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Audio path quality
The entire audio path of the SOC-20 optical compressor is made using Buzz Audio's proprietary Class A discrete transistor BE41 amplifiers with a Lundahl LL1517 transformer at the output. A special low impedance power supply design is used to enhance the sound quality of the amplifiers by providing very stiff power rails. This overall combination produces a unique sound character with full bass and a vibrant top end void of any midrange harshness. Whilst the SOC-20 is not a clone of any vintage units, it's design is inspired by the use of the LA2 and LA3 by it's designer Tim Farrant.
Mid-side processing power
Not only can the SOC-20 be used in dual mono or stereo mode, Buzz Audio has also incorporated a Mid-Side (or sum and difference) encoder and decoder. When set to MS mode, the stereo input is divided into signals that are common to left and right (called the mid) and signals that are not (called the side). The divided signals are sent to each channel of the SOC-20 then recombined at the output thereby allowing you to adjust the dynamics and width of the stereo image. This process has application on a wide range of stereo sounds including the mix buss and electronic music sub mixes. Check out the audio samples to see how powerful this process can be.
Side chain flexibility
At the flick of a switch, a high pass filter reduces the compressor sensitivity to low frequencies for more bass punch when used on program material. We have also included a fully balanced side chain insert point so you can add additional equalisation to the compressor characteristic or "key" the compressor with another source to create those pumping effects found in modern music styles. The side chain monitor function allows you to hear what is returning into the insert point and also monitors the mid or side signal when the compressor is used in MS mode.
The unique differential side chain circuit of the Buzz Audio SOC-20 splits the audio into positive and negative waveform and processes it separately to obtain a differential drive into our custom BE45 electro-optical attenuator. There are 5 compressor attack settings and 6 release settings that cover a wide range of response possibilities. In addition, our intelligent auto modes allow for true "set and forget" operation. The 5 "soft knee" ratio settings allow for gentle to strong levelling, with the selected ratio only actually acheived at 10dB of gain reduction. The SOC-20 opto compressor is extremely muscical - ideal for vocal and instrument recording plus it is equally at home on the stereo buss to glue your mixes together - a truly multi-purpose studio compressor now available in a mastering version.
Controls and functions
DRIVE - variable pot that sets the amount of compression.
OUTPUT dB - variable pot that adds gain at the output to correct for lost level.
ATTACK - rotary switch with 1mS, 10mS, 25mS, 50mS selections and the excellent AUTO mode.
RATIO - rotary switch with 2:1, 4:1, 6:1, 10:1 and 20:1 selections - all soft knee characteristic.
RELEASE - rotary switch with 100mS, 200mS, 400mS, 800mS 1600mS selections and our superb AUTO mode.
BYPASS - hard wire unit bypass to compare compressed and uncompressed signals.
METER - switches the VU meter between input/output levels or amount of compression.
S.C. HPF - inserts a 170Hz high pass filter into the side chain for added bass punch.
S.C. INSERT - engage the external side chain insert point and monitor the side chain signal.
LINK A/B - joins the side chain of each channel for stereo operation with "soft" tracking.
There is also a locking toggle to select STEREO or MID-SIDE mode and a handy POWER on/off switch.
• Maximum Input Level: +32dBu
• Maximum Output Level: +27dBu
• Maximum Input/Output Level: S/C Insert +22dBu
• Noise: -95dBu Stereo Mode, -90dBu M/S Mode (measured with no make up gain and A Weighted).
• Gain: variable from 0dB to +15dB
• Frequency Response: 3Hz to 120kHz measured with +10dB gain and no gain reduction.
• Harmonic Distortion: No gain reduction 0.08% @ 100Hz, 0.025% @ 1kHz, 0.02% @ 10kHz, 0.05% @ 100kHz
• Harmonic Distortion: With 20dB gain reduction (Attack AUTO, Release 16) 0.1% @ 100Hz, 0.06% @ 1kHz, 0.04% @ 10kHz
• Harmonic Distortion: With 20dB gain reduction (Attack AUTO, Release AUTO) 2% @ 100Hz
• Standard Operating Level: +4dBu = 0 VU meter display. Size 2 Unit 19" rack mount, (482Wx88Hx250D).
• Power requirements; 230V/115V selectable, IEC detachable power cable.
Specifications are typical of a production unit and are subject to change without notice. 0dBu reference = 0.775 volts RMS.