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Buzz Audio DBC-20

Diode-bridge Compressor
Published January 2019
By Hugh Robjohns

Buzz Audio DBC-20

Buzz update a characterful concept to create a compressor that's capable of both vintage and modern sounds.

Of all the different forms of dynamic processor on the market today, the diode-bridge compressor is generally considered to be one of the most characterful, While these became popular in the late 1960s and early 70s with the rise of solid-state electronics (the vintage Neve 2254 model is probably the most famous example, a design that lives on in the current Neve 33609), the very first diode-bridge compressor is claimed to be the Telefunken U13, which was introduced in the 1940s and used a valve rectifier. One of the reasons that the diode-bridge compressor became so popular was its very fast response — much faster than optical compressors, for example — and that made it very attractive in broadcasting applications, in particular, but its intrinsic sound character is also usefully different from its peers.

Now, New Zealand-based manufacturers Buzz Audio have produced their own take on the theme, in the form of the DBC-20 dual‑channel diode-bridge compressor.

The Bridge

At the heart of every compressor is some active device that provides variable attenuation, the amount being determined by a control signal of some sort. Fundamentally, a diode allows current to flow in one direction only, but there is a small region of its 'transfer curve' where its conductance effectively varies in proportion to the voltage...

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Published January 2019