Petes Place Audio
is taking advantage of the 125th AES
Convention in San Francisco to introduce another exciting product to its lineup,
a 500 Series compressor module known as the BAC.
Designed by Brad
Avenson of Austin, Texas-based Avenson Audio, the BAC, short for Brad Avenson
Compressor, is a feedback-style FET compressor built around two discrete op amps
and a custom wound output transformer.
We are thrilled to finally be
collaborating with Brad on this project, says Pete’s Place Audio President Lisa
Montessi. His experience, knowledge and passion really shine through in
everything he creates and the BAC certainly is no exception. It’s a fantastic
compressor and it’s going to make a lot of 500 Series fans very
From the top down, the BAC’s faceplate features a large silver
rotary input knob, smaller pots for attack, release and ratio, and a large
output knob at the bottom. Additional features include a three-position
sidechain contour switch, eight-LED gain reduction meter, and pushbuttons for
distortion and bypass.
The module’s attack control runs from fast to
quite fast, while the release control exhibits a fairly wide range, enabling the
compressor to go from pumping, breathing fast up to approximately a second and a
half. This allows sounds to hang a bit when using the device purely as a leveler
The ratio control features five positions ranging from 2:1
to 20:1. According to Avenson, The infinity control has a little exclamation
point next to it because, not only is it really flat, but it also puts you in
that spot where you can do some over-compression and other interesting things.
It changes where the threshold starts to compress as well, so it gives you
different varieties of tonal characteristics to play with.
sidechain toggle switch offers a choice of three possible settings: flat,
high-pass filter (cut off around 70 to 100 Hz), and an option that somewhat
exaggerates the high end while simultaneously cutting the low end. “The overall
effect of this third setting is somewhat like a de-esser fed into the sidechain,
but it’s a little wider than that and quite good for taming a variety of things
that are overly bright,” Avenson notes.
With all of the controls
essentially cranked between the input and output knobs, the BAC is capable of
delivering nearly 50 dB of gain, which can be very helpful in compensating for
serious gain reduction issues caused by greatly compressing dynamic range.
The bypass button found below the output knob is a true relay bypass,
while the adjacent distortion button allows the user to achieve a true bench FET
compression sound. “A lot of FET compressors use tricks to linearize the FET as
a compression element and make it sound cleaner because if they’re used solely
by themselves, they’re really pretty raunchy sounding,” says the designer. “So
this switch allows you to play with how much of the frequency response and
distortion characteristics of the FET you get. By engaging it, you’re getting a
lot more second harmonic distortion and aggressive sounds because we’re taking
away some of the linearizing elements. It’s basically a way to kick in a more
aggressive sounding compressor without changing any of the other settings. You
can dial in the amount of dirt you want.”
Avenson sums the BAC up by
adding, Although this product is largely designed to provide a bit of color and
flavor, and not be too heavy handed, it really does possess that nice bite that
is characteristic of FET compressors and perfect for cranking down on things
like drum room mics when you need it.
Pete’s Place Audio is an umbrella
organization founded to bring a wide variety of handcrafted, innovative,
boutique recording and live audio products to market. Under the leadership of
President Lisa Montessi and backed by the manufacturing expertise of A-Designs
Audio, Petes Place collaborates with some of todays most talented recording
artists and engineers to help determine what products, regardless of how
esoteric, they feel are missing in the studio and live performance environments