Warm Audio BUS-COMP Stereo Bus Compressor REVIEW

Warm Audio is one of our absolute faves when it comes to awesome studio gear on a budget.

One of the things we’ve been bugging them about for a few years is a stereo bus compressor, and now that we’ve got our hands on the new BUS-COMP, it’s just what we’ve asked for.

We have a modest recording rig here at the mag that we use for testing, but as of late we’ve been doing compression only in the box with a few stock plug-ins. While the sound was fine for demo’ing and testing out products, we knew that for really great sound, we’d want to look into an insertable hardware unit at the end of our master chain.

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The new BUS-COMP delivers on everything we wanted, including price. For just under $700, you’ve got a two channel VCA bus compressor that just adds that little extra glue to the end of a mixing session. It’s hard to stress just what a compressor can add to your mix, but A/B testing some scratch sessions with and without the bus compressor confirms that the dynamic gel you hear on radio-ready singles is just the thing this puppy can bring to your rig.

One of the cool things is you can run your mix through this and just use it for slight tone coloration on its own, with no compression settings applied.  But of course the magic really kicks in when you start running your stereo sources through it (of course it can be used on single-channel sources, as well). And, it should go without saying, but you don’t just have to use it on your stereo master, you can sweeten background vocals, rhythm section mixes, drum mixes, etc, too from your stems.

Getting into the settings, it comes equipped with exactly what you’d expect and want on the front panel, including knobs for threshold, attack, ratio, release, a high-pass filter and make-up to adjust the gain back you may have lost in previous settings.

The HPF has settings for 30, 60, 105, 125 and 185 Hz and you can do what we did and quickly A/B your sound with and without compression with a button on the front panel. While built to meet a certain price point, for sure, Warm didn’t skimp on quality, which we appreciate. They used Made in the USA CineMag transformers and fully discrete op-amps inside, and the internal guts of neatly wired and. Laid out for easy servicing in the future. There’s also some room inside the chassis for the modders in the crowd.

Turning around to the rear panel, and I/O is dead-simple. Left inputs and outputs and a side-chain input are all that’s needed, and all that’s here. That makes integration into your rig simple and eliminates confusion for newbies.

Overall, the new bus compressor from Warm Audio is an awesome and affordable way to finish off your stereo mixes, or even stereo stems, and we heartily recommend it for any home or pro studio.

PROS:

great sound, easy to install and use.

CONS:

none.

STREET PRICE:

$699

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