A legend turned plug-in
The Precision Comp Limiter is based on one of the legendary British compressors found in top-level studios worldwide. Originally produced in the ‘70’s as an evolution of the previous 2254 model, it quickly became a much sought after unit for many audio applications, including music recording/mixing, mastering, post-production and broadcasting. Its sonic character is not as aggressive as that of many other popular units of the same era. Even when the unit is pushed to extreme settings, the compression is fairly gentle and retains a musical quality that doesn’t “choke” or squash program material. Nevertheless, the compression effect is clearly distinguishable.
Technology behind the British Sound
The modeling starts at the core, with the diode network used for the compression and the set of custom transformers responsible for the unique, fat and bold character; input and output transformers were so closely replicated that all of the hardware’s inherent sonic signature is in there.
It just takes a listen to appreciate the fully modeled signal path, where compressor and limiter can be engaged or excluded separately, combining gain reductions and time constants for more complex and articulate results.
The interaction between the class-A circuitry and the custom transformers used in the signal path really do make a difference in how this units affects the audio quality of the tracks it’s processing, even when no compression is applied.
This Vari-MU type compressor/limiter delivers an incredible magic touch that makes everything that passes through it shine and sound more musical and emotional, thanks to its tube signal path and gain reduction mode. It was meticulously analyzed for months over every single detail, unveiling all of it’s secrets.
As in the hardware unit, our model actually consists of two separate and independent limiters, which can be used, according to the selected operating mode, on L and R channels for standard stereo operation, or Vertical and Lateral components of a stereo mix. This is accomplished via a decoding M/S matrix and is a often performed in mastering situations to control Mid or Side elements of a mix. This is the only module in the T-RackS series that doesn’t feature the standard “L/R-M/S” selector, as this functionality is achieved with the standard controls that were on the original hardware, as described above.
Its extremely fast attack time makes it ideal as a peak limiter, even though by carefully choosing among its set of variable release times an extreme limiting action can be achieved without side effects like pumping.
Its preferred use is on the stereo bus of your mixing or mastering projects, but, it’s such a wonderful module that it will surely add its magic touch to any stereo source it’ll be used on.
On the drums submix it makes the all pieces of the kits “gel” together, effectively making the drums sound like a cohesive instrument, and not like the sum of separate parts.
It’s also pretty comfortable on vocal tracks, where its all tube circuitry enriches the timbre and adds presence and harmonics. It’s kind of a luxury to have one, but this model takes it affordable to any DAW user.
The Mix Bus is where the magic happens
As its hardware counterpart, this module is equally at home in many applications; in mixing contexts it can easily be used to fatten up single tracks and have them in a precise space and dynamic range within the mix.
The series of controls so closely replicated has some added bonuses: the input control was not present on the hardware unit; in the T-RackS model this allows to feed more signal into the module thus producing a more pronounced compression effect. Additional flexibility is given by the standard stereo (L/R) or Mid/Side (M/S) operation.
The dual nature of the unit, featuring a separate compressor and a limiter allows for some very interesting results: the combination of the two independent sections can lead to some complex gain reductions as the compressor can impart a lighter and gentler compression, while the limiter can be set for a more audible effect.
Its sound quality is so euphonic and musical that even single tracks individually compressed, or simply passed through the Precision Comp/Limiter will gain presence and character.