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Dave Hill Designs Titan
Mono Compressor Limiter, Adjustable Color and Character, Mix Mode
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Fake Price................................... $1,890.00
Real Price............... $1,699.00
Status: Usually Ships Same or Next Business Day

Dave Hill Designs Titan Compressor Description

Titan is an analog compressor-limiter with a very large range of color and control choices with recall. The main audio path is a discrete class A design. Resetability is attained by using stepped controls and encoders that have their values displayed on Titan's color LCD display. Titan is a digitally controlled analog device in design with a very high speed dsp side chain that allows the design to push the limits beyond what is possible in the design of an analog side chain.

The compressor-limiter controls are the normal; Threshold, Attack, Release, Shape, Bypass-In-Link, Meter Select, and make up Gain. These controls have their settings displayed on a color LCD display. The Shape control shows the knee of the compressor. With the knee characteristic being graphically drawn on the LCD to allow the user to see the knee's shape. The graphical display updates with the changing of the Threshold and Shape controls. When stereo linked the unit selected as control master will control all functions on the second channel.

In addition there are controls that can provide color choices;


The VCA COLOR control provides a mix between a very clean PWM gain control device and a vintage gain control element. The vintage gain control element is a diode type compressor circuit. There are 16 steps in the cross fade-mix control for a wide range in choices


The PARALLEL MIX control blends the unprocessed audio with the compressed audio, a parallel compression function. There are 16 steps in the cross fade-mix control for a wide range in choices.


The DYNAMIC COLOR control is a control that provides harmonic content that is opposite in nature of the harmonic content that the vintage gain control element generates. The effect of the Dynamic Color control can be described as making the sound "bigger". This function has 16 steps to provide a wide range of sonic control.


The FAT - AIR switch that will add air or fatness to the compressed audio

Titan is a single rack space 100 to 240 Volt switchable 50, 60 Hz

Dave Hill Designs Titan Compressor Review / See All ZenPro Audio Reviews Here: Review Page

Another tweaker's delight from Dave Hill, this digitally controlled analog compressor (no conversion or digital audio, it's just a more accurate way to control the analog settings!) is clean clean clean but with some added features that let you dial back in some grit and dirt. Controls include threshold, “shape” which lets you configure the steepness of the KNEE from gentle and linear to a more aggressive control the further you get past the threshold (1.1:1 to 10:1), attack (.5ms to 400ms), release (50ms to 5+ secs), +11.5dB make up gain, stepped parallel mix (0% to 100% wet), VCA color for modern PWM (Pulse Wave Modulation) control to vintage style compression, dynamic color which reacts to faster attack and deeper threshold transients, a stereo link (units are connected by a DSUB link system for fully linked digital controls), hard bypass, and a meter capable of output or gain reduction reporting. There is an LCD readout screen which reports these settings, including a visual perspective of the knee shape, link status and other info.

OK did you get all that?

The first thing we noticed was how clean this unit was capable of remaining, whether compressing or not. It is as close to artifact free as you could ever want to be it seems, it doesn't crunch or spit or splat but rather provides smooth and unaltered tone (if you choose to run it clean). If you like the way your source sounds, you can rely on that same character to exit the unit intact. Speaking of tone though, it does have a “fat” and “air” switch option that brings a subtle change that would make mastering engineers smile (ME's don't generally overdo such things) but a mixer during a loud rock session wonder where the difference is (again, subtle...). So engaging the clean “PWM” setting and none of the character options, we're talking a largely unaffected sound. The compressor itself is well suited to medium to lighter types of control, don't go expecting it to do an 1176 style smash job but rather a more elegant, less rock-n-roll style envelope shaper. It's plenty fast without crunching the lead transients, and the release time can be very fast and allows things to roll back up nicely without distorting. We were a bit surprised Dave didn't include an auto-release mode, but it is a smooth release character that doesn't get all pumpy either.

Switching to “Vintage” VCA mode is a totally different animal, and you're ready for some old school drive and squash that is very obvious as a compressor but also as an effect to be heard. Now we can spit and crunch! On things like drums it is a nice, aggressive type of sound. Vocals are a bit more “warm” and thick, like you tracked them a few decades ago. The nice thing is that you can blend between the two modes to your heart's delight. On top of that, the Dynamic Color option can further top off an extreme setting on transient material. Overall we found this option to be subtle, possibly not even noticed on more average type material. If you really want to go deep on a drum track for instance, this can bring some “pop” to the sound when pushed hard.

The blend option allows us to slam stuff but bring back the original, for a less affected sound. A very popular feature these days for a reason, sometimes even backing off one or two clicks can add just enough life back to the source.

The linking is incredibly in depth and accurate to our ears, with full reporting of which unit is slave and master right on the LCD readout. This isn't some 1/4” cable link situation, but an included multi pin cable carries all the digital control info needed between units for 100% control of 100% of the features from one unit. And speaking of the LCD, it's a cool feature that wasn't used for anything spectacular like showing active reduction etc, but rather just straight ahead reporting of numeric values of each setting plus a visual of the knee shape as you twist it up or down.

Conclusion: Consider it either a tweaker's delight OR a customizable compressor that you could just setup the way you like and leave that way if you wanted. Those seeking clean need not look further, and you will have these color options available if / when needed. The smoother control is more elegant than most rock-n-roll style boxes, and it also makes an excellent stereo linked compressor for ultimate 2-buss control.


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