Chandler is making a buzz for themselves as the small company that builds Neve-based mic pres and compressors. The LTD-2 is a Class A, single channel compressor based on the Neve 2254 (and similar to the 2264 and 33609), in some cases using actual circuit boards from Neve gear but in other cases filled with faithful reproductions of these cards using new old stock [NOS] parts and vintage transformers. My unit came with some old Neve cards and a slightly rusty transformer! They've added extra parameters on the attack/release times, which is always helpful, and the little unmarked VU meter gives a quick visual fix that the compressor is working, though how much gain reduction is occurring you never know. In that vein, I find that this is the kind of device that you set with your eyes shut and ears on. You can really hear it working, and extreme settings can produce a brick-wall limiting on bass guitar or kick drum that can help sew a mix together, especially with the cool transient shaping occurring on the kick. On vocals, soft settings work well, and on piano some heavy settings made for some Beatle-y piano fun. The input and output are all XLR, with another socket and switch for linking two units together. The LTD-2 is a pro piece of gear - not something I would recommend to a novice compressorist - and at $1400 (street price) you'd expect it to be, but it's also got that famed Neve sound and is a great tool for engineers who'll take the time to get the settings right and use their ears.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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