Sebatron SMAC by zarven kara
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