Table of Contents
The compressors most of us use are software program plugins that arrive with our DAWs, and they do a good career. The flexibility to be ready to set as numerous compressors as we like, anyplace in the audio chain, at any time, is the type of luxury the engineers who blended most of our favourite typical tunes could only dream of.
But these very simple computer software compressor plugins bear no relation in anyway to the hardware compressors that people identical engineers even now use in their mixing ideal up to the existing working day. These days, it is really uncomplicated to mathematically outline a compressor in phrases of ratio, assault and release instances, and so on, and develop a plugin that slavishly follows that definition.
Back again in the golden age of audio, nevertheless, that was not the way factors were being completed. Compressors ended up crafted with digital elements – transistors, resistors, amplifiers and valves – and these elements simply could not offer the infinite manage and adaptability that a pc can, so creating compressors was a good artwork, a continual approach of balancing the technical demands of the hardware from noise, headroom and expense.
If you listen to a basic digital compressor with a ratio of 1:1, the probabilities are its output will seem specifically the exact same as what you set in, even at a significant stage. A compressor this kind of as the traditional Fairchild 670, having said that, uses no less than 20 valves. This signifies that even when it isn’t compressing items, its output may perhaps perfectly induce all sorts of lovely colouration and sonic changes that have absolutely nothing to do with compression.
It’s ‘extras’ these as these that reveal why large-title engineers enjoy the audio of their costly racks of analogue hardware. Nonetheless, an raising amount of software emulations from the likes of UA, Waves, Softube and lots of a lot more will present fantastic emulations of this hardware and are a wonderful route into the environment of ‘proper’ compression, without the need of the extortionate selling price tags of that common equipment.
5 of the finest hardware compressors
A wonderful components compressor with a very rapid assault. Sounds fantastic on drums, or vocals and bass with a slower attack and release.
A classic product now re-issued by Universal Audio, featuring a choice of transformer or optical compression, in addition valve amplification for warmth. Wonderful on vocals and bass.
Fairchild 670 Valve Limiter
Incorporates far more than 20 valves! Pioneered by Geoff Emerick on the Beatles’ recordings. Excellent on vocals, drums, or just about anything else, if you can afford it, that is…
The dbx 160 is a typical vocal compressor. It’s fast and cleanse, but consider care it does not distort the sign.
SSL G-Collection Master Compressor
This archetypal two-buss compressor is terrific for gluing points alongside one another. Blend by it but really do not whack it on afterwards, and be prepared to shell out time finding out it.
5 of the finest software program compressors
Emulations of the Urei 1176 (Comp FET76), DBX 165A (VCA65) and Gates Sta-Level (Tube-STA). A stylish, genuine trio of bona-fide audio engineering classics.
A little something of an market basic in the entire world of plugins. It’s extra costly, but watch out for promo provides on the Waves internet site.
UA 175-B and 176 Tube Compressor Selection
Another established of emulations of vintage gear, this time the all-valve forerunners to Invoice Putnam’s more famous 1176 structure.
PSP Audioware and oldTimer MB
A multiband model of PSP’s adaptable oldTimer ME, with three frequency-confined cases of the compressor allowing for intricate processing responsibilities.
What you already have
Most modern-day DAWs such as Logic, Professional Applications, Cubase and so forth will do a good task of controlling dynamics. Make guaranteed you’ve mastered these in advance of splashing the cash on high-priced alternatives, but really don’t hope hardware character from them.