Which Compressor Should I Put on my Mix Bus? The Shootout!

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Which Compressor Should I Put on my Mix Bus? The Shootout!

I’ve always been a V-Comp kinda of guy, but the new Abbey Road TG Mastering Chain is my new favorite!


Hi. I still use the SSL compressor (either Waves, or Console 1) very gently with a low ratio on my mixbus in addition to having the L2 for safety if there are any peaks slipping by.
I’m experimenting more with the mixbus lately than before, so Sheps Onmi Channel have been there at times. As well as the TG Mastering Chain, and others, such as the V-Comp.
All the best.

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Honestly I tend not to compress my master bus most of the times :slight_smile:

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Depends on what you’re talking about when you say ‘mix bus’. This could relate to any instrument/loop/synth and the compressor you choose will depend on what you have. For example with classical or neo-classical, and more gentle acoustic music the SSL comp does a great job. For guitar that might be a little on the low mid strong side or perhaps if you want a touch of brightness on a submix the Puigchild 670 does a great job. If you need a bit of presence or punch or both the Vcomp is great. In mastering I also use the Vcomp as the final compressor for a lot of jobs and it does great. Sometimes I ditch it and use a Puigchild or SSL or even something else if these don’t quite do the job. The TG12345 can also play a part but I’m always a little circumspect around it because it does appear to heavily compress sometimes and needs very careful manipulation of the controls BUT it does beautiful work on some instruments especially cello and acoustic guitar.

If you’re talking about the Master channel, don’t put anything other than analysers on this and perhaps a Kramer Tape (If you’re wondering why you’ll see so under a previous post I made about gain-staging) and make sure it runs at -18 and not pinning. Keep it in the sweet spot just below the red with the odd incursion into the red and you’ll have a lot of headroom for the mastering engineer and a sweet, warm sound to boot.

When using the ARVinyl be careful with audio that is strong in the high mid area. I find it doesn’t matter what you do with settings, it will tend to saturate in this area and can give you an unpleasant result. Having said that when you’re mixing acoustic guitar, cello, acoustic bass and such like instruments that aren’t howling in the high mids then this plug on a mix bus can sound just fabulous.

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There is a lot to like about all of these compressors. I think they could all find their uses in most contexts. Taste and sometimes flexibility seems to be the main determining factor in my opinion.

SSL & API will give you that modern sound, with the others offering a taste of vintage, which still very much has its place in modern music. Not just the classic styles, but in adding character and substance to all those ultramodern dance grooves and urban beats.

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So do I, until the first time I used a master buss compressor with SC filtering.

This option is a must!
You can compress the entire track without touching the low end/bass at all.
Abbey Road TG Mastering can do this task with FIR filter.

I feel if and when gets around to updating their compressors that they should add a SC filter in ALL of them, as well as a Noise “Dial”.

Son’t get me wrong, I actually like the Noise features, but that’s why I want the Dial, so I can include as a little or as much noise as I want.