by Jerry Vigil
With all the multi-effects processors and multi-dynamics processors on the market, it's difficult sometimes to find one good piece of gear that will handle one small but important task for you. If that task calls for a simple but clean and effective stereo compressor/limiter, the Symetrix SX208 is worth looking into.
The SX208 is part of the Symetrix 200 series of half-rack boxes which includes the SX201 Parametric EQ/Preamp, the SX202 Dual Microphone Preamp, the SX203 Telephone Interface, and the SX204 Headphone Amplifier to mention a few. Using the optional RM-2 rack shelf, any two units of the series will fit snugly into a standard 19-inch rack.
The front panel of the SX208 looks simple, and that's the best word to use to describe the unit's operation. There is no threshold control; that's fixed at -10dB. There are no attack and release time controls; those times are program controlled. What you're left with on the front panel are three knobs and two buttons plus a few LED's.
The first button on the left is a bypass switch. Next to it are three LED's that indicate whether the signal is above or below the fixed, internal threshold. So, instead of adjusting a threshold level, you simply adjust the INPUT GAIN knob and raise or lower the input signal level until the peaks of the input illuminate the "Above Threshold" LED.