Softube FET Compressor Plug-In
Read Barry's Mix Magazine Feature Article On Compression and Compressors
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Softube, the same company that produced the Vintage Amp Room and Metal Amp Room guitar amp emulations, has FET Compressor. This plug-in uses component-level modeling and their interactions within the circuitry of a FET compressor (not mentioned but probably the Universal Audio 1176LN Peak Limiter as there are not a lot of FET-based units in existence). Softube modeled the behavior of the original circuits (quirks and all), including the input and output stages, gain-reduction feedback loops, distortions, and the transistor bias differences.
I quickly installed the TDM version into my Pro Tools HD3 Accel rig. The GUI looks very handsome--much like a high-end, vintage stereo receiver with shiny knobs, modern VU meters for gain reduction and input plus an LED tree for reading output level. Instead of fixed values (like on the 1176LN) you have a continuously variable ratio control--all the way to the verboten "all four buttons" mode possible on the UA unit.
As a vocal compressor FET sticks out for many reasons. The fast attack time possible (up to 20 microseconds) and look ahead function (impossible for hardware units) controls jumpy vocals expertly. There are also adjustable low and high pass filters available in the sidechain for more transparent compression by not compressing as much on certain (adjustable) frequencies as the rest of the audio. I liked the external input feature and the Wet/Dry mix control for parallel compression. All these features are seldom found together on the same plug-in--my vocalist never sounded better as I was able to get any sound from smooth and transparent 'high fidelity' sounds all the way to quirky and squashy treatments.
Available in both Native VST/AU/RTAS at $249 and TDM/VENUE at $399 formats, the FET Compressor from Softube is an all-around winner here at my Tones 4 $ Studios. It performs amazing on bass guitar, snare drums and the best, so far, on lead vocals! For more information, contact www.mvproaudio.com.
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