Frap Audio is a new division of Frap Tools dedicated to pro audio gear for the 500 series. The first product is a compressor/expander.
Dynamics 2806 is a mono compressor and expander. The circuit is relatively simple and straightforward to preserve the original sound qualities (it features a single VCA stage); still, the ways that all the parts interact with each other (and with the user) create a wide variety of behaviors that dramatically expand its functionalities in the box.
The upper section of the front panel sets the compressor parameters, and the lower part sets the expander ones. The interface is pretty much self-explanatory, but an expanded signal routing and lot of original solutions ‘under the hood’ make the response of the controls quite distinct.
While controls like ‘Ratio’ and ‘Threshold’ are quite conventional, the behavior of the ‘Attack’ and ‘Release’ knob was designed to interact with the incoming audio source by slightly adapting the response time to the articulation of the sound. In this way, the dynamics may be compressed or expanded, the original nature of the sound remains recognizable.
A peculiar control, on the other hand, is the ‘Transient’, which relates to the time management just mentioned. Since some sounds may have an extremely sharp and loud attack followed by a long, soft decay, conventional dynamic processing may alter their nature too much and make them lose their original footprint. The ‘Transient’ control is specifically designed to preserve the sharp transient of these sounds, without compromising the rest of the audio processing.
Since dynamics also has a lot to do with perception, and perception has a lot to do with frequencies, the Expander section features precise controls for high and low pass filtering so that the circuit will operate only over the right spot.
The two silver knobs at the center set the final amplitude of the processed and unprocessed sound for precise parallel treatments.
The compressor section has a feedback design, but its feedback point can be selected via a ‘Pre’ or ‘Post’ switch: it can be either straight out the VCA, or after the ‘Processed’ output, for precise make-up.
Flexible sidechain capability allows for external input processing or advanced insert operations, such as for de-essing. Moreover, the external signal can perform compression or expansion, and the compression can happen either on the primary, unprocessed sound or on the already-processed signal, with a ‘Sum’ switch.
A ‘Listen’ switch lets you monitor the sidechain of either the compressor or the expander, for precise settings (especially of controls such as ‘Contour’ and filters.
Finally, you can (true-)bypass the Dynamics 2608 as a whole with the dedicated switch, which lets you also bypass the processing section only, thus retaining the VCA “color.”