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FMR Audio RNC1773
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« High quality compression at a budget price »

Published on 03/01/12 at 22:33
The FMR RNC 1773 is a stereo compressor with all the basic parameters (attack, threshold, ratio, release, gain) with side chain capabilities and a "secret weapon" type button that alters the style of compression. This unit can only be edited via the knobs on the face. This compressor is actually a hybrid digital/analog unit. Essentially all the controls are digital but it retains a 100% analog signal path. The only connections found on this unit are mono/stereo 1/4" inputs and outputs and the side chain input. The unit is actually quite small and is rackable. It appears you can actually fit three side by side in a 1U rack space.

UTILIZATION

The editing of the compressor is very easy and is all done via the 5 knobs and 2 push in buttons. If you are familiar with compression than this unit will be a breeze. If you are not familiar, than this, being how simple it is, would be a great place to start. The interesting parameter here is the "really nice" mode button. According to the manual, this mode actually uses three layers of compression to minimize the artifacts and "harshness" you can get with traditional compression. This mode is especially nice for using the compressor on a whole mix. The compression is very subtle and transparent in this mode and is really quite nice.

SOUND QUALITY

The main function I use this unit for is for my synthesizer mixer. I have several hardware synths that all run to a Mackie VLZ3 which mixes my synths down to a stereo channel that than goes to my RME Fireface 800 for my live performance. The music is on the electronica/dance side so I needed some side chain compression. I looked around and this is actually one of the cheapest compressors on the market but everyone was raving about it so I thought I'd give it a try. So it usually sits in between the mixer and the Fireface, but I have been experimenting with it on the whole mix, and I must say this is a way better compressor than I would have imagined. With the "really nice" mode engaged, there is virtually no coloration to the sound and the mix sounds so much tighter. I have used a couple different DBX models in the past, some of which actually cost more than this unit. I would need to do a side by side comparison to be sure, but I feel confident saying that the FMR is significantly better than any of the "Project 1" DBX's and at the same level or better than the 266xl I ran live sound with.

OVERALL OPINION

What I like most about this unit is....well everything. Excellent sound quality, it's super small and compact, it offers all the basic controls and side chaining (very important for me) with a ratio up to 25 to 1 db, and finally, it's one of the cheapest compressors on the market. You just can't go wrong. I expected to get a pretty decent sound out of this thing after reading several positive reviews, but I definitely underestimated it. The sound quality is indeed very good. I have used many hardware compressors including Avalon, DBX, Joe Meek, Alesis, and Behringer. This guy is no Avalon, no one would expect that, but it gives the DBX's I have used serious competition and blows the Alesis and Behringers away. I would recommend this to anyone who needs a quality all around compressor and has a small budget. In fact, I would recommend this to anyone who isn't looking to spend more than $800 on a compressor.
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