The COMP-554 is a one-channel vintage style compressor for the 500-format. The signal path uses only discrete components like resistors, capacitors and transistors. The input and output are transformer balanced and the unit also uses a third interstage transformer.
This is the way audio components were built before integrated circuits became available. IC's are small and cheap and they are widely used in most modern designs. It is clear though that audio components built with modern technology doesn't always provide the best perceived sound quality or character that the modern user desires.
On the contrary, the subjective sound quality delivered by vintage equipment is often preferred over the one delivered by modern units. This is the reason why so many vintage audio components are cloned and produced again and also why the vintage originals are often very expensive on the second hand market.
The class-A circuit used in the COMP-554 is similar to the one in the classic 2254 compressor that was designed in 1969. It quickly became a legend due to it's totally unique sound character that is warm, smooth, sweet and musical.
These characteristics have been heard on countless recordings through the years and it is a versatile sound that works very well on many sound sources and in many genres. The essence of this sound is now available at a surprisingly low cost, making it available to nearly everyone.