In my own studio/workshop, I have a collection of old gear, and back on a hot day in August (2011) I decided to ‘run up’ some of the old compressors and check them against the latest ones.
The oldest one I have is the original prototype SC2… it’s actually the one that I spray-painted livid green. The next one I have is one of the early V1.05 SC2s with its beautiful machined front panel.
I ran these up with a selection of source material and was immediately surprised by how slow they were…. how gentle and ‘heavy’ sounding. When I tried the same material through a P38 I had to increase the attack time and adjust the release very carefully to get the same ‘slow’ sound. The P38EX was the same, but the later V7 had the edge on ‘heavy’ sound……. So I had a thought…… Why not go back to those optical components that we used to use? They are not as quick, so will not be good for the faster type of compression used in modern mastering, but that old optical sound is very subtle and maybe we need a compressor that is as easy to use as those very early ones.
I spent about four weeks playing with circuits old and new, there are so many aspects to design! But I convinced myself that what I really needed was a re-creation of one of those early compressors of the 1960s….. and for me as a real old lag, this was not too much of a problem!
To cut the story short, I ran some material through some circuits on my bench and let Dan, my son listen; his reaction was, ‘wow, it’s like a blast from the past… a legacy!’
And that’s how the Legacy was born.
I wanted to make a compressor that was affordable, so I kept the design simple, using only the controls and indicators that are really needed. Dan did the design of the front panel and it’s really beautiful; it matches the sound.
So now we have four separate compressors, the P38, the P38EX, the P38V7 and now the P38V8. They are all different, I love them all of course, but of course, the V8 being the ‘baby’ is my favourite for the moment.
If I was handed a tricky mastering job I would probably plug in my P38EX. If it was a rock and roll master that needed sharpening up, I would use a P38 or a P38V7, but I would also have a Legacy’ hanging on the output….. it has that amazing ability to sound great even when it’s doing almost nothing.