Sonically, the MDC-1 has everything we love and want to hear in a classic tube compressor, but with an expanded set of features that are useful, intuitive and creatively inspiring in a modern studio environment.
Because of the inherent nature of tube circuitry and the particular tubes selected in the design - the sound is vibrant, warm and naturally pleasing to the ear. However, the transformerless design allows for a level of fidelity, clarity and sense of focus not usually associated with vari-mu compression. The sound is smooth yet incredibly hi-fi and transparent, an unusual combination that will certainly distinguish itself in any studio setup.
The MDC-1 allows for speeds much faster than most other vari-mu compressors, and as such is great for everything from explosive drum-buss duties to seemingly transparent mastering applications. Just by clipping the tubes without compressing, the MDC-1 acts as a very nice sounding peak limiter. The compression profile is unmistakably vari-mu, but could fool someone into thinking it was a very nice VCA compressor because of how fast it is.
When engaging the BIAS control - crazy things start to happen! Turning this switch off removes the negative bias of the tubes, which in turn allows them to react even faster to dynamics and raises the level of amplification in that stage. This allows the tubes to enter into harmonic distortion with a wide sweet spot that can be dialed in to taste. This effect can range from enhancing and exciting an entire mix to distorting drum machines for bold and unique sounds and textures. This feature combined with the Sidechain's 3 position High Pass Filter can yield some very interesting results.
When flipped the "Hold" switch catches the last transient in the side chain and freezes the level of compression response until it is turned off - basically giving you a near-infinite release time. This is very helpful in mastering applications when stopping and starting a song without transient spikes occurring if using a slower attack time. This can also be used as a special effect, allowing the sound to stay inside the "compression hole."
The Wet/Dry Blend is an uncommon but useful feature that offers phase-coherent parallel compression at the twist of a knob. When tracking through the MDC-1 on the way into your DAW or tape machine, if you are unsure of how you want something to sit in the final mix this feature will allow you to find the right balance between controlling your dynamic range enough to optimize your recording levels while still keeping intact the initial nuances of you or your clients' performance. If you are looking to bring more life into your tracks or mixes, parallel compression is what you may be looking for. If you are making music in an analog environment, this feature also saves you two channels on your mixer, which often can be a life saver.
Outside of those unique controls, the time constants and gain staging are all relatively straightforward and are easy to navigate. The Stereo Link can be used to widen or center your stereo image easily and effectively. The Mic Pre is transparent and very hi-fi allowing the tube stage to dictate the character of the sound. The Bypass allows for you to switch back and forth to compare what changes you've made to the sound.
Dual-Mono / Stereo Operation
High Fidelity Microphone Preamp w. Phantom Power
Line Level Input (Accepts Balanced or Unbalanced Signals)
Vari-Mu Compression (using 4 NOS tubes)
Wet/Dry Blend for Parallel Compression
3 Choices of Side-Chain High-Pass Filtering
Release "Hold" Function
"Bias" Control (to alter the tube dynamic response. Think of this as a "turbo" or "all-buttons-in" mode.)
Sifam VU Meters (Made in England)
1 Year Warranty