Over the years, as a small studio operator and freelance engineer, he's made recordings of all types from music & album production to v/o & post. The other “king of compressors” is the Urei 1176. DynOne allows users to set a “range” rather than a static setting for how it reacts to the material. This will allow you to blend in the compressed signal to taste alongside the original. Most of the other units I’ve covered have a “soft-knee” response—compression kicks in more gradually, starting slightly below Threshold (at a lower-than-set Ratio), and increasing until it reaches the set value, a bit above Threshold. This versatility has made the Distressor a modern classic, for those in the know, and if you had to choose just one compressor to handle all dynamics requirements, this one might just do the trick. Mastering with iZotope Ozone 5: Compression (Part 5). This is actually a very old design, and it’s responsible for much of the Fairchild’s specific character. He's also taught all aspects of recording and music technology at several NY audio schools, and has been writing articles for Recording magaz... Read More. Fig 3 A Fairchild 670—6 rack spaces of analog magic. LA-2As are still in production, from Universal Audio’s hardware division—UA is the current incarnation of the company that made the original, and their reissues are spot-on. It was a dual-VCA design, intended to subtly squash the full mix, and it became immensely popular, even earning itself a nickname—“The Glue”. The LA-2A is an optical compressor—as you know, compressors all employ detection and control circuits to determine when signals cross Threshold and apply the appropriate gain reduction. Unique feature: The Auto-Gain Compensation feature allows you to really hear if the compression that you’re applying is enhancing your source material, or simply making it louder. This list includes vintage models and some units that are out of production. The LA-2A uses a T4 optical attenuator—this is made up of an electro-luminescent panel (an internal light, basically), coupled with a photoresistor. While each of the vintage designs in this list has its own particular, distinctive analog character and response, Empirical Labs’ Distressor is the opposite—it’s a versatile compressor that offers a wide range of different responses and characters, even emulating the essential qualities of many of the vintage units I’ve mentioned. Awesome units!! When it comes to processing, there’s still nothing like a piece of actual hardware to impart that true “analog sound” to a recording or mix, and hardware Compressors are among the most distinctive pieces of analog gear out there. Add in the LA-2A’s tube output section, which lends it that sought-after analog warmth, and you’ve got a true classic on your hands. Mastering Tip: Make use of the sidechain (SC) filter. The stepped attack and release controls offer similar times to the famed SSL compressor unit, with the attack ranging from .1 to 30ms, and the release ranging from .1 to 1.2 seconds (also featuring an auto setting). His improvements to earlier, noisier, VCA circuits led to the development of the dbx 160 compressor, which set the bar for fast, tight VCA compression, which became the standard for professional units (until the vintage craze brought back all those older, flavorful designs). Joe is a musician, engineer, and producer in NYC. It’s got a more typical layout, with Input and Output Gain, Attack & Release controls, and four Ratios—4:1, 8:1, 12:1, and 20:1. It’s the classic smooth compressor, combining simplicity with can’t-miss sound and analog warmth. Mastering Tip: Utilize parallel multi-band compression. I find myself learning new things about compression when I use the Pro- C 2 simply because the metering is so incredibly detailed. In the event you do want to experiment with more extreme settings, the mix knob is handy for achieving a happy balance between the unprocessed, and smashed signals. The software you need if you want to impress when you compress. Here's a roundup of my most used compressor plugins as wellPlay Video. A more transparent transistorized design, the 160 doesn’t have the kind of flavor of some of the tube/FET units mentioned, but it does have its own character, thanks to certain nonlinearities in the circuitry. can As per Bob Katz’ advice, start with the factory default, drop all of the faders to negative infinity, and then bring up the faders (either linked or unlinked if you need more control over how compression affects the frequency spectrum) until you’ve achieved a wet/dry balance that best suits the music. That means that the response varies with the incoming signal, kind of continually optimizing the compressor response as the audio varies. Unique feature: There are many unique features on this one, but I’d have to go with the Nickel, Iron and Steel Transformer Types. It’s advisable, especially when using extreme settings and therefore applying large amounts of compression, to preserve the low end by engaging a sidechain filter. Awesome. Multiband compressing can be a great tool at the mastering stage if an equalizer can’t successfully tame sibilant vocals or brittle cymbals, I’ll often teach for one. Additionally, it has unique side-chaining options, allowing you to compress more subtly by preventing extreme high and low frequencies from driving the compressor. I immediately notice a pleasant bump in the high end when using this compressor. The particular response of the light and resistor determines the specific response characteristic of the compressor. Fig 4 A dbx 160, and the later Over-Easy™(soft-knee) model, the 165. There are two unique settings on the ratio control: ‘soft’ which allows for more transparent taming of transients, and ‘brick’ which cuts off signal peaks entirely. UAD integrated several useful extra features including an internal sidechain filter which allows you to prevent an excess of low frequencies reaching the compressor and causing unwanted ‘pumping’ , a mix control which allows you to create a balance of the ‘wet and dry’ signals, and a headroom control in case you need to trim your signal before hitting the compressor. UAD Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor. The resulting sound retains the natural qualities of the dry signal while providing the boost in volume and subtle liveliness of DynOne’s compression.