A Neat Little Compressor: FMR Audio RNC 1173 Review

FMR Audio 1173

FMR Audio 1173

Before we start the review of the FMR Audio RNC 1173 I want to mention the new service available from Nashville Trax Recording Studio for people who produce their own recordings at home as well as for commercial studios who have clients that need session quality musicians and singers. Nashville Trax offers session quality custom tracks you can easily add to your project: drums, bass guitar, guitar, violin, cello, mandolin, piano, synthesizer, Hammond B3, lead vocals, background vocals, harmony vocals, harmonica, sax, flute, you name it!

Here are a few of the vocalists available. Or how about bass guitar? For the other options simply go to the main Nashville Trax site and click on “More” in the upper right corner which will open all the various instrument and vocal options as well as mixing and mastering services.

A Quick Review of the FMR Audio RNC 1173 Compressor

The 1173 is interesting because it’s designed by a husband and wife electronics operation whose philosophy is “put money into components, not packaging.” They also have incorporated a proprietary “cascading compression circuit” they call “Really Nice” mode, that can be switched into and gives controllable compression that builds incrementally as the signal passes through each stage.

When I say little, it’s little! It can just about fit in the palm of your hand.

It compresses signals. If you’re not into electronics the best way to explain that is when you record a sound source, guitar, fiddle or whatever, it can be uneven in volume. Compression raises the lowest amplitude sections and squashes the peaks resulting in a more even, more easily controlled sound.

Tests: It’s not pretty, it’s not all that sturdy but it’s easily the best “under $600” compressor I’ve used and the cascading stage is liquid. It’s already aced a test on fiddle, snare and bass guitar. It does a decent job on vocals, but if that’s your principle application and you can afford to go above $600, keep looking.

Why mess with a cheap compressor with a $2,500 Avalon and other more expensive outboard, as well as software based, compressors available? Because it’s not about money, it’s about sound! I’m keeping it! It won’t be my go-to unit and if it’s your first and only compressor you’ll replace it someday but I think this is a good tool to add to your bag of tricks. Sometimes cheapest sounds best. You never know until you try it!- b.e.