The Listen Mic Compressor found in SSL’s iconic 4000E console started life as a utility module, designed to protect studio monitors from blowing in response to loud noises in the live room. It earned iconic status, however, thanks to its use on Phil Collins’ drum kit: engineer Hugh Padgham had left the listen mic and its compressor engaged when Collins started playing his kit, and the sound proved irresistible. That room-heavy sound has ever since been associated with the bombastic drums of the 1980s.
Korneff Audio's software implementation certainly looks the part: chunky SSL-style knobs and buttons engage the processing (via the Listen Mic button), adjust the compression ratio (up to a brutal 100:1, via the Listen 1 knob), and switch between two sensitivity settings (the Mic/Line switch). A Makeup knob compensates for the aggressive gain reduction, and a Blend control allows for parallel processing. The Analog button, meanwhile, increases the nonlinear distortion effects in Korneff’s analogue modelling.
There’s a second page of controls ‘inside’ the virtual unit, which lets you tweak the compressor’s distortion characteristics and compression curve, and also to apply a highness filter to the compressor’s key signal, to avoid low frequencies triggering excessive compression.
Korneff Audio’s Talkback Limiter is available now, in VST3, AU and AAX formats, for just $39.99.