Gear reviews

review: Cranesong – STC-8

I bought a Cranesong STC-8 from a friend who was in urgent need of money. I own it now since 3 months and it doesn’t do much.. except making my mixes sound better.

From the Cranesong-Website: “The STC-8 is a high quality stereo compressor combined with a remarkably dependable peak limiter, providing overload protection critical to digital recording and broadcast transmitters. The STC-8’s compressor is engineered to provide musically transparent gain control, but is also capable of emulating vintage equipment and creating distinctive new sounds.

In addition, a switchable enhancement circuit creates to enrich lifeless audio and digital recordings. This vast flexibility is simplified by the inclusion of several optimized presets, allowing fast, easy set-up on a wide variety of sounds. It can operate in true stereo or discrete independent mono, accessible by a front panel switch.

The STC-8’s sophisticated side-chain allows both compression and peak limiting to take place simultaneously, using the same proprietary gain circuit. High signal quality is maintained by utilizing a discrete class A audio path, and by eliminating any VCA or optical gain control elements.

All inputs and outputs are transformerless and balanced.

The STC-8 delivers consistent gain control without sacrificing musical definition or harmonic richness.”

I think this sums it up quite well.


Like I said before, it does not do much here in my signal chain. Usually it’s shaving off 1,2,3 dB on my masterbus, peaklimiter deactivated. I use it with the preset for program material and there you go. It makes the sound more compact, without making it smaller (a problem that occurs with most compressors), the stereo-image is not shrinkin, the lower mids gain weight, the highend gets a touch of silk. The IK mode is engaged.

The STC-8 helps to improve the music. It doesn’t matter what you feed it with. It’s not coloring too much, so It works for me since weeks on all my masterings and mixes. Somehow the makeup gain is making stuff more compact but not smaller. I love it!

I tracked female vocals with it last week and it’s pure magic. Somehow Dave Hill is a wizard if it comes to audio designs and the STC-8 simply works. It brings the audio more forward, the tails sound more live and it adds something to the sound that only Harry Potter and Peter North were able to do with their individual stick.

As with most gear that doesn’t do much and costs more then you earn in a day, you need to try it yourself. It works over here and I would strongly recommend while looking at API 2500, Thermionic Phoenix and the usual Alan Smart suspect, you should check out the Cranesong STC-8 at the same time.

Thanx Dave for wearing Hawai-shirts, leather trousers and inventing such great pieces of gear!



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