ROCKRUEPEL – Why have just a compressor or a limiter when you can have an “audio-terraforming” device?
By Front End Audio on Nov 9th 2017
ROCKRUEPEL is a small, boutique manufacturer out of Duesseldorf, Germany led by designer Oliver Gregor, who makes the premium, hand-built COMP.TWO and LIMIT.ONE dynamics processors. Made with Mastering Studios squarely in their crosshairs, the COMP.TWO and LIMIT.ONE have found homes, fans, and yes... even lovers, in recording and mixing rooms the world over. In fact, our customers report that the Rockruepel gear is so good, that it routinely pushes their old-standby dynamics processors to the side.
One would liken the name 'rockruepel' to an aggressive sound behavior - Particularly because 'rogue' or 'bully' are appropriate translations of "ruepel" to English. However, this describes more of the devices' potential as when they are used with proper gain staging and compression settings, it becomes quite apparent that the base level of operation for these devices is one of ultra-hi-fidelity purity - a sound which sounds better across the program material regardless of whether or not the dynamics circuits are engaged. This is particularly true of the COMP.TWO and is why there is the Amp-Only mode. But we're getting ahead of ourselves...
Rockruepel COMP.TWO Mastering Bus Compressor
The Rockruepel COMP.TWO Mastering Bus Compressor may not be a household name... in a household of audio engineers, obviously. But in a world where advertising budgets for the products you see regularly adorning the pages of your favorite gear rag are astronomical, it's no surprise that not everyone can buy instant recognition; even for what ought to be a legendary compressor. And for engineers and studios who have a collection of compressors, the Rockruepel COMP.TWO Mastering Bus Compressor is one which catches more than just the ears of those who know what an exceptional compressor is - it captures their undivided attention. And it does it so well, in fact, that the COMP.TWO regularly gains the prime spot in the console furniture or rack. Why? It just plain works. With smooth remote-cutoff (variable-mu) style compression, and ultra-fast Attack and Release controls, the COMP.TWO can swing from nearly invisible compression style to full-on explosive, "medical-grade" funk. One of the best descriptions we've received from a customer about the COMP.TWO was describing how he'd struggled with a particular vocal which always came through with a harsh character - especially when compressed. But when he pulled up the same vocal when evaluating the COMP.TWO, it instantly and effortlessly handled the offending vocal without emphasizing the harshness. In fact, it tamed it without losing valuable clarity, or gaining unpleasant distortion or mud. But what it did add was a subtle lusciousness. While the COMP.TWO may confuse you as to what it is doing for your sound at first, a simple engaging of the bypass switch will immediately convince you to re-engage and continue forward with the COMP.TWO across the bus. In fact, it may just live there from then on. We regularly describe the COMP.TWO not so much a compressor as it is a mix-bus environment. There's less grab and more landscape and sky. The sound gets compressed but somehow doesn't get distorted and imbalanced. This is the ultimate compressor for a truly discerning ear. And it can get all funky and explosive sounding when pushed, too. So, no need to fear that it can't be your compression-effects-box, too. Try it out. But be ready to keep it. We bet that you won't let it go anywhere once you have it.
Rockruepel LIMIT.ONE Mastering Limiter
With the Rockruepel LIMIT.ONE, Oliver and the Rockruepel team have made a truly remarkable limiter designed for the new, high resolution / high dynamics style of mastering which take advantage of the new ways that listeners are purchasing taking delivery of music. Different than a "peak" limiter, this analog brick wall limiter design retains clarity throughout the audio signal. No more distorted high frequency range when hitting it harder! The LIMIT.ONE will keep more dynamics which are visible within the resulting waveforms, and it helps to avoid the phenomenon of "audio sausage" (heavily limited and compressed audio where each song waveform's dynamic intro and fade-out lend the illusion of a sausage link in the edit window). The results speak for themselves.
As for the construction, Rockruepel set the bar incredibly high right from the beginning. The COMP.TWO is loved the world over for it's incredibly durable build and bulletproof dependability (oh, and the sound quality isn't too shabby, at all - in fact, that's what really wins folks over). So, the construction features of the LIMIT.ONE will be quite familiar to those who know the COMP.ONE (discontinued) and COMP.TWO (current)... but that's where the similarity ends. The LIMIT.ONE is very intelligently designed with audiophile high resolution mastering in mind. So, the multi-dial "limit" (threshold) control is so incredibly cool. Basically, it's a very fine-resolution control that basically has 10 turns for completing the full range. With each complete rotation of the dial, the outer ring will advance or decrease by one where the inner ring displays the fine resolution. So, in some regards, this control feels like you are trying to crack a safe. But unlike safe-cracking, mastering is a legal and far more effective way to make a living.
So, if you're a mastering engineer - or even a mixing engineer who is looking for something different to add to the toolkit (yes, it does some really interesting things on individual elements such as bass, snare drums, room mics [YES!], and more) - then the LIMIT.ONE will be a purchase that you'll be glad that you made.