Radioman Stereo Bus Compressor by tone_rekooda
Today I am going to review something like a so-called secret weapon in our studio, the Radioman Compressor/Limiter.
It`s just a secret weapon because you can`t buy it at your ordinary shop, you have to buy it on ebay directly from the guy who is assembling it. His name is Harry de Winter.
The Radioman Compressor/Limiter is a clone of the legendary Audio & Design F600. Harry de Winter is using the original schematics. They are sold on ebay most of the time for about €500. We`ve contacted him directly via email and asked for a nice price and he said “yeah” and sent it to us without ebay.
Basically it`s a dual mono compressor but you can stereolink the channels and use it as a stereo compressor too.
On the back there are 4 xlr inputs, 2 inputs and 2 outputs. And of course a power cable which is fixed.
With that knob you can adjust the threshold. The lowest adjustable threshold is about -20dB which means that at a threshold of -10dB a gain reduction of 10dB is possible.
With that knob you can adjust the level of the processed signal.
Attack & Release
I don`t know the exact facts like how fast or how long. But the attack feels pretty fast so drum transients can be cut very easy. The release has another function added, an auto release. This works well with signals that a consisting of long and short sounds. In my case it worked very well on weird synthesizer rythms.
Overall I`d describe its sound as often "rough" and sometimes "smooth" with a noticable glueing tendency - of course it depends on your material and your adjustments.
There are two scenarios in which I use the Radioman most of the time.
Scenario #1 (Techno)
When I am mixing Techno tracks I always send the kick on one channelstrip of my TL Audio Fat Track and the bassline on the second channelstrip. The Radioman is on the insert of the channelstrip so I can send kick and bassline into the compressor which I use in dual mono mode for that purpose. That`s pretty nice because this way I can adjust the kick and bassline in an easy way with the channelstrip`s EQs and the compressor. I always get very decent results and my bottom end of the Techno tracks are rocksolid.
But you can destroy your signals with the Compressor of course too. I always have to be careful when compressing (synthetic) basslines because you can produce crackles with certain settings. I think the attack is very fast and that`s the reason why this crackles are occurring with fast settings. Dunno …
Scenario #2 (Rock, Metal)
I am using the Radioman for parallel compression very often. I send my drumbuss into it and try to crash it but also to retain something like a nice sound. I mix it to the drumbuss itself and get most of the time pretty in-your-face-drums. I think parallel compressing drums is something the Radioman Compressors can do very well – of course in stereo linked mode. Very short attack, release on taste.
I`ve found a guy on soundcloud.com who uploaded some samples. His name on soundcloud is Prusiewicz.
Here we go >
(it`s better to click on the link and listen to the samples directly on his soundcloud page because here on gearslutz just one sample is shown ... )
You feel that it`s a DIY piece. But it`s no bad quality. The knobs are not feeling rock solid but on the other hand they don`t fall down when you touch them harder.
The case itself is metal and the VU meters are working more or less well. I don`t know how much I can trust them, but yeah, I use them for adjusting and don`t trust on my ears alone.
If you can get a nice price on this compressor I think you can`t go wrong. I just use it on drums and basses and seldom get a nasty result out of it.
If you have any problems with that machine you can contact Harry de Winter and he`s going to help you asap. A friend of mine had a problem with his Radioman Compressor. He contacted Harry, immediately got a second Compressor while the original one was repaired. A nice support I think!