Review: McDSP Compressor Bank CB4
Positives:* Every great compressor ever made * Almost no delay added * Sounds great! * Input control for extra saturation * Well Modeled
Negatives:* no more support after version 4 * has been removed from Compressor Bank bundle * Cannot open older sessions with this plugin in the future.
All the best compressors ever made at the touch of a button
McDSP has been modeling analog sound/gear since the very beginning. They never come short when it comes to analog saturation and their CB4 plugin is no exception. CB4 is one of 4 compressors that come in the Compressor Bank bundle by McDSP (although has now been replaced by the 6030 Ultimate compressor). It is also the compressor plugin that comes in their very useful Project Studio bundle ($89 for 5 kick ass plugins) which is what introduced me in to the world of McDSP. Upon first glance, this is not the sexiest looking plugin, but what is under the hood is what’s important.It contains 6 of the most used, sought-out, best sounding compressors ever made. Lets look at the list, “Opto C,” followed by “Opto L” is the LA-2A in it’s respective (C)ompressor mode or (L)imiter mode. As like the real hardware, you don’t find any controls for attack and release, just a control for threshold and gain. The preset att/rel settings and the way the knee reacts to sounds is very similar to an LA2A. The tone imparted is fantastic and the smooth control of dynamics it offers worked fantastic on bass and vocals. It shines on brass instruments like trumpets and saxophone. Next, we go to the “S-State” emulation which is their emulation of the world famous 1176 compressor. The controls have changed and more controls have been added. Like the 1176 hardware unit, you are given the controls for attack, release, and ratio, missing the “threshold” liek the real unit. It all depends on how much input gain is brought in. I LOVE the way this compressor sounds. Its very grabby when you need it (Super fast attack like the hardware) and it can be smooth and transparent when you just need something to control the peaks and dips in the source. This worked amazing on drums and snares. I really like the tone as well on an organ and synths. Next up, we have the “Tube” setting. This is the smoothest one in my opinion. I use this on thin female vocals as it adds a bit of midrange that isn’t too much. It really imparts a character instantly. I’m guilty of overdoing the input knob on this plugin alot, specifically the tube preset. This is modeled off a “Fairchild” 660 unit and has the exact same characteristics as you would expect. only a threshold knob and a release (time constant) controls remain and it could be just what you’re looking for. It makes vocals sweet and breathy. sometimes the attack can be a little too slow for other thing so it’s not always my go to, although I love the saturation on it
We now come to the “Tube 2” compressor. Tube 2 is modeled after a Manley Variable-MU compressor and sounds fantastic. All controls are active, so it is the most complete compressor in the bundle.This thing really does a good job of warming things up. the input knob always exceeds 2 dbs with this compressor. It adds this nice, round mellow tone that makes things enjoyable. Its very musical in the way it grabs transients and could be the most go-to of the collection. There isn’t anything I didn’t like it on. Then comes my favoorite in the bunch, the “British” compressor. With a name like “British” it’s not hard to asume this is based of a Neve 2254E compressor. The tone in this one is insane! this has the best sounding tone out of all of them. I use it to “beef” up thin vocals, electric guitars and many other things. This is my “tracking/recording” compressor that I set up with and I’ve never gotten a bad sound with it. Kick drums and anything “Low” like bass sounds like a monster with this thing on. I always crank the input knob and it never disappoints. Last and certainly not least, is the “Over EZ” compressor. This emulates a DbX compressor with the “Over Easy” circuit engaged, which adds a slower, smoother knee characteristic. This things works wonders on Drums and percussion. So as you can see, the CB4 is a very powerful set of compressor available. Unfortunately, McDSP has discontinued this plugin in version 5, and have continued the legacy with the 6030 Ultimate Compressor (which is another monster plugin), so the plugin will not be available for future generation of Pro Tools. A little bit of every great compressor every is finally at your fingertips with no compromise in anything, including almost zero latency. Give it a try.