“As faithful to the original as humanly possible”: Can Behringer really bring you the sound of a $4,000 Neve hardware compressor for less than $500?

Originally released back in the ‘80s, the Neve 33609 bus compressor has been used on countless hit records. Famed for providing punch without muddiness and extreme musicality, it’s a proper classic; in fact, Neve describes the latest model as a “desert island stereo compressor.”

Pieces of gear like that don’t come cheap, though - the current Neve 33609/N will set back around $4,000. Here comes Behringer, though, with its own take on the design, which will sell for around $500.

Even by Behringer’s standards, that’s quite a price difference, so can the company’s new 369 compressor possibly hope to compete?

Behringer seems to think so: we’re told that “the legacy and DNA of the original Neve 33609 flows through the veins of the 369,” and that its engineering team - which includes people who worked with Rupert Neve - has worked to make this recreation “as faithful to the original as humanly possible”.

As with the Neve hardware, the 369 is both a compressor and a limiter. The limiter comes first in the signal path and is designed to tame unruly peaks, and the compressor is more subtle and musical. Both sections have Threshold and Recovery controls and the option to switch between a fast and slow attack setting, and the compressor also has gain and ratio controls.

Further controls enable you to switch between stereo and mono operation and bypass each compressor and limiter individually. You can also switch between internal and remote control.

The Behringer 369 comes in a 2U rackmount chassis and can also slot into a rack case if you want to take it with you on the road. There are vintage-style VU meters, and inputs and outputs are on XLR connectors.

Thomann has the 369 listed for €499 - which we guess will equate to around $500 - and says that it’ll be available in a few months.

Find out more on the Behringer website.

Behringer 369

(Image credit: Behringer)
Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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