With its obvious appeal as a ‘make it loud’ tool for EDM, Cubase 11's new Squasher plug-in is capable of so much more. To help you get familiar, here are some audio examples of four things to try with Squasher, as explained in this month's Cubase workshop article:
Squasher applied to a bass guitar performance. In the original, the performance contained quite a wide dynamic range with both loud and soft notes. The same performance is then processed with Squasher in two-band mode as described in the main article. Some conventional downward compression is applied in both bands to catch the loudest peaks but, in addition, some upward compression is used to make the softest notes louder. The result is a more even dynamic to the performance that ought to make it somewhat easier to place in the overall mix context.
The original drum performance includes some nice, low-level, ghost notes on the snare. The same performance is then subjected to a two-band instance of Squasher. As described in the main article, the low band has no upward compression applied and can be used to reduce the presence of any bleed from the kick drum into the snare track. The mid band has some upward compression applied and this increases the level of the snare ghost notes. The amount of upward compression can be varied to suit the requirements of the overall mix.
While it may contain the required performance, the initial drum loop might be a little timid in the context of a particular project mix. By applying all three of Squasher’s bands, each focused on the frequency range of a key element within the drum kit, the sound of the kit itself can be given plenty of additional attitude (as here) by applying plenty of both upward and downward compression. This can then be dialled in to taste using either the global Mix control or the Mix controls available in each band.
In this example, the overdriven rhythm guitars span a wide range of frequencies. Their low-end is useful when the bass guitar is not present but may mask the bass somewhat when it is playing. Equally, the guitar’s mid-frequencies may mask the vocal track when that is present. As described in the main text, using Squasher’s multiple side-chain input feature allows us to use the bass guitar to compress the low-end of the rhythm guitars whenever the bass is playing, while a second side-chain input on the mid band uses the vocal track as it’s source and compresses the guitars mid frequencies by a dB or two when the vocal is present, while leaving the guitar’s mids fully intact when the vocal is absent. In this example, I’ve exaggerated the effect slightly to make it obvious, but Squasher’s Mix controls can easily be used to increase or decrease the overall effect as required.