Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Safe Sound P1: This is a half-rack-sized compressor and preamp. It is able to run as a line-level processor, or it can take direct input from any instrument; the output is always line-level though.
 
It is a "boutique" piece from the UK, with a fairly high price tag. As with the Summit TLA-50, it is built to a very high standard of quality; however the Safe Sound delivers more bang per buck than the Summit in my opinion. It has barely any noise (it's one of the quietest compressors I've heard), the compression and tone are completely transparent, and the built-in preamp means you can use this unit as a direct connection between your bass and a power amp or mixing desk. The preamp is clean and powerful, and very "neutral" in tone. It has a variety of simultaneous outputs, for routing to different channels and devices.
 
It also features an expander/gate and a peak limiter; they are handy, and work reasonably well, but their quality is not as nice as the preamp and compression features. The limiter in particular has a little "click" artifact when crossing the threshold, much like some other limiters, but it's a little better than average.
 
Aside from that, my only complaint about this piece is that it may sound too clean or even "sterile" for some tastes and purposes. And again, it isn't cheap. But if you are looking for something absolutely smooth, high-fidelity, noiseless, and small for your project recording studio, this is the unit for you. You could add a nice 1/2 rack EQ unit, to make a super hi-fi bass rig, but honestly for the same money you could easily buy two world-class bass preamps.
 
The construction quality is excellent, and it has useful LED metering. There are bypass switches for the comp stage and the expander stage; I don't know if they'd be called "true bypass", but they are completely clean in function.
 
Price in USD: $350-$425 used, no longer available new.
 

 

 
 
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