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Cytomic The Glue | Media

Dynamics Processor [Mac & PC] By Frederick Norén
Published November 2010

Download the audio and project files that accompany this month's Cytomic The Glue (/sos/nov10/articles/the-glue.htm).

Here is a selection of audio files rendered (or recorded) comparing the performance of The Glue, UAD 4k Buss Compressor, Waves SSL Compressor, TK Audio BC1 and a home-made GSSL compressor based on the SSL compressor schematics. I've made sound clips with the standard version of The Glue as well as with the oversampled Alpha version provided by Cytomic. The signal-path for the two analogue compressors was RME Raydat soundcard -> Lavry DA10 -> analogue compressor -> Mytek Stereo192 ADC. The plug-in audio was kept in the box and didn't pass through the converters.

I've tried to line up the levels and the performance as good as possible and the [Analog]-mode was not used on the Waves SSL Compressor.

Cytomic: The Glue Dynamics Processor

Smashed drum loop

  • Attack: 3ms
  • Release: 0.1s
  • Ratio: 10
  • Range: 40dB
  • Maximum gain reduction: about 15dB RMS
Download all Hi-Res WAVs | 76 MB

My goal with this test was to hear how well the compressors could handle heavy compression with lots of low-end information. The differences between the two Glue clips were fairly low; the oversampled plug-in sounded just a bit more "alive". The UAD plug-in produced a nice pumping sound and it added some midrange but at the expense of slightly suppressed hi-hats. The Waves plug-in sounded flat and grainy compared to the other plug-ins, lacking some definition. The BC1 showed the best stereo-width and definition and was somewhat smoother sounding than The Glue. The GSSL had a sound of its own, performing raw pumping action making it great for effect compression. I often use my GSSL to heavily compress and distort drums.

Stereo-dubbed Acoustic Guitar (auto-release)

  • Attack: 1
  • Release: Auto-release
  • Ratio: 4
  • Range: 40dB
  • Maximum gain reduction: about 6dB RMS
Download all Hi-Res WAVs | 78 MB

Personally I've never quite fancied using the auto-release setting on a compressor, but when the compressor is good enough it can lend you a helping hand when mixing. I wanted to use the auto-release to tighten up the sound without squashing it too much, and it worked very well on this stereo-dubbed acoustic guitar. The stereo width and definition was a tad better with the oversampled plug-in but I kind of fancy the coloration of the transients in the non-oversampled plug-in, because it somehow suited the acoustic guitar. The UA plug-in also added some coloration, making the sound more beefy and sustained, which I also liked. The Waves plug-in, however, sounded flat in comparison, and lacked some stereo definition. The BC1 made the guitar a bit smoother without losing any definition or stereo width, sounding perhaps a bit more compressed compared to the others. The GSSL made the transients a bit more gritty, but in a good way – at the expense of slightly less defined stereo width and low end.

Mix (auto-release)

  • Attack: 10
  • Release: Auto
  • Ratio: 2
  • Range: 40dB
  • Maximum gain: 2dB RMS
Download all Hi-Res WAVs | 144 MB

Auto-release is also very useful to glue a mix together, and for this test, I wanted to hear how well the compressors took on bus compression. Both versions of The Glue packaged the mix in a very nice way, and the only differences were a slightly more defined and firmer low end, wider stereo width and fractionally more open sound in the chorus with the oversampled plug-in. The UAD 4k Buss Compressor added some low end, which pushed the mix forward in a nice way. The Waves compressor sounded great in the verse, but lost a little bit of low-end definition in the chorus, where it also added a tiny bit of graininess. Because of its three-dimensional depth and stereo width, the TK Audio BC1 came out sounding 'like a record', which was no surprise to me. The vivid definition of the choirs set it apart from the other sound clips. Last but not least, the GSSL compressor sounded too colored and lost both low end and stereo definition.

Male Vocals

  • Attack: 10
  • Release: 0.2s (on The Glue) 0.3s (on the others)
  • Ratio: 2
  • Range: 40dB
  • Maximum gain reduction: about 6.5dB RMS
Download all Hi-Res WAVs | 98 MB

The oversampled plug-in had a slightly more defined and dynamic low end, but that was the only difference between the two Glue plug-ins. Both plug-ins compressed the vocals in a very nice way. The UAD plug-in also handled the vocals in a nice way, adding just a little bit of mid-range in the chorus, making the vocals a bit harder. The Waves compressor sounded OK in the verse, but compared to the others, it sounded a bit flat in the chorus. The TK Audio BC1 had the most open and dynamic sound during the verse, and during the chorus it had a warm and smooth mid-range. The GSSL colored the low end and low-mid, and lost some definition in the mid-range, but still sounded OK.

Stray Latin Percussion

  • Attack: 3
  • Release: 0.1
  • Ratio: 10
  • Maximum gain reduction: 3dB RMS
Download all Hi-Res WAVs | 59 MB

With this test I wanted to hear how well The Glue could handle different types of transients — and what could be better than some stray Latin percussion. Both versions of The Glue sharpened up the transients, which worked very well for Latin percussion. The oversampled plug-in had a slightly more open sound, most audible on the shaker and the timbales. The UAD 4k Buss Compressor had a slightly more coloured sound, and it added some low end which was welcome. This came at the expense of some overall definition, but the sound it produced was very nice and usable. The Waves SSL Compressor made the shaker a bit grainy, while the transients of the timbales got a bit restrained and lost some low-end punch. The TK Audio BC1 had the best stereo width and made the percussions sound 'alive'. The mid-range depth was more impressive than the rest and made the congas sit very nicely in the mix. The GSSL colored the transients, making them sound smoother at the expense of a loss of overall definition.