Vastaso is a fantastic stereo compressor which includes twelve different compressor models (100% analog) and twelve saturation networks based on lots of components (silicon diodes, germanium diodes, LEDs, FETs, transformers and more).

While its structure is quite simple (just select a model and set a few controls) it could look overwhelming at first.

A few presets may be useful:

  • Fantastic vocals: Comp model A, filters, attack, release full CCW, 100% compression.
  • FET compressor style: Comp model F, filters to max boost (low CW, high CCW), 75% compression, attack and release full CCW, ALWAYS set saturation network 11 (FET based) to tame peaks (you could want to increase comp attack).
  • Buss comp style: Comp model G, K or L release time (they are auto modes).
  • Mastering specials: K and L. They use differential detectors, work on peaks in a transparent way.

While looking for classic sounds, note how 99% of the times a huge part of the sound comes from saturation combined with compression.

Rule of thumb: select a model, set the controls, increase attack time, decrease saturation control to get back the control on attack overshoot.