Crane Song Falcon 500-Series Compressor
Classic sounding 500-series tube compressor with wet/dry mix control, hard and soft knee for compression or limiting, and color switch
The Crane Song Falcon is a 500-series-compatible tube compressor with a classic sound and modern features for extreme flexibility. Featuring selectable soft and hard knee curves for compression or limiting, wet-dry mixing for parallel compression, and stereo linking, the Crane Song Falcon has the unique ability to provide two distinct colors for its audio path. A 12AX7-driven tube circuit switchable between feedback and feed-forward operation allows the Falcon to give you either a colored, vintage LA-2A sound, or a much cleaner modern sound with optical characteristics. When two or more Falcon 500 modules are linked, the master unit controls all functions on the slave except for wet/dry mix and make-up gain. Plus, the Crane Song Falcon 500’s link system is also capable of doing 5.1-surround processing.
Crane Song Falcon unique features:
- Switchable feedback or feed-forward tube circuit provides two different colors for the audio path
- Selectable hard- and soft-knee operation for limiting or compression respectively
Crane Song Falcon key features:
- LA-2A compression characteristics
- 3 attack and 3 release settings
- Wet/dry mixing for parallel compression
- Stereo or 5.1 linking
- 12AX7 tube for easy replacement and consistent control
Inside The Box — Crane Song Falcon
The Crane Song Falcon takes its cues from the Teletronix LA-2A-style sound, but brings it a step further with a changeable audio path. Switching the tube circuit to either negative feedback or feed-forward operation can alter the sound of the Falcon’s audio. This ability along with the optical-like quality of the compressor allows for a colored vintage sound or a much cleaner, modern sound with optical characteristics.
Falcon 500’s feedback/feed-forward operation
In a feedback design the output of the compressor drives the side chain and then the gain control element. As a result the ratio changes depending on how much gain reduction is taking place. In feedback mode, the Crane Song Falcon will work like a self-adapting or self-correcting gain-control device.
The Falcon’s feed-forward design calculates the desired gain before gain is changed. To achieve this without unwanted artifacts requires a high degree of accuracy in the control voltage/gain reduction relationship. Back in the ’70s, David Blackmer of dbx designed a feed-forward circuit that outlasted other designs (which THAT Corporation’s VCA chip is based on). However, The Falcon’s PWM (pulse width modulation) gain control circuit design has the advantage of being able to use current technology and very high-speed parts that were not available 20 years ago (or were very costly and power hungry) for even greater accuracy and elimination of unwanted audio artifacts.
Components that can switch between off and on in less than 1nS, which are suitable for building a switched gain control element, are now available, and employed in the Falcon. And rather than simply copying vintage designs, which does not advance the state of audio, the Crane Song’s PWM gain control circuit pushes technology to its limits. However, it can provide both the classic sound of vintage gear, as well as a modern sound—and the Crane Song Falcon does both with modern performance standards.
Outside The Box — Crane Song Falcon
Featuring the distinctive cream-colored front panel and green knobs that say, “Crane Song is in the house,” the Falcon has the following controls:
- Attack: A three-position switch with fast, medium and slow settings.
- Release: This switch controls the time it takes Falcon to return to zero gain reduction. It’s a three-position switch with fast, medium, and slow settings. The Falcon’s release time is also determined by the program material. This is the optical time constant effect, sometimes called auto release or program-dependent release.
- Meter switch: Allows the front-panel meter to display output level or gain reduction.
- Limit-Compress: This switch changes the knee shape from a soft knee to a hard knee for limiter operation.
- Color Switch: In the top or the “100” position, the tube circuit is operated with no negative feedback for an extremely rich sound. In the lower position the tube has negative feedback, providing color choices.
- Wet/Dry: This is the mix between the original signal and the processed audio for parallel compression. In link mode the Wet/Dry controls operate independently.
- Bypass Switch: This is a three-position switch. In the Bypass position, (the bottom position), Falcon is removed from the audio path. The “In” position (middle position) Falcon is switched into the audio path. In the Link (top position), the link signals are connected between the channels.
Rather than using a 500-series power rack’s rear-panel link interconnect, the Crane Song Falcon uses a special cable (supplied by Crane Song) for master-slave operation. The Link light will be brighter on the master unit, dimmer on the slave unit, and off when there are no linked channels. In Link Mode Operation, the Gain and Wet/Dry controls operate individually, while Attack, Release, Meter Switch, Color Switch, and Threshold are controlled on the master channel. The Slave channel must be in Bypass for the Falcon 500 to work in link mode.
- Threshold: The threshold control governs the amount of gain reduction.
- Gain: The gain control will adjust the compressor gain from off to +15dB of gain.
Who’s using Crane Song:
With a user list including Dave Pensado, Michael Wagener, Tony Maserati, Michael Brauer, Ross Hogarth, Dylan Dresdow, and many more, Crane Song Equipment, such as the Hedd 192, Trakker, Avocet, and STC-8 have achieved secret weapon status in the recording industry. Crane Song is just one of those brands that you know you need to have if you take your audio seriously.
About Crane Song
Crane Song owner, founder, and design engineer Dave Hill has become one of the most respected inventors in the professional audio business. Dave has been doing studio and film sound recording since 1972. Early in the 1980's Dave was asked by a used equipment dealer if he could design a tube compressor that would have the sound of the older tube type devices and still be clean enough to compete with modern devices. The result was the Summit Audio TLA-100. Building on the success of that first design, Dave went on to design multiple tube devices, giving Summit a premier position in pro audio. In 1995 Dave founded Crane Song, a company offering innovative solid-state hardware and software used at the highest levels of pro audio.
If you’ve been looking for a more affordable way to put Crane Song compression to work for you, put a 500-series Falcon compressor in your 500 lunchbox or rack/PSU. For more information, call or chat with an RSPE representative today.