3 Compressors You’ll Actually Use Review

3 Compressors You’ll Actually Use enters the market that has plenty of coloring and non-coloring compressors. We did look here on StrongMocha at other compressor plugins by Kush Audio, Acustica Audio, Goodhertz, Sound Radix, HEAVYOCITY, Cytomic, Brainworx, and others. Arturia did send a review copy with no strings attached. I love the Arturia preamps and filter launched earlier by the same company ( see also 3 Preamps and 3 Filters You’ll Actually Use by Arturia Review). If you do own the one or both of the other two plugin product from Arturia (3 Preamps and 3 Filters) you can leverage a very attractive price to purchase a 9 Arturia Effects Bundle.

Comp VCA-65 by Arturia

Installation

Arturia Software Center (ASC) is a simple, easy solution to help you install, activate, and update your Arturia software instruments. You can use ASC for an easy install and update later.

Sound

Arturia’s 3 Compressors you’ll actually use plug-in bundle combines the emulation of three legendary hardware compressors. First, there is a COMP FET 76, a reproduction of the FET compressor UREI 1176 from the 1960s, an industry standard and a classic. The second compressor is a COMP TUBE-STA, replicating the Gates STA level from the 50s. The third compressor in the group is COMP VCA-65 and is an emulation of the VCA-based compressor dbx 165A. Common to all is the modern additions, such as extensive sidechain filters for stereo and more.

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All three compressors are super versatile and come with the color you want to add to your mix when using these types of compressor. The compressors all performed excellently when forming, polishing and smoothing different instrument tracks. All included compressors help mix engineers and composer who want to self mix their composition in controlling dynamics and keeping the flow and natural character of an instrument or changing it into a direction that helps the overall mix. Using one of the three compressors on a track gives so-called coloration that helps the mix. The compressors are really easy to use.

Arturia Compressor Position

Arturia positions a compressor as: “A compressor is an audio processing device that has been used by recording, mixing and broadcast engineers for many decades to reduce the dynamic range of signals. This device evens out (“compresses”) the level differences between the loudest and quietest sections of a recording to avoid excessive peaks. By bringing down the loudest parts of a recording, compressors allow engineers to boost the entire processed signal without worrying about the loudest parts overloading a recording. The net result is a higher average loudness level in a recording. There are many reasons to use a compressor. For example, a compressor can be used to protect a recording (and our ears) from excessive peaks that can sound distorted and can potentially damage our speakers (or our hearing). Also, reducing the loudest parts of a recording can make for a far more pleasing listening experience. This is because listeners can turn up the music and hear the softer parts without fear of earache when the louder parts come. This is especially true in music with dynamic instruments that can produce sudden loud peaks like a drum kit or the human voice. Compressors can even be used creatively, to shape and contour sounds in pleasing ways. This flexibility is what makes compressors one of the most popular tools in a recording engineer’s toolkit.

Comp VCA-65 by Arturia – Presets

Comp TUBE-STA

An excellently recreated a version of the limited tube-powered Gates STA-Level performance compressor. Ideal for warming up bass and vocals. The Comp TUBE-STA is amazingly creamy and softens everything carefully. It helps with smoothing and leveling while making the sound larger.

Comp TUBE-STA 
Comp TUBE-STA  Features:
  • Virtual recreation of famed classic VCA compressor
  • Additional Arturia’s creative side-chain features:
    • External side-chain source to trigger the compressor to an external source
    • Playful manual pad to manually trigger the compression
    • 7 creative detection mode, including M/S processing
    • Time warp function with look ahead or delay added to your side-chain path
    • Advanced Side-chain EQ
    • Compression range parameter to limit the amount of gain reduction applied, with 0dB position for FET-76 with no compression/distorsion only sound
    • Monitor Side-chain signal directly
  • Dry/wet Mix knob for parallel compression
  • Switchable Analog VU meter with 3 calibrations mode (-18dBFs, -12dBS, -8 dBFs)
  • Analog clipping LED indicator
  • Comprehensive set of presets
  • A/B comparison setting
  • Integrated tutorials and unique dynamic preset tips
  • Resizable window
Comp TUBE-STA by Arturia used with Scoring Bass

Comp FET-76

UREI’s fabled 1176 compressor, carefully modeled and turbo-charged with distinct characteristics. Noted for its quick attack, tremendous punch, and versatility. The Comp FET-76 is very strong and clear. It can support a track to bring a sound, track or instrument upfront in a pretty mellow, harmonically way.

Comp FET-76
Comp FET-76 Features:
  • Virtual recreation of famed classic FET compressor
  • Original ultra fast attack & release parameters down to 20 microseconds
  • “All Buttons” British mode ratio for explosive sound
  • Additional Arturia’s creative side-chain features:
    • External side-chain source to trigger the compressor to an external source
    • 5 creative detection mode, including M/S processing
    • Time warp function with look ahead or delay added to your side-chain path
    • Advanced Side-chain EQ
    • Compression range parameter to limit the amount of gain reduction applied, with 0dB position for FET-76 with no compression/distorsion only sound
    • Monitor Side-chain signal directly
  • Dry/Wet Mix knob for parallel compression
  • Input-Output gain link switch
  • Switchable Analog VU meter with 3 calibrations mode (-18dBFs, -12dBS, -8 dBFs)
  • Analog clipping LED indicator
  • An comprehensive set of presets
Comp FET-76 by Arturia used with Voices of War

Comp VCA-65

Our very own rendition of the vintage DBX 165A, made popular for its handling of drums, bass, and percussive sound sources. Comp VCA-65 is extremely versatile it did work for me on many different tracks and instruments and adds some character.

Comp VCA-65
Comp VCA-65 Features:
  • Virtual recreation of famed classic VCA compressor
  • Additional Arturia’s creative side-chain features:
    • External side-chain source to trigger the compressor to an external source
    • Playful manual pad to manually trigger the compression
    • 7 creative detection mode, including M/S processing
    • Time warp function with look ahead or delay added to your side-chain path
    • Advanced Side-chain EQ
    • Compression range parameter to limit the amount of gain reduction applied, with 0dB position for FET-76 with no compression/distorsion only sound
    • Monitor Side-chain signal directly
  • Dry/wet Mix knob for parallel compression
  • Switchable Analog VU meter with 3 calibrations mode (-18dBFs, -12dBS, -8 dBFs)
  • Analog clipping LED indicator
  • Comprehensive set of presets
Comp VCA-65 by Arturia used with Flow by Triple Spiral Audio

All three compressor plugin and emulation of the vintage device are very powerful. You receive a bundle of compressor that sounds organic and adds the desired coloring to a track or your mix bus. The emulated devices are not known by many users and including myself where I can not compare the plugin with the “real” hardware. They sound different and add another color option to your toolbox compared to many of the available compressor plugins.

Experiences

I did load the compressor on different instruments. For example on a drum bus and I was immediately impressed how much they are adding punch and just sweeten the sound. Based on the instrument bus I used I selected different compressors our of the three available ones. Important was I could always find the one out of three that worked best on the instrument. In a real situation, you reach out to more than the three Arturia compressors, either from your DAW or other third party compressors you have available. Even with large selection of compressors available I reached out to the Arturia ones on tracks.

Comp TUBE-STA Presets

Rating:  Four out of five stars

3 Compressors You’ll Actually Use is a truly excellent bundle of three compressors that you can add at a low price point to your toolbox to help to produce well-mixed instruments and tracks. All three compressors add the needed vibe, color, and punch to your mix track, or single (Instrument) track. The Comp VCA-65 (DBX) blew me away and does stand out. Having three options makes you versatile on different instruments and tracks.

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