PSP Audioware FETpressor – Smart Essentials
Welcome to Music Nation. This week we’re looking at a clever VST compressor plugin from PSP Audioware that follows the well-trodden path of the Uri 1176 optical hardware clone. To stand out from the crowd Fetpressor will need to bring something unique to the party.
(Review updated April 2022) Engineers and producers alike need a good collection of flexible compressors on hand in their armoury and a great 1176 emulation is one of the most essential. There are literally dozens to choose from these days, so let’s jump into the PSP Audioware FETpressor review and see if there’s something remarkable here to arouse your interest.
PSP Audioware FETpressor is an 1176-style compressor plugin with a simple and familiar workflow design, similar to other plugins in the company’s range. Though not a direct copy of the hardware unit, there are enough similarities for you to be comfortable with the layout immediately.
As expected the standard attack, release and ratio controls are present as well as large threshold and makeup dials dominating the GUI with cool skeuomorphic Bakelite-style knobs.
The two unusual controls are SC HPF (sidechain hi-pass) and the blend knob. You also have a couple of toggle switches for swapping singled and dual-linked modes, plus stereo or mono left /right processed mode.
The original 1176 was famous for its ultra-fast attack which FETpressor has in spades, but the most interesting new feature is the full 1:1 ratio available, effectively bypassing the compression but retaining the character. There is little to no noticeable processing on signals when set between 1:1 and 2:1 unless the input gain is extreme, so the main benefit of these low ratios is to impart some of the hardware vibe of the unit into your signal.
In practice, this is a particularly subtle character injection, even when applied to multiple channels on a large, 20+ track project. But the resulting ‘null’ processing is certainly there, and for me, this mostly affects sharper transients such as snare drums and slap bass. It does also have a pleasing effect on bass frequencies too, nicely rounding out the attack. Again though, this is a very subtle thing, but I would certainly rather have it applied than not.
So to get the most benefit from the feature you really need to insert FETpressor on each and every track, BUS and master channel in your mix. This might sound a little extreme, but we found creating a template with this setup didn’t take long and the DPS impact was imperceptible.
Another very interesting addition is the Blend knob which simply mixes the wet and signals. When set to 50% you have your trendy NY parallel compression mode. Some interesting results can be found by really slamming the compressor and pulling the blend dial back.
PSP FETpressor is a solid plugin in terms of performance and sound. It is hard to get this basic formula wrong with such a mainstay and iconic piece of gear, but PSP Audioware has excelled in including the subtle character nuances of the original compressor hardware.
Unfortunately, the differences are heard mostly only when comparing two similar compressors side by side with the same source material. Even then the marginal tonal differences are difficult to identify, and only a collector of high-end processors will appreciate the effort made to capture these tonal qualities.
Happily, FETpressor offers all of this at a very budget-friendly price, so even though these benefits are arguably negligible, your credit card balance will certainly be healthier.
PSP Audioware has done well to include this mainstay device in their catalogue which continues to provide solid plugins, each with special little tricks and personalities. There is a harmonious synergy with this and others in the family that make PSP Audioware products all a pleasure to use.
Check the PSP Audiowares site for more details and download the free 14-day trial www.pspaudioware.com