Rocktron Blue Thunder: This is a rackmount digital preamp and multi-effects unit with a wide range of features and functions, including compression of course.
The only compressor parameters available to control are threshold, attack, and release. The manual does not state what ratio(s) it uses, or if it is supposed to be modeled on any other compressor's tone or function. There is a lot of background noise in most of the BT's sounds, but the comp itself doesn't add much extra noise. Like many other digital compressors, it does provide an audible "sound of compression", and it does compress the signal some, but it cannot be relied on to actually control peaks effectively. There is no visual indicator of whether the signal has crossed the threshold, or how much compression is being applied.
The user interface for the Blue Thunder is clumsy and very limited. You'll need the manual in order to make sense of it at all. The sound quality overall is decent but the effects are very "digital sounding". Surprisingly, the distortion is one of its best-sounding (and most controllable) features. The construction quality is decent but not stellar; the bypass button is not a "true bypass", and is not a very transparent-sounding bypass either. The input gain control does not seem to have a very useful range.
This unit does have a few merits, but overall I pretty much hate it, and consider it a poor value.
Price in USD: new $449, used $150 to $200
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