The RNC is a high-fidelity, stereo compressor intended to provide dynamic range control with minimal side effects. The RNC achieves such high performance at a low cost by using evolutionary advances in digital technology, coupled with the best analog has to offer. Using digital controls and an all-analog signal path, the RNC offers accurate, precise controls and a clean tonal character.
The RNC provides two modes of operation: normal and SuperNice. Normal mode allows the RNC to be used for everyday compression tasks, like punchy snare drums or bass guitars, and is great for everything from gentle compression to serious squashing. SuperNice mode provides near-invisible signal compression for sensitive material where compression artifacts are less desirable (like vocals, acoustic guitar or the program bus).
How It Sounds
In a word: transparent. The RNC yields clean, airy compression with few artifacts and little high end loss, even at massive gain reduction. This amazing performance is why many professionals are calling the RNC one of the best sounding compressors for under $2000 (and with a MSRP of $199US , it's way under two grand).
What is SuperNice Mode?
A clever technique to reduce compression artifacts is the use of multiple compressors cascaded serially. In this way, none of the individual compressors has to work quite as hard as they would if there was only one compressor doing the same amount of gain reduction. If things are properly adjusted, you can accomplish a good level of signal control without the usual "choked" sound of the typical lone compressor. By the way, this technique works well with almost any type/brand of compressor(s). Try it with the other compressors in your rack!
There are downsides to using multiple compressors in your rack to achieve this artifact reduction:
- Lotsa Compressors: For each source, you have to dedicate a number of compressors. Most of us already don't have enough compressors to go around, let alone dedicating 2 or 3 (or more) compressors per track.
- Lotsa Experience/Patience Required: It takes a lot of experience with compressors to know how to adjust each compressor's settings to achieve the end result. It's already difficult for many of us to set up a single compressor, much less multiple units for just one source.
- Lotsa Noise: Many compressors, particularly some of the "vintage" ones, don't have very good noise floors. This becomes even more problematic when you want to cascade multiple units.
Inside the RNC
FMR Audio considered both the upside and downside while developing the RNC's cascaded-compressor mode, called the SuperNice mode. SuperNice mode provides three compressors in series, giving you the advantages of multiple-unit compression without the listed problems:
The Lotsa Compressors problem: By creating special sidechain electronics, FMR is able to triple the compressors in one box without tripling the cost or space. And think about how much you'll save on patch cables!
The Lotsa Experience/Patience Required problem: Even though it still takes some time to get used to the novel aspects of SuperNice mode, it takes much less time than trying to dial up 5 parameters on 3 separate compressors! To some extent, FMR has spent the time for you by testing, trying and tweaking the RNC SuperNice mode on a multitude of different sources over a long period of time with many different music styles and recording engineers. The result is the current balance of the 3 SuperNice mode compressors in the RNC.
The Lotsa Noise problem: Again, due to the special sidechain electronics, FMR has been able to triple the compressors in one box without tripling the noise.
The best part is: it works great! Spend some time working with SuperNice mode and you'll find yourself using it more and more for vocals, clean guitars, or your program bus.
FMR Audio RNC "Really Nice Compressor" Specifications
- Size: 1/3 x 1 EIA rack unit
- Connectors: 1/4" Unbalanced I/O (TS, or TRS for console inserts); L/R in & out, TRS sidechain
- Input Z/Output Z: 10kΩ/100Ω
- Operating Level: 0.775 Vrms (0 dBu) nominal
- Noise: Less than -90dBu over 20-20kHz
- Frequency response: 10 - 100k Hz ±0.5dB @ 0dBu
- Clip point: +22.5dBu @ 3% THD, 1kHz, greater than 2kOhm load
- Distortion: less than 0.1%, no gain reduction @ 1 kHz, 0dBu less than 0.5%, 6 dB G.R. @ 1kHz, 6:1, 6.0msec attack, 0.5 sec release, 0dB gain, 0dBu
- Threshold range: -40dBu to +20dBu
- Ratio range: 1:1 to 25:1
- Attack range: 0.2 msec to 200msec for 100% correction with <15dB over threshold input signal
- Release range: .05 sec to 5.0 sec for 100% recovery with 15dB G.R.
- Output trim range: ±15dB
- AC Power: Wall transformer, 9VAC @ 500mA, 2.1mm jack
- Dimensions: 5.5" x 5.5" x 1.6"
- Weight: 2 lbs
Controls and Displays
- Rotary: Threshold, Ratio, Attack Time, Release Time, Output Level
- Switches: Bypass, Mode Select
- Meter: 8-segment LED Gain Reduction, 0-20 dB
- Normal: Provides fast attack/release, accurate compression
- Super Nice: Layered compressors, reduces compression artifacts
FMR Audio RNC "Really Nice Compressor" Applications
MAXIMUM 2MIX DENSITY - This one is great for stereo mixes. By levelling out your mixes, you'll help them translate well to cassette, MiniDisc, or any other format you may be using. To start, try it on a CD you like, or a mix you're familiar with. You'll need 2 RNCs.
- With RNC #2 bypassed, set RNC #1 as follows:
- Super Nice Mode
- Ratio = 25:1
- Attack and Release between 12:00 and 2:00
- Threshold so that you're getting about 6-8 dB of compression
- An appropriate amount of makeup gain; around 6-8 dB is a good start.
- Un-bypass RNC #2 and set it:
- Normal mode
- Ratio = 25:1
- Fastest attack and release
- Threshold such that you're getting about 2-4 dB of peak control
- MEGASQUASH - If you're one of those people who can't turn your knobs too far, this one's for you. Try it on a drum submix, or drum loops, for some sick effects. It uses one RNC on a mono signal.
- Start with the ratio at around 10:1 or more, and the attack and release set around 9:00.
- Run your source signal into the left input of the RNC.
- Run the left output into the right input (yes, you read that right). Monitor the right output.
- Now start playing with the controls as usual ... whoa, megasquash!
- TREMOLO - Yes, you read that right ... the RNC makes a great tremolo effect, especially when you want the tremolo frequency to be in perfect time with a song's tempo. You need one RNC and a MIDI sequencer or drum machine or metronome for this one.
- Connect the input and output signals to the RNC as usual.
- Set the RNC as follows:
- Normal mode
- Ratio = 10:1
- Fastest attack and release
- Threshold at around 12:00
- Hook up the output of your sampler/drum machine/metronome to the RNC's sidechain input.
- Program an 8th note pattern with rimshots or hihats on the drum machine and loop it.
- Tweak the threshold so you get the amount of tremolo "depth" that you want.
- Try playing with the attack and release knobs for cool effects.
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