TFPRO588 questions that could be asked.

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    Ted Fletcher

    The story behind the 588 is an interesting one. Some years ago (many) I was testing an old PYE compressor with my primitive test equipment knowing that the BBC were using them and was surprised to be unimpressed with the results; it was, I thought, clumsy to use and not very good, with unacceptable noise levels (even by 1970s standards).
    At Alice, we acquired the PYE trademark in 2021 without any serious intention to use it as a brand, but I thought it might be fun to go back to basics and design something novel…. after all, the original PYE compressor was novel with its pulse-width modulation.
    As is normal in development, I had some ideas and then discovered that they had been used before, the idea of feed-forward compression is well established and is the basis for many exotic compressors, but I was searching for a design that had the advantages of ‘feed-forward’ but maintaining some of the magic that we had invented in the JoeMeek era. The answer seemed to be to ignore the maths, to build one or two models and listen!
    My first prototype proved lots of points; it was certainly fast! The attack time was ridiculous compared to existing compressors, it was as close to instantaneous as I could measure. And surprisingly, it sounded good.
    As I had already developed some 500 series modules it was easy to adapt the design into a module and so I had the first versions of the 588.
    Contrary to most compressors, the 588 has no real ‘knee’, the compression ratio gradually increases as the volume level rises, it’s like a very soft limiter, and it works well as a limiter because of the extremely fast attack.
    Because it is ‘feed-forward’ there is no compression over-shoot; but by using some careful shaping of the ‘release’, it has a characteristic sound.
    At the time of writing this the first few 588s have gone out, these were 588 version 3 and I made them all myself. Version 4 will be available from 1st September (2022) all manufactured in the UK.
    And what about PYE? The design for a new stereo compressor based on the 588 is now complete. I shall try to have it ready for the end of the year.

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