Alesis 3632 Compressor Review- by Steven Williams

Chater-La

New member
I was asked by Steven to post this here for him as he is not used to forum technology....yet, somehow knows his way around a compressor :eek: Enjoy!


The Alesis 3632 Compressor is the new and updated version of one the most popular dynamics processors ever, the 3630, which was famously quoted by Daft Punk as providing pumping sound in several albums. So it’s fair to say that the 3632 has attracted a lot of attention amongst the producer community building upon the legacy that its predecessor left behind.

I was surprised to see that the 3632 is significantly deeper and heavier than the 3630, which is due to its enhanced internal power. The actual layout of the controls is similar but with a few obvious differences, it does of course share the same two channels of noise gate/expander and compression/limiting that can be altered in stereo or mono modes.

There are however some very distinctive differences between to the two models, the majority of which being improvements and upgrades. The most obvious of which is the new versatile 2181Bs which have replaced the outdated THAT 2150AVCAs found in the 3630. The circuits themselves have also been subject to upgrade to provide cheaper more efficient components. Crucially the op amps have been improved to for more detailed equivalents, all of this adds up to an all-round better sound and build quality.

In terms of actual sound its clear the Alesis have the same pioneering intention for the 3632 that they had for the 3630 over 20 years ago, which was designed as cheaper alternative but was massively popular thanks to its technical superiority. This is certainly applicable to the 3632, its not exactly outstanding but its very versatile and taking into consideration its price and size its perfectly suited to home or small studios.

The 3632 Compressor keeps the same impressive metering of the 3630, the sidechain feature allows you to add compression in effects loops and ducking. You use this feature to trigger compression when you want it, a second internal sidechain has a switchable low-cut filter to help control pumping from heavy bass.

Unusually the 3632 doesn’t have a hard and soft knee setting, but instead has a hard knee setting or a smart knee option for more soft subtle effects. As well as this it doesn’t have an RMS mode that was used on the 3630 and its replaced with an auto button. When it is in auto mode the attack and release settings are automatically set depending on the incoming signal, this is pretty useful but unfamiliar to me. A limiter at the end of the chain protects against spikes in the output.

The Alesis 3632 is in many ways very similar and very different from its older brother. Basically it’s just a generally improved update and as a budget compressor it’s a must buy. Granted if you’ve got the money to spend on more expensive competition then I would advise it but I really like it. Its great for beginners as its cheap, compact and easy to use but is still suitable for more experienced producers.

Here’s a list of some of the Alesis 3630 main features:
• Minimized Signal Path for optimised sound quality.
• Sidechain send and return for external effects loop.
• Switchable low-cut filter reduces audio-program pumping from bass.
• LED monitors for visual monitoring of critical values.
• Intelligent Ratio adjusts expansion based on input signal
• Intelligent Gain auto-adjusts output
• Stereo compressor/expander/limiter/gate for dyanimcs management.
 

ideaph

New member
Sheesh-

The 3630 has to be one of the WORST compressors aver made! Guaranteed to literally suck the life out of any material unlucky enough to pass through it's awfulness.

STAY AWAY!
 

witzendoz

Senior Member
Sheesh-

The 3630 has to be one of the WORST compressors aver made! Guaranteed to literally suck the life out of any material unlucky enough to pass through it's awfulness.

STAY AWAY!

You know people keep saying that, but they are still being made after all these years. I use them a lot and if used the correct way they sound fine. The only thing I wont use them on is bass guitar. Buy the way I also own 2 original Behringer Composers, the german ones, they are also great if used properly.

I also own a lot of compressors that are better but it's horses for courses. Now I take cover.

Alan.
 

glenn taylor

New member
What do you really think?

Sheesh-

The 3630 has to be one of the WORST compressors aver made! Guaranteed to literally suck the life out of any material unlucky enough to pass through it's awfulness.:eek:

STAY AWAY!
Tell it to us straight. Please don,t hold back. What,s the word on the street?
Maybe it,s not the worst compressor ever,but you are such great engineer with good ears that it,s not good enough for you. I am serious I love it,but I am not on your level.:eek::eek::eek:
 

witzendoz

Senior Member
You know, and I answered it above back in 2012 (this old thread has turned up again LOL), I like the suck type compression the 3630 gives LOL, the hard knee/soft knee and the peak / RMS settings are very useful. However I only use it when I want the 3630 compression sound as no compressor is the fix it all compressor. I actually think it's a very useful compressor.


Alan.

holy thread resurrection.jpg
 

Supercreep

Lizard People
The 3630 sounds objectively bad. Hopefully the 3632 is better, but why chance it with less expensive and better sounding alternatives?
 

glenn taylor

New member
I like the 3630 compressor it has that suckey type sound I like on some things.
Some people love the Drawmer 1960 compressor. Some think it sounds like running your sound through a sponge.
 

Guitargodgt

New member
I use the 3630 to compress the bass on the way in and it sounds good.

I have to say that yeah it's a crappy compressor though. lol

I have 3 of them kicking around and I think I'm gonna try that gate mod on one of them. I bought all three for less than $50.

The gate aspect of it is not even appealing so taking it out of the circuit sounds good to me if it improves the sound at all.
 

mixsit

Well-known member
'3630 vs the Yamaha gc2020. That one was brutal too but it was 400 bucks!

Oh, the 2020's gate.. it would close about half way then sit there for a second or so, then finish.
 

CalgonStudio

New member
The gate mod on the 3630 is worth the time, I use it a lot when I have to side chain it's great for that on guitar tracks and toms. I wouldn't use it in a live rig on bass, but in the studio it's fine , I have used it lightly as a master buss compressor when I was looking for a certain sound....
 

Guitargodgt

New member
Good to know. 2 of the units I have are doing nothing so if they can be made to do anything cool I'm willing to try it out.
 
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