Joemeek SC2.2 Photo Optical Stereo Compressor Limiter 1998 2 Channel 00480
This is a vintage 1998 Joemeek SC2.2 Photo Optical Stereo Compressor, Version 3, made in the UK. It’s a 2-channel unit with Input, Slope, Compression, Attack, Release, and Output controls. Each channel has XLR jacks for input and output.
The condition is very clean. Joemeek was the hot name in the 90s and they still have a sound you won’t find anywhere else. This is a great unit to use on the whole mix in mastering or on almost any individual instrument or vocal. See bottom of listing for an explanation of every control on the unit straight from the manual. Thanks for looking.
What You Get
-- FREE USA shipping.
-- 30-day return policy.
-- Ship within 1 business day--pro packing.
Manufacturer Info (from the manual)
Why is the JOEMEEK different to a modern high tech compressor limiter? It was designed as a stereo effects compressor rather than a 'levelling amplifier' as the early compressors were called. These are the basic definitions: A LIMITER is a device which stops the output of a signal path going above a predetermined level. A COMPRESSOR is a device which reduces the dynamic range of programme material. A 'perfect' compressor is an amplifier where the input/output ratio is constant: So using a 2:1 compressor, increasing the input by 2dB gives a corresponding 1dB increase in the output.
Early compressors which used variable mu thermionic tubes or photoelectric devices only approximated true compression over a limited range. They had a soft 'threshold' where compression started and held to a predictable ratio up to a certain level, then they returned to a more linear amplification allowing transients through. This is in stark contrast to modern VCA compressor/limiters where designers thought it 'sensible' to combine the functions of compressor and limiter and to 'stonewall' any and all signals above a certain level. The musical effect is that (I know I'm over simplifying) VCA compressors sound muddy and flat, while old compressors sound lively and retain sparkle.
A good VCA compressor limiter will do a good job making medium wave radio sound a bit louder and protecting a radio transmitter from exploding, but it is a poor tool for making a voice track stand out. The JOEMEEK compressor was designed to use the apparent deficiencies of the older technology providing a powerful artistic tool for the creative engineer. Joe Meek used to say, "If it sounds right, it is right!". To a lot of his contemporaries he went way over the top with overloading the record electronics on his 'Lyrec' 2-track recorder, and swathing his lessthan-perfect singers in bathroom echo and reverb, but his artistic use of non linear compression was masterly.
INPUT GAIN sets the audio gain of the stereo compressor. It's calibrated 1
to 11. With the control set at number 5 , the gain through the compressor is
about 0dB (no gain). With the control at maximum, the gain is about 20dB.
SLOPE alters the amount that the optical system affects the audio signal. It
approximates to a ratio switch in a conventional compressor; but don't take
this too literally. At 1, the compression is light and the maximum possible
compression is about 6dB. At 5, the compression can be severe. The
compressor behaves in a similar way to a valve (tube) limiter. The
intermediate positions give a range of compression effect.
COMP/VU switch changes the mode of the meter. In 'COMP' mode, the
needle sits at '0' and indicates approximate amount of compression by
moving downwards. IN 'VU' mode, the meter shows audio level before the
output gain control.
COMPRESSION is the drive control to the optical system. It sets the point
at which the compression starts; it specifies where the 'knee' is (although
with a photo optical compressor, the knee is not well defined as the
compression ratio varies with audio level). The effect of this control is a
threshold control that increases the overall compression effect.
IN/OUT switch literally switches the whole compressor in and out of circuit.
When the switch is 'out' and the red LED is alight, the audio signal goes
directly from the input connectors to the output connectors... There is no
electronics in the way, and therefore the input and output gain controls will
be bypassed. When the switch is 'in', the input audio signal goes via the
compression circuitry and is converted to 'sum and difference' mode. This
ensures that the centre image stays perfectly in the centre even under
heavy compression. The sum and difference coded signal is compressed,
and then converted back into 'left/right' format. The 'hard wired' by-pass
switch allows instant comparison between the original uncompressed
signal, and the compressed processed signal.
ATTACK sets the time for the compression to act. When set to 'fast' the
attack time is slightly less than 1 millisecond. At 'slow', the attack time is
increased to about 15 milliseconds.
RELEASE is one of the most important and noticeable controls of the
compressor. At minimum 'fast', the release time is less than 200
milliseconds. the range of the control is about 5 seconds. Fast releases
make the compression effect more noticeable and more 'urgent' sounding.
This control reacts differently depending on the status of the 'dark' switch. In
normal mode, the compression release is smooth and linear, in 'dark' mode,
the release starts gently, but releases quickly as the gain approaches
normal; this gives an even more 'urgent' type of sound and often adds an
apparent depth to the sound.
OUTPUT GAIN controls the gain of the final output driver amplifiers. Normal
position is marked as '0'. The control can be used to set the optimum
volume level for driving any other equipment. The output level range is high
(maximum output can be as high as +26dB) but the gain circuit is designed
so that when the gain is turned down, the residual noise drops with the
signal making an extremely quiet system.