The Buzz Audio SOC-1.1 Stereo Optical Compressor, very clean, really tightens up the low end. We believe this is the fastest attack time of any LDR based compressor on the market.
Our original stereo optical compressor brings a vintage technique into the modern studio for tracking, mixing and even mastering.
The use of Light Dependant Resistors (LDR) as the control element of an audio compressor was pioneered in the 1960's and we are all aware of the value placed on those famous vintage LA2A and LA3A units. The SOC-1.1 was designed not to copy, but to take that signature sound and improve on it by offering the user more control. The SOC-1.1 puts you in command of the dynamics rather than dealing with preset parameters.
The attack and release parameters of the SOC-1.1 can be set much faster than vintage opto compressors and there are 3 attack settings and 6 release setting including really useful and intelligent auto modes. The large knobs allow for easy recall of settings in mastering applications.
The design of the SOC-1.1 lead to the development of our differential drive side chain circuit which is unique to Buzz Audio and is used in all our optical compressors. This circuit processes the negative and positive portions of the audio wavefrom separately (attack and release parameters) and along with the "soft knee" characteristic creates a very smooth coherent compression action.
The SOC-1.1 is perfect for recording vocals, acoustic instruments and sounds really special on bass instruments. Our clever design destroys the myth that optical compressors are "too slow" for the mix buss and the SOC will provide instant musical "glue" in this application - never digging holes in your mix.
DRIVE - turning it clock wise increases compression, which is way more sensible than counter clock wise!
OUTPUT dB - variable pot that adds up to 15dB gain at the output to correct for lost level.
ATTACK - toggle switch with FAST (1mS) or SLOW (50mS) selection and our excellent AUTO mode.
RATIO - rotary switch with 4 settings for depth of compression, 2:1, 5:1, 10:1, 20:1.
RELEASE - rotary switch selects recovery time of 100mS, 200mS, 400mS, 800mS, 1600mS and a superb AUTO mode.
METER - monitor input or output level or amount of compression on the VU meter.
BYPASS - hard wire unit bypass to compare compressed and uncompressed signals.
ON/OFF - There is also a handy power switch and a channel A/B LINK switch which soft links the sidechain circuit which is useful when the SOC-1.1 is used on stereo mixes.
Max Input/Output Level: +23.5dBu. (measured with 2k ohm load and 0dB output gain makeup)
Frequency Response: 4Hz to 250kHz (-3dB points with no gain reduction)
Slew Rate: 20V/uS
Harmonic Distortion: less than 0.008%. (measured 100Hz to 10kHz with no gain reduction)
Harmonic Distortion: less than 0.03% (measured 100Hz to 10kHz with 20dB gain reduction, Attack-AUTO, Rel-16)
Residual Output Noise: typically -90dBu, -100dBu A wtg (0dB output gain makeup, 150R input source impedance)
Channel to Channel Crosstalk: below noise.
Standard Operating Level: +4dBu = 0 VU meter display.
Size: 2 Unit 19" rack mount, (482Wx88Hx250D).
Power requirements: 230V/115V selectable, IEC detachable power cable.
I've had an soc 1.1 for 13 years now.
Its in the rack with
2 retro 176's
4 daking fetII
An 1176 rev f
A purple mc77
A munson and fletcher 1176 sort of beast.
The buzz is the unsung hero of many sessions, quietly and unobtrusively making upright bass settle in a mix, riding a vocal without subduing it, generally adding cohesion without destroying dynamics to everything that passes thru it. It can achieve significant gain reduction without artifacts (much the same as the Retro 176) but where as the 176 adds it inimitable beautiful old school sonic footprint, the buzz is wonderfully transparent. Its also exceptionally user friendly. As a side note its interesting to me that both the retro and the SOC 1.1 designs address the differential wave form issue.