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Phonic PCL-3200 compressor limiter

50 Euro
Gebruikt/vertoont lichte gebruikssporen


Ouwe rot
Lid sinds
6 augustus 2010
Tapeloop city
Phonic PCL-3200 compressor limiter

Werkt en klinkt erg goed voor een budgetcompressor. Lees de SOS review hieronder !


Review SOS :
Every studio needs at least one good compressor, even if it's just to keep vocal levels under control, but with so many to choose from, where do you start to look? Obviously you need something that's going to be flexible enough to meet all your anticipated needs, but at the same time, if you're running a home studio, cost is also likely to be a major consideration. Other factors that might influence you are ease of use, whether or not the compressor has a built‑in gate, and even how the thing will look in your rack. Measured by these criteria, the Phonic PCL 3200 starts to look very attractive.
It's immediately obvious that Phonic have used the Alesis 3630 as their role model, in terms of both facilities and appearance. It's a stylish, 1U‑high processor powered via an external PSU adaptor. Its unbalanced inputs and outputs are on jacks, rear‑panel slide switches being provided to select between ‑10dBv and +4dBu operation. A side‑chain (stereo jack) insert point is also provided to facilitate the connection of an external equaliser for de‑essing purposes, or to give side‑chain access for ducking.
The Phonic's front‑panel layout is very clear and logical, with all legending clearly screened on the black anodised finish. It has two bargraph meters per channel; one shows the amount of gain reduction taking place and the other is switchable between the absolute input or output level. Individual bypass switches are fitted to both channels, and the compressor section includes the obligatory Threshold, Attack, Release, Ratio and Output controls, the latter being a simple gain control (+20dB to ‑20dB) to make up for any level loss caused by compression. A push‑button selects between Hard and Soft Knee compression, and like the Alesis 3630, the side‑chain response can be set to either Peak or RMS response. Peak response produces the most positive compression action where percussive or transient sounds are being processed.
When used in Soft Knee mode, the PCL3200 is capable of being surprisingly subtle, and it's possible to treat complete mixes without making them seem choked or squashed.
It's commonplace for gates to be included in compressors, to help address the problem of programme noise being increased in level by the compressor's action, particularly during pauses, where the compressor gain is the highest. The gate included in the PCL 3200 has a variable Threshold and Rate (release), but also includes a simple side‑chain filter to make the gate action frequency‑selective. A green LED follows the gate threshold action, and because the Rate control can be set to up to two seconds, even quite long decays can be treated without being cut short.
The gate filter is a single, bandpass filter (with a continuously variable frequency from 35Hz‑4kHz), rather than the more flexible 'high‑pass plus low‑pass' arrangement pioneered by Drawmer, and it may be switched out when not required; it has no effect on the sound being processed, only on how the gate responds to an incoming signal. The only obvious omission from this section seems to be a filter 'listen' facility, making it difficult to tune the filter by ear.
If you're working with stereo material, it is important that both channels of a compressor should perform in exactly the same way – otherwise the stereo image tends to shift whenever the input signal contains more level on one side than the other. To achieve this, the PCL 3200 is fitted with a Stereo link switch which forces both channels to track together. In Link mode, only the left hand channel controls are used.
In Use
When used in Soft Knee mode, the PCL 3200 is capable of being surprisingly subtle and it's possible to treat complete mixes without making them seem choked or squashed, even when quite a lot of gain reduction is being applied, though if you go far enough, you can cause audible gain pumping. Switching to Hard Knee mode and selecting a ratio of around 8:1, on the other hand, produces the characteristic hard‑edged compression effect that works so well on rock vocals, and creative pumping is much easier to achieve. When setting up, the ability to switch the PCL 3200 from Input to Output level metering is very useful, as it allows the Output control to be used to match the compressed level with the bypass level. If you don't do this, whichever is louder will always sound the most impressive, making it harder to evaluate your compressor settings.
Bypass actually switches both compressor and gate out of circuit, so if you want to use the gate on its own, you'll have to turn the compressor threshold right up so that no gain reduction is showing. The lack of a 'key listen' mode makes it awkward to set the filter up, and the same applies when you're using an external equaliser for de‑essing. It is possible to get by simply by monitoring the output as you adjust the controls, but a proper listen facility would have been infinitely more useful.
In all other respects, the PCL 3200 is very easy to set up and the comprehensive metering helps greatly in this respect. The only minor gripe concerning the ergonomics is that, unless the unit is mounted above eye level, you can't see the legend under the control knobs, so until you learn what is where, you'll be continually bobbing up and down trying to see what parameter you're tweaking.
Though the PCL 3200 scores very few points for originality, it is a sonically pleasing and versatile compressor, offering both Soft Knee and Hard Knee operation, with the added benefit of frequency‑conscious gating. On the whole, it's very easy to use and, given its low cost, has excellent metering. It's only real shortcomings are the lack of a side‑chain/filter 'listen' facility and the fact that the control legend is obscured unless the unit is mounted quite high in the rack. Bearing in mind the very low selling price of this little unit, however, I can forgive both these weaknesses.
Sonically, the PCL 3200 is quiet, clean and flexible. The gate can be set to operate in either a positive or an extremely unobtrusive manner, while the various combinations of Peak/RMS and Hard/Soft‑Knee compression provide a useful variety of compression characteristics, ranging from polite level control to hard‑hitting, pumping effects. At the asking price, I'm not going to knock it at all!

Specs :

  • Selectable hard-knee/soft-knee compression
  • PEAK/RMS response selectable
  • Full input/output and gain reduction metering
  • Variable independent expander/gate
  • Channels can be coupled for true stereo operation
  • Bypass switch for each channel
  • Side-chain insert jacks
  • Variable filter settings
  • +4 dBu/-10 dBV switchable
  • Action LED display for gate
  • Frequency response: 10 Hz to 30 KHz, +/-0.5 dB
  • S/N ratio: >95 dB, A-weight
  • Weight: 6.3 lbs
  • Dimensions: 22.5″ x 9″ x 4″


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