Golden Age COMP-3A Jr Compressor
The Golden Age COMP-3A Jr Compressor offers a classic sound and compression style and is now available at a very affordable price point!
The COMP-3A Jr is a one channel vintage style Compressor / Leveler. The signal path uses only discrete components like resistors, capacitors, diodes and transistors. The input and output is transformer balanced, using two different transformers, each one optimized for its purpose. This is the way audio components were built before integrated circuits became available.
Integrated circuits are small and cheap and widely used in most modern designs. The drawback is that audio components built with modern technology doesn´t always provide the best perceived sound quality or the type of character that the modern user desires. The subjective sound quality delivered by vintage equipment is often preferred over the one delivered by modern units, a situation that is even more obvious now when music is recorded with clean-sounding digital audio equipment. This is the reason why so many vintage audio components are cloned and produced again and also why the vintage originals are often very expensive on the second hand market.
The circuit used in the COMP-3A Jr is based on classic design elements and it uses an integrated optocoupler to control gain. This gives the COMP-3A Jr a unique compression characteristics. In addition, the vintage style signal path adds a wonderful and musical character to the sound. The ease of use with only two main controls makes it very simple to achieve the desired sound. These attributes has made vintage products with a similar design favorites of engineers and musicians worldwide.
Whats the difference between the COMP-3A and the COMP-3A Jr?
The COMP-3A Jr is vintage style design with transformer balanced in- and output and fully discrete electronics, just like the COMP-3A. The design is different though and it uses an integrated opto-coupler instead of the classic T4 opto unit. The COMP-3A Jr does have a lower price and a smaller size compared to the COMP-3A. It also have a slightly different sound and compression characteristics. So, its ultimately a matter of taste, and budget, which one you would chose.
Golden Age COMP-3A Jr Compressor Features
- Vintage style electronics. No integrated circuits in the main audio signal path.
- Transformer balanced input and output. Can drive almost any load, balanced or unbalanced. The maximum output level is 25 dBu.
- Uses an integrated optocoupler to control gain. The fastest attack time is about 1 ms.
- Very simple to operate with only two main controls, Gain Makeup and Gain Reduction.
- Three-position TIME switch to select different combinations of Attack- and Release time.
- Selectable jumpers inside the unit to increase the timing on TIME-switch position B and C.
- LED-meter selectable to show output level or gain reduction.
- Hardwire bypass switch for easy comparisons.
- XLR and TRS input and output jacks for flexible connections.
- Link jack for connecting to another unit for stereo operation.
- All external controls located on the front panel.
- External power supply to avoid interaction with the audio circuits and transformers.
- Compact 1RU quarter rack format. Up to four units can be mounted in our 19-inch rack kit, the UNITE MKII.
- A solid build quality that will last many years of normal use.
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I use this compressor paired with the Golden Age Project Pre-73jr (I have two chains like this). It’s an excellent and affordable chain for me to record stereo sources (primarily acoustic guitar). I also use this setup a lot of electric guitar cabs. The compressor gives an energy that I could not get out of plug ins and has many different options in terms of attack and release times. I would recommend the 3Ajr to anyone on a budget or looking to make a portable rig.