We’re not going to hide our intentions: when we set out to design The Dangerous COMPRESSOR, we spent over two years figuring out how to achieve modern levels of limiting and compression while avoiding the deadening effects of today’s ultra-limited productions. We make gear that helps you deliver the impact, punch and clarity that brings music to life, and when it comes to compression and limiting our answer was not to avoid it like some purists might, but to deliver an audiophile-grade tool that provides powerful compression and limiting without robbing the music of its lifeforce. The Dangerous COMPRESSOR points the way to the future of dynamics.
Compressors fall into two basic categories: so-called “color boxes” capable of drastically changing sound, of which there are hundreds available, and the much more difficult to design “transparent units” that control dynamics without introducing obvious sonic artifacts. The Dangerous COMPRESSOR is decidedly in the latter category, delivering crystal clear compression that allows you to easily alter and control dynamics without drastically changing the original sound. But don’t let the word ‘transparency’ trick you into thinking The COMPRESSOR doesn’t sound beautiful – like all Dangerous gear, the low end is big and powerful, the mids maintain texture and detail, and the top-end is open and deeply engaging, even during very active gain reduction. This level of open musicality is unique even among the small field of transparent compressors, putting The COMPRESSOR in a class of its own where sounding transparent and beautiful is no longer a paradox.
Because The Dangerous COMPRESSOR is so transparent and simple to operate, it can handle a wide range of tasks often left to automation and eq during tracking, mixing and mastering. Few compressors are as versatile. Tedious vocal level rides can be handed over to The Dangerous COMPRESSOR’s VCA as if it were a trusted assistant intuitively riding a fader. Use the internal sidechain EQ curves to tame a sibilant vocal or to let deep bass punch through untouched, or both simultaneously. Effortlessly peak-limit a master in the analog realm and dispense with your digital limiter using the unique Smart Dynamics feature. Patch an eq into the external side chain for dynamic eq across the midrange, or use the two channels as independent mono units, or in series to achieve ultra-transparent “cascaded compression.” Beyond versatility, The Dangerous COMPRESSOR invites you to creatively solve sonic problems without worrying about unwanted sonic artifacts.
Hand assembled in the USA, at the heart of The Dangerous COMPRESSOR is a unique and unparalleled audiophile-grade circuit by legendary designer Chris Muth. In typical Dangerous fashion, nothing is sacrificed, and The COMPRESSOR delivers intelligent, innovative, easy-to-use features with unsurpassed sound.
Dual Detectors – The COMPRESSOR utilizes two totally independent RMS detectors with a nuanced and sophisticated circuit that governs how the left and right channels work together in stereo. This allows The COMPRESSOR to deliver crystal clear and rock solid stereo imaging when processing a full mix, a drum buss, a finished master or any stereo material. What’s more, you can use each channel as an independent mono compressor – great on kick and snare, for example – or you can “cascade” the two channels into each other for ultra-transparent compression with peak limiting – a great technique for automatically riding a vocal, a spiky lead instrument, or anywhere that powerful and transparent control is needed.
Smart Dynamics – By engaging “SmartDyn,” you turn on The COMPRESSOR’s unique “dual slope” detector circuits, allowing you to control fast transient peaks without causing average volume levels to drop. This lets you maintain higher average volume levels while avoiding the pumping artifacts commonly incurred when pushing toward the expectations of modern loudness. Smart Dynamics is equally helpful when tracking a dynamic singer or mixing a snappy drum kit, and most users end up leaving the “SmartDyn” button engaged at all times. With its dual detector working in conjunction with Smart Dynamics, The COMPRESSOR’s circuit design is so agile that it seems to possess artificial intelligence.
Auto Attack & Release – And if it wasn’t already easy enough to get powerful and transparent compression, The COMPRESSOR also includes an automatic attack and release setting that allows you dial in your sound simply using the threshold and make-up gain knobs. If you need more precise settings for attack and release, simply press the “Manual Att/Rel” button and start tweaking.
On-Board Side Chain Filters – The COMPRESSOR includes two audiophile-grade side-chain EQs that you can turn on and off at the push of a button...no complex patching necessary. Bass Cut turns down low-end below 60Hz, assuring that the detector is not overreacting to low-end content or “breathing” along with the beat. The Sibilance Boost utilizes the BAX EQ’s ultra-linear high-end shelf to push more treble content into the detector, which causes The COMPRESSOR to dynamically attenuate sibilance and other unwanted spikes of high-end like harsh cymbals or erratic acoustic guitar strums – great on vocals during tracking or mixing, or on a whole mix during mastering.
VU and LED Metering – The dual VU meters can show you gain reduction, input or output levels. There is a -6dB offset button so that loud material is always hovering in a usable range, perfect for visually monitoring average levels. What VUs can’t show you are the fast transient leaps past threshold, and that’s where the dual LED meters come in. Together, the VU and LED meters provide two important insights into the nuanced inner workings of The COMPRESSOR in action.
Audiophile Components Throughout - Chris Muth’s fastidious designs call for only the highest quality components in areas of the circuit that don’t even pass audio. Detector and control voltage circuits (which lie at the heart of any compressor but are not in the audio path) are often built from substandard components in order to cut costs. However, these detector components have a major impact on how any compressor performs, especially with the high standards we set for achieving the nuanced and intelligent compression you’ll get out of The COMPRESSOR.
Whether you’re tracking, mixing or mastering, The Dangerous COMPRESSOR works beautifully with vintage analog gear or patched into today’s cutting-edge digital systems, allowing you to achieve truly modern levels without the undesired artifacts that plague so many modern productions. Combine it with our ultra-transparent BAX EQ for one of the most open EQ/Compressor combinations possible, perfect for mastering or mixing. Place The Dangerous COMPRESSOR after any “color box” -- a console, a vintage tube compressor, a funky EQ, or all three together -- and you can dial in the exact dynamics you want without having to rely on the often unruly controls of yesteryear’s gear.
With its sophisticated dual detector circuit, unique Smart Dynamics section, automatic attack and release function, unmatched versatility and incredibly transparent, audiophile-grade sound, The COMPRESSOR from Dangerous Music is today’s most intelligent analog compressor. Taking modern loudness seriously while prioritizing clear, open sound, The COMPRESSOR is pioneering a new and innovative approach to modern compression for today’s most discriminating tracking, mixing and mastering engineers.
Frequency Response: +/-0.25dB from 15Hz to 80kHz
Maximum level: > +27dBu
Noise floor: < -93dBu band limited from 22Hz-22kHz
THD+N: < 0.005%
IMD: < 0.007%
Crosstalk rejection: > 115dB @1kHz
Input Impedance: 20K Ohms
Output Impedance: 50 Ohms
USA 500mA fast blow for 120V
Europe 250mA fast blow for 240V
Side Chain Filters:
Bass cut is 6dB/octave, -3dB at 60Hz. Sibilance boost corner frequency is 1kHz with +2dB at 5kHz shelving
Warranty: Free 2 year extended warranty with online registration.
Standard warranty: 90 days parts and labor, subject to inspection. Does not include damage incurred through abusive operation or modifications/attempted repair by unauthorized technicians.
"The Smart Dynamics feature helps address the level issue in a really great way that let's me use less of, or even turn off, my digital limiter!"
Jonathan Wyner, Mastering Engineer
“A must have in my world. It’s a refreshing complement to the currently fashionable boxes that indiscriminately add color."
Michael James, Producer, Engineer
"I love the fact that the box is both easy and deep. It's like driving a Ferrari with an optional autopilot."
Michael James, Producer, Engineer
"This is a high-headroom, high-speed, high-fidelity analog unit. And once you hear it in action, you'll understand how useful that kind of design can be."
Garrett Haines, Mastering Engineer
“The Dangerous Compressor highlights a lot of the melodic elements of the mix in a way that just lets them sparkle. It's so clean, but it has a certain vibe t...
Reuven Amiel, Mix Engineer
“From simple dynamics control to complete mix balance transformation, the Dangerous Compressor does both and everything in between.”
Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer
"The astonishing sense of transparency and complete absence of audible distortion, even when compressing hard, are seriously impressive."
Hugh Robjohns, Sound On Sound Magazine
"Transparency, accuracy, stereo image integrity, ease of use, and performance are all a part of what this new stereo compressor brings to the market."
Joe Mullen, Professional Sound Magazine
"I found the Stereo setting way, way more useful than on most stereo compressors, since it still uses the independent left and right signals to trigger the comp...
Eli Crews, Producer/Engineer
"It seems to do a lot. Fantastic sounding. It can be subtle, but also knock your socks off with variations of the sidechain path. Sounds like a beautiful box."
Will Schillinger, Engineer