WING Channel Processing: Compressors and Limiters

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The WING has some great processing available for every channel and bus. This is a look at the Compressors and Limiters that are available to be used on every channel without having to insert an effect from the effects bank. Remember that the effects in the WING channel can be arranged in any order.

Also, the Crossover and Sidechain/Key Filter can be used on the analog modeled compressors as well making them more versatile.

Select the Effect to be Inserted.

WING Compressor

The WING Compressor has all of the standard settings you would expect on a digital compressor and it can all be set and adjusted from the touch screen.

Compressor Crossover Mode

The WING Compressor gives the option of different crossover modes as well as a solo feature for the crossover, this way you can focus on the frequency band you want to engage the compressor.

Compressor Key Source

The WING Compressor also gives the option to trigger the compressor from a different source channel called sidechaining. A common example is to have the kick drum key the bass compressor to help mix the two low frequency instruments.

Compressor Key Filter

The Key Filter gives you the ability to select the frequency of the Key Source that will trigger the compressor to give even more control over how the compressor responds.

WING Expander

The Gate can be used as an Expander and that is probably what I would use it most cases but I could imagine a scenario where you would want to use the Expander from this section instead of the gates, the most obvious being that you want to use an effect from the Gate section that is not available in the Compressor section and then use the Compressor from an insert or no compressor at all. Remember that the effect order can be re-arranged at any time.

DBX 160

The DBX 160 is a VCA compressor with a fixed hard knee that was often used on drums because of how quick and aggressive it is. The controls are simpler than some others since the attack and release times are automatic and based on the input signal.

DBX 560

The DBX 560 is a more modern compressor that works similar to the DBX 160 but adds the “over easy” mode that came after the DBX 160 and was on many of the DBX compressors that were ubiquitous throughout studios and live sound systems. “Over Easy” is a soft-knee that gives a smooth transition through the compressor’s knee, which is where the signal hits the threshold.

DRAWMER DL241

This is the compressor section taken out of the Drawmer DL241, a unit that included a gate and compressor in one. On the WING the two sections are split but both available to use. It also includes an Auto setting for the Attack and Release times. Auto settings are usually more transparent. There is also a Peak Limiter included after the Compressor.

Focusrite Red Compressor

The Focusrite Red Compressor is a VCA compressor that is often used as a “Mix Bus Compressor” because it can be clean and transparent sounding. Just because it is often used as a buss compressor doesn’t mean you can’t use it for Vocals or Bass or anything other channel. It also has an “Auto” setting for attack and release.

SSL 9000 Series Channel Compressor

This is the channel compressor from a SSL 9000 series console. It includes a fast attack setting (approx. 3ms). This is different from the standard attack time, which is program dependent. There is also a variable release setting, and the option to switch between Peak and RMS compression. SSL Channel compressors automatically apply makeup gain.

SSL G Buss Compressor

This is the Mix Bus compressor from the SSL 4000 G Series used on the mix bus of countless recordings. It has an Auto Release option that works well but you have to set the attack time.

Neve 33609

This is a classic Neve Buss compressor/limiter originally designed for broadcast use that is also great on sub groups and individual sources. This will be familiar to users of the Yamaha CL/QL series of mixers that also have a model of this compressor. On the Yamaha it is a premium rack item, on the WING you can insert it on every source or bus without added latency! When mixing bands on the above Yamaha mixers I use it as a master buss compressor, but the Yamaha doesn’t have the SSL G Buss compressor which should be more familiar to most since it is so popular in plugin form.

Eternal Bliss

The Eternal Bliss is based on the Elysia Xpressor compressor and has some unique features so you should definitely check it out and see how you like it.

There is an Auto Fast Setting which controls how the compressor responds to fast transients and allows it to work quickly without distortion. It basically allows the compressor to be fast when needed.

The Log Release Setting smooths out the release and is helpful when used as a Buss compressor. It seems the WING has reversed from the orginial with an “anti-log” making the default Log, instead of the Elysia, which operates opposite.

Gain Reduction Limiter sets a limit on how much gain reduction could be applied, so something very loud would be limited to a maximum reduction set by the user and not exceeded if the signal increases.

UREI /Universal Audio 1176

The 1176 is a classic Fet compressor known for being fast and also for it’s ability to distort in a way that many people like. This should be familiar to X/M32 users as it was one of the few analog model processors available in the effects rack. There is an “All Buttons in” mode included with the ratios for a common trick that increases compression and distortion. The 1176 is a classic compressor, but takes some experience so this is a great opportunity to set up a virtual soundcheck and learn how to set the Attack and Release times (lower numbers are slower and higher numbers are faster).

Teletronix/Universal Audio LA-2A

This is a classic compressor/limiting amplifier that is smoother and slower than other designs due to its tube and photocell circuitry. The compressor has a soft knee and Attack and Release Timing is program dependent making this a good compressor for beginners. Great for smoothing out vocals and helping them sound more “polished.” I also like using the LA2A on bass and acoustic guitar.

Fairchild 660

This is another vintage tube model based on a classic from the 1950’s. The attack and release times are fixed to 6 different ratios and selected by the Time Constant Switch. The DC Bias Control effects the ratio of compression and the Knee.

Empirical Labs Distressor

Another Modern Classic, the Distressor behaves like other compressors, except that the ratio is tied to the threshold and the knee gets harder as the ratio increases. The Nuke setting is different and has a medium threshold but a brick wall limit. It was designed to crush room mics on drum kits but can be used as an effect as well.

SPL Transient Designer

The transient designer is used to shape the transient of the signal and change the attack or sustain of a source. Think of adding attack as a way to make kick and snare punch through the mix more, while reducing the sustain can cut down on ring drums like toms. Adding sustain to an instrument track like a guitar solo is another possibility.

Auto Rider

This looks like it is based on the Waves Vocal Rider and the concept is that it rides a fader to level out the volume without changing the sound or tone in the way a compressor does.

Takeaway

There are a lot of compressor models available in the WING that will be familiar to both live sound engineers and recording/mix engineers. Another excellent case for setting up a virtual sound check and experimenting with different ratios and time controls and different processors all together to see how they sound on different sources.

See our article on setting up the WING for virtual soundcheck or using the Free Waves Tracks Live program to really learn the processors.

In Depth

In future articles we will go in depth with the different plugins.

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