Which hardware compressor offers more bang for your buck than any other? There are a few contenders, but vying for the top spot must surely be this budget model from the talented husband and wife team at FMR Audio.

There’s a sense of humour at work in FMR’s products (RNLA stands for Really Nice Levelling Amplifier while the company also offers the cleaner, less characterful RNC Really Nice Compressor) but the quality is serious. And although the RNLA is entry-level in price terms, it’s really rather good.

FMR’s products tend to be viewed as ‘first hardware compressors’, but their sound is anything but entry-level, with reviewers and users praising, time and again, the results, which are wonderfully coloured and characterful – even warm, gluey and ‘gooey’ when pushed. The RNLA excels at bass, kick drums and drum bus. It’ll even turn its hand to vocals in a pinch.

True to its initials, the RNLA genuinely does sound really nice (although it’s not quite so nice to look at). It’s a small box that generates big results and, with a legion of happy owners singing its praises, surely one of the biggest bargains on this list.

Author David Felton
13th November, 2012

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