The Source Audio Atlas Compressor is a pedal that, with its modes replicating various types of classic compressors, will satisfy the studio gear connoisseurs while doing the job just right for anyone who just needs some help with their performance’s dynamics – whether they play guitar or bass.
This little box packs a dual, DSP-powered engine that can deliver the style of compression produced by legendary units like the Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer, the Diamond Compressor, studio staples such as the LA2A and the 1176 FET – and replicate any compression technology invented this far: Peak, RMS, VCA, Optical, Dual compression, etc.
Oh, and it also features an onboard Expander, a dynamic circuit not as ubiquitous as the compressor but that can come in very handy.
Three compression modes are readily accessible through a toggle switch:
- Optical: Inspired by the legendary LA2A, a smooth, 2-knob semi-automatic compression that works well on clean guitars
- Studio 76: A recreation of the 1176 Urei studio rack FET compressor, that’s more tweakable than the LA2A and works better on percussive parts (read: solos, rhythm guitar, and slap bass)
- Dual: This mode provides an independent set of controls for both the high and low frequencies (aka multi-band compression). Each compression engine has onboard controls for Threshold, Ratio, Attack, Release, Output, Tone, and Mix, allowing for fine-tuned control.
Other extra modes like the following ones can be loaded through the free Neuro app (available also as desktop software) that allows for an incredible amount of editing and fine-tuning:
- Cubic Zirconia: an optical technology usually found inside effects pedals producing faster attack and release times, and a slightly dirtier sound – great for tight and funky guitar parts.
- Studio Snap: An aggressive and modern-sounding compressor employing two compressors in parallel.
On top of that, the Blend knob allows for what’s commonly known as Parallel Compression, involving the reintroduction of some of the clean signal under the compressed one for more natural-sounding results.
The other knobs deal with Threshold, Ratio, and Output duties, with alt functions for Tone, Attack, and Release – so even without Neuro, the pedal gives you access to all the most important compression parameters.
Other features include Auto Makeup Gain (pretty self-explanatory) and a Bass Mode, that optimizes the sound processing for bass at the touch of a button It’s also Midi compatible.
Check out the videos, below.
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Source Audio Atlas Compressor, Builder’s Notes
The Atlas Compressor offers a comprehensive collection of compression circuits that perfectly capture the tone and feel of the industry’s most sought-after compressors. Straight out of the box, Atlas delivers six different styles of compression, ranging from classic stompbox compressors like the now-discontinued Diamond Optical Compressor to high-end rack units such as the snappy 1176 compressor and the smooth and gentle LA2A optical compressor. Atlas also features advanced dual-band compression, which provides an independent set of controls for both the high and low frequencies. Each compression engine has onboard controls for Threshold, Ratio, Attack, Release, Output, Tone, and Mix, allowing for fine-tuned control over the compact One Series hardware.
A History Lesson in Compression
The Atlas is packed with so many different types of compression that it could serve as a tour guide through the history of compressor equipment. First stop: classic stompbox squashers such as the legendary the Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer and the excellent (but discontinued) Diamond Compressor. Next stop: universal and ubiquitous studio rack gear like the smooth and gentle LA2A optical compressor and the ultra-responsive 1176 FET compressor. Finally, we’re taking you to all-out nerd territory with Peak, RMS, VCA, and Dual compression, and an onboard Expander circuit… the Atlas has it all and does it well.
The Optical Rack compressor engine is based on the legendary LA2A studio opto compressors from the early 60s. Optical compression controls its output level with light. Increasing the incoming audio level in the original units caused an electro luminescent panel to shine brighter. A photo resistor monitors that light panel and decreased the audio output level, as the panel got brighter. The result is a very smooth and gentle attack that imparts a full-bodied and natural sound on guitar, bass, or vocal. This compressor sounds great with clean strummed or arpeggiated guitar lines as well as acoustic guitars.
Features and Specifications
• 6 Types of Compression: The Atlas offers many different styles of compression with sounds inspired by studio rack gear and classic effects pedals.
• LA2A Optical Compression: A faithful recreation of an electro luminescent panel combined with a photo resistor and the resulting warm and smooth compression that has been the standard in studios since the 1950s.
• 1176 Feedback FET Compression: Based on the solid state FET compressor known for its full body and super-fast attack.
• LED Optical Compressor: Inspired by pedals that work on a similar concept as the LA2A, but swap the electro luminescent panel for an LED and a quicker, dirtier response.
• Dual Compressors: Use Atlas’ dual compressors in a variety of ways: in Series, Parallel, or Band Split mode, which provides a separate set of controls for both high and low frequencies.
• Studio Level Compression Controls: Access all the essential compression parameters including Feedback, Ratio, Attack, Release, Makeup Gain, Mix, and Tone, either with the pedal’s knobs or the Neuro Editor.
• Special Bass Mode: With the push of a button, quickly convert Atlas to a special Bass Mode with compressor engines specifically optimized for bass.
• Auto Makeup Gain: Dial in sounds quickly. Atlas automatically increases or decreases the Makeup Gain depending on the amount of compression.
Detailed Effects Editing with Neuro
On the surface, the Atlas features a simple 4-knob interface and a choice of six amazing compressors. However, if you want to take things to take things a bit further, we urge that you connect the Atlas to our Neuro Preset Editing & Browsing tools. The Neuro Mobile App is available for free at the App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android).
The Neuro Desktop Editor is available as a free download for Mac or Windows systems on our Downloads page. Plug in to Neuro and experience compressor editing as it’s done in studios and DAW software, with real-time readouts of your signal’s gain reduction. Fine tune your compression with features simply not found in other effects pedals, controls like Look Ahead compression, Soft Knee control, optional Auto Makeup Gain, Dual Compression signal routing, 8-Band Graphic Equalization, Parametric Equalization, flexible Knob Assignment, and Side Chain High and Low Pass Signal Detection controls. And of course, the Neuro Editor is loaded with easy-to-download Factory Presets and an ever-growing library of Published User Presets created by the Atlas Neuro Community.?