Interview mit Roger Foote von Foote Control Systems
Arnd: Hello Roger, your 2 compressors P3S and P3S ME became our most sold stereo compressors in 2013. Congratulation – It is a very impressive start up! Can you tell us how everything has started – how came things together? What was the intiative moment?
Roger: “Hello Arnd, thanks for the opportunity to talk to you about FCS products! I started my audio journey around 1956 when my grandfather modified two mono HiFi systems to work as stereo using the new Electro Voice Stereo Phonograph Cartridge. After he put these things together, he played a Les Paul and Mary Ford album in stereo. I was hopelessly hooked on audio from that point on.
In the 1960s, I started building as many audio and radio kits as I could get my hands on, which was a great way to learn.
In 1969, I built my first mixer for a recording session with more mics than inputs.
Around 1976, I started building audio compressors for stereo mixes and for instrument applications. I was not very satisfied with those attempts using opto and VCA elements of the period.
Around 1991, I started in earnest to design my own stereo compressor but again had trouble with VCAs and detectors from that period of time.
By the early 2000s I became aware that David Blackmer was doing new research on both RMS detectors and VCAs. Later, employees of dbx spun off a new company called THAT Corp, which became my choice for high quality detectors and VCAs.
I began a new design from scratch that would become the P3S/P3S ME. I wanted a new design, not something cloned form existing designs and the P3S models reflect that.
In 2003, I started Foote Control Systems to realize my audio products as commercial offerings.”
Arnd: From my experience the P3S have more ” tone ” than the cleaner P3S ME Version. Can you tell us why? Is it a different internal circuit with different parts?
Roger: “The P3S has a more aggressive detector implementation which gives it more “grab”, as well as being more sensitive in an audio level sense. You can get more extreme compression with the P3S than you can with the P3S ME. This has also prompted us to work on a new stereo compressor model that bridges the gap between the bus compressor and the mastering compressor. We call it the P3S Class A Precision Bus Compressor.
It has the same sensitivity and more aggressive character like the bus compressor, but has the same controls as the mastering models, Elma switches on Threshold, Ratio and Gain for easy recall of parameters.”
Arnd: You recently came up with the optional Class A-Output versions. Many mastering studios prefer this unit, so half of the sold P3S ME units are with Class-A. Can you tell us what is the special about the sound and for whom this option can be interesting?
Roger: “Yes! We started offering the Class A output stage as an option. This circuit is basically an idealized transformer driver stage using proven bipolar push/pull power transistor topology. The Class A circuit has a sound similar in character to vintage push/pull output stages, smooth and sweet sounding. It also has a 3D enhancement that is very pleasing to my ear. The users that should consider the Class A models are those that want transformer outputs in circuit most of the time. The low frequency coloration is very nice with the Class A circuit engaged.”
Arnd: Do you have staff – or do you build every unit by your own? We haven´t had even one single unit for repair so far, so obviously you do right 🙂
Roger: “We build each unit by hand right here at FCS. My son Justin does the wire preparation and metal layout work, and I do all the printed circuit and final assembly, so it is very easy to follow up if any problems arise during testing, which is extensive. We burn in, calibrate and test each unit for a minimum of 24 hours. We pride ourselves in the fact that we have had zero failures in our P3S, P3S ME products, with around 250 units in place worldwide.”
Arnd: Roger, thanks for the Interview!
Here you can find all our products from Foote Control Systems.