Far from your DAW's stock compressor, u-he's Presswerk will offer a huge batch of controls to carry out tasks from the mundane to the creative, and all backed up by the sonic experience of the developer behind Satin, Bazille, DIVA and so much more. The plugin (VST/AU/AAX) will be available to the public for beta testing until the end of the year.
The plugin has a two focusses to choose from – one thoroughly on tweakable processing, and the other on vintage modelling, aiming to sate two of the biggest desires in compression with just one tool. So just how much control can you get?
We all know the bog standard dynamics controls – Threshold, Ratio, Attack and Release – and the slightly more involved ones – Knee controls, Adaptive Release, Automatic gain and so on. Presswerk's got these, sure, but it takes itself much more seriously than that…
We have seen the plugin's basic compression features on other plugins before: there's a knob for setting the non-linearity of the ratio, the RMS Window control sets the timeframe over which the RMS level of the signal is evaluated, and a Soft Clip setting is in there too.
All this can be set to work in stereo (L/R) or mid/sides configuration over the plugin's two channels, each independently configurable and linkable. Metering is on hand courtesy of VU-style and LED-style meters.
Presswerk's sidechain may actually be the blandest part by comparison, featuring low- and high-pass filters and delay – by no means limited in scope, of course. Then you can dial in saturation and tweak the plentiful Dry/Wet mix controls. There's even controls in the plugin's 'main' mode of operation, and if that prospect feels intimidating, fear not – you can also work in three more settings…
Optical mode takes after hardware compressors of old (or 'levellers'), simplifying the settings and acting in a quirkier, non-linear way; FET (Field Effect Transistor) mode is another classic circuit model that goes down especially well on busses; and the Tube Limiter mode takes on 'variable-mu' compressors, useful for mastering applications.
So Presswerk aims to both emulate the classics and to give you full-on control to dial in any character and response you're after. You can get involved in the Presswerk beta testing for the rest of 2014.