Lindell Audio 17X Compressor and Limiter Review

Dec 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Kevin Becka

BEEFY, FET GAIN CONTROLLER WITH PERSONALITY PLUS

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The Lindell 17X gives you onboard parallel mix control.

The Lindell 17X gives you onboard parallel mix control.

I’m writing this review just a week after AES 2011 in New York City where the underlying theme was “hardware and lots of it.” One of the stand-out pieces of gear at the show was the single-channel, Lindell Audio 17X FET transformer-coupled compressor/limiter. Sweden-based Lindell is best known for its high-end Reference Modular I and II three-way loudspeaker systems, so making a compressor is a new venture. Before AES, I had the 17X in session for some time and had been talking to company owner Tobias Lindell about his product. Since the beginning, I was struck by the unit’s features and sound and Lindell’s enthusiasm for audio: He’s excited about his compressor and for good reason.

ONLINE EXTRAS

WATCH:
Lindell 17X Demo Video

INSIDE THE UNIT
The 17X is elegant in design, both inside and out. There is a beefy toroidal transformer and power supply inside, alongside Alps pots, Wima caps, gold-plated XLRs, Carnhill transformers and an intelligently designed, well-executed circuit board. The back of the unit is simple, sporting an XLR balanced input, direct out (compressed signal only) and output (post-Mix knob).

Tweaker-central is on the front of the unit, where four five-way Fender Super Switches are used for setting ratio, attack, release and sidechain highpass filter. The latter was a very handy feature that I first used on the new Retro Channel Strip that I’m reviewing for a later issue. It allows you to de-emphasize the low frequency’s effect on the compressor, letting it pass through the unit while still grabbing the mid and top-end of the signal. The ratio ranges from 4:1 to 100:1, attack and release from slow to fast, and sidechain HPF ranges from off, then 100 to 600 Hz. There are separate input and output gain controls, switchable signal lowpass and highpass filters (6dB per octave at 80 Hz and 12 kHz), switchable in/out/GR meter and a comp in switch. What’s disappointingly missing is a Link option if you wanted to strap two units together.

IT CRUSHED ME
I first heard the Lindell 17X on a kick drum recorded with a Shure Beta 52 placed inside the front head, about four inches from the beater. I set the unit for a slower attack and fast release, and it gave me that FET compressor grab that I expected, letting the initial attack bloom and then deftly grab the signal, pulling it back then releasing, ready for the next peak. I then set the sidechain HPF at 100 and then 200 Hz, which let the “boom” of the kick come through and grabbed the beater hit, bringing it up in the mix—perfect. Combined with an AKG D-112 placed outside the front head was just the ticket for that extreme chest-thumping kick with a perfect attack that worked well with the bass.






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