Aphex Dominator II Model 720 (723) Compressor #5


In stock


The Dominator Model 720 is also available as a 723 with pre-emphasis built-in. It may retain the 720 legend on the front panel but has a 723 serial number. This is a 723

Pre-emphasis is switchable via back-panel switch and, when defeated, the 723 acts the same as a Model 720. For more info see the owners manual under the Links tab

I’ve spent more time with the Dominator recently and have written a setup manual for newcomers

Aphex carved a niche in the signal processing market, first with the Aural Exciter, then with a series of superb compressor / leveller units like the Dominator. They are all super-transparent units with no discernible “sound” and 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

“Aphex Dominator 720. When used accurately, it’s literally transparent. This is a real secret weapon that glues the track together nicely”

The Dominator is a multiband unit with adjustable high and low frequency bands with variable crossover frequencies. These bands control the contribution each makes to the gain reduction. 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…

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 great for use on stems or stereo sources and it makes a superb stereo bus compressor

The density control allows a real change in the sound of the compressed signal, allowing transients to be suppressed or emphasised. 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 takes a little time to get your head around multiband compression, and some Dominator controls are counter-intuitive, but the results are remarkable

The low and high bands can be used to drive the compression as required. Used on a loop, pushing the higher frequencies makes the snare drum drive the compression and, by changing the density and release parameters, this can 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.

I like the Dominator a lot. It really surprised me by how clever it was at changing dynamics without ruining the sound. It’s a great addition to a compressor rack as it can pull things out of a signal that other units can’t. It can do things that most compressors won’t, and that EQ can never do

As a tool to control absolute peaks, the Dominator is probably the best analogue tool of its type. It manages to sound clean & clear even when driven into heavy limiting or past the peak stop 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

I managed similar effects with the Valley People 610 I have on sale, but the 610 leaves far more of a footprint on the audio. The Dominator changes dynamics without audible “effect” and does it so effectively that it’s hard to comprehend at first

Photos show a Dominator sold previously

The model 722 is identical to the 720 but adds switchable pre-emphasis for broadcast use

Balanced inputs & outputs are on XLR connectors and each channel has a switchable 600 Ohm termination for use in broadcast setups. Operating level is variable so you can establish the operating level required for your setup. Mains input is via a standard IEC socket and the Dominator works on AC voltages between 90 and 250 Volts. UK or Euro Schuko power cable supplied on request

The Dominator 720 and 722 models are identical except that the 722 has switchable pre-emphasis suitable for FM broadcasting

Standard 19" 1U device suitable for all 19" racks. 220-240 Volt & standard IEC power socket. UK or Euro Schuko power cable supplied on request

Product Page (relevant to the 720 & 722)


Owners manual

http://www.aphex.com/resources/pdf/720manualscan.zip Youtube Training Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yed8LUtN51c Quickstart Guide (relevant to the 720 & 722) http://www.aphex.com/resources/pdf/722suppltquickstart.pdf


Very good condition with minor rack rash. Case has been repainted. Pots have been cleaned & lubricated. Tested & working 100%. Photos show a Dominator sold previously

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, and and supply a test sheet for it, but please understand that vintage gear will not be perfect and adjust your expectations accordingly