This is the 2nd part of a set which I’ve split into two parts because of the scope of the complete package. This first one focused on the ‘hard knee’ compression curve, but this one is all about the soft knee(s).
Nebula programs have had a reputation with many as not being very good for actual compression, and they are often just used for their tone, in combination with VST plug-ins to do the gain reduction. I think these compressors are changing that. This may be taken by some as a bit of a lofty claim, but you can check it out for yourself. If you haven’t already, head over and grab the free demos from the 1st part.
The actual units used have a great reputation for being transparent compressors that take what you give them and give it back to you compressed, which can be great for times when you already have your tone just how you want it. They have tons of controls/features, which made them very tricky to sample, but that’s part of what drew me to them. They have amazing specs as far as noise/distortion goes, and who knows, they may one day be considered a classic. Some people seem to think of them as such already.
Here’s what’s in this part of the set:
- 1 soft knee compressor, sampled from 2 units (with sequential serial numbers) in a stereo configuration. Fully variable attack, release, threshold, and ratio controls. As much control as you would expect from a vst compressor.
- 1 soft knee comp, same as above but sampled with additional controls that allow you to leave some of the high frequency content un-compressed. You have one control that adjusts a cutoff point for a high frequency band, then another that sets the amount by which that band will be ‘expanded’. Combine this ability with the high-pass control for an internal side-chain and you can almost surgically compress different elements within a mix. These programs are decked out with controls.
- 1 ‘soft II’ knee compressor. This one was sampled with the units in auto mode, where they automatically adjust their attack/release times depending on the audio coming in. This mode also uses a special knee that is ‘softer’ than the soft knee you get by switching the unit into soft knee mode. This ‘softer’ knee is the main feature of this program, since the automatic behavior can’t really be recreated in Nebula. This one is more complex than the one that was included with part A. It features the same fully variable attack/release controls that the other comps in the set have, as well as the upper frequency expansion controls. So here, you really get a lot more control, with the different, softer knee.
- 1 effect where the units were sampled without their compression, but with the tube in the output stage being overdriven. This can actually be used to squash things, so in a way, it’s another compressor. Here though, the compression is only coming from the tube stage being overdriven, so it’s different from what you get with the comp programs. There is distortion, but don’t expect screaming tube overdrive- it’s not as strong as the squashing/compression effect. The attack/release controls can be used to modify the results.
- 1, 5, and 10k programs for everything, except the OD one which only has 5 and 10k. Further, all of the compressor programs have a a few different duplicate sets of programs/presets in addition to the basic set. The basic set works as close to the actual hardware as possible, while the duplicates offer different variations, such as RMS and EVF modes (basic uses peak), and different amounts of feedback in the detection chain. These other options can give you fairly different behaviors out of the compressors. Then there is another dupe set which is set up to accept a 2nd input for an external side-chain.
You should read this disclaimer that I’m giving out for any sets I release from now on which include monstrous, beastly programs with huge sample counts. Please read it before buying these compressors.
Audio Demo Clips:
A vocal clip using each of the 3 different soft knee compressors (soft knee with and without UFE controls, and the soft II knee with UFE), with different settings each time. First you hear dry. There are actually 2 vocal tracks (main and a backup), and they are compressed separately, so you are hearing two instances.
This one only shows the overdrive program. It’s being used to smash a drum mix to various degrees.
Price = $15.50 US – Programs available for download immediately after purchase. You must be a registered user of the full version of Nebula to use these programs. Nebula 3 Pro or Server is recommended.
Buy 96khz version here:
Buy 44.1khz version here:
Pay 1$ extra (total of $16.50) and get both versions here: