Ashly SC-50 Compressor


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Ashly is an American company specialising in signal processing & amplification. They have a substantial list of historic products like the SC-50. The vintage products, and the black-face versions in particular, are now quite sought-after

This auction is for an SC-50 which is identical to the CL50 except for the front panel & knobs

The SC-50 is a single-channel VCA compressor in conventional format with attack & release controls and variable ratio. It’s a feisty compressor, easily audible in operation and quite coloured. It responds well to changes in both threshold & ratio, allowing subtle compression, vicious limiting and all points in-between. It’s a peak-detecting compressor with no over-easy or RMS detector functions. The sidechain has send & return jacks so it’s easy to patch in a sidechain equaliser. There is provision for stereo linking

The Gain control sets threshold. Output Level control is active even in bypass. The rest of the controls (Ratio, Attack, Release) are conventional. Gain reduction is shown on an LED meter which has a useful yellow “Threshold” indicator to show the point at which the unit tips over into compression

These Ashly compressors have quite a following now. They work well on bass, vocals and drums but have a big reputation as a guitar compressor. They have bags of character and a soud of their own

“Absolutely kick-ass compressor…”

“I think they sound fantastic on drums and bass. I’ll use them on guitar sometimes, depending”

“I have two sc-50’s, a black face and a blue face… and they’re actually pretty freaking awesome!”

“I have a black face SC-50 and really dig it on electric guitars. My go-to box for this task – and I have quite a bunch of comps”

“It has a unique, rather colored sound, with a slightly hollow quality and some grit and “wooly thickness” in the highs. This tonal quality is not as strong as an “effect”, but rather a subtle coloration that gives a unique, bluesy, vintage character. The high frequencies are a bit muddy and muted, but there is no loss of low end”

“In my opinion, the Ashly comps from days long gone are absolutely killer units…They are extremely powerful tools with a distinct but pleasant color, and can go from gentle nudge to absolute crush”

“The SC-50 is the same circuit as the CL-50 . . . at least the black face ones are”

“All Ashly gear = built like tanks”

The CL50 will appeal to those wanting a compressor with a bit of edge. It works really well on vocals, adding grit and character without killing dynamics. With drum tracks it brings up room ambience but still sounds punchy. Driving the input hard imparts a nice edge to the signal which works well on bass guitar. The Ashly is not an invisible & neutral compressor like the Symetrix 525 or Cloud CX335, but more of an effect compressor like the Furman LC-X or dbx 160X

The CL50 is in the typical tough 1U steel case used by American manufacturers. Internal construction is simple with a single PCB & through-hole components so it will be repairable in the future. Power input is 220 Volts AC with a rear-panel fuseholder, captive 3-core cable and a UK power plug The unit has a balanced input & unbalanced output on jack sockets. Stereo link and sidechain input & output (labelled "Detector Send & Return") are also on jacks
For standard 19" rack
Owners manual  Youtube demo (of modified unit) Ovnilab Review HarmonyCentral 4.5 Star ★★★★ Review
In excellent used condition. Tested & working 100% Vintage gear 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 but please understand that vintage gear will not be perfect and adjust your expectations accordingly