Test Drive: The Symetrix SX208 Half-Rack Stereo Compressor/Limiter

To the right of the INPUT GAIN control is the RATIO control. The range is 1:1 to 20:1. To the right of this knob is the RESPONSE button. Though attack and release times are internally program controlled, this "Fast/Slow" switch works in conjunction with the program controlled circuitry to adapt the unit to various signal types. To the right of this switch is the OUTPUT GAIN control which is used to make up the gain lost by adding compression if you need more signal for the next part of the chain. The output gain is variable from -20dB to +20dB. Finally, gain reduction can be measured with the five-LED meter on the far right, and one "Clip" LED alerts you to an overload at the input or the output of the unit.

On the back panel you get ¼-inch TSR jacks -- two for the left and right channel inputs and two for the left and right channel outputs. The TSR (Tip, Ring, Sleeve) configuration allows for balanced ins and outs, or you may wire your ¼-inch plugs in a TS manner for use in an unbalanced setup.

Is the unit quiet? Yes. The noise floor is at -92dBv. THD at 1k is .03%. The dynamic range is 110dB. Does it do the job? Yes, if all you're looking for is clean, stereo compression and limiting. Is it affordable? You can't find many stereo compressor/limiters for $299. In fact, if the budget is tight, the entire 200 series line from Symetrix may please your pocket.

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