written by
Ziga Rezar

Gyraf G24 "Passive/Aggressive" Compressor released on mix:analog

6 min read
Gyraf G24 Passive/Aggressive Compressor front panel
Gyraf G24 "Passive/Aggressive" Compressor

We have been teasing you with a Gyraf G24 compressor for almost half a year now. Finally, everything checked out, the G24 is here and the results are nothing short of extraordinary! This compressor is the epitome of innovative thinking combined with an audiophile signal path. It successfully attempts to reinvent what a compressor is and what a compressor does.

We managed to automate this boutique, mastering grade compressor to specs that earned the blessing of the creator himself:

"For the longest time, I doubted if this would really be possible. It's not easy by any measure - the guys from mix:analog have committed a genuine technological miracle making the G24 remoted without compromising sound or functionality. It makes me really happy that our G24 can be part of demonstrating such game-changing technology - and I really like that people from anywhere on the 'net can now access and enjoy this piece of hardware directly from the safety of their own speakers" - Jakob Erland, Gyraf Audio

Thank you, Mr. Erland, but of course, we can't stop there. The power users need to have their say too.

To be 110% sure it's immaculate, we had it tested by the owner of G24 serial number #️000 Emil Thomsen of ET Mastering and owner of G24 serial number #️001 Bob Macc of Subvert Central Mastering. They both confirmed that the sound and compression feel the same as their unit in the studio.

Can I use it?

If you've glanced at the interface of this unique compressor, you might be wondering if you need special training and a license to pilot the G24. It has so many knobs and features you don't normally find on a compressor.

I mean, LA2-A is an optical compressor as well and it manages just fine with two knobs that go from less to more and a switch...?

... but you could hardly call the LA2-A a "swiss army knife compressor".

As for the Gyraf G24, it's the closest thing to it that we have come across! It's not a one-trick-box, but once you get a grasp of the controls and get to know their sonic impact and range, it's pure joy to work with.

How does it sound?

Reading about sound examples is a bit... ineffective. For a full experience, please skip to the second half of our tutorial video and have a listen.

The sound samples are in the second half of the video tutorial.

One of the beta testers (also a mastering engineer) had this to say about it:

“The Gyraf G24 Passive Aggressive is no ordinary compressor. The beauty of it, aside from flexibility, is the lovely transparency. “Passive-aggressive” is exactly how it behaves. It’s doesn’t feel like you’re getting much gain reduction or mojo till you bypass or A/B and then it’s like WHOA. I often have mastering clients who do not want their mix balance altered by typical mastering compression. This will be my new go-to tool for that. I can frame and constrict the transients without messing with the vibe. That’s huge." - Matt Byron, Stereo Era Records

Video walkthrough / tutorial

For those of you that like to have a video walkthrough and familiarize yourselves with the knobs before delving into the device yourselves, we made a semi-short tutorial:

Gyraf G24 Tutorial video

... and for those of you who don't like TV and are happier with a written how-to, here is a transcript of the tutorial:

How can the G24 be passive?

You know the way the signal goes through your XLR cables, with one positive and one negative polarity version of the same thing? Well, this compressor makes use of this kind of signal and achieves compression by putting a photoresistive element - "the opto" - in-between those two signal copies, so the more this element starts to conduct, the more the two polarities cancel each other out! Brilliant!

All the control circuitry, the sidechain, is active and so allows for a very wide range of timing, ratio, and other settings, but the primary signal path stays passive and is in that sense only limited by the specs of the wonderful Lundahl transformers that interface the device with the outside world.

What's more, those opto elements are positioned in a matrix between left and right channels' positive and negative phase, which allows for - wait for it - simultaneous Mid/Side and left/right compression in any desired combination and nature of the two. If that doesn't blow minds that I don't know what could!

This is a very, very powerful sound-sculpting tool. And to wield this kind of power, one needs knowledge about it, so let's delve into the controls!

Controls available in the UI

Gyraf G24 mixanalog GUI
Gyraf G24 mix:analog GUI

The two sets of controls don't apply to left/right or Mid/Side channels but are in fact two completely separate sidechains. Each one of them has:

  • Threshold, that's set highest fully clockwise, so turn it in the CCW direction for more compression,
  • Ratio, which also affects the curvature of the gain reduction characteristic (you know, the bent line that the plugins usually draw for you),
  • Attack, that is fastest all the way to the left,
  • Release, also fastest all the way to the left,
  • The Feed control chooses where the compressor is going to be looking at the signal and comparing it to the threshold setting to figure out what to do with it. It can do that before the opto gain reduction element or after it, making it either a feed-back or a feed-forward compressor.
  • And lastly, the Elliptic filter continuously morphs from purely "Mid" signal to fully "Side" signal to be sent to the sidechain. In other words, you can use this control to set the compressor's sensitivity to different parts of the stereo image, consequently either keeping the stereo width stable on compression, widening it or collapsing it.

And as if one such complicated sidechain wouldn't be enough, this marvelous box has two of them. And you can mix both with the A/B Control knob.

In practice, it's easiest to set it to one end, tweak the first character, change to the second sidechain, tweak the second character, and then use the control knob to find the best combination of both or stick with one of the "presets".

But yes, there's even more

The unit also features a sidechain tilt filter - Emphasis, to make the unit less or more sensitive to low end (or high end) content.

If you haven't heard about a tilt filter before, it's kind of like two very gentle high and low shelves joined together in the middle of the spectrum, changing simultaneously as you turn the knob to shift the whole spectrum towards a brighter or more bass-heavy sound. This only applies to the sidechain, not the sound output and is similar to THRUST control on an API 2500.

FabFilter Pro-Q3 tilt filtert example
Tilt filter example from the FabFilter Pro-Q3

Use this control to either avoid pumping or force the unit to breathe more with the low end.

The Output knob is a passive attenuator wired after the compressor and lastly, the Output type selector switch lets you engage a transparent, impedance-matched active output stage, leave the unit truly passive or bypass it altogether.

The passive mode has a little bit lower level but will live up to its name and offer the most detail and depth. But if you find that for your type of material the impedance match between the compressor and the Burl ADC's line input doesn't exactly play perfectly, you can try the help of a simple active stage in-between and see what works best for your song.

Sounds great, where can I get it?

Try G24 on your tracks by visiting mix:analog! It's totally free of charge during December 2019.

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