Crane Song Trakker Discrete Class A Compressor

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Product Code: 9999-01687
Crane Song TRAKKER
Availability: Built to Order, Ships in 1 to 2 Weeks

Crane Song Trakker Discrete Class A Compressor

The Crane Song TRAKKER is a high quality Single Channel Discrete Class A Compressor-Limiter. It functions either as a musically transparent compressor or as a vintage compressor-limiter with selectable hard or soft knee.

Crane Song Trakker Discrete Class A Compressor Details

The Crane Song TRAKKER is a high quality Single Channel Discrete Class A Compressor-Limiter. It functions either as a musically transparent compressor or as a vintage compressor-limiter with selectable hard or soft knee. TRAKKER can create distinct new sounds or maximize existing ones. An additional feature of the TRAKKER is the ability to link up to 8 units for surround mixing.

The TRAKKER has adjustable threshold, attack, release, knee shape, and makeup gain controls. In addition to these controls, a function switch allows the selection of transparent operation or vintage operations such as optical, air optical, soft knee, and hard knee . each with four different amplifier/gain control sounds.

The amplifier/gain control sounds are:

  • Transparent
  • Vintage (tube or old style class A)
  • Transparent with VCA artifacts and
  • Vintage with VCA artifacts

The front panel contains a 22 element VU meter with over load indicator to show gain reduction and allow accurate monitoring of output levels. In the link mode the master unit controls all functions of the slave units except for make-up gain.

TRAKKER is a maximum-versatility toolkit for solving real-world recording, broadcast, and sound reinforcement problems with the utmost attention to signal quality. From single channel operation to bus compression, TRAKKER can provide an artistic choice of sounds at the flip of a switch.

Character Switch

The character switch allows the selection of 16 different sound types; in essence giving the user the ability to combine the different sections of the amplifiers. The four basic compressor "" limiter types are: optical, air-optical, soft knee and hard knee. Each of these basic types has four different amplifier/modulation styles to choose from.

The OPTICAL setting has a sound like many of the classic optical compressors and their modern counter parts. The optical settings are program dependent. This means that the more time that signal is present the longer the release time becomes. Increasing the release time on the compressor will increase the effect.

The AIR-OPTICAL setting is similar to the optical setting, but with one difference. This difference is a high frequency effect also found in certain vintage tube compressors. The high frequency effect is the result of a circuit that was used to achieve flat frequency response in the old gear. In TRAKKER this high frequency compensation is used to the advantage of the sound. The result is an airy high end to the sound.

The SOFT KNEE settings provide a classic soft characteristic similar to many tube and solid state feedback type compressors. The soft knee setting does not have a program dependent release time. The release time is determined by the release control only.

The HARD KNEE can be thought of as a limiter although TRAKKER has adjustable attack and release times. The knee control changes the ratio when operating in the hard knee mode. Hard knee means the knee has a hard break point. When the signal is above this break point, compressor / limiter action takes place. Below this point no gain control action takes place. This is typical of many classic units that fit the hard knee category.

NOTE*** The threshold control will need re-setting when changing between hard knee and any other character knob settings (i.e. optical, air-optical, soft knee) because the side chain becomes completely rearranged when switching between the hard and any other knee settings.

Amplifier Types

The CLEAN (TRANSPARENT) setting is a very transparent discrete class A audio path. This is the most transparent audio path in the device. The clean setting imparts the least amount of color on the sound.

The VINTAGE audio path has color similar to a triode tube circuit and single ended Class A transistor circuits. The color is mostly second harmonic with third harmonic being introduced when clipping is approached. Using this setting will result in a rich, fat, warm sound.

Many vintage tube and solid state compressors have small amounts of control voltage feed through and other modulation artifacts that take place with gain changes. The VCA settings add these types of modulation artifacts to the audio path. It is important to note that the color added by the VCA setting is dynamic. This means that the sound change is only heard when TRAKKER"?s gain is changing and is more prevalent with fast attack and release settings. The sound setting is called VCA on the front panel. (The VCA artifact can be attached to the clean or vintage sound.)

Combining the two amplifier sounds and the VCA sounds results in 4 different audio paths to chose from. When the 4 different compressor characteristics are included, there are 16 different sounds to choose from. This does not include the large variation in sound that is possible with the different attack, release, and shape settings.

Because of relay switching, when changing the character switch there will be a small clicking noise. The signal turns off for .2 ms thus causing the click. It will only happen when there is signal present. If it was possible to change the relay at zero crossing of the signal, there would be no click. By using relays the audio path quality is maintained.

