VCA Compressors

 In TSM Studio Blog
  • Understanding the unique pros and cons associated with different compressor circuit designs is essential in order to achieve a desired tonal and dynamic result. Throughout this week, we will be addressing the different types of compressors, their unique forms of gain-reduction, and examples of different compressors.
  • With various gain-reduction methods being implemented to circuit designs containing different attack and release behaviors, harmonic coloring, and flexibility, today’s tip will focus on VCA Compression.
  • VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) Compressors oftentimes act more as an attenuator than an amplifier, meaning that when a certain control voltage is fed into the compressor, the output signal will be turned down accordingly. Simply put, this is how gain-reduction occurs in a VCA Compressor.
  • VCA Compressors are commonly associated with transparent, predictable, and repeatable gain-reduction results that make it a powerhouse when used to sensitively tame micro-dynamics. 
  • Because of the absolute control that VCA Compressors provide, (attack, release, threshold, ratio, and sometimes even the control of a soft or hard-knee) they’re commonly used for precise gain-reduction on percussion groups, instrument groups, and mix busses. 
  • With the adaptability to work with a wide range of response times, VCA compressors are the go-to-gamut for creating cohesion and punch in a mix. If you intend on investing money into one compressor for your mix bus, a Stereo VCA Compressor is often an ideal choice as it’s commonly referred to as the “Swiss-Army Knife” of compression.
  •  Examples of VCA Compressors include:
    • API 2500
    • DBX-160
    • SSL G-Series Bus Compressor
    • Kush Audio Tweaker
    • Neve Portico II MBP
    • Dangerous Music COMPRESSOR