Blackbox Oxygen



  • Gain
  • Gate
  • Limit
  • Comp
  • Release
  • Dirt


Blackbox Music Electronics (2001)

The Oxygen is a warm and musical high gain compressor/limiter/noise gate which can also be used for overdrive and distortion. The Oxygen compressor puts many features only found on high end studio compressors into a stompbox format, not to mention adding some features not found on any stompbox compressor. The Oxygen is designed from the ground up to be very flexible and transparent with the ability to add more warmth to your signal through the use of "tape saturation" like signal distortion. The Oxygen can also be used as a hgih gain overdrive and can achieve some incredible sustain.


  • Comp - Controls the amount/ratio of dynamic range compression of the audio signal. Higher compression ratios (clockwise) compress the instrument's dynamic range, which makes everything sound louder. Loud signals are turned down, softer signals are turned up. To hear this in action, turn up the gain then with the compression knob at 1:1 (completely counter-clockwise), hit a note and slowly turn up the compression as the note is ringing. The result is that the instrument sounds "cranked up" (especially at higher gain settings). Increasing compression and/or gain also increases sustain.
  • Limit - This controls the limiting threshold. The limiting threshold causes louder signals which exceed the limit threshold to be "squashed" (turned down). In effect, this sets the upper limit which the signal cannot exceed. Turn the control counter-clockwise to lower the limit threshold (the signal will be squashed at lower and lower volumes) and turn the control clockwise to raise the threshold limit (higher level signals will be allowed through without being squashed). Too much limiting can cause the signal to sound dull and lifeless because it kills signal dynamics if overused.
  • Gate - This sets the gate threshold. When the signal falls below the gate threshold, the noise gate turns on and "mutes" the compressor output. At high compression levels, the signal may be very noisy when no notes are being played. This is because a compressor also turns up any noise present at the input along with any instrument signal (the compressor doesn't add any noise of it's own, merely amplifiies any noise from the instrument or other effects). To set the gate threshold, start with the knob completely counter clockwise. With the instrument plugged in, turn the gate knob clockwise until the noise level is completely silent or very quiet. Now play a note and let it ring, if the noise gate turns on too soon and cuts off the end of the note sustain, the turn the gate knob counter clockwise (lowering the gate threshold) until the gate turns on at an acceptably low signal level. Sometimes a quick gating action is preferrable as it results in a crisp cut off when ringing chords or notes are muted. This can be achieved by setting the release time at its fastest setting and turning the gate clockwise until the muted signal is completely quiet.
  • Release - Controls the release time for compression and limiting and sets the noise gate attack time. If you hear undersirable "pumping" or "breathing" effects in the compressed signal, turn the release switch clockwise to a higher release time setting.
  • Gain - Controls the amount of post compression gain.
  • Dirt - Controls the amount of saturation and signal distortion which can be added to warm up the signal. This saturation can be very subtle at lower gain and is more noticeable at higher gain settings.

In addition to running of a 9v battery, the Oxygen features a DC power jack for powering it off a DC power source. The Oxygen requires a filtered 9v power supply with 2.1mm plug, tip negative, sleeve positive. The Oxygen has a built in switch to disconnect the battery when the DC jack is in use as well as polarity reversal protection to avoid accidentally connecting the power supply incorrectly and damaging the Oxygen.

OohLaLa Manufacturing

The Oxygen (O2) features limiting threshold, gain, noise gate, compression ratio and "dirt" (which adds a nice analog tape type saturation to the mix) as well as compression release time/gate attack time. It also has an enabled/bypass indicator LED, as it can be hard to tell if the effect is on or not at lower compression settings due to its transparent compression qualities. The Oxygen can be powered from a 9v battery or via the DC power jack. From light, clean compression to a crunchy, high gain sound and everything in between. Oh yeah, did we mention the crazy sustain?

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