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Highland Dynamics BG2  From Highland Dynamics

Hand-crafted, all-tube, fully transformer-balanced vari-mu compressor with automatic leveling capability

Highland Dynamics


Retail:  $3,515.00

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Manufacturer's Description from Highland Dynamics

Write less automation. The BG2 is an all-tube, fully transformer-balanced vari-mu compressor with automatic leveling capability. It has a front end in the style of a British-modified Altec 436 with a twin 6V6 output amp in the style of an RCA BA6A or Gates. It contains custom, oversized transformers, US and European capacitors and a US Simpson meter. 


-Input and output controls
-Fast and slow attack
-6 release positions 
-Link switch for stereo use
-600 and 150 ohm input impedance taps
-Switchable feedback settings

Input Impedence

The BG2 has standard 600 ohm input, or 150 ohm for more gain and transformer color. It's also useful when running a microphone directly in with no preamp.


British & American Modes

British mode utilizes a modified Altec 436 plate-to-plate style feedback. With less gain, a cleaner, more hifi sound and smoother operation, British is the big smooth tube compressor.  American mode lets more harmonics and color come through, instantly changing your compressor to a different animal all together.

Compression On/Off

There is a compression on/off switch that removes the side-chain tube, turning the compressor into a line amp. With the compression turned off, you can drive it into distortion. You can achieve different colors of distortion with both the feedback and input selection switches.


Two BG2s can be linked with a 1/4” guitar cable in the back of the compressor and the link switch on the front.

Highland Dynamics

About Manufacturer

"In the mid 2000s, I opened a little gear shop inside the Hangar recording studio in Sacramento. I had been working on studios in San Francisco for two years before that, and was looking forward to having my own spot. I started engineering records for bands, and owner John Baccigaluppi also set me up as the Hangar’s tech and repairman. 

Repairing guitar amps inspired me to start building my own amps under my own name - Bryce. I soon moved into more studio-based repair work and some of John's friends started sending me studio equipment to work on. I was also able to work on more specialized gear, like rebuilding a 50's RCA 76D tube console, and later building a second one from spare parts.


The BG2 came to be after building more custom compressors - a UA 175, RCA BA6A and a Fairchild. It combined the front end of a British-modified Altec 436 with the back end of a BA6A-style twin 6V6 amp. 

The BG3 was another combination idea, with the same British-style Altec 436 front end combined with a UA 175 back end. Rob Schnapf now has the only two BG3s every made, which he uses often.

I met Thom Monahan and began working with him on sessions at the Hangar, and making trips down to work in Los Angeles. House engineering and tech-ing eventually propelled me to move Los Angeles, where I salvaged vintage electronics and worked on sessions with Jonathan Wilson eventually becoming the house engineer at his studio, Five Star. I installed two early BG1s and two BG2s there. I also made some other custom gear for Five Star, hand-wired Pultecs and some guitar amps. We used them on a lot of great sessions, including Here We Go Magic with Nigel Goodrich, The Breeders, Jenny O, Roy Harper, Kurt Vile, Monsters of Folk, Jonathan Wilson, Father John Misty, Conor Oberst and David Holmes, Keefus Ciancia.


I started working at a few other studios around town — Vox, The Village, Grove Masters — and have brought my compressors along with me as I do. During that time, I also worked with Hugo Nicolson and his company Lisson Grove, building his R124 compressors. The build quality of the Lisson Grove R124 was great, and helped me to hone my skills in building my own BG2 compressors with the same focus and detail and inspired me to try reproducing my units on a larger scale.

2014 was spent getting the BG2 worked out for production, the main goal was to keep the sound the same or better. Luckily I had friends like Thom, who have used BG2s for years, that could make sure I was on the right track. I gave Thom a older BG2 for that year that sounds great, in fact, everyone that used it would try to buy it off me. As I worked on the production BG2, I would take it to Thom and let him check it out on a session, then he would report back to me. I did that with some other engineers as well, this was time consuming, but was important, it always had to sound and work well in a session, that was always the final test.

For the past 14 years engineering bands and building gear simultaneously, I’ve only ever been able to build a few of my compressors here and there, available to friends and artists via word of mouth. Now I’m expanding production of the BG2 - still handmade and high quality, but available to everyone."


Single Channel

19" Rackmount