Aphex Dominator Stereo Compressor Model 700


Out of stock


Aphex carved a niche in the signal processing market, first with the Aural Exciter, then with a series of superb compressor / leveller units such as the Dominator. They are all super-transparent units with no discernible “sound”. They use proprietary Aphex algorithms to determine attack & release times and to hold gain reduction when required. Aphex units were popular in American broadcast setups and many sat in racks for a decade or more controlling levels to the transmitter. They are beautifully-made with substantial front panels & steel cases, balanced XLR inputs & outputs and very high quality circuitry

The Studio Dominator 700 is a multiband unit with adjustable high and low frequency bands, each with switchable crossover frequencies. These bands control the contribution each makes to the gain reduction so the low end can be prevented from pumping the signal or excess high-frequencies can be pulled back without affecting the main signal adversely. These controls can, of course be misused creatively…

The equaliser affects the sidechain only, not the main signal, so the compressor can be made more (or less) sensitive in specific frequency bands. It can take a little time to get your head around multiband compression, and controls can be counter-intuitive, but the results are remarkable
The low and high bands can be used to drive compression as required. Used on a loop, pushing the higher frequencies makes the snare drum drive the compression and, by changing the release time and using TEC, this will make the snare snap more – or less, pushing it back in the mix. Release time is the key here. Setting release is confusing at first because the control operates in the opposite sense to most compressors with the fastest release time fully clockwise.  The Dominator is definitely a tool to be setup using your ears, not by looking at the front panel
The Dominator has a peak limiter function with zero overshoot. This allows a maximum output level to be set. The output won’t go over that level, so it’s suitable for mastering, in-ear monitoring feeds & etc. Aphex achieves this without the gross clipping typical of low-end compressors that use diode clippers. It also has a switchable TEC “Transient Enhancer Control” which is an Aphex tweak designed to allow transients to be less affected by the limiting process
The front panel controls are

  • Drive
  • Process (off / on)
  • LF EQ (+/- 6)
  • LF crossover frequency (80 / 160 Hz)
  • HF EQ (+/- 6)
  • HF crossover frequency (1700 / 4500 Hz)
  • Release Time
  • Stereo tracking (off / on)
  • Output ceiling switch
  • Range (low / hi)
  • TEC (off / on)
  • Gain Reduction metering

I’ve used other Aphex models like the Dominator 720 & Compellor but this is the first model 700 I’ve come across. It has the typical Aphex ability to alter dynamics without changing the quality of the signal. It’s a remarkable trick – one that takes me by surprise every time. It reminds me of the SPL Transient Designer in its ability to suppress or accentuate dynamics but it’s capable of much more

I like compressors with an obvious “sound” that leave big footprints all over the signal. The Dominator leaves a footprint alright, but does it without mangling the original signal. For sitting a loop in a track, or making it poke out, this is a great tool. Because it’s a stereo unit it’s ideal for stems & stereo sources or as a stereo bus limiter

As a tool to control absolute peaks, the Studio Dominator is one of the best units around. It manages to sound clean & clear even when driven into heavy limiting or past the output ceiling level. This is what it was designed to do – limit cleanly with no overshoot. But the fact that it’s great at changing dynamics of a drum bus, loop or stem means it has far more uses than just peak limiting

Photos are of a Dominator Model 720 and will be replaced by photos of the Model 700

Balanced inputs & outputs are on XLR connectors and each channel is switchable 6between balanced and unbalanced. Mains input is via a standard IEC socket and the Dominator works on AC voltages between 90 and 250 Volts. UK IEC or Euro Schuko mains cable supplied on request

Standard 19" 1U device suitable for all 19" racks. 90-250 Volt & standard IEC mains socket. UK IEC or Euro Schuko mains cable supplied on request

Product Page (for related 722)


Owners manual


Youtube Training Video


Quickstart Guide (for related 722)



In really excellent used condition with just a few marks on the case. The front panel is almost unmarked. Photos are of a Dominator Model 720 and will be replaced with photos of the Model 700

All vintage gear will have case scratches and marks. It may also have, or develop, noisy pots and switches. I make my descriptions as accurate as possible and note any existing defects. I test each item before shipping, and and supply a test sheet, but please understand that vintage gear will not be perfect and adjust your expectations accordingly