Today we’re checking out Optical Compressors. All an optical compressor is is it uses a little photoelectric cell and a light bulb instead of a transistor for its detector circuit.

The light bulb gets brighter depending on how hot of a signal you feed it and there’s a little photoelectric sensor that reads how bright that light bulb is and that stomps down on your audio.

This has been made famous you know by tube compressors over the years!

Today we’re going to look at an Optical Compressor from Stam Audio. This unit is basically a recreation of the classic and will only cost you $890 on a pre-order right now (vs. a LA2A which runs about $3799 USD!)

The Stam Audio SA2A:

I’ve been using this Stam Audio optical compressor for the last couple months on a bunch of different sources. It’s really cool! I ran it through 4 different sources for you guys: snare, bass, a vocal and a voiceover.

Since it uses an optical circuit, it’s got a very slow attack. And because it’s a tube based circuit it can get pretty warm and crunchy. It’s cool on full mixes, but unfortunately I don’t have two of these to run them in stereo.

Watch the video above to see and hear me run through Optical Compression on bunch of different sources!

If you’re serious about mixing and taking your skills to the next level, you need to check out this course. It’s called Mixing with EQ and Compression. It’s taught by Grammy Winner Phil Allen!

“If you don’t understand the concepts of EQ and Compression at a very bare-bones level, if you’re not making the right moves, throwing an expensive plugin or hardware compressor on it won’t help you at all.” – Phil Allen

Check out Mixing with EQ & Compression with Grammy Winner Phil Allen