Pendulum Audio OCL-500 500-Series Compressor

Pendulum Audio

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Product Code: 9999-07801
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The Pendulum Audio OCL-500 500-Series Compressor brings the sound and performance of the classic Pendulum Audio OCL-2 with it's wide variety of time constants and dynamic control - including a sidechain hi-pass filter - to the 500-series format.

The Pendulum Audio OCL-500 500-Series Compressor has the same compression circuit as the OCL-2, but uses a transformerless class A solid-state gain makeup circuit in place of the tube stage. The result is clean, transparent compression that can be used to shape the dynamics of any source while preserving its tone. Like the OCL-2, the OCL-500 has a wide variety of time constants and dynamic control to optimize the compression characteristics, including a sidechain hi-pass filter.

Since its introduction in 1998, the Pendulum OCL-2 Compressor/Limiter has become a modern classic. In fact, the OCL-2 changed the way users think about opto compression! Pendulum Audio's custom opto cell provides fast, invisible compression without the artifacts and sluggish response inherent in vintage designs.

Pendulum Audio OCL-500 500-Series Compressor Features

  • OCL-2 compression profile with Pendulum Audio's proprietary opto-cell
  • Six time constants with fast, rms, multi-slope and average
  • Class A solid - state (no tubes)
  • Sidechain hi-pass filter
  • Single-space 500 series rack format

Pendulum Audio OCL-500 500-Series Compressor Specifications

  • Format: API 500 series standard, fully compatible
  • Input Impedance: 20KOhm, balanced
  • Output Impedance: less than 50Ohm
  • Max. Output Level: +27dBu, balanced
  • Threshold: off to 20dB of gain reduction at +4dBu
  • Ratio: 1.5:1 to 15: 1, soft knee
  • Output: Off to +20dB of makeup gain
  • Max. Gain Reduction: 27 dB
  • Frequency Response: +/- 1 dB from 10Hz to 95kHz
  • Noise Level: better than 78dB below +4dBu, 0-30kHz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: less than 0.01% with no compression
  • Time Constants:
    • F Fast Peak-averaged by the opto-cell
    • A Average RMS response
    • V1 Vintage 1 Three-stage multi-slope (auto)
    • V2 Vintage 2 Slower three-stage multi-slope (auto)
    • M1 Manual 1 Medium attack, medium release
    • M1 Manual 2 Slower attack, slower release
      *Average and Vintage 1 are the presets in the Quartet.
      *Vintage 2 is the Vintage preset in the Quartet II.
      *M1 and M2 are manual attack and release settings often used in the OCL-2

Pendulum Audio OCL-500 500-Series Compressor Includes

  • Pendulum Audio OCL-500 unit

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What We Think


The Pendulum Audio OCL-500 is a completely unique "opto" compressor - even in comparison to it's inspiration: the Pendulum Audio OCL-2 Electro-Optical Tube Compressor/Limiter. For starters, the OCL-500 is a solid-state device. The benefit for 500-series users is that the OCL-500 can be a single-slot device, and provides another layer of reliability in that you don't have to endure troubleshooting the tubes should a problem arise. Since tubes are "studio consumables" (and some compressors consume more than others) this should be a welcome design exclusion for professionals and weekend warriors, alike. While tubes have their specific sonic benefits, they also have their moments where they can cause a headache and a delayed session. Here is where a solid state amplifier can save the day; there and when you don't want any additional coloration or tube-derived noise added. It cannot be stressed enough that the OCL-2 and OCL-500 are NOT copies of other "opto' designs. In fac t - they're quite unique. So, purity of sound is something which should probably be synonymous with Pendulum Audio. And that alone makes these optos pretty unique, as most opto compressers are usually "character rich" or non-linear to the max. While the Teletronix has a fixed attack / release and other designs (CL-1B, for example) have sweepable Attack & Release, the OCL-2 and OCL-500 employ Time Constants, which should be familiar to anyone who is a fan of the classic remote-cutoff limiters by Fairchild. Out of the six available "Presets" four of these Time Constants were originally modeled from the Fairchild Limiter. The remaining presets are 'Program Dependent.' Another place where the OCL-2 and OCL-500 differ from other "opto" designs, is in the detector circuit. Other designs use weighted / non-linear detector circuits which focus on a defined frequency range. By contrast, the Pendulum detector works off of a very flat frequency response. Neither is better specifically than the other. However, it does give the Pendulum designs a bit of a different response.than others. And the reason for the difference of approach is due to designer Greg Gualtieri's background as a former physicist for Bell Labs. As you might expect - he has some unique and valuable insight into how a photo-resistor (opto) should operate, and how the detector circuit should, as well. Given that his designs are informed by a need for both a widespread practical utility use as well as his own personal musical passion (to capture acoustic guitar with as few artifacts and as much transparency as possible), we arrive at these products which offer something very unique to the professional audio community. Greg is certainly a true craftsman providing tools which do their jobs very well. Unique tools which do not imitate - That's quite refreshing, given the current industry trend.

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