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As befits its name, Native Instruments has traditionally been known for cutting-edge plugin instruments, rather than effects. Yet behold: in 2011 it took a bold leap into vintage outboard hardware modelling territory, with this trio of plugins - all featuring DSP guts from modelling experts Softube.
The VC 76 is an emulation of a UREI 1176 - and indeed, the full palette of that compressor's sounds can be achieved, from precise vocal taming to pumping drum overheads. Like the real thing, adding bite to bass is a breeze, and the fast attack settings have been captured very well.
The VC 2A models the famous Teletronix LA-2A, and on vocals, it instantly delivers the seductive and often quite audible squeeze that its inspiration is famous for, while the sidechain low cut is definitely a useful addition when compressing bass dominant sounds.
Finally, the VC 160 is a self-styled 'bold and dirty' compressor that's based on the VCA dbx 160, and is best used for adding extra punch to kicks and snares.