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Bus Compressor 2 User Guide

Introduction

About Bus Compressor 2

Few pieces of gear are as universally revered as the SSL G-Series center section bus compressor, and now it’s available as an SSL-designed plug-in. Celebrated for its ability to glue a mix together to make it "sound like a record," the SSL Bus Compressor has a distinctly musical response that retains the dynamic integrity of a mix even at higher compression ratios. 

A perennial favourite of engineers, the SSL Bus Compressor’s simple interface belies an incredible amount of flexibility, and the plug-in version boasts unique features not found on the original hardware, including dry/wet signal blending for parallel processing and a sidechain high-pass filter to reduce low-end pumping. Put the final shine on your mixes with SSL's legendary Bus Compressor.

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Key Features

  • THE legendary glue & punch maker updated for 2021
  • Revered for its ability to “glue together” a mix
  • Retains dynamic character of a mix even at higher ratios
  • NEW Attack, Release and Compression Ratios
  • Dry/wet parallel processing control and sidechain high-pass filter
  • Integrates with SSL 360 and is controllable from 360-enabled hardware surfaces such as the UC1 and UF8

Supported Platforms and Hosts

When we release an SSL plug-in, we test it on all Windows and macOS operating systems that aren't End-of-Life (EOL) at the time of release.

The versions listed below are the latest on which we have officially tested the the product.

It is possible for our products to work on platforms outside of this list. However, if your host, host version or operating system is not listed here, we recommend you demo the product before purchase to confirm that it works correctly.

Operating Systems

macOS Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur
Windows 10, 8.1

Hosts

  • Logic Pro 10
  • Pro Tools 2020
  • Ableton Live 10
  • Studio One 5
  • Cubase 11

Demo

To demo this plug-in, you can get the 30-day free trial of the SSL Complete subscription bundle via Gobbler: https://www.gobbler.com/solid-state-logics-30-day-free-trial/

Installation and Download

You can download installers for a plug-in from the website's Download page, or by visiting a plug-in product page via the Web Store.

All SSL plug-ins comes ship with VST, VST3, AU (macOS only) and AAX (Pro Tools) formats.

The installers provided (macOS Intel .dmg and Windows .exe) copy the plug-in binaries to the common VST, VST3, AU and AAX directories. After this, your host DAW should recognise the plug-in automatically in most cases.

Simply run the installer, and you should be good to go. You can find more information about how to authorise your plug-in below.

Licensing

Visit the online plug-ins FAQ for guidance in authorising your SSL plug-in.

 

Overview

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I/O

Bypass

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When switched out, the Bus Compressor is bypassed. Where possible, this is linked to the DAW's insert bypass feature

 

Compressor

Threshold

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Controls the level at which gain reduction is introduced.

Makeup

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Provides a gain stage to compensate for any reduction in level caused by compression.

Attack

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Controls the response time of the onset of compression once the threshold is crossed. The 20 ms option has been introduced in Bus Compressor 2.

Release

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Controls how quickly the level returns to normal. The .4, .8 and 1.2 second options have been introduced in Bus Compressor 2.

Ratio

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Controls the degree of compression. The 1.5, 3, 10, 20 and X options have been introduced in Bus Compressor 2. X is the most aggressive option – greater than 20, but less than infinity.

S/C HPF

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Applies a high-pass filter to the compressor sidechain.

Mix

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Controls the blend of the processed (wet) and unprocessed (dry) signals. Using a blend between 0 and 100% is commonly referred to as ‘parallel compression’.

 

Advanced Controls

Oversampling

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Bus Compressor 2 features the ability to use oversampling DSP. Options are provided for none (OFF), 2x and 4x. When compressing material heavily (e.g. smashing a drum bus), you may want to experiment utilising oversampling, as it will help to reduce unfavourable distortion that may be being introduced. The DAW will introduce a small amount of delay compensation for Bus Compressor 2 when oversampling is used.

External S/C

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The EXTERNAL S/C button allows the Bus Compressor sidechain to be fed from a source different to the internal sidechain. e.g. A bus send could be set up in the DAW, such as a kick drum that could be used to creatively 'pump' the Bus Compressor. Please note you will need to determine the external sidechain source using your DAW's plug-in header bar

Mix Lock

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MIX LOCK excludes the MIX control from the preset system, which can be useful for auditioning different presets, without the MIX control responding to the preset being loaded.

 

Metering

Gain Reduction meter

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The meter shows how much gain reduction is being applied by the Bus Compressor 2 plug-in in the style of the classic moving-coil meter found on SSL consoles.

 

SSL 360 Integration

Bus Compressor 2 features integration with SSL 360's Plug-in Mixer, which allows you to control all of your Channel Strip 2 and Bus Compressor 2 instances from a single virtual console. 360-enabled plug-ins are also controllable from 360-enabled hardware such as the UF1 and UC1.

The UC1 features dedicated hardware controls for Bus Compressor 2.

DAW Track Name

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Beneath the oversampling options the host track name the plug-in is inserted on is displayed. The track name will only be displayed if the host provides it.

Plug-in Mixer

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The button labelled PLUG-IN MIXER opens SSL 360° on the Plug-in Mixer page (presuming SSL 360° is installed). Otherwise, it will take you to the SSL website.

 

Presets, A/B and UNDO/REDO

Factory presets are included in the plug-in installation, installed in the following locations:

Mac: Library/Application Support/Solid State Logic/SSLNative/Presets/Vocalstrip2

Windows 64-bit: C:\ProgramData\Solid State Logic\SSL Native\Presets\Vocalstrip2 

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Switching between presets can be achieved by clicking the left/right arrows in the preset management section of the plug-in GUI, and by clicking on the preset name which will open the preset management display.

Preset Management Display

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There are a number of options in the Preset Management Display:

  • Load allows loading of presets not stored in the locations described above.
  • Save As... allows for storage of user presets.
  • Save as Default assigns the current plug-in settings to the Default Preset.
  • Copy A to B and Copy B to A assigns the plug-in settings of one comparison setting to the other.

A/B Comparison

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The A B buttons at the base of the screen allows you to load two independent settings and compare them quickly. When the plug-in is opened, setting A is selected by default. Clicking the A or B button will switch between setting A and setting B.

UNDO and REDO

UNDO and REDO functions allow undo and redo of changes made to the plug-in parameters.