Golden Age Project COMP-3A JR Vintage Style Compressor / Leveler



Golden Age Project COMP-3A JR Vintage Style Compressor / Leveler


The COMP-3A JR is a one channel vintage style Compressor / Leveler. The signal path uses only discrete components like resistors, capacitors, diodes and transistors. The input and output is transformer balanced, using two different transformers, each one optimized for its purpose. This is the way audio components were built before integrated circuits became available.

Integrated circuits are small and cheap and widely used in most modern designs. The drawback is that audio components built with modern technology do not always provide the best perceived sound quality or the type of character that the modern user desires.
The subjective sound quality delivered by vintage equipment is often preferred over the one delivered by modern units, a situation that is even more obvious now when music is recorded with clean sounding digital audio equipment.
This is the reason why so many vintage audio components are cloned and produced again and also why the vintage originals are often very expensive on the second hand market.

The circuit used in the COMP-3A JR is based on classic design elements and uses an integrated opto-coupler to control gain. This gives the COMP-3A JR a unique compression characteristic. In addition, the vintage style signal path adds a wonderful and musical character to the sound. The ease of use with only two main controls makes it very simple to achieve the desired sound. These attributes have made vintage products with a similar design, favorites of engineers and musicians worldwide.

A classic sound and compression style is now available at a very affordable price point with the COMP-3A JR.


*  Vintage style electronics. No integrated circuits in the main audio signal path.

*  Transformer balanced input and output. Can drive almost any load, balanced or unbalanced. The maximum output level is 25 dBu.

*  Uses an integrated opto-coupler to control gain. The fastest attack time is about 1 ms.

*  Very simple to operate with only two main controls, Gain Makeup and Gain Reduction.

*  Three-position TIME switch to select different combinations of Attack and Release time.

*  Selectable jumpers inside the unit to increase the timing on TIME-switch position B and C.

*  LED meter selectable to show output level or gain reduction.

*  Hardwire bypass switch for easy comparisons.

*  XLR and TRS input and output jacks for flexible connections.

*  Link jack for connecting to another unit for stereo operation.

*  All external controls located on the front panel.

*  External power supply to avoid interaction with the audio circuits and transformers.

*  Compact 1RU quarter rack format. Up to four units can be mounted in our 19-inch rack kit, the UNITE MKII.

*  A solid build quality that will last many years of normal use.

What is the difference between the COMP-3A and the COMP-3A JR?

The COMP-3A JR is a vintage style design with transformer balanced input and output and fully discrete electronics just like the COMP-3A.
The design is different though as it uses an integrated opto-coupler instead of the classic T4 opto unit.
The COMP-3A JR has a lower price and a smaller size compared to the COMP-3A. It also has a different sound and compression characteristics.

So it's ultimately a matter of taste and budget which one you would chose.