Really Nice Leveling Amp


The Really Nice Levelling Amplifier (RNLA) is a compressor, of sorts, with a character that works well with vocals, bass guitar, acoustic guitars and two-mix sources.
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The Really Nice Levelling Amplifier (RNLA) is a compressor, of sorts, with a character that works well with vocals, bass guitar, acoustic guitars and two-mix sources. The sonic performance of the RNLA harkens back to the Really Nice Compressor's (RNC's) origins. The original RNC was, in fact, based upon an optical gain element that was ultimately rejected (and tucked away) due to its imparting of a sonic signature (i.e., "color").

FMR RNLA7239 Features:

  • Wide Dynamic Range - Despite the unbalanced input/output connections, the RNLA has adynamic range of 117dB, minimum, which is appropriate for today's digital systems and exceeds that which is attainable with many oder, 'vintage' levelling amplifiers. The RNLA offers a clip point (<3% THD) of 22.5 dBu.
  • Fidelity -Although the RNLA is designed to dynamically "color" the sound passing through it, the channel electronics are fairly neutral and designed so that the output signal (statically measured) closely resembles the input signal. Each channel is hand-trimmed to typically less than 0.005% Total Harmonic Distortion +Noise (THD+N). Even this low-level distortion is predominantly second-order -a much less heinous form of distortion and agreed by many to impart a slight "sweetness" to a signal.
  • Ugly and Cheesy Box - Like its FMR brethren, the RNC and RNP, we use a third-rack cabinet (still a heary combination of extruded aluminum and steel) to allow us to throw the money we save in cosmetics into the quality of the audio electronics.
  • Easy-to-read Panel Graphics - This may seem like an arbitrary and trivial point, but we think it's important: easily assessing the settings on a rack-mounted processor is important when you've got a lot of stuff going on during a recording session. In our experience, dark lettering on a light back groundworks better than the other way around.
  • Inputs and Inserts - As with the RNC, the RNLA has unbalanced inputs that double asTip-Ring-Sleeve (TRS) inserts to mate with popular mixer and equipment inserts. This allows you to connect, using only a single TRS-to-TRS cable per channel, an RNLA's channel (in & out) with a single cable to a mixer or other compatible device.
  • Balanced Outputs - The RNLA has balanced, non-differential outputs. Although the"cold" part of the signal is not driven, the impedance in both legs are the same, thereby giving your audio the benefit of reduced noise if the RNLA is connected to a balanced line input.
  • Precise Gain Reduction Metering - A highly accurate gain reduction meter is provided to allow visual verification of what you're hearing. Although meters should never be a substitute for what you hear, a dynamically accurate meter is better thanone that can "lag" or misread the actual dynamic performance of the compressor. Due to our digitally-controlled architecture, even the peak-detection errors of a pure digitally-implemented meter are avoided and a dynamically accurate meter is obtained.
  • Full Parametric Control - Some of the more common Levelling Amplifiers don't have full parametric control. Many LA's are missing the ability to control the ATTACK time. Some of them don't even provide a RATIO control, let alone a continuously-variable RATIO control. The RNLA provides both for maximum artistic flexibility. In addition, all of the front panel controls are merelya "control surface" for the RNLA's internal digital engine. This means: (a) Nomain channel audio flows to/from the front panel controls that might increaseits noise susceptibility or dreaded "scratchy pot syndrome", and (b) We canuse a "ratiometric" measuring technique, along with robust digital filtering,to derive repeatable and precise compression parameters.
  • Alternative Release Contour - Loosely based upon the "Log/Lin" control on the ValleyPeople Gain Brain II, this control ("Log Rel") can help restore some "punch"that can get lost without an acceleration of the release envelope. So, when Log Rel is on, we accelerate the release time as a function of gain reduction amount. We've found this to be particularly handy on drum sub-mixes where we still wanted the drums to "punch", but in a compressed and controlled way.
  • Hardwired Bypass - We use a sealed relay (for long life) to switch the RNLA's output connectors between the output of the compression stage or the input jacks,thus providing a true bypass of the signal path.
  • Made In The U.S.A.

FMR RNLA7239 Specifications:

  • Size: 1/3 x 1 EIA rack unit
  • Connectors: Left/Right 1/4" unbalanced inputs (TS, orTRS for console inserts); Left/Right 1/4" balanced, single-ended outputs; TRS sidechain
  • Controls and Displays: Rotary: Threshold, Ratio,Attack Time, Release Time, Output Level; Switches: Bypass, Mode Select; Meter:8-segment LED Gain Reduction, 0-16 dB
  • Modes: Normal: Provides fast attack/release; Log Rel: Provides release envelope acceleration to aid maintenance of transient "punch"
  • Operating Level: 0.775 Vrms (0 dBu) nominal for +22 dB headroom; 1.228 Vrms (+4 dBu) nominal for +18 dB headroom
  • Noise: Less than -90 dBu over 20-20kHz; Typically -95dBu over 20-20kHz
  • Frequency Response: 10-100kHz +/-0.5dB @ 0 dBu
  • Clip Point: +22.5dBu @ 3% THD, 1kHz, greater than 2kohm load
  • Distortion: Less than 0.1%, no gain reduction @ 1 kHz,0dBu; Less than 0.5%, 6 dB G.R. @ 1 kHz, 6:1, 6.0 msec attack, 0.5 sec.release, 0 dB gain, 0 dBu
  • Threshold Range: -40 dBu to +20 dBu
  • Ratio Range: 1:1 to 25:1
  • Attack Range: 0.2 msec to 200 msec for 100% correction with <15dB over threshold input signal
  • Release Range: .05 sec to 5.0 sec for 100% recovery with 15dB G.R.
  • Output Trim Range: +/-15dB
  • AC Power: Wall transformer, 9VAC @ 500mA, 2.1mm jack
  • Dimensions: 5.5" x 5.5" x 1.6"
  • Weight: 2 lbs

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