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PSP MixPressor

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I've been testing the PSP MixPressor for a little time now, and I'm going to introduce it to you.

PSP MixPressor is a very sophisticated compressor, built by a little Polish company, PSP-AUDIOWARE. One of the interests of this compressor is his ability to get an analog-like sound.

The panel looks like a classic compressor, with a stereo vu-meter and a bunch of little knobs. Three little needles that you will use to read the peak level (in red), that is held at its max level for a second, the RMS level (in black), and the reduction level during compression (in blue).

Above the input knob, a "compression" slider serves as a threshold to begin a soft knee compression. Another slider regulates the compression curve. Once compressed, the signal is routed into an adjustable limiter (see below). The compression is displayed in percentage rather than in ratio. According to the author, this is due to the fact that the compression curve is slightly different from a usual curve, and for this reason there's no definite point where one can say it's 2:1 or 5:1.

"Process" activates the plug-in. It's a kind of bypass, the only setting that remains active when depressed Beingg the input knob. The compression is set with usual knobs (attack, hold, release, rms, amongst a few others).

Attack and release are provided with preset settings (fast, slow), on top of very accurate manual settings. "RMS" (Root mean square) allows the RMS detection of the signal. If this switch is off, it behaves as a peak detector. A "Del" switch activates an internal delay that reduces peaks during attacks. A "Make-up" switch restores the level after compression. It also has optional presets.

A "sat/lim" switch gives the choice between a warm limiter or a limiter-saturation mode. The limiter works at a 0 dB level, but a knob allows to set this level all the same.

SCL (Side Chain Listening) lets you hear the side-chained signal. There, you can choose a frequency and a Q factor to reduce the pumping phenomena, thanks to a smoothly-swept bell-type filter. You can also use the side-chain as a de-esser. Very handy and effective !

There's also a LED that lights up when the output distorts, a mono/stereo switch, and another one to set the compressor in pre or post mode.

The plug-in comes with several presets, that usually only require minor adjustments for impressive results (2 for vocals, 2 others for acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, global mix and so on). They're very well programmed and the results are almost always correct at first shot.

PSP MixPressor is taking more and more importance in my studio. It has become my favorite compressor in Cubase. In fact, it's doing wonderfully what it has been made for: to raise the level without noticeable damage to the sound quality. And we could also add that on top of doing well that job, it also knows how to add this warm analog flavour that everybody's looking for and that is so pleasant to the ears...

By the way, there's a demo on their website. Please note that the demo version requires more CPU power than the full version (US$30).

Gilles BLAIS, on the 14-11-2000

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