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Compressors have been around since biblical times, well since before the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered anyway.
You would have to wonder whether there was anything new to be developed in compression, or whether we do in fact need anything else?
One standard feature of most compressors is that below a certain threshold level, they do nothing. Only when the signal rises about the threshold do they act. Once the signal is above the threshold, then for every 10 dB the input rises in level, the output rises by only 5 dB. (That would be at a compression ratio of 2:1).
But there is an argument that says that the compression ratio should get higher, the further the input signal is beyond the threshold. There are compressors like that, and it is a distinctly different sound - not better, but different.
But now with the power of digital audio technology, and the potential cost-effectiveness of plug-ins, it is possible to get really precise about this, and tailor the dynamic profile you require to the needs of the signal.
The Neodynium dynamics processor from Elemental Audio Systems does just this and allows you to map input levels to output levels precisely, with a clear graphic display of what's happening.
More than that, you can tailor parameters such as attack and release so that they are different at different levels. This kind of thing has been attempted using analog technology, but digital technology brings it to fruition.
The great thing about a compressor such as this is that it doesn't do the old 'emperor's new clothes' trick where a compressor is just supposed to sound 'great' in an indefinable way. This compressor shows you exactly what's going on.
As well as flexible compression, it's a learning experience too.
By the way, the spelling of Neodynium is different to that of the metal - just thought you would like to know :-)