Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

FMR RNC: This is one of my earliest reviews, and many of my older reviews are short and lacking in detail. I very often buy the same units a second time in order to update those older reviews with more thoroughness, and I did re-buy the RNC a few years after writing this review. But my impressions were exactly the same the second time as the first, so I didn't bother to change the review at all. Some fans of the RNC think my review is unfair or inadequate, but honestly I have zero motivation to buy it a third time, just to satisfy those people that like the RNC. If you like it, great--enjoy it, I have no problem with people experiencing things differently from me.
The "Really Nice Compressor" is a 1/3rd rack space stereo unit that runs at line level only. It's very popular, lots of reviews say it is the best compressor available at the price point. That is probably true for stereo mixes, but I really found it lacking for bass.
It has some good points: the lows and highs are not notably rolled off, and there is almost no noise at all. But it distorts far too easily, and not in a good-sounding way. FMR makes it very clear on their website that the RNC is capable of unusually fast release times, which will cause distortion on low-frequency material. That's fair enough, but I tried slow settings, as well as just about every other possible setting, and got at least a small amount of distortion with most of them. Especially when I had it set up as a peak limiter, there was unpleasant glitching whenever the signal hit the threshold. I fully understand that FMR intentionally designed this unit with a much wider range of release times than most other comps, in order to provide the most creative freedom to users; however this does not negate the fact that even with slower release times it had problems handling strong bass signals.
I also found that the good settings, when I eventually found them, were very finicky- when I changed instruments, or changed playing styles, I had to spend another age trying to dial in another usable setting, which got tiresome. I ran some stereo music through it at light/moderate settings, and the results were very clean and nice; but it took so much effort and compromise to find good settings for bass guitar that I can't recommend it at all for that purpose.
Price in USD: new $175, used $100-$150
or on Amazon

All text on this page written and owned by OVNIFX, 2006-2017, all rights reserved.
Copying is prohibited, but please feel free to link to this page using the link text "compressor reviews".