BGRA: Aphex 651 Expressor (single-channel compressor

Manufacturer Aphex Model 651 Expressor (single-channel compressor
Reviewer Steven Brence
Experience 20 years Item owned 1-2 years
Review Date 2001-11-22 Price paid $200 (used)
Size1 rack space
ControlsToo many to list
OtherVery sturdy construction--heavy!!
When I decided to replace my Trace Elliot compressor pedal with a rack unit, I read quite a bit. Given that good tube compressors were out of my range financially, I decided to try to get the best solid-state, single-channel (since I only intended to use it in my bass rig) compressor I could find. The reviews of Aphex gear impressed me, but they are quite expensive, so I kept my eyes peeled for a used one. I found mine after a while at a local buy and sell center for a good deal. It sounds great. I originally used it in a rack with a GK 800rb, and Eden 210 and Bag End 18 cabs. Despite the almost hospital clean sound of that head and accuracy of the cabs, it added no discernable coloration to the sound. It is very fast and has features to time align the high and low frequencies so that the high end doesn't become squashed sounding. The low end remained strong and clear with no muddiness. I now use it with an Ashdown and Acme setup (RPM-1 preamp and ABM-1000 poweramp through two LowB2 series II cabs) and it still impresses me. It has perhaps too many controls as it is designed for many purposes (from use in a broadcast studio to musician rigs), but the manual is excellent, giving many suggested settings for different instruments and playing styles. Its complexity for use during gigs is my only complaint along with an occasional internal rattle with my rack sitting on my speaker cabs (it comes and goes and is lost in the sound when volume is turned up.) I play a Steinberger XL2, a Kubicki Ex-Factor, and an NS Design US5 EUB, all of which sound excellent through it, particularly the EUB which makes a massive low-B sound, easily tightened up without being thinned by the Aphex. To sum up: The Aphex 651 Expressor is a very high-quality single-channel solid-state compressor. I recommend it highly for use in good quality bass rigs where only a single channel is needed. Available used for the same price as a lower-quality stereo unit.
construction (100%)
sound (95%)
The best sounding solid state compressor I have heard.
value (90%)
Pretty expensive new, but a very good deal used.
overall (95%)
I highly recommend it for bass rigs.
The BGRA is generously underwritten by David King of Bass Guitar Systems.
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