"I'm a big fan of API and have used a 2500 compressor on a few projects. But when I was in the market for my own stereo compressor, I looked into JDK since it was more budget-friendly. Knowing API's reputation I decided to give it a try.
"The R22 is a winner! This box totally exceeded my expectations. I tried it on a stereo drum bus first, and, wow — so much more punch. The snare drum jumped out with a fatness that just wasn't there before and the unit didn't produce any unwanted color. I even ran it on a master bus! It definitely took away the digital harshness and gave a touch of that analog vibe while helping glue everything together. The THRUST® circuit was nice for this task as well.The only feature I wish it had is a side chain.
"The R22 is a solid unit and looks awesome in my rack — not to mention the extra sweet price tag. I use it every session now, be it tracking or running pre-recorded tracks through it. Let's just say I love this thing. I will definitely be looking into more JDK products in the future."
I've owned this compressor for four years. I've used it everywhere from recording/mixing instruments & vocals to drum compression and the mix buss. The thing that I really enjoy about this compressor is that it sounds good in every situation that I have put it in. For $1000 I think that it is a good investment for a higher-quality compressor.
Very good. You'll have a hard time getting this to NOT improve the quality of your recordings/mixes. It is very smooth and musical as there a multitude of things you can "do" with this unit. I have found that I like it best on my vocal chain for recording, as well as on the mix buss when I want a little vibe and coloration. I will use it mostly on rock mixes when I don't want to affect the dynamics TOO much. This compressor works best for small to medium amounts of compression, not heavy amounts imo.
Ease of use:
Very easy. Strap your track(s) across it and hear the improvements.
This is the part that I find lacking in the R22. I like the overall "rugged" look of the unit, it doesn't feel or look cheap, but the VU meters are a tad too small. The metering section seems a little cheap to me, although the meters work fine and are very responsive. Also, there is no attack or release functions on this unit; something I'm sure that will make this compressor a no-go buy for some people. I thought I would try it out even without these functions (as it does offer a toggle switch for either hard or soft knee - which acts similar to an attack function...). I've found both soft and hard knees are neither super quick or super slow for attack, both just kind of in the middle but definitely different. The release function is set for a medium release imo (probably one of the reasons I feel this is a very smooth compressor).
Although this might be a detriment for "fine-tuning" your settings, I enjoy knowing exactly what this compressor will do when I patch something into it. Similar to an older radio compressor from the 60's (like a gates or altec lansing), you just "know" how it will sound as some of the functions are pre-determined with less adjustment options.
I do enjoy the "thrust" switch and find that I usually have it on. I feel that the upper frequencies are less compressed and, when used on the mix buss or drum kit compression, it allows for a bit more of an exciting mix. It's just a little bit of a different flavor of sound from this unit which I like to have the option of selecting or not.
Bang for the buck:
This is a great compressor and I think for $1000 I would choose it over other more expensive compressors that I have used (I'm talking about you D.W. Fearn lol). However, it depends on your use of it. If you are looking for a great compressor for tracking, I would highly recommend this. If you are looking for a great compressor for mixing individual tracks, I would recommend as well. If you are looking for an all-powerful mix buss compressor, I would not recommend this as your full-time unit just because it doesn't have all the capabilities and features that other compressors of similar cost and performance can provide (SSL stereo-buss compressor as an example-of which I have as well). But it is a great two-channels of compression for certain mix buss situations as I described for certain types of music imo. At $1000 this unit is probably priced right.
Overall I enjoy this unit. I won't be selling it and I find it valuable in my recording chain and mixing sessions.