Kickstarter Campaign For Not Another Boring Compressor Is Live
Post date:Fri, 07/05/2019 - 13:01
If you have racks full of expensive dynamic compressors and found that they do not end up as part of your creative process, then you are not alone. Stefano Sorrentino found himself in the same position, which is why he founded SUONOBUONO, a new Swedish music instruments manufacturer. Stefano is not just a musician and producer with radio and club hit tracks on his resume, but also an engineer who walked away with the Inventor of the Year award in 2018. It was actually the prize for that award that prompted Stefano to fund SUONOBUONO with the aim of challenging the old compression paradigm. That is also how the nABC, which stands for not another boring compressor, was born.
The Kickstarter for nABC was launched on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, after more than a year in development. The purpose of nABC is to make sidechain compression easy, flexible and intuitive. It is basically an analog, stereo sidechain compressor whose sidechain can be trigged by MIDI, USB, analog synth signals (gate/CV), audio, or pedals. This can be accomplished without having to route sidechain audio signal and it gives you the freedom to decide not just the time, but also the depth and shape of each individual compression event. Being able to adjust the shape of each compression transient with millisecond-level precision, while being able to freely program analog sidechain compression patterns using a DAW, MIDI controller, or sequencer is quite an exciting prospect for many musicians. It is going to open up a lot of creative possibilities since compression events can be arbitrarily long or short while creative gating effects are also possible.
In terms of hardware, the nABC is going to offer studio-grade audio quality while housed in an elegant machined aluminum case. The final design is the result of more than a year of creating prototypes in an effort to create something that is not just innovative, but can also deliver the highest audio quality standards while still remaining affordable. The nABC makes use of touch pads and USB/MIDI can be used to automate its audio parameters, which can then be stored in presets. This is a bit of gear that will be just as at home live as it is in digital studios or when used with modular synths. While the circuit used on the Kickstarter prototype is ready for production, the aluminum case will still receive a couple of minor improvements.
Here are some of the features of the nABC:
- Studio-grade, analog stereo signal chain
- Selectable sidechain trigger: USB, MIDI, analog gate/control voltage, signal audio, sidechain audio, pedal
- Audio compression and USB/MIDI sidechain compression can be combined simultaneously
- Touch pads and endless rotary encoder for accurate parameters tuning
- Attack, release, threshold, ratio, make-up gain, MIDI channel, trigger type and sidechain depth controlled on the panel
- Attack, release, threshold, ratio, make-up gain, trigger type and sidechain depth can be automated by MIDI/USB
- 20 RGB-LEDs ring for signal level, gain reduction and parameters visualization
- User presets
- Large bypass button
- Signal overload indication
- Brushed machined aluminum case, can be tilted for desktop use
- MIDI DIN to TRS adapter cable provided
- Can be powered directly from USB, cable is provided
While these are the technical specifications:
- Audio Input: 2 x 1/4", unbalanced, >100kOhm
- Max Audio Input: +20dBu
- Audio Output: 2 x ¼”, unbalanced, <100Ohm
- Max Audio Output: +20dBu
- External Sidechain Audio Input: 1 x 1/8”, max 20dBu, 50kOhm
- External Control Voltage Input: 1 x 1/8”, 0V-10V, unipolar, 50kOhm
- Gate input: 1 x 1/8”, 0V-5V, unipolar (10V is tolerated)
- MIDI input: 1 x 1/8” TRS
- USB: Type B
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz, +0, -0.5dB
- THD+Noise: Typically <0.06%; @1kHz, 0dBu, 1:1
- Compressor Threshold Range: -30dBu to +18dBu
- Compressor Ratio: 1:1 to Infinity:1
- Make-up gain: 0dB to +20dB
- Maximum gain reduction: >30dB
- Presets: 8, user defined
- Attack time: 0ms to 100ms
- Release time: 0ms to 5s
- Sidechain hold trigger: With USB/MIDI/analog/pedal sidechain control, switchable between “hold mode” and “trigger mode”
- Power: 5V via USB, typical 500mA
- Dimensions: 125mm x 125mm x 40mm
- Weigth: 400g, excluding cables
Bear in mind that these features and specifications are still preliminary and there is a chance that they may change without notice.
According to SUONOBUONO, benchmarking the nABC against other professional products have yielded some interesting results. Not only were they able to obtain lower harmonic distortion at low frequency compared to well-known compressor brands, but it also offered faster and deeper envelopes, with lower noise, when comparing envelopes with a famous modular synthesizer. Since the nABC sound is so clean and usable on individual instruments or on a bus, it can also be used as a traditional compressor if you are not really interested in sidechain compression.
The Kickstarter campaign for nABC has a very modest goal of $5,290 goal, and at the time of writing is almost halfway pledged. Lower pledges are available for postcards and merchandise, but the minimum pledge for a nABC is about $371, which will net you the final version of the hardware. This is a significant discount compared to the recommended retail price. A limited edition of the hardware with personalized colors for the panel LEDs is also available for about $477.
Check out the Kickstarter campaign for nABC and give them some support if this sounds like your type of hardware. You can also follow them on Instagram for more information and photos. Take a look at the presentation for nABC below and let us know in the comments or on the forum what you think about the hardware.