The stereo VCA compressor has become a staple on almost everyone’s mix bus. Whether you’re using it to glue your entire mix or obliterate drums there’s something for everyone to love with a VCA style compressor. When Warm Audio announced their homage to the legendary SSL G Compressor, it took the hardware pro-audio market by storm. But it begs the question, is it any good?
In this review we’ll take an overall look at the build quality, sound examples and whether we think it’s good bang for your buck!
There’s no denying that the Warm Audio Bus-Comp is built like a tank. The pots and knobs feel sturdy, the meters work well and have a nice LED backlit display for work in dark conditions and overall, the chassis feels very solid.
There’s a nice level of resistance with the pots and the buttons also have a nice backlight. It’s much the same story for the back of the unit, as all jack and XLR inputs appear to be of very good quality and look like they will stand the test of time.
We’ve attached some sound examples of the Bus-Comp processing drum loops of varying genres/styles which you can listen to below. We also ran several other tests with the Bus-comp; Some light 2-3db glue/compression on an entire mix which sounded even better when taking control of the HPF to cut any pumping on the low end. As well as using it on other sources like guitar, vocals and even as a mono compressor on bass guitar.
The result were very impressive and only got better when engaging the transformers. The transformers appear to add some saturation and perhaps an EQ bump to the overall sound, I’d suggest leaving it in most the time as it really made a nice sonic enhancement to everything we tried it on!
The external side chain is also a nice feature which fits in well with the level of quality we experienced from all of the other controls.
- All analog, 2 channel stereo VCA compressor
- Based on legendary VCA/SSL style G compressor Technology
- Selectable discrete opamp stage with CineMag USA transformers
- External side chain
- Selectable Hi-pass Filter: 30, 60, 105, 125, 185 Hz
- Can be used on stereo as well as mono sources
- XLR and TRS connectivity
- Dynamic Range: > 120dB
- Frequency Response: 18Hz – 22kHz
There’s no denying the Bus-Comp sounds fantastic on just about anything you throw at it. At this price point It’s hard to beat in terms of versatility and feature set. However, when putting it up against some of its software rivals, distinguishing one from another can be tricky.
Overall, we do prefer the sound of the hardware, but only marginally. In our opinion the Bus-Comp is a great option if you want to have an outboard VCA style compressor that you can be hands on with and take advantage of the sonics form the CineMag transformers.