Today, we are going to talk about Master Bus Compression. Many of you know about the magic SSL Bus Compressor, because it is probably one of the most copied bus compressors on the planet. From around the 1970’s until about the mid-2000’s, this was the console was used to mix nearly every record, and its recognizable sound can be heard on many, many great records.
Now, I do have an SSL console with an SSL 4000 Bus Compressor. What we are going to do today, is we are going to talk about how you use the compressor on a console, some of the most familiar settings, and then we are going to look at some of the plugins that are out there. We will get a feel for these plugins, see how they compare to the console and to each other, and just generally learn how mixers use master bus compression.
Below are the four different master bus compressors we will be testing out and comparing today:
This plugin is based on the renowned master bus center compressor of the SSL 4000 G console, and works to capture the unique sound of the original hardware. The original compressor is prized by engineers for its ability to “glue together” tracks, and now you can access all that power in the form of a plugin!
IK Multimedia invented T-RackS in 1999, and since then it has evolved into a very powerful mix and master modular system. T-RackS has tons of versatility and firepower, and gives you everything you need to professional treat and finalize your audio from raw mixes to a finishing product ready for upload or printing.
The original Townhouse compressor was built in 1978, by the legendary Townhouse Studio engineers, using console components supplied by Solid State Logic (SSL). This plugin recreates that legendary compressor!
The original hardware Vertigo VSC-2 Quad Discrete Compressor built its reputation on the four, custom hand-built discrete “1979” VCAs used in its design. This plugin captures every nuance of the hardware version, and puts it right into your DAW.
Each of these plugins has their own attributes, their own sounds, and their own strengths. On different mixes, you may reach for a different plugin. What it comes down to is knowing your tools and what they do, so you can always choose the right one for you mix.
Watch the video below to see each of these plugins in action!