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Old 30th June 2020
Gear Maniac
Richie Witch's Avatar

Upgrade from my Radius 3 Fat Man

I’ve been thinking about replacing my Fat Man tube compressor which I currently use on a mix bus paired with an old DOD graphic equalizer. It makes a great “glue” compressor for electronic drums and I get fantastic crunch on kicks and bass lines. However, it’s got a few problems:
  • It’s pretty damn noisy, so I can’t use it on quieter sources
  • Stereo separation is non-existent (it only contains one tube, so that figures)
  • It has an intermittent 60 Hz hum. Cycling power several times will temporarily fix that, but I have to check it throughout the session because the issue randomly comes back. I’ve replaced the power supply filter caps and upgraded the tube, but no luck
  • I have to let it warm up for nearly an hour before it stabilizes. I have a pink noise/spectrum analyzer template that I use to calibrate it to neutral before I begin a session, but if I calibrate it before a 1-hour warm-up cycle, it drifts away from neutral. The EQ is used to gently tweak the output of the compressor to achieve this and it’s slightly different every time.

I’m giving myself a $1,500 budget to find a replacement. So far, I’ve looked at the GAP Comp-2A and the BSS Opal FCS-966. What I don’t like about either of these is that they are leveling amps, whereas the Fat Man has controls for all the typical compressor functions: threshold, ratio, attack, release, and knee curve.

So… any suggestions for a two channels of full-featured tube compression for around $1,500?

I’m real handy with a soldering iron, so I’d consider kits too.