The ‘V7’ is a compression tool for Engineers who expect fine sounds, and have realised that ‘plug-ins’ are just not the way!
The new P38V7 combines the natural excitement and punch of the very best optical compressors, but with the remarkable M/S technology developed by Ted, so that the centre image stays rock steady even under the most extreme compression.
‘A compressor must be easy to use’……. So, for the ‘V7’ Ted has simplified the operation, retaining the essentials and adding that necessary facility for sub-group compression, the ‘hard-wire by-pass’.
Increasing talk and use of ‘partial compression’ and ‘parallel compression’ was a factor in the design. This prompted another look at why the old optical compressors became an absolute necessity in the best studios and mix-down rooms in the 70s….. The early VCA and FET compressors suffered from the same major defect as they do today; they not only reduce the dynamic range, they also seem to reduce the size of the musical sound…. They may make it sound more intense, but they also make it sound smaller. This same effect is noticeable today in plug-ins, where the problem is even worse!
To use successfully so called ‘modern’ compressors, engineers found that they needed to use tricks like parallel compression … essential to get anything decent out of devices designed by engineers without ears (!)
It’s a well-kept secret that optical compressors overcome this problem, allowing transients through; the parts of the music that give it ‘space’ and life.
The secret is in the way the optical elements work; they have a timing and a life of their own, they are relatively slow to act and have limitations… but those limitations are remarkably like those of the human ear!
In the ‘V7’ there is no provision for ‘parallel compression’, the special optical elements used give you that for nothing, sparkling transients and outstanding punch!
Some exotic and high priced compressors make a feature of ‘full balanced operation’… this is yet another place where what seems to be a great idea actually is not…… Full balanced operation means that any distortions during compression are 3rd order; that sounds very nasty to the human ear: Momentary distortions in an optical compressor are second order, a natural harmonic sound that’s pleasing to the ear. Even the tiniest distortions are noticeable as ‘character’ to the sound and this is one of the reasons these P38 types sound so good.
- Absolute ease of operation fewer controls, impossible to make it sound bad!
- Hard-wire by-pass, a relay-based by-pass that allows real comparison between original and compressed, plus the normal compression ‘on-off’ control.
- Ultimate electronic design; transformer inputs and high-power electronic outputs. Response flat from 8Hz up to 40KHz, with distortion and noise virtually unmeasurable.
- Transparent performance that sounds superb as soon as it’s plugged in; a truly polished sound.
- Renowned compression.
The P38V7 is ideal for both stereo sub-mix and final mix compression.
A tour through the P38V7
Inputs are on both XLR and standard jack. They are transformer balanced with 5000V safety margin! (Even AC/DC aren’t that loud!)
The input stage has a unique ‘current mode’ circuit that’s impossible to overload.
Outputs are balanced, on XLR and standard jack.
Input levels are controlled by a single rotary control; up to 11 of course.
After the input stage, the audio is converted into ‘sum and difference’ mode then all the compression functions operate on both sum and difference.
Compression is optical; LEDs driven by servo amplifiers are controlled by a carefully sculptured sidechain where filters provide the ideal compression shapes.
Compression indication can be on the RH meter, but there is also a compression LED marked ‘act’ that flashes with compression.
Compression ratio is variable from the gentlest possible 1.2 : 1 up to a peak limiter ratio of 7 : 1.
Attack and release are very much dependent on signal content (attack times and shapes vary with level and content). Attack can be set to as little as 1 millisecond or up to 25 milliseconds, and release has two ranges going from 100 milliseconds up to 6 seconds.
The type of compression is switchable between ‘normal’ (where release time is dependent upon transient content) and ‘extended’ (conventional release timing).
A clever advantage of the ‘sum and difference’ system is that by varying the ‘difference’ channel one can alter the ‘stereo width’ of the mix. The ‘width control goes from full mono up to 150% greater width.
A balance control is there to give quick correction to L/R levels…. For when the engineer got over enthusiastic with the mic amps!
After compression the signals are re-matrixed back into left and right.
Metering has been thought through carefully… the normal mode is that the meters show the left and right audio outputs after the output gain control.
The meter switch switches the left meter to read ‘mono’ before the output gain control, and the right meter to read compression in dB.
The meter sensitivity is set so that 0VU = +4dBu. This setting reduces the clatter of meters on the end-stops (like a cockroach party!) when the engineer gets too enthusiastic.
The hard-wire by-pass is exactly that… it routes the output connectors so that they see the input connectors directly. The operation is via relays so that there are no electronics in the way (when the P38V7 is turned off, the system is in ‘by-pass’.)
Power supply is from 230 or 115VAC switchable at the power socket. Power consumption is less than 5 watts.