Virtual Buss Compressors is a suite of three unique-sounding dynamic processors, all 100% modeled after top analog mastering gear and thus ideal for program material. Every nuance of real analog compressors has been modeled, including the exact nonlinear characteristics of their transformers, tubes, VCAs, amplifiers, phase distortions, harmonic distortions, and timing.
This compressor is based on the classic RED-faced compressor that has been a favorite of mix legend Chris Lord Alge, who first showed it to me when I visited his studio years ago. I thought it was odd actually: here was this compressor that nobody else seemed to really use, and it was on a setting at 1.5:1 and the attack looked very fast for a Mix-Buss compressor. This was puzzling because I usually associated a faster attack with a loss of transient punch, but if you’ve heard Chris’s mixes you know that they are the exact opposite of that! So being the classic gearslut, I bought one, (I got the unit with both input and output transformers). The first thing I did was put it on my mix in the settings that Chris showed me… 1.5:1, attack around 10/11 o’clock, auto release, compressing just 2-3db tops. And…. WOW! One of the clearest, punchiest sounding rock mixes I’d ever heard come out of my own speakers. This unit was amazing!!!
The FG-GREY starts off with a very precise model of the classic British “4000 series console compressor”. I’ve used the hardware model for many years but I never fully appreciated just how magnificent the piece is until studying it during the modeling process. It has a way of being able to tighten and ‘gel’ the components of a mix in ways that can go from fairly transparent in auto-release mode, to very aggressive in manual mode.
I’ve been lucky enough to hear and use some of the most classic and hard-to-find tube buss compressors on the planet (like the Fairchild 670 and Manley Vari Mu), and let me tell you, there is some real magic that happens when your mix goes through a brilliantly-designed piece of tube gear. The midrange thickens, the lows get tighter and rounder, and the top end opens up with a beautiful sparkle… even better, those harsh upper mid overtones seems to get tamed too. For the FG-MU, we put all of these wonderful qualities into the algorithm. To experience FG-MU for the first time you don’t even have to do any compression, as just going through the processor without any gain reduction will reveal a beautiful open sound due to the modeling of the tube circuit path. Even when I’m using the FG-GREY or FG-RED, I love using the VBC Rack just so I can have the audio pass through the FG-MU!