New classics from D.W. Fearn
D.W. Fearn made a big splash in 1993 when they hit the scene with the VT-1, an all tube microphone preamplifier built with the highest quality components. Following their success with the VT-1, D.W. Fearn developed a full line of products utilizing all-tube signal chains, from compressors to EQ’s to DI’s. D.W. Fearn now holds a reputation as a top manufacturer of high-end tube gear.
Founder and lead designer Douglas Fearn has a serious passion for tube circuitry, and has made it his mission to design the highest quality tube-driven gear based on classic designs from the 50’s and 60’s. There is nothing fancy about D.W. Fearn’s tube based designs, and that’s what makes them so good. Their simple, elegant circuitry uses only the best class A components, and the result is unparalleled clarity and sonic character.
In addition to the pristine audio quality, all D.W. Fearn products are built for the highest level of reliability and ruggedness. Each of their products are contained in a heavy-gauge aluminum chassis (painted their signature red), have gold-contact precision relays (to prevent dirty contacts from degrading the sound), and use point-to-point wiring. With this type of attention to detail and refusal to compromise on quality, it’s no wonder D.W. Fearn’s products are found in the most prestiges studios around the globe.
The D.W. Fearn VT-7 in one take:
- Stereo outboard compressor based on classic designs from the 50’s and 60’s
- Warm and transparent sound
- Optional high pass filter on sidechain input
The old and the new
The VT-7 is D.W. Fearn’s compressor, with a design based on classic compressors from the 50’s and 60’s. It features a class-A tube audio path (like all D.W. products), combined with modern solid-state analog control circuitry, for an ideal “best-of-both” combination of the old and the new. It has 2 channels, which can be used separately or linked as stereo. Its sound is warm and transparent, although it can also be used aggressively if desired.
The VT-7 has knobs for Attack, Release, Threshold, and Gain, as you would expect from a vintage style compressor. There is also a “Harder-Softer” knob, which acts as a kind of mixture between a knee or ratio setting. On the input selector switch, there is also a setting called “Linked HPF”, which puts the compressor in stereo link mode, with a High Pass Filter on the input side chain. This is perfect when compressing bass heavy mixes, to prevent excessive low end from triggering too much gain reduction. The filter is a gentle roll-off at 100Hz. While the VT-7 truly excels at compressing a stereo mix, it is also a fantastic compressor for individual channels.
(no gain reduction, unity gain)
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz +/- 0.5dB
- -3dB at 5Hz and 65kHz
- THD: less than 0.07%
- Signal to Noise Radio: better than 80dB
Controls (each channel):
- Separate/Link/Link HPF