Phoenix Audio N90-DRC/500
In a world now crowded with compressors—most of them emulating vintage designs, with the rest, it seems, dead set on destroying dynamics—the Phoenix Audio N90-DRC/500 stands out as a decidedly musical compressor with a refreshingly unique design. Phoenix Audio developed this circuit over 20 years ago, and the thoughtful design reflects the subtler, more tasteful approach to compression from that bygone era. Though the N90 can be pushed to offer up wonderful sonic artifacts, it truly excels at the delicate (and increasingly rare) craft of transparent, musical dynamic control and gating.
The N90's 100% Class-A circuit is built around our wide-open sounding transfomerless input stage and beloved DSOP-2 output amplifier with our custom-wound DB694 output transformer. While appearing quite elaborate, using the compressor/gate functions of the N90 is a forgiving and intuitive experience—especially given that this is a solid-state compressor. The ease of use is due to the gradual and progressive behavior of the N90's unique control circuit. Gain reduction begins well below, and continues beyond, the threshold, so you'll never hear a sudden "grabby" change in dynamics. Instead, you'll easily dial in fluid dynamic control while simultaneously picking up the rich, lush tone of the N90's discrete Class-A circuit.