The AMS Neve 33609/N is a dual mono/stereo compressor and limiter based on the 2254 console compressor found in Neve 80-series consoles, using the same diode-bridge detector and custom input and output transformers
The operating principals of the 33609/N were inherited from the famed 2254A console compressor, which was a rectangular cuboid housed in the master section. Intended for mix compression and broadcast since its inception, the 33609 became a “desert island” compressor for top engineers, mixers, and producers. Like many AMS Neve classics, it went through a number of revisions until the current 33609/N, which remains the reference standard of bus compression for studios around the globe. The AMS Neve 33609/N is also uniquely suited for mastering applications. Since it includes a separate limiter and compressor for each channel, it shortens the signal path by doing the work of two units in one. Not just for mix compression, the 33609/N is also great for tracking vocals. Not only does it add girth to vocals, but you can also use mild compression for a natural sound while the limiter is there to stand up to unexpected sonic mayhem visited on unsuspecting converters by excitable singers. With an AMS Neve 33609/N sitting proudly in your racks, who knows what creative uses you might originate.*
AMS Neve 33609/N Dual Compressor / Limiter—Just the Facts:
- Classic stereo compressor/limiter designed to exacting 1970’s specifications
- Made using hand-wired Neve transformers in Burnley, England
- Classic 2254 feedback compression circuitry
- Brick wall limiting
- Transparent level control
- Perfect for mixing, broadcast, and mastering applications
- Hard-limit feature for digital recording
- Limit in/out; compress in/out
- Discrete output stage for a slightly warmer sound
AMS Neve 33609/N—Under the Hood
Much like the classic 1073 and 1081 microphone preamplifiers, the 33609/N stereo compressor is a benchmark studio tool and subsequently the first choice for top producers, mixers, and engineers.
The Neve 33609 uses a unique diode bridge for gain reduction. Its discrete class-A design offers fast and slow attack times, multiple release times, and threshold levels. The 33609/N comprises two separate compressors and limiters in a stand-alone 2U rack-mount unit. The 33609/N can operate in dual mono, stereo, or independent operation, with the option to link to other units for multi-channel use. At its core, the 33609/N retains the same basic circuitry as earlier discrete models, now with extra control options and a classic appearance.
The signature sound of the 33609’s compression is very smooth and is capable of relatively transparent behavior even at extreme settings. After several iterations over the years, today’s 33609/N provides the best of both worlds: original Neve 33609 sound, with enhanced internal and external I/O switching as compared to the original model. Additionally, front-panel controls are detented for easy repeatability.
The 33609 features independent sidechains for the compressor and limiter sections, with similar independent threshold, recovery, and attack controls. The compressor features a selection of ratios from 1.5:1 to 6:1 and a gain make-up control that comes before the limiter. Overall gain reduction is indicated on a moving coil meter.
*PAD For the Record—While the 33609 has primarily been used on the console master bus, notable users such as Andrew Scheps and Michael Brauer have found more unique uses for it. Scheps, who owns two Neve 8068 consoles, which were designed with quadraphonic sound in mind, uses the 33609 on the “rear bus” (for the rear set of speakers), or what he calls the “glue bus” to create cohesion in a mix. All instruments and vocals are sent to the glue bus post fader, mirroring the mix in both levels and panning to “glue” the mix together. The 33609 is set to dual mono mode, so that instruments requiring more compression on one side of the mix won’t affect instruments on the other side that don’t require as much compression. Michael Brauer, on the other hand, uses the 33609 paired with a Pultec EQP1-A on submaster bus “A” on an SSL XL 9000 console. Only vocals and possibly high-frequency instruments are sent to this bus, so chosen such that their transients won’t affect one another. Since each of the four submasters has their own compressor for specific instruments, the vocals are not adversely affected by high-energy transients from other instruments. And like its predecessor, the Neve 2254A console compressor, the 33609 adds warmth, body, and the unmistakable character of Neve.
The AMS Neve 33609/N is an industry-defining compressor with a sound that’s it a worldwide studio standard for more than three decades. For more information, call or chat online with your PAD Studio Specialist today.
- Input Impedance 10kW (internally switchable to 600W , refer to vendor).
- Maximum output >26dBu into 600Ω, balanced and earth free.
- <0.075% at 1kHz (bypass in, compress and limit out, input level 9dBu); <0.2% at 1kHz (compress in, ratio 6:1, gain 20dB, recovery 800mS, threshold −18dBu); <0.45% at 1kHz (limit in, compress out, recovery 800mS, input level 22dBu, threshold −18dBu)
- Frequency Response: ±0.5dB 20Hz to 20kHz rel. 1kHz
- Noise: −75dBu, 22Hz – 22kHz, input terminated with 600Ω (bypass in, compress and limit out), −55dBu (compress in, gain 20dB)
- Limit Threshold: 4dBu to 15dBu
- Limit Ratio: Change in output level <0.1dB with 10dBu to 20dBu step input
- Limit Attack Time: Fast 2ms ±1, slow 4ms ±1
- Limit Recovery Time: 50ms to 800ms, a1 (auto): 100ms/2000ms, a2 (auto): 50ms/5000ms
- Compress Ratio: 1.5:1 to 6:1
- Compress Attack Time: Fast 3ms ±1, slow 6ms ±1 with 100Hz first order high-pass filter
- Compress Recovery Time: 100ms to 1500ms, a1 (auto): 100ms/2000ms, a2 (auto): 50ms/5000ms
- Power: 100-230Vrms, 50/60Hz, 28W
- Height: 3-1/2" (88 mm)
- Width: 19" (480 mm)
- Depth: 10" (255 mm)
- Weight: 11 lb. (5kg)