Furman is not well known in the UK but is a big name in the USA for their power management products. The LC-X is one of their vintage units and dates back to the mid-1980s. It’s a FET-based compressor with a big, aggressive sound and lots of mojo
The LC-X combines a single-channel expander, compressor and limiter in one chassis. Each section has its own controls and the result is a punchy, flexible compressor / limiter with lots of attitude. It comes complete with sidechain send & return (labelled sidechain output & input) and a socket for stereo linking. Using the sidechain with an outboard EQ is definitely to be experimented with!
The expander has ratio & threshold controls and works effectively. It has a smoother, subtler effect than a gate and is ideal for reducing background noise from loud guitar amps. The 1:1 ratio setting is marked “off”
The compressor also has ratio & threshold settings. Careful setting of these two will dial the compressor into a sweet spot where the compression as inaudible – or as obnoxious – as you want. Lower thresholds result in aggressive pumping and this can be accentuated or reduced by adjusting the ratio. Compression ratio is variable from 1:1 (off) to limit (>8:1). In my tests I found 2 or 3:1 to be ideal for creating obvious compression without flattening the signal completely
Attack & release time are separately adjustable. It’s not immediately obvious if these controls apply to both compression & expansion but I assume they do. Fast attack neuters transients very effectively and, with short attack & release times, can be used to completely change the character of percussive signals. Longer attack times give the traditional hard attack followed by compression and is the key to making the LC-X pump
Final trick in the box is the limiter. This throws subtlety completely out of the window… It has one control, an output limit setting, and can reduce drums to a smoking ruin. Between this and the compressor there’s a whole world of massive compression – and huge distortion – to explore
This is the first FET compressor I’ve played with for a while. FETs tend to generate more distortion than VCAs but, as the distortion is level-dependent, it often adds excitement & edge to the signal. In this respect, the LC-X is not as refined or accomplished as a UREI 1176 but it is definitely heading in the same direction. If you like compressors with aggression – like I do – the LC-X will be right up your street.
The LC-X is ideal for drum ambience, drum busses or anything that benefits from heavy compression. It’s also brilliant for electric guitars as it adds “hair” and bite