The Alesis 3630 sports a stereo/dual mono compressor with gates on a budget. I might have an earlier version of the unit, as mine does not have XLR connections, but only 1/4" jacks. As mentioned, you also get a gate, with fixed attack, hold and release but adjustable threshold.
The compressor is switchable between RMS and Peak mode, as well as switchable between hard-knee and soft-knee compression.
You get a basic and pretty much standard set of controls on the 3630 Compressor. So in case you have any previous experience with compressors, you should not have any problems figuring out how to operate this one.
The compressor section on each side, has controls for threshold, ratio, attack, release and output. Remember to set the sensitivity according to either your DAW or mixer. There are small slides on the back of the unit for this, which switches each channel between +4dBu or -10dBv (the later being called instrument level).
I've not had the need to look in the manual, but should you find the need for that, it can be found on the web.
This is were I've had some issues with the compressor. For some reason, the output is extremely low, even after finding a unity between input and output. This however has been on drums, so the unit might not be so useful for that particular instrument. I've not had any issues on the vocals.
I find it pretty amazing, that the sound of the unit on vocals is as transparent as it is (relatively). It's not the most transparent, but it doesn't color the sound that much either.
The gates are decent. You don't have any chance of changing attack, hold and release. It's find, if you just need to clean up a signal - i.e a distortion guitar with a lot of hiss, when not played.
This is not a high-end compressor, so if you own a home studio and are on a budget, this cheap compressor might be something for you. The quality is way better then Behringer, but below DBX.
The 3630 runs on a 9V power supply, and this might be the fall for this, in other ways, fine compressor.
The Alesis 3630 is an analog compressor/limiter. It has XLR connections in the back and is rackable - it will take up a single rack space. The metering is smartly made and the bright LEDs help you to see exactly where you level is at.
The configuration of the Alesis 3630 is pretty easy to follow. It has a knob to set the threshold, a knob to set the output gain, and a knob for compressor ratio. It then has a buttons for bypass and to change the display of the metering. I don't have a manual for this so I don't know if it helpful or not, but the unit is easy enough to use that most shouldn't need it except maybe during set up or troubleshooting.
The sound quality of the Alesis 3630 is pretty good overall. It is good for drums and guitars, but lacks the full quality I would look for in a vocal compressor. The ease of use makes it quick and easy to get a good sound and the bypass button is handy when A/Bing your signal. It is nice to have a few of these at once while you are tracking if you like to track drums with compression.
I've been using the Alesis 3630 compressor for about two years or so. While this isn't the best sounding compressor out there, it is very solid and works great for drums. The price is what will draw most to these, as they are quite cheap, but not cheap enough that they can be considered an entry level compressor. These definitely sound better than the Alesis 3630 and 266, but is a bit more expensive than both. If you are looking for some compressor that are a reasonable price and sound good, the Alesis 3630 is worth a look. Look around online, there are some good prices on this compressor.
The Alesis 3630 Compressor is a stereo compressor that is quite popular among home studio owners. This piece of outboard gear is analog based and has both XLR and 1/4 inch connections. In addition to the compressor, this unit also features a gate. It is indeed a rack mountable piece of gear and it will take up two rack spaces.
The make up of the Alesis 3630 Compressor is pretty standard all around, so those with previous experience with compressors like this one will be able to figure this out rather quickly. Each channel has parameters for threshold, ratio, attack, release, and output as well as a section for the gate that has additional parameters for threshold and rate. Both channels also have a variety of buttons including a choice between either soft or hard knee. I haven't seen the manual for the 3630, so I can't say too much about it but I don't believe one is necessary unless you are a beginner or are having technical difficulties.
The overall sound quality of the Alesis 3630 Compressor is pretty impressive for such an inexpensive unit. It is suitable for a variety of instruments and applications and I've seen a lot home studio owners use it on just about anything. I've only used it on two different applications in particular including electric guitar and drums. I find that the type of sound that the 3630 works best for these types of applications, where you wouldn't necessarily be looking to keep the cleanest signal possible, as this isn't the cleanest compressor out there. The gate sounds pretty good as well and is a great thing to have within a single unit like this one...
If you are a home studio owner looking for a cheap compressor, the Alesis 3630 Compressor should definitely be looked at. The unit is built well and should last for a while as long as you don't move it too often and treat it properly. In this price range, this is about as good of a compressor that you are going to get. While it isn't the cleanest or fullest sounding compressor out there by a long shot, if you're looking for a reliable stereo pair that has a gate on it as well for a home studio setting, I would definitely recommend checking out he Alesis 3630 Compressor.