The make up of the Ashly CL 52 is pretty basic, with each channel having parameters for gain, threshold, ratio, attack, release, and output level. These are pretty much all of the parameters you would expect when you use a compressor, so anyone with any previous experience with using compressors shouldn't have any trouble with this unit at all. The unit also has two meters for each channel that are programmable and can show all of the input and output levels as well as gain reduction. I don't have the manual for the Ashly CL 52 so I don't know how helpful or well put together it is, but the unit is really easy to use on its own without it.
The overall sound quality heard from the Ashly CL 52 compressor is about average and isn't anything that will blow you away, but does indeed get the job done in a few different situations. I like using it for electric guitar and drums of all types, and it will probably work fine with other things as well, I just find that this is where it works best. It won't color your sound at all beyond what you set it to do and will do the job well, it just doesn't add any real special quality to your signal that you do get with some higher end compressors.
I've been using the Ashly CL 52 compressor for about two or three years and I would definitely recommend it to the home studio owner looking for a nice outboard compressor that won't break the bank. This unit does the job well at a very reasonable price and is also really easy to use. I can't say I would recommend it to professionals because I don't believe that the sound quality is up to par, but this is a great unit for home studio owners.