It’s not often that we come across a product that feels genuinely different, but nABC – not Another Boring Compressor - looks like a proper mould-breaker. It’s a portable “studio-grade” analogue compressor that comes in an audio interface-style enclosure, and is designed to ease the process of applying sidechain compression and give you more control over it.
The Big Idea is that you can trigger the sidechain via MIDI, USB, analogue synth signals (gate/CV) or pedals, with no audio routing required. You can also dictate the time, depth and shape of the compression, giving you plenty of creative scope.
You could, for example, program your sidechain compression by creating a sequencer pattern, or by playing a MIDI keyboard. You then have control over each compression transient, so as well as being able to create the classic ‘pumping’ effect you could also, for example, shape the envelope of each note of an arpeggio or process each drum hit with individual settings.
Of course, nABC can also be used as a standard dynamic compressor, but creativity is definitely the watchword here. Parameters can be automated in real-time via USB and MIDI, and you can save settings as presets.
The centrepiece of the hardware is a large pushable knob (pressing it engages bypass), which is surrounded by 20 RGB LED rings that show signal level, gain reduction and the values of the parameters being adjusted. Touchpads enable you to navigate the nABC’s options and select the parameter you want to control.
nABC comes in an aluminium case and is designed to be used both in the studio and on stage. It’s currently being pitched on Kickstarter, where it’s already raised more than half of its modest funding target. A pledge of Swedish SEK 3,490 (around £290) should secure you a unit when the product is released in November.