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The new Slate Pro Audio Dragon is unlike any dynamic audio processor you‘ve heard before. Simply put, the Dragon was created to be the most versatile compressor, limiter, and sound shaping tool that the pro audio industry has ever seen.
The Dragon starts with a classic FET compressor circuit, reminiscent of vintage units from the 60's and 70's. But the Slate Pro Audio engineers enhanced the circuitry of the unit with a mastering grade signal path, Jensen input transformer, and a CLASS A output section based around a custom-made output transformer. The result is a compression quality that is so rich and warm, but is also capable of sharp and aggressive tones. But this is only the start of what the Dragon can do.
Add Some Character
The Dragon includes three ‘character' settings that change the way the unit sounds and responds. The first setting is BOOM. This setting adds sub bass harmonics in a unique way that when combined with some compression, can make basses sound massive and kick drums pound like you've never heard before. The second setting is BITE, which adds a gentle ‘forward' character that makes the source more defined and clear. BITE is superb on bass, snare, vocals, and guitars. Last, is SHEEN. This character setting adds an airy gloss to the source, reminiscent of classic opto tube compressors. This setting is absolutely stunning on vocals, acoustics, and overheads. Full mixes can gain new clarity and excitement from the sheen setting. All character settings can be used simultaneously!
The Dragon's "Vintage" button enables circuitry that emulates a more vintage sound from a classic age of compression. The result is more harmonics, a bit of ‘grit', and an overall more aggressive sound with tons of attitude that is amazing on electric guitars, bass, and a must-hear on drums.
The Dragon has a three setting saturation selector. This saturation can add warm and rich harmonics or even gritty distortion. On setting 1, it can add just the right of "life" to a dull vocal. On setting 2, it can add presence and warmth to a bass or make guitars sound like they are hitting tape. On setting 3, it can add some rich harmonics to a snare to bring out the sustain and make it come alive in the mix.
Wait, There's MORE
The Dragon includes a hi pass filter so you have the option to control the amount of low end that feeds the compressor detection. This is useful when stereo linking two DRAGONS together for transparent mixbuss compression, or for grouped drum compression where you don't want the drums to ‘pump'.
FET Your Mixbuss
Classic FET compressors have not been common mixbuss choices due to their excessive color and aggressive nature. However, the Dragon includes a gentle 2:1 setting that sounds amazing on full mixes. With the character, vintage, and saturate options disabled, the signal path is quiet and clean with just the right amount of rich tone. Of course if you need more color or saturation on your buss, it's just a button or switch away. With settings 2:1, character SHEEN, Saturate 1, and slow attack and fast release, your mix will come alive in an incredible way.
The Dragon is one of the finest drum compressors to ever hit the analog market, and is complete with the famous overcompression "all buttons in" mode called ‘Squash'. This setting is simply stunning on drum room mics, or any other source that you want to explode out of the mix. Due to its extremely hifi signal path, the Dragon's ‘Squash' setting can create that larger then life effect without causing a harsh or brittle high end.
Mix It Up
Last and certainly not least, the Dragon includes a ‘Mix" knob to control the wet/dry ratio of the source. This amazing feature allows you to add some heavy compression, and then back it off gently until it creates the perfect balance for your mix. The ‘Mix' knob also allows you to parallel compress sources, such as drum busses, without having to mult or buss the drums to additional faders! You'll find the ‘mix' knob to be one of the most useful tools in modern analog compression. It works especially well with the saturation and squash features. Overcompressing a vocal and then mixing back the wet signal is the ultimate way to make a vocal pop without losing the subtle nuances.
The Dragon's faceplate comes with a beautiful tribal mural designed by world renowned tattoo artist Davey Suicide, and will add a unique beauty to your rack. The striking look matches its remarkable sound.
Normally compressors don't need presets, but with so many options (there is literally thousands of combinations), the Dragon ships with a huge listing of presets made by Steven Slate and some of the world's top producers, mixers, and even mastering engineers. But once you experience the many possibilities and sounds of the Dragon, you'll soon enjoy making your own!
