the stereo link to be the most useful setting for master bus duties and it does a great job on that. Clean and transparent as you would expect from an opt compressor and retains the image quite nicely.

It does have a few other controls which are not so common but can be quite practical in some applications. These are the "pump" settings, which can be used when you really want to squash a signal at higher ratios, perhaps drum room mic's or any type of parallel compression. I'm guessing its Sebatron's take on the "all buttons in" mode on the 1176. Also for accessing faster and slower release times the SMAC also has a "tight" and "swim" functions. The "swim function" works nicely on smoothing out drum overheads at slower tempo's.

Standard side chain inputs are accessed from the rear of the unit.

All in all a very well built and useful tool for any studio looking for a well built transparent opto compressor. I found it to really shine compressing a stereo acoustic guitar signal using a slow attack and fast release with the ratio at 3:1 with a maximum of 2db of gain reduction. It does a great job on that tightening up the a picked guitar pattern and seems to do something nice to the stereo image as well.

So if your looking for a clean transparent compressor this might be a good choice. Looking forward to seeing what else this Australian audio designer has to offer....

I also have a sample video of the SMAC in action here: https://www.reeltoreelstudios.com/blog

Attached Thumbnails
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  • 3
21st December 2017

Sebatron SMAC by Norman Lindsey

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Sebatron SMAC

I already own a couple of Sebatron preamps ( two VMP4000e ) so when I decided that I needed another stereo compressor to compliment my existing setup the Sebatron SMAC was the first one that came to mind.
The quality of the products that this company makes is impeccable. I've had the SMAC for at least a couple of years now and am seriously considering getting another one because it's so good.

The Sebatron SMAC is a two channel linkable optical compressor that can go from being highly transparent and subtle to completely brutal and pumping.
I've used it on countless occasions for individual instruments and vocals when tracking and it has always performed flawlessly.
Acoustic and electric guitars benefit from the gentle optical compressing action giving signals consistancy and vibe.
For Bass it's my goto compressor due to its innate ability to handle the very low end and provide reliable 'audio leveling' with massive amounts of headroom.
On a mix it can make any material sound slick and produced without the loss of any detail or clarity.
I prefer it to my SSL style comp and my 1176 due to these factors and also because it's easy to link the two channels quickly by the flick of the link switch.
On drums it is a killer. The variable ratio allows me to fine tune the amount of reduction I require and with a fast attack it's very easy to squash beats without losing any definition or scope.

I love love love the 'Swim' switch on the attack and release settings , it gives a glossy rippleless compression that leaves my Avalon AD2044 for dead.In fact I haven't used the Avalon much at all since I purchased the SMAC and will probably sell it to fund my second SMAC compressor.

I highly recommend the Sebatron SMAC whether it be for tracking , mixing or mastering purposes.

There is no other compressor on the market that I know of that can influence a signal as much as the SMAC while maintaining its integrity and dimensional presence.

  • 3
2 weeks ago

Sebatron SMAC by peterbaide

  • 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
Sebatron SMAC

This is a stereo/two channel opto comp that I purchased new a few months ago.The smac unit I purchased is white in color and I believe it is the current revised version.

This is a fantastic compressor that has some truely unique features.It is similar to the La2a type compressors but with a few bonuses that I feel make it more versatile and easier to work with...

Since its purchase it has dominated my recording practices simply because it is so straightforward to set up a wide range of compression whether subtle or drastic.
And in using it extensively over a wide range of material I have found my mixes sounding bigger tighter and with increased stereo image.

So far I have used it in three basic situations - tracking , mixing and sub-grouping.For tracking I have used it for vocals , bass guitar and drum overheads.On the vocals the compression can be very reminicent of La2a style which is one of the things I love about it.I like having the ratio around 4:1 to 10:1 depending on the vocalist.A more dynamic vocalist would be a higher ratio if you want the track to sit correctly.
With the swim setting on the toggle the compression works in a relaxed way and gets the juices of the vocal sound more upfront.I enjoyed using the comp in this setting a lot as it is practically transparent yet distinct.

It gives a smooth compression that beats any plugin I have.
And I know I can "trust" this when tracking as it's not too overbearing and has a musicality about it.

On bass I use roughly the same ratios but I found switching the toggle to the normal setting seemed a better idea to capture some of the faster bass passages being played.
The smac gave the bass signal more consistency. All notes sound solid and of equal intensity.This is important to me as I don't like too many plugins on the bass as they can make the bass frequencies sound artificial to me.

With the smac I got the best bass sound by running the gain reduction to about 3-5db.Again I felt it was a type of compression I could "trust" when tracking.

When recording stereo drum overheads I used the stereo link switch (set to dual mono) so that the controls are linked using channel 1 as the master.This makes things quick and easy as the two channels are well matched.On drum overheads the smac worked flawlessly. I've used both tight and swim settings for different styles (tight for rock and swim for jazz) and the smac seems to add that magic that make the drums sound complete and full range.

One thing that really struck me about this compressor is how well it can react to transients and fast peaks like percussion.The tight setting on the toggle was best for reducing these quick spikes.I can run full drum groups through it with total control over the signal.If it's a drum loop
I can really squash it down with the pump switch and make it jump out of the speakers.

The pump switch is a whole adventure on its own.With low ratios it bends the ratio like a harder knee.Using both pump and swim together is like a completely different compressor.
The smac can painlessly go to high ratios and large amounts of gain reduction which is where to me it stands out.

For mixes the smac does the glue thing brilliantly when gain reduction is set to around 3-4db. Most of the time I have the release and attack fairly fast with the toggle set to tight.
It captures all the fast peaks and gives great control over the total dynamics. I was very impressed as to how versatile the smac was in this area.

Every time I use this compressor it brings a huge smile to my face.
Which is a lot more than what my wife does for me at the moment...

Attached Thumbnails
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