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PSP auralComp

Immersive Audio Compressor Plug-in By Trevor Michael
Published September 2023

PSP auralComp

Intuitive and powerful, this compressor can handle anything from mono up to 7.1.4 Atmos sources.

auralComp isn’t PSP Audioware’s first plug‑in to support Atmos — that honour goes to auralControl, which was released last year and enables you to rebalance the levels in multi‑channel tracks — but PSP made their name with some great‑sounding effects and processors for music, and this is their first signal processor intended for immersive audio.

As a multi‑channel compressor and brickwall limiter, auralComp is a broadly similar sort of tool to Waves Spherix, which I reviewed back in SOS February 2023. But a key difference, and an improvement in my opinion, is that auralComp isn’t limited to use with 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 channel widths: you can use it on mono, stereo sources (and can process stereo in M‑S), quad, 5.0... in fact, any number of channels, all the way up to 7.1.4. auralComp supports the AAX, VST3 and AU plug‑in formats for DAWs running on macOS or Windows, and can be authorised on up to three (of the licence holder’s) computers.


To develop auralComp, PSP partnered with Dutch engineer and producer Ronald Prent, who is known for his work with Simple Minds, Depeche Mode, Def Leppard, Tina Turner, Rammstein and the Scorpions, and many more. Ronald has specialised in surround sound mixing since the early ’00s, at which time he helped with the development and testing for Sony’s SACD format and worked with API to create a multi‑channel version of their 2500 compressor. With the recent boom in immersive audio production in mind, he reached out to PSP to see if they’d be interested in developing a plug‑in built around the same concepts, but taking the ideas further where digital technology allows. (Having said that, I should make clear that this is not a model of API’s compressor!)

The channel grouping facilities make working with multi channel formats quick and easy.The channel grouping facilities make working with multi channel formats quick and easy.On opening the plug‑in, each channel’s compressor is displayed in a separate ‘strip’ and, as you can see on the main screenshot, the user‑adjustable parameters are the sort of thing you’d expect to find on any compressor, with knobs for attack (0.1ms to 160ms), release (25ms to 2500ms), threshold (‑40dB to +10dB), make‑up gain (variable up to +20dB), ratio (1:1 to infinity:1), and wet/dry mix. There’s also a group of three LED‑style bar meters. These indicate the input and output levels and, in between, the amount of gain reduction being applied. There’s no labelling or current/maximum readout to confirm what’s going on, which seems an oversight — uncertain about what value each LED segment represented, I sometimes found it tricky to tell exactly how much gain reduction was being applied. Having said that, the layout makes it easy to...

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