Minimal Audio Fuse Compressor: What is it?
KEY FEATURES: I/O: 6-band dual compressor. Formats: PC/Mac AU, VST, VST3, and AAX. Buy at Plugin Boutique
Multiband compression is nothing particularly new, but with its latest plugin Fuse, developer Minimal Audio aims to put a fresh and user-friendly spin on the process.
Fuse is a six band compressor. Each band is dual function, capable of both downward compression – squashing down peaks above a threshold level – and upwards compression, where volume is boosted below a set threshold. The primary controls for each of these bands can be adjusted by dragging various nodes of lines around a visually responsive frequency grid.
Fuse can operate in stereo and mid/side modes. There’s no direct control over the different channels in these modes; you can’t, for example, apply completely different compression settings to the mid and side signals. The plugin does feature a Stereo Link control, however, which will adjust the balance between the two channels, and can shift the emphasis of the compression in order to increase stereo width.
Minimal Audio Fuse Compressor: Performance and verdict
Fuse is designed specifically for simple operation, and control of the overall effect is adjusted using a bank of eight rotaries below the main display. These control Attack and Release, downward Threshold and Ratio, upward Threshold and Ratio, frequency Tilt and Make-up gain. These controls are all universal, and apply to each band equally – i.e. lowering the downward Threshold control will decrease the threshold level for all bands simultaneously. Threshold and Ratio settings for each band can be adjusted individually using the nodes on the graphical display above, though.
Attack and Release are only set universally, but Fuse also has an Adaptive Time function. This can be engaged in both positive and negative directions and affects how quickly the upper frequency bands respond in comparison to the lower frequencies. With positive values the higher frequencies respond quicker for a more natural compression sound, negative values reverse this resulting in a more overt sound.
Multiband compression treatments tend to fall into two categories: transparent and clinical compression used for mixing and mastering, and punchy OTT treatments beloved by dance music producers (associated with the widely-used Ableton OTT preset and the freeware Xfer plugin it later inspired). Fuse aims to do both, to an extent, although there’s obvious appeal here for those looking for the more in-your-face sounds, including a selection of ‘OTT’ presets which are great for adding weight and power to drums and synths. Fuse has a master limiter too, with two different ‘colour’ options that add a touch of saturation that works nicely on groups and buses.
For mixing and mastering purposes, there are more versatile multiband compressors out there. Minimal Audio is clear about Fuse’s emphasis on ease-of-use, and that up-front design means foregoing some of the depth offered by some other plugins, such as full timing control for each band, sidechaining or deeper control over the mid/side bands. That ease-of-use is not for nothing though, and by making use of Tilt and Adaptive Time controls Fuse makes it simple to dial in a variety of treatments, from high-frequency enhancement to bass boosts, punchy bus compression and stereo widening. For those looking for a workhorse processor that’s not bogged down in bells and whistles, this is an appealing plugin at a great price point.
MusicRadar verdict: Fuse is a handy and easy‑to‑use compressor at a good price, as long as you can live without a few deeper features.
Minimal Audio Fuse Compressor: Hands-on demos
Minimal Audio Fuse Compressor: Specifications
- KEY FEATURES:
I/O: 6-band dual compressor.
- Formats: PC/Mac AU, VST, VST3, and AAX.
- CONTACT: Minimal Audio