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19-09 Optical Compressor

Optical Compression Reimagined.

The Concept

The 19-09 OPTICAL COMPRESSOR was designed to be set apart from any other compressor available today. It is a completely new take on optical compression. From the twin push-pull optos to the completely custom CLASS-A ALL-DISCRETE op-amps, this compressor is NO CLONE. Delivering excellent tone-shaping character that can be sharp and aggressive like no opto you’ve ever heard, or so smooth and transparent you’d never guess it’s there. All this, plus an unparalleled ease-of-use that will make any engineer feel right at home within moments trying it.

Attention to Detail

The 19-09 was meticulously designed by J.Morris in Austin, Tx. Every aspect of the circuit, from resistors to opto cells, was reviewed and revised until the compressor satisfied his life-long tone lust and his commitment to creating practical studio tools for engineers that don’t want to be bogged down with unnecessary controls during a fast-paced session. His design mantra was simply:  “Stunning Tone. Quickly”.

One Compress Knob to Rule Them All

The 19-09 features a SINGLE KNOB for controlling the amount of compression. But this ain’t no fixed threshold box! The compress knob controls both the threshold and our AUTOMATIC RATIO DETECTION circuit which tracks your signal and dynamically adjusts the compression ratio to compliment it. In a session all you have to worry about is turning the COMPRESS KNOB until it sounds AMAZING.

Sidechain Insane

The 19-09′s sidechain was designed to be as straight-forward and intuitive as possible. First, our HI/LO button adds a 6db boost to the signal controlling the compression. This lets you apply subtle compression to quiet sources with ease. Next, with our 250Hz-centered hi-pass filter you’ll be able to add openness and clarity to bass-heavy sources. With the hi-pass engaged on a bass guitar you’ll be treated to a nice controlled bottom-end that still has  plenty of punch!

Midrange Tone

The ATTACK and RELEASE knobs on the 19-09 have been set to a range chosen specifically to give you maximum CONTROL over the shape and character of you midrange TONE. We’ve quite consciously chosen to not print the time-constants on the panel to free the engineer from what “should sound right” and to focus on simply what sound moves them the most. Turn the knobs in one direction, and you’ll be able to add bite and aggression to guitars and bass, and in the other direction to gently tuck a vocal into a mix. Did we mention that this thing KILLS on DRUM BUS?!

Classic Character Modern Attitude

We’ve taken inspiration from the greatest designs of the past and built upon them to create something genuinely new in the pro-audio world: a compressor that is unlike anything else in your rack. One that you’ll enjoy tracking and mixing with for years to come.


  • True Hardware Bypass
  • Fully-Discrete Class A Design
  • Floating Transformer-Balanced I/O
  • Automatic Ratio Control featuring Twin Push-Pull Optos
  • 30db of Gain Reduction!
  • Strobing Gain Reduction Meter for Precise Visual Feedback
  • Butterworth Hi-Pass Filter (250Hz)
  • 20db of Makeup Gain
  • Classic Distortion Profile
  • Hand-built in Austin,Texas


Get It Now!




A More Direct Approach:

2015-01-13 02.08.12-2 From the very beginning Western Dynamo faced a lot of seemingly insurmountable challenges, including all of the obvious ones that come naturally with starting a design firm on a shoestring. We’ve altered our course half a dozen or more times as we encountered new obstructions or flat out hit walls, all in an effort to find our place and become relevant in the world of Pro Audio. It’s a difficult thing, to bring an unknown product to the marketplace. Cloning vintage gear is a much safer bet– clones are all about known quantities and qualities, not new ideas. Instead, we chose to begin at what has sadly become the fringe in Pro Audio. Our challenge has been to bring you something absolutely unique and new and it seemed to us that the most expedient way to do that was to get dealers and distributors behind us– the proverbial “pushers” and salesmen, to land our products in places where recording engineers go to shop.

For 2 years we’ve been adhering to our own Dealer/Distributor Contract, and while there have been occasional hints that a dealer might pick up the 19-09 for distribution, this scenario has all but faded from view. Frankly, they’re not interested. The fact is, we’re a tiny company run by full time recording engineers. When we aren’t working sessions late into the night, we make these compressors by hand– so even if we landed a distribution deal we probably couldn’t keep up with the increased demand placed on our limited manufacturing abilities. If we violate our own Dealer Contract by advertising compressors at dealer cost direct to the public, we cut the dealer’s legs off by nulling their profit margin and permanently devaluing our own product in the marketplace. Either way, this is a big, forever kind of commitment. But honoring this unsigned “dealer agreement” keeps us in a holding pattern while we wait for some guy in an office somewhere to suddenly pay attention to us and somehow give a shit.

This means that our products are being advertised at an inflated price, because if we did have multiple dealer contracts in place, all parties have to abide by a strict pricing scheme to keep the dealers from slitting each others throats in what’s known as a “race to the bottom”– a scenario many in the industry have witnessed before, and one I personally find distasteful. Because of these rules, we are required to hold advertising at the “Suggested Retail Price” in order to protect any future dealer’s profit margin. Fact is, we’ve never sold a compressor at this fictional advertised price.

In short summary, we are abandoning the dealer model and all the bullshit that orbits it. We see this as a positive and sustainable path that is frankly more palatable in the context of our DIY personality and ethic. It will enable us to continue to innovate by developing designs already in the queue for people who really like what we do at prices they’ll find more realistic and comfortable. More importantly, it keeps us in direct contact with the people we care most about– the ones who make records everyday. Going forward, our products will be sold (and advertised) at what was previously known as the “dealer price”, direct to recording engineers. Yup. We’re cutting out the non-existent middle-man you hear about in all those Furniture Outlet Blowout commercials. I have a feeling he’s not gonna mind.

-J Morris


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WD Anniversary Sale!

Hello Everybody,

Western Dynamo is turning terrible-two! And though that may mean we’ve got a long way to go before they’ll start serving us in bars, it certainly won’t stop us from celebrating.
We’re happy to announce our ANNIVERSARY SALE EVENT!

From December 14th-22nd we’ll be dramatically discounting our tone-hugging 19-09 Optical Compressors.

Save nearly $150 off a single channel, and an unbelievable $400 off a pair!!! That’s an unprecedented savings on incredible compression.

So don’t delay! Place your order now.

Now if you’ll excuse us, I think we ate too much birthday cake. *blows party favor whistle*

-Western Dynamo

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Halloween Contest!

We’re very pleased to announce the Western Dynamo Halloween Costume Contest.

1.Create your very best pro-audio inspired costume (extra points for cleverness and creativity!)

2. Post it on Instagram.

3. Tag us @westerndynamo and use the #westerndynamohalloween hashtag.

The winner will be selected November 1st and will receive a FREE 1909 Optical Compressor!

If costumes aren’t your thing, use the discount code “halloweentone” for 20% off your order in our online store.

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