Old Compressor Question

hmmm?

I got this old compressor a while back, a 1974 (“vintage” ! yeah!) TOA CL-021. I asked a while back if anyone here had a manual for such a thing, of course no one did (why would anyone?), but I found one eventually It’s an odd beast. It has two attack settings, 10 ms and 3 second, and release times of 1 second, 5 seconds, 10 seconds, and 20 seconds.

Now, why in the world would a compressor have a 20 second release time?

The thing sounds cool on vocals, it’s all transistors and transformers and no ICs, Sounds like garbage on anything else. :)

“Hi ! My name is Tom and I’m a pack-rat” :)

It sounds more like an auto-volume control than a compressor to use on individual tracks. For example, something would have to be above the threshhold for 3 seconds before it kicks in and it stays down for 20 seconds. That’s the kind of thing that might be used in broadcasting - TV or radio. The other settings would be useful for a DJ’s mic…that kind of thing.

teryeah, how’d ya guess? What tipped you off? :)

Phoo, The manual calls it a PA compressor, FWIW. Why would broadcasters find a very slow attack and a very very very long release useful?

What about threshold adjustments? It sounds to me an old “ducking” unit for PA work. ???

TG

Phoo, The manual calls it a PA compressor, FWIW. Why would broadcasters find a very slow attack and a very very very long release useful?
It would be used to keep different records or ads aboutthe same volume without over reacting to any initial hits. If after three seconds it's still over the threshold it pusshed it down, but because of the slow release time there is no pumping and it will stay there even through quieter parts therby preserving the overall dynamics.

You can hear that stuff happen even these days on TV. A commercial starts that WAY louder than the previous add or program and it eventually lowers to some reasonable level. The next one might start too quiet and you can hear it raise in volume. Eventually both end up about the same place.

Well, that's the idea. I hear a lot of ads that just blast all the way through these days. Let's stay that's teh way it use to work.

Sound systems use for announcments and whatnot would have that kind of stuff built in sometimes.

Regardless it's geared more as a overall compressor to put the mains through, instead of a single mic, though it could be used on a voiceover mic for the same reason, as TG points out - ducking through the sidechain (it does have that or two inputs doesn't it? I forgot what you said).

Probably they's use the quick attack time and long release for the stuff I'm using as an example.

Anyway, that's just one use for something with such a long release.

I've seen release times like that in old guitar stomp boxes. They didn't sound very good.

Ducking - hmm…It does have two inputs, no sidechain, but the manual says nothing about ducking, and it’s not set up that way.

Yes it sounds horrid on guitar, sort of cool as a room mic on drums - big smashed somewhat distorted sound, I imagine something like a shure vocal lock. What’s cool is if I set it at 20/1 and run the vocals through it and then leave them dry - very up front thick sound, but surprisingly enough it doesn’t sound over compressed, just really really heavily compressed. I haven’t found any other use for it yet. But I’m trying! :)