Simulating four of the most sought after bus compressors ever made, Bus is ideal for gluing subgroups and full mixes together. In such a scenario, we would usually play it safe – use a moderate ratio, and aim for only a couple of dB gain reduction. But what if we would simply forget about our good mixing manners and take the capabilities of the plugin to their extremes? What if we push things to the max? Well, let’s find out!

For our experiment, we’ll be using an electronic drum loop. It already has plenty of grit and impact, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t be able to take it one step further! Here’s the loop in its dry state:

Over the Top

The first thing we do is to insert an instance of Bus on the audio track, after which we choose a suitable compressor model via the drop-down menu on the top. We go for the Opto – 2A, which is, of course, inspired by the famous electro-optical tube compressor we all know and love. We choose it not only for its very forgiving and musical compression, but also and primarily for the impressive and rich saturation that the Bus plugin lets you dial in with the SAT-control. Speaking of which, we turn it all the way up. The threshold-knob, on the contrary, is turned all the way to the left, which will result in the highest gain reduction possible. In order to hear the actual signal, we’ll have to turn up the MAKEUP gain accordingly.

When working with drums it’s often a good idea to choose a long attack and short release time, so that the transients would stay intact while the compressor recovers fast enough to respond to every single hit. However, since we’re dealing with really extreme settings here we need to keep things, I. e. the transients or impacts, under control. A shorter attack and slightly slower release will smooth everything out. Finally, we introduce a high pass filter for the sides by setting SIDE-HI to a value of 50.

The interface of the plugin should now look something like this:


The Result

All right, let’s find out what these settings will do to our drum loop. You will notice that, despite the really OTT settings we dialed in, the sound of the drum loop hasn’t changed radically. Rather, it ‘only’ gained a lot more weight in the low end, and more overall impact, thanks to the compression of the individual drum hits.

You can download the preset for Bus here: going-wild-with-bus-preset-fxp