How does a hybrid British-American VCA compressor sound? On paper, quite promising! Developer Tone Empire has made a practical showcase for this concept with the Model 5000. This “heavyweight” VCA compressor is inspired by both a famous API comp and a classic British console comp. It should sound great on drums, the mix bus, and be useful for mastering. The character goes from subtle dynamic control to extra punchy.
Tone Empire Model 5000
Basically, Tone Empire borrowed the compressor ratio, attack, and release time characteristics from the British unit, and added the punch and slam of the American one to create the Model 5000. Of note, says the developer, is the punchy low-end side chain compression, which adds weight and heft to your audio in a musically pleasing way. The exact modeled units are not mentioned, but judging by the sound, this is likely an SSL/API-style hybrid.
The plug-in includes a TransX in/out transformer emulation, which adds analog solid state-style saturation to the tone, with the amount of drive controlled by the input gain. This compressor likes to be pushed hard, which is why Tone Empire added up to 8x oversampling for improved frequency response and peak detection.
Price and availability
Tone Empire Model 5000 is available in VST3, AU, and AAX 64-bit formats for Windows and macOS computers. A 15-day trial version is also available. The introductory price is a fair USD 49, down from USD 99. The authorization is a simple process that’s free of hoops and dongles.
Overall, this is an interesting, modern take on the classic VCA-style compression. The Model 5000 sounds like an utter workhorse for bass-heavy music. Try the free demo and see if it delivers the goods!