Soft compressor, no bad coloration, added warmth and clarity, unbelieveable!!!
I have one of the older Drawmer 1960's. Believe it or not, I found it in the back closet of my church collecting dust. It was donated to them and they didn't need it so they told me to take it and it has become the first piece of boutique recording gear I have ever owned. I have a Tascam FW-1884 and was always happy with the sound of the preamps on it, so I never really broke out the Drawmer, and in fact I was somewhat skeptical of how much benefit I would get from it. Then, we had a recording session come up at my studio with a country guy who really wanted an intimate sounding record with a lot of acoustic instruments and I felt it was time to christen it. We set up for his vocal track with a Rodes NT-1A, SE Reflexion filter, ran the cable into channel one of the Drawmer compressor, and then into the FW-1884. Slow attack, release at 4. The 1960 is incredibly easy to use. Just bypass the compressor, set the input gain on the VU, switch the compressor on, and then adjust the threshold and output gain until the clouds in the sky part, the sun beams down on your face, and you hear an angel choir singing. What I mean by that is that depending on what you are recording, the 1960 definitely has a "sweet spot", and when you dial it in you will know it. My jaw hit the floor... it was fantastic. A definite improvement over my FW-1884 preamps and the record is definitely one of the most intimate and warm sounding projects I have ever engineered. The only other thing we ran through it was bass guitar direct through the aux input and it "sounds round." I can't wait to try it on a snare and a guitar amp. You will notice that it does not have a "ratio" knob like other compressors. That is because it is a soft knee compressor and as Drawmer puts it the "compression is progressive." You can squeeze the sound more using the threshold knob and it does a fantastic job keeping signal out of the red... but it does not color the sound in any negative way. The Drawmer is clean... but as I implied before, it definitely adds a certain "sparkle" and warmth. The only thing I wish was different is that the EQ could be adjusted on the Mic inputs also. The EQ's are only for the aux input, and it's intention was so that you could use the 1960 as a guitar amplifier. Like it said, it is great for recording bass direct. Needless to say, I am now completely sold on the concept of high-end, tube, outboard gear... and am shopping to add more of them to my studio, particularly anything by Drawmer. It really works, and the level of improvement it brings to your sound is worth every penny.