Manufacturer Warm Audio sets off 2020 with a no-bull replica of the fabled Oxfordshire stereo bus compressor. Yes, the one that makes knowledgeable personell mutter “Mix glue!” in geeky delight. It’s called the BUS-COMP.
Now, virtual and hardware re-incarnates of this bulletproof design are dime-a-dozen these days, given the never-ceasing significance of the original unit in the pro audio craft and the relatively approachable task of reproducing it. Even I own one, immaculately hand-built by the best darn technician I have the privilege of knowing. I call him Gregg.
The BUS-COMP bus compressor
But at just USD 699, and likely getting damn close – probably indistinguishable, really – to the real thing, the Warm Audio BUS-COMP looks like a respectable copyshop job which will endow many a project/budget studios with the indisputable mojo of the original unit. Ever attentive, Warm Audio even recreated the sidechain input with high-pass filter (to prevent lows from triggering the compression, if so desired) and added a pair of USA-made CineMag transformers. Driven by discrete opamps, they can be engaged with the compressor bypassed (or not) to impart additional heft and sizzle to your audio. Gregg likes to call this bit “turbo” and yeah, it does V8 the heck out of the compressor!
Otherwise, the bus comp has the familiar Threshold, Attack, Ratio, Release and Make-Up controls as well as a VU-meter to keep things as analog as possible. The side-chain input, balanced and unbalanced outputs (XLR & TRS) are available on the rear panel, as well as a Ground Lift button. Well done, all in all!
The Warm Audio BUS-COMP is available now from the brand’s dealers worldwide. It comes with a 1-year warranty. No need for outboard? Then check out the following plug-in recreations:
- Released: Overloud Comp G, a feature-loaded take on the SSL Bus Compressor
- SSL intros overhauled v6 plug-in bundle, available on subscription basis
And this production tip by Craig on how to use bus compression in a mix: