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Crane Song Falcon 500-Series Tube Compressor  From Crane Song

Tube Opto Compressor featuring a Wet/Dry parallel compression knob, stereo linking, variable attack and release times, and a musical tube-based tone - all in a compact single-slot 500 Series module!

Crane Song


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What We Think

Anyone that thinks that 500 series modules are categorically inferior to rack-mount gear should spend 5 minutes with the Falcon.  Dave Hill somehow found a way to fit a tube opto compressor in a single slot, and really bring it to life.  It’s not meant to be a clone of any other tube opto’s on the market but stands as a fine example of what’s possible within this category.  It brings more flexibility than the traditional 2 knob designs, but without losing the character and 3 dimensionality that you should expect from a tube opto.

With 3 speed positions for attack and release as well as a colored/transparent switch, this is not the one trick pony that many tube optos are.  To add more flexibility Dave added a blend knob for parallel compression, though if I had my way I’d have preferred to see a variable HPF instead.  Personally, I find parallel compression more useful in conjunction with faster, grabbier compressor designs that will demolish your transients when pushed over the limit. The falcon has a much sweeter, slower and gentler character to it and doesn’t have as much need for a blend in my opinion.

Don’t expect to put this comp to use on drum tracks, but it will prove its worth on vocals, bass guitar, piano, and plenty else.  As you’d expect from a tube opto, I found it most useful on vocals. When you need it to move a bit more quickly and grab faster vocal spikes, the fast attack setting can really manage those quick moments, but if you’re looking for a slower smoother sound it will really impress you in the middle or slow position.

Dave Hill always seems to hit home runs with the gear he designs, but the falcon is particularly special.  If you’ve been overlooking 500 series up to this point, it’s time to get a rack and at least one falcon.

Manufacturer's Description from Crane Song

FALCON is a classic sounding tube compressor in a 500 series package.
FALCON features 3 attack and 3 release time settings, hard and soft knee choices for compression or limiting, two different audio path sounds, wet-dry mixing for parallel compression, and is linkable.
The audio path color is changed by modifying the tube circuit so it has negative feedback or does not have negative feedback.  This along with the optical like quality of the compressor allows for a colored vintage sound or a much cleaner sound with optical characteristics.
When linked the master unit controls all functions on the slave except for wet-dry and make up gain.  The link system is capable of doing 5.1
Crane Song

About Manufacturer

Designer Dave Hill has always had an interest in electronics, and started designing and building devices at an early age. He was building synthesizers from scratch and started doing professional level sound recording and equipment maintenance at a local music store while still in school. After high school Dave decided to pursue a career in electronics and enrolled in a course at a local community college. After his first semester he was asked by the college to take over teaching the course. He taught for 8 years and continued his involvement in pro audio. To date Dave has been doing studio and film sound recording since 1972. He has also been involved in film post production. Early in the 1980's Dave was asked by a used equipment dealer if he could design a tube compressor that would have the sound of the older tube type devices and still be clean enough to compete with modern devices. The result of this request was the Summit Audio TLA-100. Due to the success of that design Dave Hill went on to design and set up the manufacture of all Summit Audio products until September of 1994 at which time Summit Audio was relocated the manufacturing to California. From 1984 to 1994 Summit Audio grew from a single product and one employee working out of the basement of Dave's home to a full product line and over a dozen fulltime employees. Beginning in August of 1995, several of those key members of the Summit production crew began working for Dave again in his new company called Crane Song. After the move of Summit Audio, Dave wanted to keep the production crew together and start a new company. First he designed a tube playback pre-amp for the ATR-102 tape machine called the HDV-2. This is now being manufactured for the ATR Service Company by Crane Song. Next Dave designed a two channel discrete class A compressor-limiter, called the STC-8. The Today the Crane Song family of products has grown to five; *HEDD (Harmonically Enhanced Digital Device), FLAMINGO stereo mic preamp, TRAKKER, single channel compressor, and the new SPIDER 8 channel mic preamp, mixer, A/D convertor which has recently joined the family. Crane Song Ltd. is able to provide the highest level of quality due to the many years of experience of both Dave and the people who have stayed with him. Some of these employees have worked with Dave since 1988 and continue to have an intense interest in developing the best audio devices possible. Crane Song's combination of innovative design and uncompromising attention have helped the company make its mark in the professional audio world.

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Falcon User Manual