the 'Secret' Compression / Expansion of the Dolby A-301 unit


One of the greatest sounding compressors and expanders EVER for specific sounds

Turn it UP man!!! FAT Sound !!!

Why?

One of the secrets I learned while working for CBS Records in San Francisco - as a 'real' mastering engineer (cutting masters on a Scully Lathe with a Westrix Cutting Head) and as a recording engineer was to use the old Dolby A-301 unit as a compressor or expander for specific frequency bands.   You can buy an old A-301 for as low as $50 thesedays, and if you get one, experiment with pulling out one card and using the unit.   If you set the unit into 'RECORD' you'll get compression for all the frequency bands EXCEPT the card you've pulled, while if you set it for REPRODUCE you'll get expansion for all frequency bands EXCEPT the one which card you've pulled.   This is VERY VERY COOL!!!
 
Note that the compression and expansion is most dramatic when the signal is below -10 dbm... at '0dbm' the Dolby units are basically straight thru with little signal processing.
 
So play around will pulling one card out, then send the 301 signals at diffrent levels to see what happens...
 
Engineers of the 70's and 80's used the 301 as vocal compressor / expander, bass guitar compressors and so on.
the effect is very very cool!


the Dolby A-301

You get a Frequency band-dependent Compressor OR Expander that will help make your recordings sound FAT and full, yet make the overall level more constant.

and these things go cheap thesedays.   Few know about this 'secret" anymore, yet in the late 1960's throughout the 70's and even into the 80's, this was a constant trick used by some of the top engineers of the time.   And hey, you still love the sound of those old recordings don't you?   So go out and buy one before anyone else reads this web page and the prices start climbing up!

Buy one and play with it.   This is one of the "tricks" that we used in the 70's and 80's to compress various instruments... imagine having a compressor that only compresses the frequencies between 800 hertz and 2K... but leaves all the rest alone.... or in the REPRO mode EXPANDS only those frequencies!   zMan That's a pretty cool sound.   I remember seeing it used in some of those early Steve Miller records, Santana, and Journey recordings, as well as lots of others.   Often we'd use it only on the kick drum or the bass, but sometimes we'd even use it on vocals, so you've got to experiment on your own.

  But these are now CHEAP!   So Hunt one or two down and use them!

And they are still around - in October 2008 a guy in Nashville bought 10 of them from an old studio !!!
      and no, he's NOT selling any.... so don't ask.

 HOME      CONTACT US      RESOURCES      HOW TO      Tips 'n Tricks      FAQ