Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Furman LC-3: This is a mono rackmount unit from the mid 1980s. It's meant for line level, but it has unbalanced in/outputs and can work reasonably well with a high-output active instrument plugged directly in. I haven't tried the later production LC-3X or LC-6 models yet.
 
It has a nice warm full tone, with no rolloff of highs or lows. It is a bit noisy though, especially on the swell of sustain on the tail of your note. It also is very prone to a crackly sort of distortion, which can only be minimized by setting the release to maximum, as well as a clipping on the attack which can only be minimized by choosing a slow attack. In all this the Furman reminds me very much of the FMR RNLA! It even has similar-looking red knobs.
 
I upgraded all of the opamps in this one, which did seem to improve the noise level a bit but not enough, and it did not help with the clipping. The tone is so fat, and the knobs so cool-looking, that I wanted to like this unit... but its flaws are too obnoxious.
 
Price in USD: used $20-$200 (really!), no longer available new.
 

 

 
 
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