Regular John Recording SICK SICK SICK buss compressor by Mindseyedigital
This is my first post on GS. Ive looked at posts for years, and never been inspired to participate until i bought this compressor. Ive recorded and produced for about 21 years professionally, aquired some accolades on the journey, produced or recorded 8 top ten hits on rock charts, and worked with a lot of Major Label artists and producers, and amazing local talent. Ive used most of the top of the line gear out there at one time or another. I got sick of mixing in the box about 2 years ago and wanted to go back to a glimpse of the salad days of analog. I bought a summing box, and wanted to stock up on some good outboard comps and eqs. I started the search for a mixbuss compressor that had the sound i was looking for. I purchased an A designs Nail, Dbx 160SL, Tube Tech Lca2b, and ended up loving them all for certain things, but not for the mix buss. They all had quirks, like pumped too early, or too clean, or too colored, or not transparent enough, or not enough grab. Keep in mind i was looking for the perfect unit for hard rock/metal, if it exists. I was going to buy an API 2500, but its the standard go to for this genre and i wanted something different. Then i decided to try the SSL type. Having bought so many units, it was getting expensive! So i would only demo from now on, and i came across RJR. I really liked the fact that its all custom. You can make your own faceplate, knob choices, and even pick lundahl transformers, parallel compression, hp filter/set or adjustable, add a distortion circuit for squashing drums, pick your own meter, colors, layout, the works! To have every feature you want in a layout that is ergonomically perfect for each user is so ideal i had to try one. But when it all comes down to it, the sound is really what we care about, and if that wasnt there, it would not fly. So i wrote them and asked if i could demo a unit. We worked a deal where i bought a unit that was available, and if i liked it i kept it, if i didnt i could return it, perfect condition, and get a refund. This was key for me since a custom unit with a boutique name would be extremely hard to sell. When it arrived i was immediately impressed with the quality of build, weight, and finish. This thing rivaled the looks and quality of $4000 compressors, and it was only $1300 with the options it had. Then i hooked it up. Right away i loved it. Not like any SSL comp ive used. It had all the good things you think when you think of an SSL buss comp (ive only used the in console comp on an SSL 9000J, so thats what im basing it on), and none of the bad. This compressor is transparent in a manner that you cant hear it pump until -12db of gain reduction, but you can hear it work right away in a very musical, and pleasant manner. I personally was looking for a very punchy and big sounding box. All of the comps i tried sounded good, but even at the best setting for the current mix, clipped the drums too much or changed the mix too much, or "sounded" squashed a bit. This compressor does none of that. It sounds like your mix still in tact, just more separate, much more girth and punch, and if i dare say, more expensive. Pulls out the ambience and shapes things the way my mind hears the perfect compressor. At 1:5 ratio and typical SSL attack and release, hit it a little harder than normal, and blend the uncompressed mix in with the compressed, its blissful. On drum buss, it does the SSL thing very well and exactly what you expect, but better. I have not had a better experience with a peice of gear/manufacturer ever. So i felt compelled to write a review so anyone thinking about gettinng one, should feel a bit more confident with their idea.....Its a good idea, just try one. As far as cons, none with the unit at all, as its built to your specifications, so its just what you want. The only bad thing, is its a wait, up to 4 months depending on your build, but its WELL worth the wait. An actual SSL G compressor is upwards of $3k, and good clones are $2k like the Rolls Supercompressor, or the like. This thing swallows them whole, as its a completely updated and tweaked ssl circuit, and modernized. Much like the Rolls, but further in my opinion , and with more features, and way cooler looking, it better be your the designer.