Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Behringer Autocom Pro XL MDX1600: I have to be honest and say this unit is much better than I expected. Behringer gets a lot of hate for making cheap Chinese copies of gear from other "better" brands; but to be fair, a lot of that commentary (including from me) is about ideas, not about the actual sound or longevity of Behr's products.
 
This is a two-channel rack unit with a variety of features. It can operate at a wide range of line levels, balanced or unbalanced, but it is not designed to take direct input from a guitar or bass.
 
The sound quality is very clear, with fairly low noise, and no rolloff of highs or lows. The compression action is pretty decent and versatile. Even the limiter section, though not super effective, has no pop/click artifacts that I noticed. The only thing really bad about this unit is the expander/gate, which chatters like a chilly skeleton. The "Dynamic Enhancer" function is actually a really good feature, essentially copied from the Aphex Expressor's HFX function. It dynamically un-compresses high frequencies in proportion to the overall compression applied, which allows a brighter, more articulate sound.
 
People often complain about Behringer gear having poor/flimsy construction quality. I examined the inside of this unit, and it is not nearly as badly-made as their BLE100, and in fact is exactly the same quality as most other "budget-priced" studio gear. As long as you don't drop it, it will work just as well -and sound just as good- as comps that cost a lot more. For what it's worth, I have seen claims that the older non-"Pro" Behringer comps were actually built better than the current "Pro" models.
 
Price in USD: new $120, used $50
 
or on Amazon
 

 
 
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