Crane Song Trakker Discrete Class A Compressor Features

  • FOUR distinct compression modes/styles:
    • Optical
    • Air Optical
    • Soft Knee
    • Hard Knee
  • And those modes work with the following FOUR Amplifier/Gain Control sounds:
    • Transparent
    • Vintage (tube or old style class A)
    • Transparent with VCA artifacts and
    • Vintage with VCA artifacts
  • It's like having 16 different compressors in one unit! And if it's Crane Song, it sounds GOOD.
  • 22 element VU meter with over load indicator
  • Transformer-less balanced inputs and outputs
  • The unit is 1 rack space tall
  • Operates from 100V, 115V, 230V or 240V mains voltages - truly a worldwide performer!
  • The perfect solution for surround mixing. Trakker's link switch allows for linking up to 8 units.

Crane Song Trakker Discrete Class A Compressor Specifications

  • Input: Floating, balanced. Maximum input is +25 dBm.
  • The connectors are XLR.
  • Output: Floating, balanced. Maximum output is +25 dBm.
  • The connectors are XLR.
  • For Input and Output: Pin 2 is Sig + , Pin 3 is Sig . , Pin 1 is GND
  • Side Chain Connections: Floating, balanced. Connections are made by using a DB-9 Male Connector. This is a loop insert and must be normaled back to the TRAKKER.
  • Unbalanced Connections: Are made by tying the SIG . Pin to the GND Pin. If the connection is an input, it is best to tie at the signal source. If the connection is an output, it is best to tie at the TRAKKER XLR connector.
  • Power:
    • 100, 120, 230,240 volt; 50/60 Hz; 45 watts
    • MDL .4A Fuse for 100V and 120V
    • MDL .2A Fuse for 230V and 240V
  • Pilot Lamp: # 7335
  • Shipping Weight: 19 lbs. (8.6 kg)
  • Depth Behind Panel: 10 inches plus cabling
  • Panel Height: 1 rack space

Crane Song Trakker Discrete Class A Compressor Downloads

What We Think - Crane Song Trakker Review

"The Crane Song Trakker really should be a serious compressor for consideration for anyone in the market for an optical style compressor that also craves a lot of control. There are sixteen total compression characters selectable from the Trakker's Character selection switch on the front panel. By following some of the example settings from Crane Song's website, I was able to very quickly dial up some pretty convicing emulations of some rather famous (and sometimes much more expensive as is the case with the Fairchild) compressors. All that aside, the Trakker really allows you to dial in on the total compression characteristc, which is something not traditionally something possible with most optical style compressors. Also, the linking capabilities of the Trakker make it a fantastic choice as for stereo and surround work mixing work. This compressor sounds so good and is so useful that I had a hard time sending it back."

 - Front End Audio

Special Note

Crane Song products are produced in a "small batch" fashion and certain pieces may require a short wait while others are ready to ship right away. Regardless, what you receive in the end is well worth any wait! So, be sure to plan ahead of that next project and give us a call "" We"?ll make sure that you are taken care of.

Click here to view all Crane Song products

2 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 5
    Swiss-Army knife of compressors

    Posted by Gregory Houser on May 9th 2011

    In a word it's versatile.

    This is a great do-whatever-you-want to it piece of gear that ought to be a must have in any professional studio. It's built like a tank, but more importantly, it's flexible enough to be useful in most any situation that calls for a compressor.

    Additionally (as is noted by the manufacturer and several of the more notable names that have reviewed this on sites like GearSlutz, and on countless blogs, etc.), the Trakker has this cool little ability to mimic several other well-known compressors and limiters (I tested this, following the instructions to mimic the 1176 blackface; end result is that I had a very difficult time distinguishing between the Trakker and an actual 1176 that was also sits in my studio... very cool).

  • 5
    Versatility and useful

    Posted by Stuart Martin on Nov 14th 2010

    Alan Moon suggested these to me two years ago. Since then my studio business has grown tremendously, and these are a consistent part of my mastering and mix signal chain (usually through a Cranesong HEDD and preceded by a TC M6000 MK2, etc). Dave Hill has designed a "swiss army knife" compressor that provides great fidelity, but it also can be aggressive (try the HARD KNEE setting with a 0.1uF cap in the sidechain connector; the snare sound in "Christine" or "Shock Me" comes to mind). Definitely useful and appreciated (