The latest release from Softube offers authentically modelled emulations of three of the most popular and commonly used analogue compressor units in the world. Icons: The Compressor Collection not only strives to recreate the classic processors in the digital domain, but also introduces some new features and functionality that offer more control and versatility in modern DAW-based production environments.
FET Compressor MkII
Based on a Urie 1176, the FET Compressor MkII promises to deliver the lightning-quick response of the original device, whilst expanding on its capabilities thanks to the addition of some new controls and operation modes. A Low/High toggle switch alongside the Ratio buttons doubles the amount of compression ratios on offer, adding 1:1, 1.5:1, 2:1, and 3:1 options alongside the original’s 4:1, 8:1, 12:1, and 20:1 values, and the famous ‘all-buttons-in’ operation is provided by a dedicated British Mode button.
A Drive parameter has been included, and is equipped with modelled Transformer and FET circuitry which can be used either individually, or alongside one another, and a Dry/Wet control allows for quick and simple parallel compression without the need for any additional routing outside of the plug-in. Yet more control is offered by some side-chain filtering capabilities, and the plug-in’s Stereo Link mode can be set to either link or unlink the gain reduction applied to the left and right channels.
The second plug-in in the collection has been modelled on an a Teletronix LA-2A, emulating the smooth and natural-sounding characteristics of the much-loved optical compressor. In addition to the Time, Compression, and Output parameters, the OPTO Compressor also features a selection of new functions similar to those provided in the FET Compressor MkII plug-in. Side-chain filtering and a variable Drive control are present, along with the two Stereo link modes, and built-in parallel compression is again offered via a Dry/Wet mix control.
The trio is completed by the VCA Compressor, which is based on an early DBX 160. Softube say that the plug-in retains the unique character of the original unit, exhibiting the same hard-knee compression curve along with the additional harmonic content added by the gain stages.
The RMS level detection and feed-forward gain reduction design also remains, and ratios from 1:1 through to ∞:1 are provided along with dedicated Compression, Attack, and Release parameters. Once again, a selection of more modern features have been included, with the VCA Compressor equipped with the same side-chain and parallel compression facilities as the collection’s other offerings, along with a variable Output Drive control.
Icons: The Compressor Collection is supported on PCs running Windows 10 or 11, and Macs running macOS versions between 10.15 (Catalina) and 12 (Monterey). Apple Silicon chips are also natively supported. A Softube and iLok account is required, and the plug-ins are available in AU, VST, VST3, and AAX formats. All of the plug-ins are also compatible with Softube’s Console 1 system.
Pricing & Availability
Icons: The Compressor Collection is available now, and is currently (7 February 2023) being offered for an introductory price of €199, reduced from its full price of €299. Each of the plug-ins are also available to purchase separately for €149 (or currently for €99 as part of the introductory offer).