Electronaut M97 - Variable-Mu Compressor / Limiter | COMING SOON!
A compressor based on historical technique and circuit topology whose capabilities are better than the state of the art, and whose features provide improved usability and a more enjoyable experience.
The century-old triode vacuum tube continues to set an amazing standard of sound quality, demonstrating its continued relevance decades after being eclipsed by cheaper alternatives. The variable-mu compression amplifier, as a single-stage, transformer-coupled triode amplifier controlled by a powerful DC amplifier, survives as a gold standard compression tool for the recording studio.
For reasons explained below, Electronaut set out to design a new variable-mu compressor with no regard for the specific character of other historical variable-mu compressors. Interest in the potential of the technique and circuit topology, coupled with the availability of superior components and precision manufacturing capabilities, demanded an attempt at producing a superior variable-mu compressor; a compressor whose capabilities were as good or better than the state of the art, and whose features provided improved usability and a more enjoyable experience.
Extraordinary variable-mu compressors already exist, so any new design needs to clear a high bar. No obvious limitations can be allowed, and no inconveniences can be tolerated.
The M97 is a heavy-duty, single-stage variable-mu compression amplifier with a very powerful and very fast controlling amplifier, and as such it shares many of the qualities that made Fairchild compressors sound the way they do. However, no attempt has been made to mimic the Fairchild’s limitations. Component technology has improved considerably since the 1950s, and we benefit from those improvements in many other parts of the signal path without objection. Why should we use inferior components in a variable-mu compressor, just because that’s how they did it back then?
Some of the more notable improvements in the M97 include: a faster, more powerful controlling amplifier using dual 6L6GC power tubes, enabling extraordinarily fast attack times (down to 50 uS), as well as continuously variable Attack and Release controls using potentiometers, instead of fixed controls with a limited number of time constants.
Electronaut is the work of musician, recordist, engineer and experimenter Rob Roy M. Campbell. Working out of a small lab/workshop in Chicago, Electronaut designs and builds professional audio equipment by hand with very high standards and meticulous attention to detail. A one-person approach to the design, fabrication, assembly, and testing ensures a consistent quality standard throughout all aspects of the development and manufacturing processes.
High Quality Components
Only very high-quality components meet the electrical, tactile, and aesthetic requirements that Electronaut's designs call for, and these components are sourced from all over the world, including: audio transformers from Sweden, vacuum tubes from Russia and Slovakia, VU meters from Great Britain, audio capacitors from France, power transformers from Canada, and audio connectors from Liechtenstein.
Computerized circuit simulation, old-school experimental techniques, and analog/digital testing and analysis yield circuits that are optimized for maximum performance and the best, most musical sound. Electronaut uses science as a guide, but ultimately favors personal intuition and the opinions of trusted recording engineers and friends over technical specifications when making critical decisions regarding the subjective nature of sound quality.
For more information about Electronaut, check out RSPE’s Designer’s Perspective feature and get a first-hand look at the inner workings of Electronaut.