“The Dragon is a great compressor – everything I love about an 1176 but with way more features and tone. The EQ is especially useful. Saturation modes, blend knob… Super flexible with loads of control and character.” – Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stoneage, Bad Religion, Powerman 5000, Jesus Lizard, Tool, Anthrax, L7, Bauhaus)
Fritz Fey testet den Dragon in der Ausgabe 06-10 des Studiomagazins und kommt zum Schluss:
"Alle, die einen 1176 lieben, laufen Gefahr, mit dem Drachen fremdzugehen. Ob es dann noch mal ein Zurück gibt, wage ich zu bezweifeln. Der Dragon ist ein universelles Arbeitspferd, das wahrscheinlich nur höchst selten Pausen genießen können wird – das heißt mit anderen Worten, er wird sich Ihnen jeden Tag als eine Investition empfehlen, die sich gelohnt hat. Was für ein saustarkes Ding…!" Den kompletten Testbericht können Sie hier herunterladen
“…the Dragon absolutely kicks ass. I tried it on bass and that’s where it is sitting ever since. Amazing full and nasty tone, really cutting through the mix, awesome.” Michael Wagner
“First, congratulations on making such an awesome piece of gear… from the minute I picked up my Dragon from you guys a year ago there’s not a single vocal on any record I’ve done that hasn’t gone through it. It works great for both rock, and slower stuff as well.” Matt Beckley
“Just wanted to drop a line and tell you I’m mixing a record at Ocean Way Nashville and using a stereo pair of Dragons, and am absolutely loving them. Ian at Rack-N-Roll told me they had a demo pair and I figured it was worth a listen. Two tunes later I’m blown away with the flexibility of the unit. This thing does exactly what you would hope when you flip a switch or turn a knob; when I Increase the ‘Saturation’… there it is. When I flip the ‘Sheen’ switch, what do you know… the top end opens up. Since my days in New York I’ve always been a color guy and this box provides a plethora of ways to dial in different colors and textures pretty easily. I don’t know if you’ve considered any endorsements, but I would love to talk with you about that.
I’m grateful to Rack-n-Roll Audio for the opportunity to hear them.
Awesome product!” Ben Fowler
“I just wanted to reach out to you and say how much I dig your products. I just purchased a couple of Dragons from Jesse Dean, and they ROCK! Seriously, in my opinion the Dragon is the most versatile new compressor since the Distressor. I’m using my Dragons all over the new Train record I’m working on, and I want to get another pair – I need four! Also, Trigger is insane. Don’t think I’ve done one mix without it since I got it. Same for VCC. Anyway, I just wanted to reach out and let you know that I’m a big fan. Keep up the good work!” Espen Lind
“The Slate Audio Dragons are incredibly versatile. I am not one to use presets but Steven has a vocal preset that is amazing at crushing a vocal and then using the mix at 50% so it leaves part of the original vocal intact. I have really been digging this box on vocals and drums. A terrific blend of old and new in one box. Great job guys!!” Ross Hogarth
Other Pro Users:
“If you’re struggling to decide between a Distressor, an 1176 and an LA3A, the Dragon might be the solution — and it’s certainly worthy…”
Click here to read the entire Sound On Sound review by Hugh Robjohn
“The Dragon is a fantastic choice for “my one and only compressor”, and that’s a rare thing in today’s world of choice upon choice.”
Click here to read the entire Recording Magazine review by Paul Vnuk Jr.
“The desire to have a box do “everything” while offering a sane number of controls is a tricky balance… The Dragon manages to combine what would be a great sounding straightforward FET compressor on any level with a control set that drastically changes the overall characteristics of the unit quickly”
Click here to read the entire TapeOp review by Thom Monahan
“To say that the Dragon has excelled in virtually everything that has been asked may seem an exaggeration, but the reality is that it has.” (translated from Spanish to English)
Click here to read the entire ISP Musica review by Roger Montejano