THE NON-LINEAR DIFFERENCE
During the development of the Virtual Buss Compressors, I spoke to many top pros in the audio industry about mix buss plugin compressors. There seemed to be an overwhelming consensus that even though many of them were advertised as ‘analog modeled’, they still didn’t have the classic sound of analog compressors. So Fabrice and I got to work – and the first task was examining the hardware compressors and the current crop of analog modeled plugin emulations to see what was going on! And what we found was surprising: the classic analog compressors that we studied added some very complex nonlinear artifacts in their signal paths. Their sound was not simply based on their specific compression topology like timing and compression curves, some of them also had modulations, dynamic harmonic distortions, dynamic phase distortion, saturation, crosstalk, and more.
And just like in our Virtual Console Collection plug-in, these artifacts added a sonic imprint to the compression. Was this the magic sound that made the plug-in compressors sound different than the analog compressors? There was only one way to find out. We had to precisely model it. All of it!
Several months later, we had algorithms that combined the exact compressor topologies, curves, timings, as well as the circuit’s nonlinear dynamic artifacts. We were able to bypass JUST the artifacts, and the answer was very clear: much of the magic tone that has been missing from many plug-in compressors lies in these nonlinear additives. When you hear the three VBC compressors, you’ll notice a depth, life, and analog ‘vibe’ that you’ve likely not heard before in a plugin compressor. I hope that you enjoy it on your mixes!