There's something very satisfying about getting a 'Recall Sheet' with a piece of equipment. It could be seen as a nod back to those days when everything was written down hardcopy and noted...or it could be seen as a gentle reminder that here is a real piece of audio equipment that is ready for your decisions with no option to go to a 'preset' from a drop down menu... It's a nice touch from a company no stranger to the world of audio production, and after all these years DRAWMER still manages to create products that are relevant to the modern recording and mix engineer, but still with a solid no-nonsense style they've been known for. Their latest product is the Drawmer 1978 Stereo Tone Shaping FET Compressor. It's not a valve based compressor like the 1968, rather a design that is under the '1970's grouping' - following on from their successful release of the Drawmer 1973 multi-band FET Compressor last year at MusikMesse. Drawmer used the show this year to preview the 1978 which created a lot of interest, and now they're available and starting to ship.
Price?Firstly let's get the price out of the way : RRP £675 ex-vat - £810 inc vat. Yes really. Drawmer has gone and provided a high-quality product at a very competitive price, whilst still sticking to their Yorkshire heritage with the 1978 being Designed and Made in the UK. Positioned predominately as a MixBuss Compressor there are many extra features that Drawmer have added to the 1978 that I think will lend itself to more than just the mix buss. I can hear it on Drum Overheads, Sub Groups, Guitars, Loop programming and many options as it's very flexible sounding.
FeaturesTowards the right-hand side, there is a Mix dial next to the output Gain. This is where you can create 'parallel' type processing, but blending the % of the original signal in with the compressed signal. A simple but extremely useful addition when thinking of this working over ITB mixes where hardware i/o isn't available... and saves having to wonder about delay compensation working correctly on parallel tracks if the 1978 was used as a hardware insert. So a simple addition, but one that shows Drawmer understand what we need. There are 4 switches next to the usual Ratio, Attack and Release controls that provide different types of compression characteristics :
- Smooth - slows the initial release to reduce distortion when using fast release times
- PGM - will add a 2nd slower release to anything over the threshold to reduce pumping
- Channel Link - has two modes : Normal and Wide, in Wide mode the channels are partially summed prior to the Side Chain to create a Wider Stereo Image
- Release Curve - also has two modes : Logarithmic / Linear. The Logarithmic is the most familiar release time on compressors, whilst the Linear isn't as initially as fast and is less aggressive sounding.