Even after designing and building compressors for 50 years (!) I still get the odd new idea, and a couple of weeks ago I was searching through some catalogues and came across a light cell that I did not recognise….. most of these light cells that we use nowadays are originally designed to sense daylight brightness for street lighting (!) It’s only sheer luck that the time constants are suitable for audio compression.
These new cells looked interesting because they are physically big, and similar to the cells I used in the first JoeMeek compressors….. So I bought some and checked their time constant characteristics, and they do have a very interesting curve.
I modified a P38 using the new cells and it turned into a real beast of a compressor with more of the old fashioned ‘thump’ and less of the standard ‘VCA’ sound…. in fact, it does not simulate the VCA compressor very well at all!
I shall be experimenting further with it…. I have an idea that it might be fun to introduce a real old fashioned rock and roll compressor to get some life back into mastering! Will it be a P38 R and R?