Compress to impress
There’s currently a bewildering choice of vintage compressor models in duplicate, triplicate and more to cover any situation. For this round-up we’ve chosen a broad but select range of classics from a variety of developers.
Analogue-style compressors such as these are really more about results and ‘flavour’ than specs and features, so we’ll try and highlight which models are suitable for which tasks.
Check out the demos and full reviews (where available) to find out more.
NEXT: Cytomic The Glue
Cytomic The Glue
Based on the ‘80s SSL console centre section buss compressor, this has many more parameters and takes in sonic fashion changes since that time.
PSPaudioware oldTimer ME
This borrows from the developer’s favourite vintage circuitry designs to create its characteristic warmth. Just as at home mastering as in a tracking session.
Universal Audio dbx 160
An official virtual replica of the original classic VCA-based compressor. A staple on drums, its idiosyncratic non-linearities have been faithfully copied here.
Softube Tube-Tech CL 1B
Models Tube-Tech’s tasty hardware valve compressor. The original is known for its natural control over vocals and acoustic instruments.
Native Instruments VC 2A
The VC 2A is a reproduction of the LA2A, a valve opto-electrical levelling amplifier that’s brilliant at smoothing out vocals and acoustic instruments.
IK Multimedia Black 76
An emulation of the Urei 1176, which is ever-popular because of its all-round performance. Its fast attack and release times make it a favourite for drums.
IK Multimedia Model 670
Based on the Fairchild 670, a mastering compressor with an attractive musical character. Great as a warm, invisible levelling amplifier on vocals and more.
Veteran engineer/producer Eddie Kramer has put his name to this emulation of the Pye solid-state buss compressor. Like others, it’s not just handy on the mix buss.
Solid State Logic Duende Bus Compressor
SSL ruled the hardware buss compressor world at the turn of the century. This aims to do the same for software.
Softube FET Compressor
The 1176 is probably the most copied of all vintage compressors, and for good reason. Softube take the concept and run with it, adding new features.