Timing is Everything
The unified TIMING control is comprised of six selectable settings, carefully chosen for different applications – a major departure from the fixed attack of the 2254. FAST and MF settings are designed to help clamp down on more transient signals like drums, plucked string instruments and fast vocals. MED and MS have slightly slower attacks and releases which can allow more transients through while having a slightly longer recovery. Lastly, SLOW and AUTO are both significantly slower, and are designed for smoother level control.
FAST mode increases the speed of both attack and release for each setting, effectively doubling the number of time constants from 6 to 12. The FAST mode also allows for a dramatic increase in speed as compared to the 535’s renowned ancestors, providing significantly more tonal & operational versatility.
Faster TIMING settings will generally lead to higher peak-to-peak control voltage ripple, and therefore induce more harmonic content, translating into more color in the main audio path. Slower TIMING settings will smooth the control voltage significantly, and thereby reduce the harmonic content added to the audio path, resulting in more transparent compression. It is also worth noting that due to the nature of this topology, these time constants adapt themselves slightly depending on several factors: compression ratio, threshold, and source material. This dynamically generated timing shift and harmonic content is what gives the Diode Bridge Compressor its unique personality.
The Right Blend
Given the naturally colored sonic signature of the 535’s diode bridge, this built-in parallel compression ability is especially useful. The BLEND control allows the user to inject smaller amounts of extreme compression into an otherwise unaffected signal, creating an enhanced yet natural sound that maintains dynamic range with blendable color and punch.
In addition to the TIMING control, the diode bridge compressor can be further manipulated by the RATIO, THRESHOLD, GAIN, SC HPF and LINK controls. The RATIO control has six selectable positions on the rotary switch and allows the user to set the slope of the compressor curve, with pre-selected ratios of 1.5:1 through 8:1. The THRESHOLD control has 31 detents and allows the user to adjust the point at which compression begins, ranging from -25dBu to +20dBu. The GAIN control has 31 detents to add make-up gain ranging from -6dB to +20dB. The S/C HPF is 12dB/octave sidechain high-pass filter with a frequency set to 150Hz. This feature can be immensely useful for making the compressor respond less to the powerful – and often more sustaining – low frequencies in a mix or instrument, which may otherwise give the compressor a more “mushy” response. LINK is designed to utilize the 500-series link buss built into many 500 series racks like the R6 or R10 (check your rack’s manual for details). When both units have link engaged and connected, the control voltage is shared between them – so when one unit is triggered, it will trigger the other unit equally. This can often help maintain a solid center image in a stereo source. Note: for stereo sources, it is always worth auditioning the “unlinked” sound as well, as linking can sometimes clamp down on the effective stereo width when the compressors are triggered by one side.