Universal Audio Precision Buss Compressor

Their role is to sit in the output chain, trimming the level off unwanted mix peaks, before zipping a flatter output signal to a limiter or loudness maximiser for the all essential 'mix squash'. Into a growing range of mastering-ready 'Precision' tools, UAD now introduce their Precision Buss Compressor.

The upper half of the GUI concerns itself with input/output metering and associated level dials, with one attributed to each stage. In the middle, an additional 'Mix' dial lets you set a blend between input and output signals.

The lower half starts by offering a high-pass filter, with cutoff up to 500Hz. This allows you to leave bass out of the equation whilst you're processing sound, which is invaluable at the master output stage.

Next to Threshold, you'll find the ratio dial with just three options: 2:1, 4:1 and 10:1. This may seem too few for some users but somehow, the Precision Compressor manages to make this less big a deal than it might be within other models.

Three additional dials provide Attack, Release and Fade. Attack offers a narrow-ish range of options between 0.1 and 30ms, whilst Release can be set between 0.1 and 1.2 seconds, with Automatic Release also available.

The Fade dial lets you set a fade time between 1 and 60 seconds and is activated by a simple click of the 'Fade' button. Throughout the GUI, all dials are flanked by numeric readouts so you can keep precise tabs on your settings.

Mastering

As you'd expect, this compressor does a wonderful job at the mastering stage, when used between a master EQ plug-in and a loudness maximiser. It doesn't colour the sound either, it'll simply sit in the output plug-in chain, marshalling unwanted peaks down and performing very solidly.

What this means is that it's also excellent as a buss compressor for banks of grouped tracks. Its most impressive test came on a stack of backing vocals, which it looked after with ease, allowing me to process 36 tracks together, without the sound breaking up or individual tracks requiring any volume automation.

Again, the result was free from too much timbral change, which made it invaluable and, better yet, completely dependable. It almost goes without saying that it's equally capable of thickening or widening individual stereo tracks, with presence and warmth added in roughly equal measure.

We tend to go in search of features that seem bigger and louder than the competition. What I like so much about the Precision Compressor is that it's capable of the opposite - a transparent, musical result for any sound.

If you're looking for a mastering compressor or one for in-channel and buss treatments, you won't be disappointed if you end your search here.

MusicRadar Rating

4.5 / 5 stars
Pros

Perfect for mastering.

Cons

Perhaps a tad pricey?

Verdict

An excellent groups, buss and individual channel dynamics processor. Another UAD hit.

Features

* Modern and easy-to-use single-band gain control for busses and inserts. Transparent, large-format center-console-type dynamics control. Auto release for transparent buss compression on a wide variety of sources. Automatic Fade in or out, with a range of 1 to 60 seconds. Mix control allows blending of wet and dry signals.

OS Requirements

Apple Mac OS X 10.4 or later Microsoft Windows Vista Microsoft Windows XP

Plug-in FX Type

Compressor/Limiter

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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