In this tutorial, we will use the GTS39 – Limiting Tube Compressor to finalize a modern EDM track. The song has already been mixed down, and is ready for mastering.
The GTS39 plugin seems to be a very simple piece of software at first glance. But don’t let the clean GUI fool you: this compressor delivers some serious power and is ideal for beefing things up!
We start things off by placing an instance of GTS39 on the master bus. It’s the last but one plugin in our mastering chain, followed only by a limiter (which doesn’t do much, though, apart from taking off a few dB in order to bring everything to a competitive level).
Let’s go through the individual control elements of GTS39. The INPUT-knob is certainly the most important one as it determines the amount of gain reduction (reflected by the VU-meter in the center). We set it to about 6 so that we get an average gain reduction of -12dB. Next we turn down the HOLD- and RELEASE-controls. In conjunction with the ‘Smoother’-mode (accessible via the drop-down menu at the bottom of the interface) the compressor reacts according to the tempo of the source material and thus underlines the 4/4 beat nicely.
Since we’re mastering a song (and hence want to get the best sound quality possible) we engage the ‘Oversample 8x’ option from the drop-down menu at the bottom left of the interface. On the right side, meanwhile, we change the mode from STEREO to DUAL. Now the compressor works in dual mono mode, thereby enhancing the stereo image of the audio.
Finally, we turn up the SIDE-EQ (to keep the bass frequencies nice and tight), and also raise the OUTPUT a bit to make up for the overall loss in volume.
The interface of the plugin should now look something like this:
All right, let’s find out what it sounds like in the end! Not only does everything seem closer (or ‘glued’) together, but one can also hear some general ‘enhancement’ as well!
Here’s what the track sounded before our session:
And here’s what it sounds like with GTS39 engaged:
You can download the preset for GTS39 here: GTS39 EDM Preset.FXP