Buzz Audio Essence


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Essence is an optical compressor for 500 series. A versatile mono compressor for 500 series frames with unique features including our famous opto sound.

control genius
The Essence attack & release settings have been carefully selected for a varied dynamic palette and the intelligent auto modes allow for really smooth "set and forget" operation. But unlike the slow LA designs, this compressor can also be fast! The soft knee opto action is perfect for smoothing the dynamics of vocals and a stereo pair will find immediate use to glue together stems, synths and the mix buss.

Audio path quality
The input is coupled directly to our proprietary light dependant resistor gain reduction element via a Lundahl LL1540 input transformer. This is followed by a discrete signal path using our class-a BE40 amplifier for gain make up and the BE50 high current line driver to excite the Lundahl LL1517 output transformer. All this creates a very warm low end sound along with extended top end clarity.

Creative versatility
The essence is the only 500 series compressor (that we know of) to feature a side chain insert point so you can apply equalisation to the compression characteristic to control certain parts of the audio spectrum. The insert can also be used to "key" the compressor from another sound for all sorts of creative pumping effects. In addition, there is on board side chain eq allowing you to quickly adjust the compressor sensitivity at high and low frequencies.
GAIN - sets the output gain from 0dB to +15dB.
DRIVE - sets the amount of compression applied to the signal, clockwise rotation means more compression.
ATTACK - 4 position switch with attack time settings of 1mS, 15mS, 70mS and our excellent Auto mode.
RELEASE - 6 position switch with recovery time settings of 100mS, 200mS, 400mS, 800mS, 1600mS and the intelligent Auto mode..
RATIO - 4 position switch sets the depth of compression from light to heavy, 2:1, 5:1, 10:1, 20:1 all with the soft knee action.
METER - can be switched to read input level, output level and gain reduction. A jumper on the pcb is used to set the peak level reference from +4dBu or +14dBu.
BYPASS - toggle switch used to hard wire bypass the essence.
S/C MON - allows you to hear the side chain signal (the side chain eq) and the side chain insert return signal.
S/C HI EQ - applies 8dB at 10kHz of boost or cut to the side chain signal and therefore to the compression.
S/C LO EQ - applies 8dB at 100Hz of boost or cut to the side chain signal and therefore to the compression.
LINK - using the 500 frame link system, two essences can be linked for stereo operation.
S/C INS - this switch engages the side chain insert point which are the input/output connectors associated witht the second slot the essence uses.
Frequency Response with no gain reduction: 14Hz to 107kHz, +/- 1.5dB
Maximum Input Level: +25dBu
Maximum Output Level: +27dBu
Side chain Max Input/Output Levels: +22dBu

Total Harmonic Distortion
  • Measured at 0dBu input, no gain reduction, make up Gain 0dB: 100Hz = 0.1%, 1kHz = 0.015%, 10kHz = 0.002%
  • Measured at +10dBu input, 20dB gain reduction, make up Gain +15dB, Attack AUTO, Release 16: 100Hz 0.1%, 1kHz = 0.015%, 10kHz = 0.005%

  • Residual Noise: -95dB A wtg, 150ohm source Z, make up Gain 0dB
    Make up Gain Range: 0dB to +15dB

    Maximum Available Gain Reduction = 25dB
  • S/C HI EQ Boost/Cut: 8dB @ 10kHz
  • S/C LO EQ Boost/Cut: 8dB @ 100Hz

  • Main Audio Input Impedance: 20k ohms, bal or unbal
    Main Output Impedance: 100 ohms bal or unbal
    Sidechain Send Output Impedance: 100 ohms unbal
    Sidechain Return Input Impedance: 44k ohms bal or unbal
    Size: (3"Wx5.25"H). Fits 2 spaces in API* 500VPR Series rack format
    Power requirements: 120mA +/- 15-18 volts DC, as supplied by rack power supply.
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