The new m102 and m502 optical compressors are based on an optical attenuator and provides gentle limiting to fairly aggressive compression while remaining neutral and transparent.
Housed in a 1U, half-rack enclosure, the single-channel m102 sports a familiar and elegant industrial design that was derived from the m101 preamp. Front panel controls include +/-10 dB of input and output level on rotary pots that allows for fine tuning of gain settings. Four additional pots allow the user to control threshold, attack, release and ratio settings. A 3-position switch selects Normal operation and the added ability to link two m102 units for stereo compression or to select a sidechain input for frequency-dependent compression. A 10-segment LED shows gain-reduction levels, and a bi-color LED is provided for signal presence and peak detection. The rear panel includes an AC inlet for the built-in universal power supply, XLR and ¼-inch TRS balanced input and output connections, and a ¼-inch jack used for linking two m102s or for use as a sidechain input.
The m502 employs the same compression circuit topology as the m102 but is housed in a chassis for installation in the 500 Series racks. The front panel includes a bypass switch; a 3-position input gain switch ranging from -10 to +10; a link switch; 10 -segment LED showing gain-reduction levels; rotary pots for control of threshold, attack, release and ratio; and a pot for output level. The m502 also includes jumper settings on the board that provides the ability to configure the stereo linking and sidechain functionality based on the specific 500 Series rack used.
The U.S. retail price of the m102 is $695 and will begin shipping at the end of October. The m502 will carry a U.S. retail price of $625 and is expected to ship in January. The m102 and m502 are covered under Grace Design’s limited 5-year warranty program. Both units will be available through Grace Design’s channel of authorized US dealers and international distributors. AES booth #355.