The Really Nice Levelling Amplifier (RNLA) is a compressor with a character that works well with vocals, bass guitar, acoustic guitars and two-mix sources.
FMR Audio is headed by Mark and Beth McQuilken, a married couple who started out their careers as high-tech design consultants for companies like Motorola, RCA and Lockheed Martin among others. Their rise to fame in the professional audio world began in 1997 with the birth of their first commercially available product the famous and revered RNC1773…better known as The Really Nice Compressor. The RNC1773 changed the game big time in the compression field as it was the first high-end piece of studio gear that was actually priced within reach to all audio enthusiasts at all levels.
In 2005, a new child was born to the McQuilken’s, the FMR RNLA 7239 (Really Nice Leveling Amp).
The FMR RNLA is a 1/3rd rack space stereo compressor that can also be used in mono (not dual mono). It delivers a thick and delightful sonic signature, harking back to leveling amps of days gone by. Many engineers refer to this as “coloring the sound” while others use the phrase “gobs of gooey character”. That is the intention here as this type of coloring, if you will, lends itself superbly to vocals, guitars, bass, strings, or just about anything that could benefit from a little magical “mojo”.
The look of the FMR RNLA 7239 is decidedly “home-grown” but its actually built tough and sturdy right here (Texas, that is…) in the good old U.S. of A.! The encasement is tough aluminum, and its bright red tough plastic knobs are easily grabbable, large enough so you can make adjustments without upsetting the other knobs surrounding it.
Like the RNC 1773, the RNLA 7239 has unbalanced inputs that also double as Tip-Ring-Sleeve (TRS) inserts to mate with popular mixer and equipment inserts. This allows you to connect, using only a single TRS-to-TRS cable per channel, an RNLA's channel (in & out) with a single cable to a mixer or other compatible device (such as FMR’s Really Nice Preamp…ask your Sam Ash sales associate about this great value in a preamp). The outputs are balanced (unlike the RNC) so hooking up balanced lineouts will reduce noise and hum to a minimum.
A highly accurate 8-segment LED gain reduction meter is provided to allow visual verification of what you're hearing. and the unique “Log Rel" function can help restore some "punch" that can get lost without an acceleration of the release envelope. This proves to be particularly handy on drum sub-mixes where we still wanted the drums to "punch", but in a compressed and controlled way.
The FMR RNLA is built solid, sounds amazing, is priced ridiculously low considering it’s sonic quality and is simple to get pleasing results from. How about a standing ovation for the McQuilkens?!!